Tag Archives: OHCHR

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

June 1, 2018

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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

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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)

Maldives: UN rights expert urges Maldives reforms after mass suspension of lawyers

November 9, 2017

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The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, has urged the Maldives to introduce urgent reforms and rectifications after the indefinite suspension of 54 lawyers.

“I call on the authorities to create an independent bar association to oversee lawyers’ affairs,” said the Special Rapporteur. “Its priorities should include protecting lawyers’ independence, defending their interests and enforcing disciplinary measures. It should be self-regulating as well as independent.”

The suspended lawyers had signed a petition raising serious concerns about the independence and functioning of the country’s justice system. Some of them had assembled outside the Supreme Court on 30 August trying to submit the petition and calling for judicial reforms. Their suspension was announced by the Department of Judicial Administration less than two weeks later, on 10 September.

“Just like everyone else, lawyers are entitled to freedom of opinion, expression, association and peaceful assembly,” said the Special Rapporteur. “In particular, they have the right to take part in public discussions on matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the protection of human rights.

“This alarming mass suspension clearly did not abide by international standards regulating disciplinary proceedings against lawyers and protecting their independence, and I strongly condemn it. Not only are the grounds for suspension dubious, but the lawyers have so far not been granted a fair hearing and they have no avenue for appeal.”

The Special Rapporteur noted that the suspended lawyers could represent one third of the lawyers in private practice in the Maldives, and more than half the lawyers licensed to practise before the Criminal Court.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22211&LangID=E

https://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/8F9AF28237B45D6EC12581B4002E5B14?OpenDocument

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1710/S00109/un-urges-maldives-reforms-after-mass-suspension-of-lawyers.htm

http://www.ccbe.eu/fileadmin/speciality_distribution/public/documents/HUMAN_RIGHTS_LETTERS/Maldives_-_Maldives/2017/EN_HRL_20171031_Maldives_Concerns-regarding-the-suspension-of-56-Maldivians-lawyers.pdf

China/OHCHR: UN experts urge China to release lawyer Jiang Tianyong currently on trial for subversion

September 6, 2017

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A group of United Nations human rights experts has called on the Government of China to immediately release the prominent lawyer and human rights defender Jiang Tianyong, who is on trial for inciting subversion of the State’s power.

The experts’ appeal comes as Mr. Jiang awaits the Court’s verdict after his televised “confession” on 22 August, to seeking to overthrow China’s political system, which the experts described as “a worrying sign of China’s disregard for due process and the rule of law”.

“We urge the Chinese authorities to uphold the rule of law by respecting Mr. Jiang’s rights to a fair trial and to carry out his work as a professional lawyer and human rights defender,” they said.

Mr. Jiang, who was allegedly disappeared on 21 November 2016, has been detained and under surveillance at an unknown location for more than nine months, without access to his family or a lawyer of his own choosing. There are concerns that he, along with other lawyers and human rights defenders in detention, may have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

“Given the reported conditions of his detention and earlier cases of a similar nature highlighting an ongoing worrying trend, we are gravely concerned that his confession may have been coerced by the use of torture, in contravention of the Chinese Criminal Procedures Law and international human rights standards, as reiterated by the Committee Against Torture in 2015,” the experts noted.

They also stressed the fact that the proceedings were not freely open to all interested members of the public to attend, while Mr. Jiang’s “confession” was broadcast on television and the Court’s social media; and that Mr. Jiang’s lawyer was dismissed by the authorities and had no access to him since his disappearance. “These factors clearly point to the serious shortcomings in guaranteeing a fair and impartial trial in accordance with international standards,” they said.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22028&LangID=E

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1709/S00023/un-experts-urge-china-to-release-lawyer-jiang-tianyong.htm

http://thediplomat.com/2017/09/chinas-quiet-drive-to-normalize-repression/

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【709快訊│維權律師家人被株連│江天勇妹妹被傳喚】

江天勇的妹妹江金萍昨天收到羅山縣公安局的傳喚通知,指她涉嫌故意損毀財物。於2017年8月18日,江天勇案開庭前夕,當地國保把江妹手機搶走並要強行把江天勇妹妹及孩子帶到派出所,江妹反抗,憤怒之下拿起一根棍子敲了國保的車。

Jiang Tianyong’s sister, Jiang Jinping received a summon notice by the PSB in Luoshan County for the alleged crime of purposeful destruction of property yesterday. On 18 August 2017, before the trial of the case of Jiang, the local state security officers attempted to forcibly take his sister and sister’s child to the local police station and to confiscate her mobile phone. His sister resisted, took up a stick and knocked on their car.

(China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group / 中國維權律師關注組 Facebook)

China/OHCHR: HRC35 | UN expert to China: ‘Release Jiang Tianyong’

June 9, 2017

UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

On Wednesday, Special Rapporteur Philip Alston praised China’s political will to alleviate poverty and took the government to task for limiting his access and intimidating and, in one case, imprisoning civil society actors with whom he met. ISHR’s statement asked for answers.

UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty presented his country report on China this week, in addition to reports on visits to Mauritania and Saudi Arabia and a discussion of universal basic income. Unsurprisingly, despite Alston’s balanced tone, the Chinese delegation chose to attack the Rapporteur’s credibility, deny the practices he described, and hide behind tired claims that China is a ‘rule of law country’ and that the Rapporteur’s inquiry into the case of detained human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong constituted ‘meddling in judicial sovereignty

The report itself raised serious concerns about the commitment to human rights in poverty alleviation, and focused particularly on the lack of effective accountability mechanisms across the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. ISHR has previously highlighted key findings in the report.

ISHR advocate Sarah M Brooks noted that the Special Rapporteur clearly viewed civil society as key to making his work, and indeed the work of the UN, meaningful. And civil society groups in the room supported him, echoing his message for an end to the crackdown and the release of lawyer Jiang. ISHR’s statement is copied below.

‘The Special Rapporteur took a courageous and principled stand to call out China’s failures to protect human rights’, says Brooks. ‘It is downright shameful that no other country in the room could do the same.’

https://www.ishr.ch/news/hrc35-un-expert-china-release-jiang-tianyong

https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2017/06/china-scrutiny-u-n-human-rights-session/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-un-rights-idUSKBN18Z23V

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa17/6491/2017/en/

OHCHR: Enforced disappearances: UN expert group to review more than 600 cases from 29 countries

May 4, 2017

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The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will meet in Geneva from 8 to 17 May to examine more than 600 cases of disappearances from 29 countries.

During its 112th session, the Group of five independent human rights experts* will also meet relatives of those who have disappeared, civil society representatives and State authorities from different countries to exchange information on individual cases and the situation of this heinous crime.

The expert panel will discuss, among other issues, the problem of enforced disappearances in the context of migration, which will be the topic of a thematic report to be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2017.

The Working Group will also adopt during the session its annual report as well as the report related to the country visit to Albania, which took place in December 2016. It will also discuss the follow-up reports to the recommendations made upon the visits to Chile (2012) and Spain (2013).

In addition, the group of experts will examine general allegations received regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance.

The Working Group’s 112th session is held in private.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21579&LangID=E