Applications for the position of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders are now open!
Read more here.
SECRETARY-GENERAL'S REMARKS AT HIGH-LEVEL EVENT ON SUPPORTING CIVIL SOCIETY
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
Ban Ki-moon reflects on the importance of a free and independent civil society and the responsibility of all of us to respect fundamental human rights and protect those who advocate for them… more
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER PROFILE
Khalid Ibrahim is the Co-Director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights. His co-founders are currently in prison because of their human rights activities. Khalid’s work aims to strengthen support and protection for all human rights defenders in the Gulf Region… more
OUR WORK TO SUPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
UN PASSES STRONGEST RESOLUTION YET ON ENDING REPRISALS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
The United Nations has taken a critical step towards ending the disturbing pattern of attacks, harassment and reprisals against human rights defenders and others who cooperate with the UN.
A landmark resolution adopted by the UN’s Human Rights Council is the strongest one to date on the issue of reprisals.
The resolution calls on the Secretary-General himself to appoint a high-level official to coordinate the international response to reprisals, to strengthen protections for human rights defenders, and to intervene in cases of alleged attacks. The resolution also urges States to enact laws to protect human rights defenders... more
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL CONDEMNS CIVIL SOCIETY CRACKDOWN
The Human Rights Council has condemned the global crackdown on civil society and called on all governments to protect and support the work of non-governmental organisations and human rights defenders… more
CHINA MUST END REPRISALS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
China must end reprisals against people engaging with the United Nations, ISHR has said, after a Chinese human rights defender scheduled to attend an ISHR training course on international human rights advocacy was reportedly disappeared. Amnesty International has described Cao Shunli, who was taken away by police on 14 September 2013, as a ‘prisoner of conscience’… more
ISHR's Director of Human Rights Advocacy, Michael Ineichen, spoke to SBS Radio Australia about the case... more
ISHR Director Phil Lynch provides an update on some of our work to support human rights defenders and protect civil society space.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEVELOPMENTS
PRESTIGIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD GIVEN TO RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS GROUP
The prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders for 2013 has been conferred on the Joint Mobile Group of Russia… more
UN EXPERTS CALL ON WORLD GOVERNMENTS TO BE GUIDED BY THE MAASTRICHT PRINCIPLES
A group of UN experts has urged States to take into account the effect of policies and laws on the human rights of people beyond their borders. The Maastricht Principles clarify these extra-territorial obligations of States… more
CONSTRUCTION PROJECT BY MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION MUST BE HALTED, UN EXPERTS URGE
Construction of a mega-steel plant in eastern India should be halted immediately, as UN independent human rights experts judge that it is the cause of many human rights concerns. The project reportedly threatens to displace over 22,000 people and disrupt the livelihood of many thousands more. In addition, UN experts say that human rights defenders protesting against the multinational steel corporation must also be protected… more
RISE IN ATTACKS AGAINST DEFENDERS IN KENYA MUST BE INVESTIGATED
A disturbing increase in attacks against human rights defenders in Kenya has been linked to support for the International Criminal Court’s prosecution of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, and the journalist Joshua arap Sang. Witnesses for the prosecution have faced harassment and intimidation, while a broader deterioration in safety of human rights defenders has been marked by the heinous killings of two defenders … more
UN EXPERTS URGE AZERBAIJAN TO ENABLE ROLE OF DEFENDERS IN ELECTIONS
A worrying trend of legislation has narrowed the space for human rights defenders to operate in Azerbaijan and has had particular impact in the run up to elections. Pointing out the particular need to facilitate the exercise of core rights such as freedom of peaceful assembly and association during elections, the experts called for Azerbaijan to lift restrictions on defenders’ ability to carry out their work safely and freely… more
FORECAST OF KEY DEVELOPMENTS AT THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S 68TH SESSION
An overview of key items on the agenda of the General Assembly including a proposed resolution by Norway on women human rights defenders, and the report of the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, as well as a series of controversial reports by UN experts… more
SUMMARY OF RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED AT THE 24TH SESSION OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
The 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council concluded with the adoption of more than 35 resolutions on a diverse range of thematic issues and country situations… more
FORTHCOMING COUNTRY VISITS BY SPECIAL PROCEDURES
Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders 7 – 11 October
Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples 12 – 20 October
Working group on discrimination against women 21 – 31 October
Special Rapporteur on cultural rights 18 – 29 November
To find out how you can support the visits, please contact the respective mandate-holder at their email, found in the directory.
