Nonviolent Radical Party Delivers Oral Statement on Freedom of Expression in Iran and China at 16th Session of UN Human Rights Council


On Tuesday, 15 March 2011, the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty, an NGO in consultative status to the United Nations, orally delivered an intervention on item 4 (“Human Rights situations that require the Council´s attention) at the 16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. In its statement, the Nonviolent Radical Party (NRP) addressed the violation of the right to freedom of expression both in Iran and in China, two of world´s top violators of freedom of speech and spearheading the list of imprisoned journalist with at least 34 jailed journalist in each of these two countries.
The Nonviolent Radical Party (NRP) expressed concern over the widespread crackdown on journalists and press in Iran since the June 2009 presidential elections. Under charges like “propagating against the regime” many Iranian media workers were sentenced to harsh prison sentences to up to 10 years.
Regarding the situation in China, the NRV pointed out that authorities are targeting especially ethnic press like Uyghur or Tibetan journalists when they peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression and opinion despite the provision of Article 35 of China´s constitution which theoretically guarantees free speech and media freedom. 2010 has been an especially black year for Uyghur media workers since nearly a dozen Uyghur journalists, blogger and website staffs were sentences to harsh prison terms, including life imprisonment, in closed and unfair trials. Among those were Gheyret Niyaz, Gulmire Imin, Memetjan Abdulla, Dilshat Perhat, and Tursunjan Hezim. NRP noted that most of them were convicted on charges of “endangering state security” (ESS) - charges that are regularly and arbitrarily misused by Chinese authorities to silence peaceful Uyghur dissent.
NRP said, “Freedom of expression is one of the most elemental human rights……”
NRP urged the Human Rights Council to strongly support and defend an end of the systematic persecution of freedom of expression both in Iran and China and to urge their governments to unconditionally and immediately release all imprisoned journalists and media workers.

For Immediate Release
15 March 2011
For more information, contact:
Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty (Rome, Italy)
Tel. No.: (+39) 06.689791, Fax No.: (+39) 06.68805396, www.radicalparty.org

Statement of Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty on Item 4 (“Human Rights situations that require the Council´s attention) at the 16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Thank you, Mr. President. The Nonviolent Radical Party is deeply concerned about the systematic violation of freedom of opinion and expression in Iran and China. These two countries are spearheading the list of imprisoned journalists worldwide with at least 34 jailed journalists on December 1, 2010, according to a recent report released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)1. In addition, Reporters Without Borders considers them world´s top violators of Internet freedom, highlighting that China´s Great Firewall is the world’s most consummate censorship system2.
Since the protests following the June 2009 presidential elections, the Iranian government is sustaining a widespread crackdown on journalists and press. Dozens of critical reporters have been detained since then. Many of them were sentenced to harsh prison terms to up to 10 years on charges like “propagating against the regime” while the only thing they did was carrying out their work.
When it comes to China, the scenario is frighteningly similar. Authorities are cracking down on journalists, jailing especially ethnic press like Uyghur and Tibetan journalists, for exercising their right of freedom of expression. Persecutory measures of Uyghurs´ freedom of speech have significantly increased since the tragic July 2009 events in Urumqi, converting 2010 in an especially black year for Uyghur media workers. Nearly a dozen Uyghur journalists, blogger and website staffs, among them Gheyret Niyaz, Gulmire Imin, Memetjan Abdulla, Dilshat Perhat and Tursunjan Hezim, have been sentenced to harsh prison terms, including life imprisonment, in closed and unfair trials. Most of them were convicted on charges of “endangering state security” (ESS) - charges that are regularly and arbitrarily misused by Chinese authorities to silence peaceful Uyghur dissent. Also Chinese governments´ censorship and misrepresentation of recent events, such as the well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize for Liu Xiaobo or the revolution in Egypt, clearly show that press freedom is not a freedom Chinese citizens enjoy, violating Article 35 of its own constitution which theoretically guarantees free speech and media freedom.
Wecall on the Human Rights Council (HRC) to strongly support and defend an end of the systematic persecution of freedom of expression both in Iran and China. In addition, the HRC must urge their governments to unconditionally and immediately release all imprisoned journalists and media workers.
I thank you Mr. President.

 
1 SeeCommittee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Report: „Attacks on the Press in 2010“, available at: http://www.cpj.org/2011/02/attacks-on-the-press-2010.php
2SeeReporters Without Borders Report: „Internet Enemies“, March 2011, available at: http://12march2011.org/i/Internet_Enemies.pdf