Posts Tagged ‘Committee on Enforced Disappearances’

Former MEP Barbara Lochbihler about her human rights work

July 13, 2020

On 10 July 2020 the Martin Ennals Foundation published an interview with new Board member Barbara Lochbihler, former Secretary General of Amnesty International Germany and Member of the European Parliament (2009-2019):

  1. What motivated you to join the Martin Ennals Foundation?

During the past thirty years, in my role as Secretary General of Amnesty International Germany and before with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in Geneva, and then later on as Member of the European Parliament, with a focus on human rights, the work and expertise of human rights defenders were and became central to me. The increasing challenges and threats they face demanding better protection of the rights of their fellow human beings is still very worrisome and needs all our attention and solidarity. 

  1. Why did you choose to join the UN Committee against Enforced Disappearance?

After ending my mandate in the European Parliament in Brussels, I was looking for a way to continue my human rights engagement. The United Nations human rights work in Geneva is at the centre of developing international protection mechanisms and norms.
Since a year now, I’m an independent expert in the UN Committee against Enforced Disappearance. It monitors the implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and takes up individual cases. I’m enjoying the great teamwork with colleagues in an international context.

  1. 2020 has been so far a year of global upheaval. What is your advice to human rights defenders across the world?

The work of human rights defenders is essential to improve the situation on the ground, by factual reporting of cases, by analysing the root causes of human rights violations, by demanding political change and proposing better legal protection mechanisms. In 2019, Front Line Defenders registered 304 cases of human rights defenders who were killed. Increasingly human rights defenders are under threat, they experience violence and oppression. It is urgent to continue our international support and solidarity with human rights defenders, in order to counter and defend the space for civil society actors.

UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances weighs in on the issue of reprisals

April 25, 2014

In the crucial battle for better protection of human rights defenders who give information to the UN, there is a small victory. The Committee on Enforced Disappearances has responded to the issue of intimidation and attacks against human rights defenders by creating a rapporteur on reprisals. This comes after other UN treaty bodies, including the Human Rights Committee, the Committee against Torture and the Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Torture also took some steps to better protect human rights defenders who contribute to their work.

In its message of 22 April 2014 the Geneva-based International Service for Human Rights refers to its submission – together with Child Rights Connect, the Center for Legal and Social Studies, FIACAT, the International Movement Against all forms of Discrimination and Racism and Al-Karama – identifying ways in which the Committee could better facilitate access and engagement by NGOs. ‘ISHR welcomes this development, which sends a clear signal that the Committee takes the danger of reprisals seriously and understands the need to address this threat,’ said ISHR’s Heather Collister, but she rightly points out that cases of reprisal will continue to occur as long as there is no means of holding States accountable for the safety of the defenders who engage with regional or international human rights systems. See my earlier post advocating stronger measures against States that take reprisals:

via UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances appoints focal point on reprisals | ISHR.  or contact Heather Collister on: h.collister[at]

For all my earlier posts on reprisals see: