Archive for the 'FIDH' Category

Iranian Human Rights Defenders in trouble

September 27, 2018

On 21 September 2018 the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH/ OMCT) petitioned the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to seek the release of Iranian human rights lawyer Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh. Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent defender and 2012 laureate of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize, was arrested on June 13, 2018 at her home in Tehran. [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/08/30/human-rights-defender-nasrin-sotoudeh-on-hunger-strike-in-iran/ ].. On September 16, 2018, Ms. Sotoudeh was informed that she would be denied her family visitation rights if she and her female visitors – including her daughter – did not wear a full hijab. Ms Sotoudeh has refused the condition and was denied the right to see her daughter on September 17, 2018.
The Observatory urges the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Sotoudeh and to cease all acts of harassment and other abuses against her and all human rights defenders in Iran, in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and with international human rights standards and international instruments to which Iran is a State party.

The semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Thursday 27 September that another human rights defender, Narges Mohammadi, has been granted a three-day leave from prison to visit her ailing father.

However, the recent terror attack in Iran may be expected to prompt the Guards to compensate by cracking down on domestic detractors and perceived opponents of their mission of defending and principles of the Islamic revolution. Certainly, some prominent figures within the Iranian activist and expatriate communities have been quick to raise alarms about the likelihood of this outcome. For instance, the Center for Human Rights in Iran quoted the Iranian human rights activist and Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi as saying of last Saturday’s attack, “Such actions lead to the justification of state violence and the arrest of many opponents in the name of fighting terrorism.” Meanwhile activists echoed the sentiment, saying, “Terrorism and violence in any form should be condemned in the strongest terms [but] such acts of violence should not become an excuse for state violence to suppress peaceful opposition.

FIDH collected Russia’s 50 anti-democracy laws

March 18, 2018

 

Since re-election in 2012, the Russian president has overseen the creation of 50 laws designed to strangle opposition voices and raise the level of fear and self-censorship in society. FIDH with its Russian member organizations released a table of the latest 50 new anti-democracy laws since 2012. It explains the impact of each of them on the fundamental freedoms of Russian citizens, cutting down every day a little bit more the free exchanges with the outside world. It also provides some, far from exhaustive examples of the legal abuses it provokes in the every day life of citizens.

Not only the present but also the past gets filtered and controlled.

The laws and regulations range from increased surveillance and censorship powers, to laws banning “questioning the integrity of the Russian nation” – effectively banning criticism of Russia’s presence in Eastern Ukraine and the Crimea – broad laws on “extremism” that grant authorities powers to crack down on political and religious freedom, to imposing certain views on Russian history forbidding to think differently.

CHECK OUT THE TABLE OF LAWS

FIDH looks back at 2017 with its annual comic strip

February 1, 2018

On 30 January 2018, FIDH publishes the comic strip version of its Annual Report created by graphic artist Romain Ronzeau and the graphic artists from Cartooning for Peace. Illustrating some of the victories and battles of 2017, the artists eloquently convey the essential: in times of crises, defending human rights is more necessary than ever. [for last year’s see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/03/28/fidh-looks-back-at-2016-in-comic-strip/]. Good to see that the tradition is being kept up!

On the occasion of the comic strip Annual Report’s release, FIDH reaffirms its support for all graphic artists and caricaturists who are subjected to threats and attacks on a daily basis.

 

for the full version see: https://www.fidh.org/en/impacts/fidh-looks-back-at-2017-in-our-traditional-comic-strip

Side event on human rights defenders working on Business and Human Rights issues

November 23, 2017

This side event will take place during the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. The event will bring together multiple stakeholders to discuss how to remedy, redress and prevent attacks against human rights defenders working on business and human rights.

Antoine Bernard has left FIDH after 26 years

October 12, 2017

For those of you (like me) who missed the rather sudden departure of Antoine Bernard as head of the FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), here is the 12 September statement called “Farewell Antoine” as seen on the FIDH website:

“Antoine Bernard is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of the FIDH International Secretariat on September 15 after serving the organisation for 26 years. Antoine established and steered the International Secretariat, playing a fundamental role in the development and expansion of FIDH. Under his guidance, the organisation engaged in innovative and pioneering operations in the world of defending human rights. 
The numerous victories he contributed to include the 1998 adoption of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders; the 2002 establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the mobilisation that led to the ICC sentencing of Jean-Pierre Bemba in 2016, which was the first verdict to recognise rape as a crime against humanity and to hold those effectively in command responsible; the identifying of corporate responsibility on the part of economic players and their criminal prosecution as well as dialogue with some companies to encourage them to develop and assume their social responsibility; lastly, his work at FIDH, including in recent months, to usher in digital communication, to counter attacks aimed at delegitimising human rights, to organise the decentralisation of our organisation and to create transparent and faithful partnerships. FIDH is immensely grateful to Antoine for his tireless optimism, his audacity and tenacity, and the passion that he has for our organisation, serving and supporting FIDH member organisations and their defenders. 
He is an iconic figure in the worldwide human rights movement. He embodies the patience that is needed for universal, steadfast commitment to practical and concrete progress, as well as a single-minded pursuit of justice and the audacity that this requires. 
Following the departure of Antoine, a transition management team is being set up headed by Juliane Falloux, FIDH Executive Director.”

