torture

International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations

Each year, on 24 March, the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims is observed.

This annual observance pays tribute to the memory of Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero, who was murdered on 24 March 1980. Monsignor Romero was actively engaged in denouncing violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable individuals in El Salvador.

The right to the truth is often invoked in the context of gross violations of human rights and grave breaches of humanitarian law. The relatives of victims of summary executions, enforced disappearance, missing persons, abducted children, torture, require to know what happened to them. The right to the truth implies knowing the full and complete truth as to the events that transpired, their specific circumstances, and who participated in them, including knowing the circumstances in which the violations took place, as well as the reasons for them.

To learn more about how and why we honor the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, visit un.org/en/observances/right-to-truth-day.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

Informal Meeting of the GA Plenary on Syria with President of the GA

Dear Civil Society Partners,

The UN Human Rights Office in NY wishes to inform you about an upcoming informal meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly on Tuesday, 2 March 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall of the UN Headquarters. The meeting will allow a high-level panel to brief on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic pursuant to A/RES/74/169. The meeting will be open and webcast on UN Web TV with interpretation in all official languages.

Further information, including with respect to the modalities for interested civil society representatives to submit questions to the high-level panel, is included in the correspondence below from the President of the General Assembly.

Sincerely,

UN Human Rights NY

 

Excellency,

I have the honour to inform you that I will convene an informal meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly on Tuesday, 2 March 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall of the UN Headquarters. The meeting will allow a high-level panel to brief the General Assembly pursuant to A/RES/74/169, operative paragraph 37, in which the General Assembly,

“Urgently request[ed] the convening of a high-level panel discussion, funded by voluntary contributions, led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Commission of Inquiry and Syrian civil society to brief the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and encourages United Nations monitoring and reporting to help this panel to further document violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, to provide recommendations to facilitate improvements in civilian protection and accountability measures, and to feature witness testimony of Syrian human rights defenders and other Syrian voices through appropriate and safe means”.

In addition to briefing on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic the panel will focus on:

(i) violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, in particular arbitrary detention, torture, the missing and disappeared, with a focus on women, peace and security; and,

(ii) recommendations to facilitate improvements in civilian protection and accountability measures.

The high-level panel will be moderated by Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant SecretaryGeneral for Human Rights and Head, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York. Ms. Brands Kehris will also present OHCHR’s role in documentation, accountability, and engagement with key counterparts including the United Nations, humanitarian partners and accountability mechanisms such as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (COI), the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), the Syrian Government, and civil society. The high-level panel will be comprised of the following six panelists from the COI and civil society:

  • Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair, COI
  • Karen Koning AbuZayd, Commissioner, COI
  • Hanny Megally, Commissioner, COI
  • Mazen Darwish, President, Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression;
  • Sabah Hallaq, Syrian League for Citizenship
  • Wafa Moustafa, Families for Freedom.

The meeting will be open and webcast on UN Web TV with interpretation in all official languages. Each panelist will have up to 7 minutes to deliver his/her remarks. The floor will then be open for up to 3-minute interventions and/or questions. Please note that there will be no pre-established list of speakers for this meeting. For planning purposes only, delegations are encouraged to register their interest to speak by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, 26 February 2021 via e-mail to Mr. Igor Bondiuk (igor.bondiuk@un.org), Human Rights Adviser, copying Ms. Hila Wesa (wesa@un.org), Team Leader for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.

Civil society representatives interested in submitting questions to the high-level panel are requested to do so by 5:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, 24 February 2021, via e-email to Ms. Giorgia Passarelli (passarellig@un.org), Human Rights Officer at OHCHR. The moderator will select some of the questions for the panelists to answer during the discussion.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Volkan BOZKIR

View this meeting via UN Web TV here on March 2, and read the full schedule of General Assembly Plenary and Related Meetings here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.