On the sidelines of the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council.
Under the Theme “Unite for Peace”, Maat organizes a Peaceful Protest
Maat: Selectivity in dealing with human rights issues is the most prominent reason behind the weakness of international mechanisms
Okeil: Ancient and modern colonialism have threatened peace and development in the third-world countries
Both “Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights” and the “International Alliance for Peace and Development” organized a peaceful protest under the theme "Unite for Peace", in the Broken Chair square, in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The event was attended by a group of Young Peacebuilders from 18 countries from Europe, Africa, and South America, within the framework of Maat’s participation in the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council, in order to shed light on a number of issues that constitute an obstacle to building peace and development. Participants expressed regret about the human rights situation in the world, and the deplorable current condition, especially with the existence of the element of selectivity in dealing with human rights issues. For example, after more than 75 years of the Palestinian cause, the Council is still unable to make significant progress in improving the conditions of the Palestinians. During the 52nd session of the Council, the Council did not address the Palestinian issue or the violations against Palestinian civilians by Israeli occupation forces.
The event participants talked about a large number of topics, namely, western double standards in dealing with the issue of terrorism, which they address in some areas and ignores in others for political purposes, which constitutes a clear breach of the human right to life and development. They also talked about double standards in the Human Rights Council, and how the Council sheds light on the human rights situation in a number of countries, while standing silent in the face of violations committed by other countries. The participants noted that the Council must address the human rights situation in all countries equally.
Participants also discussed the Russian-Ukrainian war and its impact on the rights of civilians in Ukraine, and how the war undermined the human rights situation by impacting the rights of the Ukrainian people to life, housing, and food; in addition to the international repercussions that affected third-world countries, especially at the economic level.
The violations that people of African descent were also highlighted, as they are exposed to discrimination at the level of access to services and jobs; in addition to discrimination against Arab and African refugees, as they are prevented from crossing, while they are subjected to harsh conditions at the borders that sometimes reach death, so that they have been subjected to For a double violation, once in their own countries and again in the European countries that prevent them from crossing. At the same time, European refugees are received and given support. The debt crisis was also touched upon, as it constitutes a heavy burden on the shoulders of developing countries, especially with the effects of the Corona virus, and the Russian-Ukrainian war. Participants called on the creditor countries to raise debt interest on the most affected countries, and to convert debts into investments in countries to advance the development process in it. Within the framework of Africa, participants hailed the Silencing the Guns initiative, being one of the efforts to stop armed conflicts, which are considered the main obstacle to development processes in Africa.
On the occasion of the twenty years since the American invasion of Iraq, the participants discussed the impact of this war on the Iraqi people, and that the Iraqi people paid the price of political differences. The participants warned against repeating the same scenario in the Russian-Ukrainian war. Finally, the stand addressed the suffering of women in light of the deteriorating human rights conditions in Iran, and how the international community and international mechanisms should be active in improving these conditions. A number of Yemeni speakers reviewed the violations against journalists and civilians at the hands of the Houthi militia, and the regional threats they pose at the level of regional and international security.
Photos and videos clips were also displayed during the peaceful protest documenting human rights violations related to the above-mentioned topics, in addition to works of art urging peace and improving human rights conditions. Participants in the peaceful protest, while directing their message to the United Nations, chanted the phrase "Unite for Peace" in the various languages of the United Nations.
Ayman Okeil, an international human rights expert and president of Maat, stated that people of different cultures believe in peace and they are human beings united by the same rights. Okeil also stressed the need for the major Powers to assume their responsibility towards the countries of the Third World, especially since a number of these States are the cause of the deterioration of economic and social conditions in a large number of southern countries, whether due to ancient or modern colonialism.