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UN Security Council Open Debate on Small Arms and Light Weapons: Civil Society Calls for Member States to Protect Populations from Atrocity Crimes by Preventing the Means to Commit Them

(6 May 2015)

Excellency,

On behalf of the undersigned civil society organizations, we are writing to you to request your government’s active participation at the open debate of the UN Security Council on “Small Arms: The Human Cost of Illicit Transfer, Destabilizing Accumulation and Misuse of Small Arms and Light Weapons” on 13 May 2015. The debate will focus on the threats Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) pose to civilian protection during armed conflicts and post-conflict situations. The undersigned appeal for your government to voice its strong support for addressing the horrific civilian impact of SALW, the most commonly used weapons in armed conflicts and post-conflict situations, and for addressing their Responsibility to Protect in this regard.

Read the full letter here.

“Your silence is a shame to humanity.”

(21 April 2015) A new report launched today by the International Refugee Rights Initiative and the National Human Rights Monitoring Organisation brings the voices of civilians living through the conflict in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan State to the international community.

Focusing on the devastating impact of the conflict on every aspect of people’s lives, the report highlights the extraordinary resilience and resistance of the civilian population. Inevitably, however, this resilience is also being worn away by the continuing onslaught.

Since 2012, an average of three bombs a day have been dropped indiscriminately by the government of Sudan onto civilians living in rebel held areas. With humanitarian access denied by the government and increasing numbers being displaced, people’s ability to survive grows more precarious by the day. Living with the daily threat of aerial bombardment, of government land forces breaking through and a chronic lack of food and medicine, the resilience of this population is being severely depleted. Meanwhile the international community remains, for the most part, silent.

As one interviewee said, after surviving a bomb attack: “I am sending my voice loudly to the international community and the Security Council to stop this government from killing its own civilians and to protect them. Your silence is a shame to humanity.”

Read the full press release.
Read the full paper.

 


 

Open Letter to the African Commission Regarding the Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa

(23 April 2015) The International Refugee Rights Initiative recently signed on to a letter commenced by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) on an open letter to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights on the Xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The letter was signed by 129 organisations.

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Open Letter to the African Commission Regarding the Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa

23 April, 2015

Dear Chair and Commissioners of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, write to you as concerned organisations and citizens of the African continent to raise concern about the xenophobic attacks currently occurring, mainly against African foreign nationals, in the Republic of South Africa. We come to you, as the body responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights in the African continent, requesting you to call upon the South African government to take concrete steps to end these attacks, prosecute perpetrators and protect foreign nationals living in their territory from violations of their human rights, including the right to life.

Read the full letter here.


IRRI and other rights groups call on Egypt to end arbitrary detention of refugees.

(16 March 2015) Since February 9, 2015 a group of at least 30 Syrian, Palestinian-Syrian and Somali refugees detained at Karmooz police station in Alexandria - Egypt, began an open hunger strike to protest against their arbitrary detention. The refugees
have been kept in continuous detention after receiving a deportation order by Egypt's Homeland Security
agency, despite an earlier order by the Public Prosecutor to release them. The lives of the hunger strikers will be put at grave risk if the Egyptian authorities continue to arbitrarily detain them. This statement calls on the Egyptian government to act now and immediately release all refugees held without charges at Karmooz Police Station in Alexandria.

Read the full statement.