Posts Tagged ‘administrative rules’

Nigeria: NGOs try to prevent the adoption of NGO-unfriendly law

August 1, 2017

Speaker Dogara

In a blog post on Vanguard News it is explained that the appeal dated 28 July 2017 was sent to Ms Annalisa Ciampi, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Mr Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The organization said, “.. If adopted, the bill which is copied from repressive countries like Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda, would have a chilling effect not only on expressions of peaceful dissent by the citizens but also on the legitimate work of NGOs and individual human rights defenders and activists scrutinizing corruption in the National Assembly and exposing human rights violations by the government.”

The urgent appeal signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni read in part: .”.. the bill is by far the most dangerous piece of legislation in the country in terms of its reach and devastating consequences not only for the work of civil society but also the effective enjoyment of constitutionally and internationally recognized human rights of the citizens. The bill will devastate the country’s civil society for generations to come and turn it into a government puppet.”……

SERAP is also concerned that the proposed bill is coming at a time the members of the Senate and House of Representatives are proposing amnesty and immunity for themselves against prosecution for corruption and other economic crimes; and the government is proposing a social media policy to restrict and undermine citizens’ access to the social media ahead of the general elections in 2019.”

……

The provisions of the bill are also not subject to any judicial oversight. SERAP believes that independent groups and activists should have space to carry out their human rights and anticorruption work without fear of reprisals, such as losing their registration or being sent prison.”

 

[The House of Representatives debated the bill known as ‘An Act to provide for the establishment of Regulatory Commission for the Supervision, Coordination and Monitoring of NGOs, CSOs and Communities Based Organizations in Nigeria’. The bill will establish a commission responsible only to the president and the senate. Under section 7, the commission will monitor and supervise these groups supposedly to “ensure that they accomplish their missions according to law” and under section 26, strictly “in line with the programmes of government.” Section 8 of the bill even goes further by empowering the commission to coordinate the work of all national and international NGOs in the country. All groups must register with the commission and submit their annual reports for discussion and governmental approval. The commission may take any punitive action against civil society and “do all such things incidental to its functions” under the Act. Section 10 establishes ‘a documentation center’ to which all civil society groups must submit the list of their activities and other information that may be required or prescribed. Section 11 then requires submission of all proposed activities by civil society for approval. Section 12 requires registration of all civil society organizations on the payment of unspecified fees and other fees as the commission may require or prescribe. But registration may be turned down, as stated under section 13. Registration is valid for only 24 months and renewable, subject to conditions as may be prescribed. Registration may also be denied if the activities of civil society groups are not in line with “national interest”. Operations of the groups will be terminated without any such registration. Under section 19, workers of the groups must apply for work permits. The groups can only appeal to “a minister” if they are dissatisfied with the application of any of the provisions of the Act, as provided for under section 19. The bill in section 24 criminalizes behaviour that is inherently legitimate by prescribing severe criminal penalties, including fines of N500,000 or 18 months imprisonment or both, for operating without registration under the bill. Under section 26, any such person will be banned for 10 years from doing any civil society work. The combined effect of sections 25 and 26 is that no civil society group will be able to carry out any activity without first seeking and obtaining a ministerial approval.]

Source: SERAP drags Dogara to UN over ‘repressive bill to regulate, crackdown on civil society’ – Gistmaster (It appeared first on Vanguard News)

https://guardian.ng/news/serap-drags-dogara-to-un-over-bill-to-crackdown-on-csos/

Europe also sees shrinking space for human rights defenders

April 4, 2017

On 4 April 2017 Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, wrote about “The Shrinking Space for Human Rights Organisations“. The new EU ‘alert site I referred to yesterday [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/04/03/protectdefenders-eu-launches-new-alert-website-but-no-single-stop-yet/] showed in 2016 some 86 reported violations in the European (and Central Asian) region, mostly detention and judicial harassment. Also the recent CIVICUS findings of the narrowing space for civil society points in this direction. An example could be Hungary as illustrated by reports of Human Rights Watch (2016), Human Rights First (2017) and Amnesty International (2016/17); the issue of academic freedom is not directly related but part of the restrictive trend [see links below].

Read the rest of this entry »

Deportation of Human Rights Defenders: two European cases next to each other

September 1, 2015

Just two cases (unrelated) to show how media report differently (or not at all):

Antifascists hold an action protesting public events held on the occasion of the day of memory of the Latvian Legion Waffen-SS at the Freedom Monument in Riga
© SPUTNIK/ ILYA PITALEV Anti-Nazi Activism Now Seen As ‘National Security Threat’ in Lithuania

On 1 September Sputnik reports under the title “Moscow slammed Vilnius for persecution of human rights defenders” how Moscow is concerned about Lithuanian authorities’ recent decision to deport three rights activists. “Lithuanian authorities handed over decisions to three well-known Latvian human rights activists that they had to leave the country within 24 hours, with two being banned entry for five years,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “This shameless move by Lithuanian authorities, which can only be interpreted as persecution of human right defenders, causes serious concern.

