ODVV Statements at 20th Session of the Human Rights Council

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ODVV Statements at 20th Session of the Human Rights Council

Item 3: Right to development
Following international actions especially conducted by developing countries, in 1986 the Declaration of 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 of “The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.”
Another point that the Declaration states is, “The human person is the central subject of development.” The Declaration’s view is that development is a process through which human rights are realized, and the realization of human rights is the aim of development, and recommends equal opportunities for all human beings to have access to development resources that include: education, health services, food, housing, employment and the suitable distribution of income.
Even though for years now development has been a challenge to mankind, and many international declarations and statements make a reference to it, existing global statistics however indicate that despite extensive international action and improvements, still a major part of the population of the world are deprived of the most basic living opportunities, and international programmes, strategies and documents have not been able to change their living conditions.
International sanctions imposed against Iran over the last few months on the pretext of nuclear activities and with a concentration on economic and financial aspects, have escalated to unprecedented levels, to such an extent that not only economic activities, but all areas of the social living of people have notably been affected.
From international law’s perspective economic sanctions are: “coordinated sanctions imposed by competent authorities on the basis of legal guidelines on trade and or finance for the purpose of hurting the economic life inside a country.” This definition is proposed regardless of being legal or illegal, moral or immoral, Sanctions that violate the fundamental economic and social lives of people (and in some cases even the right to life) are unlawful.
Even the authorities that are based on Article 7 of the UN Charter, it does not give the Security Council to take this type of action. People have fundamental human rights, which states and international organizations recognize and are committed to observe them While some of these rights in particular conditions such as emergencies are justifiable, but some other of these rights, from world’s point of view cannot be violated and unjustifiable, and they must be respected in all conditions. The effects of economic sanctions can be reviewed from the individual human rights aspects that include the right to life, torture and inhuman behavour ban, the right to fulfillment of basic needs, such as food, clothes, housing, hygiene, needed 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 advances, right of access to information, right to free participation in political determination of government.
The hurting of the economy of a country from outside without the approval of the people, also violate some group or collective rights such as right to self determination, the right to free utilization of economic, social and cultural development and the collective right to development. The banning of goods exports can be a serious obstacle in the way of the enjoyment of human rights, which deprives the people from means of importing goods that they need. Many of the UN declarations and resolutions stress on the point that the realization of the economic, social and cultural rights is an inalienable part of human dignity. In the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (25 June 1993) states: “is a universal and inalienable right and inseparable from fundamental human rights.” The Declaration also deems the right to development as “an inalienable human rights as a result of which each and every individual have a right to economic, social, cultural and political development in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms are fully realized, participate and cooperate and enjoy them.” The Commission on Human Rights also under the title of “Human Rights and Unilateral Coercive Measures” clearly lists trade embargos, blockade, prohibition of trade, the blocking of assets as measures that are imposing which are crimes according to human rights and the example of which can clearly be seen in the international sanctions imposed against Iran; sanctions that despite the claims, have direct effects on the people’s finances. Ultimately the thing that can be defined as the linking line or the relation between human rights and development is that on one hand fundamental human principles such as non-discrimination, equality, fairness, social justice, self sufficiency and solidarity make the basics of development and on the other hand development related view, human rights concepts and literature are expanded and more clarified.
The recognition of the fair enjoyment of any human being of moral and material facilities which the international community has at its disposal include food, education and hygiene, housing, arts, communication, freedom, security and all necessities and precursors that result in the continuation of the survival of humanity and his moral and material development.
As a nongovernmental organization active in the field of human rights, the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence believes that in order to enjoy the right to development, believes that it is necessary for a study to be conducted on the effects of sanctions on the violation of the human rights of the people of Iran and prevention of development and international information dissemination on this matter and the expansion of legal frameworks and improvement of existing universal mechanisms to eliminate problems caused by these sanctions, and find solutions which must be placed in the focal point of Human Rights Council programmes.
Stressing on the right to development being an inalienable right to the right to life, and the right to coexistence, and that these two rights are necessary for each other, the ODVV believes that the right to development just as human rights if proposed properly and restraint from its economic and cultural domination use, can find many supporters on the global level, and the role of the Council in this regard is undeniable.
