Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights House Foundation’

Human Rights House Foundation shows portraits of HRDs on Twitter

December 4, 2018

A series of beautiful portraits of LGBTI and women human rights defenders in Russia, such as the one below, on HRHF’s twitter account”

 

 

In spite of or because of the US’ absence, the 39th Human Rights Council considered a relative success

September 29, 2018

Civil society organisations welcomed significant outcomes of the Human Rights Council’s 39th session, including the creation of independent investigative mechanism on Myanmar, the renewal of the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen and the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, and a dedicated space on the Council’s agenda in 2019 to discuss the human rights situation in Venezuela. [see alsohttps://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/09/08/many-hrd-issues-at-the-39th-session-of-the-un-human-rights-council/]

In a joint statement, several NGOs (ISHR The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), Amnesty International, Article 19, Center for Reproductive Rights. CIVICUS, DefendDefenders, FIDH, Forum Asia, Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF), Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists) welcomed the Council’s adoption of landmark resolutions on several country situations:

On Myanmar, the creation of the independent investigative mechanism is an important step towards accountability for the horrific crimes committed in Myanmar, as elaborated in the Fact Finding Mission’s report to this session. The overwhelming support for the resolution, notwithstanding China’s shameful blocking of consensus, was a clear message to victims and survivors that the international community stands with them in their fight for justice. 

On Yemen, the Council demonstrated that principled action is possible, and has sent a strong message to victims of human rights violations in Yemen that accountability is a priority for the international community, by voting in favor of renewing the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts to continue international investigations into violations committed by all parties to the conflict. 

Furthermore, the leadership by a group of States, including Latin American countries, on the landmark resolution on Venezuela, was as an important step for the Council applying objective criteria to address country situations that warrant its attention. The resolution, adopted with support from all regions, sends a strong message of support to the Venezuelan people. By opening up a space for dialogue at the Council, the resolution brings scrutiny to the tragic human rights and humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country.  

The renewal of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Burundi will enable it to continue its critical investigation and work towards accountability. However, the Council failed to respond more strongly to Burundi’s record of non-cooperation and attacks against the UN human rights system. [see alsohttps://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/10/26/enough-is-enough-ngos-call-for-burundi-suspension-from-un-human-rights-council/]

The Council also adopted a resolution on Syria, which among other things condemns all violations and abuses of international human rights law and all violations of international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict.

However, on other country situations including China, Sudan, Cambodia and the Philippines, the Council failed to take appropriate action. 

On Sudan, the Council adopted a weak resolution that envisions an end to the Independent Expert’s mandate once an OHCHR office is set up; a “deal” Sudan has already indicated it does not feel bound by, and which is an abdication of the Council’s responsibility to human rights victims in Sudan while grave violations are ongoing. At a minimum, States should ensure the planned country office monitors and publicly reports on the human rights situation across Sudan, and that the High Commissioner is mandated to report to the Council on the Office’s findings.  

The Council failed to take action on the Philippines, in spite of the need to establish independent international and national investigations into extrajudicial killings in the government’s ‘war on drugs’, and to monitor and respond to the government’s moves toward authoritarianism. 

In addition, the Council continued with its weak response to the deepening human rights and the rule of law crisis in Cambodia, failing to change its approach even when faced with clear findings by the Special Rapporteur demonstrating that the exclusive focus on technical assistance and capacity building in the country, is failing.

Many States, NGOs and the High Commissioner, raised concerns about China’s human rights record, specifically noting serious violations of the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province. It is regrettable that States did not make a concrete and collective call for action by China to cease the internment of estimates ranging up to 1 million individuals from these communities. 

On thematic resolutions, the Council adopted by consensus a resolution on equal participation in political and public affairs, as well as a resolution on the safety of journalists. The latter sets out a clear roadmap of practical actions to end impunity for attacks.  

The Council also adopted by consensus a resolution on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights in humanitarian settings. Women and girls affected by conflict have been denied accountability for too long. The implementation of this resolution will ensure that their rights, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights, are respected, protected and fulfilled. 

Finally, the Council’s first interactive dialogue on acts of reprisals and intimidation was an important step to ensure accountability for this shameful practice. More States need to have the courage and conviction to stand up for human rights defenders and call out countries that attack and intimidate them. [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/reprisals/]

Read the full statement here.

