HRHF draws attention to HR concerns in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kenya
The Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) voiced its concerns about the human rights situation in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kenya at the UN Human Rights Council session.
Tuesday, 27 September 2011, by HRHF
The Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) would like to alert the Council about the following situations:
In the Republic of Azerbaijan, authorities have cracked down all kinds of civil protests and limited the space for indoor gatherings since the Arab Spring. Authorisations for demonstrations in the city centres are relentlessly turned down and those who call for a peaceful demonstration are arrested ahead of demonstrations. Six opposition activists have recently been sentenced to terms of up to three years incarceration, following unfair trials over their role in anti-government protests. In addition, the Human Rights House Azerbaijan has still not been allowed to reopen, since its closure in March 2011 by an order of the Ministry of Justice.
Although Eynulla Fatullayev has been released in May 2011, the Human Rights House Foundation is very concerned about the Azerbaijani authorities’ actions against media independence and freedom of expression. The recent demolishing of the property of the human rights defender Leyla Yunus is not only an action against a human rights defender but also a sign of the authorities disrespect for human rights, including the right to property of Azerbaijani citizens.
In Georgia, the Law on Assemblies and Manifestation has excessively restricted the right to freedom of assembly. In May 2011, excessive use of force by the police resulted in dozens of injured persons and at least one death, which has allegedly resulted from the use of force by the police. More than ten demonstrators were transferred to different temporary detentions without any notice to their respective families or lawyers raising fears about their safety. Journalists covering the demonstrations and human rights defenders investigating the incident have faced physical and moral harassment. In July 2011 Georgia has accepted a Universal Periodic Review recommendation to review this law.
Human Rights House Foundation is also worried about the security of those who in Kenya are witnesses to the International Criminal Court (ICC), as well as other human rights defenders working on ICC. Recently a human rights defender from Kenya living as a refugee abroad has seen his private e-mail exchanges with Swiss and Dutch officials in Kenya and with a UN Special Rapporteur published on Internet without his permission. Those publishing the e-mails are clearly trying to find out where this witness is staying and thereby threatening him and putting his security at risk. We call upon the Council to exercise its influence in order for such cases to be investigated by national authorities. Those guilty of the violation of private communications and threats against human rights defenders, including ICC witnesses, need to be brought to justice. Countries in which witnesses live have a particular responsibility in protecting them.