Human Rights Monitor Monthly - May 2015
HUMAN RIGHTS MONITOR
May 2015

ISHR Annual Report



We're delighted to present you with our latest annual report!

Read it here

 
OPINION
 

STATES AND THE UN MUST SUPPORT NGO PARTICIPATION AND PLURALITY
By Marta Mauras, Ambassador of Chile to the UN in Geneva and former Vice-Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

States should recognise NGOs as vital and legitimate stakeholders in the promotion and protection of human rights and support their full and active participation at the UN, says Chile's Ambassador to the UN, Marta Mauras... more  

NGO PARTICIPATION AT THE UN: A ROADMAP FOR REFORM
By Jean-Daniel Vigny, Swiss human rights expert and member of the ISHR Board

States committed to civil society participation at the UN should commit themselves to a roadmap for reform of the workings of the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs, the effective gatekeeper to such participation, writes Jean-Daniel Vigny... more

Opinion

STRENGTHENING NGO ACCESS AND PARTICIPATION AT THE UN
By the Presidency of the UN Human Rights Council

Active participation of civil society is at the core of our work in the Human Rights Council and instrumental for the efficiency and functionality of the Council. To strengthen this core we need to have a dynamic and interconnected civil society that can contribute to change on the ground, says Ambassador Filloreta Kodra... more
 

our work to strengthen human rights systems

GETTING PAST THE GATEKEEPER: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO THE UN COMMITTEE ON NGOS

ISHR has launched its Practical Guide to the UN Committee on NGOs (esta publicación también está disponible en español) - an essential resource for all NGOs looking to obtain UN consultative status as a means to engage effectively with its human rights system.

Read the remarks of the Presidency of the UN Human Rights Council at the launch of the Guide.

Read the remarks of Chile's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva at the launch of the Guide.

Read the remarks of Swiss human rights expert Jean-Daniel Vigny at the launch of the Guide.

SAFEGUARDING CIVIL SOCIETY SPACE AND PARTICIPATION AT THE UN: ISHR'S IMPACT IN 2014 AND VISION FOR 2015

Read about the impact of ISHR's work in 2014 to safeguard civil society space and participation at the UN and beyond, and our vision of what we can achieve with your support in 2015... more

SPAIN: GAGGING LAWS UNDULY RESTRICT FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENCE AND MUST NOT ENTER INTO FORCE

ISHR called upon the Spanish Government to postpone three controversial reforms passed by Congress on 26 March 2015, and which are manifestly incompatible with fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in international law and the European Convention on Human Rights...more

Este artículo también se encuentra en español aqui.

Mexico: Enhance implementation of human rights defender protection law

A coalition of leading international and Latin American human rights organisations has called on Mexico to take urgent steps to enhance the implementation of its law on the protection of human rights defenders... more 

key developments in the promotion and protection of human rights

PROMINENT BAHRAINI HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER REARRESTED

Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab, who is currently appealing the sixth-month prison sentence he received for ‘publicly insulting official institutions’, has been rearrested for comments said to have been posted on Twitter. He is now facing up to 10 years in prison... more

MOROCCAN DEFENDER TARGETED FOR PROMOTING INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Moroccan journalist Hicham Mansouri has been sentenced to prison for ‘adultery’ and other charges, following an unfair trial. He appears to have been targeted for his efforts to promote investigation into allegations of corruption among government officials... more

LGBTI ACTIVISTS HOLD DAY OF SILENCE IN MOSCOW

The ‘Week Against Homophobia’ organised by Russian human rights defenders culminated in a ‘day of silence’ held in Moscow on 12 April, in protest against the silencing of the LGBTI community and the shrinking of civil society space... more

UZBEK DEFENDER CHARGED WITH NEW ALLEGATIONS AHEAD OF SCHEDULED RELEASE

Mr. Azamjon Formonov has been charged with ‘violating prison rules’ just days before his scheduled release on 29 April, after nine years of arbitrary detention. If convicted, Mr. Formonov faces up to three additional years of detention... more

UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS CONDEMN DETENTION OF ETHIOPIAN JOURNALISTS

The Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, have recently issued a joint statement condemning the ongoing detention of nine journalists in Ethiopia... more

HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER DETAINED IN SOMALILAND

Prominent human rights lawyer and activist Guleid Ahmed Jama was arrested on 18 April after he made statements on public radio denouncing the first executions of prisoners in Somaliland in nearly a decade... more

AZERBAIJAN’S LEADING HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER DUBIOUSLY CONVICTED

A court in Azerbaijan has sentenced the country’s most prominent human rights lawyer, Intigam Aliyev, to seven and a half years in prison, despite widespread international condemnation and accusations of political motivation... more

PROMINENT SAUDI ARABIAN ACTIVIST BEHIND BARS FOR ONE YEAR

Notwithstanding King Salman’s amnesty for some Saudi prisoners in January, prominent activists and lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair remains behind bars, with April 15 marking the completion of one year of his fifteen year sentence... more   

PAKISTANI HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER SHOT AND KILLED

Leading social activist Sabeen Mahmud was gunned down outside the pioneering Karachi arts venue she founded, shortly after giving a talk on ‘missing people’ and enforced disappearances in Pakistan... more

AZERBAIJAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER CONVICTED

The conviction of leading human rights activist, Rasul Jafarov, highlights the government’s crackdown on independent voices, says Human Rights Watch... more
 

NEW RESOURCES

BASIC FREEDOMS IN MALDIVES UNDER THREAT

In a new report Amnesty International has highlighted the assault on civil society in the Maldives. Egregious examples include NGOs being threatened with deregistration, political opponents being arrested, journalists and human rights defenders receiving death threats, and police failing to hold perpetrators accountable.

A graphic novel about human rights defenders in Mexico

La Lucha: The Story of Lucha Castro and Human Rights in Mexico is the first in a series of nonfiction graphic novels produced by Front Line Defenders (FLD), documenting the stories of human rights defenders at risk around the world. A copy of the novel can be obtained here by making a donation to FLD.

HOW-TO GUIDE FOR USING THE UPR SUBMISSION REGISTRATION SYSTEM 

UPR Info has published a how-to guide to assist NGOs, NHRIs, regional organisations and UN entities to submit written contributions for the preparation of country reports as part of the Universal Periodic Review.

future direction of THE Human Rights Council resolution system

A 12-month study by Universal Rights Group assesses the evolution of UN Human Rights Council resolutions, their relevance, and their possible impact for human rights in the future. The study incorporates research, policy dialogue and interviews with diplomats, OHCHR staff, academics and NGOs.

2014 Report on Freedom of Assembly and AssOciation

The Year in Assembly & Association Rights marks Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai’s first ‘yearbook’ of assembly and association rights. The report is a summary of the major developments of 2014, including important news events and the key activities of his mandate.

BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY REPORT INTERVIEWS 900 CEOs

A policy report initiated by Universal Rights Group, The Road from Principles to Practice: Today’s Challenges for Business in Respecting Human Rights, prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, analyses levels of respect for human rights among businesses around the world. The report contains the results of a global survey of nearly 900 CEOs, designed to understand their views, perceptions, strategies and actions in the area of human rights.

DOCUMENTED Crackdown on human rights defenders in Azerbaijan

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and FIDH have released a fact-finding mission report. The report documents the repression of eight emblematic human rights defenders in Azerbaijan who have been arbitrarily detained, and details the series of legislative amendments recently adopted to silence independent voices in the country.
 

requests for information

THE IMPACT OF THE WORLD DRUG PROBLEM ON HUMAN RIGHTS  

In a Resolution adopted at its 28th session, the Human Rights Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a study on the impact of the world drug problem on the enjoyment of human rights. As such, the Office of the High Commissioner has requested relevant information from civil society.

Responses or any queries may be sent by 15 May 2015 to: OHCHR United Nations Office at Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland, fax +41 22 917 9008, c/o Robert Husbands; registry@ohchr.org, cc. rhusbands@ohchr.org.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS – A COMPARATIVE SURVEY OF ENABLING ENVIRONMENTS FOR BUSINESSES AND ASSOCIATIONS

The Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association seeks input, by way of a questionnaire, from civil society for his upcoming report to the UN General Assembly comparing the treatment of businesses and associations with a view to assessing how States facilitate the exercise of the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association for non-State actors.  

