Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

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)


China/Canada/HRW: Prime Minister Trudeau Shouldn’t Ignore China’s Jailed Activists

November 30, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) gestures to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China August 31, 2016.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to China this weekend, arriving amidst a flurry of negative human rights developments.

This week a Chinese court handed down a harsh five-year sentence on Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-Che merely for discussing democracy in social media groups in China. Last week it was a two-year sentence against human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong; authorities chose to conflate his peaceful legal activism with anti-state activity. Liu Xia—the widow of Nobel Peace Prize winner and dissident Liu Xiaobo—has been forcibly disappeared since her husband’s death in July.  And for the past decade Canadian citizen Huseyin Celil, an ethnic Uyghur, has been languishing in a Chinese prison without access to Canadian diplomats.

There’s scant detail about what rights-related recommendations the prime minister plans to put to President Xi Jinping—who has presided over the worst erosion of human rights in China since the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. Announcing the start of talks on a free trade agreement appear to top Trudeau’s agenda. But any such agreement can’t ignore the rule of lawfreedom of expressionreligious freedom, and respect for ethnic minorities – issues that Canada has long been committed to and that Xi has shown profound hostility.






Terry Glavin: The Liberals are dangerously wrong on China. They always have been

Trudeau, returning from China, faces pressure to fight for political prisoners with links to Canada


Vietnam/HRW: EU Should Press for Release of Political Prisoners

November 28, 2017


The European Union should press the Vietnamese government to release all political prisoners and detainees; end repression of freedom of speech, association, and assembly; and take steps to end police brutality, Human Rights Watch said today. The EU and Vietnam will hold their 7th annual bilateral human rights dialogue in Hanoi on December 1, 2017.

The Vietnamese authorities have previously used the occasion of the human rights dialogue to target activists. In December 2015, prominent human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai was arrested on his way to meet the EU delegation in Hanoi during the 5th EU-Vietnam human rights dialogue. He remains in detention awaiting trial. In November 2017, police detained and interrogated rights activists Nguyen Quang A, Pham Doan Trang, and Bui Thi Minh Hangafter they met with an EU delegation.

“The EU should publicly press Vietnam to release Nguyen Van Dai and all other political prisoners, and amend its penal code so that it is impossible for Communist Party-controlled courts to imprison critics,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “This dialogue should lead to concrete commitments on rights and not just be yet another talk shop.”