Human Rights Monitor Monthly - May 2014
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HUMAN RIGHTS MONITOR
May 2014

ISHR IN THE NEWS



Catch up on the latest stories featuring ISHR in the global news media.
OPINION
UGANDA’S LGBTI COMMUNITY NEEDS THE UNITED NATIONS NOW MORE THAN EVER

Adrian Jjuuko


The UN’s human rights mechanisms, together with international civil society, have a crucial role and responsibility to play in challenging Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 and protecting the human rights of the country’s LGBTI community… more

Human rights defender profile

THILAGA SULATHIREH: MALAYSIAN LGBTI DEFENDER

‘I’m queer, and it just made sense to be part of the LGBTI movement.’

Thilaga Sulathireh initially joined the struggle for LGBTI rights in Malaysia in response to her own experience of discrimination and harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. She now devotes herself to promoting and protecting the rights of others… more

Our work to support human rights defenders

HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS HONOUR LEADING DEFENDERS FROM BANGLADESH, CHINA AND MEXICO

Three prominent human rights defenders from China, Bangladesh and Mexico have been honoured for their courageous work in the face of great personal risk, with the announcement of the Final Nominees for the Martin Ennals Award 2014... more

CIVIL SOCIETY LOSES AS REPRESSIVE STATES WIN ELECTION TO REGULATE NGO ACCESS TO UN

Democratic States that value and respect a vibrant civil society should do more to support NGOs to have their voices heard at the UN. It is profoundly disappointing that very few such States stood for election to an important committee that regulates civil society access to the UN, vacating the field for the election of repressive States whose intolerance for civil society at home looks set to further restrict NGO access to the UN… more

INDIA: APPLICATION OF YOGYAKARTA PRINCIPLES UNDER NATIONAL LAW A MAJOR STEP FOR TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

In a landmark judgment the Supreme Court of India has held that transgender persons are entitled to be recognised as a ‘third gender’ rather than being forced to identify as either male or female. The Court also held that discrimination based on gender identity violates constitutionally guaranteed rights to equality, freedom of expression, privacy, autonomy and dignity… more

RUSSIA: REPRISALS AGAINST NGOS BREACH INTERNATIONAL LAW AND OBLIGATIONS AS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL MEMBER

The prosecution of a leading Russian non-governmental organisation for submitting information to a UN human rights body is a flagrant breach of international law and manifestly incompatible with Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council… more

OUR WORK TO STRENGTHEN HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEMS

African Commission: Establish a mechanism to prevent and redress reprisals
 
The African Commission must take concrete and effective action to prevent and remedy reprisals against civil society activists, ISHR has told the 55th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights currently underway in Luanda, Angola.

‘It is vital that the Commission acts decisively to protect human rights defenders in their all-important role engaging with this Commission’, said Mr Clement Voule, Head of ISHR's Africa Programme... more

GENERAL ASSEMBLY TAKES MODEST BUT IMPORTANT STEP TO STRENGTHEN TREATY BODIES

After a long and difficult negotiation process the General Assembly has finally approved a resolution that will strengthen the UN system for reviewing States’ implementation of international human rights treaties to which they are party… more

UN TO STRENGTHEN FOCUS ON 'WIDENING DEMOCRATIC SPACE'

The UN human rights office has identified the need to ‘widen democratic space’ and support the work of human rights defenders as a global priority. The UN’s human rights chief, Navi Pillay, has launched a major new report to guide the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights over the next four years… more

UN COMMITTEE ON ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES APPOINTS FOCAL POINT ON REPRISALS

The UN's Committee on Enforced Disappearances has recocognised and responded to the issue of intimidation and attacks against human rights defenders by creating a rapporteur on reprisals, responding to a submission made by ISHR and other NGOs… more

Human Rights developments

JAILING OF PROMINENT EGYPTIAN ACTIVISTS UPHELD UNDER REPRESSIVE NEW PROTEST LAW

On 7 April 2014, an Egyptian appeals court upheld the jailing of Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma, and Mohamed Adel, three leading activists with the 6 April Youth Movement. The three were jailed for protesting without permission and assaulting the police last December… more

VIETNAM ACTIVIST DINH DANG DINH DIES AFTER SIX YEARS OF IMPRISONMENT

On 3 April 2014, Dinh Dang Dinh, Vietnamese environmental activist, blogger, and former prisoner of conscience died of stomach cancer. Dinh was jailed after starting a petition against a mining project and was diagnosed with cancer while in prison. He was denied his right to liberty during the trial proceedings… more

