MENA: Human rights organisations call on UN to urgently address killings of pro-democracy protestors

[2 June 2011] - In a statement read by the UN representative of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) at the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, thirteen Arab human rights organizations  called on the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and  Arbitrary Executions to urgently address the killings of pro-democracy protestors across the Arab region, calling for “a report specifically dedicated to this purpose, which would provide the international community with a preliminary analysis of the international legal implications of any alleged extrajudicial killings in these particular situations.”

The statement was endorsed by the CIHRS , the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights, the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (Syria), the Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights (Yemen), the Hewar Foundation for Democratic Development (Yemen), the Yemeni Organization for Human and Democratic Rights,  the Social and Democratic Forum (Yemen), the Hood Organization for Human Rights (Yemen), the National Organization for Human Rights (Yemen), the Yemeni Center for Civil Rights, the Yemeni Center for Human Rights, the Yemeni Center for Human Rights Studies and the Yemeni Center for Journalists’ Training.

The statement denounced the current crackdown on protesters in al-Hureya square in Taiz, which has killed more than 50 protestors, as well as the ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Syria, which has led to the killing of between 1000 and 1200 protestors. The statement called on the Human Rights Council to recommend that the UN Security Council refer the situation in both Yemen and Syria to the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes  that maybe tantamount to crimes against humanity.

The 13 NGOs further denounced the unrelenting state sanctioned campaign of repression by Bahrain authorities against any and all citizens who participated in or supported protests and calls for democratic reform as well as the killing of 31 pro-democracy actors in Bahrain which has thus far been carried out with impunity.   The Statement highlighted the double standards of the Council when dealing with the situations in Bahrain and Yemen, ascompared to its timely reaction to the situations in Syrian and Libya.

Finally the statement called on various UN HRC experts to urgently request a joint visit to Egypt and Tunisia “in order to advice transitional authorities on the proper legal framework, international standards and good practices that must be used to ensure a fair and transparent transitional justice process; processes which  have thus far greatly deviated from international standards”.

Peaceful resistance has a history of turning violent if its goals are wholly ignored and its repression aided by the unwillingness of the international community to act.. The Human Rights Council has a pivotal role to play in ensuring this does not happen.  Its members must act now.

Media Contacts

In Cairo for more information and interviews in French, English and Arabic, please contact:   Ziad Abdel Tawab, Adviser to the International Advocacy Program, CIHRS, [email protected], Tel. +202-27963726 , +202-27951112, +202-27963757

In Geneva for more information and interviews in English and Arabic, please contact: Laila Matar, CIHRS UN Representative, [email protected] 


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