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PEN American Center submitted a brief to the United Nations on the climate for free expression in Bahrain. You can read a summary of NGO stakeholder submissions—including PEN’s submission—here.

WASHINGTON, 4 May (IPS) - Citing growing violence and polarisation along sectarian lines, human rights groups and independent experts here are urging Washington to exert more pressure on the government of Bahrain to free political prisoners and launch a serious dialogue with its opposition on major democratic reforms. 

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fictionthatmatters:

Freedom of the Press: in the Middle East, widely curtailed and often violated
““The media – old and new, local and international has paid a heavy price for its sustained and courageous efforts to inform local and international populations about the political upheavals in the Middle East.” These comments from Fateh Azzam, Head of the UN Human Rights regional office in the Middle East, on World Press Freedom Day, acknowledge the vital role played by the media in covering events as they have unfolded in the Middle East.”
(via Freedom of the Press: in the Middle East, widely curtailed and often violated)

fictionthatmatters:

Freedom of the Press: in the Middle East, widely curtailed and often violated

“The media – old and new, local and international has paid a heavy price for its sustained and courageous efforts to inform local and international populations about the political upheavals in the Middle East.” These comments from Fateh Azzam, Head of the UN Human Rights regional office in the Middle East, on World Press Freedom Day, acknowledge the vital role played by the media in covering events as they have unfolded in the Middle East.”

(via Freedom of the Press: in the Middle East, widely curtailed and often violated)

Stressing concerns of human rights groups about the deterioration of press conditions under the administration of President Rafael Correa, 17 members of the United Nations submitted recommendations to Ecuador on freedom of expression issues before the U.N. Human Rights Council this week. While Ecuador tried to pass off the criticism as resulting from ignorance, the states’ observations made clear that the international community is fully aware of Correa’s repressive tactics against the local media. 
CPJ, together with PEN International and Fundamedios, an Ecuadoran press freedom organization, submitted a report for consideration before the U.N. Human Rights Council.
(via Nations urge Ecuador to guarantee freedom of expression - Blog - Committee to Protect Journalists)

Stressing concerns of human rights groups about the deterioration of press conditions under the administration of President Rafael Correa, 17 members of the United Nations submitted recommendations to Ecuador on freedom of expression issues before the U.N. Human Rights Council this week. While Ecuador tried to pass off the criticism as resulting from ignorance, the states’ observations made clear that the international community is fully aware of Correa’s repressive tactics against the local media. 

CPJ, together with PEN International and Fundamedios, an Ecuadoran press freedom organization, submitted a report for consideration before the U.N. Human Rights Council.

(via Nations urge Ecuador to guarantee freedom of expression - Blog - Committee to Protect Journalists)

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PEN at the UN: Human Rights Council completes review of South Africa, Bahrain, Ecuador, and Tunisia
Last week, PEN was excited to see free expression issues take center stage during reviews of South Africa, Bahrain, Ecuador, and Tunisia at the UN Human Rights Council.
Click here for the full article.
Photo by 12thplaya on Creative Commons License.

PEN at the UN: Human Rights Council completes review of South Africa, Bahrain, Ecuador, and Tunisia

Last week, PEN was excited to see free expression issues take center stage during reviews of South Africa, Bahrain, Ecuador, and Tunisia at the UN Human Rights Council.

Click here for the full article.

Photo by 12thplaya on Creative Commons License.

united-nations:

Our UN Peacekeeping staff put their lives at risk working in places others can’t or won’t go. It is always with great sadness that we report the loss of lives of any of our colleagues.Our thoughts are with our colleagues in United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) where five peacekeepers and seven civilians were killed this week. At least nine injured others were injured in an ambush.

united-nations:

Our UN Peacekeeping staff put their lives at risk working in places others can’t or won’t go. It is always with great sadness that we report the loss of lives of any of our colleagues.

Our thoughts are with our colleagues in United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) where five peacekeepers and seven civilians were killed this week. At least nine injured others were injured in an ambush.


