Human Rights Monitor Monthly - July 2014
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HUMAN RIGHTS MONITOR
July 2014
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ELECTIONS EVENT: DISCUSSION WITH CANDIDATES

New York, 15 July 2014

In advance of the November Human Rights Council elections, ISHR and Amnesty International are organising a presentation and discussion of the pledges and commitments made by candidates... more
OPINION
UN SHOULD ENHANCE PROTECTIONS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

Michelle Evans, New York Manager and Advocacy Coordinator, International Service for Human Rights


Despite knowing the huge risks human rights defenders face in their work, the news still came as a shock to our global community. On 14 March, Cao Shunli, a prominent human rights lawyer, died in hospital after being detained by the Chinese authorities for several months… more
 

Our work to support human rights defenders

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL SESSION ENDS WITH CALL TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

The 26th session of the UN Human Rights Council closed with a reminder that human rights defenders in many parts of the world continue to be arrested and imprisoned for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and a statement of regret that States within the Human Rights Council itself are seeking to stifle debate and promote resolutions that are incompatible with international human rights standards… more

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS MAJOR RESOLUTIONS ON BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS BUT MISSES OPPORTUNITY TO PROTECT DEFENDERS 

The UN Human Rights Council has missed a significant opportunity to strengthen the protection of human rights defenders who work to promote corporate respect for human rights and corporate accountability for human rights violations, said the International Service for Human Rights… more
 
EGYPT: END SYSTEMATIC MISUSE OF ASSEMBLY LAWS AGAINST PEACEFUL PROTESTORS AND RELEASE WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 

A group of seven women human rights defenders, arrested on 21 June 2014 in Egypt for conducting a peaceful protest against the country’s deeply flawed public assembly bill, must be released immediately and unconditionally… more

STATES MUST SUPPORT STRONGER ACTION ON REPRISALS AT UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

States must support stronger action to combat intimidation and reprisals against those who cooperate with the UN by pushing for the endorsement of a Human Rights Council resolution on the issue by the UN General Assembly in New York, said the International Service for Human Rights… more

NEW HIGH COMMISSIONER MUST CONTINUE TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER 

The International Service for Human Rights has welcomed the appointment of Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan as the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and called upon him to follow the outstanding example set by the current High Commissioner, Navi Pillay… more

CÔTE D’IVOIRE: NEW LAW WILL STRENGTHEN PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

A new law enacted in Côte d’Ivoire will strengthen the protection of human rights defenders and should inspire other African States to develop similar legislation, said the Côte d’Ivoire Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, the West African Human Rights Defenders Network and the International Service for Human Rights… more

HIGH COMMISSIONER CALLS ON STATES TO COMBAT LGBT DISCRIMINATION AND REPRISALS 

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council for the last time in her term, High Commissioner Navi Pillay called on States to welcome and support the work of civil society activists and UN human rights mechanisms, saying they make an invaluable contribution to development and the resolution of conflict… more

Human Rights defenders' profiles

PROFILES OF REPRESENTATIVES OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS FIGHTING TO OBTAIN ECOSOC CONSULTATIVE STATUS TO THE UN

ISHR is publishing a series of profiles of representatives of NGOs fighting to obtain Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) consultative status to the UN through the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs.

Consultative status is required to attend and participate in many UN meetings, including those of the Human Rights Council. We hope these profiles will help expose the Committee’s dysfunction, share the struggles of human rights defenders that are repeatedly blocked from bringing their experiences and insights on critical issues to policy-making at the UN, and ultimately help secure consultative status to the UN for these credible NGOs carrying out important and valuable human rights work.


