UN HRC 29: Statement on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention

Human Rights Council: 29th Session
Item 4: General Debate
Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Oral Intervention
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP)
Delivered by Mr. Hassan Shire

Mr. President,

Over the last eighteen months, my organisation, our partners, and numerous human rights defenders have sought to alert this Council to the grave human rights situation in South Sudan. Since the conflict broke out in December 2013, unknown thousands of civilians have been killed, wounded, and displaced. All regional efforts to bring peace, accountability and justice to this young country have failed.

Mr. President, it is now imperative for the Human Rights Council to take action. I urgently call on the Council and its member states to support the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on South Sudan, to monitor and publicly report to the Human Rights Council. The Council must reiterate its call for the African Union to release the report of its own Commission of Inquiry.
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Mr. President, I am gravely concerned by the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in Burundi. Human rights defenders have been subject to threats, intimidation, and physical attacks. More than 100,000 Burundian citizens have fled the country. A regional human rights and humanitarian catastrophe is already underway, and this Council must take action.

Finally, Mr. President, I bring to your attention, once again, the worsening situation for human rights defenders and civil society organisations in Egypt. I alert you specifically to the recent investigation opened against our friends and partners, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, which was followed last week by a court summons.
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They are the second Egyptian NGO in 3 months to be investigated by the government. We urge to Council to bring public attention to this matter, and demand that Egypt end its wholly unjustifiable repression on the right to freedom of association.

I thank you.


Human Rights Defender of the month: Alex Njenga John

Alex Njenga has always believed in egalitarianism both as a principle and as a tool for justice. As a result, he has always been suspicious of, and at times hostile to social prejudices that treat some people as “more equal than others,” – to use a line from George Orwell’s famed political fable, Animal Farm.

Some of the experiences that have shaped his social and political outlook have been personal. As an adolescent in Kenya’s Uasin Gishu County, Alex was stigmatised and denied healthcare after he identified himself as belonging to Kenya’s sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) community.