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Gathered in Geneva during the 16th Session of the Human Rights Council, on March 4-5, the EMHRN Executive Committee praised the extraordinary courage and determination of the people in the Arab world, men and women alike, to win their freedom and put an end to decades of authoritarian rule with the young generation taking the lead.
During the meeting the EMHRN Executive Committee recalled and honoured the thousands who have lost their lives in the struggle for liberty in the region since December 2010.
The EMHRN Executive Committee urges the international community to provide the necessary political and financial support to the new societal processes and actors. This should include facilitating independent election monitoring, aimed at making the transitions in Tunisia and Egypt successful in leading to democracy and full human rights respect.
The EMHRN Executive Committee requests that independent inquiries are undertaken in to the killings of peaceful demonstrators in Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria and that those responsible for the killings be brought to justice. The EMHRN Executive Committee condemns the massacres in Libya and welcomes the UN Security Council decision to refer the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court (ICC)
According to the EMHRN Executive Committee, the international community must equally address the situation in neighbouring countries in order to contribute to making the transition processes successful. In this context the EU must revise its policies for the Mediterranean, renegotiate existing action plans and programmes in the light of the new situation, and stop any act of legitimising authoritarian rulers where these remain in power.
The international community, including the EU, must ensure that those fleeing oppression and crack downs on democracy and human rights receive full protection when they are on European soil and in open sea. The EU should also adopt a common asylum approach in order to help the refugees in need.
The EMHRN Executive Committee considers that successful transition processes towards democracy in the Arab region provide a unique momentum for bringing the Middle East conflict out of its stalemate and ending Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The current winds of change must contribute towards the end of discrimination of women and their full participation in society on equal terms with men and in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW.
The EMHRN Executive Committee condemns the discriminatory legislation targeting citizenship and human rights of the Palestinian Arab minority that has been tabled and/or adopted in the Knesset,' as well as a series of deplorable attempts to silence and restrict the activities of human rights organisations in Israel since the publication of the "Goldstone report" in September 2009.
Finally, the EC is scandalized that Executive Committee member Daniel Saoud had an exit ban inflicted on him when attempting to leave Syria, preventing Mr. Saoud from attending the meeting, and calls on the Syrian authorities to lift the travel bans inflicted on hundreds of human rights defenders.
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network
9 March 2011