Showing posts with label human rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label human rights. Show all posts

Friday, November 11, 2022

UN expert calls for lifting of long-lasting unilateral sanctions ‘suffocating’ Syrian people

    2:29 PM   No comments

 DAMASCUS/GENEVA (10 November) – UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights Alena Douhan today urged sanctioning States to lift unilateral sanctions against Syria, warning that they were perpetuating and exacerbating the destruction and trauma suffered by the Syrian people since 2011. 

“I am struck by the pervasiveness of the human rights and humanitarian impact of the unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria and the total economic and financial isolation of a country whose people are struggling to rebuild a life with dignity, following the decade-long war,” Douhan said.

In a statement following her 12-day visit to Syria, the Special Rapporteur presented detailed information about the catastrophic effects of unilateral sanctions across all walks of life in the country.

Douhan said 90 per cent of Syria’s population was currently living below the poverty line, with limited access to food, water, electricity, shelter, cooking and heating fuel, transportation and healthcare and warned that the country was facing a massive brain-drain due to growing economic hardship.

“With more than half of the vital infrastructure either completely destroyed or severely damaged, the imposition of unilateral sanctions on key economic sectors, including oil, gas, electricity, trade, construction and engineering have quashed national income, and undermine efforts towards economic recovery and reconstruction.

The expert said blocking of payments and refusal of deliveries by foreign producers and banks, coupled with sanctions-induced limited foreign currency reserves have caused serious shortages in medicines and specialised medical equipment, particularly for chronic and rare diseases.  She warned that rehabilitation and development of water distribution networks for drinking and irrigation had stalled due to the unavailability of equipment and spare parts, creating serious public health and food security implications.

“In the current dramatic and still-deteriorating humanitarian situation as 12 million Syrians grapple with food insecurity, I urge the immediate lifting of all unilateral sanctions that severely harm human rights and prevent any efforts for early recovery, rebuilding and reconstruction,” Douhan said.

“No reference to good objectives of unilateral sanctions justifies the violation of fundamental human rights. The international community has an obligation of solidarity and assistance to the Syrian people.”

The Special Rapporteur also dealt with other issues showcasing the multifaceted negative impact of sanctions, including international cooperation in the areas of science, arts, sports, preservation of national cultural heritage and restitution of cultural artefacts, access to new technologies, cyberspace and online information platforms, criminality and regional/international security, as well as the issue of frozen foreign assets of Syrian financial institutions and other entities.

“I urge the international community and the sanctioning states in particular, to pay heed to the devastating effects of sanctions and to take prompt and concrete steps to address over-compliance by businesses and banks in accordance with international human right law,” she said.

“In the words of one of my interlocutors, echoing numerous others: ‘I saw much suffering, but now I see the hope die,’” Douhan said.

During her visit the UN expert met representatives from national and local government institutions, non-governmental organisations, associations, humanitarian actors, businesses, UN entities, academia, religious leaders and faith-based organisations, as well as the diplomatic community. In addition to the capital Damascus, she also visited Homs city, rural Homs, and rural Damascus.

The Special Rapporteur will present a report to the Human Rights Council in September 2023.


Ms Alena Douhan (Belarus) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by the Human Rights Council in March 2020. Ms. Douhan has extensive experience in the fields of international law and human rights as, a Professor of international law at the Belarusian State University (Minsk), a visiting Professor at the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed conflict, (Bochum, Germany) and the Director of the Peace Research Centre (Minsk). She received her PhD at the Belarusian State University in 2005 and obtained Dr. hab. in International Law and European Law in 2015 (Belarus).

Ms. Douhan’s academic and research interests are in the fields of international law, sanctions and human rights law, international security law, law of international organizations, international dispute settlement, and international environmental law.

Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Human Rights Slogans Have been used to mask Deep Racism in the West: The Case of Denmark

    7:11 AM   No comments

 Denmark is one of the Scandinavian countries that many dream of traveling to, either for tourism or immigration, because of its bewitching beauty and “good face”, but behind this beauty and goodness is a despicable ugliness and dark darkness that has covered these countries due to its unjustified behavior towards immigrants and non-Westerners and its fear of Muslims.

