A disturbing deterioration on all fronts

In International Advocacy Program by

The Executive Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network is concerned at the noticeable deterioration of the human rights situation in the whole Euromed region. It denounces in particular the recent generalization of acts of repression against human rights defenders and demands that commitments to respect international human rights standards becomes again a priority for all…


The Executive Committee (EC) of the Euro Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) met in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 28 to 30 September 2007. Underlining the efforts of the Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs towards facilitating the granting of visas, the EC notes with regrets the over zealous behaviour displayed by the control authorities towards members coming from partner countries. This is in blatant contradiction with the Barcelona declaration which aims at making the Mediterranean basin ‘an area of dialogue, exchange and cooperation’.


The EC adopted an analytical note and recommendations which will serve EMHRN action in the fields of migration and asylum, in particular in preparing for the Euromed ministerial conference on this subject which will be held on 18 and 19 November 2007 in Portugal. The EC stresses the need to put the issue of the promotion and protection of the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers at the center of every discussion relating to cooperation in the field of migration and asylum.
The EC notes the worrying increase in terrorist acts in the Arab world and warns States against using the fight against this scourge as an instrument to justify grave and systematic human rights violations and intensify harassment and repression against human rights defenders in the region.

These defenders continue, sometimes at the expense of their lives, to denounce torture, impunity (Egypt, Tunisia,…) trials of opinion targeting journalists (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Syria…), violence by police forces in particular towards lawyers (Tunisia) and peaceful demonstrators (Morocco), intimidation of all kinds against upright and independent judges (Egypt, Tunisia), obstacles to freedom of movement for human rights defenders (Israel, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria…).


The EC denounces the police campaigns and administrative harassment to which human rights NGOs and human rights defenders are subjected. It stresses the need for governments in the Partnership to respect the freedom and independence of civil society actors and to guarantee security and physical integrity for them. The EC urges the Partnership institutions as well as all EU governments and institutions to make this issue a priority in all dialogues and negotiations with partner countries, in accordance with the EU guidelines on human rights defenders.

The EC renews its condemnation of the blockade imposed by Israeli authorities to Palestinian populations in Gaza and the West Bank. It expresses its strongest concerns at the decision by the Israeli authorities to consider the Gaza strip as hostile territory, which can only aggravate the already precarious fate of its residents. The EC calls upon the EU to take all possible steps towards lifting the blockade imposed on the Palestinian people. Finally, it recalls that there can only be political solutions to inter-Palestinian conflict with a strict respect for human rights by all parties.

The EC is very concerned at the surge in violence and interfaith conflicts in the region which could lead to the partition of countries like Iraq. It recalls that the whole region is bearing the consequences of the bloodshed devastating Iraq following the disastrous military intervention by the United States and their allies. It denounces the political assassinations in Lebanon whose perpetrators aim at fuelling religious divide and put the country in a durable state of insecurity through multiple external interventions. The EC calls upon the EU to oppose war rhetoric with the principles of international law, peaceful resolution of conflicts and the promotion of dialogue for peace.


The EC regrets that commitments, some of which have been repeated for over ten years, in particular in the field of political reform, no longer seem to be a priority or even a statement of intention for the Partnership, but have been replaced by a so-called realistic approach inspired by security and mercenary concerns. Such behaviour constitutes a dangerous incentive for totalitarian and liberticidal excesses in the region.
*The Euromediterranean Human Rights Network

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