Posts Tagged ‘appointment’

New SG for Amnesty International: Agnès Callamard

March 30, 2021

On 29 March 2021 Amnesty International announced the appointment of Dr. Agnès Callamard, a leading international human rights expert, as its new Secretary General, effective immediately. 

Dr. Callamard has recently been the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. In that role, she led ground-breaking investigations including into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/09/09/agnes-callamard-calls-overturned-verdict-in-khashoggi-case-parody-of-justice/]

As Secretary General, Dr. Callamard will be the Chief Executive of Amnesty’s International Secretariat and the principal spokesperson of the global Amnesty movement, which has some 10 million supporters, and offices in more than 70 countries.

At a time when human rights are under unprecedented threat around the world, Dr. Callamard will lead, excite and rally the entire Amnesty movement to meet these challenges head-on,” said Sarah Beamish, Chair of the International Board, in announcing the appointment.  “The combination of her intellectual acuity, her deep global human rights experience, and her courageous voice makes her highly qualified to front our movement. We are delighted she has accepted this challenge to take us boldly into our next phase.

Where governments and corporations seek to silence those who speak out against their abuses, to obfuscate the truth, and to undermine or reject human rights norms, the rigorous investigations and uncompromising campaigns of Amnesty International are more vital than ever.” Agnès Callamard

  “I am honoured to take up the post of Secretary General and work alongside Amnesty’s supporters around the world so that together we defend and demand respect for all human rights for all,” Dr Callamard said. 

Dr. Callamard, a French national, has built a highly distinguished career in the international human rights and humanitarian sectors, working across NGOs, academia, and the United Nations. Alongside her role as a United Nations independent human rights expert, she held the role of Director of the Global Freedom of Expression Project at Columbia University. Previously, she has been the Executive Director of the Freedom of Expression organization ARTICLE 19 and was the founder and Executive Director of HAP International (the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership).

Dr. Callamard worked with Amnesty International from 1995-2001, including as Chef de Cabinet for then-Secretary General Pierre Sané.  She has led human rights investigations in more than 30 countries and published extensively on human rights, women’s rights, freedom of expression, refugee movements, and the methodology of human rights investigations.

See also 7 April interview: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/4/7/leaders-of-the-world-have-failed-us-qa-with-agnes-callamard

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/03/dr-agnes-callamard-appointed-as-secretary-general-of-amnesty-international/

Vitit Muntarbhorn proposed as new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia

February 11, 2021

A Thai scholar, Vitit Muntarbhorn, has been proposed for appointment as the new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia by president of the United Nations Human Rights Council Nazhat Shameem Khan.

Muntarbhorn was listed in the candidates proposed for the six vacancies of special procedure mandate holders scheduled to be filled at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council, according to a letter from Shameem Khan on Monday.

If the 46th session of the Human Rights Council approves, Muntarbhorn will be appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Situation for Cambodia, replacing Rhona Smith, whose tenure ended in January.

Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) spokesman Chin Malin said Cambodia will welcome and work with whomever is selected as the Special Rapporteur.

Muntarbhorn was designated in September 2016 as the first UN independent expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by the Human Rights Council. He is an international law professor..

He is currently a professor emeritus of law at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, having taught international law, human rights, the law of regional organisations, migration and refugee law, child rights, international humanitarian law and European Union law. He was awarded the Unesco Human Rights Education Prize in 2004. [see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/DB1D6BB8-85F5-7BBA-A715-5DA728579021]

Muntarbhorn has served on many United Nations bodies. He was formally the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in South Korea. He has also been Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Brian Dooley to advice Mary Lawlor

May 13, 2020

Further to the announcement of Mary Lawlor as Special Rapporteur on HRDs [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/05/07/mary-lawlor-takes-up-post-as-un-special-rapporteur-for-human-rights-defenders/]. Human Rights First on 12 May 2020 proudly announced that Brian Dooley, its senior advisor on human rights movements and the risk of persecution and reprisal they face, will also serve as an advisor to Mary Lawlor. Dooley will advise the special rapporteur on a range of issues facing human rights defenders while continuing his work at Human Rights First.

