` Human Rights Express Alarm Over Raef Badawi 10 Year Sentence, 1,000 Lashes And Fine ‘

#AceNewsServices – GENEVA (15 May 2014) PRESS RELEASE – A group of UN human rights experts today expressed alarm at the conviction to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes, and a 1 million Saudi riyal fine against Saudi on-line activist and blogger, Raef Badawi.

“This outrageous conviction should be overturned and Mr. Badawi immediately released,” said the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion, Heiner Bielefeldt, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, the Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez and the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Mads Andenas.

“Mr. Badawi is a prisoner of conscience, who has been convicted for peacefully expressing his views on religious and other issues,” they added.

The UN experts also urged the Government of Saudi Arabia to “embark on more comprehensive reforms to bring their judicial system in compliance with international standards.”

The human rights experts stressed that “Mr. Badawi was imprisoned for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression” and recalled the right of all people to “freely manifest their views in matters of religion or belief and to write, issue and disseminate information and ideas in these areas through any media without interference.”

They expressed further concern that “the detention and charges brought against Mr. Badawi appear to be part of an ongoing practice of prosecution against people who publicly express dissenting religious views in Saudi Arabia.”

Mr. Badawi, the co-founder of a website called the Liberal Saudi Network, was detained in June 2012 on charges of “founding a liberal website,” “adopting liberal thought” and for “insulting Islam”, after publishing a number of articles on his blog site and social media.

He was convicted in July 2013 to seven years in prison and 600 lashes. At the time, his lawyer claimed that his trial was marred by irregularities and contested the impartiality of the judicial process in the case.

In December 2013, an appeals court overturned his conviction and sent the case to Jeddah’s Criminal Court for review. However, last week, the Criminal Court dramatically toughened the sentence imposed to Mr. Badawi.

The UN experts reminded the Government of Saudi Arabia of the international standards concerning the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of belief, and the obligation to ensure that prisoners are treated humanely. “Corporal punishment, such as flogging, violates international law, which prohibits torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” said the experts.

The UN experts condemned the cruelty of the punishment and recalled that such attacks against the physical and psychological integrity of a person represent an affront to the dignity inherent to all human beings.

Mr. Badawi plans to appeal this new Court decision. However, his attorney may not be present at the trial as he was recently detained and prosecuted for “undermining the image of the kingdom” and “breaking allegiance with the King.”

ENDS

Ace News Services Posts  

1.  09/05/14

2.  17/04/14 

 3. Press Release: 15/05/14 

 

 

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#AceWorldNews says according to the UN the Brazilian…

#AceWorldNews says according to the UN the Brazilian authorities need to give further priority to the poorest and most marginalized, to ensure that inequalities in the country are progressively eliminated and all receive access to sanitation and water, an independent United Nations human rights expert today urged.

Wrapping up her first official mission to Brazil, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, said that Brazil was a “country of contrasts.”

“I was shocked by the misery I saw and by the lack of access to sanitation and water by significant portions of the population. These are fundamentally people living in favelas or in rural areas,” said Ms. De Albuquerque.

“Even though I acknowledge progress in this regard, the truth is that still millions of Brazilians live in deplorable conditions where access to sanitation and water is still only a distant dream,” she added.

Brazil recently adopted ‘Plan Sab’, a National Water and Sanitation Plan with $150 billion allocated from the federal budget to the sector in the coming two decades.

The Special Rapporteur called the document “excellent” and said she was “very positively impressed” by the allocation.

“Despite the positive examples of social participation in some social programmes, and government institutions, I was especially touched by my interaction with many Brazilians, who repeatedly – in the different regions I visited – told me that they still felt invisible and forgotten by public powers.”

In the area of sanitation, the expert explained, “the low coverage does not match the advances of modern Brazil, where 52 per cent of the Brazilian population still does not have sewage collection, and only 38 per cent of the sewage generated is treated.”

“The fact that Brazil still has almost 8 million people defecating daily in the open is unacceptable and an affront to human dignity,” Ms. de Albuquerque stressed. This lack of access to sanitation is particularly serious in the North, where less than 10 per cent of the population has sewage collection.

During her fact-finding mission to Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Fortaleza and Belém do Pará, the Special Rapporteur also received numerous complaints of people suffering from diarrhoea and other water and sanitation-borne diseases due to the bad quality of water.

She will present a comprehensive report to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will include her final findings and recommendations to the Government of Brazil.

Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not United Nations staff, nor are they paid for their work.

#a-national-water-and-sanitation-plan-brazil, #plan-sab, #brasillia, #catarina-de-albuquerque, #rio-de-janeiro, #sao-paulo, #special-rapporteur, #un-human-rights-council, #un-special-rapporteur, #united-nations

Independent Experts Recently Voiced Serious Concern Over Reports That Chinese Activists Have Been Intimidated and Prevented From Taking Part in a Major Assessment of the Human Rights Situation in the Country

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

United Nations Human Rights Council logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceWorldNews says United Nations independent experts recently voiced serious concern over reports that Chinese activists have been intimidated and prevented from taking part in a major assessment of the human rights situation in the country.

“Intimidating civil society members who seek to contribute to such an important international dialogue is completely unacceptable,” said the Geneva-based experts in a <“http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13860&LangID=E“>news release. “Ensuring the free participation of civil society actors, including human rights defenders, and other national stakeholders, in this process is crucial.”

Activists have reportedly been threatened, arrested or banned from leaving China in the run-up to the second assessment of the country’s record by the UN Human Rights Council through its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism. The review will take place on 22 October 2013 in Geneva.

“These cases seem part of a pattern of increased harassment by China of those calling for greater accountability of public officials, transparency and political and legal reforms,” the experts said.

The experts received information that rights defenders Cao Shunli and Chen Jianfang were allegedly prevented from boarding flights to Geneva where they were due to participate in activities organized on the margins of a Human Rights Council session in September.

Chen Jianfang was reportedly told that she was barred from travelling abroad for life, while Cao Shunli was detained by Chinese security authorities on 14 September. Cao Shunli’s family has allegedly not received any formal notification of her detention.

It was also reported that Chinese civil society activists, who have demonstrated since June to defend their right to participate and receive information on China’s report to the UPR, have been threatened by local authorities on various occasions.

Znak graficzny UPR Eurowybory 2009

Znak graficzny UPR Eurowybory 2009 (Photo credit: Unia Polityki Realnej)

“These reports suggest there have been acts of reprisals against people who seek to cooperate with the UN,” said Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya.

“Defenders play a key role in holding States to account for the implementation of their human rights obligations, including at the international level. Their legitimate work should be fully respected.”

China accepted recommendations made during its first review in 2009 to strengthen its engagement with civil society to promote and protect human rights. The Government informed the UN experts that non-governmental organizations were consulted ahead of the UPR session and that the draft of the national report was available on its official website for comments.

Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, said that even if some organizations had participated in the UPR preparations, “nothing can justify excluding legitimate voices through intimidation.”

“Access to information and an open space for the free exchange of opinions and ideas are essential to ensure a proper review of the human rights record of any country,” Mr. La Rue stressed.

Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kai said preventing people to participate in the UPR and from demonstrating peacefully constitutes a breach of China’s international obligations to respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

“This obligation includes facilitating peaceful protests by providing protestors with access to public space, and protecting them, where necessary, against any threats,” he said.

Regarding the situation of Ms. Cao, the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances underlined that information on her detention, including the reasons and place of detention, should be made ready to avail to her family members and counsel.

The experts have also asked the Chinese authorities for further information regarding these allegations and called for the immediate release of all those detained after peacefully protesting for more civil society participation in the UPR process and advocating for human rights and good governance.

“These serious allegations must be investigated thoroughly and impartially by the Chinese authorities,” the experts concluded.

Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes.

 

#china, #frank-william-la-rue, #geneva, #human-right, #special-rapporteur, #un-human-rights-council, #united-nations, #united-nations-human-rights-council, #united-nations-special-rapporteur, #universal-periodic-review, #upr

UN:Justice Must be Integral to Future Sustainable Development Agenda

United Nations UN has stated that Justice must be integral to any future  SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Agenda, as Justice, security and development cannot be promoted one at the expense of the other, either through reductionism or strict sequencing, a United Nations independent expert today urged following his briefing to the General Assembly.

Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence spoke to journalists in New York after briefing the General Assembly’s main social, humanitarian and cultural body (Third Committee) on his work.

“An interest in justice and rights is part of popular aspirations that ought to be captured by ongoing development discussions,” Mr. de Greiff said, telling the international community and particularly those involved in creating a sustainable development agenda following the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), about the relevance of justice and rights.

Referring to his report, the Special Rapporteur said that the MDGs and other development frameworks have failed to track either existing legal obligations or popular aspirations related to justice.

He highlighted the importance of transitional justice measures as mitigating some of these developmental blockages, in particular if a comprehensive approach is pursued.

Human rights violations, when left unaddressed can have an effect in creating a downward shift in people’s expectations,” he said, adding that people will shift their preferences downward rather than live in a permanent state of defeated expectations.

The UN independent expert also said that massive human rights violations undermine social trust and civic participation by having a marginalizing effect not just on the victims but on  other members of society, undermining their trust in trust in each other and in the institutions of the State.

Mr. de Greiff also raised the concerns associated with continuing to silo security, justice and development, keeping resources available for them different tracks.

Any new development agenda must satisfy a sort of “Tunisia test”, the Special Rapporteur said, which also stress good governance and equitable access to justice systems.

“Even from the point of view of security and development, failing to take justice seriously makes it more difficult for security forces to achieve their proper goal,” he said.

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

United Nations Human Rights Council logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes.

 

#aceworldnews, #greiff, #human-right, #millennium-development-goals, #new-york, #pablo-de-greiff, #special-rapporteur, #sustainable-development, #united-nations, #united-nations-human-rights-council, #united-nations-special-rapporteur