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

COUNCIL ALERT








The 26th session of UN Human Rights Council will take place from 10 to 27 June in Geneva. More about what's in store here.
OPINION
THE DEADLY ENVIRONMENT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

ALICE HARRISON


‘I live from the forest, I’ll protect it at any cost. And that’s why I live with the constant threat of a bullet to my head, because I denounce the loggers and charcoal producers,’ said rubber tapper José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva at his TEDx talk in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. 'I’m here talking to you today, but a month from now I might have disappeared.' He was wrong, but not by much… more

Human rights defender profile

YUYUN WAHYUNINGRUM, INDONESIAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

When human rights were included in the ASEAN Charter, which was adopted in 2008, Yuyun Wahyuningrum saw an opportunity to promote human rights discourse in the region through advocacy at ASEAN… more

Our work to support human rights defenders

REPRISALS: STATES MUST REDUCE UNACCEPTABLE HUMAN COST OF COOPERATING WITH UN

States should act through the General Assembly to reduce the unacceptable human cost of cooperating with the UN, according to the International Service for Human Rights and a coalition of leading international and regional NGOs … more

AFRICAN COMMISSION ADOPTS LANDMARK RESOLUTION ON LGBT RIGHTS

Africa's peak human rights body has adopted a landmark resolution condemning violence and discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons... more

BAHRAIN: HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL SHOULD ACT TO CONDEMN VIOLATIONS AND PROTECT DEFENDERS

The UN's top human rights body should urgently condemn ongoing serious human rights violations in Bahrain and call on officials to respect and uphold the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, according to an open letter sent to States by a coalition of leading human rights organisations… more

TIME FOR UN AND STATES TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people around the world are being targeted by repressive legislation on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity with increasing frequency and severity… more

CHINA: UN COMMITTEE SHOULD DEMAND THAT GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATE AND END REPRISALS

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should interrogate China about the death of Cao Shunli and demand that the government investigate and ensure accountability for reprisals against human rights defenders… more

OUR WORK TO STRENGTHEN HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEMS

AFRICAN COMMISSION DESIGNATES HIGH-LEVEL FOCAL POINT TO COMBAT REPRISALS

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has designated a high-level focal point to document and follow up on cases of intimidation and reprisals against those that cooperate with the African human rights system… more

ISHR WELCOMES APPOINTMENT OF NEW UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

The UN Human Rights Council has unanimously endorsed the appointment of Michel Forst as the new UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders… more

Human Rights developments

UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS CALL UPON AZERBAIJAN TO DROP CHARGES AGAINST THREE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

Anar Mammadli, Bashir Suleymanli and Elnur Mammadov are being tried at the Grave Crime Court of Baku following their work to document alleged human rights violations and irregularities in the context of the presidential elections in October 2013. They risk a 12-year sentence… more

CHINESE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS DETAINED AHEAD OF TIANANMEN ANNIVERSARY

Five activists have been arrested and detained by the Chinese authorities, after they attended a seminar about the Tiananmen crackdown. Gao Yu, a journalist who covered the events in 1989, has been disappeared since 24 April… more

UGANDAN HOMOSEXUAL COUPLE TO BE TRIED

Kim Mukisa and Jackson Mukasa are charged for engaging in sexual acts “against the order of nature”, under the harsh anti-gay laws passed in Uganda in February. They are the first persons to be heard before a court in Uganda since the new legislation, which provides for life imprisonment… more

TWO VIETNAMESE BLOGGERS ARRESTED

Nguyen Huu and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy were arrested on 5 May and charged for “abusing democratic freedoms that infringe on the interests of the state”. They published articles online about how to bypass government censorship to access world news… more

UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS OUTRAGED BY EXTREMELY SEVERE CONDEMNATION OF SAUDI BLOGGER

Raef Badawi was first convicted in July 2013, but at the beginning of May, following an appeal, the Criminal Court issued a more severe sentence. It convicted Badawi to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a one million Saudi riyal fine, for publishing dissenting articles on his blog and social media…more

ETHIOPIAN AUTHORITIES ARRESTED NINE JOURNALISTS AND BLOGGERS

Nine Ethiopians journalists and bloggers were arrested and charged with working with foreign human rights groups and inciting to violence through social media in order to destabilise the country. According to one of the arrested, they were denied access to a lawyer… more

focus on the inter-american commission

OPINION: HOW THE INTER-AMERICAN HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM WORKS TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Since its foundation 50 years ago, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has monitored the situation of human rights defenders in the Americas and has employed protection mechanisms to protect the life and physical integrity of human rights defenders persecuted for their activities to defend human rights… more

