Posts Tagged ‘conflict and peace’

116 Iranian Human Rights Defenders speak out against US-Iran military conflict

June 28, 2019

On 26 June 2019 th Center for Human Rights in Iran informed us that in response to soaring tensions between Iran and the United States, 116 Iranian human rights defenders and groups based inside and outside the country have signed a statement warning of the “devastating” consequences of a military conflict.

The impact of military action on Iran would “lead to an accelerated human rights and humanitarian crisis and would only serve to destabilize an already troubled region,” said the statement co-organized by United for Iran and the Center for Human Rights in Iran. The names of the signatories, including activists, lawyers, journalists, and lawyers, are to be found in the link below.

Following is the letter:

We, the undersigned Iranian and international human rights organizations and advocates, express grave concerns over the rising tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which risks a military confrontation that would cause massive human rights harms. We urge all parties and international actors to take immediate and clear steps to prevent a conflict.

The impact of any military action in Iran, as we have seen in neighboring countries, would be devastating. It would likely lead to an accelerated human rights and humanitarian crisis and could only serve to destabilize an already troubled region. Only peace-focused policies that prioritize the rights and well-being of ordinary people in Iran and the region can provide meaningful, long-term benefits.

We have a deep understanding of the problems in Iran, including human rights challenges and corruption within some government sectors. We have dedicated our lives to strengthening the rights of women and girls, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, workers, journalists, university students, LGBTQ people, artists, and political prisoners in Iran. We have fought for the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to a fair trial, socio-economic rights of the Iranian people, and an end to discrimination. We have consistently opposed Iranian authorities in their abuse of power and oppressive policies. It is from this perspective that we warn against the threat posed by military conflict.

We also fear that military action against Iran will be disastrous for millions of ordinary people and could lead to the type of violent sectarian civil conflict seen in neighboring countries. The instability of these conflicts and the extent to which they pit groups of people against each other has led to immeasurable human rights abuses.

Many Iran-based human rights defenders have expressed dismay that broad economic sanctions imposed by the US and the specter of war have already made their work more difficult. Many of them are struggling to make ends meet in a depressed economy, while their activities have become increasingly risky in a heightened security environment. The threat of war has strengthened support for the Iranian state’s security approaches and has been used as a pretext to crack down on activists. Minority communities, who have little space for civic activism, suffer the brunt of crackdowns at such times. Many Iranian human rights defenders fear that an actual military conflict would give the Iranian security forces an opportunity to finally put a complete stop to their advocacy efforts.

These concerns reflect some of the likely outcomes of any military confrontation in Iran, underscoring the need for peaceful and legal solutions to any tensions between states.

We urge all parties to show maximum restraint. We ask that the United Nations Secretary-General, the European Union, and the government of Japan, as well as countries in the region that have stepped in the past to foster peace, to intervene to prevent the outbreak of war and deepening human rights and humanitarian crisis.

Sincerely,

116 Iranian Rights Defenders Warn of “Devastating” Consequences of US-Iran Military Conflict

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights upgrades it armed conflict portal

February 18, 2017

Homepage of the Rule of Law in Armed Conflict Portal

This version entails new and updated armed conflicts, as well as a map allowing visitors to search armed conflicts and parties to these conflicts via multiple filters. ‘The map offers visitors a more intuitive approach: they can visualize where conflicts take place and where parties to these conflicts are’ underlines Sandra Krähenmann, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy. ‘We clearly see, via the map, that while most armed conflicts are taking place in the Middle East and on the African continent,, parties to these conflicts are from across the world’ she adds.

As a legal reference source for a broad audience, RULAC is regularly updated to integrate new armed conflicts and developments. Today, RULAC monitors more than 13 situations of armed conflicts: 2 military occupations, 2 situations of international armed conflicts and 9 situations of non-international armed conflicts. These conflicts are taking place in 9 countries: Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine and Yemen.

For each armed conflict, RULAC provides the factual and methodological basis for its classification, and identifies the parties and the applicable international law. The portal also includes sections on the definition and categories of armed conflict under IHL and the legal framework governing armed conflicts.