Source: Farewell Antoine

FIDH wants to recruit a Programme Officer for West and South Asia

April 11, 2017

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is seeking a Program Officer, covering West and South Asia (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh). Although based in Paris, working under the responsibility of the Director of Operations,  the Programme Officer comes under the supervision of the Head of Asia Desk (who is based in Bangkok, Thailand). Reference: CP-ASIE-04-17

Deadline for applications: 24 April 2017
MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES:- Draft reports, press releases, open letters, briefing notes, op-eds and ensure that they are approved by board members and local partners.
- Organize fact-finding, judicial observation missions, seminars, and trainings.
- Organize advocacy activities within IGO and visits of human rights defenders to and from the region.
- Participate in fact-finding missions in the field and activities within IGO and represent occasionally FIDH in meetings with government representatives, media, and donors.
- Participate in meetings with local, regional, and international partners.
- Liaise and coordinate with other regional and thematic desks at the FIDH International Secretariat, as well as the press, web, and communication department.
- Liaise and coordinate with FIDH’s delegations in Geneva, Brussels, New York, and The Hague.
- Liaise with FIDH member and partner organizations for West and South Asia, with FIDH Board Members in charge of the region or in charge of thematic issues, as well as with other relevant organizations at national, regional and international levels to ensure synergy and complementarity.
- Contribute to the elaboration of the annual work plan for West and South Asia and propose changes when needed.
- Contribute to the formulation of funding applications for activities related to West and South Asia.
- Contribute to the design and implement communication activities, in consultation with the press, web and communication departments;
- Contribute to monitor, assess and report on activities carried out.
- Communicate on results achieved.
- Carry out administrative tasks as needed (hiring and training of interns, hiring and management of consultants, maintaining a database of contacts, printing & dissemination of materials, etc).

EXPERIENCE

Minimum of 3 years work experience in the field of human rights (preferably for a national, regional and/or international NGO).
In-depth understanding of the human rights, political, social, and economic context in West and South Asia.
Familiarity with UN human rights standards and mechanisms.

COMPETENCE AND SKILLS

- A university degree in a relevant field, such as political science, international relations, or human rights law.
- Excellent writing skills and attention to details.
- Fluency in oral and written English; basic knowledge of French desirable.
- Ability to work as part of a team and independently, be rigorous, able to prioritize, and work under pressure and multiple deadlines.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

Gross monthly income: From EUR 2,500 per month (over 13 months), depending on experience. Possibility of recruitment at a different level based on a different job profile.

Source: Program Officer, covering West and South Asia (reference: CP-ASIE-04-17)

ProtectDefenders.eu launches new alert website but no single stop yet!!

April 3, 2017

On 30 March ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism implemented by international civil society, launched its Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders, featuring a monitoring of alerts concerning violations perpetrated against individuals promoting Human Rights around the globe. The Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders is available on: ProtectDefenders.eu website.

It could be a most useful tool as quite a few key information providers coöperate (but not AI, HRW?). However, to be really useful as a single stop for this kind of information it is paramount that the site is as complete as possible (otherwise one would still have to go back to the websites of the individual organizations cooperating in the project). This is apparently not yet the case (or maybe definitions still differ from NGO to NGO). Front Line e.g. in its 2017 report (covering 2016) states that  281 HRDs were killed around the world [https://hrdmemorial.org/front-line-defenders-017-annual-report-highlights-killing-of-281-hrds-in-2016/], while a search on the new site shows only 39 killed in 2016 [https://protectdefenders.eu/en/stats.php?yearFilter=2016&regionFilter=&countryFilter=#mf]. That is 242 killings missing (without checking the annual reports of other cooperating partners) ! This issue is important as the announcement claims that the site wants to become “a source of reliable and updated information that should allow the identification of worrying trends and  encourage the coordination of adequate responses by decision-makers and authorities to counter the violations faced by defenders”. Read the rest of this entry »

Universal Jurisdiction gathers momentum says group of NGOs

March 31, 2017

After my post on Civitas Maxima [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/03/21/new-magazine-global-geneva-puts-civitas-maxima-in-the-limelight/] I feel that I should complete the picture with a reference to “Make Way for Justice #3” which argues that universal jurisdiction has gathered unprecedented momentum in 2016. In this annual report, ECCHR and its partners FIBGARFIDHREDRESS and TRIAL International look back on its application through 47 recent cases. Five years of conflict, hundreds of thousands of dead. In Syria, large-scale war crimes are committed in all impunity. Effective prosecution has been repeatedly impeded at the international level, yet justice has found a way forward: universal jurisdiction. Thanks to this principle, States can prosecute criminals regardless of their nationality or where the crime was committed. The interest of such procedures for lawless regions is obvious.

