Posts Tagged ‘European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)’

Vacancy: Legal Advisor in Business and Human Rights

November 11, 2022

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to enforcing civil and human rights worldwide. They initiate, lead and support legal interventions to hold state and non-state actors accountable for human rights abuses.

ECCHR is looking for a candidate with an interdisciplinary profile and at least two years of relevant work experience. A deep understanding of the Business and Human Rights field and the political and legal debates around the German supply chain law is essential.

A deep understanding of Business and Human Rights discussions, especially possible
interventions and legal mechanisms under human rights due diligence and supply chain laws,
in particular the German supply chain law. Excellent written and spoken German and English skills are required, Spanish or French are a plusThe position is ideally to be filled by January 2023 and is limited to May 31st 2024.

Please send your written application in German or English until by email only in one attachment by 15, November 2022 to:

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, E-Mail: info@ecchr.eu
European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights
Zossener Str. 55-58, Aufgang D
10961 Berlin
http://www.ecchr.eu
E-Mail: info@ecchr.eu

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) 2021 Annual Report

May 1, 2022

In the face of the multiple crises of our time, ECCHR continues to stand for human rights and climate justice. To outline the scope of our aims, Joshua Castellino, a member of the ECCHR Advisory Board, authored a piece for its Annual Report that clearly emphasizes how we must think collectively about the future. For us, “collectively” means that our actions as human rights lawyers are to be guided by global solidarity and cooperation.

In her series Contagion – Colour on the Front Line (whose pieces she and the Autograph Gallery allowed us to reproduce in this report), Aida Silvestri uses cocoa, tea, tobacco, sugar and coffee to draw a connection between colonial exploitation and those who were carelessly exposed to danger during the pandemic while providing largely low-paid services with almost no protection.

This post follows other references to annual reports 2021: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/annual-report-2021/

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Forensic Architecture and similar in Berlin are building Investigative Commons, a kind of super-hub for human rights activism

June 28, 2021

The Guardian of 27 June 2021 carries a fascinating article entitled “Berlin’s No 1 digital detective agency is on the trail of human rights abusers” about investigators in Germany who are using Google Earth, YouTube clips and social media posts to bring political crimes to the courts

Projecting images across a 3D model can help determine real-world distances between objects.

Projecting images across a 3D model can help determine real-world distances between objects. Photograph: Forensic ArchitecturePhilip Oltermann in Berlin@philipoltermann

…..this second-floor space inside a beige brick former soap factory is something closer to a newsroom or a detective agency, tripling up as a lawyers’ chambers. Next month it will formally be launched as the home of the Investigative Commons, a kind of super-hub for organisations whose work has revolutionised the field of human rights activism.

Most of the desks will be taken up by Forensic Architecture, a team of architects, archaeologists and journalists whose digital models of crime scenes have been cited as evidence at the international criminal court, contributed to the sentencing of the neo-Nazi leaders of Greece’s Golden Dawn party, and led to an unprecedented apology from Benjamin Netanyahu over the accidental killing of a Bedouin teacher.

Then there is the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a human rights NGO headquartered on the floor below, which last year brought to court the first worldwide case against Syrian state torture.

Bellingcat – the organisation started by British blogger Eliot Higgins that revealed the perpetrators behind the poisonings of MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny – will have its name on a desk in the hub as well as Mnemonic, a Berlin-based group of Syrian exiles who build databases to archive evidence of war crimes in their homeland, and Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who worked with whistleblower Edward Snowden to expose the National Security Agency’s (NSA) global surveillance programme.

They all share, says Poitras, “a commitment to primary evidence”: each group works on the cutting edge of what has come to be known as “open-source intelligence”, the mass-harvesting, modelling and examination of publicly available material from Google Earth, social media posts or YouTube videos. In the post-truth era, they excel at the painstaking task of corroborating the facts behind disputed events. “The traditional model for human rights work is that you have a big NGO that sends experts to the frontline of a conflict, speaks to sources and then writes up a report on their return,” says Forensic Architecture’s British-Israeli founder Eyal Weizman. “Nowadays, evidence is produced by people on the frontline of the struggle. You no longer have one trusted source but dozens of sources, from satellite images to smartphone data. Our challenge lies in assembling these sources.”

Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative journalism website Bellingcat.

Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative journalism website Bellingcat. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/The Observer

These groups have occasionally collaborated, but have broadly followed their own paths for over a decade. The decision to pool their investigative tools, with the added legal heft of ECCHR, is a sign that open-source investigations could be coming of age, moving one step further away from art and academia towards a world where the ultimate judge of their work will be a sober, bewigged individual in a courtroom.

“Facts need good litigators,” says Weizman. “Human rights work is transforming: you used to have these big clearing-house-style NGOs that did everything. Now it’s more like an ecosystem of investigators and litigators. Rather than one person writing up a report, there is a constant workshop, with people being brought in all the time as long as confidentiality allows.”

As with any all-star team, there is a risk of key players stepping on each other’s toes as they jockey for the same position on the field.

“Of course there’s a certain tension,” says ECCHR’s founder, Wolfgang Kaleck. “You have to be aware which pitch you are playing on at any given stage, and what the rules of the game are.”

The first showcase of the physical collaboration is a joint investigation documenting human rights abuses in Yemen. Syrian journalist Hadi al-Khatib’s Mnemonic has amassed and verified thousands of videos of airstrikes in the multisided civil war on the southern end of the Arabian peninsula.

Forensic Architecture applied its own mapping software to tell the story of these incidents through time and space. Evidence from the scenes of these attacks, such as fragments of munition found on site, then provided clues as to the identity of the western manufacturers of the weapons used – which is where ECCHR’s lawyers have come in.

