𝗡𝗼𝗻-𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗔𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘀’ 𝗼𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝘂𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀 𝗹𝗮𝘄
𝗔𝗰𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘃𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗯𝘆 𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗮 𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗮𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗮𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝗘𝗮𝘀𝘁
Association Ma’onah for Human Rights and Immigration, jointly with Geneva International Centre for Justice, hosted a Side-Event at the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council on Non-State actors’ obligations under human rights law.
As conflicts in the Middle East intensify, lengthen, and incorporate a wider range of actors, human rights processes must evolve to appropriately address the violations that occur outside of the traditional state-individual paradigm.
Militia organisations have solidified their status and power, notably in large parts of Iraq and Yemen posing direct and indirect threats to populations in these countries, principally through coercive policing with widespread use of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions. This side event aimed to analyse the role of non-state actors as it has expanded supplanting security forces and the consequent human rights violations with a focus on the situation in Iraq and Yemen.
Civil Society has the critical opportunity to engage with UN Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures in order to document violations carried out by non-state actors, to cooperate on making progress to identify the whereabouts of victims, and to pursue accountability for perpetrators.
We shed light on the constructive work carried out by the Treaty Bodies especially the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and draw out issues, solutions, and opportunities for advancing human rights protection.
𝗛𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗮 𝗔𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘄𝗮𝗱𝗶 opened the side event discussion by posing the question of how can the international community impose non-state actors to respect human rights and ensure that they are accountable in the face of violations.
𝗠𝗼𝗵𝗮𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗱 𝗔𝗹𝗶 𝗔𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄, President of Association Ma’onah for Human Rights and Immigration. kicked-off the side event by lamenting the ongoing human suffering in Yemen and identified Yemen as a state of complete collapse due to atrocities committed by the Iran-backed militia.
𝗔𝗹𝗯𝗮𝗻𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗵𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲-𝗣𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗮𝘀𝗰𝗼, the Secretary of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, reiterated deep concerns of widespread enforced disappearances and the prevailing impunity. As an outcome of the Committee’s visit to Iraq in November 2022, the Secretary of the Committee highlighted that despite more than thirty pieces of legislation addressing issues of missing persons, none specifically accommodated the unique issue of directly or indirectly enforced disappearances. She noted that it is vital to clearly distinguish between ‘missing persons’ and ‘enforced disappearance’ within legislation, and to consider the diversity, scope and patterns of enforced disappearances within policies and actions.
𝗥𝗮𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗵 𝗛𝗮𝗱𝗶 𝗔𝗹-𝗝𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗯𝗶, from Yemeni Media Observatory, raised deep concerns surrounding the subjugation to beatings, arrests, imprisonments, torture and death experienced by journalists and media personnel in Yemen. Since the 2014 coup, Houthi militias have systematically targeted journalists. Houthi Militias are responsible for over 70 per cent of crimes against the press, and with this, many journalists have also refused to work in fear of these atrocities. He called for the Human Rights Council and international organisations to prioritise efforts to end the suffering of journalists in Yemen, and include them in the negotiation process between the Yemeni government and Houthi militia.
𝗠𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻 𝗕𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗻𝗲, from Geneva International Centre for Justice, outlined challenges that civil society faces, specifically in Iraq. He noted that although it should be commended that Iraq accepted the visit from the Committee, it has been painfully, deliberately slow in implementing recommendations. Families of those who have been forcibly removed are not provided the most basic information about their loved ones. The UN and international community must be open to addressing and prosecuting the crimes of non-state actors to provide justice.
𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗮 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗝𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲 supports the ongoing inquiries into holding non-state actors responsible for their war crimes. We urge the United Nations to continue to put pressure on countries, specifically Iraq and Yemen, to hold those accountable for their actions and bring justice to victims of enforced disappearances.
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