The spokesperson of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton issued a following statement today:

“The High Representative Catherine Ashton is deeply concerned by the conviction of Kyrgyz human rights defender Azimjan Askarov to a life sentence and confiscation of his property, in the light of the manifest violations of his right to a fair trial. This ruling sends a negative signal with regards to the situation of human rights defenders in the country and runs counter to ongoing efforts towards inter-ethnic reconciliation.

High Representative remains seriously concerned by reports that Mr Askarov was ill-treated while in police custody and that his lawyer and relatives were harassed. She wishes to remind the Kyrgyz authorities of their obligations to investigate allegations of torture in an impartial and prompt manner and to protect human rights defenders in light of the commitments freely undertaken by Kyrgyzstan under international and domestic law.

Should Mr Askarov decide to appeal, HR urges the authorities to do everything in their power to ensure that his right to a fair trial is respected, and that the safety of the defendants, their relatives and their lawyers and the impartiality of the proceedings is ensured.

Mr Askarov and his non-governmental organisation « Air », have carried out important work in documenting prison conditions and the treatment of detainees by police in the Jalal-Abad province, and recently recorded the violent incidents that took place in the region during the June events.

The EU attended the full proceedings of the trial, and has regularly raised the case of Mr Askarov with the authorities. The EU will continue to monitor the overall situation of human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan.”

Banjul, le 14 Septembre 2010

* Le Rapporteur Spécial de la Commission Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples (CADHP) sur les Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme en Afrique, M. Mohamed Béchir Khalfallah exprime sa profonde inquiétude suite aux informations reçues concernant l’enlèvement et la soumission aux mauvais traitements d’un défenseur des droits humains.

* Selon des informations reçues de sources fiables, Sylvestre Bwira Kyahi, Président de la société civile dans le territoire de Masisi, aurait été enlevéle 24 août 2010, suite à la rédaction et à la signature d’une lettre ouverte adressée au Président congolais Joseph Kabila, le 30 juillet 2010, sollicitant le retrait du territoire de Masisi de toutes les unités de l’armée et de la police constituées d’anciens membres de groupes armés récemment intégrés dans l’armée et la police congolaises.

* L’information reçue par la CADHP mentionne que Sylvestre Bwira Kyahi aurait été retrouvé le mardi 30 août 2010 près de Sake, à une trentaine de kilomètres à l’ouest de Goma visiblement faible, le visage tuméfié, les bras portant des traces de cordes avec lesquelles il aurait été ligoté pendant sa détention.

* La CADHP exprime son inquiétude quant à la situation des défenseurs des droits humains au RD Congo qui ne cesse de se détériorer.

* La CADHP est profondément préoccupé par les meurtres de journalistes et de responsables d’associations de défense des droits humains – dont Bruno Koko Cirambiza, Didace Namujimbo, Serge Maheshe et Pascal Kabungulu Kibembi – restent impunis, essentiellement en raison du fait que les procureurs civils et militaires se sont abstenus à ce jour d’ordonner l’ouverture d’enquêtes vigoureuses et impartiales, et du manque évident de volonté. (suite…)

Brussels, 24 August 2010 A 167/10 – The spokesperson of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton issued the following statement today :

« The High Representative is concerned by the conviction of 39-year-old Abdallah Abu Rahma in an Israeli military court on charges of incitement and organising and attending demonstrations. He is due to be sentenced shortly. The EU considers Abdallah Abu Rahma to be a Human Rights Defender committed to non violent protest against the route of the Israeli separation barrier through his West Bank village of Bil’in.

The EU considers the route of the barrier where it is built on Palestinian land to be illegal. The High Representative is deeply concerned that the possible imprisonment of Mr Abu Rahma is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the separation barriers in a non violent manner. « 

Note to Editors: The EU attended all court hearings in the case of Abdallah Abu Rahma, who has been in detention since 10 December 2009. »

Washington, D.C., August 2, 2010—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) strongly condemns the murder of an indigenous leader and human rights defender of the Wayúu people of Colombia.

According to information the Commission has received, on July 27, 2010, Luis Alfredo Socarrás Pimienta, a Wayúu indigenous leader, dentist, and human rights defender, was killed in Riohacha. The information available indicates that the crime was committed by a hit man who shot him in the doorway of his house and then fled.

In the past year, Socarrás Pimienta had led several demonstrations carried out by the Wayúu people to protest the situation of their individual and collective human rights and to demand a better quality of life for their members. The indigenous leader had also participated in two elections, as candidate of the Polo Democrático Alternativo party for the mayor’s office of the municipality of Manaure, and had managed dental-care campaigns for the communities of the Upper and Middle Guajira Peninsula. (suite…)

Brussels, 26 July 2010, 12617/10, PRESSE 221 – The EU strongly condemns the sentencing of Mr. Haitham Al Maleh and Mr. Muhannad Al Hassani, two Syrian lawyers, to three years in prison respectively, on charges that appear to be in breach of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

The EU also deeply deplores the renewed arrest on 17 June of Mr. Ali Al-Abdullah, a Syrian writer, a day after his release from prison having completed his previous sentence.

The EU is in particular gravely concerned by the situation of Mr. Al Maleh, due to his fragile health and advanced age.

The EU calls for the immediate release of MM. Al Maleh, Al Hassani and Al-Abudullah.

The EU calls on the Syrian Government to reconsider all cases of prisoners of conscience in accordance with its national Constitution and its international commitments and to immediately release all such prisoners. (suite…)