“Human rights no longer treated as a priority, but as a pariah,” Zeid tells 25th anniversary gathering in Vienna
UN Office of the High Commissioner
Vienna (22 May 2018) – In a speech delivered Tuesday at an international conference marking the 25th anniversary of a landmark human rights declaration, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein issued a stark warning that the world in general, including Europe, is back-sliding on human rights.
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by consensus on 25 June 1993, and heavily influenced by the atrocities occurring just across Austria’s border with the former Yugoslavia, laid down the blueprint for human rights in the post-Cold-War era. It also set in motion the establishment of the UN Human Rights Office that Zeid now heads.
“This anniversary could be the occasion for a polite celebration of the achievements of my Office over the past two and a half decades – and they are many,” Zeid told the delegates gathered in Vienna. “But today is not a time for soporific complacency. Human rights are sorely under pressure around the world – no longer a priority: a pariah. The legitimacy of human rights principles is attacked. The practice of human rights norms is in retreat. Here in Europe, ethno-populist parties are in the ascendant in many countries – fuelling hatred and scarring their societies with deepening divisions.”
Referring to Austria, the High Commissioner added “In this country – which more than most should be aware of the dangers of ethnically divisive rhetoric… – false and incendiary statements have been made which are fundamentally at odds with the Vienna Declaration.”
The full text of his 870-word statement can be read below: (more…)
by Maisam Abumorr
Source: Al Jazeera
I remember when I attended a three-day workshop on international law and human rights by the ICRC in Gaza, one of the attendees asked the trainer: “What do I do to be qualified to obtain those human rights?” The trainer replied without much thought: “Nothing. You should be a human, that’s all”.
The question now is, what am I supposed to do/be to be qualified as a human? As far as I can tell, I live like normal humans do. I love, I hate, I cry, I laugh, I make mistakes, I learn, I dream, I hurt, I get hurt, I love pizza, I watched Titanic 6 times, I have a crush on Bradly Cooper, I get sick, I sometimes tell lame jokes to which only I laugh and last time I checked myself in the mirror I very much looked human. (more…)
Ministry of Health Gaza
August 06, 2014
The Ministry of Health Gaza insists that any ceasefire agreement must guarantee the human rights of our people, most importantly, the right to health.
We therefore stress that any agreement arising out of the talks in Cairo must be based on international law, not self-interest.
We emphasise that international law is something that is applied without fear or favour, not negotiated.(more…)
July 08, 2014
We as internationals have a voice that Palestinians are denied. We raise it today to break the silence that permits Israeli violations against Palestinian people, and against you, through Israel’s breaches of international law. (more…)
“Best prospect now for realizing Palestinian self-determination is grassroots mobilization”- UN rights expert
GENEVA (8 May 2014) – The outgoing United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, today urged more businesses and civil society “to join the growing global solidarity movement to resist the prolonged Israeli occupation and creeping annexation of Palestine.”
His appeal comes in the wake of the collapsed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks brokered by the United States over the past nine months.
“Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve a just resolution to this conflict with human rights at its core, but the latest round of talks has again created false hopes and fuelled feelings of frustration,” the expert said. (more…)
The Gaza Interior Ministry today announced that the Reform and Rehabilitation Center in collaboration with an Independent Commission for Human Rights on Wednesday began a specialized course entitled “Human rights, Inmates and Law Enforcement” at the headquarters of the Authority in Gaza City.
The course provides workers with training in international and local human rights standards, to promote the rights of inmates in Gaza’s rehabilitation centers.
25 members of the Reform and Rehabilitation Directorate from all centers in the Gaza Strip are participating in the training, which takes place over 20 hours on three consecutive days.
In other recent moves, The Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza to develop humanitarian and international committee training courses.
Interior Ministry adviser for international affairs Maher Alrami noted when signing the MOU that since the Haniyeh government took control of the Gaza Strip in 2006, the Interior Ministry has put considerable effort into training its staff in humanitarian and human rights issues.
“The Islamic religion accords dignity and prestige to human beings in times of peace and of war,” Alramli said.
The Reform and Rehabilitation Directorate of Gaza’s Ministry of Interior is receiving increasing recognition in the Arab world for the quality of its rehabilitation programmes, which it conducts in co-operation with a range of organisations such as the Independent Commission for Human Rights, the ICRC, the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution, UNDOC, UNDP and others.
On the eve of the fifth anniversary of its brutal Operation Cast Lead, Israel launched a series of attacks on the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, injuring at least two people. One of the injured has been identified as Salem al-Asi, aged 41 years.
The targets included the Al Nafaq Street in Gaza City, which has barely recovered from being submerged by flood-waters during recent storms, adding further suffering for the already-reeling residents.
Thursday’s attacks follow hard on the heels of Israel’s killing of three year old Hala Abu Sabikha whilst playing in her yard. Hala’s aunt and other relatives were also injured when an Israeli tank fired three shells at the family home.
Israeli Human Rights organisation B’Tselem condemned that attack. “Deliberate firing at a home occupied by civilians, without its inhabitants having been given any prior warning and without the military ensuring that the civilians have vacated the premises, as appears to be the case in this situation, is unlawful,” they reported.
In response to what is a clear war crime, rockets were later fired from Gaza into Southern Israel, which according to Israel’s own military reports, “fell in open areas, causing no damage or injuries.”
But in blatant contravention of proportionality of response, Israel then launched a series of air strikes on the Gaza population.
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Israeli forces have killed 4 civilians near the Gaza Strip border fence in 2013, and wounded 55, including 12 children.
Rockets from Gaza have not killed or injured any Israelis in the same period, although one Israeli citizen, Bedouin labourer Salah Abu Latif, 22 was killed by sniper fire last week. The Palestinian Resistance Committees (PRC) claimed responsibility for that shooting.
During Operation Cast Lead, some 1500 Palestinians were killed by Israel, while there were only 13 Israeli deaths, four of them from ‘friendly’ fire.
Operation Cast Lead also ushered in a new era in the use of prohibited weaponry, such as white phosphorous and depleted uranium, for which Israel has still not been held to account in the international arena.