Protection of human rights defenders

Session 13Human Rights Council

Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. Joint spoken statement MRAP, CETIM, WILPF, France-Libertés: Danielle Mitterrand, WFTU, Nord-SUd XXI, International Educational Development and General Arab Women Federation

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Mr. President,
We welcome the report1 submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and we share her concerns about the smear campaigns that target human rights defenders as, basically, defending human rights is a political act as Mahtma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, among others, have taught to us.

The written statement2 we have submitted describes the difficulties faced by the Kurdish human rights defenders in Turkey. We also asked for your intervention, Mr. President, as well as Ms. High Commissioner for Mr. Muharrem Erbey, Lawyer and Chairman of the Diyarbakir branch of the Turkish Association for Human Rights, arrested on last 24 December at his home, accused to be member of an illegal organization, to have drafted projects for the education on of children and women rights, to have denounced human rights violations committed by the Turkish State (among others) at UN headquarters in Geneva, having collaborated with the mayor of Diyarbakir, on a voluntary basis, as legal adviser.

The situation of the Kurdish human rights defenders is almost as difficult in the rest of Europe. At the 11th session we drew attention to the arrest in Spain of MM. Ramzi Kartal and Eyyup “Faruk” Doru, they have since been released and are currently detained in Belgium, where police forces have set out of use the technical facilities to broadcast of the Kurdish TV channel Roj TV. Other defenders of human rights of Kurdish people in Turkey have been arrested in various European countries, including France.

Mr. President,
Europe often presents itself as the last bastion against injustice. Has the bastion crumbled?
We follow very closely the negotiations on the draft resolution on the protection of human rights defenders and we wish here to affirm that it is misleading in this context, to try to distinguish between true and fake human rights defenders, what would be the criterion: their mode of funding, perhaps?

We also want to state that it would be contrary to the spirit of the declaration adopted by General Assembly resolution 53/144 to submit the protection of human rights defenders to respect for their share of the country’s laws because often it is these very same laws that do not conform to the norms of international human rights.

12th March 2010

1) A/HRC/13/22
2) A/HRC/13/NGO/18

Categories Economic, Social and Cultural Rights HUMAN RIGHTS Statements
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