We are incredibly proud Brian was chosen for such a distinguished and important role,” said Mike Breen, president and CEO of Human Rights First. “Brian has been critical to the success of numerous campaigns to support human rights defenders in Bahrain, Egypt and Hong Kong over the last ten years. He will be an asset to the UN Special Rapporteur’s team and his work will undoubtedly increase the visibility of the threats that human rights defenders face, and hopefully, lead to better protections for those doing the vital work of advancing human rights.”  For some of my older posts referring to Brian Dooley: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/brian-dooley/.

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_J._Dooley

Michael Ineichen leaves ISHR and a legacy

May 9, 2020

Michael Ineichen – ISHR programme director  – leaves the International Serivce for Human Rights and on 30 April 2020 he wrote a farewell note: “Leaving ISHR: thanks for 14 years of purpose, inspiration and learning”. He was often mentioned in this blog, see e.g.: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/michael-ineichen/. But fortunately he stays in Switzerland and in the human rights world: AI Switzerland.
 
Today, almost 14 years after joining “the service” I’m saying farewell to the International Service for Human Rights……I joined ISHR as an intern in 2006. Fresh off university, with a baby underway while fellow interns were spending their non-existent salaries on drinks by the lake. I was expecting to find a job, but found a purpose, a second family, and inspiration for a lifetime.

With my academic notion of “international human rights”, I knew very little of the reality experienced by the human rights defenders who struggle every day for more just, rights-respecting and equal societies. Back then, I was yet to be inspired by the courage, dedication, pain, doubt, joy and laughter of the many human rights activists I had the privilege of meeting over the years. I was yet to be appalled by the human rights violations and abuses of governments and unscrupulous companies, and the brazen efforts of some diplomats and governments to hide the truth from the eyes of the world, or somewhat reassured by the equally sustained efforts of others to create space for civil society and push for accountability.

In the last 14 years, there was not one week when I did not draw inspiration from one or more of the many human rights defenders ISHR works with. You are the reason this organisation exists. Among the stories which marked me the most, and which illustrates both the tremendous solidarity and deep frustration of engaging with international human rights mechanisms, is that of Chinese defender Cao Shunli.

She campaigned for something that most of us take for granted: independent civil society input into her government’s human rights report to the UN. As a result of her activism, she was blocked from travelling to Geneva, and – having been denied medical treatment – passed away in detention. Together with many civil society activists, I wanted to observe a moment of silence at the Human Rights Council in her memory. But the Chinese delegation was outraged, and interrupted the meeting for more than an hour. To this day, Cao Shunli’s death remains unaccounted for, and six successive Human Rights Council Presidents have failed to fully resolve this most emblematic case of reprisals. So much for the deep frustration. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/03/27/china-or-the-un-must-ensure-independent-investigation-into-death-of-cao-shunli/]

However, there’s also solidarity. Instead of stifling opposing views, with its heavy handed response even in the HRC, the Chinese delegation attracted massive attention to Cao Shunli and her struggle, and triggered an intense moment of global solidarity. Every member of civil society in the room was standing up – with Cao Shunli, and the human rights movement as a whole. Afterwards, every diplomat in Geneva knew Cao Shunli, and her story contributed significantly to the creation of a stronger UN response to reprisals. And, years later, Chinese human rights activists whom I’ve never met in my life look at me with a hint of recognition, saying “I know you. You’re the guy who stood up to our government, and made the UPR meaningful. We all watched behind the firewall.”

Hers is but one of the many stories I take with me, as I open a new chapter in my professional life. There are many others, happy and sad, of human rights defenders who have extended their trust to ISHR and myself. From Alphonsus to Ziad, I will always be grateful for the chance to reflect together on using the opportunities of international advocacy towards our common human rights struggle.  


I’ve seen times when donors trust in the track record, dedication and commitment of a civil society organisation like ISHR, or conversely when they insist on wasteful and narrow-minded administrative processes…..And I’ve seen how a strong focus on solidarity, well-being and passion can bring teams and an entire organisation to punch well above their weight. And finally, the last 14 years have been a period of immense personal growth – not always easy and smooth, but  I’ve grown as a father, husband and person. And I thank ISHR for being 100% supportive along the way.

As I look forward to opening a new chapter in my professional life by joining Amnesty Switzerland, I wish ISHR – Phil, the amazing team of staff, its dedicated board and the human rights defenders community it works with and supports – all the best for navigating these challenging times. You have and will continue to profoundly shape the human rights world, and I am proud and grateful to have been a part of the team.

