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The principle of non-discrimination is the cornerstone of human rights, since the very nature of human rights is that they are based on human dignity and inherent to all human beings, irrespective of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin. As a result, no discrimination can be invoked by a State in order to deprive someone of his/her human rights. As article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.
Nevertheless, to this day, discrimination remains a major challenge in Arab States’ laws and policies. It targets women, ethnic or religious minorities, who are being denied their fundamental rights such as access to citizenship. Furthermore, repressive policies can be targeted towards specific groups with laws being drafted, in such a way, to discriminate against particular segments of the population.
As it is crucial to the promotion and defence of human rights, the principle of non-discrimination also constitutes the cornerstone of Alkarama’s work, and is enshrined in the Charter of the Foundation.
On 6 December 2016, the two Palestinian brothers Saeed and Nasr Al Abbasi witnessed about 100 Israeli soldiers destroying their family house in Silwan neighbourhood, East Jerusalem, leaving them and their families homeless. Only few days before, the Central Court of Jerusalem had issued a demolition order alleging that their house had been constructed without the due licence as it was built on “green open space”. This occurred three years after Saeed, a 36-year-old taxi driver, and his brother Nasr, aged 29, started to build their family house.
On 19 October 2016, the Speaker of Kuwait's National Assembly, Marzouq Al-Ghanim, disclosed information according to which the Emir of Kuwait agreed to put Law No. 78/2015 on compulsory DNA collection, in line with the Kuwaiti Constitution in order to respect the right to privacy. The Emir requested the Parliament to reconsider the scope of the law with the view of imposing compulsory DNA collection to criminal suspects only, instead of all Kuwaiti citizens and residents as it was initially envisioned.
Geneva, 21 June 2016
On 19 May 2016, 34-year-old Palestinian journalist at Al Majd TV Mohammad Al-Qeeq was released after six months spent in administrative detention.
On 14 December 2015, 24-year-old circus performer Mohammad Faisal Nafez Abu Sakha was arrested by Israel Forces and later placed in administrative detention for six months for allegedly “being a member of an illegal organisation,” an accusation he denies.
On 29 August 2014, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health to ask the Egyptian authorities to accept Jamal Mohamed Assaed Tafeh's hospitalisation. Detained without trial in appalling conditions in Gamasa prison since 7 January 2014, the opposition member, who suffers from a serious heart disease that requires permanent medical attention, is at imminent risk of death.