The ODVV also believes that the ratification of UN declarations and resolutions that are centred onn the right to development is a rightful expectation from the United Nations, because there is a problem with the daily deepening of the gap between developed and developing countries in the global peace process.

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Item 4: Human rights situation in Bahrain
Bahrain is one of the Persian Gulf southern states, an island with a population of seven hundred thousand, approximately 70% of which are of the Shia faith. The country is ruled by the Sunni minority (Al Khalifa). Unfortunately in spite of years of peaceful coexistence of these two groups, due to anti-Shia policies and increasing daily pressures in squeezing the breathing space of the Shia, in the last two years a wave of tension has engulfed the country. Instead of a logical approach towards the demands of the majority, the government threatens, detains, mistreats, puts pressure on the people and even resorts to killing them.
In fact it can be said that the people’s protests in Bahrain were the first and have been the longest in the Arab Spring wave, and even though the revolutionaries in Tunisia and or Egypt are taking democratic steps towards reaching their objectives and demands, in the beginning the people of Bahrain only wanted an improvement of the political and social lives, right now due to the violent approach of the government towards their initial and rightful demands, and also interference of other countries military forces, the people are faced with grave violation of their fundamental political, social, and economic rights.
It must be reminded that in 2011 in response to the objections of international organizations and NGOs monitoring the human rights situation of the country, the Bahraini government announced the setting up of an independent fact-finding commission to review the problem from various angles and find solutions to offenses and punish the perpetrators and also reviews the violated rights of the people.. although the commission was set up and some of its findings in its report was met by the protestors objection, nevertheless the findings of the report indicate the extensive violation of Bahraini security forces and police, all of which were unfortunately ignored. For example:
- According to part of the report entitled “death due to protests”, the independent commission reported the death of 35 people during the 14 February to 15 April 2011 period, the majority of which were due to the excessive violence of the security forces, where in some instances the excessive use of tear gas which resulted in the death of several children.
- In another part of the report entitled “Acts of torture by the security forces” it was revealed that five of the detained protestors had died as a result of being tortured by the security forces. On this basis many of the detained protestors have been subjected to physical and psychological abuse. In its report the commission stresses on the point that the extent and nature of physical and psychological mistreatment shows the intentionality of these processes where in some instances they were done to get confessions out of the detainees, and in other instances to punish individuals. In the report there are 559 torture complaints by individuals during their detention. All apart from 9 of these individuals are Shia.
- As it can be seen in the reports of several NGOs, the volume of mistreatment and inhuman treatment by the Bahraini military in 2011 and the first five months of 2012 has been on the increase and nonstop. Some of these mistreatments which the commission published in its report in 2011 include: blindfolding, handcuffing, making individuals stand for long periods of time, beating up, punching, hitting the detainees with hose pipe, cable, whip, and metal bars or metal and wooden objects, electric shock, sleep depravation, being placed in cold or hot places, insults, threaten with rape and defamation of religion (Shia). The commission has stressed that the weakness in answerability mechanisms of the security forces, has resulted in a form of a culture of impunity from punishment, which has provided the possibility for the extensive use of torture and mistreatment.
- According to the independent commission’s report the Bahraini security forces in responding to the people’s protests have violated two fundamental and general principles for the assessment of the use of force, meaning urgency and proportion. Both the types of weapons for response to the protestors, and also their use of hem in the protests have been the violations of the aforementioned, and in many instances the security forces did not observe the law in targeting individuals. Unfortunately despite the publication of the findings of the commission in 2011, nonetheless the testimonies of several human rights activists, international NGOs in particular, the behaviour and treatment of the security forces in Bahrain towards the protestors who still haven’t accessed their most basic rights, has not changed and presently with the use of inhuman and violent methods the security forces confront any form of objections or protests and or the assembly of citizens for the realization of their rights.
