Human Rights Monitor Monthly - September 2013
 
HUMAN RIGHTS Monitor
SEPTEMBER 2013
 
INTRODUCING ISHR


ISHR's new youtube channel is now live!

Please check it out at

www.youtube.com/ISHRGlobal

 

Opinion


CHALLENGES FOR TREATY BODIES: SUSTAINABILITY AND FULFILMENT OF THEIR MANDATE

Patricia Schulz, Expert member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

The UN treaty body system is being starved of resources. Increased investment in the system could yield valuable gains in the realisation of human rights at the national and international levels… more

 

Our Work to Support Human Rights Defenders

UN MUST ADDRESS BRUTAL ATTACKS ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS WHO WORK ON ISSUES OF CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY

Following a series of brutal attacks on human rights defenders working on issues of corporate accountability, ISHR has called on UN officials including the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, to investigate and report on these attacks… more

ADVANCING WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND SEXUAL RIGHTS IN THE MANO RIVER REGION OF AFRICA

From 5 to 7 August, the International Service for Human Rights, together with the National Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone and the National Human Rights Defenders Network of Sierra Leone, held a workshop on the implementation of recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) related to women’s and sexual rights… more

UN HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTS SHOULD INVESTIGATE CORPORATE ABUSES AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN RUSSIA

The UN’s expert group on business and human rights should investigate intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders in Russia who work on issues of corporate accountability during its visit to Russia, ISHR has said in a letter. The experts will be in Russia from 30 September to 9 October 2013… more

COUNTER-TERRORISM LAWS MUST NOT BE MISUSED TO SILENCE JOURNALISTS OR TARGET HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

Following the prolonged detention of David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, under the United Kingdom’s Terrorism Act of 2000, ISHR has called for States such as the UK and US to live up to the commitments they make in Geneva, including by not misusing counter-terrorism law to target human rights defenders… more

OPPORTUNITIES FOR NGO ENGAGEMENT

NEW DEADLINES FOR UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
NGO submissions to the UPR will now be required 9 months in advance of the relevant UPR session. For the 19th session of the UPR, the deadline to submit information is 16 September.
The 17th session of the UPR takes place in Geneva from 21 October – 1 November. A pre-session will be organised by UPR Info from 2 – 4 September giving NGOs the opportunity to lobby a range of States.
 

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
The 24th session of the Human Rights Council will be held in Geneva from 9 – 27 September. The speakers’ list to sign up for oral statements will open at 2pm on 6 September. Note that the online system has changed, as explained in the following guidelines.
 

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.
 

WORKING GROUP ON DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN LAW AND PRACTICE
The Human Rights Council’s expert group on discrimination against women in law and practice will hold its 8th session from 30 September – 4 October in Geneva. The working group is currently soliciting inputs to its 2014 report to the Council on good practices in the elimination of discrimination against women in economic and social life.
 

WORKING GROUP ON BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
From 25 – 29 November, the Working Group on business and human rights will hold its 6th session, in Geneva.
 

COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The CRPD will hold its 10th session from 2 – 13 September, in Geneva.
 

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.
 

COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
The 64th session of the CRC will be held in Geneva from 16 September – 4 October. Organisations that wish to submit information on any of the countries under review may do so through Child Rights Connect. The CRC’s pre-sessional working group will be held from 7 – 11 October.
 

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. NGO information should be submitted by 13 September.
 

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.
 

SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
The Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders will visit Togo from 7 – 11 October. The Special Rapporteur has requested information about the main issues of concern for human rights defenders in Togo, as well as suggestions for relevant meetings, with authorities, institutions, NGOs or other defenders, that the Special Rapporteur should hold in Togo. Information should be provided to the Special Rapporteur by 23 September, by sending this form to defenders@ohchr.org.

CASE NOTES ON DECISIONS FROM INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES

LIBYA MUST INVESTIGATE DISAPPEARANCE OF INDIVIDUAL HELD IN INCOMMUNICADO DETENTION

In March 2013, the Human Rights Committee was asked to consider whether Libya had violated its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in holding an individual under incommunicado detention, failing to acknowledge their detention and thereby concealing their fate… more

BELARUSIAN DETAINEE HELD FOR OVER 48 HOURS IN VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

In March 2013, the Human Rights Committee was asked to consider whether Belarus had violated its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by detaining a person for a period in excess of 48 hours without bringing them before a judge… more

FINE FOR AUTHOR OF A PETITION PUTS BELARUS IN VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

In March 2013, the Human Rights Committee was asked to consider whether Belarus had violated its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by fining a person for distributing leaflets concerning a public meeting with a politician… more

ALGERIA MUST INVESTIGATE DISAPPEARANCE OF DETAINEES

In March 2013, 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 under incommunicado detention, denying them a fair trial, and refusing to provide their family with information regarding their fate… more

 

