ODVV Statements at 23rd Session of the Human...
Item 3: Economic, Social and Cultural RightsEconomic Sanctions Violate the Right To Development
Following international campaigns, in particular by developing countries, in 1986 the "Declaration on the Right to Development" was ratified by the UN General Assembly. This declaration deems the right to development as an undeniable human right, according to which every individual and all people have a right to take part in economic, social and cultural development process, and enjoy its results, because the realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms is possible through it.
Another point regarding the said Declaration deems mankind as the focal point development, mankind that must enjoy the right to development. From the Declaration's view development is a process in which human rights are realised and the realisation of human rights is the aim of development, and equal opportunities for all humans to access the main development resources such as, education and training, hygiene services, food, housing, employment and fair distribution of income.
Even though development has been a challenge for mankind, and in most international declarations and resolutions it has been mentioned, but existing statistics across the world indicate that despite extensive international campaigns and improvements, still a vast number of the people of the world are deprived of the most basic needs in life, and international programmes, strategies and documents have not been able to bring any fundamental changes to their lives.
International sanctions against Iran over the recent months on the pretext of nuclear activities and with a concentration on the economic and financial aspects, have reached an unprecedented intensity, in a way that not only economic activities, but all social lives of the people have been affected.
From international law viewpoint, economic sanctions include: "coordinated sanctions that are imposed by competent entities on the basis of trade and or financial transactions legal regulations for the purpose of inflicting damage to the economic life inside a specific country." This definition is given regardless of its legality or illegality, morality or immorality sanctions that violate the fundamental economic and social rights of people (and in some instances even the right to life) are illegitimate. Even the authorities that are stated Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, do not give the Security Council the right to take these sort of measures. Individuals have fundamental human rights that states and international organizations have officially recognised and are committed to observe these rights. While some of these rights are suspended in particular situations such as emergency conditions, but some of the other rights from international aspects have been accepted as not suspendable, and must be respected in all conditions. The effects of economic sanctions can be seen in the individual human and natural rights that include the right to life, torture and inhuman treatment ban, the right to fulfill basic needs such as food, housing, clothing, hygiene, social services, and social security, the right to family life, right to employment, right to health, right to education, right to free participation in the cultural life of society, enjoyment of the arts, and participation in scientific advancements, right of access to information and the right of political self determination of government. Damaging the economy of a country from the outside and without the approval of the people of the country, also violates some collective rights such as the right to self determination, the right to freely enjoy economic, social and cultural development, Embargoing the export of goods can be a serious obstacle in the way of the promotion of human rights which deprives people from importing vital goods that they need. The majority of UN declarations and resolutions stress on the point that the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights is an inalienable part of human dignity. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (25 June 1993) reaffirms "the right to development, as established in the Declaration on the Right to Development, as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights." The Declaration also states that it is an "inalienable human right according to which each and every person has a right to economic, social, cultural and political development where all human rights and fundamental freedoms are fully realised, to participate and cooperate and enjoy these developments."
In the Commission on Human Rights' Human Rights and Unilateral Coercive Measures resolution clearly states that trade, blockade, prevention from transaction and blocking assets are deemed criminal from human rights aspects.
As a human rights NGO, the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence believes that for the purpose of the enjoyment of the right to development a study on the influence of sanctions on the violation of the human rights of the people of Iran, and the prevention of access to development and international information dissemination in this regard and the expansion of legal frameworks and improvement of existing international mechanisms for the elimination of problems as a result of, are all some of the necessary solutions that the Council must consider.
Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council's Attention
Today the world of Islam is faced with a huge volume of opposition against Islamic culture and beliefs, which has become known as Islamophobia.
Islamophobia in today's world is not necessarily is not a phenomenon associated to the subject of religion, but on the contrary it’s a purposeful attack against human rights and peace. Our evidence is the purposeful and organized incitements, destruction of religious sites, and killing of Muslims around the world through different means which is with the aim of forcing the reaction of Muslim extremists and therefore to conclude that it’s an apparent religious war. The recent tragedies in Myanmar, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Bahrain are some examples of the above which show the concepts of Islamophobia in its worst forms.
