Human Rights Defenders to focus on democratic reform and the security of people in the Euro-Mediterranean region

In Euro-Mediterranean Partnership by

Hundred human rights defenders from North and South of the Mediterranean gathered at the 7th General Assembly of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network in Madrid, 12-14 May 2006[1], and expressed their concern about the lack of progress of human rights in most parts of the region.
They were also concerned by the fact that the EU and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership prioritises security approaches in relation to the fight against terrorism and to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers at the expense of human rights.
The General Assembly adopted a strategy document identifying democratic reform and the security of individual human beings as future key intervention areas of the Network. It decided to address these issues through strategic interventions in the areas of freedom of association; the independence and impartiality of the judiciary; gender mainstreaming; human rights education and young people; human rights in the Middle East conflict; the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers; and economic and social rights.
It also decided to work to reinforce solidarity between the human rights defenders in the region and to strengthen the human rights instruments of the European Neighbourhood policy and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
The General Assembly elected an executive committee for the next two years period. As President:
Kamel Jendoubi (Committee for the Respect of Freedoms and Human Rights in Tunisia, Tunisia);
As ordinary members[2]:
Wadih-Ange Al-Asmar (Solida, Lebanon);
Nizam Al-Assaf (Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies, Jordan);
Nina Atallah (Al-Haqq, Palestine);
Iain Byrne (Human Rights Centre of Essex, United Kingdom);
Maria De Donato (Italian Refugee Council, Italy);
Moataz Al-Fegiery (Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt);
Birgit Lindsnaes (Danish Institute for Human Rights, Denmark);
Rabéa Naciri (Moroccan Women’s Democratic Association, Morocco);
Eva Norstroem, Swedish Refugee Aid, Sweden);
Colm Regan, (80:20:Educating and Acting for a Better World, Ireland)
Michel Tubiana (Human Rights League, France)
In follow-up to the General Assembly, the Council of Representatives of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Support of Human Rights Defenders held its first meeting. This independent and innovative Foundation (established on 9 December 2004 by the EMHRN) aims at granting strategic, small scale funding innovative human rights activities or activities falling outside the mandate of mainstream donors.

[1] The meeting of the General Assembly was organised in cooperation with EMHRN member Acsur and generously sponsored by the Spanish Department for Development Cooperation; the EU Commission and DANIDA.

[2] The Executive Committee will constitute itself at its first ordinary meeting, 4-6 August 2006.

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