Brussels, 8 October 2011 A 399/11 – The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:

“The High Representative wishes to express her concern over the 11 year prison sentence given to Iranian Human Rights Lawyer and activist, Ms Narges Mohammadi, a founding member and Executive Chair of Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi’s “Centre for Human Rights Defenders” (CHRD).

The High Representative is also concerned about Ms. Mohammadi’s health and the reports that she may not be receiving the medical attention she needs.

The High Representative has called on Iran numerous times to respect the work of human rights lawyers and activists. The sentence against Narges Mohammadi is yet another example of unjust persecution of those who show the courage and determination to stand up for human rights in Iran.”

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Brussels, 8 September 2011 A 351/11 – 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 welcomes the release on bail by the Bahraini authorities of the medical staff who had been detained in the wake of unrest this spring. The High Representative again urges the Bahraini authorities to conduct all trials of civilians in civilian courts, with due process and full rights to a fair and transparent trial, as promised by His Majesty King Hamad last month.

The High Representative also looks forward with great interest to the upcoming conclusions of the independent Commission of Inquiry on the events surrounding the unrest earlier this year”

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.”

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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”.

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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.”

Torture:
“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.”

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