The long discrimination against the Rohingaya of almost a century, the terrible living conditions of this approximately one million ethnic minority and homeless people bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh, the participation or at least the turning of the blind eye of Myanmar security forces towards violence organized by local prejudiced Buddists, and the inaction and indifference of the Myanmar government for the determination of the situation of this minority group, and the Bangladeshi government's indifference are all things that have caused the concerns of human rights activists.
A series of bloody attacks last year that killed hundreds of people and forced 125,000 from their homes as crimes against humanity.
The New York-based group Human Rights Watch says ethnic Rakhine nationalists from a powerful political party in western Rakhine state, along with senior Buddhist monks, encouraged coordinated attacks on Muslim neighborhoods.
The rights group says that while state security forces sometimes intervened to protect fleeing Muslims, more often they either stood idly by or participated directly in atrocities.
Just as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar has pointed out, in the last two years we have witnessed a rise in violence between Muslim and Buddhist communities in the Mandalay central region of Myanmar, as a result of which 12,000 people have been made homeless and a number killed. Martial law was declared following this in four provincial towns of the region and emergency conditions declared. Reports have also been published on the spread of violence to Bagu and Yangon. In June and October last year, in view of government statistics violence in the province of Rakhin left 120,000 homeless and 200 dead.
Government departmental discrimination towards the Muslim minority, the hate speeches of Buddhist religious extremists, and the violent actions of the security forces have resulted in the strengthening of racist trends and specifically directed against the Muslims in this country and as a result grave violation of human rights.
Another instance of human rights violations is the plans to control the birth rate of Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar has been described as "chilling".
A government-appointed commission investigating sectarian violence in Myanmar has issued proposals to ease tensions in the region, including doubling the number of security forces and introducing family planning programs to stem population growth among mi
The commission report also recommends that Muslim Rohingya be segregated from Buddhists, but it acknowledges that is not a permanent solution to the problem.
There are reportedly 800,000 Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar but the government regards them as illegal immigrants.
The Organization for Defending Victims of Violence expresses its grave concern over the spreading of violence against the Muslims of Myanmar, and alls for international institutions - the Human Rights Council in particular - to take serious steps in this regard.
The ODVV deems the recent incidents in Myanmar as examples of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and calls upon the Human Rights Council to take effective measures through the holding of a special session. Special sessions can be held with the request of 16 members of the Council, and can be effective tools for increasing the international community's attention towards this killings, and also further activities of international organizations in this regard.
Alongside the terrible conditions of the Muslims of Myanmar, ethnic and in particular religious clashes in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Pakistan are also causes for concern of the ODVV. The turning of the territories of these countries into scenes of conflict between religious groups, particularly the unprecedented attacks of religious extremist elements in these countries to settle religious scores, are serious alarm bells for the peace and tranquility of these religions. The rise in anti-Shia sentiments phenomenon in Bahrain, Iraq and Pakistan alongside the growth of the presence and infiltration of Salafi rebels and Al-Qaeda terrorist elements in Syria, is the result of the miscalculations of the west in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Now a lot of Christian and Kurdish minorities are getting attacked and killed in Iraq and Syria by extremist elements. Even though these elements might in appearance be Muslims, but deep inside they do not pay attention to the most natural and basic teachings of Islam. The brutal killing of ordinary people, and also desecration of Shia holy sites are indicative of a huge crisis which if left unresolved, it will not take long for the violence to engulf the whole region. And this will not be safe for Mediterranean Europe and North Africa.
In accordance with its primary principles and objectives, the ODVV expresses its strong opposition to any forms of extremism, particularly religious and ethnic extremism. While stressing on the need for the sensitization of UN human rights institutions towards Shia-phobia, the ODVV calls upon the international community to intervene and prevent the growth of Salafi extremism in the region. We recommend the Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance to while concentrate and pay special attention to the subject, to prepare a report on the religious minorities conditions in Syria, Myanmar, Iraq, Bahrain and Pakistan; and to find the root causes of the existing violence, and to present member states solutions for putting an end to the pain and suffering of Muslim (Shia and Sunni) minorities in these countries.
