Tag - Middle East ( 44 )

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 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 | 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 | Iran: UN rights expert calls for the immediate release of dual nationals

Oct 07 2016

GENEVA – United Nations Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed  today called on the Islamic Republic of Iran for the immediate and unconditional release of a British-Iranian national sentenced to five-years in prison for charges unknown to her, and two elderly dual nationals who are suffering from serious health conditions that require urgent and adequate medical attention. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested on 3 April 2016 along with her 22-month-old daughter. The authorities confiscated their passports, preventing her daughter from traveling back to the UK to be with her father. On 14 August, Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was tried, on secret charges, in a Tehran revolutionary court and, on 6 September, she was convicted and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. She was only able to meet her lawyer three days before the beginning of her trial. Her health has also seriously deteriorated since her arrest. “Sentencing individuals for charges that are kept secret from defendants and their defence lawyers is a mockery of justice,” Mr. Shaheed said. “It is also evidence of the Iranian judiciary’s complete disregard for the most basic fair trial and due process guarantees enshrined both in Iranian domestic laws and the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, to which Iran is a State... Continue reading →

News | Jordan freedom of expression: UN rights expert condemns killing of journalist Nahed Hattar

Sep 27 2016

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on  freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, today condemned the killing of Nahed Hattar, a prominent Jordanian journalist and writer who was well-known for his opposition to both the Government and to radical Islam. Mr. Hattar was shot dead on 25 September 2016 as he was about to enter the court in Amman where he was on trial for sharing on social media a caricature deemed blasphemous by the authorities. Mr. Hattar was arrested a number of times in the 1990s, and survived an assassination attempt in 1998. “The killing of Mr. Hattar is appalling, and it is unacceptable that no protection measures had been put in place to ensure his safety, particularly when the threats against him were well known to the authorities,” the expert said. “I am also concerned to hear reports that the authorities have banned the sharing of information about Mr. Hattar’s murder.” Nahed Hattar turned himself in to the police on 13 August 2016, a day after the authorities issued an arrest warrant against him. He was later charged with the crime of ‘insulting religion’ and ‘causing sectarian strife and racism’. In a recent communication to the Jordanian authorities, a group of UN human rights experts raised concern about Mr. Hattar’s arrest and the... Continue reading →

News | UN rights experts urge Bahrain to end the persecution of Shias

Aug 16 2016

GENEVA – The systematic harassment of the Shia population by the authorities in Bahrain, including stripping many of them of citizenship, is deeply concerning, a group of United Nations human rights independent experts, including Maina Kiai, said today. “The intensified wave of arrests, detentions, summons, interrogations and criminal charges brought against numerous Shia religious clerics and singers, human rights defenders and peaceful dissidents is having a chilling effect on fundamental human rights,” the human rights experts said. “Shias are clearly being targeted on the basis of their religion,” the experts highlighted. “Recently, we witnessed the dissolution of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the shutting of faith-based organizations, restrictions on the practice of religious rites, on Friday prayers and peaceful assemblies, restrictions on movement, restricted access to the Internet and a ban on Shia religious leaders from preaching.” A wide range of charges are brought against the Shias including ‘illegal gathering’, ‘inciting hatred against the regime’, ‘money laundering’ and ‘acts of terrorism’ in relation to their peaceful gatherings and religious congregations and peaceful expression of their beliefs, views and dissenting opinions, which the experts... Continue reading →

News | Israel: UN experts urge Knesset not to adopt pending legislation that could target critical NGOs

Jun 24 2016

GENEVA – Three United Nations human rights experts today urged Israeli lawmakers not to approve the so called ‘NGO transparency bill’ that would, in effect, target non-governmental organizations that are critical of government policy. The experts expressed grave concern that the legislation would chill the speech of human rights NGOs by subjecting them to harsh penalties for violations and delegitimizing them publicly. The stated aim of the legislation is to increase transparency by requiring NGOs that receive more than half of their funding from foreign government entities to disclose certain information, such as the names of their donors in all publications intended for or made available to the public, or in any written appeal to a public employee or public representative. “The promotion of transparency is indeed desirable and legitimate,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye. “However, the pending legislation has the evident intent of targeting human rights and civil rights organizations, which receive a majority of their funding from foreign government entities, while leaving unaffected other organizations that nonetheless receive a substantial amount of foreign funding from individuals.” The proposed legislation is again before the Knesset, after... Continue reading →

News | Bahrain: UN expert condemns the sentencing of opposition leader Sheikh Ali al-Salman

Jun 01 2016

GENEVA – The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, today condemned the sentencing to nine years imprisonment on charges of inciting violence of Sheikh Ali al-Salman, the leader of the Wefaq opposition party in Bahrain. The expert’s call comes after a Bahraini court of appeal on Monday more than doubled his prison term, up from an earlier four years. “The sentencing of Sheik Ali al-Salman seems to confirm a worrying trend of political repression further shrinking the space for any form of dissent in Bahrain today,” the human rights expert said. “The arbitrary sentencing of such a prominent political leader to nine years of detention inevitably has a strong chilling effect for the entire society.” “The fact that the sentence against Ali al-Salman was not only confirmed, but doubled following various statements indicating international concern on his trial, is deeply disappointing,” he said while recalling that last September the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had concluded that his detention was arbitrary. Mr. Kaye’s statement has also been endorsed by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai; the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or... Continue reading →