Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies organized, over the period from the 10th through the 14th of August 2003, the second training course on human rights for the friends of the committees for the defense of human rights and democratic freedoms in Syria. 20 participants from different specializations participated in the course.
The course included 11 lectures that dealt with the philosophical, moral and historical development of human rights, the contribution of the Arabs in the formulation of the major human rights treaties, the international convention for civil and political rights, the international convention for economic rights and the regional and international mechanisms for protecting human rights, the war on Iraq from the perspective of the international law and human rights, the future of political reform and the democratic transformation in Syria, the challenges facing human rights in the globalization era, in addition to an open dialogue on the horizons for change and democratic transformation in the Arab world. Moreover, the program of the course also included three parallel work groups on: human rights between universalism and specificity, human rights in Syria and the ways to consolidate them and the problematics of democratic transformation in the Arab world.
Cairo Institute also organized a second training course for the cadres of the committees over the period from the 14th through the 16th of August 2003. 25 human rights defenders in Syria participated in the course. The course aimed at providing the participants with the theoretical knowledge of human rights and the empirical skills for the processes of both defending and consolidating human rights. This course tackled the challenges and problematics of the Arab movement for human rights, political and constitutional reform in Syria, educating human rights, the skills of writing and presenting reports off the human rights concerned United Nations committees, the skills of administering, leading and strategically planning for the human rights organizations, networking among the organizations and the means to direct campaigns.
The committees for the defense of the Syrian human rights and democratic freedoms held their first general assembly in Cairo on the 19th and the 20th of October and it was attended by 33 committees embers from both inside and outside Syria. The general assembly denounced the threats and aggressive actions against the Syrian peoples and territories; yet, it emphasized, on the other side, the necessity of changing the ongoing pattern of the ongoing relationship between the authorities and the Syrian society and undertaking legal and constitutional reforms in accordance with the international human rights treaties and standards giving priority to limiting and putting an end to the state of emergency and marshal courts, releasing prisoners of conscience and political detainees, canceling all laws and regulations limiting the freedom of expression, opinion and publishing and enacting an up to date law allowing for forming parties and civil associations freely and securing the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
At the end of the general assembly, the committees declared their solidarity with the activists Dr. Kamal Al-Labawany and Khaled Al-Aly detained in Syria. Moreover, a new board of trustees was elected including 16 members ahead of them is Aktham Naissa, who was elected as a chair of the committees, and Dr. Kamal Al-Labawany, as some sort of expressing solidarity with him and as a message to the Syrian authorities.
Moreover, the committees gave their annual prize for the year 2003 the human rights advocate, Ragie Al-Soranie, the director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Ghaza. And within the framework of the strategy of the of the committees to consolidate the continued dialogue among the human rights organizations and the Arab region, the assembly decided to become partner to the Egyptian organization for Human rights.
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