Pakistan: Multiplication of hate crimes – the authorities must react strongly and ensure

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

Press release

Pakistan: Multiplication of hate crimes – the authorities must react strongly and ensure
the protection of those who stand in favour of human rights

http://www.fidh.org/Multiplication-of-hate-crimes-the-authorities

Paris-Geneva, March 4, 2011. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), express their utmost dismay following the assassination of several individuals who had stood in favour of human rights in Pakistan, notably those of religious minorities.

On March 1, 2011, Mr. Naeem Sabir Jamaldini, shop keeper and Coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) was shot five times at 5 p.m. on Chakar Khan Road in Khuzdar district by two unknown masked men riding a motorcycle. He was hit in the head and died instantly on the spot. Mr. Naeem Sabir Jamaldini, a renowned human rights defender in the region, had mobilised the community groups for the promotion and the defence of human rights and was continuously reporting human rights violations committed in the Balochistan region, documenting and denouncing the abduction of Baloch activists and acting for the recovery of the corpses1. Newspapers reported that an organisation calling itself the Baloch Musallah Difa Army had claimed responsibility. They also said that Mr. Naeem Sabir Jamaldini’s younger brother, a student, would also be on their hit list.

On the following day, in the morning, the Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, was also shot dead by gunmen who ambushed his car in Islamabad. He was on his way to work when his vehicle was sprayed with bullets. Previously, Mr. Bhatti had received death threats related to his opposition against a blasphemy bill which provides for the death sentence against anyone “insulting” Islam. A group calling itself the Tehreek-e-Taliban Punjab (Taliban movement Punjab) has claimed responsibility for the killing and said that he has been killed for his stance on the blasphemy bill. Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti had been active as a human rights defender before he joined the federal cabinet.

In addition our organisations recall that on January 4, 2011, Mr. Salman Taseer, Punjab Governor, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards who admitted murdering the Governor because he had spoken out against the same blasphemy law.

Our organisations express their utmost concern about the ongoing climate of fear faced by dissenting voices in Pakistan, where several human rights defenders have been killed recently. Furthermore, our organisations urge the Pakistani authorities to order an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the murders of Messrs. Naeem Sabir Jamaldini, Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer, which seem to have been merely aimed at sanctioning and silencing their work or stance in favour of the right of religion and the rights of minorities. The authorities should prosecute all those responsible and try them before a competent and impartial tribunal. In addition, the authorities should immediately adopt measures to ensure the safety of those who are particularly vulnerable to acts of violence by illegal armed groups.

More generally, our organisations call upon the Pakistani authorities to put an end to any kind of harassment against all those who stand in favour of human rights in the country and to guarantee their protection, in conformity with the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders as well as with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Pakistan.

For further information, please contact:
FIDH: Karine Appy / Arthur Manet: + 33 1 43 55 25 18
OMCT: Alexandra Kossin / Seynabou Benga : + 41 22 809 49 39

Karine Appy
Chargée des relations presse
Press Officer
FIDH
17 passage de la main d’or
75011 Paris
France
Tél : 00 33 1 43 55 14 12 / 00 33 6 48 05 91 57
Fax : 00 33 1 43 55 18 80
http://www.fidh.org

Russia: Complete Torture Case Investigation

Human Rights Watch
Front Line
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Civil Rights Defenders

Joint press release
Russia: Complete Torture Case Investigation
Safeguard Victim and Human Rights Defenders

 

(Moscow, March 4, 2011) – Russian authorities need to make swift and meaningful progress in investigating a case of disappearance and torture in Chechnya and punishing those responsible, Human Rights Watch, Front Line, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and Civil Rights Defenders said today. Russian authorities at the highest level need to ensure the safety of Islam Umarpashaev, the torture victim, as well as that of human rights defenders who are helping him seek justice, the groups said.