Children in the Syrian War: Tortured by One Side, Recruited by the OtherLast May, Syrian government forces stormed a primary school in As-Safira, Aleppo and took 55 children hostage, using them as human shields. This incident, as detailed in an annual United Nations report on children released this week, points to widespread atrocities committed against Syrian children by both government and opposition forces like the Free Syria Army (FSA).
"In Syria, schools are used as barracks and torture centers," said Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in an interview. "Children detained [are] sexually abused, raped, or [threatened that] their sisters will be raped. They are paying a very high price."
The report mentions a slew of abuses, including the recruitment of child soldiers, sexual violence and rape as a tool of war, the use of heavy weaponry and cluster munitions against civilian populations where children are present, and the targeting of schools and hospitals, which are protected under international law. In Syria, many children have not been to school in more than two years.

Children in the Syrian War: Tortured by One Side, Recruited by the Other

Last May, Syrian government forces stormed a primary school in As-Safira, Aleppo and took 55 children hostage, using them as human shields. This incident, as detailed in an annual United Nations report on children released this week, points to widespread atrocities committed against Syrian children by both government and opposition forces like the Free Syria Army (FSA).

"In Syria, schools are used as barracks and torture centers," said Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in an interview. "Children detained [are] sexually abused, raped, or [threatened that] their sisters will be raped. They are paying a very high price."

The report mentions a slew of abuses, including the recruitment of child soldiers, sexual violence and rape as a tool of war, the use of heavy weaponry and cluster munitions against civilian populations where children are present, and the targeting of schools and hospitals, which are protected under international law. In Syria, many children have not been to school in more than two years.

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UNESCO chief calls on Egyptian authorities to investigate death of three journalists

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today denounced the deaths of three Egyptian journalists and called for a thorough investigation into these incidents.
“I deplore the deaths of Ahmed Abdel Gawad, Mosab Al-Shami and Tamer Abdel Raouf,” said the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova., calling on Egyptian authorities “to do everything possible to ensure the security of media workers.”
Ms. Bokova expressed her distress and concern over the violence directed against the media in Egypt, where five media professionals have been killed while carrying out their duties in the span of a few days.

UNESCO chief calls on Egyptian authorities to investigate death of three journalists

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today denounced the deaths of three Egyptian journalists and called for a thorough investigation into these incidents.

“I deplore the deaths of Ahmed Abdel Gawad, Mosab Al-Shami and Tamer Abdel Raouf,” said the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova., calling on Egyptian authorities “to do everything possible to ensure the security of media workers.”

Ms. Bokova expressed her distress and concern over the violence directed against the media in Egypt, where five media professionals have been killed while carrying out their duties in the span of a few days.

Surveillance at the United Nations
The surveillance scandal has now reached the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, which opened its 24th session last week to a volley of questions about privacy and spying, many of them targeted at the United States and United Kingdom. (That’s perhaps not surprising, since U.N. representatives were among those listed as being monitored by the NSA and GCHQ).
The opening statement by the eminent South African human rights lawyer Navi Pillay (now the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights) warned of the “broad scope of national security surveillance in countries, including the United States and United Kingdom,” and urged all countries to “ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to prevent security agency overreach and to protect the right to privacy and other human rights.” On September 13, the German Ambassador Schumacher delivered a joint statement on behalf of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Hungary expressing their concern about the consequences of “surveillance, decryption and mass data collection.”

Surveillance at the United Nations

The surveillance scandal has now reached the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, which opened its 24th session last week to a volley of questions about privacy and spying, many of them targeted at the United States and United Kingdom. (That’s perhaps not surprising, since U.N. representatives were among those listed as being monitored by the NSA and GCHQ).

The opening statement by the eminent South African human rights lawyer Navi Pillay (now the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights) warned of the “broad scope of national security surveillance in countries, including the United States and United Kingdom,” and urged all countries to “ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to prevent security agency overreach and to protect the right to privacy and other human rights.” On September 13, the German Ambassador Schumacher delivered a joint statement on behalf of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Hungary expressing their concern about the consequences of “surveillance, decryption and mass data collection.”