“A Joint Press Statement of 44 NGOs in 14 Arab Countries”
On 9 May 2006, the UN General Assembly will be holding the first elections for choosing 47 world states to the membership of the recently-established Human Rights Council. So far, around 65 states across the different world continents have announced their candidacy, eight of which are Arab within the Asian and African candidate lists.
Human rights organizations signatory to the statement consider proclamation of the new council a step forward after a long struggle for enhancing the UN role in protecting human rights. However, credibility and effectiveness of the United Nations warrant electing members enjoying a sense of accountability to the international human rights law, together with overruling the worst-performing states in terms of human rights, in application of the provisions contained in the General Assembly resolution on establishment of the council. The General Assembly resolution stressed that, during voting on membership, the candidate states’ close observance of the global human rights standards must be taken into account.
It is noteworthy that most of the Arab governments are classified among the least respecting to human rights worldwide. UN commissions along with the Arab and international rights organizations have been documenting various gross human rights and international human law violations being committed for years across and within most of the Arab states.
The signatories encourage the UN General Assembly members to vote against governments notorious for their systematic antagonism to human rights in the Arab region, of which Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria are examples– among the existing candidates. The signatories believe that voting for the said governments will impair performance and undermine credibility of the General Assembly, and impede the role it plays in improving human rights conditions not only in these states but also in the Arab region and the world at large. Despite reservations to the human rights record of Morocco and Lebanon, the signatory organizations find them best candidates in the Arab region across Asia and Africa, taking into account the positive democratic and human rights developments in both states over the last years.
The signatory groups:
1. Habi Center for Environmental Rights (Egypt).
2. Egyptian Association for Supporting Democratic Development.
3. Human Rights Association for the Assistance of Prisoners ( Egypt ).
4. Syrian Organization for Human Rights
5. Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti Violence Studies ( Egypt )
6. The Arab Organization for Penal Reform (Egypt).
7. The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
8. Hesham Mubarak Center for law (Egypt).
9. Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies
10. Egyptian women Issues ’ Center.
11. Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights.
12. Arab Network for Human Rights Information ( Egypt ).
13. Bahraini Youth Society for Human Rights
14. Arab Organization for Human Rights (Syria).
15. Gulf Center for Press Freedom (Oman).
16. The Arab program for Human Rights Activists (Egypt).
17. Saudi Center for Human Rights.
18. Egyptian Association Against Torture
19. Palestinian Center for Human Rights (Palestine).
20. Bahraini Center for Human Rights.
21. Palestinian Organization for Human Rights (Lebanon).
22. Association for Democracy Development (Egypt).
23. National Council for Liberties. (Tunisia)
24. The Libyan League for Human Rights
25. Social and Democratic Egyptian Center.
26. The Committee for the Respect of Freedoms and the Humans Right in Tunisia
27. Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections.
28. Center for Alternative Development Studies ( Egypt ).
29. The Yemeni Organization Human Rights (Yemen).
30. Al-Nadim Centre for Psychological Therapy and Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence (Egypt)
31. The Association for the Defense of Right and Liberties “ADDL” (Lebanon ).
32. The National Observatory for Press, Creativity and Publishing Freedom (Tunisia).
33. Sisters’ Arab forum for Human Rights (Yemen).
34. Al-Khawei Institute (Iraq).
35. Association for Jurists (Emirates)
36. Civil Society Forum (Yemen).
37. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
38. The Iraqi Association for Human Rights.
39. Sudanese Organization Against Torture ” SOAT”
40. Moroccan Organization for Human Rights.
41. Khartoum Center for Human rights and Environment Development.
42. Amel Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture.
43. Tunisian League for Human Rights.
44. Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.
* CIHRS organizes this evening a seminar titled “Is the Egyptian Government worthy of the UN Human Rights Council’s Membership?” For further information, visit: www.cihrs.org
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