Florian Irminger moves from HRHF to Penal Reform International

September 19, 2018

In September 2018, Florian Irminger joined PRI as its Executive Director. He was previously the Head of Advocacy at Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) in Geneva. Before joining HRHF, Florian co-founded ‘Stop Suicide’, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the prevention of suicide among young people in Switzerland. Florian has been Chair of the Board of the House of NGOs in Geneva for four years. From 2009 to 2012, he was a member of the editorial team responsible for revising Geneva’s constitution, adopted in 2012, and was also a member of the young leaders’ programme of the World Economic Forum.

In his inaugural blog in PRI Newsletter, Florian reflects upon the organisation’s practical approach to penal reform, which has enabled PRI to play a key role in implementing international standards and provide effective and tailored solutions to criminal justice problems worldwide.

For my earlier posts on Florian: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/florian-irminger/

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https://www.penalreform.org/blog/pris-approach-as-needed-as-ever/

Side event on human rights situation in Ukraine on Monday 20 June Geneva

June 18, 2016

HRHFlogo

Despite the hopes raised by the Euromaidan movement and improvements in many facets of life and governance in Ukraine, the last two years have brought the occupation of Crimea, armed conflict in parts of eastern Ukraine, and ongoing abuses, corruption, and political unrest. Two years after Euromaidan and the illegal occupation of Crimea, what efforts have been undertaken to prevent unlawful killings and ensure accountability, justice and redress in such cases?

The Human Rights House Foundation organisms a side event: “The human rights situation in Ukraine two years after Euromaidan: a view from civil society”, on Monday 20 June 2016, from 17:00 to 18:00 in Room XXIV, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Speakers:

  • CHRIST HEYNS, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
  • TETIANA PECHONCHYK, Human Rights media monitoring, Ukraine;
  • OLGA SKRYPNYK, Crimean Human Rights Group, Ukraine;
  • MARKIYAN HALABALA, Euromaidan victim’s legal representative, Ukraine;
  • Moderator: Anna Innocenti,  Human Rights House Foundation.

for more info: ALEXANDER.SJODIN@HUMANRIGHTSHOUSE.ORG

Reprisals reach even an international NGO attending the Human Rights Council in Geneva

June 13, 2016

This blog has always had a keen eye out for reprisals against human rights defenders as I believe strongly that this issue is one of the most crucial facing the human rights movement. See e.g. https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/zero-tolerance-for-states-that-take-reprisals-against-hrds-lets-up-the-ante/. Now it turns out that Florian Irminger, Head of Advocacy at the Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF), received a death threat during the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council (in March). Evidence strongly suggests that a diplomat working for the Russian Federation in Geneva and attending the Human Rights Council made this threat [see confirmation in link at the end of this piece]. Read the rest of this entry »

Fritt Ord and ZEIT awards to Eastern European media: Elena Milashina, Seymour Hazi and Nashi Groshi

May 13, 2016

Fritt Ord and ZEIT-Stiftung have given their 2016 awards to: Read the rest of this entry »

Today PACE must adopt resolutions on human rights defenders and NGO restrictions

January 28, 2016

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) must address the shrinking space for civil society. It must adopt resolutions to strengthen the protection and role of human rights defenders, and to prevent restrictions on NGO activities, in an increasingly worrying environment in many Council of Europe countries, especially Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation. These were the conclusions of discussions at the NGO side event on 27 January 2016 in Strasbourg. HRHN - network logo

I cannot accept that so many remain in prison and Europe doesn’t react strongly… The reason Azerbaijan continues the crackdown is that nobody, including the Council of Europe, takes any serious action,” stated Emin Huseynov, Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety (IRFS), speaking at an event organised by a group of NGOs at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, sponsored by MPs Mailis Reps (Estonia) and Yves Cruchten (Luxembourg).

Since 2012, the situation has deteriorated in Russia… The activities of HRDs and NGOs are now considered political activities, and even if they do not receive foreign support they end up on the list of foreign agents and are constantly victims of harassment. It would be great to see a Council of Europe reaction on this,” commented Konstantin Baranov, International Youth Human Rights Movement, also speaking at the event.

