UN: ICJ expresses concern at arbitrary detention of human rights defenders in Egypt, India and Turkey

The ICJ today expressed its concern at the arbitrary detention of several human rights defenders in Egypt, India and Turkey during the interactive dialogue with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention before the UN Human Rights Council.

The ICJ was not able to read the statement during the interactive dialogue, due to the limited time provided for NGO statements.

The statement reads as follows:

“Madam President,

The ICJ welcomes the report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and its focus on human rights defenders.

The ICJ draws the Council’s attention to the widespread practice of arbitrary detention in Egypt targeting human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and alleged political opponents. These persons have been systematically subjected to enforced disappearance and prolonged pre-trial detention, often extended through Tadweer, a practice that allows the authorities to introduce additional unfounded charges, effectively perpetuating pre-trial detention.

In India, at least 27 human rights defenders are in pre-trial detention under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Under this law, bail is unduly restricted, has been repeatedly denied and trials have been unduly delayed. Defenders, several over 60 years of age, are held in overcrowded prisons, denied healthcare and face disrupted family communication. Stan Swamy, 84 years old, died, awaiting bail, after contracting Covid-19.

In Turkey, human rights defenders, including lawyers, are regularly subject to arbitrary prosecutions and detention under vague anti-terrorism and security criminal offences. Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş remain in jail despite decisions to release them by the European Court of Human Rights that ruled their detention arbitrary.

Madam Chairwoman of the Working Group, what explains the global trend of targeting human rights defenders for unlawful detention?

I thank you.”



Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a)icj.org, t: +41797499949

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