According to the commission report and the confirmation of human rights organizations in Bahrain, during the unrests the security forces systematically attached the homes of citizens, arrested the protesters and scared the households. The arrests mostly took place in the middle of the night by masked individuals, which after breaking the doors down of homes and forceful entry, in some instances they frisked individuals. These actions which often were with insult to religious beliefs and verbal humiliation of the individuals, took place in front of women and children of the families, and in most cases the women of the families were forced to stand in front of the authorities in their bed garments. The detainees were sent to detention centres blindfolded. According to international activist researchers the pattern of these arrests had a footprint in three state institutions of the Ministry of Defense, Security Organization and defense forces of Bahrain. The total number of detainees during the publication of the report was 2929, 2178 of which had not been charged with anything. Unfortunately the Bahrain government has not provided satisfactory answers to the huge volume of human rights violations.
Sadly no meaningful changes have taken place to all the abovementioned situation, and the grave and extensive violation of the rights of protesters and organizers and peaceful associations continues unabated. The arrests of two renowned Bahraini human rights activists Nabeel Rajab and Abdolhadi Al-Khavajeh is a demonstration of the continuation of this unpleasant situation. Rajab is a well-known Bahraini human rights activist who was arrested by the authorities in early May and is the director of the Bahrain Human Rights Centre NGO. It must be said that he was recently released from custody. He has always peacefully called for attention and investigation of human rights violation cases committed by the security forces such as the crackdowns and extensive arrests of protesters.
The arrest of Abdolhadi Al-Khavajeh and his bad treatment in jail, has even made four UN special rapporteurs (human rights defendes, freedom of expression, independence of judges and lawyers, and torture) jointly signed a demand for Bahrain to immediately release him, and ensure his physical and mental health in accordance with international prisoners’ treatment standards.
What is clear is that right now the protesters and Shia groups in Bahrain demand fundamental reforms in all fields in the country, and an end to the crackdowns. Strong discrimination against the Shia from Bahraini officials, lack of Shia’s access to equal political, social, and economic rights, putting restrictions in place to the rights of the Shia from holding religious rituals are all instances where the people of Bahrain want to see removed.
As a nongovernmental organization active in political, civil, social, economic and cultural rights, we call upon the Bahraini government to respect all its international commitments, and also pay special attention to the recommendations given in the second UPR on the country which was focused on the government’s treatment of Bahraini protesters, to make a real and honest effort to improve the conditions of a minority which make up the majority of the country, and take steps towards real justice in the country.
We also call upon Human Rights Council members to pay more attention to the human rights situation of Bahrain, and to give the country a deadline to apply meaningful reforms and in the end just like what’s happened to-date, no positive action is not seen from the government, the Council must consider the possibility of holding special sessions on the human rights situation of Bahrain, and to appoint a special rapporteur if necessary. Perhaps this way the Bahraini government might pay further attention to its international and humanity commitments.
................................................................................................................................................................
Item 4: Human rights situation in Bahrain
Bahrain is one of the Persian Gulf southern states, an island with a population of seven hundred thousand, approximately 70% of which are of the Shia faith. The country is ruled by the Sunni minority (Al Khalifa). Unfortunately in spite of years of peaceful coexistence of these two groups, due to anti-Shia policies and increasing daily pressures in squeezing the breathing space of the Shia, in the last two years a wave of tension has engulfed the country. Instead of a logical approach towards the demands of the majority, the government threatens, detains, mistreats, puts pressure on the people and even resorts to killing them.
In fact it can be said that the people’s protests in Bahrain were the first and have been the longest in the Arab Spring wave, and even though the revolutionaries in Tunisia and or Egypt are taking democratic steps towards reaching their objectives and demands, in the beginning the people of Bahrain only wanted an improvement of the political and social lives, right now due to the violent approach of the government towards their initial and rightful demands, and also interference of other countries military forces, the people are faced with grave violation of their fundamental political, social, and economic rights.
It must be reminded that in 2011 in response to the objections of international organizations and NGOs monitoring the human rights situation of the country, the Bahraini government announced the setting up of an independent fact-finding commission to review the problem from various angles and find solutions to offenses and punish the perpetrators and also reviews the violated rights of the people.. although the commission was set up and some of its findings in its report was met by the protestors objection, nevertheless the findings of the report indicate the extensive violation of Bahraini security forces and police, all of which were unfortunately ignored. For example:
- According to part of the report entitled “death due to protests”, the independent commission reported the death of 35 people during the 14 February to 15 April 2011 period, the majority of which were due to the excessive violence of the security forces, where in some instances the excessive use of tear gas which resulted in the death of several children.
