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April 2015
Editor-in-Chief: Nicola Giovannini
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 Highlights

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare: NPWJ calls for accountability in Syria
 

On this Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) call on all States to reaffirm their commitment and intensify their efforts to eliminate the threat of chemical weapons, as a tool to protect civilians and to prevent more human suffering in the future.
 
This year’s remembrance is particularly significant as it also marks the 100th anniversary of the first time chemical weapons were deployed on a large scale during the battle of Ypres in 1915. Sadly, it also provides an opportunity to remind that, as outrageously demonstrated by the devastating conflict in Syria, the international community has not been able so far to put an end to the deadly legacy of chemical weapons at the expense of innocent people whose lives have and are been destroyed through their indiscriminate use.
 
Two years ago, the chemical attack which struck the opposition-controlled Damascus suburbs of Ghouta and killed over 1,400 people - mostly civilians, including large numbers of children, provoked a worldwide outcry and prompted the unanimous adoption, on 27 September 2013, of Security Council Resolution 2118, calling for the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program. One year later, the world leaders celebrated the OCPW’s announcement that the most lethal chemical weapons stockpile declared by the Syrian regime had been destroyed. However, as reported by several independent investigations, since Syria signed up to the Chemical Weapons Convention, President Assad’s forces have used – and continue to do so - other toxic substances, including chlorine gas, in systematic attacks against civilian areas, in another blatant breach of international humanitarian law.
 
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Niccolò Figà-Talamanca is Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice

Syria: Human rights organizations mark birthday of Razan Zaitouneh with renewed call for release of ‘Duma Four’
 

To mark the 38th birthday (on April 29) of missing human rights defender and lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, head of the Violation Documentation Centre in Syria (VDC), winner of the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award of RAW in WAR (Reach All Women In War), 70 human rights organizations (including No Peace Without Justice) today reiterate their call for her immediate release, as well as that of her missing colleagues Samira Khalil, Nazem Hamadi and Wa’el Hamada.
 
On December 9, 2013, the four human rights defenders,collectively known as the “Duma Four”, were abducted during a raid by a group of armed men on the offices of the VDC in Duma, near Damascus. There has been no news of their whereabouts or health since. The VDC is active in monitoring and reporting on human rights violations in Syria and the undersigned organizations believe that the abduction of the four activists was a direct result of their peaceful human rights work. Their ongoing detention forms part of a wider pattern of threats and harassment by both government forces and non-state actors seeking to prevent human rights defenders exposing abuses.
 
The undersigned organizations, as well as other activists, have been calling for the release of the “Duma Four” since their abductions. Today they again urge the Army of Islam and other armed groups operating in the area to take immediate steps to release the abducted VDC staff, or investigate their abduction and work for their release. They further urge governments that support these groups, as well as religious leaders and others who may have influence over them, to press for such action, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139, which “strongly condemns” the abduction of civilians and demands and immediate end to this practice.
 
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Libya: the current UNSMIL-led negotiations should focus on accountability and the fight against impunity
 

In an open letter to the Members of the UN Human Rights Council, No Peace Without Justice calls on them to use the forthcoming 22nd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session to bolster and reinforce the ongoing UNSMIL-led peace talks in Libya and bring the issues of accountability and the fight against impunity at the centre of the negotiations.
 
So far, UNSMIL’s efforts to bring the crisis to a close have focused on the creation of a unity government and the establishment of multiple councils and consultative bodies, rather than on the basic principles and values which should underpin them, and even less ‎on how these bodies will guarantee equality in front of the law, accountability and personal responsibility for all citizens.
 
For the political and diplomatic mediation process to succeed, it has to address the need for concrete accountability and transitional justice strategies that can have a tangible and constructive effect on reconciliation and progress in Libya, including in particular the strengthening of the judicial system, providing both the expectation and the reality of individual accountability for current violations and a comprehensive understanding of the past, all of which are necessary in order to build a credible and far reaching political solution in Libya.
 
