Tag Archives: OHCHR

Egypt: Mohammed Al-Baqir: The imprisoned lawyer who turned into a symbol of justice

October 22, 2019

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While the prominent human rights lawyer Mohammad Al-Baqir was attending investigations atthe supreme state security prosecution with the political activist Alaa Abd al-Fattah at the end of September, he was surprised that the prosecution ordered that he be detained and informed him that he is wanted under the same case.

The prosecution accused Al-Baqir of “belonging to a terrorist group, financing terrorism, spreading false news that undermines national security,” and then ordered his preventive detention. After that, he wastransferred blindfolded to al-Aqrab Prison, the prison with the worst reputation in Egypt.

Al-Baqir was physically and verbally abused, hisbasic rights were violated from the moment he entered prison. He was forced to walk while bending his back, showered by insults and abuse. He was stripped of all his belongings, even his personal hygiene items. They put on his prison clothes while he was blindfolded and he was driven to a cell while not being allowed to shower or change his underclothes for nine days. The prison administration also refused al-Baqir’s request to see the prison doctor and prevented him from buying clean food or water, his wife said.

The prosecution delayed the decision on a request made by Al-Baqir’s lawyer to enable him to visit his ill father, who was in intensive care. He died before seeing his son, but al-Baqir was allowed to attend the funeral.

Why al-Baqir?

Egyptian authorities are currently carrying out a systematic campaign targeting human rights lawyers who took on the mission of defending those arrested after the demonstrations of September 20, that demanded the toppling of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s regime and accused it of corruption. Among the most prominent that have been arrested along with al-Baqir are Mahienour el-Massry, and Amr Imam.

Mohammed Al-Baqir: The imprisoned lawyer who turned into a symbol of justice

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-rights-un/u-n-rights-office-urges-egypt-to-free-lawyers-activist-idUSKBN1WX1JZ

http://www.ishr.ch/news/egypt-let-human-rights-defenders-work-better-future

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/egypt-arbitrary-detention-and-judicial-harassment-of-amr-imam

https://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/egypt/2019/10/d25561/

IFEX strongly condemns violent crackdown against Egyptian rights defenders

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/arrest-mohamed-el-baqer

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/RC-9-2019-0138_EN.html

https://vwv.almanassa.net/ar/story/13097 (ARABIC)

https://ifex.org/ar/%D8%A2%D9%8A%D9%81%D9%83%D8%B3-%D8%AA%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%B4%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%84%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%81%D8%A9-%D8%B6%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AF/ (ARABIC)

http://mubasher.aljazeera.net/news/%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%90-%D8%A3%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%86-%D8%A5%D8%B6%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AA%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%AD (ARABIC)

https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2019/09/30/alaa-abdel-fattah-icone-de-la-revolution-a-nouveau-arrete-en-egypte_6013618_3212.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.eldiario.ec/noticias-manabi-ecuador/511795-ong-dice-hay-mas-de-4000-arrestos-y-3000-acusados-tras-protestas-en-egipto/ (ESPANOL)

#الحرية_لباقر

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تجديد حبس المحامي الحقوقي محمد الباقر ١٥ يوما في اتهامه بنشر أخبار كاذبة

قررت نيابة أمن الدولة العليا، اليوم الأربعاء، تجديد حبس المحامي الحقوقي البارز، محمد الباقر، ١٥ يوما آخرى.
حلء ذلك على ذمة اتهامه في القضية رقم ١٣٥٦ لسنة ٢٠١٩ حصر أمن دولة، والمتهم فيها بنشر أخبار كاذبة ومشاركة جماعة إرهابية.#دفتر_أحوال_المحاكم_والنيابات
#المفوضية_المصرية_للحقوق_والحريات
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Egypt: UN human rights office urges Egypt to immediately release detained protestors

October 18, 2019

Authorities in Egypt are being urged by the UN human rights office, OHCHR,  to immediately release scores of citizens who have been arrested in connection with recent anti-government demonstrations in several cities.

