Brussels, 5 August 2011 A 313/11 – The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:

“The High Representative expresses her concern over reports that the authorities in Belarus detained Mr Ales Bialiatski, a prominent human rights defender who is chairman of the non- governmental organization Viasna and Vice-President of the International Human Rights Federation, and that Mr Bialiatski’ s private residence was searched, with the participation of the state security services.

The High Representative calls on the authorities in Minsk to clarify as a matter of urgency the reasons for the reported detention of Mr Bialiatski. The High Representative reiterates her strong regret at repeated acts of intimidation and harassment of peaceful human rights defenders in Belarus, and at the continued refusal to grant legal status to independent human rights organisations in the country.”


Brussels, 5 August 2011 A 312/11 – The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:

“The High Representative expresses her serious concern over the rejection, on 2nd August, by the Supreme People’s Court, of lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu’s appeal against the 4 April Hanoi People’s Court decision sentencing him to seven years in prison and another three years of supervised probation.

The High Representative is very concerned by the treatment received by Mr Vu, the failure to respect due process and the upholding of the sentence at the appeal.

Such failure to uphold the law and the fundamental right of all persons to hold opinions and freely and peacefully express them – in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Vietnam is a party – is particularly disappointing in light of Vietnam’s good economic progress and its stated ambition to take a greater and more responsible place in the world.

The High Representative expresses her goodwill and readiness to continue to work in partnership with Vietnam on these and other human rights and rule of law issues, so that Vietnam’s full potential can be realised”.


GENEVA (5 August 2011) – A group of UN human rights experts* today warned that the scale and gravity of the violent crackdown in the Syrian Arab Republic continues unabated, and reiterated their call for an immediate end to the violent strategies adopted by the Government to quash the on-going demonstrations.

“We continue to receive reports on systematic use of excessive force resulting in killings and injuries; allegations of torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention of protestors; targeting of human rights defenders; and unjustified limitations on freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression,” the independent experts said.

Arbitrary executions:
“The indiscriminate use of heavy artillery against demonstrators cannot be justified; no State is allowed to use its military force against an unarmed civilian population regardless of the situation prevailing on the ground,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns. “The killings that result are clearly arbitrary executions and punishable under international law.”

“Syria has disregarded, and continues to, every international norm against torture and ill-treatment,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Méndez. “Its leaders must cease such acts immediately and take note that they will be held accountable for their action.”


Washington, D.C., 2 de agosto de 2011 – La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) expresa su condena por el asesinato de la defensora de los derechos de las mujeres Keila Esther Berrío Almanza, integrante de la Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas de Colombia. La CIDH dictó medidas cautelares con respecto a miembros de la Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas en 2009 y las amplió en dos ocasiones, en 2010 y 2011, a favor de todas y todos los miembros de la Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas (LMD) y 16 integrantes de la Liga Joven de la LMD.

Según información de público conocimiento, se manejan diversas hipótesis sobre los móviles de este crimen. La LMD ha expresado que este asesinato podría vincularse a las actividades de Keila Esther Berrio en defensa de los derechos de las mujeres.

La CIDH ha recibido con profunda preocupación información sobre asesinatos, agresiones, actos de hostigamiento y amenazas que sufren las mujeres defensoras de derechos humanos y activistas que trabajan por la defensa y promoción de los derechos de las mujeres en Colombia.

En particular, las beneficiarias de las medidas cautelares de la Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas han informado a la CIDH sobre la falta de respuesta oportuna por parte de las autoridades colombianas a su situación de riesgo y sobre los problemas y demoras que habrían experimentado en la implementación de las medidas cautelares. En respuesta a esta información, la CIDH ha remitido comunicaciones especiales al Estado y celebrado reuniones de trabajo tanto durante sus periodos de sesiones como durante una visita a Colombia realizada por la Relatora para los Derechos de las Mujeres en mayo de 2011. Específicamente, durante la mencionada visita la Relatora sobre los Derechos de la Mujer, Luz Patricia Mejía Guerrero, sostuvo reuniones dirigidas a impulsar el cumplimiento de las medidas cautelares otorgadas por la CIDH a organizaciones de mujeres y dar seguimiento del Acta de Compromiso firmada por el Estado de Colombia y las organizaciones de mujeres. Durante la misma, la Relatora analizó los problemas y obstáculos detectados en la implementación de estas medidas cautelares y enfatizó la necesidad de establecer un enfoque diferenciado para las medidas de protección que benefician a mujeres, que corresponda a las causas y consecuencias relacionadas con la situación de riesgo que enfrentan por razones de género. (más…)