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 NPWJ events

Libya: NPWJ presents recommendations on human rights, rule of law and transitional justice to the members of the UN Human Rights Council
 

On 10 April 2015, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) contributed to the UPR Pre-session on Libya, organised by UPR Info at the International Conference Centre in Geneva, in view of the 22nd UPR Working Group session to take place in May 2015. The purpose of the meeting was to offer Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) the opportunity to brief permanent delegations on the human rights situation in the States under Review. It provided space for civil society to engage directly in dialogue with States prior to the review in order to have their concerns and recommendations taken into consideration by lobbying several delegations at once.
 
The meeting saw the participation of permanent delegations representatives from 30 countries as well as representatives from Libyan civil society organisations, including WILPF Libya, Alkarama, Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL), National Libyan Organisation for the Development of People with Disabilities (NLODPD) and the National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights (NCCLHR). Gianluca Eramo, Coordinator of the MENA Democracy Program of NPWJ, took the opportunity to present the recommendations jointly developed and submitted in October 2014 by NPWJ together with the Libyan Trial Monitoring Network (TMN) and the Civil Network for Transitional Justice (CNTJ).
 
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WFUNA, Creative Learning and NPWJ organise first session of the Human Rights Youth Training Program for Libya
 

On 23-27 March 2015, the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) and Creative Learning, with the support of No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), organised the first session of the Human Rights Youth Training Program for Libya, in Geneva.

The training was held entirely in the United Nations headquarters in Geneva and coincided with the 28th session of the Human Rights Council and in particular with the discussions and passing of a resolution on Technical Assistance in Libya, a process which the participants followed entirely. In parallel, sessions with panellists from UN institutions, Civil Society organisations as well as with diplomatic representation of Libya to the UN allowed them to acquire a deep understanding of Human Rights mechanisms.

 
Wishing to give them a broader view of how multilateralism affects their country, they were offered presentations at UNICEF and at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). In the latter they were welcomed by the Secretary General HE William Lacy Swing before learning about the action of the Organization in the MENA region.
 
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 NPWJ on Radio Radicale

Have Breakfast with No Peace Without Justice
 

No Peace Without Justice and Radio Radicale, the foremost Italian nationwide all-news radio, have an ongoing partnership to provide news and information on our activities to a broad Italian audience. This partnership features an in-depth weekly program on NPWJ’s current campaigns and activities. The program is broadcast in Italian every Friday morning immediately before the main news summary.

Listen to the episodes

 NPWJ press releases

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare: NPWJ calls for accountability in Syria
29 April 2015

Syria: Human rights organizations mark birthday of Razan Zaitouneh with renewed call for release of ‘Duma Four’
28 April 2015

Libya: the current UNSMIL-led negotiations should focus on accountability and the fight against impunity
Brussels – Rome – New York, 17 April 2015

Libya: NPWJ presents recommendations on human rights, rule of law and transitional justice to the members of the UN Human Rights Council
Geneva, 10 April 2015

WFUNA, Creative Learning and NPWJ organise first session of the Human Rights Youth Training Program for Libya
Geneva, United Nations, 23-27 March 2015

ICC: NPWJ and the NRPTT welcome the ICC decision to hold part of the Bosco Ntaganda trial in the DRC
Rome - Brussels, 20 March 2015

Bahrain: Joint Statement condemning threats of reprisals against Human rights defenders Husain Abdulla and Abdulnabi Al-Ekri at the Human Rights Council
Geneva, UN Human Rights Council, 19 March 2015

Syria: NPWJ calls on the UN Human Rights Council to support the fight against impunity
Brussels – Rome – New York, 16 March 2015

#withSyria coalition: Eighty-Three Percent of Syria's Lights Extinguished After Four Years of Crisis
12 March 2015

Campaing "For a new human right: the Right to Know": Radicals meet with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, 11 March 2015

 NPWJ in the news


 

Niccolo' Figa-Talamanca comments on the complaint against Goodwill Zwelithini submitted to the ICC
South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), 29 April 2015

Libya: Alkarama Calls On State Delegations to Make Appropriate Recommendations Ahead of the State's Upcoming Universal Periodic Review
All Africa, 14 April 2015

Parlano le donne tunisine: “Non abbiamo paura del terrorismo”
Sara Ficocelli, Repubblica, 2 April 2015

A chance to save Syria that world leaders must seize this week
The Guardian, 29 March 2015

Ethnic Cleansing in Iraq -- Extremists Need to Be Confronted
By Geoffrey Johnston, AINA, 11 March 2015

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