Posts Tagged ‘experts’

15 June: the 44th UN Human Rights Council goes ahead in a special way

June 15, 2020

Overview of the session of the Human Rights Council during the speech of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle…

Lisa Schlein reported on 14 June 2020 that the U.N. Human Rights Council will be faced with many important issues left hanging when its 43rd session was suspended in March because of COVID-19. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/02/24/human-rights-defenders-issues-on-the-agenda-of-43rd-human-rights-council/]  The 44th session, which opens today, will employ a so-called hybrid approach, with a mix of both real and virtual presentations. To ensure the safety of participants during this time of coronavirus, U.N. officials say social distancing measures will be strictly enforced.  Delegations will have a reduced number of representatives attending the session and hundreds of side events by nongovernmental organizations will not take place on U.N. premises.

Presentation of reports and interactive dialogues on human rights issues will involve experts who are either physically present or speaking by video conference.  Countries that will come under review include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Ukraine, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Central African Republic.

One of the highlights of the weeklong meeting will be an urgent debate on institutionalized racism in the United States underlined by the killing of African American George Floyd while in police custody.

The ISHR states on this topic that it is committed to highlighting how the voices of the families of those killed by police in the U.S., including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Michael Brown, and the organisations supporting them are driving the UN to call for action to stop the killings and address deep-seated racism and inequality. This is necessary but not sufficient; we echo the call of the UN independent human rights experts and the Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that ‘this is a time for action and not just talk’.

This is why we’ve joined more than 600 organisations, from the U.S. and around the world, in calling on the UN Human Rights Council to hold a Special Session on the situation of human rights in the U.S.

The international community has a critical role to play in advancing independent, expert inquiry into systemic racism in law enforcement in the U.S., starting with the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri, and the concerns of excessive use of force against protestors and journalists since George Floyd’s murder.

Geneva director of Human Rights Watch John Fisher calls this a moment of reckoning for the United States.  He said the event will likely be used by some countries to advance their own agendas. “We are also very concerned that China is seeking to exploit this moment of global chaos and the disarray within the U.S. to crack down on rights and freedoms in Hong Kong … And, we are calling upon states to take this moment to bring more attention to Hong Kong, as I mentioned.  We feel this is a time when China will be watching the international response, and, if that response is muted, will feel emboldened to go even further down the track,” he said.

At the end of the week, the council will take action on decisions and the adoption of more than 40 resolutions.  They include recommendations on improving human rights in countries such as Libya, Iran, Nicaragua, South Sudan, and Myanmar. 

https://www.ishr.ch/news/ishr-stands-solidarity-all-those-calling-racial-justice-and-radical-reform

https://www.voanews.com/europe/racism-conflict-country-violations-top-un-rights-council-agenda
https://www.ungeneva.org/en/news-media/press/taxonomy/term/175/60215/human-rights-council-holds-urgent-debate-current-racially

https://thehill.com/changing-america/respect/equality/503204-george-floyds-brother-asks-un-for-investigation-into-us

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/06/17/world/asia/ap-human-rights-us-racism.html  

“It’s human rights defenders that make human rights a reality”

December 17, 2013

This video clip was published on 5 December 2013 by the International Service for Human RightsHuman Rights experts, Hina Jilani, Mehr Khan Williams, Jean-Daniel Vigny, and Walter Kalin tell us why human rights defenders play a critical role and why supporting them is a good way to support the whole global human rights movement.

13 NGOs urge Human Rights Council to stay focused on Sudan

September 19, 2013

(Sudanese IDPs – (c) AI private)

In a long letter to the UN Human Rights Council now in session a group of 13 NGOs urges the Council to continue monitoring Sudan.  The letter has two main chapters on:

Conflicts in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile, ………and

Repression of Civil and Political Rights……….

The letter ends with urging the Human Rights Council to:

  • condemn the human rights violations in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, as well as the government’s continued use of indiscriminate bombing in all three states, attacks on civilians, and other abuses by government forces and allied militia;
  • establish an independent investigation into ongoing human rights violations in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur, and report back to the Human Rights Council promptly;
  • urge Sudan to grant humanitarian agencies access to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, in compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law obligations;
  • express concern over the continued restrictions of basic civil and political rights, and the continued harassment of critics of the government, including the practice of arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment, preventing meaningful public dialogue on critical issues at a time when Sudan is preparing to adopt a new constitution and for national elections in 2015;
  • urge Sudan to reform its repressive National Security Act of 2010 and other laws granting immunity to officials, seriously investigate allegations of human rights violations and hold perpetrators to account;
  • renew the special procedure country mandate on Sudan for at least three years under Item 4 with a clear mandate to monitor and report twice a year to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly on violations of human rights in all parts of Sudan.