Item 6: General Debate
Israel's Refusal to Cooperate with the UPR
Reiterating the importance and the practicality of the UPR mechanism, the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence believes that now is the right time to conduct pathology on this process.
As the most important monitoring tools of the Human Rights Council the said mechanism is with the aim of monitoring, promotion and protection of human rights in all countries and is based on dialogue and cooperation, and is committed on the basis of reliable and purposeful information and equal treatment of all countries. With the use of this mechanism and an organized plan the human rights commitments of 193 countries of the world (presently) are to be reviewed and assessed. The UPR mechanism process is in such way that countries under review get involved in an interactive and reciprocal dialogue with the international community in human rights debates.
Undoubtedly the strength of the UPR is in its universality, which is the foundation of this mechanism. For the purpose of the preservation of the gained successes, an equal treatment and approach with countries under review is very vital. 193 countries were reviewed in the first round. And the UPR mechanism cannot allow countries be absent from the second round, especially those that have to report on the implementation of the recommendations that they were given in the first round.
This is while Israel failed to show up in its UPR working group meeting which had been arranged for 29 January 2013. This is the first time that a country fails to attend its UPR without any reason, and this has caused concern for human rights activists, that it can bring about a dangerous custom for the UPR and respecting of human rights throughout the world.
The only country to-date to have postponed its first round of UPR was Haiti which following the 10 January 2010 earthquake held an emergency session and the Haitian representative asked for the country’s UPR to be postponed. In its decision, on 27 January 2010 the Council accepted the postponement due to the out of control particular situation of Haiti.
Now, without any given explanation and in a unilateral decision which has no legal basis, Israel has failed to cooperate with the UPR mechanism. Israel’s decision in May 2012 to suspend its cooperation with the UNHCHR, the HRC and relevant mechanisms, is a sign of bring to challenge the universality of the UPR.
As a human rights NGO that has an active presence in the Human Rights Council, the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence (ODVV) believes that Israel’s refusal to participate in the UPR process is a hefty blow to the universality and unselectiveness and answerability of states towards this mechanism. Unfortunately Israel is the founder of a process where if serious measures are not adopted, the UPR mechanism will very easily lose its credibility within a few years. The Council must set a mechanism where the price to pay for such measures will be so much that countries will refrain from doing such things.
Also this NGO wishes to draw the attention of the Council to the point that it must not be forgotten that disturbing the integrity of the UPR, will have negative effects on the opportunities brought about for civil societies for the purpose of effective intervention for the improvement of human rights in different parts of the world in coordinating UN bodies with relevant state under UPR.
While expressing its concern, the ODVV over the brought about situation, calls for an accurate definition of cooperation and lack of cooperation of states with the Human Rights Council and the UPR mechanism, and believes that according to existing evidence Israel’s relations with the Council is the lack of cooperation according to article 38 of the HRC5/1 resolution.
The Council must consider the point that to simply postpone the review of a state just because of its absence can make it much easier for other countries to not cooperate with the UPR. This is while the 29 January 2013 decision of the Council decided to postpone the second round of Israel’s UPR is not satisfactory and there is a fear that it will be the basis for future noncooperation. This NGO strongly stresses that while the Council must define examples of continued noncooperation, it must create a strong mechanism for the confrontation with “failure in continued cooperation” such as referral to other international credible bodies such as the UN General Assembly for violating nations.
Also just as in the previous Session, this organization recommends that a resolution that stresses on the necessity for positive full cooperation between states and the UPR mechanism be adopted.
The ODVV hopes that lessons learned from the first round of the UPR, alongside the will of states for further distancing form politicized procedures on human rights, the second round of the process become tools for the real improvement of human rights situations around the world.
As one of the biggest violators of human rights, Israel has a dark history of ignoring international law and treaties and even its own commitments to bilateral agreements with Palestinians. Israel's human rights violations have continuously been condemned by the international community, but continues to ignore these international condemnations and demands.
