June 6-23, 2017, IFOR's Representatives in Geneva attended the 35th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. IFOR's Representatives Derek Brett, Hans Ulrich Gerber and IFOR Fellow Martina Lanza worked with IFOR's members and contacts around the world to provide oral statements, submit written statements and host side events during the council.
Before the beginning of the session, IFOR submitted a written statement entitled “Independence of Judges and Lawyers: the case of Tibet”(Agenda ITEM 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, Political, economic, social and cultural rights, Including the right to development).
During the session, IFOR delivered four oral statements on the following topics of concern:
- Transnational companies cooperation with Moroccan authorities and the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people (Agenda Item 3 Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development);
- Situation of Human rights in Eritrea: gross violations and the military service as slave labour (Agenda Item 4: Interactive dialogue with special rapporteur on Eritrea);
- Situation of human rights in Ukraine: no compliance with international standards on the right to conscientious objection and objectors as refugees in Italy (Agenda Item 10: Interactive dialogue on the High Commissioner's oral presentation on Ukraine);
- Extension of all appropriate assistance to Saharawi People as Non Self-Governing Territory (Agenda item 10: General Debate on Technical assistance and capacity‑building).
In addition to these oral statements, IFOR held or co-sponsored the following side events inform diplomats, NGOs, and other participants of the HRC:
- June 14th, IFOR co-sponsored the side event entitled “Human Rights situations – seeking solutions (The Case of Palestine and Tibet)” organized by Society for threatened peoples and held.
- June 15th, IFOR held – in cooperation with the Front Polisario representation at UN Geneva - the side event entitled “Pacific resistance under Occupation Western Sahara”. The side event has showed the film “Rifles or Graffiti. The nonviolent struggle for the Saharawi People” directed by the Spanish director Jordi Oriola Folch.
- Also on June 15th, IFOR held the side event entitled “Freedom of expression. A dialogue with the Special rapporteur”. This side event has held with the aim of introducing the role and mandate of the Special Rapporteur David Kaye and with the hope to engage in a dialogue with the attending NGOs. The side event has been moderated by Representative Hansuli Gerber (Former IFOR president).
- The 19 June, IFOR co-sponsored the side event entitled “the Right to Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Towards Implementation”. The side-event was co-organized by the UN Missions of Costa Rica, Croatia and Poland, the Quaker United Nations Office and IFOR. The goal of the event was to provide a fuller presentation of the OHCHR’s Analytical Report on Conscientious Objection to Military Service. The event was moderated by Laurel Townhead of the Quaker UN Office and Speakers included:
- Ambassador Vesna Batistić Kos, Permanent Mission of Croatia
- Ambassador Piotr Stachanczyk, Permanent Mission of Poland
- Yongsuk Lee, World Without War (Video Message)
- Michael Wiener, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
In addition to the above statements and events, IFOR's Representatives followed with deep concern the Human Rights Council meetings and side events related to the following topics: Freedom of expression, Conscientious Objection, International solidarity, the Right to Peace, Rights of the child and child soldiers, Human rights situation in Eritrea, Human Rights situation in Ukraine, Human Rights situation in Turkey.