At the end of May 2013 International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) held its congress in Istanbul. Once every three years people working for the member organizations of FIDH have a chance to meet each other face to face and discuss problems and challenges facing human rights movement today.
ADC “Memorial” has participated in the previous congress of FIDH, which took place in Yerevan in 2010. Back then Ales Bialiatski was still with us before he was imprisoned for his human rights work. The topic of political repression was among the most important during this congress and it was in the context of recent events in Turkey when 22 trade union activists and 8 leaders of Association for human right (IHD) were freed from detention. Outgoing president of FIDH Souhayr Belhassen spoke about this, as she greeted the beginning of peaceful negotiations between Turkish authorities and Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). This was also the topic with which the new president of FIDH Karim Lahidji began his speech: “It is an immense honor to have been elected President of FIDH. My first message is to all the human rights defenders who are arbitrarily detained, wherever they are in the world. We will continue endlessly to call for their immediate, unconditional release. My thoughts turn especially to my colleagues and friends Ales Bialiatski, in prison in Belarus, and Nabeel Rajab, detained in Bahrain. We would like to reiterate our appeal to the Turkish authorities to free all the journalists, lawyers and unionists who have been arbitrarily detained, in particular Muhammet Erbey, President of the Diyarbakir section of IHD who has been in prison since December 2009 for having denounced human rights violations against the Kurdish minority”
About 400 human rights defenders from all over the world took part in the congress. Various resolutions concerning the situation in Mali, Syria, Malaysia, Cuba, Russia and Turkey were adopted at the congress. Some new member organizations have joined FIDH and the Federation has 178 leagues as its members now.