Civil society groups report more than 2,000 people were detained before, during and after the protests on 20 September, which prompted the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to express concern about reports of lack of due process.

On Friday her office reported that the arrests are continuing, with a number of well-known and respected civil society figures affected, some of whom have been accused of terrorism.

“Once again, we remind the Egyptian Government that under international law people have a right to protest peacefully, and a right to express their opinions, including on social media. They should never be arrested, detained – let alone charged with serious offences such as terrorism – simply for exercising those rights”, spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva.

Prominent members of civil society detained

Ms. Shamdasani provided information about some of the detainees, who include Esraa Abdelfattah, a journalist and human rights defender based in the capital, Cairo, who was arrested on 12 October.

Prominent blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah as well as his lawyer, Mohammed El-Baqer are currently being held at the Tora Maximum Security Prison, south of Cairo.

Both have been accused of belonging to a terrorist group, funding terrorism, spreading false news that undermines national security and “using social media to commit publishing offices”, the UN human rights office said.

Mr. El-Bager was arrested that same day while attending his client’s interrogation at the State Security Prosecution. Since that time, he allegedly has been subjected to physical and verbal abuse, in addition to being denied access to drinking water, sanitation and medical assistance.

“All those arrested and detained solely for exercising their rights, or lending legal assistance to others who have been arrested, should be released immediately,” Ms. Shamdasani stated.

OHCHR also called on the authorities to “promptly and effectively” investigate any allegations of torture or ill-treatment.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/10/1049581

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/rights-office-urges-egypt-free-blogger-lawyer-journalist-191018202945053.html

https://www.euronews.com/2019/10/18/un-rights-office-urges-egypt-to-free-lawyers-activist

UN demands Egypt investigate torture allegations

https://middle-east-online.com/en/un-demands-egypt-probe-activists%E2%80%99-torture

http://mubasher.aljazeera.net/news/%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%90-%D8%A3%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%86-%D8%A5%D8%B6%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AA%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%AD (ARABIC)

https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/egypte-l-onu-condamne-la-repression-des-militants-politiques-20191018 (FRANCAIS)

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Bangladesh: CAT findings on torture: UN body recommends independent inquiry into allegations against law enforcers

August 10, 2019

The UN Committee Against Torture has expressed concern over the allegations of routine torture, ill-treatment by Bangladeshi law enforcement

Web_Rab-members-stand-guard

The United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) has recommended that the Bangladesh government commission independent inquiry into allegations of torture and ill-treatment raised against the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

The UN agency unveiled its findings on human rights records in Bangladesh, along with several recommendations, yesterday, according to a news release forwarded by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

The findings, officially termed concluding observations, contain positive aspects of Bangladesh in implementing the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, highlight the UN body’s main matters of concern in terms of human rights violation, and make recommendations regarding the allegations of such violations.

In the report, the Committee Against Torture expressed concern at consistent reports alleging widespread and routine torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials for the purpose of obtaining confessions or to solicit the payment of bribes, the lack of publicly available information on these cases, and failure to ensure accountability for law enforcement agencies, particularly the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

The committee is seriously concerned at numerous, consistent reports of arbitrary arrests, unacknowledged detention and enforced disappearances, and reports of excessive use of force, including in the context of recent elections and public demonstrations.

The other observations

The UN Committee Against Torture expressed concern about alleged pressure on the judiciary that constrains fundamental legal safeguards. The limited use of the mandate of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate torture was noted as an issue.

It also expressed concern about inadequate prison conditions, violence against women and ethnic and religious minorities, and corporal punishment in law and against children. It is also concerned about trafficking, including that of the Rohingyas. It noted that civil society activists and human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists have faced harassment and violence for dealing with torture cases and other serious human rights violations.

