- Egypt and Mauritania are among the world countries where the the Fédération International des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH) will lead fact-finding mission to assess claims of torture and violations of fair trials in the context of current counter-terrorism strategies.
Other countries lined up for the FIDH's global impact fact-finding mission include Bangladesh, Colombia, Jordan, Indonesia, Kenya, Prilippines, Russian Federation and Syria.
With funding from the European Commission, FIDH launched the three-year project dubbed "Preventing Torture with the Fight against Torture" in February last year to contribute to re-establish international respect for the absolute prohibition against torture and ill treatment embedded in international law. This project targets a wide range of complementary activities, including research, advocacy and capacity building.
The development comes at a time democratic governments have been blamed for using the "war on terrorism" to torture and ill treat persons suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. It has reignited the age-old debate about whether torture can be justified to save innocent lives.
"In this context, prominent opinion and decision-makers as well as members of the general public in leading democratic countries have argued that new forms of transnational terrorism necessitate a revision of existing legal and moral norms related to torture and ill treatment," FIDH officials said. "At the same time, authoritarian rulers around the world have exploited this climate to step up their oppression of political opposition groups."
Besides discussing recommendations arising from its fact-finding mission with major international human rights mechanisms, FIDH will also train human rights defenders in those countries on how to interface with international and regional human rights bodies.
The project also aims to empower journalists - local and international - with "specific skills required to report on human rights violations." The purpose of this strategy is to strengthen the audiences' understanding of the consequences of undermining the absolute prohibition of torture.
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