ODVV Statements at 20th Session of the Human Rights Council

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Publish Date : 12/10/2014 12:53
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ODVV Statements at 20th Session of the Human Rights Council

ODVV Statement on Syria
Madam President
Sadly Syria is in a situation now where the boundary between fact and trickery is not distinguishable. Kofi Anan’s peace plan never materialised and the presence of UN observers did not help calm the situation of the country. We believe arming the opposition in Syria by some regional and international governments, inadvertently has placed the Syrian government in a position where it sees its national integrity and governance under threat, and is defending it with all its might. Meanwhile all the reforms that have taken place by the Syrian government have been ignored and there is an insistence on regime change.

Madam President,
We believe the continuation of this trend will only result in more bloodshed and graver violations of human rights. Our NGO believes that all the initial efforts of governments should be towards a total ceasefire and as sustainable as possible between the two parties at conflict, then all the crucial players of the crisis must open dialogue and concentrate on ways to settle their differences, and prepare the basis for listening and being heard.

Madam President,
We believe the capacities of this Council, is much more deeper and more practical than just holding numerous meetings on Syria. If the final conclusions of the reports of the fact finding group, and also the directions of the issued resolutions notes the views of the two conflicting sides, notes the particular dynamics and conditions of Middle East, and puts pressure on the regional and international players to play a constructive role and not just have their own interests on mind, then it will be possible to find a lasting and acceptable solution for both parties.
Experience has shown that noting the words of just one side has never brought lasting peace with it.
Thank you.
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ODVV Oral Statement/ Item 6

Today we witness the adoption of numerous mechanisms by the United Nations for the improvement of the human rights situation of countries, examples of which are the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, appointment of special rapporteurs and issuing of resolutions. The question which is the real challenge here is: is or is not turning to other human rights mechanisms while the UPR is in progress – even in a short space of time since the country’s acceptance of the recommendations – the undermining or impracticality of the UPR mechanism, instead of strengthening of it?
The ODVV believes that due to particular conditions of the international community at the end of the first round of the UPR, the international system’s adoption of other mechanisms such as issuing of resolutions and allocation of special rapporteurs in places where the UPR mechanism has not had the chance to test its practicality, and the presence of human rights as one of the resolute dialogues in peace and conflict, makes the necessity for its review more than before.
The ODVV also stresses on the point in view of the recommendations given to any country in the UPR which is gathering of the views of international organizations, the international community, NGOs and the state under review is in the improvement of human rights, the strengthening of the UPR mechanism and improvement of its effective implementation guarantee, can make notable gains in the realization of human rights.
In all of this NGOs can fulfill their monitoring roles through the preparation of reports on the recommendations given to countries process, and presentation of these reports to the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In the end the creation of a mechanism which has a logical link between Human Rights Council mechanisms to prevent the wastage of energy while trying to improve human rights, is an apt request from the Human Rights Council.
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ODVV Statement on Human Rights Situation in Bahrain

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.
Still, Bahraini authorities continue to violate international standards of human rights. Demonstrators continue to be arrested and killed, and there has been little justice for those who were tortured and died in detention last year. Doctors and medics arrested and tortured last year for speaking out about the violence against protestors still face up to 15 years in prison.
We are very concerned that the series of attacks against the human rights defenders and web activists represents an ongoing trend of targeting free speech and human rights defenders in Bahrain, where the legal system is used as a tool to silence them, particularly by denying bail while civil cases are ongoing.
We call on the government of Bahrain as it is mentioned during its second UPR consideration to:
1 – Hold accountable those responsible for the torture of human rights defenders,
2 – Ensure the freedom of the media
3 – Conduct new trials for defendants convicted in military courts.

Thank you

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Item 7: Human rights situation in the West Bank

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 the West Bank.
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
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, 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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ODVV oral Statement / Item 9: Racism, Islamophobia

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 Islam phobic 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 put 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.
While condemning these types of measures which will achieve nothing but the escalation of pointless religious hatred, the ODVV, 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 ”