The Assembly now has an opportunity to act, by adopting two draft resolutions today, 28 January 2016. Together, these resolutions address reprisals against human rights defenders cooperating with the Council of Europe and impunity for actors targeting civil society, and call for measures to end restrictions on NGOs and the misuse of restrictive legislation to criminalise the work of human rights defenders. See my earlier post: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/council-of-europe-draft-resolution-addresses-reprisals-with-priority/

Rapporteur Mailis Reps, author of the draft resolution Strengthening the Protection and Role of Human Rights Defenders, at the event stated: “Too many human rights defenders are paying a high price for their work and their fate should receive much greater attention from the Council of Europe’s institutions and member states.”

Rapporteur Yves Cruchten, author of the draft resolution Preventing Inappropriate Restrictions on NGO Activities, further stated: “When a member of a parliament decides to join PACE, this MP makes a pledge to human rights. We need to speak up and not let our governments make deals that disregard human rights.” 

Source: PACE Must Act: Protect human rights defenders, prevent NGO restrictions – Human Rights House Network

http://website-pace.net/en_GB/web/apce/plenary-session

Unfortunately the UN voted on the Resolution on human rights defenders!

November 26, 2015

The answer to yesterday’s post [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/will-the-un-today-adopt-the-strongest-possible-resolution-on-human-rights-defenders-ask-over-100-ngos/] is that the UN did vote in favor but UNFORTUNATELY did have to vote at all. The unanimity by which UN resolutions on this topic were adopted since 1999 is now lost. But at least there is clarity: Russia and China were the main opponents.

In New York today, China and Russia broke the unanimity of the international community by requesting a vote on the resolution presented by Norway,” commented Florian Irminger, Head of Advocacy at the Human Rights House Network. The vote by 117 in favour of the resolution, against 14, and with 40 abstentions, in fact reflects the situation in which human rights defenders work in the countries that voted against the resolution.

Read the rest of this entry »

Human Rights Defenders in Azerbaijan: Human Rights Council last hope?

September 15, 2015

 

In Azerbaijan, space for independent civil society has disappeared, following a crackdown since the presidential election in October 2013. Ahead of the parliamentary elections in November 2015, all leading civil society actors are either in prison or have fled the country. On 8 September 2015, the UN High Commissioner condemned the ongoing crackdown on civil society and independent voices in Azerbaijan. On 20 August 2015, six UN Special Rapporteurs issued a joint statement condemning the conviction of human rights defenders as “manifestly politically motivated” in a trial that “fell short of international norms and standards.” On 11 September 2015, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) cancelled its election monitoring in the country due to restrictions imposed by the Azerbaijani authorities. See also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/azerbaijan/

Clearly time for the Human Rights Council to step in!

Several NGOs, led by the Human Rights House Foundation, are organizing a side event in Geneva on Wednesday 16 September, from 17:00 – 18:00. Palais des Nations Room XXIV. English / Russian translation is provided.HRHFlogo

SPEAKERS

DINARA YUNUS Institute for Peace and Democracy & Daughter of political prisoners Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus

SERGHEI OSTAF Resource Centre for Human Rights Moldova; Observer of many of the hearings this summer of various human rights defenders imprisoned in Azerbaijan

EMIN HUSEYNOV Institute for Reporter’s Freedom and Safety

Moderation: FLORIAN IRMINGER

 

Azerbaijan: the repressive side of the Baku Games – side event 16 June in Geneva

June 13, 2015

In the context of the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council a side event – organized by the Human Rights House Network and several other NGOs – will shine light on the severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms and the imprisonment of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan, which risk turning these European Olympics into a sad symbol of repression. Live webcast on: www.peopleinneed.cz and www.azadiq.org 

Speakers:

  • Dinara Yunus
    Daughter of detained human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus
  • Idrak Abbasov
    Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)
  • Gulnara Akhundova
    International Media Support

Moderation by Florian Irminger Human Rights House Foundation

Remarks:

  • Michel Forst
    Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
  • Maina Kiai (TBC)
    Special Rapporteur on rights to freedom of assembly and association
  • David Kaye (TBC)
    Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression

It will taken place on Tuesday, 16 June 2015, 11:00 – 13:00 in Geneva (Switzerland), Palais des Nations, room XVII.

For access and more information contact: Anna Innocenti, International Advocacy Officer, Human Rights House Foundation ( +41 22 332 25 56 )

via: Azerbaijan: the repressive side of the European Olympic Games – Human Rights House Network.