Dear World Leaders,
On Nelson Mandela Day, civil society organisations across the globe call on you to release imprisoned human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience.
Like Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison for his opposition to apartheid, there are thousands of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience wrongfully accused and in jail around the world. They have been imprisoned for seeking gender, social, political, economic and environmental justice, for defending excluded people, and for promoting democratic values.
Many of these human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience are serving sentences for crimes they never committed, after being convicted in unfair trials. Our organisations have for several years documented the unlawful jail terms handed down to human rights defenders in several countries.
We are particularly concerned that the authorities in many countries continue to detain human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognise the governments of Iran, Ethiopia, Turkey, Bahrain and Cameroon for releasing prisoners as part of their response to this unprecedented health crisis. However, not many human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience were included, and it is now more urgent than ever to release them.
There are also hundreds of human rights defenders who remain in pretrial detention who have not been charged or tried. Overcrowding and poor sanitation in jails increase the risk of COVID-19 infection and should be strong factors for the reduction of prison populations.
We also urge you to stop the arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists in jail solely for reporting on human rights violations during the pandemic. Although COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted in some parts of the world, some countries have used the pandemic as a pretext to restrict civic freedoms. Journalists and human rights defenders have been physically assaulted and subjected to arbitrary detention and judicial persecution for reporting on the virus.
We need human rights defenders now more than ever. It is their duty to hold governments to account, to ensure states respect international human rights laws during the pandemic, and to tackle environmental degradation and inequalities that have accelerated the impact of COVID-19.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, recently said:
“Governments are facing huge demands on resources in this crisis and are having to take difficult decisions. But I urge them not to forget those behind bars, or those confined in places such as closed mental health facilities, nursing homes and orphanages, because the consequences of neglecting them are potentially catastrophic.”
Sadly, some imprisoned human rights defenders have died under suspicious circumstances in various countries during the pandemic.
As we commemorate Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July, we remember that Mr. Mandela urged all of us to take on the burden of leadership in addressing social injustices. We call on you to give millions of families, friends and colleagues of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience around the world a reason to renew their hope for a better future during these unprecedented times.
We urge you to:
Bahraini authorities’ treatment of wrongfully imprisoned detainees violates international standards on prisoner treatment and in some cases may constitute cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, a coalition of ten rights groups said today. The authorities should ensure that all detainees are treated with humanity and in accordance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, known as the Nelson Mandela Rules, including access to the adequate medical care they require and contact with their relatives.
Family members of 12 opposition activists or human rights defenders held in Building 7 of Jaw Prison have told rights groups that under new regulations the authorities shackle the men, many of them elderly and in poor health, whenever they leave their cells, including for medical visits. The men are serving long prison terms in connection with their prominent and peaceful roles in the pro-democracy uprising in February 2011.
“These new regulations degrade and humiliate prisoners who clearly pose no escape risk,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities can take reasonable measures to prevent escapes, but shackling infirm patients, many of them torture victims, clearly goes beyond any need for security.”
The authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners held solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, the groups said.
On April 12, 2017, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a human rights defender held in Building 7, began a hunger strike to protest the new regulations at Jaw Prison, which the prisoners believe are a disproportionate response to the escape of 10 prisoners from another part of Jaw Prison on January 1.
In addition to the shackling, which has led the detainees to refuse to attend medical appointments in protest at what they perceive as degrading treatment, the authorities have cut visiting hours and the time for phone calls with their relatives.
Since the escape, which resulted in the death of a police officer, family members of the opposition and human rights activists and several other prisoners have told the rights groups that the authorities’ treatment of their relatives has worsened significantly.
Since March 1, authorities have shackled prisoners in Building 7 whenever they leave their cells. This practice is contrary to Rule 47 of the Mandela Rules, which states that restraint instruments should only be used as a precaution against escape or to prevent prisoners from injuring themselves or others. Family members of prisoners in other buildings have also told rights groups that their relatives are shackled whenever they leave their cells and that since the escape, their cells are locked most of the day, meaning that those without toilet in their cell have only limited access to toilets.
International human rights mechanisms have said that the use of restraints on elderly or infirm prisoners who do not pose an escape risk can constitute ill-treatment. The prison authorities appear willing to abide by some of the Nelson Mandela Rules by transferring patients requiring specialized treatment to specialized institutions or civil hospitals. But the disproportionate use of physical restraints is degrading and is preventing detainees from getting the health care they require.