In Denmark, that open country, you find political parties - such as the Danish People's Party (DPP) - who raise the slogan "There is only one civilization; There are also those who fear the identity threat that comes with immigrants, and many suffer from the "Islamophobia" represented by Muslims.

Government and a history of racism

In 2001 a conservative liberal coalition came to power in Denmark, marking the first time that the right had obtained a political majority in 100 years. But this change would not have been possible without the support of the anti-immigration nationalist Danish People's Party, taking advantage of the context of the 9/11 attacks that fueled anti-Muslim hatred and shaped the political discourse of the Danish People's Party that led to the elections and their aftermath, further fueling anti-immigration sentiment. shrouded in fears of Islamophobia.

This generally anti-immigration and Islamophobia-fueled alliance held in power until its defeat in the 2011 elections. Although the Danish People's Party was not part of the cabinet, it cooperated closely with the ruling coalition on most issues and received support for key political positions in return. So much so that the government was generally referred to as "VKO-Government" with the letter O representing the Danish People's Party. This hard-line party also gave its support to the leader of the Liberal Party, Lars Rasmussen, who headed the government from 2016 to 2019 and again without participating in it.

In the 2019 general elections, the SPD, led by Mette Frederiksen, won an additional seat, while support for the Danish People's Party and the Liberal Alliance collapsed, costing Rasmussen her majority, and Frederiksen was appointed to head a minority government led by her party with the support of a number of other parties.

But this Frederiksen was no better off than her predecessors as her election slogans were anti-immigration, although she changed her stance on immigration briefly after her victory by allowing more foreign workers, and also rolled back the previous government's plans to detain foreign criminals abroad.

Hostility to "Syrian" immigrants and the policy of "zero asylum"

This apparent change in the Danish government's attitudes did not last long. In 2019, the Danish immigration services decided a strange decision that sparked a lot of controversy. It states that "the violence in Damascus has stopped and the Syrians can be sent back to their country."

Unlike the United Nations and the European Union, Denmark saw Syria as safe for refugees to return from, but because men can be drafted into the army, and older women often have children enrolled in Danish schools, the new policy has affected both the younger and older segments of refugees.

A Guardian report revealed that in 2019, the Danish government notified about 1,200 refugees from the city of Damascus not to renew their residency permits, considering the area safe, which prompted Amnesty International to announce that Syrian citizens whose residency permits have been revoked may face torture and disappearance. Forced and arbitrary detention upon their return to Syria.

Lisa Blinkenberg, Amnesty International Denmark, said Denmark's policy towards asylum seekers and refugees has become significantly more hostile in recent years, especially with Prime Minister Frederiksen's 2019 declaration that Denmark wants "zero asylum".

However, Denmark's "zero asylum" policy appears to apply only to Syrian refugees or any "non-Western" refugee.

Last March, the Danish Immigration Service asked 98 municipalities to assess their ability to receive Ukrainian refugees, and the same department had begun withdrawing residence permits from Syrian refugees, in an attempt to force them to return to Syria, which it considered that some places there had become safe, which caused In the separation of many Syrian families after years of residence in Denmark.

In the past few years, Denmark has been at the forefront of European countries in enacting “malicious” policies that prevent individuals from seeking asylum, and announced that its policy does not allow asylum at all, and on top of these policies is the so-called “jewelry law” that allows the government to confiscate the property of asylum seekers , including their jewelry, to finance their stay, and the Danish government made it clear that Ukrainian refugees would be exempted from this law.

This year, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance called on Denmark to urgently address discrimination against Muslims, racism against minorities, and stop forced evictions of migrant families.

The Commission has raised concerns about Denmark's many shortcomings, including hate speech by Danish political parties that largely stereotype Muslims, including legal foreign workers and immigrants, as a "threat to Danish values ​​and culture".

