20 years of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
20 years ago this week the global community unanimously reaffirmed its commitment to human rights through the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
Building on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the VDPA recognised that the promotion and protection of human rights must be a matter of the highest priority both for States and the international community.
To mark the anniversary week of the VDPA human rights experts, including Charlotte Bunch and Vitit Muntarbhorn, reflect on progress over the past 20 years, and the challenges that remain... more
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER PROFILE
MARIO DOMINGO FROM GUATEMALA: A HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER WORKING ON CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY
Mario Domingo is a human rights lawyer working on issues of corporate accountability in Guatemala. He recently participated in an ISHR training course in Geneva… more
Our Work to Support Human Rights Defenders
ISHR CALLS ON COUNCIL TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
As the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council closed, ISHR welcomed States’ positive follow-up to the March 2013 resolution of protection of human rights defenders but called for this to be translated into practical support on the ground.
ISHR WELCOMES RECORD NUMBER OF RESOLUTIONS ON PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
The Human Rights Council ended its 23rd session with the adoption of a record number of resolutions strengthening the recognition and protection of the work of particular groups of human rights defenders. ISHR welcomed the presentation of these texts… more
LGBT ORGANISATIONS CALL FOR URGENT ACTION FROM THE COUNCIL
ISHR joined over 1000 organisations in a joint statement calling for the Council to urgently follow-up to its 2011 resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity and ensure more sustained attention to these issues throughout the UN system, as well as calling on States to implement the recommendations from the High Commissioner’s 2012 report.
ISHR CALLS ON STATES TO ENSURE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE VIENNA DECLARATION AND PROGRAMME OF ACTION
ISHR called on all States to ensure full implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, highlighting threats of regress including restrictions on human rights defenders, discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and violence against women… more
DRACONIAN DRAFT NIGERIAN LAW WOULD CRIMINALISE LGBT PERSONS AND DEFENDERS
A draconian bill passed by the Nigerian House of Representatives would have wide-ranging impact on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and must not be signed into law, said the International Service for Human Rights… more
ISHR CALLS ON COUNCIL TO ACT URGENTLY ON LGBT RIGHTS
ISHR has called on member States of the Human Rights Council to take action on LGBT rights before the issue falls off the Council’s agenda… more
ECOSOC SESSION OPENS IN GENEVA
ECOSOC will hold its 2013 substantive session from 1 – 26 July, in Geneva. During its general segment, from 18 – 25 July, it will consider the report of its NGO Committee, which considers and recommends applications for consultative status from NGOs.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
The Human Rights Committee will hold its next session in Geneva from 8-26 July 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.
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.
COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The CRPD will hold its 10th session from 2 – 13 September, in Geneva. Those who wish to organise side events are requested to inform the Secretariat no later than 2 August.
COMMITTEE ON THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF MIGRANT WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
CMW’s 19th session will take place in Geneva from 9 – 13 September. NGO submissions on any of the countries under review must be sent to the Committee by 26 August.
COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
The 64th session of the CRC will be held in Geneva from 16 September to 4 October. Organisations that wish to submit information on any of the countries under review may do so through Child Rights Connect.
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 to 12 July in Geneva. The deadline for accreditation and for applying to hold side events is 28 June 2013.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
From 12 to 16 August the Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee, or think-tank, will be in session in Geneva.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ORGANISATIONAL MEETING
The organisational meeting for the Council’s 24th session, where States will announce planned initiatives for the session, will take place on 26 August.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
The 24th session of the Human Rights Council will be held in Geneva from 9 – 27 September. General information about NGO participation, which will be updated as the session approaches, can be found here.
2013 REGIONAL FORUM ON BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS FOR LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
The UN working group on business and human rights will co-host a regional forum on business and human rights for the Latin America and Caribbean from 28-39 August 2013 in Medellin, Colombia. To register and for more information see here.
