The 54th Session of the Human Rights Council
11 September - 13 October 2023
Item 4: General debate on human rights situations that require the Council's attention
27th September 2023
Joint Statement of Association of Geneva International Centre for Justice and Meezaan Centre for Human Rights
Delivered by Lené Sophia Strydom
Thank you, Mr. Vice President,
We would like to draw the Council’s attention to the increased restrictions on freedom of expression and civil society, particularly for non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
For example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has resulted in numerous human rights abuses, including the displacement of Palestinians, restrictions on movement, and the targeting of civilian populations. Freedom of expression is stifled through censorship and the arrest of journalists, academics, and activists critical of Israeli policies. Additionally, checkpoints and security barriers disrupt daily life, affecting Palestinians' ability to work, attend school, and access healthcare facilities.
In Iraq, we noticed a considerable increase this year in judicial intervention and repressive laws which are spreading, with increased restrictions on freedoms to express, participate, assemble and associate. Those who criticise these rulings or the corruption of governmental leaders are often subjected to prosecutions followed by unfair sentences.
Civil society leaders and human rights activists are also exposed to harassment and threats of this kind, and all of this is in violation of the Iraqi Constitution, Iraq’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other pledges that Iraq has made to United Nations bodies.
Meezaan and Geneva International Centre for Justice condemn the human rights violations in Palestine and Iraq and demand international attention to uphold human rights principles and international law to ensure justice, security, and dignity for all.