International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)

International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)

Press release

Return of an FIDH mission in Cote d’Ivoire

It is Urgent to Prevent the Escalation to a Civil War

http://www.fidh.org/It-is-Urgent-to-Prevent-the-Escalation-to-a-Civil

 

Nairobi, Paris, March 4, 2011 – An FIDH mission has just returned from Abidjan and reports that the situation prevailing in Cote d’Ivoire is extremely worrying .The mission’s conclusions reveal several signs indicating the beginnings of a civil war. FIDH urges the international community to intensify its efforts to put an end to this crisis and to avoid being the witness of a human catastrophe which is already causing a large number of victims everyday. The repression and clashes have already resulted in hundreds of deaths and dozens of enforced disappearances.

In its mission note to be published next week, FIDH reports several armed clashes in different neighborhoods of Abobo, Koumassi and Yopougon (Abidjan) between the elements of the Defense and Security Forces (FDS), loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, supported by supplementary militias and the “Invisible Commando”, loyal to Alassane Ouattara. The mission delegates collected testimonies from many civilians fleeing the bombings, street fights, murders and arbitrary arrests. 

“The situation there is very serious. There are constant clashes. I have had no water or electricity for two days. Everything has become complicated: schools are closed, the market is almost deserted and prices have increased. Even eating has become impossible” a person who had just left the district of Colatier in Abobo declared to the mission.

The inflammatory speeches, delivered mainly by the Gbagbo camp, in particular by his Minister of Youth, Mr. Charles Blé Goudé, and propagated by certain media, are being followed by acts of violence against the population and the United Nations forces. While clashes are continuing, another “war” is raging: the media and communication “war”. On the one side, articles insulting the President Ouattara are being published and constant incitement to hatred against the United Nations and foreigners is being perpetrated. On the other side the signal of the Radio télévision ivoirienne (RTI – the national TV) was recently destroyed; demonstrating the determination of each side to adopt a strategy of tension. Moreover, on 25 February, the National Press Council – the body regulating the Ivorian press, whose former members have been removed by Laurent Gbagbo and replaced by the latter’s allies – announced the one-week suspension of the daily Le Nouveau Réveil and imposed a fine of 2 million FCFA to newspapers close to Ouattara, naimly Le Patriote, Le Jour Plus and Nord-Sud.

Public and individual freedoms are being restricted: freedom of movement is being hampered by the Young Patriots (Jeunes Patriotes) and armed militias, freedom of press is being flouted, and freedom of opinion is being subjected to the notion of belonging to one side or the other. In this context, human rights defenders, who seek to provide objective information about the situation, are regularly threatened.

The political crisis resulting from the electoral dispute, the embargo and the maneuvers of the Gbagbo camp to maintain control on the economy plunge the country into an economic and social disaster. Ivorians are on edge. In this context, there is a risk that popular reactions may be totally uncontrollable.

Faced with this situation, the African Union’s mediation is getting overwhelmed and the ONUCI is unable to effectively carry out its mandate to protect civilians.

“Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to leave the power is leading the country towards a civil war. The situation is degenerating and he and his clan bear responsibility for this crisis including with regard to international criminal justice” declared Roger Bouka, FIDH Secretary General who took part in the mission.

“The African Union must not fail in Cote d’Ivoire. The mediation must urgently reach a solution guaranteeing respect for popular will expressed by Ivorians during the polls. Any other result would constitute a “carte blanche” to any undemocratic initiative which may result in further conflicts throughout the region”, declared Sidiki Kaba, FIDH Honorary President.

The United Nations are already hampered in their mandate to protect civilians. What will be their capacity of action in case the conflict spreads? There is a risk that the UN be relegated to the role of spectator. “The ONUCI should be immediately strengthened in its capacity of action – in particular through the effective deployment of the 2000 peacekeepers decided in the Security Council Resolution 1967 – and must show a pro-active rather than defensive attitude; an international commission of inquiry must investigate on the serious human rights violations reported; and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court must open an investigation on the crimes committed in Cote d’Ivoire” affirmed Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. 

Press contact : Karine Appy : + 33 6 48 05 91 57


Karine Appy
Chargée des relations presse
Press Officer
FIDH
17 passage de la main d’or
75011 Paris
France
Tél : 00 33 1 43 55 14 12 / 00 33 6 48 05 91 57
Fax : 00 33 1 43 55 18 80
http://www.fidh.org