Family members of Al-Khawaja, 56, told rights groups that he had an appointment with an eye specialist at the Bahrain Defense Forces military hospital on March 12 because of headaches and vision problems. But the prison administration insisted that he had to wear the prison uniform, have his legs and ankles shackled, and submit to full body strip search.
The family said he refused because of the humiliation involved. Al-Khawaja wrote to the prison authorities in March requesting a new medical appointment and to be allowed to go without a strip search and shackles, but has received no response. On April 12, he began a hunger strike. His family expressed concern about the impact of his hunger strike on his already deteriorating health and said that on April 15 he refused medical attention to address a low blood sugar level in protest at the regulations.
On April 20, Al-Khawaja began to take necessary liquids to avoid losing consciousness and being transferred to hospital, where he feared he would be force-fed, as in past hunger strikes. He suffers from exhaustion, general weakness, and dizziness. He has lost weight and his blood sugar remains low.
A family member of Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace, 55, who requires crutches or a wheelchair as the result of polio and sickle-cell anemia, told rights groups that he refused to attend medical appointments, including a March 12 appointment with a hematologist and an appointment in early March to deal with a shoulder infection, because of the prison authorities’ insistence on shackling him with chains during the transfer.
Family members say that Mohamed Hassan Jawad, 69, and Hasan Mshaima, 69, have also refused essential medical appointments in protest over the authorities’ insistence that they be shackled and wear the prison uniform. Mshaima has heart problems and is a former cancer patient who requires regular checks-ups. His family said that he needs Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans every six months and that the last one was over eight months ago.
“These leading Bahraini political and human rights activists have suffered deteriorating health during their prolonged arbitrary detention since 2011,” said Husain Abdulla, executive director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain. “Shackling these prisoners of conscience is not a legitimate prison security measure but is intended to degrade and humiliate them. The international community must not forget these long-term prisoners of conscience and should work to end their unjust and punitive detention.”
Since March 1, the prison administration has reduced all prosioners’ family visits from one hour to 30 minutes, once every two or three weeks, and that prisoners are now separated from their families by a glass barrier during visits. Since June 2016, phone calls to their families, which they are allowed to make up to three times per week, have been cut from 40 minutes to 30 minutes combined for all calls. On March 20, prison authorities stopped providing the detainees with toilet paper or tissues.
On March 1, the detainees in Building 7 and others in Jaw Prison began boycotting family visits in protest.
“These opposition activists are prisoners of conscience who should not have spent even a single day in prison,” said Lynn Maalouf, research director at Amnesty International’s Regional Office in Beirut. “The authorities must immediately put an end to the collective and arbitrary punishment of the entire Jaw prison population as a result of the escape of a group of prisoners; they must release all prisoners of conscience without delay and ensure all prisoners are treated humanely and receive the adequate medical treatment they require.”
Rule 36 of the Nelson Mandela Rules states that discipline and order shall be maintained with no more restriction than is necessary to ensure safe custody, the secure operation of the prison, and a well-ordered community life. Thus, while authorities can take steps to minimize the risk of further escapes, the measures they introduce must be proportionate, should not impinge on prisoners’ dignity, and should not unnecessarily aggravate the suffering inherent in the deprivation of liberty.
Any deliberate infliction of inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners should be investigated and those responsible held accountable.
Eleven of the 12 detainees in Building 7 were sentenced in trials that did not meet international standards on fair trials and convicted of crimes that included alleged involvement with a group whose purpose was to replace Bahrain’s monarchy with a republican form of government. The evidence produced against them at their trial consisted only of public statements advocating reforms to curtail the power of the ruling Al Khalifa family and “confessions” that were coerced while they were in incommunicado detention. The twelfth detainee, Sheikh Ali Salman, whose nine-year prison sentence was reduced to four years on April 3, was convicted in relation to peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, following a grossly unfair trial.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry’s report of November 2011 said that authorities subjected the group to a “discernible pattern of mistreatment,” including torture, after their arrests in some cases. Authorities have not provided physical or psychological rehabilitation for detainees who were tortured.
• Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
• Amnesty International
• Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
• Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
• CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
• English PEN
• European Centre For Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR)
• Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
• Human Rights First
• Human Rights Watch
As we mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day this year, Palestinian prisoners and detainees face the additional threat of a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Israeli prisons and detention centers. While governments around the world are being called on to release prisoners and those detained in violation of international law, the Israeli occupying authorities have taken no steps to release Palestinian prisoners and detainees or to adequately mitigate and prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in prisons. Instead, mass arbitrary detentions and arrests, a staple of Israel’s prolonged military occupation and widespread and systematic human rights violations against the Palestinian people, have continued during the pandemic.[i]
In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic outbreak—qualified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO)—we, the undersigned organisations, express grave concern over the situation of detainees and prisoners across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). While certain states in the region have taken some positive steps to protect the general population, the prison population remains particularly vulnerable.
