Oral statement on item 4

04/03/2014
Press release
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Mr. President,

In Bahrain, three years after the popular uprising, gross human rights violations, including excessive use of force against peaceful protesters, arbitrary detention and torture, continue to be committed on a daily basis. All those expressing dissent are targeted by the authorities, including through the use of anti-terrorism and state of emergency measures. Widespread allegations of torture have been largely ignored by judges and prosecutors. Despite official pledges to fight impunity, most violations have gone unpunished. We call upon the highest authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, including Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of FIDH.

We condemn in the strongest terms the massacres of civilians in Egypt, where the use of lethal force to suppress protests is standard operating procedure. We urge the authorities to immediately release those detained without charges, guarantee fair judicial process for all, and bring those responsible for abuses to justice. The culture of impunity must come to an end. The crackdown against all those criticizing the government is increasing, with the arrest and detention of well-known human rights defenders and mounting pressure on human rights organizations.

In Iran, the harassment, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of human rights defenders continue. We express our deep concern about the authorities’ refusal to give sick prisoners of conscience access to adequate medical care, and fear this may amount to a systematic practice aiming at further intimidating civil society voices critical of the abysmal human rights record of the regime.

Mr. President,

In the Central African Republic, unspeakable atrocities that may qualify as war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed against civilians. There is an urgent need for a UN peacekeeping mission that would provide security, respond to the crisis through a holistic approach including support to the transitional institutions and the protection of human rights, in particular the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes. The Human Rights Council must ensure the situation in the CAR remains high on its agenda by moving it to its agenda item 4.

In South Sudan, accountability for abuses committed during the conflict will be key to any long-term peace and stability. Immediate action is needed to ensure the security of witnesses and victims, and the integrity of evidence. We call on the Council to create a country-specific mechanism under its agenda item 4.

Thank you for your attention.

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