Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

China/HRW: China’s Rights Crackdown Is Called ‘Most Severe’ Since Tiananmen Square

 

September 5, 2017

China is systematically undermining international human rights groups in a bid to silence critics of its crackdown on such rights at home, a watchdog organization said on Tuesday. The group also faulted the United Nations for failing to prevent the effort, and at times being complicit in it.

“China’s crackdown on human rights activists is the most severe since the Tiananmen Square democracy movement 25 years ago,” Kenneth Roth, the director of the agency, Human Rights Watch, said in Geneva on Tuesday at the introduction of a report that he described as an international “wake-up call.” “What’s less appreciated is the lengths to which China goes to prevent criticism of that record of oppression by people outside China, particularly those at the United Nations.”

“The stakes are not simply human rights for the one-sixth of the world’s population who live in China,” Mr. Roth added, “but also the survival and effectiveness of the U.N. human rights system for everyone around the globe.”

The report highlights China’s measures to prevent activists from leaving the country to attend meetings at the United Nations, its harassment of those who do manage to attend and the risk of reprisals when they return or if they interact with United Nations investigators inside or outside China.

 

 

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Spain/HRW: Defending Spain’s Defense Lawyers

September 1, 2017

Police escort a suspect who was detained during early morning raids in an operation against a group suspected of financing and recruiting Islamist militants in Santa Coloma de Gramanet, near Barcelona, October 16, 2008.

The death toll from the vile attacks which rocked Catalonia two weeks ago has now risen to 16, as some of the most gravely injured have succumbed to their wounds. Troubling details about the background of the alleged ringleader of the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils continue to emerge. Questions remain about the level of information sharing between central and regional police authorities, and international security agencies.

Against this backdrop, there have been worrying attacks in the media – including in national broadsheets and on mainstream TV channels – against lawyers who defend people accused of terrorism. Some of the shrillest accusations – calling them “ethically reprehensible”, or pointing to their “professional connections with alleged jihadists” – have centered on two lawyers who have represented defendants in terrorism proceedings, including the suspected ringleader of the Barcelona attack as well as people arrested in previous counterterrorism operations in Catalonia in 2006 and 2008.

The media attacks are laden with politics; both lawyers have since been elected representatives of the left-wing parties Barcelona in Common and Popular Unity Candidacy, the latter of which favors Catalan independence. One is a deputy mayor of Barcelona, and the other is a deputyin the Catalan parliament. The upcoming referendum on the region’s future is bitterly disputed in Spain.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/01/defending-spains-defense-lawyers

https://www.hrw.org/es/news/2017/09/01/proteger-los-abogados-defensores-en-espana (ESPANOL)

 

China/HRW: China seeks to silence critics at U.N. forums: rights body report

September 5, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech in the Palais des Nations at the United Nations in Geneva, January 18, 2017.

Beijing is waging a campaign of harassment against Chinese activists who seek to testify at the United Nations about repression, while the world body sometimes turns a blind eye or is even complicit, Human Rights Watch said.

In a report released on Tuesday, the group said China restricts travel of activists, or photographs or films them if they do come to the U.N. in Geneva to cooperate with human rights watchdogs scrutinizing its record.

“What we found is that China is systematically trying to undermine the U.N.’s ability to defend human rights, certainly in China but also globally as well,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.

“This comes at a point where domestically China’s repression is the worst it has been since the Tiananmen Square democracy movement (in 1989). So there is much to hide and China clearly attaches enormous importance to muting criticism of its increasingly abysmal human rights record.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-rights/china-seeks-to-silence-critics-at-u-n-forums-rights-body-report-idUSKCN1BG0QP

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/05/un-china-blocks-activists-harasses-experts

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2017/09/05/onu-la-chine-entrave-le-travail-des-activistes-et-harcele-les-experts (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hrw.org/zh-hans/news/2017/09/05/308436 (CHINESE)

Iraq: Lawyers Arrested for Work in ISIS Courts

August 10, 2017

A man walks across a street in al-Hamdaniya, Iraq November 25, 2016. Picture taken November 25, 2016. © 2016 Reuters

Iraqi authorities have issued arrest warrants for at least 15 private lawyers since July 24, 2017, on charges of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) affiliation for their past work in ISIS courts, Human Rights Watch said today. While lawyers are not immune from prosecution if they engage in criminal activity, they should not be prosecuted for doing their job as lawyers, nor should the authorities associate them with their clients’ cause simply because they represented them.

All were representing ISIS suspects facing trial in Iraqi courts at the time of their arrest, raising concerns among local lawyers that the warrants were issued to intimidate lawyers defending ISIS suspects. One senior judge told Human Rights Watch that since the warrants were issued, private lawyers had stopped taking cases of any defendants that they believed to be ISIS-affiliated, only taking cases of people they thought were innocent. As a result, only state-appointed lawyers are taking on the cases of those believed to be ISIS-affiliated. Based on interviews with four lawyers, there are serious concerns that the state-appointed lawyers are not providing a robust defense of these clients.

“The authorities should immediately explain why they are detaining and charging these lawyers,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “They need to make it clear that Iraqi lawyers should not be afraid to defend ISIS suspects.”

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/10/iraq-lawyers-arrested-work-isis-courts

http://www.iraqinews.com/features/hrw-iraq-hunt-lawyers-suspected-links-islamic-state/

Turkey: Investigate Ankara Abductions, Disappearances

August 3, 2017

Önder Asan (L), was abducted and secretly detained for 42 days and alleges that he was tortured; Cemil Koçak (C), a former civil servant was abducted in front of his eight-year old son; Mustafa Özben (R), a former teacher and lawyer, was also abducted

(Önder Asan (L), was abducted and secretly detained for 42 days and alleges that he was tortured; Cemil Koçak (C), a former civil servant was abducted in front of his eight-year old son; Mustafa Özben (R), a former teacher and lawyer, was also abducted under similar circumstances. Human Rights Watch has reviewed five cases of possible enforced disappearance by Turkish security forces. )

Turkish authorities should urgently investigate the abduction and possible enforced disappearance of at least four men in Ankara since March 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül.

One of the abducted men, a former teacher, was located in official police custody after 42 days. At least three others were abducted in similar circumstances but their whereabouts remain unknown. The similarities between the abductions and the fact that one of the men was subsequently found in police custody are credible grounds to believe that the men may be victims of enforced disappearances by Turkish security forces or law enforcement agents.

“There are credible grounds to believe that government agents forcibly disappeared the missing men,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Turkish authorities should promptly uphold their obligation to locate the missing men, who may be in grave danger, secure their release and if they are in custody give them immediate access to a lawyer, and let their families know where they are.”

An enforced disappearance occurs when a person is taken into custody, or otherwise deprived of their liberty by the state or its proxies, but authorities subsequently deny it or refuse to provide information about the person’s whereabouts, placing the victim outside the protection of the law.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/03/turkey-investigate-ankara-abductions-disappearances

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/03/letter-human-rights-watch-minister-gul

https://turkeypurge.com/hrw-to-turkey-investigate-ankara-abductions-disappearances

https://www.albawaba.com/news/artists-journalists-these-are-people-facing-trial-post-coup-turkey-1005420

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/echr-rejects-bid-release-turkey-ozakca-gulmen-170803105241936.html

http://www.euronews.com/2017/08/03/turkish-doctors-slam-rights-court-for-rejecting-hunger-strikers-case