Several countries in the MENA region have overstretched health systems and infrastructures, some of which have also been considerably weakened by years of armed conflict. In these countries, prisons and detention facilities are often overcrowded, unsanitary, and suffer from a lack of resources; accordingly, detainees are routinely denied proper access to medical care. These challenges are only further exacerbated during a health emergency, subjecting detainees and prisoners to heightened risk and placing weak prison health infrastructures under immense stress. Moreover, individuals in detention regularly interact with prison wardens, police officers, and health professionals who engage with the general population. Failure to protect prisoners and prison staff from COVID-19 may have negative implications for the population more broadly.
Under international human rights law, every individual has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States have an obligation to guarantee realization of this right. In addition, states have the obligation to ensure that detainees and prisoners are treated humanely and with respect for their dignity and not subject to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. The Nelson Mandela Rules require equivalence in healthcare—meaning that healthcare in prisons must meet the same standards as healthcare outside of them. This does not change during a pandemic.
While restrictions, including on prison visits, may be imposed to curb the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, they must abide by the principles of proportionality and transparency. Any measure, including prison releases, must be taken in accordance with clear and transparent criteria, without discrimination.
In light of the above,
We call on governments in the MENA region to:
4. Allow individuals serving probation and probationary measures to fulfill their probation and probationary measures in their homes.
5.Guarantee that individuals who remain in detention:
We call on the World Health Organization, International Committee of the Red Cross, and UN Human Rights Council Special Procedures mandate holders to issue public statements and guidance highlighting recommendations and best practices for all governments around detention and imprisonment during a global pandemic.
(Listed in alphabetical order)
ACAT – France (Action by Christians Against Torture)
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
ALQST for Human Rights
Arab Network for Knowledge about Human rights (ANKH)
Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
ARCI (Associazione Ricreativa Culturale Italiana)
Association of Detainees and Missing in Sednaya Prison
Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE)
Bahrain Centre for Human Rights
Bahrain Transparency Society
Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales
Committee for Justice
Democratic Transition and Human Rights support (DAAM Center)
Digital Citizenship Organisation
DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture
Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
Egyptian Human Rights Forum
El Nadim Center
HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual
Human Rights First
Initiative franco-égyptienne pour les droits les libertés (IFEDL)
International Commission of Jurists
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Kuwaiti Transparency Society
Lebanese Centre For Human Rights
medico international e.V., Germany
MENA Rights Group
Mwatana for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel
Project on Middle East Democracy
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Syrian Center For Legal Studies and Researches
Syrian Network for Human Rights
Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)
UMAM Documentation & Research (MENA Prison Forum)
Women’s March Global
World Organisation Against Torture
Joint letter to Chair of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights: Don’t provide political cover for brutal repression of Egyptian government(below letter sent to Chair Soyota Maiga, while ACHPHR meets in Banjul, Gambia)
Dear Chair Soyota Maiga,
We are writing to urge you to reject the bid to hold the upcoming African Commission on Human Rights and People’s Rights (ACPHR) 64th ordinary session in Egypt. This decision, if taken could tantamount to ignoring the current violations taking place in the country. Egypt, under the rule of President Sisi, is in the throes of the most widespread and brutal crackdown on human rights committed by any Egyptian government in its modern history. Reflecting this reality, the United Nations (UN) human rights system, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Special Procedures, has become increasingly vocal and robust in its criticism of the human rights situation in the country. This includes recent statements that strongly denounce the recent issuance of mass death sentences for individuals who have participated in protests within the country –and a rare call by experts representing six thematic mandates of the UN Human Rights Council to “urgently respond” to the government’s “appalling” behaviour. The EU’s European External Action Service has made similar criticism.
The Egyptian government’s continuous disregard to constitutional law and international human rights obligations lead to a series of appalling human rights violations (see annex attached to this letter). The judiciary has largely failed to hold to account those responsible for grave violations of international and national law and, in many cases, the courts have served as an instrument of repression for the authorities. Egyptian NGOs have documented 1,520 cases of enforced disappearance in Egypt between July 2013 and August 2018. More than 60,000 political prisoners are currently detained in Egypt, in dreadful conditions. The Egyptian NGO Committee for Justice documented at least 129 cases of death in custody in 2017 alone. Moreover, The UN Committee Against Torture’s 2017 annual report concluded “torture is a systematic practice in Egypt” fed by security forces’ impunity and high-level State acquiescence, and may amount to crimes against humanity.
