Tag - MENA ( 66 )

News | خبراء حقوق الإنسان يحثّون الإمارات العربيّة المتّحدة: “إطلاق سراح مناصر حقوق الإنسان أحمد منصور فورا”

Mar 28 2017

جنيف (28 مارس/آذار 2017): إنّ خبراء حقوق الإنسان* يحثّون حكومة الإمارات العربيّة المتّحدة على الإفراج الفوريّ عن مناصر حقوق الإنسان البارز أحمد منصور الذي اعتقل الأسبوع الماضي. لقد قام رجال الأمن باعتقال السّيد منصور البالغ 47 عاما، متزوّج وأب لأربعة أطفال، في السّاعات الأولى من يوم 20 آذار/مارس بعد اقتحام منزله. ولا يزال مكان وجوده مجهولاً، كما لا تتوفّر أيّة معلومات عمّا إذا كان قد تمّ توجيه أيّة اتّهامات ضدّه. وجاء في تصريح الخبراء: "إنّنا نعتبر اعتقال السّيد منصور واحتجازه هجوماً مباشراً على العمل المشروع لمناصري حقوق الإنسان في دولة الإمارات العربيّة المتّحدة". وأكّدوا "أنّ عمل منصور المتميّز في مجال حماية حقوق الإنسان والنّهوض بالديمقراطية، فضلا عن تعاونه الشّفاف مع آليات الأمم المتّحدة، له قيمة كبيرة ليس فقط بالنسبة... Continue reading →

News | UN rights experts urge UAE: “Immediately release Human Rights Defender Ahmed Mansoor”

Mar 28 2017

GENEVA – United Nations rights experts are urging the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to immediately release the renowned human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, who was arrested last week. Mr. Mansoor, who is 47 and married with four children, was taken away in the early hours of 20 March by security agents who broke into his home. His whereabouts remain unknown, and there is no information on whether any charges have been brought against him. “We regard Mr. Mansoor’s arrest and detention as a direct attack on the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the UAE,” the experts said.  “Mr. Mansoor’s outstanding work in the protection of human rights and the advancement of democracy, as well as his transparent collaboration with UN mechanisms, is of great value not only for the UAE but for the whole region,” they emphasized. “We fear that his arrest and secret detention may constitute an act of reprisal for his engagement with UN human rights mechanisms, for the views he expressed on social media, including Twitter, as well as for being an active member of organizations such as the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, and an active supporter of others, including Human Rights Watch.” The experts urged the authorities to immediately reveal the whereabouts of Mr. Mansoor, a... Continue reading →

News | Rights defenders under growing legal pressure in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – UN rights experts

Dec 16 2016

GENEVA – Human rights activists working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory face daily violations of some of the most fundamental protections afforded by international human rights and humanitarian laws, two United Nations independent experts said today. “We have received a worrying number of complaints in recent months regarding human rights defenders who are arrested and, in many cases, arbitrarily detained, often apparently as a direct result of their important work in their communities,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the OPT, Michael Lynk, and the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Michel Forst. “Human rights work is critical to creating a just society and maintaining peace and security. These are the goals all parties ultimately share,” the experts stressed. “However, it appears that rights defenders are facing ever greater challenges in the OPT.” The Special Rapporteurs drew special attention to the cases against Issa Amro, founder of the Hebron-based group Youth Against Settlements, and Farid al-Atrash, a lawyer from Hebron, who were arrested due to their participation in a peaceful protest in February of this year. Mr. Amro is currently facing trial in an Israeli military court on 18 charges dating back to 2010, including participation in a rally without a... Continue reading →

News | UN experts condemn Egypt as clampdown “tightens noose” on women’s rights movement

Dec 15 2016

GENEVA – A group of United Nations experts, including Maina Kiai, has strongly condemned Egypt for escalating its action against women human rights defenders and women rights groups as part of a continuing clampdown on civil society. “The Government’s actions are preventing women human rights defenders from conducting their legitimate activities and professions, and are leaving thousands of women in need of support and security,” the experts said. “The noose is tightening around the women’s rights movement, and this is having a direct and considerable impact on human rights.” The experts highlighted the arrest of lawyer Azza Soliman, a prominent human rights defender who founded the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA).  She was detained on 7 December and questioned by an investigative judge over the highly controversial case 173/2011, which centres on foreign funding of non-governmental organizations in Egypt. “The arrest and investigation of Azza Soliman demonstrates that the repression of Egypt’s human rights movement has escalated to a higher level,” the experts said with concern. “Ms. Soliman is a central figure in the country’s independent women’s rights movement. Targeting her sends a strong negative signal from the Government about its hostile... Continue reading →

News | UN experts condemn charges against Iranian woman seeking missing relatives

Nov 24 2016

GENEVA – Iran must end the harassment of a woman trying to learn the fate of her brother and his newborn daughter, who disappeared from prison more than 30 years ago, a group of United Nations human rights experts has said. The campaign against Raheleh Rahemipour may be a direct reprisal for her search, according to the experts*. Ms. Rahemipour is now facing criminal charges and has undergone a lengthy interrogation at the same jail where her brother and the baby were last seen in 1984 - Evin prison in Teheran. The UN experts are calling on Iran to drop all charges against Ms. Rahemipour and halt the campaign against her. “Rather than investigating the alleged disappearance of Ms. Rahemipour’s relatives, the government of Iran has decided to launch a campaign of harassment and intimidation against her,” the experts stated. “We are concerned that the judicial process against Ms. Rahemipour may be a direct reprisal for her human rights activism in the search for her relatives, as well as the exercise of her rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.” “We urge the Iranian Government to immediately drop all charges against Ms. Rahemipour and to halt any acts of retaliation against relatives, witnesses and human rights defenders who report cases of enforced... Continue reading →

