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FIACAT at the Commission on Human Rights’ 58th session

FIACAT’s priorities at the UN for 2002

In view of its limited means, the FIACAT UN group has over the last few years decided to focus its work on priorities, while continuing to follow some issues from one year to the next.

Reminder :

In 2001, FIACAT’s priorities were :

-  The Human Rights (HR) situation in Brasil
-  Torture FIACAT also closely observed how the United Nations dealt with the following issues :
-  The death penalty
-  Protection of human rights defenders
-  HR in Cameroon, Colombia, Mexico, the Moluccas (Indonesia), the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chechnya

Priorities for 2002

- Impunity

Why ?

• Because impunity is currently being discussed at the UN. The Statute of Rome setting up the International Criminal Court (ICC) will come into effect shortly.

FIACAT, as part of the Coalition of NGOs for an ICC, has been very involved in this area. However, impunity is still rife in numerous countries around the world. Throughout 2002 FIACAT will lay particular emphasis on the deep-rooted climate of impunity in Chechnya and in Togo.

How ? • By accrediting Zaïnap Gashaeva, Chairman of the Russian NGO “Echo of War” through an oral statement during the 58th session of the Commission for Human Rights (CHR) ;
• By issuing a written statement on impunity (in Chechnya and Togo) during the CHR session ;
• By organising a parallel meeting with other NGOs on Chechnya during the CHR session ;
• By closely following the moves towards setting up the ICC (Sylvie Bukhari de Pontual has been following the drafting of this instrument for a number of years and regularly participates in meetings of the Coalition of NGOs for an ICC).

- HR in Cameroon

Why ?

• Because FIACAT is strongly committed with the Cameroon ACAT in this area. During the 57th session of the CHR in 2001, as a result of the terror meted out by the Operational Command (OC) in the Littoral province, FI.ACAT issued an oral statement and published a press communiqué jointly with several other NGOs.

One year later, the terror which has already left several thousand dead, still continues. Thus the HR situation in Cameroon is still a priority.

How ?

• By issuing a written statement on the matter at the next CHR session, demanding in particular that an independent international commission of enquiry be sent to the area ;
• By issuing an oral statement on the matter during the CHR session ;
• By organising a parallel meeting on the HR situation in Cameroon with other NGOs as part of the CHR session.

- HR in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Why ?

• Because the UN is following very closely the steps being taken in political discussions to resolve the conflict in DRC. The civilian population is hostage to serious violations of their fundamental rights.

FIACAT, together with the DRC ACAT, has been following the matter carefully for a number of years. Last year the Federation issued an oral statement on the matter.

How ?

• By issuing a written statement on HR in DRC at the 58th session demanding that Intercongo dialogue be encouraged in order to resolve the conflict, that all be done to ensure that those responsible for terror be brought before an international court of justice swiftly and that an independent international commission of enquiry be sent to the area ;
• By accrediting Moïse Cifende during the session to enable him to continue the NGOs’ lobbying on DRC.

- Terrorism / Torture

Why ?

• Because since the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, many countries throughout the world have brought in anti-terrorist laws which seriously violate a number of fundamental rights and which give the impression of legitimising torture in dealing with presumed terrorists.

How ?

• By issuing a written statement on the matter at the next CHR session in which FIACAT reiterates the fact that there can be no exception to the ban on torture, emphasises that the 11 September attacks must not serve as a pretext for implementing security-oriented policies and insists on the ratification of all international and regional instruments in the fight against torture.
• By participating in a parallel meeting on 9 April 2002 by the Coalition of international NGOs Against Torture (CINAT), of which FIACAT is a member. Sylvie Bukhary de Pontual from the FIACAT UN group took part.

- Protection for HR defenders

Why ?

• Because in 2001 the ACAT network had to deal with the problem head on. In October 2001, in Mexico, several HR defenders, including Juan Antonio Vega, a member of the internional FIACAT bureau, received death threats. Some representatives of the Cameroon ACAT were also harassed.

FIACAT immediately alerted the UN bodies that are responsible for this area, including the special representative for HR defenders, Mrs Hina Jilani.

How ?

• By lobbying for the defenders of HR at the next CHR session.

FIACAT throughout 2002 will be closely following how the UN deals with the issue of the death penalty and will be lobbying in favour of a non-mandatory Protocol to be annexed to the Convention against Torture.

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