Geneva - The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt an effective strategy for the protection of human rights defenders in the world, particularly in the Middle East, included in the list published by the UN Human Rights Office, which includes 29 counties that violate human rights defenders, 13 of them are in the Middle East and North Africa, including Iran, Turkey and Israel.
Euro-Med said that countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt were included in the list, while enjoying the membership of the Human Rights Council currently even when they're not committed to human rights. The Euro-Med considered it shameful for countries that violate human rights to arrest, hide and violate the rights of human rights defenders.
The Euro-Med noted that the measures to prosecute and restrict human rights defenders are aimed at covering up serious violations of international law and international humanitarian law committed by those countries. Euro-Med documented cases of activists cooperating with the United Nations or human rights organizations, who get being kidnapped, arrested, detained and cut off from any contact with the outside world, as well as cases of forced disappearance, threats and torture defamation, dismissal from work, obstruction of freedom of movement and revoking licenses of human rights organizations.
The measures to prosecute and restrict the freedom of human rights defenders are aimed at covering serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by those countries, noted the Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.
Such cases are not rare. Rather, there is hardly any law in all Middle Eastern countries for punishment of those who threaten, assault or attack human rights defenders, which requires serious international action.
A list was reviewed before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Human Rights, Andrew Gilmore, on Wednesday. It includes 29 countries threatening human rights activists who cooperate with the United Nations. The Human Rights Council includes 47 countries, nine of which are in the black list.
The list includes 13 countries from the Middle East and North Africa region: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, South Sudan and Sudan, as well as Turkey, Iran and Israel.
The cases cited in the report were far less compared to the documented ones, but some information have been kept secret for the sake of the safety of victims, said Gilmore. Some countries had justified their actions on the grounds that “the victims were either terrorists or informers for foreign entities and aim at the destruction of the country.”
In light of the results shown by the aforementioned list, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor calls on the Human Rights Council to take the matter seriously and adopt a stricter policy to protect human rights defenders, to hold national and international authorities responsible for the protection of human rights defenders, especially against the abuse of laws.
The Euro-Med Monitor further stressed the importance of enacting new laws to combat impunity of officials in charge, to monitor trials of activists, and to bring perpetrators to justice.