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Silence is not an option: petition for immediate action by UNHRC

(CIHRS/IFEX) - February 23, 2011 - The undersigned organisations urge the Human Rights Council to act urgently to respond to the violent repression of demonstrations currently underway in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. The Human Rights Council cannot be a passive bystander of such events, during which the lives of ordinary citizens have been taken or put at risk through violent and unlawful repression. Hundreds of thousands of people in several countries have taken to the streets to peacefully call for their fundamental rights and freedoms to be respected. Several hundred demonstrators have been killed.

Protestors, journalists, human rights defenders, former political prisoners and humanitarian workers have been beaten or arbitrarily arrested. In the face of such wide-spread rights violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms the United Nations Human Rights Council can no longer remain silent. The Council should:

- Unequivocally condemn the killing of hundreds of demonstrators over the past few weeks, and call for an immediate cessation of killings like these, including in Libya where they are still taking place.
- Condemn all forms of excessive use of force to repress demonstrations, including the wide spread use of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of peaceful demonstrators.
- Condemn unprecedented restrictions which undermine access to information and violate freedom of expression, such as the blocking of internet services and telecommunications and attacks against media professionals.
- Remind all governments that are experiencing mass and widespread demonstrations to respect and protect freedom of assembly and association, and allow their citizens to freely express their opinions through peaceful rallies and demonstrations, in accordance with their international obligations.

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Click here to read the full petition
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Human Rights Watch

Non-IFEX signing organisations

African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS)
African Democracy Forum
Al Nadim Center for Treatment and Psychological Rehabilitation for Victims of Violence, Egypt
Amnesty International
Arab NGO Network for Development
ARC International
Asia Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)
CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation
CNCD-11.11.11 - Centre national de coopération au développement
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Conectas Direitos Humanos
Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies
Democracy Coalition Project
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network
Human Rights Agenda – Nigeria
Human Rights First Society, Saudi Arabia
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Service for Human Rights
Palestinian Human Rights Organization, Lebanon
Partnership for Justice – Nigeria
Pax Christi International
Violence is not our Culture - The Global Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women in the name of "culture"
West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)

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