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2019/08/10/cat-findings-on-torture-un-body-recommends-independent-inquiry-into-allegations-against-law-enforcers

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bangladesh-torture/bangladesh-must-investigate-rife-torture-un-rights-body-idUSKCN1UZ1YT

https://www.ohchr.org/FR/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24884&LangID=E

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/07/29/bangladesh-heed-un-recommendations-torture

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/foreign-affairs/2019/08/01/review-of-bangladesh-un-committee-against-torture-observations-on-aug-9

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/international/rights-groups-accuse-bangladesh-of-using-torture-in-custody-against-dissenters

http://www.omct.org/reports-and-publications/2019/06/d25408/

Turkey: Free expression organizations highlight unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression in report to UN

August 5, 2019

More than three years since Turkey’s 2016 failed coup and one year after its state of emergency was lifted, the government continues its relentless and pervasive crackdown on civic space, media freedom and dissenting voices.

Turkey’s human rights record will come under review by the UN Human Rights Council during the Universal Period Review (UPR) mechanism in January 2020. Ahead of the review, ARTICLE 19, P24, PEN International, English PEN, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), International Press Institute (IPI), Freemuse, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), IFEX and Norwegian PEN have made a submission to the UPR.

“This report charts the extraordinarily rapid decline in the rule of law and freedom of expression in Turkey over the last four years. The Turkish authorities have dismantled the independence of the judiciary and more journalists have been jailed than anywhere else in the world,” Sarah Clarke. “We urge UN member states to take much stronger action in holding Turkey to account for these violations.”

“The Turkish media is pinning its hopes on international mechanisms and the United Nations Human Rights Council to end its persecution,” IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “This report not only highlights the precarious situation in Turkey, but also makes suggestions to remedy the situation.”

Amongst the report’s key recommendations are to urge Turkey to restore the rule of law and impendence of the judiciary, to release all jailed journalists and to drop the hundreds of baseless charges against journalists, artists, civil society actors and academics.

Turkey: Free expression organizations highlight unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression in report to UN

https://rsf.org/en/news/turkey-leading-coalition-free-expression-organisations-highlight-unprecedented-crackdown-freedom

International Coalition consists of Bar Associations and NGOs made submission on rights violations in Turkey

http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/bhrc-joins-international-coalition-of-legal-organisations-raising-concern-for-turkeys-lawyers-and-judges/

Joint UPR submission Turkey

SCF’s submission for the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Turkey

Turkey: ICJ Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

UPR of Turkey: Joint Stakeholder Submission to the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.article19.org/resources/turkey-upr-submission-on-threats-to-freedom-of-expression/

https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/2019/07/sar-calls-for-action-to-counter-mass-targeting-of-higher-education-communities-in-turkey/.

Turkey: workshop on the use of the UN Universal Periodic Review

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/TRindex.aspx

http://www.un.org.tr/humanrights/en/universal-periodic-review-3rd-cycle

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

https://ahvalnews.com/torture/lawyers-says-torture-rise-turkey-2016-coup-plot

Saudi Arabia/Turkey/OHCHR: Saudi Arabia must immediately release all women’s rights defenders, say UN experts

October 12, 2018

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UN human rights experts* are urging Saudi Arabia to immediately and unconditionally release all women human rights defenders, including six defenders who remain in jail on charges relating to their peaceful defence of human rights.

Ms. Israa Al-Ghomgham was detained in 2015 for her involvement in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011. Ms. Samar Badawi, Ms. Nassima Al-Sadah, Ms. Nouf Abdulaziz, Ms. Mayya Al-Zahrani, and Ms. Hatoon Al-Fassi – who had been particularly active in campaigning for women’s rights, including the right to vote and to drive – have been in pre-trial detention for the past four months.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the actions of the Saudi authorities against these women human rights defenders and we call on them, as a matter of urgency, to immediately release and drop the charges against all of them,” the experts said.

Ms. Samar Badawi, Ms. Nassima Al-Sadah, Ms. Nouf Abdulaziz, Ms. Mayya Al-Zahrani, and Ms. Hatoon Al-Fassi are all being held in incommunicado detention. “We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately make the whereabouts of these five human rights defenders known and to grant them access to their families and lawyers,” the experts said.

