Bangladesh tragedy puts focus on human rights and corporate accountability
Phil Lynch and Michael Ineichen, ISHR
The recent building collapse and tragic loss of more than 1,100 lives in a garment factory in Bangladesh has once more turned the spotlight on business and human rights.
As with many such tragedies, there appear to have been numerous contributing factors, including weak workplace safety laws, inadequate inspections and enforcement, and a failure by Western retailers to ensure worker safety and basic labour rights in their supply chains… more
Case notes on Treaty Body decisions
In April 2013, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was asked to consider whether Hungary’s failure to ensure that persons with disabilities could access banking services offered by a private financial institution violated its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities... more
OUR WORK TO SUPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL MUST ACT TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
ISHR called on the UN Human Rights Council to act to protect human rights defenders, at the opening of the Council’s 23rd session earlier this week... more
STATES MUST INVESTIGATE ATTACKS AGAINST DEFENDERS WORKING ON CORPORATE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
ISHR has called on the Human Rights Council to ensure that it implements the landmark resolution on protection of human rights defenders that it adopted in March. The working group on business and human rights reported to the Council on harassment, attacks and reprisals against human rights defenders working on corporate human rights abuses... more
UN OPENS TO LGBT VOICES
The UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, which acts as the gatekeeper to NGO access to the UN, this week opened up the UN to LGBT voices for the first time since 2008... more
ISHR URGES HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS TO SUBMIT CASES OF REPRISALS TO THE UN
ISHR calls on human rights defenders to submit cases of reprisals to the UN. The UN Secretary-General has called for contributions to his annual report on reprisals and intimidation against human rights defenders. The report will focus on attacks and retaliation against persons for their cooperation or attempted cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms or representatives... more
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY MUST CONDEMN HOMOPHOBIC VIOLENCE, HARASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION
To mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, ISHR called on the global community, through the Human Rights Council, to take a stand against homophobia... more
ISHR TRAINING COURSE
ISHR’s Geneva Training Course 2013 is currently underway and brings together human rights defenders from 13 different countries, across Africa, Asia, Australasia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. The participants will spend two weeks in Geneva, refining their advocacy skills in the international human rights context, and putting those skills into practice at the Human Rights Council.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEVELOPMENTS
UN HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTS CONDEMN HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT FOR DEFENDERS IN RUSSIA
The UN experts on freedom of association, freedom of expression, and human rights defenders, have criticised a Russian law that obstructs the operation of NGOs and ‘infringes on the right of human rights defenders to publically raise human rights issues and conduct advocacy work’. The experts drew particular attention to the unanimously strong stance taken by the UN’s peak human rights body, the Human Rights Council, in a recent landmark resolution, against the use of legislation to unduly obstruct or criminalise the work of human rights defenders based on the origin of funding.
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR END TO CRIMINALISATION OF LGBT PEOPLE
The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, in a message delivered to a conference held on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, described the battle against homophobia a ‘core part’ of the broader battle for human rights for all. The Secretary-General called for legal reform to end criminalisation and discrimination.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONCERNED BY EGYPT’S MOVE AWAY FROM HUMAN RIGHTS IDEALS
The UN’s highest human rights official, Ms Navi Pillay, earlier this month criticised Egyptian moves towards increasing constraints on civil society through a draft NGO law. If adopted, the law would impose a series of draconian restrictions on civil society, in particular those focused on human rights. It may also conflict with Egypt’s obligations under international law to uphold freedom of association and assembly, rights which Egyptians came together to claim in January 2011.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL RELEASES ITS 2013 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
Amnesty’s 2013 report examines the state of the world’s human rights during 2012 in countries across the world. It identifies a particularly worrying tendency for states to appeal sovereignty to commit, and justify, human rights abuses.
UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGE TO THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
The 16th session of the UPR saw Russia challenge the process by removing two recommendations made by Georgia out of the official list of recommendations and into footnotes. UPR Info reflects on the threat this poses to the UPR... more
TREATY BODY STRENGTHENING PROCESS AT CRITICAL JUNCTURE
With three months left of the 67th session of the General Assembly, the intergovernmental process on treaty body strengthening appears to be reaching a critical juncture. With divergences among key States still wide and the potential for extended absences of some delegations over the summer, it is unclear what will be achieved in the remaining months of the 67th session… more
Opportunities for NGO Engagement
COMMITTEE ON ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES SOLICITS INPUT ON HOW IT ENGAGES WITH NGOS
The Committee on Enforced Disappearances has released a draft document setting out how it plans to interact with civil society. The Committee is soliciting input on its draft by 15 July to firstname.lastname@example.org. ISHR will be developing a statement for civil society sign-on. If your organisation may be interested in joining the statement, please contact Heather Collister email@example.com
The 63rd session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child will be held in Geneva from
27 May-14 June. From 17-21 June the pre-sessional working group of the Committee will develop lists of issues for discussion in upcoming reviews. 1 July is the deadline for NGO input to the next round of lists of issues to be developed in October 2013.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
The Human Rights Committee will hold its next session in Geneva from 8-26 July 2013. The deadline to submit information for the countries for which lists of issues will be developed is 14 June 2013.
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women will meet in Geneva from 8-26 July 2013. The deadline for submission of NGO information is 24 June 2013.
WEBCASTS OF THE TREATY BODY MEETINGS
If you are unable to attend relevant treaty body meetings, you can now watch these sessions live online. A group of Geneva-based NGOs, including ISHR, has coordinated to make this possible. The webcasts can be viewed at www.treatybodywebcast.org.
EXPERT MECHANISM ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) will hold its 6th session from 8-12 July in Geneva. The deadline for accreditation and for applying to hold side events is 28 June 2013.
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will meet in Geneva from 12-30 August. The deadline for submission of NGO information is 2 August.
The organisational meeting for the Council’s 24th session, where States will announce planned initiatives for the session, will take place on 26 August.
FORTHCOMING COUNTRY VISITS BY SPECIAL PROCEDURES
Republic of Korea
Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders 29 May – 7 June
Special Rapporteur on right to adequate housing 30 May – 11 June
Special Rapporteur on internally displaced persons 10 -14 June
Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons 17 - 21 June
Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation 10 - 18 July
Special Rapporteur on sale of children 15 - 26 July
Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples 22 – 29 July
To find out how you can support the visits, please contact the respective mandate-holder at their email, found in the directory.
New Resources for human rights defenders
USING THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS TO PROMOTE THE PROHIBITION OF TORTURE
The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims has released two important guides for human rights defenders on how to use the UN human rights mechanisms to prohibit and prevent torture at the national level, including a specific guide related to the Committee Against Torture.
HOW TO DISCUSS LGBT ISSUES: A GUIDE FOR PERSIAN LANGUAGE JOURNALISTS.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has released a media guide on sexual orientation and gender identity in Persian. The guide is aimed at Persian-speaking media professionals and aims to serve as a tool to end the stigmatisation of individuals and the perpetuation of homophobia.
A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR’S GUIDE TO THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM
An online, interactive guide to empower conscientious objectors to take advantage of international human rights systems has been launched. You can access the guide here: www.co-guide.info