GENEVA (14 January 2011) – A group of UN independent human rights experts* urged the Tunisian Government to control the use of force against peaceful demonstrators, after 21 deaths were officially confirmed over the weekend of 8-9 January. Credible human rights organizations have reported a much higher number of killings since the beginning of the protests in mid-December.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, warned that “the killing of innocent civilians is a clear violation of international law and is totally unacceptable in any society.” (more…)


Brussels, 14 January 2011 – A 015/11 – Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, today made the following statement:

“I am deeply disturbed to hear that a court in Iran has sentenced Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh to 11 years in prison. Ms Sotoudeh has stood in defence of human rights activists for many years. I was also dismayed to learn that journalist Ms Shiva Nazar Ahari has received a sentence of 4 years in prison, together with corporal punishment.

Both of these women have worked – in conditions of great difficulty – to secure and promote the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Iranian citizens. The Islamic Republic of Iran was recently elected to the membership of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. These are two women who have been deprived of the very rights they were fighting to protect.”