The experts expressed acute concern for Ms. Israa Al-Ghomgham, who is being tried in Riyadh’s Specialised Criminal Court – set up to handle terrorism-related cases, for charges that appear to lack legal bases. She has had no legal representation during her trial.

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23719&LangID=E

https://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/8959651-dissenting-voices-silenced-as-saudi-reform-agenda-goes-awry/

https://www.france24.com/en/20181009-saudis-crown-prince-reformism-authoritarianism

https://www.thedailybeast.com/khashoggi-disappearance-is-part-of-a-ruthless-saudi-campaign-to-crush-dissent

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/khashoggi-case-chilling-message-dissidents-worldwide-181011151615981.html

https://www.rte.ie/news/world/2018/1010/1002345-saudi/

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1975

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

https://www.boursorama.com/actualite-economique/actualites/mohammed-ben-salmane-entre-reformisme-et-autoritarisme-7df2d6da9e1b32b9a83f9a21fc56a485 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.nzz.ch/international/fall-khashoggi-usa-fordern-gruendliche-untersuchung-ld.1426731 (DEUTSCH)

https://blogs.oglobo.globo.com/guga-chacra/post/ao-mesmo-tempo-que-selecao-jogar-em-riad.html (PORTUGUES)

http://www.mingpaocanada.com/tor/htm/News/20181008/ttaa2_r.htm (CHINESE)

OHCHR: Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers

Image result for office of high commissioner for human rights

Adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba
27 August to 7 September 1990

Whereas in the Charter of the United Nations the peoples of the world affirm, inter alia , their determination to establish conditions under which justice can be maintained, and proclaim as one of their purposes the achievement of international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,

Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines the principles of equality before the law, the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, and all the guarantees necessary for the defence of everyone charged with a penal offence,

Whereas the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights proclaims, in addition, the right to be tried without undue delay and the right to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law,

Whereas the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recalls the obligation of States under the Charter to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedoms,

Whereas the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment provides that a detained person shall be entitled to have the assistance of, and to communicate and consult with, legal counsel,

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/RoleOfLawyers.aspx

https://www.ohchr.org/FR/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/RoleOfLawyers.aspx (FRANCAIS)

http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/instree/spanish/si3bprl.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.un.org/ru/documents/decl_conv/conventions/role_lawyers.shtml (RUSSIAN)

https://www.ohchr.org/CH/Issues/Documents/other_instruments/52.PDF (CHINESE)

http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/arab/b044.html (ARABIC)

OHCHR: 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

June 1, 2018

Image result for UN Human Rights office of the high commisserion

Civil society constitutes a fundamental pillar of the international human rights system. It contributes to promoting and respecting human rights, sustainable development, maintaining peace and security, and acts in line with UN Charter goals.

Civil society assesses and reports on whether State parties are fulfilling their treaty obligations by translating the provisions of the relevant United Nations human rights treaties (the Treaties) into action at the grassroots level. Accordingly, civil society significantly assists Treaty Bodies in monitoring and evaluating State parties’ compliance with the Treaties. In view of this vital role, the human rights Treaty Bodies request civil society organizations to cooperate with them by submitting information on issues related to the enjoyment of rights in a given country.

The active involvement and participation of civil society in the work of the Treaty Bodies is crucial for the wide dissemination, at the international, national and local levels, of information about the Treaties and the Treaty Bodies’ work. In many cases, the concluding observations or views on individual communications adopted by Treaty Bodies receive greater attention and enforcement owing to the intervention and activities of civil society.

Treaty Bodies have consistently encouraged State parties to publicly and specifically recognize the role played by civil society, including human rights defenders, and to engage with them in all relevant processes, including reporting.

The Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders has underscored how the Treaty Bodies benefit from the information provided to them by human rights defenders. This information is essential to monitoring implementation of the treaties and is a valuable early warning system to alert the international community to real, potential or imminent threats to peace, freedom, and security.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23154&LangID=E

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1806/S00006/un-experts-urge-states-to-boost-protection.htm

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/Home.aspx