Archives for posts with tag: OHCHR
From Diplomat Artist Buzz – Read MORE to find out which States voted against the Committee to Protect Journalists consultative status today.

Rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage combined with lack of security, rule of law, healthcare, food, and education create increased radicalization of both parties with women and girls most at risk.

Rape & Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones

At Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, this young woman from the Ogaden Community presents her impassioned plea for recognition. The UN urges reparations for victims, not just one-cash payments but land & inheritance rights.

UN rights office welcomes new US Supreme Court death penalty ruling

Stating that “intellectual disability is a condition, not a number,” the Supreme Court ruled in this case that it was unconstitutional to refuse to consider mental factors other than an IQ test.

Stepped Up Attacks in Central African Republic Prompt UN Call for more Peacekeepers

Amidst the violence, more than 650,000 people are still internally displaced, & over 290,000 have fled to neighbouring countries in search of refuge from the conflict, which has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones.

Ukraine: Top UN Offficials Urge Peaceful Resolution of Crisis After Deadly Clashes in Kiev

Among at least 22 people killed were journalists, police officers & protesters. The Ministry of Health reported 241 people had been taken to hospital.

Key UN Body Can Now Hear Complaint from Children Whose RIghts Have Been Violated

UNICEF noted Convention is particularly vital for children most vulnerable to human rights violations, especially those excluded & marginalized such as children with disabilities, and from indigenous or minority families.


Despite the fact that Ali Naderi was 17 at the time of his alleged crime and that Iran bans death sentences for those under 18 by party agreements, and strong protest from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Iran executed him on 16 January, 2013.  Last year, 400 people were executed in Iran, most on drug-related charges. Questions of trial fairness, possible use of torture to extract confessions, and international standards for “most serious crimes” have been voiced by human rights groups.


UN News Centre Source

“We are deeply dismayed to hear about the reported execution in Iran of a juvenile offender on Wednesday 16 January 2013,” a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Cécile Pouilly, told reporters in Geneva.

Mr. Naderi was executed for his alleged role in the murder of a woman when he was 17 years old, according to OHCHR. It was the first juvenile execution since September 2011.

“International human rights instruments – particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to both of which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a party, impose an absolute ban on the death sentence against persons below the age of 18 at the time when the offence was committed,” Ms. Pouilly said. “We urge the Government of Iran to end the execution of juvenile offenders once and for all.”

OHCHR is also concerned about five other individuals – Mohammad Ali Amouri, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka, Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka, Hashem Shabain Amouri and Hadi Rashidi – whose death sentences were recently upheld by the Supreme Court and appear to be at risk of imminent execution.

“There are serious concerns about the fairness of their trials and allegations that they were subjected to torture,” Ms. Pouilly said. “We urge the Government to restrict the use of the death penalty, to reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed and to respect international standards guaranteeing due process and the protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty.”

According to OHCHR, more than 400 people were executed in Iran last year, the majority of whom were charged with drug-related offences that do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” to which the death penalty may be applied under international human rights law.

The UN agency also condemned the rise in public executions in Iran, stating they add to the already cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of the death penalty and have a dehumanizing effect on the victim and those who witness the execution. In 2012, 55 public executions were carried out. Last Sunday, two individuals were hung in a park in Tehran, the capital.



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“The full realization of women’s rights is impaired by the structure of the country’s political institutions and the fact that no State level authority has the jurisdiction to ensure the adequate implementation of the international human rights obligations adopted by the State,” states the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo at end of an 8 day visit to Bosnia & Herzegovina. “A very relevant fear shared by interviewed survivors of war-time rape and torture is the fact that time continues to pass by with no justice being served. It is crucial to speed up efforts and achieve political solutions at State level.”

Dayton Accords Ending the War & Cementing the Consequences?

The Dayton Accords brokered by the “Contact Group” (US, Russia, UK, France, Germany, EU as well as UN) are credited with having finally brought the conflict to an end. However, they also now deter BiH’s advancement politically, economically and in terms of rule of law and reconciliation. While effectively freezing and frequently rewarding the consequences of ethnic cleansing, “truth and reconciliation” remains primarily a rhetorical objective.  In order to rationalize current injustices and past crimes, ethnically defined politics has multiple versions of BiH history being promulgated.   

Targeting of Women/Girls:

Women/girls were not collateral damage and incidental victims, but they frequently were the direct targets of mass rapes, enforced pregnancy, torture and killings as the perceived backbone of social structure, particularly among Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims). The victimization of Bosnian women/girls has unfortunately persisted, from efforts at denial of crimes committed against them to domestic violence. Ms. Manjoo insisted it was “crucial for government authorities at all levels to recognize the existence of civilian women victims of rape and torture, regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds, and to ensure that they have equal access to remedies and services, regardless of their physical location within the country.”

Initiatives toward Rule of Law, Reconciliation & Normalization:

According to OHCHR, the initiatives welcomed by Ms. Manjoo included bids to adopt a Transitional Justice Strategy that aims to ensure access to justice and reparation for all civilian victims of war, including survivors of sexual violence; a Law on the Rights of Victims of Torture and Civilian Victims of War that is hoped will give civilian victims of war access to equal social benefits; and the development of the Programme for Improvement of the Status of Survivors of Conflict related Sexual Violence.