At the height of these criticisms, in 2012 we witnessed Israel completely halt its cooperation with the Human Rights Council in such a way that it even failed to show up in its working group in the second round of the UPR. This is the first time that a country fails to attend its UPR that it can bring about a dangerous custom for the UPR and respecting of human rights throughout the world. In reaction to this the Human Rights Council decided to make new plans for Israel in 2013 and called upon Israel to resume its cooperation with the UPR.
The Organization for Defending Victims of Violence stresses that Israel's disregarding approach towards international law and mechanisms alongside its own human rights violations, has brought about complex situation which require the serious efforts of international mechanism. Below some cases of human rights violations that have been committed in 2013 in the Territories Occupied since 1967 are listed as follows:
Demolition of homes
In 2012, the Israeli government retroactively authorized 10 outposts and took no action to prevent settlers establishing four others.
The Israeli authorities also continue to demolish Palestinian homes and structures in the West Bank. So far in 2013, more than 200 structures have been demolished, displacing almost 400 Palestinians from their homes and affecting more than 500 others.
“The Israeli government’s long-running policy of settling civilians in occupied territory violates international humanitarian law. Such a policy, under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, constitutes a war crime,” said Ann Harrison.
Violation of the right to life
Israel’s military response to protests in the West Bank is failing to respect the human rights of Palestinians, Amnesty International said as the number of Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli fire in the area since the beginning of 2013 reached eight.
The protests look set to continue following the deaths of two Palestinian teenagers who were killed by Israeli forces at a military post near the settlement of Enav in the northern West Bank on Wednesday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs documented more than 1,000 injuries of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces in the West Bank during January and February 2013.
“While we recognize that the Israeli army, as the occupying power, has a responsibility to maintain law and order, it is also obliged to protect Palestinian civilians and must adhere to international policing standards,” said Harrison.
“Israeli forces must respect Palestinians’ right to protest peacefully, including against Israeli policies and practices such as the building of settlements on occupied land, which is a serious violation of international law and amounts to a war crime when pursued as a consistent policy, as in Israel’s case.”
Violation of Children's Rights
A newly released report compiled by internationals working in the West Bank city of Hebron documents an alarming rate of abuse of the rights of children. Human rights workers in H2, the portion of the city under Israeli military control, have witnessed 47 detentions or arrests of children age fifteen and under by soldiers since the start of February. Other violations documented in the report include conducting war training when children are present, delaying children and teachers as they pass checkpoints to access schools, detaining children in adult facilities, questioning children without the presence of an adult, and blindfolding children in detention.
Access to Water
For many years, the Palestinian population of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, has suffered from a shortage of clean, safe water. However, despite alarming predictions of insufficient drinking water supplies by 2040, based on the expected population growth in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Jordan and Israel, water is not and has not been scarce in the region.
At present, the water sector in the OPT and Israel is characterised by highly asymmetrical overexploitation of damageable shared water resources, exhaustion of long-term storage, deterioration of water quality and increasing levels of demand driven by high population growth and accompanied by decreasing per capita supplies. However, the burden is disproportionately borne by the Palestinian population, who are impeded from exercising effective control over the development and management of the available water resources in the region.
Measures taken by the Israeli authorities, including the relentless expansion of settlements, continue to deprive Palestinians of vital water resources necessary for a dignified standard of living. Palestinian communities are left fragmented and confined to shrinking areas. These areas resemble a land-locked archipelago of territory in which essential human rights, and more specifically the right to water, are continuously denied.
Violation of Women's Rights
In a resolution issued on March 15, 2013, the UN policy-making body, condemned Tel Aviv’s regime for the degrading living conditions for Palestinian women.
"The Israeli occupation remains the major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society..." the eight clause resolution read.
The resolution was passed by 29 votes. It was rejected only by Israel and the United States. 10 other countries also abstained.
The UN commission also issued a declaration, urging an end to violence against women across the world.
"The commission urges states to strongly condemn all forms of violence against women and girls and to refrain from invoking any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination," said the declaration.
