33rd Human Rights Council - General debate

On Monday 19th September 2016, representative NGOs had two minutes to require Council’s attention on human right situations. Here is a selection of the main topics discussed during the afternoon plenary session.


Protecting the Tamil people – A NGO estimated the number of disappeared Tamil people. The NGO explained that 118’000 Tamil people are actually missing, who is far more than the 125 Tamils officially in prison. “Where are the others”, he asked. He considered that the people behind the disappearances are today in the government. According to him, the process of reconciliation is therefore compromise. A second representative asked later to the international community to put pressure on Sri Lanka for an increasing protection of the Tamil people.

Tensions in Kashmir – In Kashmir, the situation is very tense: there is 1 Indian soldier for 11 civilians. Another NGO denounced multiple attacks during funerals, where people have been strongly injured; some even lost eyesight. Violence against Muslims and Christians have also been condemned, as well as the situation of Tamil women.

Freedom of religion in Nepal – A NGO criticized a Chinese law that make very difficult for citizens to change their religion, or to become non-religious. This problem has been illustrated with the situation in Nepal where four Christians have been arrested. Another NGO shed lights on the intimidations of Tibetan religious authorities and the destructions of monk’s houses.

Cast system in India – 40’000 Dalits suffer of discrimination in India, as they are exclude of the cast system. A NGO pointed out the historical responsibility of the United Kingdom. Another estimated that the number of “untouchables” worryingly increased, despite the ban of cast discrimination in the Constitution of 1947. He asked to the Council an inquiry.

Recognition of the Syrian journalists – The NGO Reporters sans frontières shed lights of the professional exploitation of Syrian journalists in Europe. Even if they have chosen exile to express their freedom of expression, they are subject of arbitrary arrests and their freedom of movement is limited. According to the NGO, the legal recognition of their journalistic activities could help building more coherent European immigration politics.

The rule of law in Turkey – After the 16th July “coup d’état” attempt in Turkey, the NGO World Jurist Association discussed the suspension of jurists’ rights. Since this event, their professional autonomy is even more compromise. Their representative wondered about free trial in Turkey and asked the Council inquiries.

Extrajudicial murders in Papua New Guinea – Violation of the freedom of speech and of the right of assembly led to 3768 arrests in Papua New Guinea, according to the NGO Vivat International. The NGO representative denounced extrajudicial murders which participate to create a context of constant insecurity in the country.


FL - Research Assistant at CIPADH