Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

Cameroon: Cameroonian Lawyers Say ‘Enough is Enough’

September 18, 2019

Douala Court of Justice, Cameroon.

Cameroonian lawyers are on strike this week, protesting law enforcement agencies’ interference in their work and violations of defendants’ rights.

In a communique issued on August 31, the Cameroon Bar Council explained that the lawyers decided to stage the five-day strike because of what they describe as systematic denial of access to their clients in detention facilities across the country, including the State Defense Secretariat (SED) detention facility in Yaoundé. The lawyers are also protesting authorities’ alleged refusal to acknowledge or respond to their various written requests, the prolonged and unlawful detention of their clients, and the extraction of confessions under torture. The lawyers further claim in the letter that they are “continuously being threatened, arrested and detained” while trying to do their work.

Human Rights Watch has extensively documented the widespread use of incommunicado detention and torture at SED, as well other violations of due process rights. A military court recently handed down a life sentence to the leaders of a separatist group following a trial in which the defendants were not able to exercise their right to effectively defend themselves.

The strike occurs about a month after inmates in Yaoundé’s Central Prison rioted in protest against abysmal living conditions and trial delays. Following the riot, Cameroonian authorities held over 100 detainees incommunicado for almost 2 weeks at SED. Many of them were tortured.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/18/cameroonian-lawyers-say-enough-enough

https://www.voanews.com/africa/cameroon-courts-paralyzed-lawyers-strike-over-human-rights-violations

Lawyers in Cameroon begin nationwide strike for better working conditions

https://observer.ug/news/headlines/62038-cameroon-courts-paralyzed-as-lawyers-strike-over-torture

https://allafrica.com/stories/201909190120.html

Droit de l’homme : Lawyers Rights Watch Canada vole au secours de Me Ndoki

Arbitrary Detention of Lawyers and Defenders in China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Cameroon | Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2019/09/20/au-cameroun-vaste-mouvement-de-greve-des-avocats_6012402_3212.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/09/18/au-cameroun-les-avocats-disent-ca-suffit (FRANCAIS)

http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20190918-cameroun-justice-greve-avocat-barreau?ref=wa_i (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lebledparle.com/societe/1109363-barreau-du-cameroun-cabral-libii-propose-des-solutions-aux-multiples-revendications (FRANCAIS)

https://cameroun24.net/actualite-cameroun-info-Greve_des_avocats___cours_dappel_et_tribunaux_sans-51835.html (FRANCAIS)

https://aip.ci/cote-divoire-inter-aip-les-avocats-camerounais-en-greve-pour-protester-contre-les-entraves-a-leur-metier/ (FRANCAIS)

https://actucameroun.com/2019/09/17/greve-des-avocats-un-soutien-aux-leaders-du-mrc-detenus/ (FRANCAIS)

https://actucameroun.com/2019/09/17/greve-des-avocats-vers-une-desolidarisation/ (FRANCAIS)

http://www.avocatparis.org/mon-metier-davocat/publications-du-conseil/soutien-du-conseil-de-lordre-au-barreau-du-cameroun-dans (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lebledparle.com/actu/politique/1109373-greve-des-avocats-jean-de-dieu-momo-accuse-ouvertement-le-mrc-de-manipulation (FRANCAIS)

https://www.bbc.com/pidgin/tori-49773682 (PIDGIN)

Turkey: Report: There still 143 lawyers in Turkish prisons

September 17, 2019

In response to a parliamentary question of Mr Sezgin Tanrikulu, the Turkish Ministry of Justice announced the number of lawyers held in prison by years. According to the Ministry of Justice the number of lawyers remanded in pretrial detention by years as following: 354, 487, 169 and 143, respectively in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

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Since 2016’s coup attempt, there has been a relentless campaign of arrests which has targeted lawyers across Turkey. In 77 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, lawyers have beendetained, prosecuted and convicted due to alleged terror-linked offenses. As of today, more than 1500 lawyers have been prosecuted and 599 lawyers arrested. So far, 321 lawyers have been sentenced to 2022 years in prison on the grounds of membership of an armed terrorism organization or of spreading terrorist propaganda.

Lawyers who were released after a certain time of pretrial detention will return to prison if their pending appeals dismissed.

Report: There still 143 lawyers in Turkish prisons

https://ahvalnews.com/arrested-lawyers/turkey-has-sentenced-321-lawyers-2000-years-jail-2016-report

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/04/10/turkey-mass-prosecution-lawyers

18 Lawyers sentenced to long prison terms

https://ahvalnews.com/selahattin-demirtas/selahattin-demirtas-release-order-upon-release-order-still-jail

https://www.euronews.com/2019/09/11/lawyers-seek-kurdish-politician-demirtas-release-from-turkish-prison-source

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkeyex-top-judiciary-official-gets-15-year-jail-term/1586483

Arbitrary Detention of Lawyers and Defenders in China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Cameroon | Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

LATEST REPORT | MASS PROSECUTION OF LAWYERS IN TURKEY

Egypt/UN/EU: Open Letter to EU Member States Ahead of the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt

September 17, 2019

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Your Excellency,

The next Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Egypt’s human rights record is scheduled for 13 November 2019, under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. We are writing to strongly urge your government to use this occasion to address the ongoing human rights crisis in Egypt.