Our work to strengthen human rights systems

ISHR ADVOCACY HELPS TO PROTECT NGO PARTICIPATION IN THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

Proposals to restrict the important work of non-governmental organisations in the UN Human Rights Council have won the support of just thirteen states following advocacy efforts by NGOs in Geneva… more

STATES MUST NOT WEAKEN THE UN’S HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES

The General Assembly must ensure that it does not undermine the work of the UN’s human rights treaty bodies as it continues discussions ostensibly aimed at strengthening those bodies… more

UN SECRETARY GENERAL CONDEMNS CONTINUING ATTACKS AND REPRISALS AGAINST DEFENDERS

A new report by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has found that attacks and reprisals against human rights defenders remain widespread. ISHR calls on the Human Rights Council to ensure that it takes concrete action to address this situation… more

HUMAN RIGHTS DEVELOPMENTS

In Brief

LEADERSHIP OF RWANDA’S LAST INDEPENDENT HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP OUSTED

‘Blatant hijacking’ of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (known as LIPRODHOR) saw a small group of members, in a violation of the organisation’s rules, vote in a new board, ousting several independent and outspoken members. The new board was recognised by the Rwanda Governance Board, which has oversight of national NGOs. Once one of Rwanda’s most dynamic groups LIPRODHOR has been singled out by the government in its crackdown on human rights groups… more

UN EXPERT ON BELARUS URGES GOVERNMENT TO STOP PERSECUTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

The Belarusian Government must ‘immediately and unconditionally’ release human rights defender Ales Bialiatski and protect all human rights defenders from harassment, intimidation, and violence as a result of their activities, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus has said. The call comes two years after Mr Bialiatski’s arrest on charges of tax evasion… more

UN EXPERT CALLS FOR SPACE FOR ALL VOICES IN THE PROCESS OF PEACEBUILDING IN MYANMAR

Local and rural communities must be involved in the process of peacebuilding and reconciliation, said the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar at the end of his latest visit to the country. The expert called for ‘all voices to be heard, particularly the voices of women … so that communities have the belief that this process will lead to be better future’… more
 

PUBLIC ASSEMBLY IN UGANDA MUST BE PROTECTED NOT ATTACKED, SAY UN EXPERTS

The recent adoption in Uganda of the Public Order Management Bill will prohibit protests of more than three people without prior police authorisation and gives police the legal right to use guns when policing public events. The UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of peaceful assembly and association, human rights defenders, and freedom of expression, have expressed serious concern at the impact this will have on the work of human rights defenders and have called for it to be amended or revoked… more

ECUADORIAN PRESIDENTIAL DECREE THREATENS NGOS

NGOs in Ecuador will face more oversight and screening from government after the adoption of a presidential decree that gives the government a wide range of powers to interfere in NGOs’ operations. NGOs will now have to inform the government when they add or remove members, provide information about projects with international funding, and can be dissolved if they ‘compromise public peace’… more

In Depth

COUNCIL ALERT: A LOOK AHEAD TO THE COUNCIL’S 24TH SESSION

The Council’s 24th session sees an unprecedented opportunity to take concrete action to end reprisals against those who cooperate with the UN system, as well as expectation of action on Egypt and Syria… more

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER PROFILE

HASSAN SHIRE SHEIKH, SOMALI-CANADIAN PAN-AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

Hassan Shire Sheikh is a Somali-Canadian Pan-African human rights defender and the elected chairperson of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRDN). His organisation works to support human rights defenders throughout the East and Horn of Africa… more

Upcoming events

ISHR SIDE-EVENT ON REPRISALS

ISHR will hold a side event on ‘Ending Reprisals: The Role of States and the Council in Protecting Human Rights Defenders’, on 10 September, from 1:15 to 2:45pm in room 21, during the Human Rights Council’s 24th session. The interactive panel will feature the Deputy High Commissioner, international human rights experts and frontline human rights defenders, and it will discuss concrete actions that States and the Council could take to protect those who cooperate with the UN human rights system. It will also feature the launch of a major ISHR report on the role of national laws and policies in combating reprisals.

FORTHCOMING COUNTRY VISITS BY SPECIAL PROCEDURES

UNITED KINGDOM
Special Rapporteur on housing 29 August -11 September
 

JORDAN
Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion 2 – 12 September
 

CAMEROON
Independent Expert on minorities 2 -12 September
 

MOLDOVA
Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty 9- 13 September
 

ITALY
Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons 12 – 20 September
 

SPAIN
Working Group on disappearances 23 – 30 September
 

URUGUAY
Special Rapporteur on truth 30 September – 4 October
 

RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Working group on business and human rights 30 September – 9 October
 

TOGO
Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders 7 – 11 October
 

CANADA
Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples 12 – 20 October
 

CHILE
Working group on discrimination against women 21 – 31 October
 

VIETNAM
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.

KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH ISHR

For more information, please visit our website: www.ishr.ch
or contact us: information@ishr.ch
 

ISHR would like to thank Irish Aid for its generosity in making this publication possible.

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