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January 2016
Editor-in-Chief: Nicola Giovannini
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 Highlights

Intra-Syrian talks in Geneva needs clarity of the role of civil society’s involvement
 

A few days ago UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura announced his intention to engage civil society in the intra-Syrian talks, which are beginning today in Geneva. This announcement came at a delicate moment for the diplomatic efforts to bring a political solution to the war in Syria, sparking concerns that under the banner of “civil society participation” there would be further confusion on who would take part in the opposition delegation.
 
Civil society in Syria has evolved dramatically over the course of the conflict: when the uprising began, Syrians also began to organise themselves, united in a common desire to promote human rights and prepare for an eventual transition. They have come together as civil society organisations, to coordinate their work, as individuals and between different regions and areas of interventions. These organisations have done incredible work in addressing and documenting the widespread breaches of international law committed for the last five years in Syria, including torture, sexual and gender-based violence and illegal war tactics such as siege, starvation, barrel bombs and indiscriminate shelling of civilian neighborhoods. They have firsthand experience of these violations and their consequences, including through their tremendous work in bringing relief for the victims.
 
Throughout these five years, Syrian civil society has increasingly developed the breath of their knowedlege and understanding of the needs of the countries and on international standards and mechanisms for the protection of human rights, which has helped give hope and meaning to the work they are doing on the ground. All this accumulated experience, the needs and aspirations that they can convey can, and has to, contribute to reaching a positive outcome of the Geneva talks.
 
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Rami Nakhla is Syria Project Coordinator for No Peace Without Justice

Bahrain: NPWJ joins Civil Society Statement calling to lift travel ban on Nabeel Rajab
 

In a joint statement released today, 26 civil society organisations (including No Peace Without Justice) call on the Bahraini authorities to lift the arbitrary travel ban on human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and to drop all pending free speech-related charges against him. Nabeel Rajab is President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights and on the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Division. Rajab is one of many Bahrainis who have been victimized by the government’s intensified campaign to silence dissent through judicial harassment and the improper use of judicial and police powers.
 
A public prosecutor imposed the travel ban on Nabeel Rajab without any judicial determination on July 13 2015, the day that he was granted Royal pardon and release from jail following his conviction for “publicly insulting official institutions” by criticizing the government on social media. The travel ban is related to two other speech-related charges that led to his arrest on April 2 2015, charges which prosecutors have not dropped. Instead of using the judicial apparel to arbitrarily silence peaceful dissenters, the Bahraini authorities should guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
 
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Gambia: NPWJ and NRPTT welcome the adoption by the Parliament of a specific legislation banning FGM
 

On Monday 28 December 2015, the National Assembly of Gambia adopted the Women's Amendment Bill 2015 which bans Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and sets strict penalties for offenders. According to the bill, a person who engages in female circumcision could face up to three years in prison or a fine of 50,000 dalasi (£851). If the act results in death, a person could face life imprisonment. The adoption of the bill follows an executive pronouncement and decision by President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia to ban FGM.
 
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) welcome the adoption by the National Assembly of a specific legislation criminalising female genital mutilation (FGM), as an landmark step in the long-standing fight undertaken by the Gambia against this violation of the human rights of women and girls.
 
The adoption of the bill is a concrete answer to the voices of the numerous communities which over the past eight years have publicly demonstrated their willingness to end FGM. It also reinforces the legitimacy and impact of the advocacy and awareness efforts carried out by civil society groups such as GAMCOTRAP under the tireless leadership of its president, Isatou Touray, to bring an end to this human rights violation.
 
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Alvilda Jablonko is Director for Gender and Human Rights of No Peace Without Justice

 NPWJ events

Bahrain: NPWJ and NRPTT support visit of opposition leaders in Rome to call for ending repression and promoting meaningful political reform
 

On 25-26 January 2016, Bahraini Delegation of opposition leaders visited Rome for a series of meetings with Italian institutions, organised with the support of No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT). The delegation included Khalil Almarzooq, Political Assistant to the Secretary General of Al Wefaq and former Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, and Ali Alaswad, Resigned MP of Al Wefaq. Al-Wefaq is the largest opposition party in the country and its General-Secretary, Sheikh Ali Salman, is currently serving a four year prison sentence for inciting “hatred” and “disobedience” against the regime.
 
The purpose of Bahraini Delegation's visit was to shed light on the ongoing campaign of intimidation and threats carried out by the Bahraini authorities against political and civil society leaders of the opposition and human rights defenders, who are thriving to advance meaningful democratic reform, the rule of law and respect of human rights in the country. Despite the Bahraini regime’s claims of reform, silencing any peaceful dissent remains a routine trend, as highlighted by the latest resolution on Bahrain adopted in July 2015 by the European Parliament condemning human rights abuses in Bahrain, and calling for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders.
 
Meetings were organised with officials of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Manconi, President of the Human Rights Commission of the Senate, Pier Ferdinando Casini, President of the Commission on Foreign Affairs of the Senate as well as with Members of the Committee on Human Rights of the Chamber of Deputies during a special hearing chaired by Pia Locatelli. In addition to a roundtable discussion with Marco Pannella, leader of the NRPTT, the Bahraini delegation was also invited to contribute to a special episode of the radio show "Spazio Transnazionale" (produced by Oltreradio and Radio Radicale) on "Bahrein. Un paese in cerca di diritti". Other guests included Emma Bonino, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and founder of NPWJ, Alberto Negri, journalist of Il Sole 24 Ore, and Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, Secretary General of NPWJ.
 
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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 last episodes

 NPWJ press releases

Intra-Syrian Geneva talks need clarity on civil society role
Gaziantep - Brussels, 29 January 2016

Bahrain: NPWJ and NRPTT support visit of opposition leaders in Rome to call for ending repression and promoting meaningful political reform
Rome, Italy, 25-26 January 2016

Bahrain: Joint Civil Society Statement calling to lift travel ban on Nabeel Rajab
21 January 2016

Syria: Only civilian protection and accountability will make a political solution viable
By Mouaffaq Nyrabia*, New Europe, 5 January 2015

Gambia: NPWJ and NRPTT welcome the adoption by the Parliament of a specific legislation banning FGM
Brussels-Rome, 2 January 2016

UN General Assembly: NPWJ and NRPTT welcome the adoption of the resolution on the protection of human rights defenders
20 December 2015

Bahrain: NPWJ and Hands off Cain join civil society statement condemning the practice of death penalty
16 December 2015

 NPWJ in the news


 

Así luchan las mujeres sirias por la paz dentro de la guerra
Mario Cuesta, El Diario, 28 January 2016

Bahrein. Un Paese in cerca di diritti
Speciale Spazio transnazionale, Radio Radicale, 25 January 2016

Circoncisione femminile: il 6 febbraio la Giornata per dire "basta"
Giulia Vola, Magazine delle Donne, 24 January 2016

Attentato di Al Qaeda nella capitale del Burkina Faso - Intervista a Nicolò Figa Talamanca, Segretario di Non c'è pace senza Giustizia
Radio Radicale, 16 January 2016

South Africa needs more time on al-Bashir-ICC matter
By SABC, 14 January 2016

Esecuzioni capitali in Arabia Saudita - Emma Bonino ospite a Rai News 24
Rai News 24, 4 January 2016

Arabia Saudita: dibattito sulle recenti esecuzioni capitali
Radio Radicale, 4 January 2016

FGM / Senegal: Interview of Khady Koita and Alvilda Jablonko
TFM - Télé Futurs Médias / Yeewu Leen (Sénégal), Parmi Nous avec Chiara, 16 December 2015

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