Tag - Middle East ( 44 )

News | Time for Oman to build on economic development and fully embrace human rights – UN Expert

Sep 15 2014

MUSCAT / GENEVA – “Just as Oman has successfully modernized and is a strong state, it can and should embrace further openness,” United Nations human rights expert Maina Kiai said at the end of his first official visit to the country. The Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association urged the Omani Government to embrace human rights with the same energy and focus they have devoted to economic development since opening up to the world 40 years ago. “This is the time for Oman to build on these achievements by adopting a human rights and people-centred approach that can lead to the full enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms, including rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association,” Mr. Kiai said. The expert noted a “consistent focus” on maintaining peace, order and stability in the country, which is often used for limiting assembly and association rights. This, in turn, creates “a pervasive culture of silence and fear affecting anyone who wants to speak and work for reforms in Oman,” he stressed, noting that some activists “reported reprisals, before and during my visit, following their attempts to contact or meet with me.” “Stability is certainly important,” the Special Rapporteur said, “but it is crucial to... Continue reading →

News | بيان المقرر الخاص للأمم المتحدة بشأن الحق في حرية التجمع السلمي وتكوين الجمعيات في ختام زيارته لسلطنة عمان

Sep 13 2014

(Click here for English) مسقط، 13 أيلول/سبتمبر 2014 أود أن أشكر حكومة سلطنة عمان على دعوتي لزيارة البلاد من أجل الاطلاع على وضع الحق في حرية التجمع السلمي وتكوين الجمعيات. أن سلطنة عمان هي أول دولة في الشرق الاوسط توجه الدعوة إلى ولايتي منذ إنشائها من قبل مجلس حقوق الإنسان في أكتوبر 2010. وتعتبر هذه الدعوة بمثابة شهادة للسلطنة تبين استعدادها لإجراء حوار صريح ومفتوح حول حالة حقوق الإنسان. كمقرر خاص، أنا خبير مستقل معين من قبل الأمم المتحدة بصفتي الشخصية وأعمل على أساس طوعي وفاءً لولايتي المكلف بها. وقد تطرقنا انا و فريقي الى طبيعة الشعب العماني من كرم الضيافة والترحيب التي احاطنا بها.. وأود أن أشكر حكومة سلطنة عمان على تعاونها قبل وخلال مهمتي. إنني في غاية الامتنان لجميع من حاورتهم. حيث كان لي محادثات بناءة مع ممثلي السلطة التنفيذية... Continue reading →

News | Statement by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association at the conclusion of his visit to the Sultanate of Oman

Sep 13 2014

(العربية) MUSCAT - I would like to thank the Government of the Sultanate of Oman for inviting me to visit the country in order to observe the situation of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. Oman is the first country in the Middle East to extend an invitation to my mandate since its establishment by the Human Rights Council in October 2010. I view this as testimony of its willingness to have a frank, constructive and open dialogue on the situation of human rights. As a Special Rapporteur, I am an independent expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in my personal capacity and I work on a voluntary basis in fulfilment of my mandate. My team and I have been deeply touched by the hospitality, generosity and welcoming nature of the Omani people. Let me also thank the Government for its cooperation before and during the conduct of this mission. I am most grateful to all my interlocutors. I have had constructive talks with members of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. I also met with representatives of the National Human Rights Commission and I had the opportunity to meet the Dhofar governorate representative during my two-day trip to Salalah. Unfortunately, I was not permitted to meet with the Mr Al-Mamari, a member of the Shura... Continue reading →

News | UN experts urge Bahrain to release human rights defender Maryam Al-Khawaja

Sep 05 2014

GENEVA – A group of United Nations independent human rights experts has urged the government of Bahrain to release prominent human rights defender Maryam Al-Khawaja, who has been detained since 30 August on charges of assaulting a police officer. Ms. Al-Khawaja is the co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights. She is also the daughter of the former president and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Abdulhadi Abdulla Hubail al-Khawaja, who has been in detention since 2011 and who has been the subject of numerous calls by UN experts. Ms. Al-Khawaja was detained at Bahrain International Airport while travelling to visit her father in prison. She is currently being held at Isa Town women's prison on charges of assaulting a police officer pending investigation by the Public Prosecution. Reports say her Danish passport has been confiscated and that she has been denied access to a lawyer. “The detention and decision to bring charges against Ms. Al-Khawaja is deeply concerning. In absence of credible evidence, the Government of Bahrain should take immediate steps to release her,” the experts said. “Detention of civil society members who seek to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights is unacceptable,” they noted. “Defenders play a key role in... Continue reading →

News | Maina Kiai to make official visit to Oman next week

Sep 04 2014

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai will visit Oman from 8 to 13 September 2014. He is an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and promote the realisation of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association worldwide. “I trust this visit will promote a fruitful dialogue on the issues falling under my mandate,” Mr. Kiai said. The Special Rapporteur, who will visit Oman at the invitation of the Government, will engage in discussions with a variety of stakeholders with a view to examining the situation of the rights to freedom of assembly and of association in the country. Mr. Kiai intends to travel to Muscat and Salalah, and plans to meet with State officials and members of the judicial and legislative bodies, the national human rights commission and civil society organizations. Mr. Kiai will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference on Saturday 13 September from 12pm at the Ibis Muscat Hotel (Al Azaiba Dohat Aladab Road, Muscat 130). The Special Rapporteur will present his report on this visit to the Human Rights Council during its 29th session in June 2015. For more information and media requests, please contact Ms. Karen Blanc (+41 79 444 4332, kblanc@ohchr.org) For more on Oman,... Continue reading →