Since the last review of Egypt’s record in 2014, human rights violations have increased sharply and the undersigned organisations and our partners have documented unprecedented levels of repression against human rights organisations and human rights defenders. The UPR is an opportunity for States to contribute to reversing these trends and promoting respect for human rights in Egypt.

We urge your government to take part in the UPR process and to make concrete recommendations to the Egyptian authorities to urgently address the following issues:

Immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders, civil society activists and all those detained or imprisoned solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, including lawyers, journalists, labour rights activists, minority rights activists, and LGBTQI activists. Put a stop to excessive police probation measures and the use of prolonged pre-trial detention to punish dissenters, close Case 173/2011 against Egyptian NGOs and lift arbitrary travel bans on human rights defenders.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/17/open-letter-eu-member-states-ahead-universal-periodic-review-egypt

https://www.omct.org/monitoring-protection-mechanisms/statements/egypt/2019/09/d25507/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/17/un-address-egypts-assault-rights

Mozambique/Holy See: Open letter to Pope Francis ahead of his visit to Mozambique

September 4, 2019

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, March 15, 2017.

We, the undersigned, are writing as a group of non-governmental organisations working to promote and defend human rights in many countries around the world, including Mozambique. Ahead of your visit to Mozambique scheduled to take place between 4 and 6 September 2019, we would like to bring to your attention a number of human rights issues of concern and to urge you to use your visit as an opportunity to publicly support our call for the protection and promotion of human rights particularly as the country prepares to hold its 6th general elections in October 2019, since the end of the civil war in 1992.

We are gravely concerned by the increasing intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders, activists, civil society organisations and media, the deterioration of the human rights situation in Cabo Delgado, the lack of accountability, justice and effective remedies for victims of human rights violations and abuses as well as violations of the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

Crackdown on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and media freedom

In the past year, there has been an increasing crackdown on dissent particularly the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of expression, and media freedom by the Mozambican government. Freedom of movement of Human Rights Defenders (HRD’s), political actors, journalists and civil society groups has also come under increasing attack.

On 27 March 2018, unknown gunmen abducted human rights lawyer Ericino de Salema outside the offices of the Mozambican Union of Journalists in Maputo. The men then beat and abandoned him on the Maputo Ring Road. As a result of the assault, Mr. Salema suffered serious fractures to his arms and legs. At the time of the attack, Mr. Salema was   the resident political commentator on the television show, STV’s Pontos de Vista, on which he has often taken positions critical of the government’s policies. It is feared that the attack was likely in retaliation for his critical views in the course of his professional duties.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/04/open-letter-pope-francis-ahead-his-visit-mozambique

https://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/mozambican-authorities-urged-to-probe-abduction-of-ericino-de-salema-14145718

SERNIC says investigation into abduction of Ericino de Salema “is not forgotten”

https://www.dw.com/pt-002/mo%C3%A7ambique-jornalista-ericino-de-salema-raptado-e-encontrado-gravemente-ferido/a-43156583 (PORTUGUES)

https://www.voaafrique.com/a/le-parlement-du-mozambique-donne-son-feu-vert-a-l-arrestation-d-un-ex-ministre-/4764201.html (FRANCAIS)

Turkey: New Report: Mass Prosecution of Lawyers in Turkey

September 1, 2019

As 2019 Judicial Year starts on 1st of September tomorrow in Turkey. The Arrested Lawyers Initiative published a new report named Mass Prosecution of Lawyers in Turkey.

According to report, since 2016’s coup attempt, there has been a relentless campaign of arrests which has targeted fellow lawyers across the country. In 77 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, lawyers have been detained, prosecuted and convicted due to alleged terror-linked offenses. As of 1 September 2019, more than 1500 lawyers have been prosecuted and 599 lawyers arrested. So far, 321 lawyers have been sentenced to 2022 years in prison on the grounds of membership of an armed terrorism organization or of spreading terrorist propaganda.

New Report: Mass Prosecution of Lawyers in Turkey

https://ahvalnews.com/arrested-lawyers/turkey-has-sentenced-321-lawyers-2000-years-jail-2016-report

Turkey has prosecuted some 1,500 lawyers, arrested 599 since failed coup: report

https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2019/09/02/turkish-courts-back-to-work-with-backlog-of-coup-trials

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/18/un-urged-to-act-over-purge-of-turkeys-lawyers-by-erdogan

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/04/10/turkey-mass-prosecution-lawyers

https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-judiciary/turkeys-erdogan-hosts-ceremony-launch-judicial-year-lawyers-boycott

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/04/10/turquie-poursuites-judiciaires-massives-contre-des-avocats (FRANCAIS)

Thailand: Ensure truth, justice, and reparations for victims of enforced disappearance | Written Statement to the UN Human Rights Council

August 29, 2019

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Joint written statement* submitted by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, non-governmental organization in special consultative status, and Asian Legal Resource Centre, non-government organization in general consultative status

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), NGO without consultative status, also shares the views expressed in this statement.

