Posts Tagged ‘Ahmed Shaheed’

Freedom from religion: Vatican legally and morally wrong

March 29, 2018

In response IHEU’s Director of Advocacy, Elizabeth O’Casey, corrected the Holy See listing the established rights which constitute freedom from religion, and highlighted why freedom from religion is so necessary for those professing no religious beliefs around the world: “freedom from coercion to adopt a religion is protected by law; freedom to have no religion is protected by law; freedom to leave a religion is protected by law; and freedom to criticise a religion is protected by law.”

She also noted that in his own comments to the Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion of Belief, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, also corrected the Holy See. Shaheed stated categorically that freedom from religion is protected by the right to freedom of religion or belief. Dr Shaheed mentioned specifically how humanist, atheist and secular bloggers are under attack, and that the right to freedom of religion or belief protects the individual, not the religion or belief itself.

In her statement, O’Casey went on to highlight just why statements such as those made by the Holy See are so objectionable and dangerous; especially in the context of state-based hate and a culture of impunity allowing for violence against those who have no religious beliefs. O’casey reminded the Council that 85 countries severely discriminate against non-religious individuals whilst seven countries were found to actively persecute the non-religious during last year. She also reminded the Council of the situation of those jailed in states such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran for being atheist or humanist, and the brutal murder of so many secularists and rationalists with impunity in Bangladesh, India and the Maldives. O’Casey also mentioned Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Malaysia and Cyprus in their promoting state hatred against atheists and humanists.

In the light of this situation, O’Casey asked how many more humanists, atheists and secularists need to be killed, imprisoned, persecuted and disproportionately targeted for the international community to begin to understand the absolute importance of freedom of religion or belief for those with no religion? She concluded, “so long as the rest of the international community stay silent, the rights of the invisible minority of non-believers across the world will continue to be trampled upon, including by members of this Council.” The full text of O’Casey’s statement can be seen through the link below.

In this context it was interesting to see that in the UK a Burnley vicar, who has campaigned to expose sexual abuse and its cover-up in the Church of England, has been named Secularist of the Year! The Rev Graham Sawyer, who is the vicar of St James’ Church, was one of two joint winners presented with a £5,000 prize at a lunch hosted by the National Secular Society. Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who won the award in 2012, presented the prize at the event in central London.

UN rapporteurs decry Saudi Arabia’s use of anti-terror laws against human rights defenders

January 3, 2018

Independent Expert on Human Rights Michel Forst. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré

On 2 January 2018 a group of four UN Special Rapporteurs (Michel ForstMr.  David Kaye, Ahmed Shaheed and Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin) joined by José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention) deplored Saudi Arabia’s continued use of counter-terrorism and security-related laws against human rights defenders and urged the release of all those detained for peacefully exercising their rights.

We are witnessing the persecution of human rights defenders for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association and belief, as well as in retaliation for their work. The Government has ignored repeated calls by UN experts and others to halt these violations, rectify them, and prevent their recurrence.”

More than 60 prominent religious figures, writers, journalists, academics and civic activists are reported to have been detained in a wave of arrests since September, adding to a list of past cases which had already been raised by UN experts with the Government. “We have written to the Government requesting detailed information about these numerous arrests on terrorism, cyber-crime or any other state security-related charges during that period,” the experts said.

The experts noted that they are also seeking government clarification about how these measures are compatible with Saudi Arabia’s obligations under international human rights law, as well as with the voluntary pledges and commitments it made when seeking to join the UN Human Rights Council. “Despite being elected as member of the Human Rights Council at the end of 2016, Saudi Arabia has continued its practice of silencing, arbitrarily arresting, detaining and persecuting human rights defenders and critics,” they said.

In addition to previous cases and new arrests since September, the experts pointed to the country’s failure to implement two recent opinions of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, calling for “the release of all the human rights defenders concerned in these cases.”

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/02/28/saudi-arabia-imprisoned-waleed-abu-al-khair-receives-another-human-rights-award/

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22570&LangID=E

UN human rights experts welcome Iran prisoner releases, while calling for more

January 20, 2016

And while we are on groups of UN human rights experts, also on 19 January three Rapporteurs welcomed Iran’s release of four Iranian-Americans in an apparent prisoner swap with the United States, and called on Tehran to pave the way for the freeing of all remaining unlawfully detained prisoners. Read the rest of this entry »

Human rights defenders squeezed by geo-politics? The cases of Colombia, Iran and Cuba.