Source: Russia Criticizes Lithuania’s ‘Shameless’ Deportation of Rights Activists

Then I remembered an old case from a Danish newspaper of 21 May 2015 which read: “Russia moves to deport Danish activist group“.

It said that 3 members of a Danish human rights group faced possible deportation after being accused of breaching immigration rules. The Danish, German and Latvian citizens were participating in a workshop jointly organized by the prominent Russian rights group Committee Against Torture and the Danish Institute Against Torture (Dignity). Migration officials had stormed the hotel venue in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia’s fifth-biggest city, and demanded that the foreigners accompany them for questioning. A court in Nizhny ruled that German lecturer Uwe Harlacher, a psychologist, had entered the country with the wrong visa, said the head of the Committee Against Torture, Igor Kalyapin.
[Last year, four American students were deported after attending a leadership conference. Russian officials said they had tourist visas but were not engaged in tourism.]

Not enough detail in any of these cases to judge definitely who is right and wrong, but interesting to note how authorities like to play with rules which suit them.

Russia: human rights NGOs likely to become officially “undesirable”

May 21, 2015

Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

reports that on 20 May 2015, the Upper House of Russia’s Parliament has approved the draft Federal Law No. 662902-6, otherwise known as the draft law on “undesirable organisations”.  The draft law was already approved by Russia’s State Duma (lower house) [see post: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/russia-the-next-step-in-curtailing-human-rights-defenders/] and now awaits signature into law by the President. Read the rest of this entry »

Uzbekistan’s Human Rights Defenders risk a lot by helping others

January 27, 2014

Why do people turn to human rights defenders?” asks Vladimir Husainov in this video posted by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting [IPWR] on 27 January 2014. “Because they can at least do something, even though they have no official powers or authority.” Husainov is one of a handful of courageous human rights defenders in Uzbekistan. They investigate various kinds of abuses ranging from the routine practice of torture in detention to the use of child labour in the cotton fields. Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysia should reverse ban against leading human rights coalition COMANGO

January 13, 2014

Several NGOs, including the International Service for Human Rights from which I the took the statement of 12 January, 2014, have asked the Malaysian authorities to immediately reverse a ban issued against a leading coalition of human rights organisations. On 8 January 2014 the Malaysian Home Ministry issued a statement that it had declared the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs [COMANGO] to be illegal on the basis that it deviates from the Islamic faith through its support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. The Ministry further justified the ban on the basis that members of the coalition are not registered under he Malaysian Societies Act 1966.The move to ban COMANGO is a clear violation of the rights to freedom of association and assembly, said ISHR Director Phil Lynch, adding the suspicious circumstance that the ban was issued in response to COMANGO submitting a report to the UN Human Rights Council on Malaysia’s human rights record in March 2013, which makes it look like a case of reprisals against human rights defenders. For more info contact: Phil Lynch, Director, on p.lynch[at]ishr.ch.

via Malaysia must reverse ban against leading human rights coalition | ISHR.

Russia: Unprecedented level of harassment against Memorial as “foreign agent”

October 3, 2013

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), reports on 2 October 2013 on the ongoing judicial proceedings against the Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” (ADC Memorial), which has now become the first NGO in Russia facing both administrative and civil proceedings for the same “offence” on the basis of the law on so-called “foreign agents”.  Read the rest of this entry »

Ecuador: Clampdown on Civil Society | Human Rights Watch

August 13, 2013

On 12 August Human Rights Watch issued a report on Ecuador and urged it to revoke a presidential decree that grants far-reaching powers to the government to oversee and dissolve nongovernmental organizations.HRW_logo

On June 4, 2013, President Rafael Correa adopted a decree [a similar decree in December 2010 was shelved after criticism] that creates new procedures for Ecuadorean nongovernmental organizations to obtain legal status and requires international organizations to undergo a screening process to seek permission to work in Ecuador. Read the rest of this entry »

Civil Society of South Sudan expresses concern in Human Rights Council

June 25, 2013

On 12 June 2013 Rachel Nicholson, on behalf of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP), delivered an oral statement to the UN Human Rights Council. It  started by congratulating South Sudan Read the rest of this entry »