- In another part of the report entitled “Acts of torture by the security forces” it was revealed that five of the detained protestors had died as a result of being tortured by the security forces. On this basis many of the detained protestors have been subjected to physical and psychological abuse. In its report the commission stresses on the point that the extent and nature of physical and psychological mistreatment shows the intentionality of these processes where in some instances they were done to get confessions out of the detainees, and in other instances to punish individuals. In the report there are 559 torture complaints by individuals during their detention. All apart from 9 of these individuals are Shia.
- As it can be seen in the reports of several NGOs, the volume of mistreatment and inhuman treatment by the Bahraini military in 2011 and the first five months of 2012 has been on the increase and nonstop. Some of these mistreatments which the commission published in its report in 2011 include: blindfolding, handcuffing, making individuals stand for long periods of time, beating up, punching, hitting the detainees with hose pipe, cable, whip, and metal bars or metal and wooden objects, electric shock, sleep depravation, being placed in cold or hot places, insults, threaten with rape and defamation of religion (Shia). The commission has stressed that the weakness in answerability mechanisms of the security forces, has resulted in a form of a culture of impunity from punishment, which has provided the possibility for the extensive use of torture and mistreatment.
- According to the independent commission’s report the Bahraini security forces in responding to the people’s protests have violated two fundamental and general principles for the assessment of the use of force, meaning urgency and proportion. Both the types of weapons for response to the protestors, and also their use of hem in the protests have been the violations of the aforementioned, and in many instances the security forces did not observe the law in targeting individuals. Unfortunately despite the publication of the findings of the commission in 2011, nonetheless the testimonies of several human rights activists, international NGOs in particular, the behaviour and treatment of the security forces in Bahrain towards the protestors who still haven’t accessed their most basic rights, has not changed and presently with the use of inhuman and violent methods the security forces confront any form of objections or protests and or the assembly of citizens for the realization of their rights.
According to the commission report and the confirmation of human rights organizations in Bahrain, during the unrests the security forces systematically attached the homes of citizens, arrested the protesters and scared the households. The arrests mostly took place in the middle of the night by masked individuals, which after breaking the doors down of homes and forceful entry, in some instances they frisked individuals. These actions which often were with insult to religious beliefs and verbal humiliation of the individuals, took place in front of women and children of the families, and in most cases the women of the families were forced to stand in front of the authorities in their bed garments. The detainees were sent to detention centres blindfolded. According to international activist researchers the pattern of these arrests had a footprint in three state institutions of the Ministry of Defense, Security Organization and defense forces of Bahrain. The total number of detainees during the publication of the report was 2929, 2178 of which had not been charged with anything. Unfortunately the Bahrain government has not provided satisfactory answers to the huge volume of human rights violations.
Sadly no meaningful changes have taken place to all the abovementioned situation, and the grave and extensive violation of the rights of protesters and organizers and peaceful associations continues unabated. The arrests of two renowned Bahraini human rights activists Nabeel Rajab and Abdolhadi Al-Khavajeh is a demonstration of the continuation of this unpleasant situation. Rajab is a well-known Bahraini human rights activist who was arrested by the authorities in early May and is the director of the Bahrain Human Rights Centre NGO. It must be said that he was recently released from custody. He has always peacefully called for attention and investigation of human rights violation cases committed by the security forces such as the crackdowns and extensive arrests of protesters.
The arrest of Abdolhadi Al-Khavajeh and his bad treatment in jail, has even made four UN special rapporteurs (human rights defendes, freedom of expression, independence of judges and lawyers, and torture) jointly signed a demand for Bahrain to immediately release him, and ensure his physical and mental health in accordance with international prisoners’ treatment standards.
What is clear is that right now the protesters and Shia groups in Bahrain demand fundamental reforms in all fields in the country, and an end to the crackdowns. Strong discrimination against the Shia from Bahraini officials, lack of Shia’s access to equal political, social, and economic rights, putting restrictions in place to the rights of the Shia from holding religious rituals are all instances where the people of Bahrain want to see removed.