CAMBODIA DENIED BAIL TO ACTIVISTS DETAINED IN GARMENT STRIKE CRACKDOWN

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court refused to grant bail to two activists detained in connection with the deadly crackdown by security forces during the garment worker protest this January. Over 100 protesters gathered outside the hearing to call for the activists’ release. However, neither of the activists was present at their court hearing… more

ACTIVIST LOBBYING AGAINST MASS DEATH SENTENCES DEPORTED FROM EGYPT

Egyptian authorities deported Wissam Tarif, an activist from international group Avaaz, hours after he flew in to Cairo to deliver a petition against mass sentencing of the 529 supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. According to Avaaz, its petition ‘Egypt: Stop the Mass Execution’ boasts over 1.1 million people’s signatures… more

INDIA AND SOUTH AFRICA DISAPPOINT AT HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

In a Human Rights Council discussion on the creation of a safe and enabling environment for civil society last month, both India and South Africa sought to unsuccessfully thwart the contribution of human rights defenders.  Most alarming were both states’ attempts to obstruct the right to peaceful protests… more

Conferences and events

SHELTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN DISTRESS

Justice and Peace Netherlands offers the possibility of temporary shelter in the Netherlands for three months for human rights defenders in distress. The Shelter City programme provides housing, insurance, travel, training, a daily allowance and an opportunity to spread the story of the human rights defender.

The defender has to be willing to come to the Netherlands around 1 July and be able to return to their country of origin after three months. The defender has to be willing to speak in front of an audience. Closing date for enrolments is 8 May. Forms and additional information can be requested at sheltercity@justitiaetpax.nl.

Resources

KUMULIKA: REPORT ON THE AFRICAN COMMISSION'S 54TH ORDINARY SESSION

The 54th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights was held from 22 October to 5 November 2013 in Banjul, The Gambia.

A new issue of Kumulika – ISHR’s analytical publication on the ACHPR – covers key developments from the session and the NGO Forum which preceded it... more

HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY REPORT FROM UK FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE

Human rights defenders, women’s rights, LGBTI rights, and business and human rights are four of the areas of activity highlighted by the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office in its 2013 report.

GRAVE INCREASE IN KILLING OF KILLING OF PEOPLE DEFENDING LAND AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS

At least 908 people are known to have died between 2002 and 2013 while defending environmental and land rights, according to a new report released by Global Witness. The report, Deadly Environment, also finds that there has been a clear rise in the frequency of deaths over the period.

Director's update

Over the last few months I’ve been inspired by the courage of many human rights defenders with whom ISHR works in defying danger to protect the rights of others. I’ve also seen how international and regional human rights mechanisms are being used by these defenders to achieve human rights change and wanted to share some developments with you in this regard… more

Upcoming opportunities

GENERAL ASSEMBLY HIGH LEVEL EVENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT

The General Assembly will hold a high level event entitled ‘Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’ from 9 to 10 June.

Invitations to this event, as well as the programme and the details on the issues to be addressed during the plenary and the panel discussions will be sent at a later stage.

COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF CHILD

The Committee on the Rights of Child will meet in Geneva from 26 May to 13 June. The deadline for submission of NGO information will be posted as soon as it is available. The Committee will review the reports of the following countries: India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, and Saint Lucia. India, Jordan and the United Kingdom will be reviewed under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. India and Jordan will also be reviewed under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

The pre-sessional working group of the 68th session of the Committee will be held from 16 to 20 June. It will consider the following State reports: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Jamaica, Mauritius, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, United Republic of Tanzania, and Uruguay.

COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women will meet in Geneva from 30 June to 18 July for its 58th session. The schedule of country examinations will be posted as soon as it is available. The Committee will review the reports of the following countries: Central African Republic, Georgia, India, Lithuania, Mauritania, Peru, Swaziland, and Syria.

The pre-sessional working group of the 60th session of the Committee will take place from 21 to 25 July. It will consider the following State reports: Azerbaijan, Denmark, Ecuador, Eritrea, Gabon, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, and Tuvalu.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

The Human Right Committee will hold its next session in Geneva from 7 to 25 July. The Committee will review the reports of Chile, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Malawi, and Sudan. The Committee’s Country Task Forces will also adopt a list of issues for Cambodia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, France, Russian Federation and a list of issues prior to reporting for Mexico and Poland.