2016 alone, five States have brought charges for alleged crimes in Syria. Investigations are ongoing in three others. For victims, these proceedings may be their only chance to obtain justice. Universal jurisdiction has proved a significant tool against impunity in Syria, but it also applies to many more situations: Rwanda, Nepal, Guatemala and Iraq, to name but a few.

To illustrate this breadth, ECCHR, FIBGAR, FIDH, REDRESS and TRIAL International released their annual report on universal jurisdiction, Make way for Justice #3. In 2016 alone, 13 States have made use of this principle in 47 cases – an unprecedented success.

Source: publications – ECCHR – EUROPEAN CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS (en)

FIDH looks back at 2016 in comic strip

March 28, 2017

 looks back at 2016 in its traditional comic strip, done in cooperation with Cartooning for Peace.

To see it in a readable format go to: FIDH looks back at 2016 in our traditional comic strip

 

 

 

For last year’s cartoon: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/04/04/fidh-looks-back-at-2015-with-cartoons/

Even landmark UN decision does not change Cambodia’s treatment of human rights defenders

March 11, 2017

I was reading (belatedly) about the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, who in January 2017 intervened strongly in the case of the 5 Cambodian human rights defenders of ADHOC (#FreeThe5KH) who have been in detention since April last year. [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/05/04/civil-society-condemns-charges-human-rights-defenders-cambodia/] Only then did I realize that the case had led a few months earlier to a landmark decision by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD): the first time that any UN body has referred to HRDs as a protected group.

 

 

On 21 November 21, 2016, the WGAD ruled that the ongoing detention of Mr. Ny ChakryaDeputy Secretary-General of the National Election Committee (NEC), and four staff members of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Messrs. Ny SokhaYi SoksanNay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony, was “arbitrary.” Following a submission made by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT-FIDH partnership), the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) in June 2016, the WGAD’s Opinion No. 45/2016 ruled that the five human rights defenders (HRDs) have been discriminated against based on their status as human rights defenders, and in violation of their right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law under article 26 of the ICCPR.” This is the first time ever that the WGAD – or any other UN mechanism receiving individual complaints – has referred to HRDs as a protected group that is entitled to equal legal protection under Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ruling also recognised the violation of the five HRDs’ “rights to offer and provide professionally qualified legal assistance and other relevant advice and assistance in defending human rights.”

 In addition, the WGAD found that the targeting of ADHOC staff members for having provided “legitimate legal advice and other assistance” violated the five HRDs’ right to freedom of association. It ruled that violations of fair trial rights (including the fact that the five were denied legal counsel from the beginning of their questioning), unjustified pre-trial detention, and statements made by the Cambodian authorities which denied the five the presumption of innocence – all of which contravene Cambodia’s international human rights obligations in respect to the right to a fair trial – are also serious enough to consider their ongoing detention as arbitrary. The WGAD concluded that “the deprivation of liberty of Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lim Monyand Ny Chakrya, being in contravention of articles 7, 9, 10, 11 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of articles 9, 10, 14, 22 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is arbitrary.”

That Cambodian authorities are not impressed is shown by the continued detention of the 5 ADHOC HRDs and by the press release of 7 February 2017 calling for the cessation of the politically motivated criminal investigation of human rights defenders Am Sam-at and Chan Puthisak. Amnesty International, Civil Rights Defenders, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists signed the statement.

Phnom Penh 20170207 PHTO
Cambodian police detain protesters during a protest to free jailed activists in Phnom Penh, Cambodia May 9, 2016.© Reuters/Samrang Pring

Cambodian officials have accused Sam-at, a respected human rights monitor at the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) for nearly 20 years, and Puthisak, a land rights activist from Boeung Kak Lake and former prisoner of conscience, of instigating violence at an October 10, 2016 demonstration. Para-police forces, who are regularly used to suppress demonstrations, violently dispersed what had been a peaceful protest in Phnom Penh. When Puthisak attempted to prevent para-police from confiscating a drum that was being used by a demonstrator, four or five para-police attacked him, repeatedly beating him on the head with their fists, according to a video of the incident. When Sam-at tried to stop the assault, the para-police attacked him, also beating him on the head. Both men sustained injuries that needed medical attention.

The investigation of Sam-at and Puthisak by the Cambodian authorities is a typically absurd and undisguised case of judicial harassment,” said Champa Patel, Southeast Asia and Pacific director at Amnesty International. “As usual, unnecessary and excessive use of force by the para-police goes unpunished, and those who work to promote and protect human rights find themselves subject to criminal proceedings.”

 

Sources:

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56036#.WMP0Dhhh2V4

Cambodia: In landmark decision, UN body declares the detention of five human rights defenders arbitrary #FreeThe5KH / December 18, 2016 / Urgent Interventions / Human rights defenders / OMCT

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/02/07/cambodia-drop-farcical-investigation-human-rights-defenders