Responses may be sent by 5 June 2015 to freeassembly@ohchr.org.

Merits decisions

HUSSEINI V. DENMARK (2243/2013)

The Human Rights Committee found that Denmark failed to take into account the right to protection of family life in ordering a resident’s expulsion and permanent ban on re‑entry. Pursuant to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Denmark was under an obligation to provide the resident with an effective remedy by reviewing its expulsion decision and prevent similar violations in the future... more

GRIFFITHS V. AUSTRALIA (1973/2010)

The Human Rights Committee found that Australia was in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for detaining a resident subject to extradition proceedings. Pursuant to the Covenant, Australia was under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy and to prevent similar violations in the future, including reviewing its legislation and practice... more

KOZULINA V. BELARUS (1773/2008)

The Human Rights Committee found that Belarus’ detention and prosecution of an individual who had participated in peaceful political meetings violated rights to liberty and security, fair trial and protection of the inherent dignity of the person under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights... more

our work to support human rights defenders

HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS CALL ON SYRIA TO RELEASE ‘DUMA FOUR’

64 human rights organisations call for the immediate release of the 'Duma Four', human rights defenders that were abducted during a raid by a group of armed men on the offices of the VDC in Duma, near Damascus... more

HONDURAS SHOULD END DEFAMATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, GUARANTEE THEIR SECURITY AND LEGISLATE THEIR PROTECTION

ISHR calls upon Honduras to end the wave of stigmatisation against human rights defenders. ISHR also joined other civil society organisations in demanding that the Honduran Congress incorporate civil society feedback into the draft law for the protection of defenders... more

Este artículo también se encuentra en español aquí.

BAHRAIN: RELEASE NABEEL RAJAB IMMEDIATELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY

ISHR and a coalition of Bahraini and international human rights NGOS call on Bahraini authorities to release Nabeel Rajab and drop all charges against him... more

VENEZUELA: STOP HARASSING HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

28 international and Latin American human rights organisations, including ISHR call on Venezuelan authorities to cease intimidating and harassing human rights defenders, and making unsubstantiated allegations that they are seeking to undermine Venezuelan democracy... more

Este artículo se encuentra también en español aqui

ENDING REPRISALS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: ISHR'S IMPACT IN 2014 AND VISION FOR 2015

Read about the impact of ISHR's work in 2014 to end and ensure accountability for reprisals against human rights defenders, and our vision of what we can achieve with your support in 2015... more

WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: ISHR'S IMPACT IN 2014 AND VISION FOR 2015

Read about the impact of ISHR's work to support women human rights defenders in 2014, and our vision of what we can achieve with your support in 2015... more

DEFENDERS OF LGBT RIGHTS: ISHR'S IMPACT IN 2014 AND VISION FOR 2015

Read about the impact of ISHR's work to support defenders of LGBT rights in 2014, and our vision of what we can achieve with your support in 2015... more

BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: ISHR'S IMPACT IN 2014 AND VISION FOR 2015

Read about the impact of ISHR's work to support corporate accountability activists in 2014 and our vision of what we can achieve with your support in 2015... more

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS WORKING TO PROMOTE DEMOCRACY AND END IMPUNITY: ISHR'S IMPACT IN 2014 AND VISION FOR 2015

Read about the impact of ISHR's work in 2014 to support human rights defenders who promote democracy and combat impunity and our vision of what we can achieve with your support in 2015... more

opportunities for ngo engagement

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

An organisational meeting for the Council’s 29th session, where States announce planned initiatives for the session, will take place on 26 May at the Palais des Nations in Room XX.

The 29th regular session of the Council Session will be held on 15 June – 3 July in the Palais des Nations. Information and updates will be published here.

UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW

The following States will be reviewed at the 22nd session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which will be held on 4 - 15 May: Belarus, Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia, Panama, Maldives, Andorra, Bulgaria, Honduras, United States of America, Marshall Islands, Croatia, Jamaica, and Libya. Documentation surrounding each State under review can be found here.

