General: Statement of Solidarity to all detained HRDs from the HRDs World Summit 2018 in Paris

04.11.18

We, the human rights defenders gathered at the HRDs World Summit held in Paris between 29-31 October 2018 call on all governments in the MENA region to stop immediately all kind of attacks, harassment including judicial criminalisation, and targeting of HRDs and civil society organisations.

We, also declare our full solidarity with all the detained human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in various countries across our region who are detained solely for their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities that are focused on defending and promoting public freedoms including freedom of expression. We call for their immediate release without any condition.

We express our deep concern about the use by the authorities of travel bans, arbitrary detention, and trial on fabricated charges as tools for reprisals against human rights defenders and their reliable work that includes engagement with the international mechanisms including the UN system.

We believe that the only objective of these arbitrary actions is to isolate civil society organisations and their members from monitoring violations and communicating with the public, their peers and international human rights mechanisms in order to cover up the massive violations of civil and human rights by the authorities.

We are proud of the reliable and hard work done by our colleagues who are imprisoned due to their peaceful and legitimate defense of the people’s rights and their tireless work with the international community.

We, convening in Paris, declare our full solidarity with detained HRDs wherever they are imprisoned and express our deep concern for their physical integrity, as some are facing death penalty charges and ill-treatment or even torture in countries where the international community has documented its gross and continuing violations of human rights throughout recent years such as Saudi Arabia.

We urge the governments of the region to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release all detained human rights defenders and all other prisoners of conscience;  
  2. Lift all travel bans and stop retaliation against all human rights defenders for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly;
  3. Ensure the physical and psychological integrity and security of all detained human rights defenders and ensure they enjoy their legitimate and unrestricted right to meet with their families and lawyers; and
  4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in the region are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Signed,

Human Rights Defenders and various National, regional & International NGOs attending the 2018 HRDs World Summit in Paris.