Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

Turkey: Bar Council: Pressure mounts on Prime Minister to raise barristers’ urgent concerns with Turkey

May 15, 2018

British CouncilBar Human Rights Committee

The Bar Council of England and Wales and the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) have written jointly to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to voice concerns over Turkey’s ongoing and large-scale prosecution of judges, lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders with the Turkish President when the two meet on Tuesday.

The letter, which has also been copied to the Lord Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary, is the second such letter that the Bar Council and BHRC have written to the UK Prime Minister on the injustices in Turkey.

The legal bodies refer to further information that, since the failed coup in 2016,  2431 (out of 4560 dismissed) judges and prosecutors, 580 lawyers, and 319 journalists and media workers have been arrested; an estimated 1000 judges and prosecutors, 400 lawyers and 180 journalists and media workers are still detained; and more than 5,966 judges, prosecutors and lawyers are facing prosecution.

Andrew Walker QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

“The seriousness of what legal professionals and human rights defenders have been – and continue to be – subjected to in Turkey cannot be overstated.  The impact reaches internationally.  This is a significant threat not only to those individuals affected, but also to the fundamental principles of the rule of law, without which a truly fair and democratic society cannot exist, and which authorities are duty-bound to protect.










Maldives: Release Supreme Court Justices

May 10, 2018

Police officers stand guard near the opposition party headquarters after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in Male, Maldives, February 6, 2018.

The Maldives government should immediately drop politically motivated charges against two Supreme Court justices and release them from detention, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 10, 2018, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed were sentenced to one year, seven months in prison on charges of influencing court rulings. Saeed was also sentenced to five months in prison on obstruction charges earlier this week, and both justices face additional charges of terrorism.

The judges were arrested on February 6, along with a judicial administrator and former President Abdul Gayoom, during a state of emergency declared by President Abdulla Yameen in response to a Supreme Court ruling.

“To retain his hold on power, President Yameen has used every trick in the book, from accusing political opponents of terrorism to jailing justices of the Supreme Court,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Donors and influential governments should send Yameen a clear message to end the attacks on fundamental rights and the country’s democratic institutions.”

The current political crisis was sparked by a Supreme Court ruling on February 1 that overturned the convictions of nine members of the opposition, including former President Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected leader, who had been sentenced to 13 years in prison on terrorism charges in 2015. The United Nations Human Rights Committee recently called for his release after determining that the case violated Nasheed’s rights to a fair trial and political participation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. After the Supreme Court ruling, Nasheed, who had been granted asylum in the United Kingdom, declared he would contest the presidential elections slated for September.










China/HRW: Release Human Rights Lawyers

February 15, 2018

Relatives of lawyers and activists detained in the “709” crackdown protest in front of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in Beijing, China, July 7, 2017.

The Chinese government should immediately release human rights lawyers who have been detained or imprisoned on baseless subversion charges, Human Rights Watch said today. Authorities should also end the practice of revoking or suspending licenses of lawyers and law firms on political grounds.

In February 2018, authorities stripped human rights lawyer Sui Muqing of his license for allegedly violating “courtroom etiquette,” and canceled the registration of the Wutian Law Firm for its refusal to participate in a politicized review process.

“Not only is the Chinese government still holding some rights lawyers and activists rounded up in the July 2015 crackdown, it’s disbarring others as a crude way to intimidate the group,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. “This endless persecution of the legal profession exposes the absurdity of China’s claim to uphold the ‘rule of law.’”

Since August 2017, authorities have revoked or suspended the licenses to practice of several human rights lawyers. They have also canceled the registration of one law firm. One lawyer has been detained on subversion charges:









https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2018/02/15/chine-liberer-les-avocats-specialises-dans-la-defense-des-droits-humains (FRANCAIS)

Kenya/Canada/HRW: Government Crackdown Threatens Rights

February 8, 2018

Miguna Miguna (left) partakes in Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga’s symbolic presidential oath of office, Nairobi, Kenya, January 30, 2018.

Human rights groups have been concerned since President Uhuru Kenyatta took power in 2013 at the authoritarian direction Kenya’s government has been taking. But the situation has taken an alarming turn in the past week. Three highly repressive measures by the authorities since January 30 should worry us all, including the international community, which has been treating Kenyatta’s administration with kid gloves.

Kenyan media and nongovernment groups that are even mildly critical of the government have come under immense pressure in the last five years.

On the early morning of February 2, police broke into the house of an opposition lawyer, Miguna Miguna,and arrested him. Miguna is one of the people who swore Odinga in as the people’s president That evening, Miguna’s lawyers secured a court order for his release on bail.

Kenyan authorities simply ignored the order and not only failed to release Miguna but denied him access to lawyers and to medication despite reports that he had an asthma attack in police cells and urgently needed the medicine. His lawyers struggled to establish where he was being held. Miguna had not been charged by the third day even though Kenyan law requires an accused to be charged within 24 hours or be released.

On February 5, police ignored a second court order to produce Miguna in court, prompting the judge to cite the inspector general of police and the director general of the directorate of criminal investigations for contempt. On Feb 6, media reports suggested that Miguna may have been charged in a Magistrates court in the outskirts of Nairobi, but police failed for the second time to produce him before the High Court as ordered by the Judge. Instead, later that evening, and rather than present him before court as ordered, police deported Miguna to Canada, the country of his acquired citizenship.

This heavy-handed approach by the Kenyan authorities completely disregards international law and its own national law. The government and state officials have a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, especially releasing people whom courts have ordered released – even more so at a time when the political stakes are so high.



