Exporting Asylum and Separating Families

This discriminatory policy against "non-Western" immigrants did not stop there. Rather, it went beyond the state's attempts to deport immigrants to other countries to get rid of their burdens.

In June 2021 Parliament passed a law enabling Denmark to transfer procedures for people seeking asylum and residence permits for refugees to non-European countries for examination of their cases, as part of Copenhagen's latest tough legislation against immigration.

Amnesty International revealed that between 2020 and 2021, the Danish government had contacts with the authorities in Egypt, Morocco, Rwanda and Tunisia. It also entered into negotiations with Kosovo regarding the use of prison cells for 300 people convicted of crimes and awaiting expulsion from Denmark; As part of their sentence.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has warned against exporting the asylum process, and Gillian Triggs, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, noted that such practices threaten the rights of those seeking safety and protection, discredit and punish them, and can put their lives at risk.

Denmark has also sought to complicate refugee family reunification, with the European Court of Human Rights finding last July that Denmark had violated its international human rights obligations by imposing a law extending the time a newly arrived refugee must wait before applying for family reunification. For 3 years, she said that this would affect about 4,000 Syrian refugees, considering that this violates the right to family life.

The Danish ghetto..a unique case of racism

These discriminatory policies in Denmark have been moved to a higher stage through what is known locally as the "ghetto list", a list announced by the government in December of each year that includes areas specific to certain groups of residents who it considers to live in isolation from their surroundings. The Danish ghetto list included 29 regions in 2019.

In a report by Amnesty International on Denmark last year, the organization accused Denmark of pursuing an unprecedented discriminatory policy aimed at reducing the number of residents of "non-Western backgrounds", particularly in ghettos.

The Danish government assumes that removing the non-white population from these communities will solve its problems, which was stated by the Danish Minister of Home Affairs and Housing in 2021 when he revealed plans to reduce the number of people of “non-Western backgrounds” in “ghetto” areas to less than 30% by 2030.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance denounced the government’s “ghetto” for separating immigrants into “Westerners” and “non-Westerners,” and said, “The package of policies approved by the Danish government to deal with ghetto gatherings is a pure recipe for discrimination, incitement and unnecessary punitive measures towards the ghetto areas in Denmark, which are Poor and fragile population areas, the majority of which are of non-Western races, face marginalization and exclusion from the government and decision-makers.

The Commission's report concluded that "the List has fueled xenophobia, racial prejudice and intolerance against vulnerable minorities through its flawed and discriminatory criteria targeting individuals of non-European races."

She further noted that the Danish Government's punitive policies are extreme and counterproductive, while their designation of minority areas as ghettos perpetuates stigmatization and exclusion in Danish society. According to the report, this designation violates the European Convention on Human Rights and European Union law regarding the rights to non-discrimination, equality and adequate housing, as well as the right to equality before the law and equal treatment before the courts.

UNHCR had previously asserted that "a society cannot defend human rights unless it defends the rights of every human being, including refugees, migrants, stateless persons, minorities and others", and Denmark is now far from being described as a defender of human rights.

In 2015 Representatives of Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland, in addition to Denmark, clarified their position rejecting the European Parliament's plan to distribute one hundred and sixty thousand refugees to the member states of the Union.

  The International Organization for Migration announced that more than 430,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean since the beginning of this year, most of them have arrived in Greece, most of them are Syrians, followed by Afghans.

Monday, September 17, 2018

UN report documents Turkey's military’s targeting of civilians in Afrin, Syria.

    6:42 AM   No comments
Turkish operation in Afrin targeted civilians
The Turkish air force may have failed to take all feasible precautions prior to launching certain attacks, leading to the death of civilians during its attack on Afrin province of Syria, United Nations human rights investigators concluded in a report on Wednesday.

The REPORT, based on 400 interviews, documented the aerial and ground attacks of the Turkish Operation Olive Branch that began on January 20, 2018. It also documented human rights abuses by Turkish-backed rebels after the Turkish military occupied Afrin province on March 18, 2018.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Is There a Right to Immigrate?