Merci

https://www.ishr.ch/news/leaving-ishr-thanks-14-years-purpose-inspiration-and-learning

Other new UN Special Rapporteurs appointed in 2020

May 8, 2020

Having referred specially to the appointment of Mary Lawlor [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/05/07/mary-lawlor-takes-up-post-as-un-special-rapporteur-for-human-rights-defenders/ ], I should point out that the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed in March 12 new independent experts to its fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Currently, there are 56 mandates: 44 thematic ones and 12 mandates related to countries and territories, with a total of 80 human rights experts. The 8 May 2020 Media Guide explains who they are and how to contact them. For details go to: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25871

They are:

Ms. Claudia MAHLER (Austria) is the new Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons. This mandate gained in importance with the Corona virus pandemic.

Mr. Balakrishnan RAJAGOPAL (United States of America) is the new Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context.

Mr. Tomoya OBOKATA (Japan) is the new Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and its consequences.

Mr. Olivier DE SCHUTTER (Belgium) is the new Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

Ms. Alena DOUHAN (Belarus) is the new Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

Mr. Michael FAKHRI (Lebanon) is the new Special Rapporteur on the right to food

Mr. José Francisco CALÍ TZAY (Guatemala) is the new Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Ms. Mama Fatima SINGHATEH (Gambia) is the new Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children.

Ms. Mary LAWLOR (Ireland) is the new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

Mr. Thomas H. ANDREWS (United States of America) is the new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

Ms. Isha DYFAN (Sierra Leone) is the new Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia.

 

Good breaking news: Mary Lawlor the new UN special rapporteur for human rights defenders

March 16, 2020

Human rights defender Mary Lawlor has been appointed as UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Michel Forst, the current special rapporteur, is stepping down after six years in the role [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/03/05/michel-forst-in-his-latest-and-last-report-to-the-council-focuses-on-hrds-in-conflict-zones/]. This is excellent news as Mary Lawlor has enormous experience in human rights, as a previous director of Amnesty International Ireland and as a founder of Front Line Defenders (FLD). She led FLD from 2001 until her retirement in 2016, overseeing its growth to become a global organisation providing resources for the protection and security of human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk. Ms Lawlor helped spearhead civil society efforts to bring the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders into effect and became a recognised leader in focusing on attention on the unique protection needs of HRDs.Remarking on the announcement, Andrew Anderson, executive director at Front Line Defenders, said: “Mary Lawlor is an excellent choice as UNSR, she has huge experience of working with human rights defenders in all world regions with a focus on creative and practical support and she has the empathy, tact and tenacity to make a considerable impact.” [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/10/08/front-line-defenders-announces-steady-hand-andrew-anderson-as-new-executive-director/]

https://www.irishlegal.com/article/mary-lawlor-appointed-un-special-rapporteur-for-human-rights-defenders

New national Human Rights Commission in Myanmar: OLD wine in a new bottle

January 18, 2020

Human rights defenders blasted the newly reconstituted Human Rights Commission as comprised of a bunch of retirees who have little experience in protecting and promoting human rights. President U Win Myint has appointed U Hla Myint, Myanmar representative at the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, as the chair of the 11-member reconstituted body. Daw Nanda Hmun, retired permanent secretary of Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture was appointed as his deputy chair.

Critics expressed doubt on the capacity of the commission to perform its functions independently, especially in investigating cases, which involved police or military personnel as well as other government officials. Daw Nyo Nyo Thin, a former legislator who now heads an anti-corruption watch group in Yangon, said that one good thing about the newly formed commission is it has four female members. But she observed that since most of them are retired civil servants with little experience in human rights-related works, they might not be the right persons for the commission. ..“One of the main functions of the commission is to challenge the government if they received complaints of abuses.” The former legislator bewailed the lack of an active human rights advocate appointed in the body, commenting that the new commission seemed to be comprised of people close to President U Win Myint.

Ko Aung Zaw Oo, a member of the Myanmar Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Association, noted the lack of consultation and transparency on the appointment of the new commissioners. “I don’t want to criticize people but the selection process,” he said. “I want to ask if being a retired person is a requirement to be a member of Human Rights Commission.” For U Aung Myo Min, director of local resource centre Equality Myanmar, the lack of human rights expert in the commission is disturbing. The new commission does not have human rights subject experts or experienced people from ethnic regions where human rights violations mainly occurred and so, there are doubts in its capacity to discharge its function well, he said.

