Posts Tagged ‘Hans Thoolen’

Theo van Boven honored with film and debate in Geneva side event 14 March

March 5, 2014

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Theo van Boven (c) Dovana

With the start of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, there is also a plethora of side events scheduled. I will focus only on those that have Human Rights Defenders as a central theme (e.g. https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/important-human-rights-council-side-event-on-11-march-to-be-followed-on-internet/). Another one that promises to be interesting is organised by the Permanent Missions of the Netherlands and Argentina on 14 March 2014 from 13h00 – 15h:00 in Room XXI of the Palais des Nations. The main ingredient is the screening of a documentary:  Theo van Boven: a tribute”.

[Theo van Boven was Director of Human Rights in the UN in the early 80’s and was instrumental in creating what are now called the special procedures. How he was “hired and fired” by the UN in 1982 for the same reason – his deep concern for the right of people – is described in my collection of speeches by Theo van Boven: People Matter: Views on International Human Rights Policy (Meulenhoff: Amsterdam 1982)]

The film is introduced by Kees Flinterman (member of the Human Rights Committee) and Ms Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. The screening is followed by a panel discussion with:

  • Roderick van Schreven, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (moderator)
  • Alberto Pedro D’Alotto, Ambassador of the Argentine Republic
  • Tom McCarthy, former senior officer of the UN Centre for Human Rights/OHCHR
  • Bertrand Ramcharan, former acting High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Adrien-Claude Zoller, founder of human rights NGOs

Finally Theo himself will give some closing remarks.

For those who want to know more about his academic work there is an anthology that brings together a selection of his writings from 1966 to 1998:  http://www.brill.com/human-rights-exclusion-inclusion-principles-and-practice. And to show how he continues to contribute in practical terms see his explanation of why the Theo van Boven fund has been established and what the goals are, on You Tube:

My blog on Human Rights Defenders in 2013: a review

January 3, 2014

A bit of transparency to start the New Year: My blog on Human Rights Defenders was viewed about 19,000 times in 2013.  In 2013, I created 644 new posts, bringing the total archive of this blog to 1,056 posts. The busiest day of the year was December 20th with 929 views [most popular post: Mariah Carey needs better-informed staff and donate her 1 million fee to Human Rights Defenders in Angola].

For those interested in more details: Click here to see the complete report.

Special Issue on Human Rights Defenders of the OUP Journal of Human Rights Practice

November 28, 2013

A special issue on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders has appeared in the Journal of Human Rights Practice. This special issue contains insightful articles from human rights defenders, scholars and organizations across the globe focused on promoting and protecting human rights defenders. The Oxford Journal wants to bridge the gap between human rights practitioners and academicians. Exceptionally, this entire special issue of the Journal of Human Rights Practice is available free of charge for the next 3 months at http://jhrp.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/3.toc. You find there also the full text of my Review Essay on awards. Table of content: Read the rest of this entry »

The (eternal) humanitarian intervention debate moves to Reykjavik in April

March 7, 2013

The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy and the Ministry of Interior of Iceland organise the Reykjavík Congress on the topic: “Human Rights: Human Rights Protection & International Law: The Multifaceted Dilemma of Restraining and Promoting International Interventions”, in Reykjavik, Iceland from 10 to 13 April 2013.

It aims to argue and debate the notion of the responsibility to protect from a human rights perspective, taking into account the divergent dimensions in restraining or promoting international intervention. It plans to consider the current most vehement cases of human rights violations, and further comprehend the varied issues and approaches to these mass atrocities and crimes against humanity from a theoretical perspective, analyzing the complex layers and structures, and taking into account the ethical dilemma surrounding the responsibility to protect and international intervention. For more information please visit: www.reykjavikcongress.org

