17thSession, 30th May – 17th June 2011
Item 3: InteractiveDialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or ArbitraryExecutions and the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Check against delivery
Oral statement delivered by the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT), a non-governmental organisation with general consultative status
Thank you, Mr. President.
The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) welcomesthe report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or ArbitraryExecutions on “Protecting the right to life in the context of policingassemblies” which is very timely, in particular in light of the unfoldingevents in the Middle East and North Africa. The report providesguidance for States to avoid arbitrary deprivation of life during protests,which OMCT urges States to implement.
The Special Rapporteur, along with other mandateholders, has previously expressed its concern about the situation in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, among others,with regard to the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters in clearviolation of international law. Security forces in those countries havecontinued to blatantly use unlawful and excessive force, including widespreaduse of beatings, rubber and live ammunitions, against generally peacefulprotests. The violent repression, aimed at silencing any dissident voices, hasresulted in over hundreds dead and thousands injured. The OMCT is concernedthat the situations can further escalate to unprecedented levels in the comingdays, and urges these States to immediately put an end to the deadly crackdown,and to this Human Rights Council to address promptly these violations.
As highlighted by the Special Rapporteur in hisreport, ensuring accountability for human rights violations, including of theright to life, during protests, is needed to prevent further violations. Thisparticularly holds true for countries undergoing transition. In this regards,OMCT supports the Special Rapporteur’s call for independent, impartial andexhaustive investigations and justice to all of the victims of the violentprotests that took place at the beginning of the year in Tunisia and Egypt. OMCT furthercalls on the countries undergoing transition to engage in decisive legal andpolicy reforms to fully guarantee the right of people to engage in peacefulprotests, including by repealing long-term emergency laws, ensure that they cando so without fear or threat, and to ensure that the State security forcescomply fully with international standards on the use of force and firearms.
Mr. Special Rapporteur, in light of the recent eventsin Pakistan, notably with theAbbottabad operation, do you intend to follow-up on your predecessor’s study ontargeted killing?
Turning to the report of the Special Rapporteur on theIndependence of Judges and Lawyers, OMCT wishes to highlight the case of VenezuelanJudge Maria Lourdes Afiuni, who was arrested on 10 December 2009, following her decision to release on bail adefendant, taking into account the recommendations of the United NationsWorking Group on Arbitrary Detention. Judge Afiuni is presently under housearrest and faces ongoing prosecution. The OMCT urges the Venezuelan authoritiesto ensure her safety at all times, end her persecution and guarantee that thetrial initiated against her meet all international standards of fair trial andis open to international observers.
Finally, Ms. Special Rapporteur, while wewelcome the topic of the report, we would appreciate if you could identifypertinent violations and cases that you think should be given particularattention in connection with the thematic addressed in your report.