News | Egypt steps up travel bans on rights defenders with “chilling effect”, UN expert warns

Nov 24 2016

GENEVA  – A United Nations rights expert has criticised Egypt’s increasing use of travel bans on human rights defenders, warning that the measures are hindering their legitimate work and infringing their fundamental rights. “Restrictions imposed on defenders’ freedom of movement have regrettably become routine in what is seen as a broader crackdown against Egyptian civil society that has continued unabated since 2011,” said the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst. Mr. Forst has received the cases of more than 15 Egyptian human rights defenders, who were prevented from travelling abroad in 2016 for regional and international events. The restrictions are often based on investigations relating to a controversial foreign funding case, also known as Case No. 173, which reportedly led to the leaders and staff of at least 37 Egyptian rights organisations being charged with receiving ‘illegal foreign funding’ and ‘working without permission’. “It is seriously concerning to observe that travel bans, along with other restrictions on fundamental freedoms to free speech, association and assembly, seem to have become politically motivated means to stifle civil society movement in the country, and to choke legitimate and democratic debate, both... Continue reading →

News | Egypt NGO bill threatens to “devastate” civil society, UN expert warns

Nov 23 2016

GENEVA – United Nations expert Maina Kiai has expressed serious alarm at Egypt’s approval of a draft law which would impose major restrictions on the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Mr. Kiai said that if the bill became law, it would devastate the country’s civil society for generations to come and turn it into a government puppet. The Egyptian Parliament approved the bill on 15 November and sent it to the State Council for review; it will be sent back to the Parliament for a final vote at an unknown date. The government did not hold consultations with civil society on its contents. Mr. Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, said the law appeared to be “deliberately drafted to curtail civil society’s ability to operate, and to stifle their ability to freely express themselves”. The bill’s provisions violated international law and contradicted Egypt’s own constitution, he said. “This bill proposes perhaps the worst restrictions on fundamental freedoms in Egypt since the 2011 uprisings,” Mr. Kiai said. “It aims to destroy Egypt’s foundation for peaceful, civic engagement at its very roots. If it becomes law, it would devastate civil society not only in the short term, but possibly for generations to... Continue reading →

News | One year on: UN group renews call for Saudi Arabia to release human rights activists

Nov 17 2016

GENEVA – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has renewed its call for Saudi Arabia to release nine human rights activists who were jailed after participating in activities relating to the promotion and protection of human rights. Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai and a number of other UN experts have endorsed their call. The men should be freed immediately as their detention is in violation of international human rights standards, according to the expert panel which assesses cases independently in the light of international law. The expert panel said there had still been no move to free the men, one year after it had delivered its formal opinion that their deprivation of liberty is arbitrary, being in contravention of articles 9, 10, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “The Working Group reiterates its call for the immediate release of the detainees and the provision of reparations for the harm caused,” the group said. “We would like to remind Saudi Arabia of its obligations vis-à-vis these individuals, and we also recommend that it releases all those in similar situations.” Most of the jailed activists had ties with the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), a prominent human rights group which worked for legal, political and... Continue reading →

News | Mauritanie: Des experts de l’ONU préoccupés par la situation de militants des droits de l’homme emprisonnés

Oct 19 2016

(English) GENÈVE – Un groupe d’experts des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies* a exprimé aujourd’hui sa grave préoccupation par le fait que des militants mauritaniens emprisonnés en raison de leur rôle présumé dans une manifestation contre les expulsions forcées à Nouakchott, sont ciblés par le gouvernement pour leur plaidoyer anti-esclavagiste. Les défenseurs des droits de l’homme ont été condamnés en août à des peines de prison allant de trois à quinze ans.  La date du jugement en appel sera fixée en fin de semaine par la Cour d’appel de Nouadhibou. Treize de ces militants sont membres de l’Initiative pour la résurgence du mouvement abolitionniste (IRA), principale organisation de la société civile mauritanienne luttant contre l’esclavage. Les militants ont constamment nié toute implication dans les manifestations contre les expulsions forcées, au cours desquelles plusieurs personnes, dont des policiers, ont été blessées. «Le gouvernement mauritanien est hostile à tous les groupes de la société civile qui critiquent ses politiques et est particulièrement hostile aux groupes tels que l’IRA, dont les membres sont issus de la minorité Haratine, et qui œuvrent pour la promotion de la fin de l’esclavage», ont souligné les experts, en rappelant... Continue reading →

News | Mauritania: UN experts concerned about situation of jailed human rights activists

Oct 19 2016

(français) GENEVA – A group of United Nations human rights experts today expressed serious concern that Mauritanian activists jailed for their alleged role in a protest against forced evictions in Nouakchott are being targeted by the Government for their anti-slavery advocacy. The human rights defenders were sentenced in August to prison terms ranging from three to fifteen years. The date for an appeal will be set later this week by the Appeals Court in Nouadhibou. Thirteen of the activists are members of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA), the leading Mauritanian civil society organization fighting against slavery. They denied any role in the eviction protests, during which several people, including police officers, were injured. “The Mauritanian Government is hostile to civil society groups that criticise its policies, and is especially hostile to groups like IRA, whose members are drawn from the Haratine minority and advocate for an end to slavery,” the experts said recalling that the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, visited Mauritania in May and met with IRA members. “The conviction of the activists fits a pattern of crackdown on dissent by the ruling party in a country in which one ethnic minority... Continue reading →