Kenya just deported the lawyer who oversaw the opposition leader’s swearing-in ceremony












http://www.africatopsuccess.com/2018/02/08/kenyaprestation-de-serment-de-raila-odinga-lavocat-ayant-supervise-la-ceremonie-expulse/ (FRANCAIS)

https://lanouvelletribune.info/2018/02/kenya-opposant-possedant-double-nationalite-expulse-vers-canada/ (FRANCAIS)

http://fr.africanews.com/2018/02/08/kenya-un-avocat-opposant-extrade-au-canada-the-morning-call/ (FRANCAIS)

http://prensa-latina.cu/index.php?o=rn&id=151120&SEO=reanudan-labor-televisoras-kenianas-tra-veto-hace-una-semana (ESPANOL)

http://www.dw.com/pt-002/qu%C3%A9nia-oposi%C3%A7%C3%A3o-queixa-se-de-repress%C3%A3o/a-42500629 (PORTUGUES)


Russia/HRW: Ivan Pavlov, Russia 2018 Recipient of the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism

January 30, 2018

Ivan Pavlov.

Human Rights Watch’s Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people live free of violence, discrimination, and oppression.

Ivan Pavlov is a human rights lawyer and activist in Russia, defending those wrongly accused by security services of disclosing state secrets, high treason, and espionage. He is also well-known for his tireless efforts to ensure public access to government information and to provide guidance to activists threatened by the state. Pavlov has persevered against overwhelming odds, including intrusive government surveillance, harassment by security officials, and work-related threats of violence. He has taken on numerous high-profile cases, saving many clients from long jail sentences and political repression.

In 2004, Pavlov founded the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) – with the aim of monitoring public access to socially significant information and pressuring key state institutions to make information related to their activities available online. In 2014, the Russian government designated IDFI a “foreign agent” under the 2012 repressive law, which demonizes foreign-funded advocacy groups as foreign agents. Undeterred, Pavlov continued his work by forming Team 29, an informal association of human rights lawyers. Team 29 provides free consultations and legal aid to individuals asserting their right to receive and distribute information, defends victims abused by law enforcement and security agencies, and publishes user-friendly advice for activists and others who face harassment, arrest, searches, interrogation, and recruitment attempts by security officials.




https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2018/01/30/hommage-deux-defenseurs-des-droits-humains (FRANCAIS)

http://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-activista-saudi-hala-dosari-abogado-ruso-ivan-pavlov-ganan-premio-alison-des-forges-20180130075725.html (ESPANOL)

South Sudan: LRWC Renews Calls to Disclose Information About and Conduct Investigation Into Disappearance of Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri | Letter

January 24, 2018

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers, students and academics who campaign internationally for advocacy rights, advocates in danger, and on rule of law issues. We also engage in legal research and education about international human rights law. I am a lawyer and a partner of a law firm in Canada, Cohen Highley LLP, and I am writing to you to ask that you intervene with respect to proceedings involving the above named individuals.

On June 1, 2017 we wrote to you about Dong Samuel Luak who went missing in January of 2017. Mr. Aggrey Idri also went missing on or about January 24, 2017. Both men were taken to a facility at the National Security Service (NSS) in Juba, South Sudan on January 25, 2017. The whereabouts of both men and their fate remain unknown a year later.

Consistent with our previous correspondence, we urge the authorities of South Sudan to do the following:

  1. immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri;
  2. make public the reasons for their continued detention if they are in custody and, unless a legal basis for continued detention can be demonstrated, release them without delay;
  3. ensure that Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri are not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in detention;
  4. grant Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri access to adequate medical care, access to lawyers of their own choosing, and allow visits from their family members; and,





https://www.amnesty.org/fr/latest/news/2018/01/south-sudan-a-year-on-two-mens-whereabouts-unknown/ (FRANCAIS)

China/Human Rights Watch: Rights Crackdown Goes Global

January 18, 2018

Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who died in Chinese custody in July 2017.

The Chinese government under the leadership of President Xi Jinping expanded its sustained offensive against human rights both at home and abroad in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2018. The death of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo in a hospital under heavy guard in July epitomized the authorities’ deep contempt for people’s rights. China used its increasing global influence to threaten the protection of rights internationally.

Liu Xiaobo died from cancer in a Shenyang hospital, surrounded by state security, after serving nearly 9 years of his 11-year prison sentence for “inciting subversion.” During his hospitalization, authorities isolated Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, from family and supporters, and denied Liu’s request to seek treatment outside the country. Since Liu’s death, authorities have forcibly disappeared Liu Xia.

“Chinese authorities are leaving no stone unturned in their cruel campaign against peaceful human rights activism,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “The near future for human rights in China appears grim as President Xi enters his second five-year term.”

In the 643-page World Report, its 28th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that political leaders willing to stand up for human rights principles showed that it is possible to limit authoritarian populist agendas. When combined with mobilized publics and effective multilateral actors, these leaders demonstrated that the rise of anti-rights governments is not inevitable.

Beijing subjected more human rights defenders – including foreign nationals – to show trials in 2017. Police tortured detainees to obtain confessions, denied them access to lawyers of their choice, and held them incommunicado for months. Lawyer Wang Quanzhang and activist Wu Gan, who were rounded up in the nationwide crackdown that began in July 2015, remained in police custody. Taiwanese democracy activist Lee Ming-che was sentenced to five years in prison, and lawyer Jiang Tianyong received two years, both for “subverting state power.”





https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2018/01/18/chine-la-repression-des-droits-se-generalise (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hrw.org/zh-hans/news/2018/01/18/313834 (CHINESE)