The following States will be reviewed at the 24th session of the UPR, which will be held in Jan/Feb 2016: Namibia, Niger, Mozambique, Estonia, Paraguay, Belgium, Denmark, Palau, Somalia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Latvia, Sierra Leone, and Singapore. The deadline for NGO submissions is 22 June (tentatively). Guidelines for submissions are found here. Information about the UPR mechanism can be found here.

SPECIAL PROCEDURES

The Annual Meeting of special rapporteurs, independent experts and chairpersons of the working groups of the special procedures will be held on 8 - 12 June.  Consultations with civil society will take place during this period. Information on consultations can be found here.

TREATY BODIES

The 26th session of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture will be held on 15 - 19 June on the 1st floor of Palais Wilson. Information about the Subcommittee’s work and the associated Optional Protocol can be found here.

The 54th session of the Committee against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment will be held on 20 April – 15 May on the 1st floor of Palais Wilson. Colombia, Congo, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Romania, Serbia, Spain and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be reviewed.

NGOs must submit information by 6 April. See here for more information.

The 114th session of the Human Rights Committee will be held on 29 June – 24 July and will consider the following State reports: Canada, France, Spain, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, Crown Dependencies of the United Kingdom and Northern Island, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom and Northern Island, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (the Bolivarian Republic of). The programme of work and other information is found here. NGO submissions should be made well in advance of the relevant session.

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 here.

WORKING GROUPS

The 11th session of the Working Group on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises will be held on 4 - 8 May in Room XII at the Palais de Nations.  Submissions can be made at all times to the Secretariat at: wg-business@ohchr.org. More information can be found here.

The 106th session of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will be held on 6 - 15 May in Room XXVII at the Palais des Nations. The sessions are generals held in private and the Working Group will consider information brought to its attention since its previous session. Information on how to make written submissions is found here. More information can be found here.

The 13th session of the Working Group on the Issue of discrimination against women in law and practice will be held on 4 - 8 May in Room IX at the Palais de Nations.  Submissions can be made at all times to the Secretariat at: wgdiscriminationwomen@ohchr.org . More information can be found here.

OTHER

The 27th session of the Meeting of Chairpersons of the Human Rights Treaty Bodies will be held 22 - 26 June on the 1st floor of Palais Wilson. Informal consultations with NGOs are a standard feature of the meeting. Submissions are also periodically accepted and NGOs are encouraged to contact the Secretariat for further information at: mc.icm@ohchr.org. Information surrounding past and upcoming meetings is published here.

CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

ADVANCED TRAINING ON MONITORING ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights is running an advanced training seminar in Geneva from 8 to 12 May. It will provide in-depth knowledge and understanding to experienced human rights advocates, government representatives and UN staff on how to enhance their work on monitoring economic, social and cultural rights.

For those requiring a visa, the application deadline is 17 April. For others, the deadline is 22 May.

ESSEX HUMAN RIGHTS SUMMER SCHOOL

The Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex will offer its five day summer school on Human Rights Research Methods from 19 June to 3 July. 

LEITNER CENTRE SUMMER HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE

The Leitner Centre runs its Summer Human Rights Institute from 20 to 31 July in New York City. The two-week certificate programme offers a comprehensive introduction to the theory and application of human rights law via subject lectures, workshops and fieldwork. Discounts are offered for Cycle 1 registration by 3 April and Cycle 2 by 29 May.

ADVANCED COURSE ON LAW, DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN RIGHTS

The Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University, Finland, is running a one-week intensive course providing participants with specialist-level knowledge in the field of human rights and development. The programme runs 17-21 August 2015. The application deadline is 3 May.

VENICE SCHOOL OF HUMAN RIGHTS 

The European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democracy is accepting applications for the Venice School of Human Rights. The school runs from 26 June to 4 July and has three thematic clusters – business and human rights; human rights and new technologies; and human rights and gender issues. The application deadline is 17 May 2015.

Special Procedures Country Visits

Greece
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
4 – 7 May
ARMENIA
Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography
11 - 18 May
SERBIA
Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context
18 – 26 May
SUDAN
Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
13 – 24 May
Italy
Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent
1 – 5 June
JAPAN
Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography
1 – 10 September 
Hungary
Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice
1 – 11 September
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