On 30 August each year, the international community observes the International day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, established by the United Nations in December 2010. Last year, this day represented the chance for the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) to "urge Governments to support relatives of the disappeared by removing all obstacles hindering their search for loved ones, including through the opening of all archives, especially military files." Today, reiterating this call to all Arab States, Alkarama presents numerous cases of enforced disappearances that it recently documented, such as in Egypt, where over 1,000 people are believed to have been abducted since the beginning of 2015; in conflict-ridden countries such as Libya, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, where both the government and armed groups use the practice of enforced disappearance as a tool to spread terror within the populations; and in countries thought to be more "progressive", such as in the United Arab Emirates, where we are currently witnessing a troubling pattern of enforced disappearance practiced by State security actors in the form of prolonged incommunicado detention in secret places.
Kuwait: Al Watan TV Closed for Liberal Editorial Line Just Months after Closure of Dar Al Watan Newspaper
On 6 July 2015, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression (SR FRDX) on the case of Al Watan TV, which has been subjected to reprisals, including the withdrawal of its licence and the closing of its premises for political reasons. Alkarama feared the closure of the TV channel since its sister company, Dar Al Watan Journalism Printing and Publishing, which belongs to the same media holding as Al Watan TV, was closed earlier this year in March 2015.
On 27 August 2015, Alkarama brought a second time before the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) the case of Eyad Qunaibi, professor and political critic charged with "incitement against the political regime" for having published an article on Facebook in which he criticised Jordan's ties with Israel, the Jordanian King as well as the "westernisation" of society.
Qatar: National Human Rights Committee's Subordination to the Executive Undermines its Capacity to Publicly and Freely Address Human Rights Violations
On 16 July 2015, Alkarama submitted a report to the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC-NHRI) on Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) which will be reviewed at the SCA next session on 16-20 November 2015. Pointing out to its subordination to the executive power, Alkarama called upon the SCA to downgrade Qatar's NHRC status from "A" to "B" to indicate its lack of compliance with the Paris Principles – the international standards established to ensure the NHRIs independence from the government and effective promotion and protection of human rights. In its review of the Qatari NHRI, the SCA will assess, among others, its pluralist representation of society, its independence from the government and the scope of its mandate.
Rachid Mesli is to remain under house arrest in Aosta at least until next Monday 31 August, time by which the deadline for the Algerian authorities to formally request his extradition expires. If the Italian justice does not receive any formal request by then, the case will be considered as closed and Me Mesli will be able to go back to Geneva to continue his work as Legal Director of Alkarama, the human rights organisation he co-founded in 2004 to assist victims of severe human rights violations in the Arab World.
On 14 August 2015, Alkarama referred the case of the Al Souid family, executed by General Khalifa Haftar's forces in the city of Benghazi on 15 October 2014, to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions (SR SUMX) and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).