Unforgotten in Thailand: Ensure truth, justice, and reparations for victims of enforced disappearance

  1. Introduction: Persistent impunity for enforced disappearances

 A pattern of impunity for enforced disappearances[1] persists in Thailand despite years of promises to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (UNCED)[2] and to pass legislation making enforced disappearance a crime.[3] The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) reports 82 unresolved cases of enforced disappearances since 1980.[4] This number represents a fraction of Thailand’s enforced disappearances since the 1950s,[5] as families and witnesses remain silent for fear of reprisals.[6] Those most vulnerable to enforced disappearances belong to minorities or indigenous peoples. Also at risk are human rights defenders (defenders) or peaceful government critics.[7]Thailand’s current laws foster impunity for enforced disappearance; when a body is not found, murder charges are not laid.[8] No public officials have ever been held accountable for suspected involvement in enforced disappearances. The persistent pattern of impunity for enforced disappearances constitutes a grave violation of Thailand’s obligations under customary international law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand acceded in 1996.[9]

The risk of enforced disappearances is heightened by the practice of incommunicado detention of political opponents, suspects in national security cases, and suspected insurgents in southern provinces.[10]

Thailand: Ensure truth, justice, and reparations for victims of enforced disappearance | Written Statement to the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/11/thai-lawyers-disappearance-unsolved-15-years

15 years since disappearance Somchai Neelapaijit

Thailand: at event marking 15th anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Somchai Neelapaijit, ICJ calls for effective measures to tackle the crime

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/03/11/14-years-disappearance-thai-rights-lawyer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somchai_Neelapaijit

https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/sgsm19716.doc.htm

https://www.un.org/en/events/disappearancesday/

https://international.thenewslens.com/article/124112

https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/enforced-disappearance-in-bangladesh-thousand-days-wait-1792822

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/syria-new-testimonies-families-disappeared-mark-day-disappeared

https://iran-hrm.com/index.php/2019/08/29/enforced-disappearances-in-iran-and-the-1988-massacre/

https://www.un.org/fr/events/disappearancesday/ (FRANCAIS)

enforced disappearances

Image result for international day of forced disappearances

Cameroon: Cameroun : le procès de Maurice Kamto fixé au 6 septembre

le 22 août, 2019

Le tribunal militaire de Yaoundé a fixé au 6 septembre la date d’ouverture de son procès. L’opposant camerounais sera jugé aux côtés de plusieurs de ses partisans pour « insurrection et hostilité contre la patrie ».

Le tribunal militaire de Yaoundé a fixé au 6 septembre la date d’ouverture de son procès. L’opposant camerounais sera jugé aux côtés de plusieurs de ses partisans pour « insurrection et hostilité contre la patrie ».

Arrivé en deuxième position lors de l’élection présidentielle du 7 octobre 2018, Maurice Kamto avait été arrêté aux côtés de 150 personnes, à la suite d’une manifestation le 26 janvier 2019 à l’appel de son parti, le Mouvement pour la Renaissance du Cameroun (MRC), qui considérait la victoire de Paul Biya, au pouvoir depuis 1982, comme un « hold-up électoral ».

Mi-février, le président du MRC et plusieurs de ses partisans avaient été présentés devant le tribunal militaire de Yaoundé, où une information judiciaire pour « hostilité contre la patrie » et « insurrection », entre autres accusations, a été ouverte à leur encontre.

Le tribunal a finalement fixé l’ouverture de son procès au 6 septembre, a annoncé Emmanuel Simh, son avocat et troisième vice-président du MRC.

M. Kamto avait été convoqué mardi devant cette juridiction militaire qui lui a notifié cette date, a précisé son avocat.

https://www.jeuneafrique.com/818707/politique/cameroun-le-proces-de-maurice-kamto-fixe-au-6-septembre/

https://www.lepoint.fr/afrique/cameroun-le-proces-de-l-opposant-maurice-kamto-fixe-au-6-septembre-22-08-2019-2331040_3826.php

https://www.voaafrique.com/a/d%C3%A9but-du-proc%C3%A8s-du-principal-opposant-%C3%A0-paul-biya-le-6-septembre/5051154.html

Cameroun: Début du procès du principal opposant à Paul Biya le 6 septembre

Amnesty international demande la libération « immédiate » de Maurice Kamto

https://www.theafricareport.com/16359/cameroon-michele-ndoki-a-symbol-of-political-hope-faces-death-penalty/

http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20190718-cameroun-avocats-francais-maurice-kamto-denoncent-acharnement

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/08/20/cameroun-des-detenus-tortures

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Kamto

https://www.journalducameroun.com/en/cameroon-military-tribunal-begins-hearing-case-against-maurice-kamto-on-september-6/ (ENGLISH)

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/08/20/cameroon-detainees-tortured (ENGLISH)

https://ewn.co.za/2019/08/22/cameroon-separatist-leader-s-sentence-could-increase-violence-analyst (ENGLISH)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Kamto (ENGLISH)

Image result for Libérez Maurice Kamto