As a nongovernmental organization active in political, civil, social, economic and cultural rights, we call upon the Bahraini government to respect all its international commitments, and also pay special attention to the recommendations given in the second UPR on the country which was focused on the government’s treatment of Bahraini protesters, to make a real and honest effort to improve the conditions of a minority which make up the majority of the country, and take steps towards real justice in the country.
We also call upon Human Rights Council members to pay more attention to the human rights situation of Bahrain, and to give the country a deadline to apply meaningful reforms and in the end just like what’s happened to-date, no positive action is not seen from the government, the Council must consider the possibility of holding special sessions on the human rights situation of Bahrain, and to appoint a special rapporteur if necessary. Perhaps this way the Bahraini government might pay further attention to its international and humanity commitments.
................................................................................................................................................................
Item 7: Human rights situation in the West Bank
In spite of the West Bank being an inseparable part of the Palestinian Occupied Territories is host to 61.8 percent of the Palestinian population of these territories, and more than 76 percent of the domestic gross production of the Occupied Territories of ’67 is in the region. But sadly due to geographic characteristics, natural resources and political situation we are witness to the most violations of the human and material rights of the people of the region; to an extent where due to the Israeli policies to create new realities in contrast to international law principles and even agreements signed between Israel and Palestinians, Israel is trying to grab as much land as it can (territories occupied since 1967) on the basis of security and expansionism.
The violation of the fundamental rights of the people of the West Bank has become an ordinary every day occurrence and hardly a day goes by that there is no news reported by the mass media of something happening there. But sadly the responsible international bodies do not show any reaction towards the injustices and the adopted unbalanced treatment of Palestinian citizens.
Right now Palestinians in the West Bank are struggling with several problems which include:

Continuation of the construction of the racist security barrier: the construction process of the barrier which is on the claims of security started in 2002 in the West Bank. Despite the Consultation Vote of the Hague Court which necessitates the removal of the barrier, its construction continued unabated to an extent where East Jerusalem is about to get annexed from theWest Bank. 85 percent of the barrier goes through the West Bank, and not the green line, therefore it will have destructive effects in the various aspects of the living of the civilian population. The extensive confiscation of land, denies farmers access to their lands, and the damage to agriculture is part of the problems. By annexing 12 percent of the West Bank, the security barrier has confiscated the most water resources and has destroyed the geographic unity of the region, which are huge obstacles in the way of the formation of an independent state.
Settlements construction: Unfortunately despite the contents of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and also the Fourth Hague Convention (1907), which prohibits any changes applied to occupied territories, we are witness to the speedy construction in the West Bank, Jerusalem in particular. According to law organizations, in 2011 the construction work was 19 percent more than the previous year and Jerusalem was scene to the biggest construction in the past decade. Furthermore the construction of roads and the winding links that have been erected solely for the settlers, must be said that further land is taken from Palestinians.
Demolition of Palestinian homes: Towards the illegal according to international law constructions, according to a UN report, the demolition operations of Palestinian homes and property in 2011 has increased by 80 percent compared to the previous year, and 90 percent of the demolitions have taken place in Area C which is approximately 60 percent of the West Bank, and 2012 is seen as a catastrophic year due to the huge volume of evictions and demolitions. The inhuman measures and actions of the Israelis in Area C has reached a point where 27 EU foreign ministers strongly and criticized the demolition of approximately 60 European financial projects and refrained from authorizing another 110 future European projects and expressed concern, and asked Israel to remove the restrictions enforced on the Palestinians. Because the Palestinians living in this area are continuously expecting to see their homes demolished and they are denied from construction. The opening of 13 thousand case files against Palestinians in Area C on the charges of construction work without getting a permit and against the law by the Israeli Civic Bureau is another reason for this.
Organized violence problem: At the same time as the construction in the West Bank, Palestinians are faced with daily increasing violence against them, their children and property committed by Jewish settlers. And in the middle of this the Israeli authorities show indifference and neglect despite their commitments particularly in Oslo 2 which necessitates the prevention of terror and violent attacks against each side, and thus paved the way for the settlers to be violent. The actions of the terror group called Pay the Price, such as the cutting down of olive trees and destruction of other Palestinian farm produce are just small examples of the aforementioned claim. According to published reports by the Human Affairs Office of the Occupied Palestinian Territories over 80 residential complexes of Palestinians i.e. over 250thousand individuals are threatened by settlers’ violence, and the level of the violence in 2011 increased by 40 percent.
