Oral statement of the FIDH on item 4 - General Debate, at the 9th session of the Human Rights Council

17/09/2008
Press release

ORAL STATEMENT

Item 4 - General Debate

Mr. President,

FIDH is extremely concerned of the application of death penalty in IRAN. In June, a 16-year-old boy, Hassanzadeh, was executed for a crime committed when he was 14. In August, a journalist Mehrnehad was executed after a blatantly unfair trial.

Iran continues to target human rights defenders, in particular those belonging to ethnic or religious minorities, by arbitrarily arresting and detaining them for charges such as ’’endangering national security’’ or ’’propaganda against the system’’. Kaboudvand was condemned to 11 years prison, Bayazidi to 4, Kordpour, Goli, Baghi are still detained. Several Kurdish human rights defenders, currently in prison, are on hunger strike since 25 August.

Women’s rights defenders endure harsh repression. In May, Yaghoub-Ali, a member of the One Million Signatures Petition Campaign was sentenced to one year imprisonment. Abdi and Safarzadeh remain in detention. In addition, seven Bahai leaders are detained incommunicado since May.

In spite of its ’’standing invitation’’ to special procedures, Iran has failed to respond to several visit requests by mandate holders dealing with torture, independence of judges and lawyers, and minorities. The Iranian authorities rarely respond to the Rapporteur on human rights defenders’ urgent appeals.

Thus, FIDH requests the Council to adopt a resolution urging Iran to:

Immediately stop executing juvenile offenders and adopt a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition;
Allow human rights defenders to carry out their work without retaliation;
Immediately release the seven Bahaí leaders, and all other human rights defenders detained;
Implement its standing invitation to the mandate-holders of Special Procedures.

FIDH is deeply concerned over the human rights situation in SOMALIA. Indiscriminate attacks, causing heavy casualties, are war crimes committed by the TFG troops, the Ethiopian military and the Somali insurgents, which have caused 400,000 internally displaced persons.

Humananitarian workers and journalists continue to be targeted.

FIDH calls on the Human Rights Council to call for a special session on Somalia:

Condemning the grave human rights violations and humanitarian law, and calling upon all the parties to the conflict to immediately cease attacks on civilians, human rights defenders and journalists;
Calling for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry composed of several Special Rapporteurs;
Calling upon the international community to ensure a peace process AND accountability.

Last, FIDH would like to draw the Council’s attention to the worrying situation in MAURITANIA. FIDH condemns the overthrow of Mauritania’s democratically elected President, his and other leaders’ ongoing arbitrary detention. The junta should immediately restore constitutional order, release President Abdallahi, and the junta should abide by Mauritania’s international human rights obligations, in particular the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

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