The previous commission does not have transparency and was criticized not only locally but also by the international community. The new Commission follows the same steps and I want to question that,” U Aung Myo Min said.

In December last year, 20 local civil society organizations called on the government to respect and ensure the independence of the commission and most of them felt frustrated their call went unheeded as evidenced by the appointment of the members of new commission. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission was established in September 2011, under the administration of former president U Thein Sein.

https://www.mmtimes.com/news/reconstituted-myanmar-human-rights-commission-more-same.html

What should Michel Forst’s successor as Rapporteur on HRDs look like?

September 11, 2019

The current Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders shaking hands with the UN Secretary General
Michael Forst (l) with the UN Secretary General

An exceptionally large group of 131 national and international NGOs (for list see: http://www.ishr.ch/sites/default/files/documents/190909_criteria_jt_letter_sr_on_hrds_signatories.pdf) have set out the criteria that should be at the heart of the selection of the next UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. As Michel Forst’s term as mandate holder comes to an end, candidates have until 17 October 2019 to submit their applications for the position. (If your organisation would like to endorse the criteria, please sign on here)

The document sets out the skills and expertise that should be taken into account in the appointment of the next expert in March 2020. These fit under 4 priorities:

  • qualifications and skills;
  • relevant expertise
  • established competence;
  • and flexibility/ readiness and availability

The document also provides information on the application process, and underlines the importance of independence and impartiality, as well as experience or knowledge of the realities faced by human rights defenders.

ISHR’s Programme Manager Helen Nolan stated: ‘Human rights defenders who are most at risk around the world are often persons with discriminated identities or from communities that are marginalised, so the Special Rapporteur should be able to consider the particular contexts and challenges faced by these individuals and groups with the benefit of insights from the mandate holder’s personal experience’.

The checklist is available here.

http://www.ishr.ch/news/special-procedures-what-skills-do-we-need-next-un-expert-human-rights-defenders-rapporteur

A good appointment at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

August 9, 2019

Image
On 8 August 2019,  Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that Austrialian Gillian Triggs [@GillianTriggs] has been appointed Assistant High Commissioner for refugee protection. He states that she will bring to #UNHCR substantial legal expertise, knowledge and experience of refugee issues and a passion for human rights. From the single blog post I have on her that seems indeed very likely: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/06/16/the-importance-of-independent-national-human-rights-bodies-illustrated-in-australia/

Rasmus Alenius Boserup new Executive Director of EuroMed Rights

May 21, 2019

On 16 May 2019 the NGO EuroMed Rights announced that it has appointed Rasmus Alenius Boserup as its new Executive Director. He will assume the position on 1 June, 2019, succeeding Marc Schade-Poulsen, who will take up a position as consultant and research fellow at the University of Roskilde.

A Danish national, Rasmus Alenius Boserup has a background in social science research and organisation management. Until 2019, he worked as Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies focusing on power and politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to this, he served as Executive Director of the Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Institute in Cairo from 2008 to 2011. An expert and opinion writer in Danish and international media, Boserup holds a doctoral degree in culture and civilisation from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and a PhD degree in Arabic Studies from the University of Copenhagen.

Boserup said: “I look forward to take up the position with EuroMed Rights. I have followed the network since its creation in 1997 and have collaborated with several of its outstanding member organisations in the South and in the North.”  “Today we face numerous worrying trends in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The crumbling of the liberal order and rise of international authoritarianism add fuel to populism and illiberalism in Europe. And it further emboldens repressive and autocratic leaders in the Middle East and North African. Under these urgent conditions, I look forward to engage fully in promoting and defending human rights and democracy as a part of a prestigious organisation like EuroMed Rights.”

EuroMed Rights President Wadih Al-Asmaradded: “We are pleased to have Rasmus on board and look forward to leveraging his expertise in steering EuroMed Rights forward. Our network has grown to occupy a strategically important position while Marc Schade-Poulsen held the position of Executive Director and we are eager to capitalise on this with Rasmus Alenius Boserup”.

https://mailchi.mp/euromedrights/euromed-rights-appoints-new-executive-director?e=1209ebd6d8