    8:59 AM   No comments

1. The Immigration Question
Every year, close to one million individuals from foreign nations migrate to the United States legally. But many more are turned away.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Poor Generosity: The poorest Muslim country, Bangladesh, is doing more for refugees than all rich Arab Countries

    11:07 AM   No comments
Editors' Comment: Saudi Arabians rulers just spent nearly $500 trillions on weapons. When the Saudi rulers go on vacation, they take an entourage of 5000 people and spend 100's of millions of dollars on fancy hotels, luxurious cars, and security protection. But these rulers, whose wealth is derived from natural resources like oil and gas, contribute nothing when it comes to helping the poor and mitigating natural disasters. Poor countries, like Bangladesh, on the other hand, share whatever little they have with the needy. They remain the most generous people on the face of the earth despite the hardships they have endured from generations. The Bangladeshi people are now offering a helping hand to the Rohingya people who are escaping certain death in Myanmar.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Nobel Prize Winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, presiding over the Rohingya Genocide

    7:36 AM   No comments
Desmond Tutu condemns Aung San Suu Kyi: 'Silence is too high a price'
Nobel laureate issues heartfelt letter to fellow peace prize winner calling for her to speak up for Rohingya in Myanmar

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Human Rights Report: UK, USA, emboldened the government of Bahrain that is committing unlawful killings, torture, and imprisonment of peaceful protesters

    7:06 AM   No comments
A new report published by Amnesty International today sheds light on the repressive tactics used by the Bahraini government over the past year to crush civil society and violently crack down on protests, leading to the deaths of six people, including one child.

Monday, August 14, 2017

WHO: Yemen cholera infections exceed 500,000

    9:23 AM   No comments
The World Health Organization reports that Yemen's cholera outbreak has infected more than 500,000 people since April. Nearly 2,000 people have died.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Saudi Arabia's treatment of religious and ethnic minority is appalling, but no one cares or seem to be watching

    6:55 PM   No comments
Saudi Arabia is leading a military operation in Awamiyah, terrorizing tens of thousands of civilians and opposing the United Nations demand of protecting the traditional Mosawara neighborhood

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Saudi Arabia executes 4 prisoners for the charges of demonstrating after torture, unfair trial and without serious crimes charged

    7:06 AM   No comments

On July 11, 2017, Saudi Arabia executed four detainees: Amjad al-Moaibad, Yusuf al-Mushayyas, Zaher al-Basri and Mahdi al-Sayegh. The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights confirms that their execution a flagrant violation of international and domestic laws and included many abuses and violations. In addition it didn’t include serious consideration for the “right to life” which is provided for in article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that ” Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person”. By observing and monitoring the trial for two of them, the organization lacked fair trial conditions at all stages, from the arrest to interrogation to trial, sentencing and execution.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

#MosulLiberated = #MosulDestroyed

    7:11 PM   No comments
Celebrating the liberation of Mosul, What is there to celebrate?
Battle for Mosul: Amnesty accuses Islamic State, Iraq Government, US-led coalition of war crimes. Source

Monday, July 10, 2017

Court ruling over UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia a ‘deadly blow’ to Yemeni civilians

    7:06 PM   No comments
A UK court ruling that the government is entitled to continue authorizing arms supplies to Saudi Arabia is a potentially deadly setback to Yemeni civilians, Amnesty International said today.

العفو الدولية تنتقد رفض بريطانيا وقف بيع أسلحة للسعودية

    7:00 PM   No comments
قالت منظمة العفو الدولية إن رفض المحكمة العليا في لندن دعوى قضائية طالبت بوقف تصدير الأسلحة إلى المملكة العربية السعودية يُعدّ نكسة قد تكون قاتلة بالنسبة للمدنيين اليمنيين.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Raqqa operation and human rights concerns

    11:22 AM   No comments
(Beirut) – The United States-led coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and other local armed groups should make protecting civilians and respect for human rights a priority in the offensive to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today. The offensive was announced on June 6, 2017.

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