Amid a national milieu distinguished by endemic torture and enforced disappearance and impunity, Egypt is currently in the middle of the most sweeping and repressive crackdown on fundamental freedoms, including dissent and other political expression in its modern history. This systematic repression threatens to wipe out any form of independent journalism and civil society in the coming period and had sweeping effects on the enjoyment of all individuals to their right to freedoms of expression, association and reunion. Indeed, the Egyptian government’s rejection of fundamental democratic processes and human rights principles is represented by its recent presidential elections held in March this year, which were assessed by fourteen regional and international organizations as neither free nor fair. Leading Egyptian human rights organizations previously warned the elections had become a dangerous “charade” likely to “exacerbate violence, terrorism and instability” in the country. Now the authorities are widely expected to soon make concrete moves to amend Egypt’s Constitution to abolish presidential term limits and allow President Sisi to run for a third term in 2022.
In face of this, a free and effective participation of Egyptian and non-Egyptian civil society organizations during the ACHPR sessions is also put into question. Our organizations have serious doubts all conditions would be met to allow NGOs to access the ACHPR, according to its mandate and practices. The security and safety of human rights defenders participating in this session may also not be guaranteed. The ACHPR has a key role to play and should reinforce its engagement with Egyptian national authorities, in order to contribute to upholding respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country.
The ACPHR should not turn a blind eye to these atrocities. We fully support the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s recent denunciation of the injustice of the Egyptian court. We urge the ACHPR to follow the High Commissioner lead in denouncing these violations in Egypt instead of rewarding it with hosting the 64th ordinary session. The African Commission should not raise its flag over the gravestone of human rights in Egypt.
Thank you for your consideration of our request.
We remain at your service should you require further information.
See Annex for more detailed information on the state of human rights and civic space in Egypt.
With Assurances of our Highest Consideration:
1 Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS);
2 Committee for Justice (CfJ)
3 Action for Community Transformation (ACT-NOW)
4 Adalah Center for Rights & Freedoms (ACRF)- Egypt
5 African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS)
6 Afrique arc-en-ciel
7 Afrique Arc-en-Ciel Togo
8 Algerian League for Human Rights (LADDH)
9 Arab Foundation for Civil and Political Rights-Nedal- Egypt
10 Associação Justiça, Paz e Democracia (AJPD) Angola
11 Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE)
12 Associazione Ricreativa Culturale Italiana – (ARCI)
13 Belady Island for Humanity
14 Border center for support and consulting- Egypt
15 Center for Civil Liberties-Ukraine
18 Coalition of African Lesbians
19 Independent Commission for Human Rights in Western Sahara
20 Conectas Direitos Humanos
21 Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA)
22 Defend Defenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
24 Egyptian Front for Human Rights
25 EuroMed Rights
26 Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD)
27 Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA)
28 Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum- Uganda
29 Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)
30 Human Rights Defenders Network- Sierra Leone
31 HuMENA for Human Rights and Sustainable Development
32 Initiative For Equal Right- Nigeria
33 Initiative for Equality and Non- Discrimination- Kenya
34 Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA)
35 International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute
36 International Commission of Jurist (ICJ)
37 International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
38 International Institute for Child Protection
39 International Lawyers (Geneva)
40 International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
41 Iranti-South Africa
42 Kenya Human Rights Commission
43 Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation
44 Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH)
45 Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (OMDH)
46 Nadeem Center- Egypt
47 National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders-Uganda
48 National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K)
49 National Human Rights Defenders Network Sierra Leone
50 National Human Rights Defenders Somalia/ Somaliland
51 Network for Solidarity, Empowerment and Transformation for All – NewSETA
53 Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH)
54 Queer Youth Uganda
55 Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits Humains en Afrique Centrale (REDHAC)
56 Réseau Doustourna (Tunis)
57 Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network
58 Synergia Initiatives for Human Rights
59 The Freedom Initiative
60 The Regional Center for Rights And liberties
61 Tunisian League for Human Rights (LTDH)
62 Uganda National NGO Forum
63 West African Human Rights Defenders ‘Network (ROADDH/WAHRDN)
64 World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
65 Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Joint letter calling on the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to intervene immediately in favour of the release of prisoners of conscience.
We, the undersigned organisations, write to you to urge Your Highness to release prisoners of conscience in UAE prisons and to address this issue decisively.
We appeal to Your Highness as President of the United Arab Emirates to treat the issue of prisoners of conscience as a high priority and consider it an urgent humanitarian situation that requires your direct and immediate intervention.
