`Arab world taking up human rights on its own accord'

DUBAI - "I refuse (to accept) the idea that the Arab world is moving towards human rights because of the pressure on it. I rather believe that the situation in Palestine and Iraq has led the Arabs to express themselves," said Amin Maki Madani, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Representative Office for the Arab Region, at a meet-the-Press hosted by the Dubai Press Club on Monday.

By Mahmoud Ali

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Published: Wed 28 Apr 2004, 9:55 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:01 AM

Elaborating on the role of the Beirut regional office and the mechanism of the Human Rights Office in Geneva, Dr Madani said, "The office is one of the most important agencies in the UN dealing with many humanitarian issues, concerning torture, illegal death sentences and arrests, and other inhuman acts."

"The Human Rights Office was established during the Geneva Human Rights Conference in 1993. Committees have been formed to help countries in joining human rights treaties, recruit people into the human rights domain, and train journalists, police, and judges," he said.

Dr Madani emphasised the importance of the First Regional Course for Arab Police in the field of human rights in enhancing these rights in the region and added that the regional office collaborates with the UN agencies and NGOs in achieving their goals.

While "collaborating with agencies is important, how can a poor hungry refugee ask for his human rights unless he gets his essentials. As a sign of collaboration our regional office is in the UN House in Beirut which is the headquarters of UNESCO," he pointed out.

"Frankly speaking, if we had not received an invitation from the Dubai Police, we would never have come. Each country has it sovereignty. Human rights is not only about training police officers, it's also a well organised operation."

Responding to Khaleej Times question on the violations committed by the Lebanese government against its citizens and Palestinian refugees, he said: "If we go to the government of any country and tell them that you are violating human rights they will kick us out."

To a question about the human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay and the trial of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein he said, "Do you believe that Saddam Hussein is going to have a trial? The occupation was, from the very beginning, wrong and without the approval of the UN. As for Guantanamo, it's the same. People have been moved from one country to another and they do not have the right to see a lawyer. They have been threatened with military trials and there have been many other violations that go against the UN human rights resolutions and agreements."

The Press briefing was held on the sidelines of the First Regional Course for Arab Police in the field of Human Rights.

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