The UN Resolution on Human Rights Defenders: A Call for Protection and Enforcement

The use and abuse of national law to impair, restrict and criminalise the work of human rights defenders is a contravention of international law and must be addressed, and greater international attention is urgently needed to ensure the protection of those who risk their lives in the exercise and promotion of human rights.

As Violence in Syria Reaches “Unthinkable Levels”, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry reports to the Human Rights Council

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic today reported to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the ongoing conflict. They noted with regret that “save for the efforts of humanitarian agencies operating inside Syria and along its borders, the international community has done little but bear witness to the plight of those caught in the maelstrom. Syrians feel abandoned and hopeless. The overwhelming imperative is for the parties, influential states and the international community to work to ensure the protection of civilians. In particular, as set out in Security Council resolution 2139, parties must lift the sieges and allow unimpeded and safe humanitarian access”.

“The concept of child-sensitive justice is at the centre of the protection of human rights for children”: The United Nations Human Rights Council on Children’s Access to Justice

Article 2 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides for the right to an effective remedy, and this guarantee implies that all children must be able to obtain fair and timely remedy for violations of their rights. In its General Comment No. 31 on the Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on State Parties to the Covenant, the Human Rights Committee also emphasised that such “remedies should be appropriately adapted so as to take account of the special vulnerability of certain categories of person, including in particular children”.

One soldier told a Muslim man as his village was being burned: “The only thing you can do is pray to save your lives”

On the 12th March 2014, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, submitted his report to the United National Human Rights Council. He concluded that “extrajudicial killing, rape and other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment in detention, denial of due process and fair trial rights, and the forcible transfer and severe deprivation of liberty of populations has taken place on a large scale and has been directed against the Rohingya Muslim population in Rakhine State.”

Local Media Commends Geneva Centre’s Human Rights Initiatives

Emirates News Agency commended the work of the Geneva Centre in “promoting values of mutual understanding to work against discrimination”, and expressed hope for the “effective democratic transition in Egypt”. Al Ittihad News also welcomed the Geneva Centre as a strong civil society voice advocating for human rights advancement on the ground.

“We should raise our ambitions beyond just preventing violations”: Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council

The Minister reaffirmed Bahrain’s commitment to cooperating with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and noted that a delegation from her Office is currently in Bahrain engaging in consultations to draw up a Programme of Technical Assistance and Capacity Building. H.E. Sheik Al Khalifa thanked the High Commissioner for this invaluable support, which will “help [Bahrain] to further incorporate international human rights standards into our national laws and policies” and “promote an enduring human rights culture”.

“We are working hard to increase the participation of women in moving towards democracy”: Libya’s Minister of Justice at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva

Mr. Elmarghani thanked Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commisioner for Human Rights, and all members of her office for their efforts to promote and protect human rights in Libya. He also thanked the delegation of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya and their efforts to establish the rule of law in the nation.

“We are not perfect, but we are making progress”: UAE Minister Pledges to Improve Human Rights

He highlighted the UAE’s efforts to increase protection of women and workers in the region, and noted that “we will soon be enacting a law to enhance protection for domestic workers [and] we acknowledge that more needs to be done. We consider this area to be an evolving challenge that I assure you, we will continue to address”.

“Grave and massive violations…should represent an urgent priority”: Saudi Chairman of Human Rights at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council

Dr. Al Aiban said that his government is “pressing ahead towards achieving its commitments in the field of human rights”, and reiterated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s support for “local, regional, and international UN organs and mechanisms…in particular the Human Rights Council.”