Armed Conflict in Syria

While there are many different definitions of armed conflict used for different purposes, the question whether a situation of armed violence amounts to an armed conflict under IHL has important consequences. States involved in armed conflicts have rights and duties that do not exist in times of peace. The classification of situations of armed violence is fraught with difficulties. Many states deny that they are involved in armed conflicts, arguing instead that they are engaged in counter-terrorism operations. Others apply IHL to situations that do not amount to an armed conflict. Moreover, contemporary armed conflicts are increasingly complex due to the multitude of state and non-state parties involved. Based on open source information, RULAC provides an independent and impartial assessment that identifies situations of armed conflict under IHL. It is intended to assist other actors that may want to classify situations of armed violence for their purposes. By making such information available to a broad, non-specialist audience, including by using visual tools, the RULAC project strives to promote a more coherent approach classifying conflicts, and, ultimately, to foster implementation of the applicable legal framework, a key element for accountability and the protection of victims.

Source: Detail – The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Nobel Peace Prize 2016 has strong peace content

October 8, 2016

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 is very much a traditional and clear ‘peace’ award. The news can be found in all mainstream media. So for the record, and in the words of the Norwegian Nobel Committee: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end…” That the referendum rejected the proposal does not diminish the serious effort made (and perhaps shows the risk of calling referendums where ‘anger’ of different kinds tends to favor any response that has a NO element in it).

For last year’s see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/more-on-the-tunisian-winners-of-the-nobel-peace-prize/

Source: The Nobel Peace Prize 2016 – Press Release

“Writing Human Rights and Getting It Wrong” – revealing piece by Alex de Waal

June 10, 2016

Alex de Waal {https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_de_Waal} published on 6 June 2016 a long piece entitled “Writing Human Rights and Getting It Wrong” in the Boston Review. There is no way I can give you a summary but reading the whole article is certain worth the time. It is bound to be controversial – especially within the international human rights movement – and stands out by being critical and mostly self-critical about the role of human rights monitors. The focus of the narrative is on Africa (Sudan, Rwanda) and genocide but the former HRW staff reaches out to the general questions of context and impartiality that human rights defenders struggle with, still today.  READ IT!

Read the rest of this entry »

Chechnya, War Without Trace, a film worth seeing

March 28, 2016

The difficult work of human rights defenders in Russia, and Chechnya in particular, has been demonstrated time and again in the social media including this blog (https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/russia-defenders-attack-closing-office-un-joint-mobile-group-chechnya/). In the film “Chechnya, War Without Trace” award-winning journalist Manon Loizeau, who spent the past 20 years covering the Chechen conflict, returns to the places she knew well, filming undercover, to examine the lasting effects of conflict with Russia. Gone are the minefields and piles of rubble, replaced with broad avenues, luxury boutiques and glass-fronted skyscrapers. It’s virtually impossible to see there was ever a war. But under the surface problems persist. The few lawyers working on torture issues proudly display their Martin Ennals Award. The link above is just the trailer; for the full film: contact Java Films; contact@javafilms.fr; +33 174713313; www.javafilms.fr.

 

Israeli journalist and Palestinian pastor win Olof Palme award 2015

January 8, 2016

On 7 January 2016 it was announced that Israeli journalist Gideon Levy and Palestinian pastor Mitri Raheb have won the 2015 Olof Palme human rights prize. Levy, a journalist at the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz, and Raheb, a preacher and pastor in the Lutheran church in Bethlehem, were honoured for their “courageous and indefatigable fight against occupation and violence, and for a future Middle East characterised by peaceful coexistence and equality for all,” the Olof Palme Memorial Fund said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Voice of Libyan Women founder on how to break the cycle of violence

June 4, 2015

Canadian-born Libyan activist Alaa Murabit speaking at 2015 Oslo Freedom Forum (26 May) shows how ongoing conflict has affected daily life in Libya. She stresses the importance of acknowledging and integrating local communities in peaceful solutions, and focuses on the key role women in particular should play in peacebuilding. Murabit shares how her organization, the Voice of Libyan Women, organized the largest grassroots campaign in the country to address security issues, the cycle of violence, and the rights of women. She emphasizes that by creating cohesive and cooperative societies, rather than ones divided into factions, Libya can achieve peace and stability.