The first profile features Gissou Nia from the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center… more



The second interview features Veronica Yates from the Child Rights International Network… more
 

OUr work to strengthen human rights systems

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: PERSISTENT NON-COOPERATION FROM SOME STATES 

The lack of cooperation of some States with the Council’s special procedures and other mechanisms was brought to the fore as the Council heard updates from the Special Rapporteurs on Belarus, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Eritrea, along with the latest update from the Commission of Inquiry into the situation in Syria… more

UN: SEIZE CRUCIAL OPPORTUNITY TO FURTHER STRENGTHEN TREATY BODIES 

A high-level meeting of UN human rights experts should focus on strengthening the functioning and accessibility of the human rights treaty bodies and protecting human rights defenders who submit information and complaints, said the International Service for Human Rights… more

AFRICAN COMMISSION ADOPTS GROUND-BREAKING RESOLUTIONS 

The highlight of the resolutions adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its 55th session was that on ‘protection against violence and other human rights violations against persons on the basis of their real or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity‘. This is the first resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity to be adopted by the Commission… more

UN TAKES FORWARD STEP ON LGBT RIGHTS AND BACKWARD STEP ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS 

In a significant move, the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations, which acts as the gatekeeper to NGO access to the UN, has accredited an organisation working on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. In a backward step, however, the same committee denied access to a youth group working to advance sexual and reproductive rights… more

UN: IMPROVE TRANSPARENCY OF BODY WHICH REGULATES CIVIL SOCIETY 

A coalition of leading non-governmental organisations has successfully called on the UN to reinstate press coverage of UN meetings so as not to undermine the right to information and participation for civil society organisations. The UN Department of Public Information had previously decided to suspend coverage of meetings of the UN ECOSOC Committee on NGOs… more

HUman rights developments

UN EXPERTS CALL ON SWAZILAND TO ENSURE FAIR TRIAL OF DETAINED HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer, and Bheki Makhubu, a journalist, have been re-arrested in April and are still detained for expressing their views on a court case. They have never appeared before an open court. The experts called on the authorities to ensure fair judicial proceedings and to respect freedom of expression… more

POLITICAL ACTIVIST DISAPPEARED IN THAILAND

Kritsuda Khunasen, an opposition activist, has been disappeared by the Junta at the end of May. This case adds to a numerous list of political leaders, academics, journalists and activists who have been detained without access to a lawyer, or even held incommunicado by the military since the coup d’état… more

CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS CONDEMNED TO HEAVY JAIL SENTENCES IN CHINA

Civil rights activists Liu Ping and Wei Zhongping were sentenced to 6.5 years’ imprisonment and Li Sihua was given a 3-year sentence. They are part of a movement calling on the authorities to publicly disclose their assets. All three of them are charged with the vague offence of ‘creating a disturbance’… more

HARSH CONVICTION OF AL JAZEERA JOURNALISTS IN EGYPT

Three journalists have been condemned to jail sentences of between seven to ten years on 23 June. They are charged with the broad and vague offences of harming national unity and social peace, spreading false reports, and belonging to a ‘terrorist organization’. This comes in a context where media and civil society activists are facing increasing harassment and attacks in Egypt… more

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST DETAINED BY MALAYSIAN POLICE

Australian activist Natalie Lowrey was arrested on 22 June and detained along with 15 Malaysian citizens protesting against a rare earth mining company. All Malaysian militants were released on bail but Natalie Lowrey faces up to a two-year jail sentence for allegedly infringing the Peaceful Assembly Act which requires 10 days’ notice for protests to take place… more

JOINT LETTER TO THE ECOSOC COMMITTEE ON NGOS

As a part of the campaign on transparency on ECOSOC Committee on NGOs, the Child Rights International Network has taken an action to write a letter to the Committee expressing concerns about tactics used by its Members to deny and defer accreditation to authorised NGOs. The letter was signed by a group of human rights NGOs all over the world and is available here.
 

CASE NOTES ON DECISIONS FROM INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES

France: State should review rules on permits for itinerant residents.

Denmark: Deportation to Eritrea would violate non-refoulement obligations.

Algeria: Breach of Covenant regarding enforced disappearances during civil war

Australia: Required to provide remedy to victim of police misconduct.
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Upcoming Opportunities

COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF CHILD

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 optional protocol on the sale of children (CRC-OP-SC). The Committee will also review Hungary, Venezuela and Morocco, Singapore under the optional protocol on children in armed conflicts (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 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 the 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 the lists of issues for Croatia and Czech Republic. The deadline to submit information on the countries under review will be provided as soon as it is available. The 13th pre-session of the Committee will be held from 7 to 10 October.