Your Highness- the absence of such policies, rooted in human rights standards, is a stain on the country’s international reputation and runs counter to the Emirati government’s image of the UAE as a country that believes in the values of tolerance and openness. It is the primary responsibility of Your Highness to uphold constitutional principles by putting an end to all human rights violations.
We call on Your Highness to assume full moral and legal obligations and to work for the respect of human rights. Therefore, we appeal to you not only to release all prisoners of conscience in UAE jails but also to ensure that such violations will not be repeated.
Pending their release, we hope that Your Highness will work to demonstrate your commitment to human rights and compliance with international standards for prisoners by granting prisoners of conscience their rights, such as medical care and regular family visits, and ending all forms of violations they are being exposed to.
With great respect and appreciation
Chers dirigeants mondiaux,
À l’occasion de la Journée Nelson Mandela, les organisations de la société civile du monde entier vous demandent de libérer les défenseurs des droits de l’homme et les prisonniers d’opinion emprisonnés.
Comme Nelson Mandela qui a passé 27 ans en prison pour son opposition à l’apartheid, des milliers de défenseurs des droits de l’homme et de prisonniers d’opinion sont accusés à tort et emprisonnés dans le monde entier. Ils ont été emprisonnés pour avoir recherché la justice sociale, politique, économique et environnementale, pour avoir défendu les personnes exclues et pour avoir promu les valeurs démocratiques.
Nombre de ces défenseurs des droits de l’homme et prisonniers d’opinion purgent des peines pour des crimes qu’ils n’ont jamais commis, après avoir été condamnés à l’issue de procès inéquitables. Depuis plusieurs années, nos organisations ont documenté les peines de prison illégales infligées aux défenseurs des droits de l’homme dans plusieurs pays.
Nous sommes particulièrement préoccupés par le fait que les autorités de nombreux pays continuent de détenir des défenseurs des droits de l’homme et des prisonniers d’opinion pendant la pandémie COVID-19. Nous remercions les gouvernements d’Iran, d’Éthiopie, de Turquie, de Bahreïn et du Cameroun d’avoir libéré des prisonniers dans le cadre de leur réponse à cette crise sanitaire sans précédent. Cependant, peu de défenseurs des droits de l’homme et de prisonniers d’opinion ont été inclus, et il est maintenant plus urgent que jamais de les libérer.
Il y a également des centaines de défenseurs des droits de l’homme qui sont toujours en détention préventive et qui n’ont pas été inculpés ou jugés. La surpopulation et les mauvaises conditions sanitaires dans les prisons augmentent le risque d’infection au COVID-19 et devraient être des facteurs importants de réduction de la population carcérale.
Nous vous demandons également de mettre fin aux arrestations et aux détentions arbitraires de journalistes en prison uniquement pour avoir fait des reportages sur les violations des droits de l’homme pendant la pandémie. Bien que les restrictions relatives au COVID-19 soient levées dans certaines régions du monde, certains pays ont utilisé la pandémie comme prétexte pour restreindre les libertés civiques. Des journalistes et des défenseurs des droits de l’homme ont été agressés physiquement et soumis à des détentions arbitraires et à des persécutions judiciaires pour avoir fait des reportages sur le virus.
Nous avons plus que jamais besoin de défenseurs des droits de l’homme. Il est de leur devoir de demander des comptes aux gouvernements, de veiller à ce que les États respectent les lois internationales sur les droits de l’homme pendant la pandémie et de s’attaquer à la dégradation de l’environnement et aux inégalités qui ont accéléré l’impact du COVID-19.
La Haut Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme, Michelle Bachelet, a récemment déclaré:
“Dans cette crise, les gouvernements sont confrontés à d’énormes besoins en ressources et doivent prendre des décisions difficiles. Mais je leur demande instamment de ne pas oublier ceux qui sont derrière les barreaux, ou ceux qui sont confinés dans des lieux tels que les établissements fermés de santé mentale, les maisons de soins et les orphelinats, car les conséquences de leur négligence sont potentiellement catastrophiques”.
Malheureusement, certains défenseurs des droits de l’homme emprisonnés sont morts dans des circonstances suspectes dans différents pays pendant la pandémie.
Alors que nous commémorons la Journée Nelson Mandela le 18 juillet, nous nous souvenons que M. Mandela nous a tous exhortés à assumer le fardeau du leadership dans la lutte contre les injustices sociales. Nous vous demandons de donner à des millions de familles, d’amis et de collègues de défenseurs des droits de l’homme et de prisonniers d’opinion du monde entier une raison de renouveler leur espoir d’un avenir meilleur en ces temps sans précédent.
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