INTERVIEW: BELEN PAEZ, DIRECTOR OF THE PACHAMAMA FOUNDATION

Over the past 16 years, the Pachamama Foundation has been working for the conservation of tropical forests and the respect of the rights of indigenous communities. We have supported more than 30 communities, working for the recognition and respect of their rights… more

KEY DEVELOPMENTS: DURING ITS 150TH SESSION OF PUBLIC HEARINGS THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION IS TESTED AND STANDS STRONG

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has just published its report on its 150th session of public hearings, recently held in Washington. For the span of a week, twice a year, the Commission provides States and civil society of the region with the opportunity of requesting a hearing to present and discuss human rights issues… more

conferences and events

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL SIDE EVENT: 'FROM THREATS TO OPPORTUNITIES': BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

13 June, 12.15 - 13.45, Room IX, Palais des Nations, Geneva

ISHR together with Legal Resources Centre is organising a side event entitled ‘From threats to opportunities: Business & human rights defenders’. Panellists, including the new Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, will highlight the role of human rights defenders in promoting corporate responsibility and in exposing and remedying the adverse human rights impacts of business.

Donate to human rights defenders

CONTRIBUTE TO HUMAN RIGHTS CHANGE

It's not too late to make your contribution to ISHR's joint fundraising appeal with the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project. Donate now!

ishr 30th anniversary

HASSAN SHIRE SHEIKH

ISHR trainee in 2006
Now: Chairperson of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network
 
What does ISHR mean to you?
 
ISHR opened the door to international level advocacy for me. I visited Geneva in 2006, for the first time, to participate in ISHR’s training and learn about the protection and work of the international human rights system. 
 
Without ISHR’s understanding of - and facilitation in - accessing the global human rights system, my organisation and I would never have been able to understand the complexities of the system, to engage with the Human Rights Council, to participate in the UPR together with our member organisations, to make use of the treaty body system, or to dialogue with the special mechanisms of the Council. All of these things were enabled by ISHR’s training, which made it possible to have our African voices heard at the international level.
 
ISHR remains a strategic and important ally of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project; and not only for us, but for a number of human rights defenders based in the Global South. ISHR keeps us informed about what’s happening in the UN human rights system and facilitates our international level advocacy. The Service trains our members, both in Africa and in Geneva, equipping us with the knowledge and skills we need to have our voices heard by these important institutions.
 
Supporting human rights defenders is essential. By their very nature they are the forerunners of global protection for human rights. Equip or protect one and the multiplier effect is huge.

CASE NOTES ON DECISIONS FROM INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES
 

Libya: Enforced disappearances during Gaddafi regime need investigation.

Switzerland: Urged to review non-citizens’ rights.

Director's update

EILEEN DONAHOE APPOINTED TO ISHR BOARD

ISHR is delighted to announce the appointment of Eileen Donahoe to its Board. Dr Donahoe is currently Director of Global Affairs at Human Rights Watch and previously worked as US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva… more

Upcoming opportunities

GENERAL ASSEMBLY HIGH LEVEL EVENT

The General Assembly will hold a High Level Event ‘Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’ from 9 to 10 June. Representatives of the UN agencies, civil society and other relevant stakeholders are invited to attend.

COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF CHILD

The Committee on the Rights of Child is meeting for its 66th session in Geneva from 26 May to 13 June. 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 (CRC-OP-SC). India and Jordan will be reviewed also under the optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (CRC-OP-AC). The programme of work is available here.

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

The 67th session of the Committee will take place from 1 to 19 September. The Committee will consider the State reports of Croatia, Fiji, Hungary, Morocco, and Venezuela. Hungary and Venezuela will be reviewed under the CRC-OP-SC. Also, the Committee will review Hungary, Venezuela and Morocco, Singapore under the CRC-OP-AC.

The 69th pre-sessional working group of the Committee will be held from 22 to 26 September. It will consider the State reports of Ethiopia, Ghana, Mexico, Nepal, and Netherlands. Cuba and Honduras will be reviewed under the CRC-OP-SC and Cuba, Honduras, Nepal and Netherlands will be reviewed under the CRC-OP-AC.