CASE NOTES ON TREATY BODY DECISIONS
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE FINDS SPAIN IN VIOLATION OF ITS OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE AN EFFECTIVE REMEDY
In March 2013, the Human Rights Committee was asked to consider whether Spain had violated its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in permitting conditions of incommunicado detention in police custody and thereby allowing alleged acts of torture to be committed by police… more
RUSSIA FOUND NOT TO HAVE VIOLATED ITS OBLIGATIONS TO ENSURE A COMPETENT, INDEPENDENT AND IMPARTIAL TRIBUNAL
In March 2013, the Human Rights Committee was asked to consider whether the Russian Federation had violated its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by failing to ensure that persons charged with an offence subject to the death penalty had the option to be tried in front of a jury… more
COMPLAINTS AGAINST THE NETHERLANDS, RUSSIA AND AUSTRALIA REJECTED
The Human Rights Committee rejected two complaints, one against the Netherlands and one against Australia, on the basis that not all domestic remedies had been exhausted. A further complaint against the Netherlands was rejected because the complaint had been submitted anonymously. In the case of a complaint made against Russia, the Committee concluded that the complainant needed to provide more specific information, although two members dissented from this finding… more
Our work to strengthen human rights systems
VIENNA +20: STRENGTHENING HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE RULE OF LAW
Twenty years on from the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993, the International Service for Human Rights has put forward a series of proposals to strengthen human rights systems and better protect human rights defenders worldwide… more
UN EXPERTS ON TORTURE GRAVELY CONCERNED ABOUT REPRISALS AGAINST RUSSIAN NGOS
ISHR applauds the UN’s Committee Against Torture for addressing allegations of reprisals against two Russian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that provided information to the Committee in November 2012… more
ISHR CONCERNED ABOUT ATTACKS ON UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
Together with a coalition of 72 NGOs led by UPR Info, ISHR called on the Human Rights Council to maintain the integrity of the Universal Periodic Review. At the last session of the UPR, Russia took the unprecedented step of lobbying (ultimately successfully) for certain recommendations made by States to be removed from the draft report on the basis that they were ‘not relevant’. This is deeply regrettable and incompatible with Resolution 5/1 under which the UPR was created.
The joint NGO statement calls on the Council President to issue a ruling that recommendations made by States during the UPR must not be removed, negotiated or censored by the State under review.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEVELOPMENTS
BAHRAINI DEFENDER FACES REPRISALS FOR COLLABORATING WITH UN
Bahraini human rights defender, and former ISHR trainee, Mohamed Al-Maskati, has faced an ongoing campaign of reprisals following a statement he made in September 2012 at the UN’s peak human rights body, the Human Rights Council, based in Geneva.
In the latest incident, Mr Al-Maskati has been charged with ‘participation in illegal protests’.
INDIA BECOMES LATEST COUNTRY TO CRACKDOWN ON FOREIGN FUNDING TO NGOS
India has tightened already existing rules on the receipt of funds from abroad for NGOs. Human rights defenders have accused the government of stifling freedom of expression. One NGO has had its bank accounts frozen because it was likely to ‘prejudicially affect the public interest’.
A government official called for NGOs to use foreign funds for development work instead, to avoid these funds being used to criticise Indian policies.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF NAVI PILLAY CONCERNED ABOUT NEW VERDICT AGAINST NGOS IN EGYPT
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, expressed her concern at the sentencing of 43 NGO workers, 27 of them to five years imprisonment. The verdict was delivered on the basis of a vaguely worded clause in the penal code that has often been use to severely restrict freedom of expression.
NEW PRESS LAW IN BURUNDI ‘REGRETTABLE’
The promulgation of a press law in Burundi has been criticised by the UN’s human rights chief, Ms Navi Pillay, as contravening international human rights standards.
The new legislation gives overly broad definitions both to the circumstances under which journalists can be required to reveal their sources, and the grounds for restricting freedom of expression, in contravention of article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Extractive industries in Africa: towards a better protection of human rights
The Working Group on extractive industries of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights held its second meeting in South Africa in May, including a visit to the Maricana mine complex in South Africa... more
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE HAS MIXED RESULTS AT ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY SESSION
The Committee Against Torture made important improvements in the quality of its recommendations at its 50th session, despite some unconstructive engagement with States…more
PROGRESS FOR NGOS IN OBTAINING ACCESS TO THE UN
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations, which considers applications of NGOs for consultative status with the UN, recently recommended two LGBT organisations for consultative status. This marks a significant achievement, as only once before has the Committee recommended consultative status to an LGBT NGO… more
EU Guidelines on protection of LGBTI persons
The EU has adopted guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons.
The Guidelines provide instructions to EU institutions and member States on how to make progress on LGBTI rights in third countries and in international fora including the Human Rights Council and treaty bodies.
A DISCUSSION OF PLEDGES AND VISIONS OF MEMBERSHIP
ISHR together with Amnesty International, with the support of Argentina and Germany, will host a discussion with State candidates for election to the Human Rights Council on 9 July from 11am until 1pm, in the ECOSOC Chamber at the UN headquarters in New York.
The candidate countries of France, FYR Macedonia, Mexico, Uruguay and the UK have confirmed their participation, with more confirmations hoped for shortly. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information.
FORTHCOMING COUNTRY VISITS BY SPECIAL PROCEDURES
Working Group on transnational corporations 8 - 17 July
Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation 10 - 18 July
Special Rapporteur on sale of children 15 - 26 July
Independent Expert on foreign debt 16 – 19 July
Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples 22 – 29 July
Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion 2 – 12 September
Special Rapporteur on housing 2 -16 September
Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons 12 – 20 September
Working Group on disappearances 23 – 30 September
To find out how you can support the visits, please contact the respective mandate-holder at their email, found in the directory.