An Open Letter from Feminist & Human Rights Organizations and Human Rights Defenders Regarding Human Rights Violations against Women in The Arab World and Greater Morocco.
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Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly,
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism,
and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
Recently, threats and intimidation acts have increased in Saudi Arabia and Egypt following the chilling smearing campaign aimed at erasing the work undertaken by women human rights defenders and have highlighted that they are simply ‘women’- meaning ‘irrelevant’. This demonstrates the use of a patriarchal discourse that contradicts the vital role that WHRDs have played in order to improve society as a whole, but also for women who continue to be discriminated against and constitute the majority of victims of various forms of violence.
We therefore respectfully ask that you, as Special Rapporteurs and Chairpersons of the expert Working Groups to:
– Condemn the continued repression of fundamental freedoms by the Saudi and Egyptian authorities, support and protect democratic values in line with your mandates’ aspirations, intervene with the authorities to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all detained human rights defenders, including Loujain Al-Hathloul, , Hatoon al-Fassi, Nouf Abdul Aziz, Mayaaa al-Zahrani and Amal Fathy; and to demand the end of the crackdown against WHRDs, as well as all forms of harassment against WHRDs in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
-To emphasize the right of everyone to promote and protect human rights without fear of retaliation and to pressure all States in MENA to take the necessary measures to guarantee the rights and safety of all women human rights defenders, especially those exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association.
-To strongly denounce the violent systemic targeting , criminalization, intimidation, torture, forced disappearance and assassinations of women human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa.
-To condemn all acts of intimidation and reprisals committed by governmental and non-governmental entities against women human rights defenders who cooperate with regional and international bodies, including the United Nations and its mechanisms.
– To call on the MENA states to take concrete steps to stop violations against WHRDs and to encourage in this regard the immediate and unconditional release of WHRDs who are imprisoned for defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.
– Request to visit Egypt and Saudi Arabia to investigate the situation of women human rights defenders directly and issue a report on the violation of their rights and freedoms.
1- The Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders in Middle East and North Africa
2- Suad Abu Dayyeh, feminist activist, consultant for Equality Now-MENA
3- Layla Naffa’, Arab Women Organization (AWO) Jordan
4- Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness Egypt
5- Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates Tunisia
6- Raja Al Massabi, Arab Institute for Human Rights Yemen branch
7- Alaa’ El Raei, Egyptian Foundation for Advancement of the Childhood Condition (EFACC) Egypt
8- National Coalition for Children Rights Egypt
9- Rana Husseini, Activist and journalist.
10- Nayla Awwad, director of Women Against Violence Org Palestine
11- Salma Regional Network
12- Al Nadeem Center for Rehabilition of Victims of Violence
13- Azza Soliman, lawyer and activist
14- Randa Sinora, director of Women Center for Legal Aid and Counselling Palestine
15- Intisar Al Mayali, Iraqi Women league Iraq
16- Manal Talib AWO Jordan
17- Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA)
18- Gawaher Taher, lawyer at CEWLA
19- Naser Attalah, Child Rights International Network- CRIN
20- Mariam Al Rowai, director of Tafwq Center for Development Consultation Bahrain
21- Amira Abed El Hakim, activist, Egypt
22- The Galilee Society – The Arab National Society for Health, Research and Services (R.A.) Palestine
23- Nabila Esbaniooly, AlTufula Center Palestine
24- Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA)
25- Association Marocaine pour les Droits des Femmes Morocco
26- Ghida Anani, director of ABAAD Lebanon
27- Joumana Meri, director of Institute for Human Rights Lebanon Branch
28- Fathi Marshoud, director of the Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Refugee Rights Palestine
29- Afef Chaabane, Tunisian Woman Association
30- Legal Association for Family Assistance and Human Rights Egypt
31- Yamina Huhu, lawyer and activist Algeria
32- Sama Aweidah, director of Women Study Center
33- Halima Jouini, the Tunisian League to Defend Human Rights
34- KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation- Lebanon