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.

COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN

The 59th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will take place from 20 October to 7 November. The Committee will consider the reports of Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, China, China (Hong Kong), China (Macau), Ghana, Guinea, Poland, Solomon Islands, and Venezuela. The provisional agenda is available here.

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.

UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW

The 20th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will be held from 27 October until 7 November. The order of review, timetables and list of troikas will be determined shortly before the session.

The deadline for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to receive written contributions from the stakeholders of the countries to be reviewed during the 22nd session of the UPR is 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

The Human Rights Council’s 27th session is scheduled for 8 to 26 September. ISHR will provide weekly updates through its Human Rights Council Monitor. The submission deadline for NGO written statements will be posted as soon as it is available.

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

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 in room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva. The provisional agenda and other relevant documentation related to the third session will be made available here.

MEETING OF SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS/REPRESENTATIVES/INDEPENDENT EXPERTS AND CHAIRPERSONS

The 21st session of the meeting of Special Rapporteurs, Representatives, Independent Experts and Chairpersons of Working Groups of the Human Rights Council will take place from 29 September to 3 October.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

The 112th session of the Human Rights Committee will take place from 7 to 31 October. The Committee will examine the reports and country situations of Israel, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Montenegro Malta, and Burundi. It will also adopt Lists of issues on the reports of Uzbekistan, Canada, Macedonia, Spain, UK, and Venezuela. The Committee will also adopt the List of issues prior to reporting on Switzerland.

The deadline for information with respect to States upon which List of issues and List of issues prior to reporting will be adopted is 25 July to be provided in electronic form.
The deadline for information on State parties to be examined by the Committee electronically and in hardcopy is 12 September.

WORKING GROUP ON DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN LAW AND PRACTICE

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 13 to 17 October.

COMMUNICATIONS PROCEDURE OF THE COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
The Communications Procedure of the Commission on the Status of Women is a unique tool for individuals and organisations to use to raise awareness about injustice and discriminatory practices against women in any country in the world. Claims to the Commission on the Status of Women for consideration at its next session (9-20 March 2015) must be submitted by 1 August 2014.

CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ELECTIONS: A DISCUSSION OF CANDIDATES’ ASPIRATIONS AND VISION OF MEMBERSHIP – 15 JULY 2014

In advance of the Human Rights Council elections set for November 2014, Amnesty International and the International Service for Human Rights are organising a presentation and discussion of the pledges and commitments made by candidates running for the term starting in 2015. The event is being held together with the support of the Permanent Missions of Uruguay and Tunisia, and is taking place on 15 July, from 11am to 1pm in the UN HQ, New York, Conference Room 2.

MARTIN ENNALS AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS – 7 OCTOBER 

The 2014 Martin Ennals Award ceremony will take place on 7 October, from 6pm at Uni-Dufour in Geneva. The 2014 laureate will be announced from this year’s three finalists: Ms Cao Shunli (China), Mr Adilur Rahman Khan (Bangladesh) and Ms Alejandra Ancheita (Mexico). The award ceremony is hosted by the Ville de Genève and the Martin Ennals Foundation. Register to attend.

NEW RESOURCES

NEW UPR BRIEFING PAPERS ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN STATES UNDER REVIEW

ISHR has recently published a series of briefing papers on the situation of human rights defenders in TurkeyKenyaLaosSpain and Guinea (for the 21st session of the UPR in January 2015). The papers are intended to assist States and other stakeholders to formulate questions and recommendations regarding the protection of human rights defenders during the UPR. ISHR has previously published briefing papers on the situation of defenders in ItalyAngolaGambiaKazakhstanIran and Egypt (for the 20th session in October 2014).

GUIDELINES ON THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 

New Guidelines for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders have recently been published by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The guidelines are based on OSCE commitments and universally-recognised human rights standards with which OSCE participating States have agreed to comply. The guidelines focus on the protection of the human rights of those who are exposed at risk because of their human rights activity.

special procedures' country visits

HONDURAS
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
1 – 8 July
ITALY
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
7 – 9 July
HAITI
Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti
13 – 22 July
AFGHANISTAN
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
1 – 10 November
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