Tag Archives: OHCHR

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

Image result for ohchr

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

ICJ: The role of judges, lawyers and prosecuters in preventing human rights abuses

February 27, 2018

ICJ

The head of the ICJ’s Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Matt Pollard, highlighted the role of judges, lawyers and prosecutors in preventing human rights abuses, at a UN expert workshop in Geneva.The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organised the expert workshop, 21 to 22 February 2018, to discuss the role and contribution of civil society organizations, academia, national human rights institutions and other relevant stakeholders in the prevention of human rights abuses, drawing on the conclusions and recommendations of OHCHR’s study on the prevention of human rights violations.

The workshop, mandated by the Human Rights Council resolution 33/6, covered topics such as: a framework approach to prevention; human rights education; abuses by private actors, national and regional practices, planning and monitoring tools; human rights impact assessments; and the role of UN institutions.

The presentation on the role of judges and lawyers can be downloaded in PDF format here: UN-ExpertMeeting-JudgesLawyersPrevention-2018

More information about the expert workshop is available by clicking here.

https://www.icj.org/the-role-of-judges-lawyers-and-prosecuters-in-preventing-human-rights-abuses/

https://www.icj.org/themes/centre-for-the-independence-of-judges-and-lawyers/

https://www.icj.org/

Maldives: UN rights experts denounce detention of judges as ‘direct attack’ on Supreme Court

February 12, 2018

“It is clear that the rule of law in the Maldives is now under siege,” said the experts in a news release issued Monday by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“We call on the Government to refrain from any threats or interference that may hamper the court’s independence as the supreme guardian of the country’s constitution and legislation,” they added.

In the release, José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, the current Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and Diego García-Sayán, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and magistrates, also stressed that judicial independence, enshrined in the national constitution and in international human rights treaties, had to be guaranteed by the State.

Mr. García-Sayán also raised concern over the timing of the arrests, five days after the Supreme Court had ordered the release and retrial of nine opposition leaders, including former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Following the arrest of Chief Justice H.E. Abdulla Saeed and Ali Hameed Mohamed – shortly after the Government declared a state of emergency – the three remaining Supreme Court judges overturned the order to free the nine leaders.

It is clear that the rule of law in the Maldives is now under siege — UN rights experts

“[This] is at best suspicious,” said Mr. García-Sayán, adding that the acts constitutes “an intolerable act of intimidation” against the highest judicial authority in the country.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/02/1002541

http://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/new-york-city-bar-association-issues-statement-on-the-state-of-emergency-in-the-maldives-including-the-arrest-of-two-supreme-court-justices

http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2018/feb/13/to-ease-global-pressure-maldives-honouring-supreme-court-order-seeking-to-reinstate-defectors-1772517.html

https://avas.mv/en/44683

https://avas.mv/en/44693

https://avas.mv/en/44702

https://avas.mv/en/44714

http://www.dw.com/en/maldives-political-crisis-worst-in-its-modern-history/a-42561399

http://www.catchnews.com/international-news/maldives-crisis-a-bitter-religious-divide-comes-to-the-fore-99116.html

https://www.rt.com/news/418663-china-india-troops-maldives/

https://avas.mv/en/44734

http://moderndiplomacy.eu/2018/02/14/maldives-un-rights-experts-denounce-detention-judges-direct-attack-supreme-court/

https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/maldives-crises-military-throws-mps-out-of-parliament201802141707490002/

https://avas.mv/en/44788

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-maldives-crisis-we-have-a-thug-not-president-mps-alleges-abdulla-yameen-of-inciting-violence-2584900

https://raajje.mv/en/news/26962

https://raajje.mv/en/news/26985

http://www.europe1.fr/emissions/l-edito-international/maldives-entre-etat-durgence-et-islamisation-3573977 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lejdd.fr/international/asie/pas-de-saint-valentin-aux-maldives-3573755 (FRANCAIS)