I would add that this is a most interesting and of course always ‘hot’ topic. I touched upon it in my own article “The international human rights movement: not perfect, but a lot better than many governments think” in the book ‘NGOs in China and Europe’. That the book was published also in Chinese makes it more interesting in view of the strong anti-intervention position taken by the Chinese Government: “Clearly, sovereignty is and remains one of the central organising principles of the international system as we know it. At the same time, there can be no doubt that the very idea and doctrine of internationally protected human rights is a powerful limitation. There is a clear tension between human rights law and general international law. The concept of the sovereignty of States and the principle of non-intervention in internal affairs is laid down in Art 2(7) of the UN Charter, but the qualifying word ‘essentially’ should be noted. Moreover, the Security Council may use the existence of a threat to international peace and security to take action, which overrides sovereignty. From the beginning of the 20th century, international human rights NGOs played a major role in this process of norm shifting, from the Dumbarton Oaks Conference up to the recent debates on the ‘right to inference’ (droit d’ingerence ). After decades of slow but steady development, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993 confirmed that human rights are a ‘legitimate international concern’. Of course, this short chapter cannot settle the complex debate surrounding the issue of sovereignty and intervention, but it demonstrates that it is far from static and that the international human rights movement is an active ingredient in its development.” (from: Yuwen Li (ed), NGOs in China and Europe, Ashgate, 2011, pp 287-304 (ISBN: 978-1-4094-1959-4).

HURIDOCS: bursting with new ideas for documenting human rights: case law in Africa and the Americas

February 25, 2013

The HURIDOCS network publishes a Newsletter with many items that are of importance to Human Rights Defenders. The latest issue carries e.g. interesting news on access to human rights case law from the Asian and American scene. In the future it should be possible to have on-line access to the case load of these regional systems which until now are very difficult to find. Connecting these two databases in the future will be possible, but only if they are built on common standards. Developing these is a core function of HURIDOCS as illustrated by an interview with Judith Dueck who has been involved in standard formats for almost 25 years (Judith Dueck looks back upon how it was done). One reason to refer to this article of course the youth picture of me (from 1988) they added!

To get the HURIDOCS newsletter free every 15 days subscribe via the homepage: http://www.huridocs.org/

HURIDOCS 2011

small change in the way my posts are presented

February 14, 2013

Dear readers, You may  have discovered that since today most of my posts have a ‘read more…’ separation which give you only the first lines of the post Read the rest of this entry »

Only for the truly committed followers of this blog – here are the 2012 statistics of this blog

February 13, 2013

I am sharing this with you as a measure of transparency and to promise to do better this year with more pictures – feedback welcome as always, best Hans

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Upon handing over the Martin Ennals Foundation to Mrs Micheline Calmy Rey

April 24, 2012

Deutsch: Schweizer Bundesrätin de:Micheline Ca...

It took almost 20 years but I finally have been able to step down as Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation. Yesterday the Board accepted my resignation and selected Micheline Calmy Rey as my successor (now that is upgrading!). In an hour from now she will be announced as such at the press conference in Geneva which is being streamed on http://www.martinennalsaward.org.

My departure has been carefully crafted since November last year but we have been most fortunate that in the meantime Micheline Calmy Rey left her government position and accepted the challenge to lead the MEA to its destiny as the most influential human rights award in the world. I realize that this is not a modest thing to say but I think that facts speak for themselves:

The MEA has a Jury composed of the world’s leading international human rights organisations, a unique cooperation among sometimes competing NGOs. The Laureates over the last twenty years have been outstanding examples and have all claimed that the recognition of the award has helped them in continuing their work.

The growth of the impact of the award has a lot to do, not only with its longevity, but also with the joining of forces by other entities, in the first place the City of Geneva which is now the main organiser of the ceremony at Victoria Hall.

I am sure that the foundation will be able to pursue the increased use of multimedia techniques for protecting the HRDs.  As this is often a question of resources, I will continue to advise the MEA in particular with regard to fundraising and publicity.

So, I am not really retiring; there are simply too many Human Rights Defenders out there who need support. This year’s nominees, who will be introduced to you in a few hours, illustrate the need for international recognition and protection.

Geneva, 24 April 2012