STATEMENT OF THE INDEPENDENT EXPERT DURING
THE SIDE-EVENT TO THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS
COUNCIL ON “THE RIGHT TO PEACE AND THE RESPONSIBILITY
With special attention to the fate of the residents of Camps Ashraf and Liberty
Geneva, 13 August 2014
Ladies and gentlemen,
States have a duty under the United Nations Charter to ensure universal
peace. Individuals and peoples have the right to live in peace,
which must not be understood merely as the absence of war, but as the absence
of structural violence, exploitation and privilege. The right to peace
presupposes the primacy of human rights and of the rule of law.
In July 2014 the Human Rights Council convened the second session of the inter-governmental
open ended Working Group on the Right to Peace, which is tasked with producing
a Declaration on the Right to Peace. Numerous participating civil society
organizations demanded that the Human Rights Council go well beyond the General
Assembly Declaration of 1984 on the right of peoples to peace (Resolution 39/11).
Allow me a word on the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect: it must
not be applied in a selective manner or determined by geopolitical interests.
R2P entails prompt humanitarian aid to victims and effective protection of the
right to life, to liberty, to food and water, to shelter, to refugee status.
It must be vindicated for all peoples of the planet in a spirit of international
On 9 December 2013 six United Nations special procedures mandate holders, including
myself, issued a press release requesting an investigation of the massacre, on
1 September 2013, of 52 residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, and information concerning
the whereabouts of seven missing residents. In the absence of an adequate
response to our request, it is imperative to ensure that an independent investigation
be carried out without delay. The families of the victims have a right
to truth, to justice and reparation.
One last word: my third report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/27/51),
concerning threats to a peaceful and democratic international order, is now online
and, Deo volente, I shall present it to the Council on 10 September.
I salute your perseverance and express my solidarity as UN Rapporteur with all
those whose human rights and fundamental freedoms have been and are being violated. The
international community must not forget the plight of the residents of Camps
Ashraf and Liberty, the very real danger that they again may be targets of another
massacre. It is our duty to come to the rescue of these defenceless persons
and insist that the United Nations give them adequate protection, ensure better
sanitary conditions and health care while in internment, and that they be granted
asylum in other countries, so that they can continue their lives. The international
community must be resolute in reaffirming the right of the surviving victims
to know what has happened to their loved ones. A democratic and equitable
international order rejects impunity of perpetrators of gross violations of human
rights and considers accountability as an erga omnes obligation of States.