——-

Earlier on AI’s Global Blog, Khairunissa Dhala, Researcher on Sudan/South Sudan team at Amnesty International has answered her own question: “Does the human rights situation in Sudan still require a UN-mandated Independent Expert to monitor and report back on developments?” as follows: “Given Sudan’s dire human rights situation – ongoing armed conflicts in three different states, restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly, including arbitrary arrest and torture of human rights defenders and activists – it is hard to imagine that there is even a question on whether this is needed. But we’ve been here before.  

Two years ago, I attended the HRC’s 18th session where members of the Council reached a “compromise” on human rights monitoring in Sudan. It was a “compromise” because, while the Independent Expert’s mandate was renewed, it solely focused on providing technical assistance and capacity-building support to the national authorities. In other words, the Independent Expert would no longer be asked to monitor the human rights situation in Sudan. [….]Compromising on the Independent Expert’s mandate was seen as a concession to Sudan by the international community. A concession given to a country where widespread and systematic violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law are taking place.

But there should be no compromise on human rights. Since then, the Independent Expert’s mandate has successively been renewed to provide technical assistance, while the awful human rights situation in Sudan calls for a clear need for monitoring.. Conflict remains ongoing in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, to the detriment of the civilian population. Over the past two years I have interviewed numerous men, women and children from these two states. They have shared harrowing accounts of how their loved ones were killed when bombs dropped by Antonov aircrafts, from high altitudes, by the Sudanese Armed Forces, landed on their homes. Coupled with ground attacks by Sudanese forces and the armed opposition group the SPLA-N, this conflict has led to more than 200,000 people fleeing to refugee camps in South Sudan and Ethiopia, in addition to the tens of thousands of internally displaced people in the two areas. The Sudanese authorities are still denying unhindered humanitarian access to all affected areas. Meanwhile, in Sudan’s Darfur state, a decade after the start of the armed conflict, the crisis is ongoing and violence has again intensified. This year alone, more than 300,000 people were forced to leave their homes behind, fleeing violent clashes between predominantly ethnic Arab groups.

Across Sudan, freedom of expression, association and assembly also remain restricted. Journalists and activists face constant harassment, arbitrary arrests, as well as torture and other forms of ill-treatment by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service. Given the critical human rights situation, any compromise on the Independent Expert’s mandate is an abdication of the Human Right Council’s duty to promote and protect human rights in Sudan…..The Independent Expert should have their mandate strengthened to monitor Sudan’s human rights situation under item 4 (Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention) and report twice a year to the Council and the UN General Assembly on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law taking place anywhere in the country.”

Read more:

Sudan: Letter to the UNHRC regarding the renewal and strengthening of the special procedure mandate on the situation of human rights in Sudan

Why monitoring human rights in Sudan still matters | Amnestys global human rights blog.

Report available on GHR Expert Seminar 20 years Vienna

September 9, 2013

On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights several commemorative meetings took place. I just came across the one organised by Geneva for Human Rights  – Global Training (GHR) which held an Expert Seminar in Geneva on 6 June 2013 under the theme: ‘After Vienna: all rights for all !’.

It was sponsored by the Dutch Permanent Delegation and chaired by Professor Bertrand Ramcharan, former High Commissioner for Human Rights. Fifty-seven persons attended, including 17 experts. The aim of the Expert Seminar was to sensitize those attending the sessions of the current Human Rights Council decisions contained in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA). The Seminar discussed the VDPA; shared experience and assessed the realization of its main provisions, in particular their implementation at the national level. Further, the seminar discussed the remaining protection gaps in the field of human rights and recommendations for future action. The report in PDF contains summaries of the experts presentations and a reference to the (intriguingly called) session: ‘brainstorming dinner”.

There seems to be no website for GHR but its address is:

Geneva for Human Rights – Global Training, 14, Avenue du Mail  CH-1205 Geneva, Switzerland, Tel.      +41 22 320-27-27

and emails are:
acz.hr@bluewin.ch
info@gdh-ghr.org