The declaration also called on the word’s countries to "devote particular attention to abolishing practices and legislation that discriminate against women and girls, or perpetuate and condone violence against them."
The 18-page declaration includes the viewpoints of Iran and other Muslim countries. Activists have described the document as a victory for women.
As we marked the Palestinian Prisoners' Day this year, many Palestinians continue to suffer in Israeli jails and their situation has only deteriorated over time. Israel’s persistent violation of prisoners’ rights, during the period April 2012 to April 2013, resulted in the deaths of 2 prisoners and the deportation of another to the Gaza Strip.
Israel continued with its policy of forcible transfers and deportation of prisoners, which was demonstrated through the case of Ayman al-Shawarna, a former prisoner from Dura, Hebron, in the West Bank. Ayman was released in March 2013 on the conditions that he would end his 261 days long hunger strike and be forcibly transferred to the Gaza Strip.
Moreover, in the past few months, the Israeli prison administration authorities manifested their policies of medical negligence and torture against Palestinian prisoners. On 2 April 2013, Maysara Abu Hamadiya, another Palestinian prisoner from Hebron, died in the Soroka hospital in Be’ersheba, Israel, because he was denied the necessary health care services despite having been diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. According to Abu Hamdiya’s lawyer, JawadPaulis, his hands and feet were bound even at the hospital and the Israeli guards refused to remove the restraints during the visit.
Few days before Abu Hamdiya’s death, on 23 February 2013, Arafat ShalishJaradat, 30, also from Hebron, passed away in Megiddo prison in Israel. The results of his autopsy conducted by Saber al-'Aloul, a Palestinian doctor, with the assistance of 2 Israeli doctors revealed that Jaradat had sustained many injuries shortly before his death. The autopsy report concluded that all the injuries resulted from torture practices.
The Israeli forces continued to restrict the Palestinian prisoners' right to family visits by obstructing of the visit programs and by imposing constrains on these programs. Further, during visits, the Israeli forces imposed measures including stringent searches of visitors.
They also hindered any physical contact between the prisoner and his family by placing glass boards between them. In particular, the families of prisoners from the Gaza Strip suffer from the Israel’s persistent denial of their right to visit their imprisoned family members.
These violations form part of a systematic policy adopted by Israeli forces against Palestinian prisoners. This policy includes subjecting the prisoners to cruel, inhumane and degrading conditions through practices of solitary confinement and deprivation of family visits. The Israeli authorities also prohibit Palestinian prisoners from receiving academic education, in accordance with a decision issued by the Israeli Prison Service on 20 July 2011.
The ODVV stresses that only a part of the existing facts and statistics regarding Israel's behaviour have been mentioned in this statement, the nature of which shows that Israel is one of the biggest violators of human rights.
The ODVV believes that more effective mechanisms must be created at the international level to prevent the violation of the rights of the Palestinians, and to force Israel to observe international commitments
 AI Index: PRE01/215/2013
 Ann Harrison, Amnesty |nternational’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Item 9. Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intoleranceIslamophobia
Regretfully nowadays, a new wave of anti-Muslim intolerance and antagonism, intensified by economic recession is sweeping US and Europe. Unfortunately, as we had mentioned before in our previous statements towards the Human Rights Council, in a blinkered world of “us and them” some extremists have found in US and Europe’s Muslim citizens the “others”.
While considering the importance of dialogue among civilizations and expansion of relations and cooperation between the Islamic World and other cultures and civilizations, ODVV reiterate its commitment to continue efforts in engaging with the other US and European counterparts in projecting the true tenets of Islam, and countering common challenges. However, we express profound regret and deep concern at the increasing acts of Islamophobia, growing trend of intolerance and hatred towards Muslims, and mounting number of acts of violence against Muslims in some Western societies.
We are of the view that the culture of peaceful coexistence and inter-communal and interreligious tolerance that the international community is trying to achieve, is under threat from marginal and extremist fanatics and from the pervasive xenophobic discourse of a minority of extremist politicians who, for the sake of domestic political gains, exploit the socio-economic difficulties faced by their societies to foment hatred against Islam and Muslims through negative stereotyping and defamation.
