ODVV Statements at28th Session of the Human...
Children are not the causes of starting armed conflicts, but they immensely suffer from them. That is why both humanitarian organizations and governments are concerned about protection of this vulnerable sector of society. Children's rights is part of universal human rights in international law system. The Geneva Four Conventions and its first and second protocols, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the General Assembly Declaration on the Situation of Women and Children in Emergency Situations and Armed Aggression, all stress on protection of children's rights.
Despite the reiteration of international human rights documents on the protection of children's rights, according to UNICEF estimates, currently there are at least seven million displaced and refugee Syrian children who need help, and because of the conditions, there is an increasing possibility that children’s crises escalate. After four years of conflict in Syria, the parties in conflict must realise that military aggression is not the answer, and a crucial dialogue with the participation of all involved, will probably increase and provide the chances to reach a lasting solution, and provide the rights of the people of Syria, particularly children.
Our NGO that is concerned about the conditions of defenseless children calls upon the international community to:
- work hard towards the improvement of children's conditions through cooperation with nongovernmental organizations and international agencies;
- Through implementation of public awareness raising programs, make the people of the region aware of the violation of children's rights and its consequences.
We also ask nongovernmental organizations:
- to cooperate with governments and present human rights recommendations in the adoption of highlighted national documents and adoption of national laws for the protection of children's rights.
- To further cooperate with the UN particularly the Human Rights Council, and declare cases of children's rights violations.
All countries must respect human rights. In all countries crises may appear whose roots lie in the violation of freedom of individuals. Europe is not an exception either and it seems as if the region is suffering from crises rooted in human rights violation. One of the recent crises is the one in France, where a group allowed themselves to insult a particular religion and blame the consequences on Islam on the excuse of freedom of expression.
Despite the fact that, since 1999 about 15 UN resolutions have been adopted on condemning "defamation of religion", including A/RES/69/174 and A/RES/68/169, freedom of expression in western countries has turned into a tool to violate the freedom of others. One of the signs of freedom and democracy is that religious minorities are officially recognized and their religions are respected. By ignoring such rights, religious extremist groups surface and carry out acts in the name of religion and thus spread a wave of fear and terror towards a particular religion.
While condemning religious extremism and any type of violence in the name of religion, our NGO calls upon governments to adopt legal approaches towards defamation of the religions and of religious minorities.
We also call upon governments to implement UN resolutions on the prohibition of defamation of religion and reduce extremism on both sides of the spectrum, both those that kill in the name of religion and those who do not have limits for freedom of expression.
Item 5: Atrocity Crimes against Minorities
Unfortunately, the world is witnessing unprecedented atrocity crimes against innocent minorities in the Middle East, especially the ones committed by IS against Yezidis, Christians, Shia, Sunnis etc. There are regrettable news of massive killings of hostages using heinous methods and barbaric crimes against women and children.
In February 2015, IS terrorists burned 45 residents of "Heit" area in Al-Anabr province in Iraq, the terror organization surrounded a compound that houses more than 1000 families and burned 45 people alive. The figure is added to the endless list of the heinous crimes committed by the terrorists against the people, including vulnerable civilians in Iraq and Syria over the past months. Evidence shows that the group has no mercy for its own members either. The ISIL Takfiri terrorists have executed nearly two dozen of fellow militants in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh on charges of fleeing the battlefield.
The Organization for Defending Victims of Violence notes the attempts made by the forum of minority issues to offer recommendations to States, non-state actors and international actors on how to prevent violence and atrocity crimes against minorities, how to address ongoing violence and how to deal with post-violence situations.
However, the organization expresses its deepest regrets over the fact that while the roots causes of atrocity crimes are being studied, innocent minorities are killed or tortured in massive scale. ODVV echoes its call on the United Nations to adopt more practical measures to protect vulnerable people against IS atrocities which is the responsibility of this international institution.
UPR is one of the successful mechanisms of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The success lies in its universal approach, the emphasis on human rights at the national and international level and the fact that implementation of recommendations is gradually promoting human rights all over the world.
The conducted studies indicate that, there has been improvements in different fields of human rights as a result of States’ attempts in implementing the recommendations. The fields include:
women’s rights, gender equality, domestic violence, children’s rights, child labour, access to education, human trafficking, minority rights, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, torture, and refugees.
States received, accept and try to implement recommendations, while some non-state actors, such as religious extremist terrorist groups, benefiting from some countries’ support, embark on violating most fundamental human rights, in horrifying ways.
Consequently, the world is sadly witnessing, violent crimes against humanity, increasing with an alarming rate. In Iraq and Syria, vulnerable people are being beheaded, burned to death, tortured, enslaved, sold and made homeless.
It is highly regrettable that the UPR mechanism does not include the States’ activities that support violation of human rights at international level, including the States helping terrorist groups such as IS, contributing to the mass atrocity crimes against people. It is unfortunate that there are no UPR recommendations to warn the countries against backing terrorist groups, in order to reduce the cases of ongoing atrocity crimes against the people who disparately need international help to survive.
Our organization, asks the Human Rights Council to consider holding special sessions to discuss ways of stopping the ongoing terrorism and referring the perpetrators to international criminal courts.
Without a doubt, occupation of lands belonging to others, committing acts of violence and organized terrorism, racist policies against defenseless Palestinians, daily violation of human rights and committing crimes against humanity by Israel alongside the international double standard reactions toward Israel crimes, are the root causes of the Palestinian crisis. Continuation of extensive settlements constructions, the security barrier, forced evictions, demolition of homes and suspension of Palestinians residency permits, all show Israel's insistence on the blatant violation of human rights. And of course Israel's human rights violations do not end there, bombing of civilian areas during the Gaza conflict, was Israel's most important action to show its illegal domination of Palestine. In the 22-day war 1400 Palestinians were killed and in the 33-day war more than 3,500 civilians were killed and injured, including women and children.
Continuation of policies to change the Palestinian demographic fabric to a Jewish one, confiscation of historic and Islamic facets and Israel's measures to restrict Palestinians access to the Dome of the Rock, are illegal, even on security excuses, and is in fact a violation of the legal rights of Palestinians. In view of international capacities, the international community must carry out its legal responsibilities toward Palestinians.
We believe there is no other solution for putting an end to this great human tragedy, but through putting an end to occupation and realization of rightful and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people that include the right to self determination and the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland. Along with these measures, our organization calls for improvement of human conditions in Gaza Strip.
Item 9: Xenophobia and Freedom of Expression
The recent terror attacks in France cannot be justified for any reason whatsoever. Killing of innocent people no matter under what circumstances is without a doubt condemnable.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights reaffirm the right to freedom of expression.
Freedom of expression is never absolute, not even in the most democratic and liberal countries. No matter where you are; you cannot scream "fire" in a packed movie theatre, because of the panic and the stampede and possible injuries that it will cause.
Insulting and defamation of any religion is morally wrong. While expressing its deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of the Paris terrorist attack, the ODVV also regrets the publication of the Prophet of Islam's cartoon on the front page of the Charlie Hebdo's first issue following the attack.
Authors and editors in the West must seriously consider the consequences of their actions in the world of Islam. The ensuring protests some of which led to violence, death and destruction of religious places of worship (Niger) in some Muslim countries should be on the conscience of these editors.
As always, the ODVV insists on an international forum to be held on Dialogue and Understanding among Religions. The ODVV and other Iranian sister NGOs are ready, willing and capable in assisting the holding of such venue.