“I encourage the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to speedily finalize the adoption of these legislative and programmatic initiatives, and call on the authorities of both the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska to actively participate in their implementation,” according to Ms. Manjoo. In the Special Rapporteur’s view, according to OHCHR, transitional justice actions should ensure the “public acknowledgment and memorialization of women victims, their access to compensation, including non-material damages, and their empowerment.” Ms. Manjoo emphasized this as  “particularly important considering the country’s overall economic situation and how unemployment and poverty impact all people, but women victims of violence in particular.”

Men/Boys as Victims of Sexual Violence in Conflict:

She also acknowledged the need to recognize the existence of male victims of war-time rape, OHCHR noted.“As the government strives to assess and address the impact that the war had on men and how to ensure they do not place women at a higher risk of domestic violence, it should also recognize the experiences that women themselves faced during the war, and their entitlement to justice, reparations, and information and assistance on the missing and the disappeared,” Ms. Manjoo said. (See full Press Release )

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

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Women & Children Greatest Victims in Mali but Who Will Save Them? By, Ambassador Mo

“Women are the primary victims of the current crisis and have been disproportionately affected by the situation in the north. Their human rights to employment, education and access to basic social services have been seriously curtailed,” according to Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonovic, concluding a 4 day visit.

“We Have to Act in Mali”
In the meantime at United Nations Headquarters in New York City, there has been a rising call for military intervention led by the French to confront the rebels in northern Mali largely characterized as “Islamist” and Al-Qaeda affiliated: “We have to act in Mali because Mali” asserts  Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to UN: “the Northern part of Mali, is becoming a hub for terrorist groups and it’s frightening not only Mali but the region, and beyond the region, the world. We have to act as quickly as possible. We know that we have to act in political and military terms, both of them have to go hand by hand, but we need a military intervention.”

Ideological or Exploitive?
“Civil and political rights are being severely restricted as a result of the imposition of a strict interpretation of Sharia law, and systemic cruel and inhuman[e] punishments are being implemented, including executions, mutilations and stonings,” according to Mr. Šimonovic, former Ambassador of Croatia to the UN and colleague.  “Most disturbing,” according to Ambassador Simonovic’s news release were indications that “Islamist groups” were compiling lists of women who have had children out of wedlock, or who were unmarried and pregnant. “This could indicate that these women are at imminent risk of being subjected to cruel and inhuman[e] punishment.”

Teachers Flee – No Schooling for Children:
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says children have been deprived of their rights to education in the north because many teachers had fled, leading to the closure of schools. More ominously, extreme poverty, lack of employment and education is “making it easy for young people to fall prey to armed extreme Islamist groups, who continue to lure youth and children to join their cause.”

Non-Islamist Mali also Continuing Corruption & Human Rights Abuses:
Unfortunately, in the southern part of Mali still under the control of a weak, military backed Government, Ambassador Šimonovic indicated continuing torture and inhumane prison conditions.  At least 30 participants of an April counter-coup remained in detention, and many had allegedly not had charges brought against them. Also, the whereabouts of 20 soldiers involved in the counter-coup had yet to be confirmed. “It is essential that the authorities investigate these cases of disappearances in accordance with international human rights standards. Current violations are to a great degree symptoms of the chronic disrespect for human rights that already existed in Mali in the past,” according to Mr. Šimonovic. “There is a need to address these root causes, including widespread corruption, mismanagement of public funds, inequality between the elite and general population, and nepotism, amongst others.”
Mr. Šimonovic emphasized the need for investigations into the recent human rights violations in both the north and the south, and said it was essential the perpetrators be held to account as a precondition for reconciliation and social cohesion. Ambassador Simonovic emphasized that any UN support to Malian security forces “must” conform to the UN’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, which prohibits the UN from supporting security forces involved in grave human rights violations.

Women Most Severely Affected:
Regarding female empowerment and advancing women’s human rights, Ambassador Simonovic offered that measures can be taken to promote participation in public life. Ambassador Šimonovic indicated that he was encouraged by the Prime Minister’s recognition that women have an important role to play in building peace and reconciliation as well as the economic prosperity of the country. “One concrete way would be to introduce a 30 per cent quota for women in Parliament ahead of the next legislative elections,” OHCHR according to Ambassador Simonovic was ready to support the Malian authorities in this regard, including through appointing a Human Rights Adviser to the UN Country Team in the capital, Bamako.

Who is Willing to Intervene in Mali Chaos & by What Mandate?

Back at UNHQ in New York, the debate regarding international intervention remains ambiguous. For most of the last year there has been discussion of the UN Security Council authorizing ECOWAS intervention. However, as French Ambassador Arnaud concedes, no further UNSC authority is not so much the matter as is defining who will enter this chaos: “I think it’s time to have a new resolution in a sort of two-stage approach. A new resolution which energizes, I should say, the African response on the basis of the two new facts, which is an official request by the Malian authorities to create an international force on one side and on the other side, of course, the high level event where we have heard several Heads of State and Government calling for a military intervention. We do hope that we will be able to authorize deployment of the force as soon as possible, but again it doesn’t depend on the Security Council because it will be a force that will be an African force. So, we are not going to, as I said, give a carte blanche. We need to have concrete elements and we have been waiting for these elements for a few months.”

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