Some of the latest incidents of Islamophobic acts which have occurred recently in the West and have been recorded by OIC monitoring systems are as follows:
- One of the newest displays of intolerance against Muslims is the Legislation known as the “anti-sharia” law which has been passed its second-to-last committee in the U.S. Senate on a slim 5-4 margin on April the 8th. If it became law, courts would be restricted from applying foreign laws to certain legal disputes, including divorces, alimony, the division of marital assets, child support and child custody cases.
Last year, the bill passed the House but died in the Senate. Opponents had criticized the proposal as part of a national movement to limit the use of Sharia law that was based more on fear than real problems in the U.S. court system. Jewish organizations and civil rights groups had also criticized SB 58.
- Anti-Islam advocate Terry Jones was upping the ante on his attacks on the Muslim faith. Rather than burning a Koran to mark the 12th anniversary of 9/11, Jones had another plan: He explains to "The Blaze" the plan to torch 2,998 copies of the holy book. According to a press release put out by the pastor’s organization, Stand Up America!, on 11 September 2013, Jones and his followers would “send Islam a very clear warning,” by holding an “International Burning of 2,998 Korans.” And he would gather the books from around the world.This number was not chosen without reason, as it was the figure Jones gave for the Americans who were killed during the nation’s most horrific terror attack.
- A mosque that had seen repeated attacks in the past was the scene of another arson attack on April the 6th. A police spokesman on the following day said that it was almost certain that the fire the morning before in a mosque in Enkhuizen was lit. How the arson was carried out, the police did not disclose. It was not yet clear in which way the perpetrators must be sought. The fire started around 05:30 in the former school building at Tureluurshof. The fire was quickly spotted and extinguished.
According to police spokesman, the prayer house incurred much smoke and soot damage.In 2011 the mosque was also the target of arson. Then burning material was thrown over the fence. The mosque was at the Tureluurshof of the Islamic Foundation Netherlands. The mosque administration had plans in 2012 to move to a larger vacant school in Enkhuizen to Reigerweg. This building, however, was in July 2012 destroyed by a fire that presumably was lit. The arson attack created quite a bit of enthusiasm and cheer in right-wing Dutch Nationalist quarters.
- The building site of a future mosque in the city of Coulommiers, east of Paris, has been defaced with racist graffiti – including Nazi swastikas - over the weekend of 13-14 April.
- Campaigning to preserve the German identity against Islam, a right-wing group started using social websites to spread anti-Muslim sentiments among the youth in the European country. Alexander Hausler, an expert on right-wing extremism at University of Applied Sciences in Dusseldorf, told Deutsche Welle: “They are clearly racist…They are making a major affront on Germany's multicultural society, composed of immigrants. They mostly criticize the alleged Islamization of Germany.”The group’s logo shows the Greek letter lambda on a yellow background, like one from the 300 Spartan soldiers. Right-wing movement die Identitare Bewegung (The Identity Movement) had been using social websites to spread anti-Islam sentiments among young Germans. Putting German identity as its fixed point, the
Right-wing group focused on spreading its message mostly on the internet via Facebook and YouTube.
We strongly believe that defamation of Islam geared towards denigrating and dehumanizing Muslims, their beliefs and sacred personalities, insults the deep-seated religious feelings, undermines their dignity and violates their fundamental human rights thus threatening the multicultural fabric of the societies. ODVV reject all acts and attempts of distortion to associate Islam with terrorism. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. Islam is a religion that implies peace by its very nomenclature. Such stereotyping leads to discrimination and poses grave and multidimensional challenges to global as well as regional peace, security and stability.
ODVV, alongside with all Muslims, calls upon the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to set up an observatory at her office aimed at monitoring and documenting acts that led to incitement to religious hatred, hostility and violence.
. parts of the Declaration by the Annual Coordination Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of OIC Member States on Countering Islamophobia UN Head Quarters, New York - 24 September 2010