LAUNCH OF COMMENTARY ON THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
An updated version of ‘The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Cases, Materials, and Commentary’, a comprehensive collation and analysis of the jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee, will be launched on 16th October at Palais Wilson, in Geneva, at 6:15pm. If you wish to attend please rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org. Order the book now and receive a special 20% discount!
Our work to strengthen human rights systems
STATES FAILING IN DUTY TO PREVENT INTIMIDATION AND REPRISALS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Human rights defenders across the world continue to face intimidation, harassment, attacks and reprisals for their work to promote and protect human rights at the UN but only a small number of governments have enacted laws that clearly protect human rights defenders and prohibit and penalise reprisals, a major new ISHR report has found. The report was launched at a webcast event at the Human Rights Council… more
ISHR HIGHLIGHTS ESSENTIAL CRITERIA FOR APPOINTMENT OF UN HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERT
The new UN expert on human rights defenders must have the necessary expertise and independence to provide the support that human rights defenders need to overcome challenges and violations, ISHR has told States. The current UN expert Special Rapporteur, Margaret Sekaggya, will leave office in April 2014 after completing her maximum term. Together with other leading NGOs such as Amnesty International, ISHR has developed a checklist of criteria for selecting the new mandate holder… more
LEADING NGOS URGE STATES TO REJECT PROPOSALS TO WEAKEN CIVIL SOCIETY PROTECTIONS
A coalition of leading non-governmental organisations successfully called on governments to reject proposals made by Cuba, Pakistan and Russia which, if adopted, would undermine civil society and weaken protections for human rights defenders… more
ISHR LAUNCHES NEW REPORT ON THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS
ISHR has launched a new report covering key developments at the 53rd session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, together with the NGO Forum that preceded it… more
opportunities FOR NGO ENGAGEMENT
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS TO POSITION OF SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
16 UN expert mandates are set to be renewed at the 25th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2014, along with two positions in the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Applications, including those for the crucial mandate on human rights defenders, close on 31 October. ISHR has developed a set of criteria for the mandate of human rights defenders. It is crucial that good candidates apply. The application form for this and other positions can be found here.
UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
The 17th session of the UPR takes place in Geneva from 21 October – 1 November. Key amongst the countries reviewed will be China.
AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS
The 54th session of the ACHPR will be held in Banjul, Gambia from 22 October – 4 November. A three day meeting of NGOs will take place prior to the session.
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN
CEDAW will hold its 56th session from 30 September – 18 October in Geneva. The pre-sessional working group, at which the Committee will identify issues to be raised with States during its 58th session, will be held from 21 – 25 October.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
The 109th session of the Human Rights Committee will take place in Geneva from 14 October – 1 November.
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
The 51st session of the Committee Against Torture will be held in Geneva from 28 October – 22 November.
COMMITTEE ON ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES
The Committee on Enforced Disappearances will hold its 5th session from 4 – 15 November, in Geneva. NGO information must be submitted by 20 September in electronic form and 23 October in hardcopy.
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
The 51st session of CESCR takes place in Geneva from 4 – 29 November. Information from NGOs should be submitted at the latest one and a half months before the session begins.
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.
CASE NOTES ON DECISIONS FROM INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE: LATEST TRENDS UNDER THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL
The case law of the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) under the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is always varied and dependent upon the cases submitted to it. Nevertheless, trends can be identified, writes Professor Sarah Joseph, Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, at Monash University… more
AUSTRALIA FOUND TO HAVE BREACHED RIGHTS OF MIGRANTS
A group of ‘offshore migrants’ has successfully challenged their detention by Australia on Christmas Island as arbitrary, and the Human Rights Committee has called on Australia to ensure that it prevents similar violations in the future, in particular by reviewing its migration legislation… more
ALGERIA CALLED ON TO INVESTIGATE ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE
The Human Rights Committee was asked to consider whether Algeria had violated its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in holding an individual in incommunicado detention and refusing to provide their family with information regarding their fate… more
HUNGARY VIOLATES RIGHT TO VOTE OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
In a landmark ruling by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Hungary’s automatic disenfranchisement of a group of persons with disabilities, on grounds of a court ruling that they suffered from ‘intellectual disability’, has been ruled a violation of the right to vote… more
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE DISMISSES COMPLAINTS AGAINST AUSTRALIA AND THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Complaints that Australia failed to uphold the prohibition of cruel and inhuman treatment, and the Czech Republic violated the right to equality before the law were both held inadmissible by the Human Rights Committee on grounds that they were not substantiated… more