CIHRS slams UN Rights Council for its silence on continued violations across the Arab world

In United Nations Human Rights Council by CIHRS

UN Human Rights Council: 19th Session
Oral Intervention:  Item 4-General Debate
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
14 March, 2012
Delivered by:  Ms. Laila Matar

Thank you Mr. Vice President,

One year after the Arab spring, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) expresses deep concern for the deteriorating human rights situation throughout the Arab world.  Grave violations have been fostered by impunity for such crimes on both a national and international level, and by the inconsistent approach by regional and international bodies – including this Council – to ensuring accountability for these violations.

In Yemen, where a new president has come to power through a process which cannot be viewed as democratic, former president Saleh and his aides continue to enjoy full legalized domestic immunity for all political crimes, which include the death of around 270 who died in protests and due to random shelling over the past year, in addition to the injury of more than 15,000, cases of enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, and torture in detention facilities.

InBahrain, despite the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, human rights violations against protesters continue unabated, with the number of deaths reaching 65. The government appears to lack any political will to halt these violations or inact the recommendations of the National Commission.  Yet this Council remains silent.

Similarly, inEgypt, impunity continues to be a defining characteristic of the so called transitional phase, with the past year under the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces marked by severe, and at times unprecedented, human rights violations resulting in the death of over 100 protesters and the injury of thousands of others.  A couple days ago the only soldier brought before a court on charges of carrying out forced virginity tests against female protestors was acquitted.  The brave woman who brought the charges against the security forces was left weeping in the street.  Still this Council remains silent.

At this very session, Libya appears to be returning to a Gaddafi-era approach towards its human rights obligations,  rejecting efforts to ensure that the current and past rights violations in Libya continue to be addressed by this Council.  Is the Libyan delegation here already forgetting the calls of the Libyan people for accountability, justice, and dignity?

In the OPTs systematic shelling and targeting of activists and civilians is re-occurring amidst the silence of this council. If the previous reports and resolutions taken by this council were duly and principally implemented, we would have saved dozens of innocent lives.

We say enough. Enough blood spilled in silence. While we welcome states addressing these situations in their individual statements, this Council has yet to live up to its collective responsibility.   This body must act to ensure respect for the rights of citizens inEgypt,Bahrain,Libya,Yemen,Sudanand elsewhere in the region where millions of citizens continue to struggle for democracy and dignity.


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