Movement restrictions: Palestinians in the West Bank are restricted in their commuting and movement, and through various obstacles (fixed or mobile checkpoints) the IDF disrupt the daily lives. Approximately 400 obstacles, blocked streets, and the existence of the security barrier has taken away the freedom of movement for the Palestinians and have created many problems including access to medical and education centres.
In spite of these problems and the repeated violation of international law, humanitarian law, and international treaties and agreements signed with the Palestinians, what do human rights and fundamental freedoms mean in the West Bank? Shouldn’t the international community break its silence towards these violations, and carry out its main duty to apply pressure on Israel as a state that violates international and humanitarian duties, and force Israel to observe these principles?
While expressing sympathy towards the Palestinians of the West Bank, we call for justice and human rights to be realized for the Palestinians, particularly those in the West Bank, so that perhaps in this way the Palestinian nation will have its rights realized.
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Item 9: Racism, Islamophobia
The subject of xenophobia, racism and racial discrimination, ethnic or religious, is a subject that has involved mankind for centuries, and due to its multiple and diverse roots, and also its influence from historical, psychological and even economic complexities, there is no single cure for it. Presently a major part of the international community has deeply rooted problems in the treatment of aliens, racial and religious minorities, and the approach to followers of other religions. Despite the acceptability of a level of the intolerances and the hope for their improvement, particularly through the raising of societies’ awareness and transparency of wrong views and beliefs, nevertheless the observation of strong and rooted racist movements and also Islamophobia in Europe, in spite of the human rights claims of this continent is a deep regret.
Nowadays, a new wave of anti-Muslim intolerance and antagonism is sweeping Europe. The far right political gains seen in some parts of the continent are alarming. Anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and extreme right parties seem to be cashing in on economic hardship and austerity measures. In a blinkered world of “us and them” they have found in Europe’s Muslim citizens the “others”.
It is disheartening that a continent that had learnt many lessons in such a hard way, after the devastation of the two World Wars, and which prides itself in equality and human rights, is allowing itself to be influenced by the forces of intolerance and hate. It is now open season to malign Muslims because of their religious and cultural practices. Yet Muslim immigrants arriving after the war joined the effort to rebuild economies of war-torn Europe in the 1950s. In almost every field of life, Muslims have been an integral part of the European tapestry. Muslims are today at home in Europe, have been contributors to its past and are stakeholders in its future.
Yet the language and rhetoric used by the Far Rights and the level of political expediency in mainstream European politics is mind boggling. The hate mongers are apparently succeeding in swapping a racist agenda for an Islamophobic one. The lacklustre response from European leaders has paved the way for anti-Muslim bigotry to move closer to the mainstream.
Sadly it seems that in the recent years views have grown in Europe which previously made their appearance in different clothes on this continent, anti-multiculturalism, anti-immigrant, anti-intellectualism, and even anti-women, with the only difference being anti-Semitism instead of Islamophobia. Over several decades these views have tried to pt the blame on “others” whenever a crisis has happened in Europe, “others” who are not with “us” and their presence is the root cause of the problems. But the fact of the matter is that it’s the presence of the same “others” that has created the “multi-culturalistic” structure of European nations, and is the main cause for the advancement of Europe in this century.
Sadly, observing the developments of the last few months regarding European countries, especially during election campaigns, we can notice the large volume of violation cases and particularly intentional or unintentional enticement by the media to these issues, has caused the deepening of racist and Islamophobic views.
While condemning these types of measures which will achieve nothing but the escalation of pointless religious hatred, the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, for the second time calls upon the Human Rights Council to give importance to subjects such as the promotion of dialogue among religions and transparency and remove ambiguities from incorrect interpretations and beliefs of monotheist religions more than before, and to give the two Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion and Belief joint mandates to find a practical and lasting solution to fight this problem.
We hope that by accepting and starting this initiative, for followers of monotheist religions have peaceful coexistence everywhere in a good atmosphere that is away from common prejudices and bigotries, in peace and harmony and by respecting the beliefs of each other.

“ ODVV Statements at 20th Session of the Human Rights Council ”