Reporters Without Borders published its 2014 World Press Freedom Index

February 14, 2015

couverture classement 2014

Reporters Without Borders recently published its 2014 World Press Freedom Index. It has a nice easy-to-use and colorful map. The accompanying text spotlights the negative correlation between freedom of information and conflicts, both open conflicts and undeclared ones. In an unstable environment, the media become strategic goals and targets for groups or individuals whose attempts to control news and information.

The ranking of some countries has also been affected by a tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner to the detriment of the right to inform and be informed. This trend constitutes a growing threat worldwide and is even endangering freedom of information in countries regarded as democracies. Finland tops the index for the fourth year running, closely followed by Netherlands and Norway, like last year. At the other end of the index, the last three positions are again held by Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, three countries where freedom of information is non-existent. Despite occasional turbulence in the past year, these countries continue to be news and information black holes and living hells for the journalists who inhabit them. This year’s index covers 180 countries.

Reporters Without Borders.

Human rights defender from York: Ahmed Al-Kolaibi, Yemen

January 23, 2015

On 16 February 2015, the York Press carried a feature story by Stephen Lewis about 5 human rights defenders in the temporary shelter programme at York University. The aim of the placements is to give those fighting for human rights around the world a breather, as well as the chance to forge contacts with other human rights workers and organisations around the world.

Ahmed Al-Kolaibi grew up in a mountain village in Dhamar in rural Yemen where the law counts for little, and what matters is tradition and custom. For more than 30 years, there have been ‘revenge’ wars between neighbouring villages. When he was seven, Ahmed lost his own father in one of these revenge killings. An uncle was also badly hurt As he grew older, Ahmed, now 27, began trying to persuade other young men in his village that the killings were senseless. The village elders, incensed that he didn’t want to fight for the ‘honour’ of his village, decided to make an example of him.

íYork Press:
Ahmed Al-Kolaibi

They punished me. They took my house, they took my land, because they wanted me to be an example,” he says. He went to Sana’a, the Yemeni capital, where he began to work for a peace-keeping organisation, the Dar Al-Salam Organisation. He works as a mediator in the warring villages, trying to arrange truces between rival sheikhs. He has helped train 360 other mediators – and has even secured the release of abducted foreigners. But being a mediator is very dangerous. “We have lost 15 people,” he says quietly.

It can also be deeply frustrating. Once, trying to negotiate a peace between two villages, he was told that 25 people had been killed in one, and ‘only’ 23 people in the other. Before the fighting could be resolved, he was told, ‘we have to kill two people from that village so it is 25/25′.

5 human rights defenders in York tell their incredible stories (From York Press).

Friedrich-Ebert Award goes to Fartuun Adan from Somalia

November 12, 2014

(Fartuun Adan, Director of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center, Mogadishu/Somalia. Photo: Fartuun Adan)

The Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation’s human rights award 2014 recognizes Fartuun Adan’s long-standing and persistent commitment to the human rights of women in the complex political context of a society shaped by decades of civil war in Somalia. Bestowing the human rights award on the director of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center also acknowledges that women are no mere victims of violence and discrimination, but socio-political actors, who actively contribute to peace and reconciliation.

[Fartuun Adan is the director of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center. She founded the organization in 1991 with her husband Elman Ali Ahmed, who was murdered five years later and after whom the center is named today. After his death, Fartuun Adan immigrated to Canada with her daughters. In spite of ongoing conflicts, she returned to Mogadishu in 2007 to continue her work for peace and reconciliation. The Elman Peace and Human Rights Center advocates for women’s and children’s rights under difficult political circumstances. It was the first non-governmental organization providing survivors of gender-based violence and vulnerable women with legal and psychological support, health care and shelter. Furthermore, it advocates for long-term reconciliation and development, and cooperates with OXFAM, ILO and others to support the social reintegration of former child soldiers.]

The award ceremony will take place on 4 December, 2014, 15:00 h, at Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Hiroshimastr. 28, 10785 Berlin. The laudation will be held by Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid.

For more information on the Ebert award, see: http://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/award/friedrich-ebert-foundation-human-rights-award.

Human Rights Award of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.