The fact that this assembly line for investigations into human rights abuses will be physically located in Berlin has much to do with the German capital’s history and social environment – but also the conditions for investigative work in post-Brexit Britain.

Both Bellingcat and Forensic Architecture were once British success stories. The former was started in 2014 from the front room of Leicester-based Higgins, then still an office worker-cum-blogger going by the Frank Zappa-inspired alias Brown Moses. The latter grew out of, and continues to be affiliated with, Goldsmiths, University of London, and was nominated for the Turner prize in 2018.

But as these groups have grown on the back of their successes, Britain’s departure from the EU has made the task of bringing in new researchers with international backgrounds more cumbersome, with EU nationals now required to show proof of settled status or a skilled-worker visa. Goldsmiths announced a hiring freeze last May.

Traditional human rights NGOs have started using Berlin as the place to launch their own open-source investigations. Amnesty International’s Citizen Evidence Lab, which has used satellite technology and 3D modelling to uncover human rights abuses in Ethiopia and Myanmar, has been led for the last five years from the city. Human Rights Watch’s Digital Investigations Lab has key staff in Berlin, as well as a project with the German space agency.

Bellingcat, which made its name with an investigation into the 2014 crash of the Kuala Lumpur-bound Malaysia Airlines flight 17 from Amsterdam, moved its main offices to the Dutch capital in 2018. “Brexit created uncertainties on the horizon,” says Higgins. “We didn’t want to be a in a position where our international staff couldn’t stay in the UK. We needed something that gave us more flexibility.”

Another factor behind the move was that investigative journalism per se is not a recognised charitable purpose in the UK, and consequently has limited access to the funding opportunities and tax advantages of charities. In the Netherlands, Bellingcat is now set up as a stichting, or foundation.

As well being a founding member of the Investigative Commons, Forensic Architecture is moving a quarter of its staff to Germany to set up Forensis, an NGO that will be a registered association or eingetragener Verein under German law, allowing it to access funding that would not be available in the UK. It will focus its work on human rights issues with a European dimension, from cybersurveillance and rightwing extremism to immigration.

The University of London will continue to be a home for the group of digital detectives but could eventually become more of an “incubator” for new research methods, says Weizman.

Berlin has been in a similar situation before. In around 2014 the city looked briefly as if it had become the world’s ultimate safe harbour, from where hackers, human rights groups and artists would expose humanitarian abuses globally.

WikiLeaks staffers were marooned in Berlin’s counterculture scene, fearful of being detained upon return to the US or the UK. Poitras edited her Snowden film, Citizenfour, in the city, concerned her source material could be seized by the government in America. Chinese dissidents such as Liu Xia, Liao Yiwu and Ai Weiwei also found new homes here.

For multiple reasons, that promise was not fulfilled. …

“Perhaps then the expectation of what Berlin could become was simply too great,” says Kaleck, who is Snowden’s lawyer. Nowadays, Berlin may be less of a city for dreaming of digital revolutions, and more of a place to get work done. “We’re on an even keel now – that’s a good starting point.”

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/jun/27/berlins-no-1-digital-detective-agency-is-on-the-trail-of-human-rights-abusers

“Law versus Power” – Book talk by Wolfgang Kaleck, ECCHR General Secretary

January 23, 2019

Wolfgang Kaleck, who was in 2007 the founder of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) is presenting his new book LAW VERSUS POWER – Our Global Fight for Human Rights.  [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/06/15/ecchr-launches-new-institute-for-legal-intervention/]

Kaleck’s work has taken him to Buenos Aires, to stand with the mothers of youngsters “disappeared” under the Argentinian military dictatorship; to exiled Syrian communities, where he assembled the case against torture mandated by those high up in the Assad government; to Central America, where he collaborated with those pursuing the Guatemalan military for its massacres of indigenous people; to New York, to partner with the Center for Constitutional Rights in taking action against Donald Rumsfeld for the “enhanced interrogation techniques” he greenlighted after 9/11; and to Moscow, where he represents the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, “a likeable man whose talents go far beyond his technical skills.” In recounting his involvement in such cases, Kaleck gives voice to those he is representing, emphasizing the courage and persistence they bring to the global search for justice.

The Berlin book launch will take place on 6 February 2019 in Berlin (19h00) at the Denkerei, ORANIENPLATZ 2, where Wolfgang Kaleck will discuss – with Nadja Vancauwenberghe, publisher and editor in chief of Exberliner – today’s challenges and opportunities in the struggle for human rights. Syrian musician Abdahllah Rahhal is an international artists whose work aims to highlight humanity in every moment of life.. The event will be held in English and can be followed via livestream.

https://www.ecchr.eu/en/event/law-versus-power-book-talk-by-wolfgang-kaleck-1/

 

Applications for scholarships for ECCHR’s Legal Training Program now open

April 14, 2016

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung, the scholarship sponsor, recognize that there continue to be barriers to entry into the human rights profession that go against the spirit of our work, i.e. when economic or social considerations prevent potential participants from taking part. Therefore they offer young people with limited financial means and/or from underrepresented geographic and social backgrounds the chance to gain professional experience in human rights work.

The call for applications is aimed at students and young professionals (max one year after graduation) who wish to apply for ECCHR’s Legal Training Program but whose personal and financial situation would make it impossible to participate on an unpaid basis. Candidates from the Global South as well as refugees and others with a migration background are especially encouraged to apply.

The deadline for applications is 15 May 2016

More info: http://www.ecchr.eu/en/our_work/education-program/legal-training-program/scholarships.html