September 11, 2015

Health and holidays (in that order) have slowed down my blog production somewhat this summer, but perhaps this was a welcome break for many of my readers for reasons of holiday and health (in that order I hope). Anyway, during these summer months I read quite some instances of HRD repression related to countries involved in major ‘geo-political’ progress and I started wondering whether this is coincidental. Take the following three cases: Colombia, Iran and Cuba. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran’s Larijani attacks human rights report by UN and Sotoudeh expresses faith in the future

March 20, 2014

When it comes to the human rights situation in Iran one could refer to numerous recent reports that lament the continued repression and ill-treatment of human rights defenders in spite of the change of President at the top (as I did e.g. in: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/iran-human-rights-defenders-arbitrarily-detained-are-made-to-suffer-again-through-lack-of-medical-care/), but perhaps another way to demonstrate the enormous gap between the fanatics in power and those who struggle for a better Iran is two contrasting quotes:

The first comes from the Head of Iran’s Human Rights Council, Mohammad Javad Larijani, who in a 2-hour press conference rejected again any criticism and attacked the UN Rapporteur on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, saying that his report was biased and filled with inaccurate reports and double standards.Larijani said that “he was turned into a media actor for propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran”. [from Iran rejects latest human rights report by the UN | Iran Pulse: Must-Reads from Iran Today.]

The other comes from http://www.arsehsevom.net/2014/03/nasrin-sotoudeh-equality-will-prevail/, quoting human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, one of the Final Nominees of the MEA in 2012 and recently released:

nasrin-sotoudeh

Not much more to say!

Larijani brothers, Iran, attack UN Rapporteur and human rights defenders

February 2, 2014

Just weeks before the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran is scheduled to present his latest report at the UN, the Head of the Iranian Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, and his brother, Mohammad Javad Larijani, who heads the human rights council of that same Judiciary body, renew their verbal attacks on the Rapporteur. Read the rest of this entry »

UN human rights report is politically motivated says Iran

October 27, 2013

The Tehran Times of 24 October 2013 , the governmental english-language newspaper of Iran, devoted a big piece on the reaction of the Government to the latest report by Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran. According to Reuters, in an address to the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee Ahmed Shaheed, said, “Any renewed or revitalized dialogue between Iran and the international community must include and not seek to sideline the issue of human rights” and “Human rights considerations must be central to the new government’s legislative and policy agenda, and to international dialogue and cooperation.”  Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Afkham, responded on Thursday that the mechanism for the appointment of the rapporteur was “completely political,” adding, “Terrorist groups and the groups which are seeking violence and have innocent people’s blood on their hands have been used as sources to prepare this report so it has no legal weight. In addition, Iran’s Permanent Mission to the UN issued a statement in which it defended the country’s human rights record. For those who are interested here follow some long excerpts which in tone and content are still very tough but perhaps the last paragraph reflects a bit more the hope that many have since Rouhani’s election: “Finally, notwithstanding our strong criticism of the report, we will continue our efforts to promote human rights in our country, including through enhancing our cooperation with the UN human rights machinery, particularly OHCHR, the UPR, thematic mandate holders and bilateral dialogue on human rights.Read the rest of this entry »

Rapporteur on Iran Ahmed Shaheed made report to Human Rights Council

March 14, 2013


(Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)

On 11 March 2013 the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, voiced serious concern about the general situation of human rights in Iran, pointing to “widespread and systemic” torture, as well as the harassment, arrest and attacks against human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists. “The prevailing situation of human rights in Iran continues to warrant serious concern, and will require a wide range of solutions that are both respectful of cultural perspectives and mindful of the universality of fundamental human rights promulgated by the treaties to which Iran is a party,”.

Presenting his report to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, Mr. Shaheed said that Iran has made some “noteworthy advances” in the area of women’s rights, including advancements in health, literacy and in enrolment rates on both the primary and secondary levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Iranian Government Criticizes UN Report on Human Rights as biased !

March 13, 2012

If it was not so serious a subject, the Iranian government’s response to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran could be considered comical. On June 17, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council named former Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed as its human rights investigator on Iran. Numerous reports including this blog reported last year that Iran was not willing to cooperate with this rapporteur. So it is a bit much to hear now the official complaint that the Rapporteur has relied on “political motivations based on news provided by terrorist groups”.  On Monday 12 March, a senior Iranian official censured Shaheed for his biased report against the Islamic Republic with the following words: “The documents presented by Ahmed Shaheed in this report were extracted from the resources and groups which are terrorist and are known as undesirable elements all over the world,” (Director-General of the Iranian Presidential Office for International Affairs Mohammad Reza Forqani speaking to FNA).

Government spokesman Mehman-Parast’s statement that “Iran is ready to cooperate with human rights bodies like the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights” now sounds utterly unbelievable.

Fars News Agency :: Spokesman Criticizes UNs Biased Report on Irans Human Rights.