Posts Tagged ‘Lambrinidis’

OSCE publishes Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

June 11, 2014
Didier Burkhalter (r), OSCE-Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister, alongside Janez Lenarčič, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, at a conference on human rights defenders, Bern, 10 June 2014. (FDFA)
The two-day conference “The OSCE and Human Rights Defenders: The Budapest Document 20 Years On” brings together national human rights experts, human rights defenders and civil society representatives from across the OSCE region. Opening the conference, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, stressed the role of political will in supporting the work of human rights defenders: “The implementation of human rights norms first and foremost needs one thing: political will … Allowing the voices of human rights defenders and civil society to be heard – even  when these are uncomfortable voices – is at the basis of a well-functioning democracy,” .. “These men and women working to increase awareness and respect for human rights often take high risks to help their fellow citizens be able to live their lives in dignity. They need and deserve our support.” In his keynote address, Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, told participants that human rights have never been a battle between different cultures, but within them. He added that human rights have always been the universal language of the powerless against the relativism of the powerful: “Freedom of expression makes sense when we disagree, and especially when we strongly disagree,” Lambrinidis said. “Governments don’t have the obligation to agree with civil society; they have clear obligations, including providing human rights defenders with a safe and enabling environment. Strong confident countries speak to human rights defenders.” The first day of the conference saw the launch of the ODIHR Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a publication designed to assist OSCE participating States in promoting security for human rights defenders, in light of the increasing risks they face in carrying out their work. Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, Director of ODIHR, stressed that the approach presented in the Guidelines to ensuring such protection has to be based on co-operation. “The Guidelines will only prove as effective as their implementation will be,” Lenarčič said. “I believe the key to success is precisely that genuine partnership that the Budapest Document spoke of 20 years ago. It has to include all those involved in efforts to protect human rights defenders – from States and civil society to regional and international governmental organizations. This remains as important today as it was two decades ago.”

Political will the key to ensuring the protection of human rights defenders, say participants at OSCE conference in Bern | OSCE.

Algeria and Egypt: more non-cooperation and less access

February 13, 2014

Here two recent examples of non-cooperation in relation to requests for access by international human rights mechanisms:

  • On 11 February 2014 five international human rights organisations issued a statement decrying Algeria’s lack of cooperation in allowing UN human rights experts and international human rights organizations to visit the country. Algeria may have joined the UN Human Rights Council in January 2014, but it  has not agreed to visits by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, despite their repeated requests. Similarly the Algerian authorities have refused to grant visas to nongovernmental  human rights organizations for several years. “Algeria remains the only country among its neighbors that generally restricts access to human rights organizations,” said Eric Goldstein, of Human Rights Watch. [The 5 NGOs making the appeal are Amnesty International, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, Human Rights Watch and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of the International Federation for Human Rights FIDH, and the World Organization Against Torture OMCT].
  • Today, 14 February it became known that the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, was denied a request to visit prisoners during his visit to Egypt [he announced this on Twitter after meeting with Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat.] Lambrinidis described the refusal as a “direct contradiction” to the Ministry of Interior’s “press release promising greater openness to such visits”. Only two days earlier – amid mounting allegations of torture inside places of detention – the Ministry of Interior had issued a statement welcoming requests from NGOs wishing to visit prisons. [Lambrinidis held an open discussion with 30 human rights defenders  from local and international NGOs earlier this week, stating that the Egyptian government must respect peaceful free expression and human rights communities.]

via:

http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2014/02/13/eu-human-rights-envoy-denied-access-prisoners/#sthash.hEciHx9r.dpuf

Algeria: Allow Rights Groups to Visit – No Response from Algiers to Requests from UN Bodies / February 11, 2014 / Urgent Interventions / Human rights defenders / OMCT.