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 Committee will review the reports of the following countries: Central African Republic, Georgia, India, Lithuania, Mauritania, Peru, Swaziland, and Syrian Arab Republic.

The pre-sessional working group of the 60th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women will take place from 21 to 25 July. It will consider the following State reports: Azerbaijan, Denmark, Ecuador, Eritrea, Gabon, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, and Tuvalu. The deadline for the submissions of information for both sessions is 13 June.

COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will be in its 85th session from 11 to 29 August. The deadline for submitting information and register to attend the session is 25 July. The Committee will consider the reports of Cameroon, El Salvador, Estonia, Iraq, Japan, Peru and United States of America.

COMMITTEE ON ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES

NGOs wishing to submit information on States parties to be examined at the upcoming 7th session of the Committee, to be held from 15 to 26 September, should do so by 22 August. The Committee will review the reports of Belgium and Paraguay and adopt a list of issues for Armenia, Mexico and Serbia. The registrations to attend the session will be open until 5 September 2014.

COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with disabilities will meet in Geneva from 15 September to 3 October for its 12th session. The Committee will consider the reports of Belgium, Denmark, Ecuador, Mexico, New Zealand and Republic of Korea and adopt a lists of issues for Croatia and Czech Republic. The deadline to submit information on the countries under review will be provided as soon as available.

COMMITTEE ON THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF MIGRANT WORKERS AND MEMBERS OF THEIR FAMILIES

The deadline to submit information to the Committee’s 21st session for any of the countries under review (Belize and Ghana) is 15 August. The Committee will meet in Geneva from 1 to 5 September. The deadline for registration to attend the session is 25 August.

111TH SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

The Human Rights Council 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 information electronically and in hardcopy, on States parties to be examined by the Committee is 13 June 2014. The deadline for registration to attend the session 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.

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

The deadlines for OHCHR to receive written contributions from all stakeholders for the UPR documentation of countries to be reviewed during the 21st and 22nd sessions of the UPR Working Group have been extended.

For the 21st session the deadline is now 15 June 2014. List of States under review: 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 now 15 September 2014. List of States under review: 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’.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL SESSIONS

The Council’s 26th session is scheduled for 10 – 27 June and the Council’s 27th session is scheduled for 8 – 26 September. ISHR will provide weekly updates through its Human Rights Council Monitor.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ORGANISATIONAL MEETING

An organisational meeting for the Council’s 27th session, where States will announce planned initiatives for the session, will take place on 25 August.

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 ten human rights treaty bodies to discuss their work and consider ways to enhance the effectiveness of the treaty body 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. Please note that the deadline for accreditation requests is 25 June 2014.

THE INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT CALLS FOR CONTRIBUTION

The Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, Mr. John Knox, is calling for civil society contributions in preparation for his upcoming Council report. The deadline for submission is 30 June.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL WORKING GROUP ON THE ACTIVITIES OF PRIVATE MILITARY AND SECURITY COMPANIES

The third session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group mandated to consider the possibility of elaborating an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, which had to be rescheduled on short notice, will now be held from 21 to 25 July 2014 in room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva. The provisional agenda and other relevant documentation related to the third session will be made available here.

New resources

IGLHRC ANNOUNCES NEW RESOURCES FOR DEFENDERS OF LGBT RIGHTS IN IRAN

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission lunched a new series of Persian publications and a mobile-friendly website on LGBT issues in Iran.

UNDERSTANDING RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISMS FOR ACTIVISTS: NEW AWID RESOURCE MANUAL

AWID has prepared a new manual for rights activists facing religious fundamentalist opposition to their work. This resource include the innovative research and analysis produced by AWID’s Challenging Religious Fundamentalisms program through the past six years, and pulls together the experiences of hundreds of women’s rights activists in diverse regions of the world. The publication is provided only on request cf@awid.org.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES ON CIVIL SOCIETY'S RIGHT TO FUNDING

UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai and the Community of Democracies released a document titled ‘Protecting civic space and the right to access resources’ which includes a set of ‘general principles’ summarising key aspects of the right, along with their legal bases.

The publication summarises three general principles under international human rights norms and standards regarding the ability of civil society to seek, receive and use resources. Also, it provides arguments and legal backing to support specific aspects of each principle.
 

special procedures' country visits

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