News | Iran: UN rights experts condemn the recent wave of arrest and sentencing of civil society actors

Aug 08 2014

GENEVA – United Nations human rights experts, including Maina Kiai, today expressed grave concern over the recent escalating trend of arrest and sentencing of individuals exercising their rights to freedom of expression and opinion, peaceful assembly and association. Since 22 May 2014, at least 36 individuals that include journalists, bloggers, filmmakers and authors, many of whom are also human rights activists, have been arrested summoned or sentenced in connection with their journalistic activities or for simply expressing their opinion on social media websites. Some of them have also been charged for ‘gathering and colluding against national security’ following their participation in peaceful assemblies. “Convicting individuals for expressing their opinion is absolutely unacceptable,” the experts stressed. “Freedom of expression and opinion is necessary for the realization of all human rights, and it is a right reserved for all individuals, even if that individual expresses an opinion with which the Government disagrees.” A number of these cases include situations where persons are held in solitary confinement or unknown locations and for unknown charges. Many of the trials were allegedly riddled with procedural irregularities, including deprivation of legal representation and... Continue reading →

News | Bahrain: Joint Statement on OHCHR and the Human Rights Situation

Sep 09 2013

The human rights situation in Bahrain continues to be of serious concern. Demonstrators and members of civil society today face severe restrictions to their rights of free assembly and association. Violence against them remains a real threat. Human rights defenders - and indeed anyone who exercises their expressive rights - is at serious risk of  harassment or imprisonment. Impunity for those who have committed human rights violations remains all to common. During the 24th session of the Human Rights Council on September 9, 2013, a group of more than 45 countries issued a joint statement regarding this situation. The statement calls upon Bahrain authorities to address these human rights concerns, and to expedite the implementation of reforms. The group also called upon Bahrain to enhance its cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to allow for a fully comprehensive collaboration, including an OHCHR follow-up mission. Lastly, the statement urged the Government of Bahrain to cooperate with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, in particular the Special Rapporteur on torture, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, together with any other... Continue reading →

News | “Israel must stop harassment, intimidation and abusive treatment of rights defender Issa Amro”

Aug 13 2013

A group of United Nations independent human rights experts, including Maina Kiai, expressed deep concern at the alleged ongoing judicial harassment, intimidation and abusive treatment directed against Issa Amro, a prominent Palestinian human rights defender. Mr. Amro was arrested and detained 20 times in 2012, and six times so far in 2013, although he has never engaged in violence nor been charged with a crime. He is a founder of non-governmental organizations Youth Against Settlements and Hebron Defenders. “Mr. Amro appears to be the victim of a pattern of harassment that includes an effort to intimidate him prior to his participation at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2013 as NGO representative where he delivered two statements,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk. “Right before participating at this session of the Council, he received a summons to appear at Ofer Military Court on 30 December 2013,” Mr. Falk recalled. “At this point, there is no indication of any charges against Mr. Amro.” Over the past months, Mr. Amro has also received a number of death threats from settler organizations. “Among the most insidious features of the prolonged occupation of the West Bank has been the... Continue reading →

News | Iran: UN experts concerned at barring of women presidential candidates and freedom restrictions

May 29 2013

A group of United Nations independent human rights experts today warned that unreasonable limitations placed on the right of Iranian citizens to stand for Presidential office, discrimination against women candidates for elections and ongoing restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly, constitute a serious violations of rights guaranteed by international law. On 21 May, the Guardian Council, a 12-member body of theologians and jurists, which vets presidential candidates, approved only 8 individuals out of the 686 people registered as candidates for the June 14 presidential elections. Several key political figures and all the 30 female candidates were disqualified, raising serious concerns about the fairness and transparency of the vetting procedures. Several candidates were apparently excluded on the basis of their affiliation with the 2009 post-election protests and their exercise of fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association. “This mass disqualification including that of women wishing to stand in the presidential elections is discriminatory and violates fundamental right to political participation, and run contrary to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified,” said the... Continue reading →

News | Iran: UN experts call for release of key opposition leaders ahead of presidential elections

Feb 11 2013

On the second anniversary of the house arrest, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for the immediate release of two key opposition leaders in Iran, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi and their family members. The Special Rapporteurs also expressed concerns about the detention of two daughters of Mr Mossavi, Ms Zahra Mossavi and Ms Nargis Mossavi, who were reportedly detained today after speaking out against their parents’ house arrest. “I urge the Iranian government to immediately and unconditionally release the two opposition leaders and their family members, and to end all restrictions on their movement and legally protected activities,” said Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. Former presidential candidates Mehdi Karoubi and Mir Hossein Mossavi, along with his wife Zahra Rahnavard, have been kept largely “incommunicado” in their homes since February 2011. Two years ago, they were detained after staging a rally in solidarity with protesters in Egypt, for which they had sought permission from the authorities. “As a party to the International Covenant... Continue reading →