The deadline for submission of the NGO information with respect to States upon which List of issues and List of issues prior to reporting will be adopted is 25 April 2014 (electronic form) and 13 June (hardcopy). The deadline for information on States to be examined by the Committee electronically and in hardcopy is 13 June 2014. The deadline for registration is 27 June.

WEBCASTS OF THE TREATY BODY MEETINGS

If you are unable to attend relevant treaty body meetings, you can now watch them 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.

19TH SESSION OF THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW

The 19th session of the UPR will take place in Geneva from 28 April until 9 May. The following countries will be reviewed: Norway, Albania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Portugal, Bhutan, Dominica, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Qatar, and Nicaragua.

Click here for the reports submitted by each country, and a live webcast. An analysis of the session will be included in the next edition of the Human Rights Monitor.

EXTENSION OF DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION TO 21ST AND 22ND UPR SESSIONS

The deadlines for written contributions from all stakeholders in relation to States under review during the 21st and 22nd sessions of the UPR Working Group have been extended.

For the 21st session the deadline is 15 June 2014 for the following States: Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Guinea, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Spain, Lesotho, Kenya, Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Sweden, Grenada, Turkey, Guyana, Kuwait.

For the 22nd session the deadline is 15 September 2014 for the following States: Belarus, Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia, Panama, Maldives, Andorra, Bulgaria, Honduras, United States of America, Marshall Islands, Croatia, Jamaica, Libya.

Stakeholders' submissions should be sent using the new 'On-line UPR submissions system'.

WORKING GROUP ON DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN

The Working Group on discrimination against women in law and practice accepts information on allegations of discrimination against women in law and practice throughout the year. The next session of the Working Group will be held in Geneva from 5 to 9 May.

WORKING GROUP ON TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS

The 8th session of the Working Group on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises will take place in Geneva from 5 to 9 May. Submissions in relation to the Working Group’s mandate are accepted throughout the year.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ORGANISATIONAL MEETING

An organisational meeting of the Council will be held on 8 May, at 10am in Room XX at the Palais des Nations. The meeting is for the purpose of appointing 19 special procedures mandate holders, who were due to appointed at the 25th session.

A further organisational meeting for the Council’s 26th session, where States will announce planned initiatives for the session, will take place on 26 May.

HUMAN RIGHT COUNCIL’S 26TH SESSION
The Council’s 26th session is scheduled for 10 to 27 June. ISHR will provide weekly updates through its Human Rights Council Monitor. The submission deadline for NGO written statements to the Council is 26 May, and for requests for NGO parallel-event rooms is 12 May.

MEETING OF SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS/REPRESENTATIVES, INDEPENDENT EXPERTS AND CHAIRPERSONS OF WORKING GROUPS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

The annual meeting of special rapporteurs/representatives, independent experts and chairs of working groups of the Human Rights Council will take place from 2 to 6 June.

MEETING OF PERSONS CHAIRING HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY BODIES

The 26th session of Meeting of Chairpersons of the Human Rights Treaty Bodies will take place in Geneva from 23 to 27 June. It provides a forum for members of the treaty bodies to discuss their work and consider ways to enhance the effectiveness of the system as a whole.

EXPERT MECHANISM ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will hold its 7th session from 7 to 11 July in Geneva. Information on accreditation will be available here.

CASE NOTES ON DECISIONS FROM INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES

Belarus: Denial of permission to convene public meeting violates right to freedom of expression and assembly.

Kazakhstan: Extradition to Kyrgyzstan breaches prohibition against refoulement.

South Korea: Deportation of Christian convert to Iran would breach right to life and prohibition against torture.

Ghana: Death penalty law breaches the right to life.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Detention and torture of suspected spy breached ICCPR.

Admissibility Decisions: Human Rights Committee dismisses cases against Slovakia, New Zealand and Lithuania.

special procedures' country visits

AZERBAIJAN
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons
18 – 24 May
COMOROS
Working Group on mercenaries
8 – 16 May
SRI LANKA
Special Rapporteur on migrants 
19 – 26 May
NETHERLANDS
Working Group on people of African descent
30 June – 4 July
To find out how you can support the visits, please contact the respective mandate-holder at their email, found in the directory
For more information, please visit our website: www.ishr.ch or contact us: information@ishr.ch