Brussels, 21 January 2011 – A 022/11 – 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 deplores the decision of an Israeli military court to increase to 16 months the sentence of Mr. Abdallah Abu Rahma, a peaceful Palestinian activist committed to non violent protest against the route of the Israeli separation barrier through his West Bank village of Bil’in. She recalls the legitimate right of the Palestinians to engage in peaceful demonstrations”.


NEW DELHI (21 January 2011) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, expressed her concern for a contraction of the space for civil society in India, despite the country’s “comprehensive and progressive legal framework as a guarantor of human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as the existence of the National Human Rights Commission as well as a number of state and statutory commissions mandated to promote and protect human rights.”

“I am particularly concerned at the plight of human rights defenders working for the rights of marginalized people, i.e. Dalits, Adavasis (tribals), religious minorities and sexual minorities, who face particular risks and ostracism because of their activities,” Ms. Sekaggya said at the end of her first fact-finding mission to the country. (more…)


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.”


GENEVA (31 December 2010) – UN human rights experts* are deeply concerned that, according to credible sources, enforced or involuntary disappearances, arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and acts of sexual violence may have occurred or may still be occurring in Côte d’Ivoire in relation to the presidential elections.

“When committed in certain circumstances, enforced disappearances amount to a crime against humanity,” warns the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. “Those who have perpetrated such horrendous acts shall be held accountable.” (more…)