Viewing entries tagged
Human Rights Council

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IFOR Submits Joint Statement on the Illegal Occupation of Western Sahara

During the 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, IFOR joined a group of organizations calling attention to the repeated violations of international law through the ongoing occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco. The coalition of nongovernmental organizations submitted a report calling for the following:   

  • All High Contracting Parties to ensure that the Kingdom of Morocco respects the Fourth Geneva Convention in Western Sahara; 
  • The Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in Western Sahara; 
  • The Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the Human Rights of the Sahrawi people, including their right to self-determination and independence, in conformity with UNGA resolution 1514 (XV); 
  • The Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the Principles of International Law, including the Principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and the principle that States shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the Charter; 
  • The members of the Human Rights Council to create the mandate of Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights violations in the Occupied Territory of Western Sahara. 

Read the full written statement here.

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IFOR denounces threats to C.O.s in Turkey and Russia

During the 38th session of the Human Rights Council IFOR delivered an oral statement addressed to the Human Rights Commissioner condemning the targeting of conscientious objectors in Turkey and Russia. IFOR maintains a connection to the Turkish Conscientious Objector’s Organization VR-DER Vicdani Ret Dernegi, through our partners, the European Bureau of Conscientious Objection, and War Resisters International. In 2016, VR-DER held an event in honour of those that have refused, on grounds of conscience, to be recruited into the armed forces,. This led to the co-Chair of the organisation being summoned to answer charges of “making propaganda for terror”. IFOR denounced this and similar aggression directed towards nonviolent movements by the Russian Federation.

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IFOR Condemns Atrocities in Gaza

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IFOR Condemns Atrocities in Gaza

On Friday, May 18th, A special session of the Human Rights Council on the current situation in Gaza took place at the United Nations in Geneva. High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein denounced the violence and called for the creation of a Commission Of Inquiry. Many states condemned the attacks in Gaza. IFOR joined several NGOs condemning the attacks. In IFOR’s statement, our representative spoke in support of Israeli conscientious objectors and condemned the Israeli Defense Force, and the U.S. Government, holding them as the most responsible for the atrocities that were committed.

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Paramilitary Attacks Continue in Colombia: IFOR Submits Statement to Human Rights Council

IFOR's Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva worked closely with the dedicated international observation program supported by several IFOR branches known as FOR Peace Presence, to describe ongoing attacks on conscientious objectors and human rights defenders in Colombia. On February 2, they submitted a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council about the ongoing situation in Colombia. 

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Human Rights Council 35

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Human Rights Council 35

From June 6-23 IFOR's Representatives in Geneva attended the 35th Session of the UN 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 make oral statements, submit written statements and host side events during the council. 

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IFOR at HRC 34: Colombia, Turkey, Eritrea & Western Sahara

In March of 2017 IFOR's representatives in Geneva engaged two important UN Human Rights bodies: the Human Rights Council (34th session) and the Human Rights Committee (119th session).

During the Human Rights Council session, IFOR delivered seven oral statements addressing critical concerns of IFOR members around the world. IFOR spoke to situations in Colombia, Eritrea, Turkey, and Western Sahara in particular as well as issues of torture and the forced recruitment of child soldiers in general. 

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UN Geneva: IFOR Condemns Ongoing Attacks in Colombia

On March 22, during the general debate following the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' report on the situation of Human Rights in Colombia, IFOR delivered a statement that spoke to the experiences of its members in Colombia. 

IFOR Fellow Martina Lanza delivering IFOR comments during the High Commissioner's Report

IFOR Fellow Martina Lanza delivering IFOR comments during the High Commissioner's Report

The statement was delivered by IFOR Fellow Martina Lanza and it underlined our concern for the ongoing attacks against human rights defenders and on the militarization of the country, even after the peace accords. To read the full statement please click here. 

(video of the remarks can be viewed here).

IFOR has deep relationships with human rights defenders in Colombia. IFOR is represented in Colombia by SERPAJ-Colombia and IFOR branches from Sweden, Austria, U.S., and the U.K. work collaboratively to provide protective accompaniment to human rights defenders in several regions of the country. The coordinated work of IFOR Austria, U.S. and U.K. is organized as FOR Peace Presence. IFOR members have accompanied the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó for the past 15 years. 

 

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IFOR reports on Conscientious Objection to UN OHCHR

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is working on its four-year analytical report on conscientious objection to military service. The report will be introduced and opened to discussion during the June 2017 session of the Human Rights Council.

IFOR responded to the invitation of OHCHR to submit information on the topic last February. In our submission, we concentrate only on developments after 2013, because early details were comprehensively summarized in the first Quadrennial Report (A/HRC/23/22, 3rd June 2013).
Regarding to the international legal and normative framework, the submission reports developments at the UN and regional level. In the second part, it provides analyses, speaks of encouraging developments, best practices and remaining challenges at the national level.
 

The read the full text of IFOR's submission click here.

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Expressing Concern for Human Rights in Turkey

On September 14, during the 33 Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, IFOR's Main Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Derek Brett, expressed concern for the situation of Human Rights in Turkey. In his statement, Brett noted that:

"Even before the massive detentions and new restrictions on the freedom of movement, assembly and expression which followed the attempted military coup, we were deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, and disturbed by the lack of attention which it has received in this Council. Our contacts on the ground report ongoing breaches of International Humanitarian Law and widespread human rights violations, particularly in the south-east of the country, including the targeting of civilians in military operations, extrajudicial executions, the demolition of towns and villages, leading to massive displacement, and the torture and long term detention of civilians, particularly in prisons in the cities of Urfa and Siverek." 

IFOR called on the Turkish authorities to heed the repeated appeal for unfettered access to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the staff of his office, particularly to the South – East of Turkey.

IFOR also hosted a side event for diplomats and others featuring Peri Hevi, a journalist who spoke about the human rights situation in Turkey after the election of June 2015 and Ramazan Baytar, independent activist who spoke about the coup attempt and the aftermath.

IFOR maintains contact with many human rights activists in Turkey, particularly conscientious objectors. Derek Brett spoke about the situation facing conscientious objectors during the side event hosted by IFOR. 

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IFOR & The 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

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IFOR & The 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

During the Session, IFOR hosted a group of ten human rights activists from Mexico, Colombia, South Sudan, and Western Sahara, brought to Geneva through their partnership with the SweFOR, IFOR's Swedish branch.

Representing a variety of different organizations in countries facing similar yet distinct challenges to human rights, the activists experienced a week of training on the various ways in which the work of the United Nations in Geneva can help to protect human rights on the ground.  They attended debates in the Human Rights Council and watched it adopt the Report on the review of a member state under the Universal Periodic Review; they met with staff of the High Commissioner's Office working with some of the Council's special procedures, and heard how these take up complaints about human rights violations sent to them by activists in country; they saw two of the ten “treaty bodies” - the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Committee on the Rights of the Child – questioning delegations from a “state party”.  Some met with the World Council Churches – also based in Geneva – and the Lutheran World Federation; meanwhile the rest of the party met with other leading ngos – Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and also with UPR-Info and the CCPR Centre - ngos with the specific purpose of facilitating the access of in-country activists to specific UN procedures (the Universal Periodic Review and the Human Rights Committee, which oversees the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, respectively).

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