Posts Tagged ‘REDRESS’

Anti-Torture NGO REDRESS seeks new director

September 30, 2017

REDRESS is a specialist human rights organisation that works globally to combat torture and support survivors in their quest for justice (see www.redress.org). It does so by: representing survivors’ interests before national and international courts and human rights bodies; advocating on their behalf with governments and other policy makers; working with partner organisations around the globe to increase civil society’s ability to fight against impunity, to prevent torture and to support those who suffer from it; and by raising awareness about the scourge of torture and the plight of survivors to strengthen institutions in their work against torture. Founded 25 years ago, REDRESS is headquartered in London but operates globally. Since 2016, REDRESS Nederland works closely with REDRESS from its office in The Hague. The Director currently oversees the work of both.

Although the deadline officially is 30 September it may be that late applications are accepted.

The role of Director is to lead all aspects of REDRESS, its staff and mission, reporting to the Board of Trustees. It involves:

  defining and implementing its overall strategy;

  recruiting, motivating and managing (directly or indirectly) its staff of up to 20, operating in an open high-performance culture within a strong governance framework;

  ensuring the highest possible standards of representation of clients and output of work from the staff;

  creating law changing legal and PR strategies and opportunities to combat torture in individual matters, including writing publicly on these issues;

  liaising and working with key stakeholders and contacts, including:

  running a fund-raising strategy with REDRESS’s supporters who are a mixture of well- known philanthropic trusts, law firms, individuals and states or para-state entities and ensuring a high level of transparency to them and complete delivery to them on their expectations;

  line management of the organisation and its finances;

  considerable travel; and

  working with the Board of Trustees of REDRESS itself, the board of REDRESS Nederland and the US Board to ensure alignment, support and good governance.

  • The post is full time and involves significant travel.The post is vacant from January 2018.

    Interviews will take place in October 2017. There will be two rounds of interviews. The process would also give final candidates the opportunity to meet the REDRESS team and to gain their own information on the standing of the organisation and the quality and approach of its staff.

    The Trustees would hope to make an appointment in October or early November for the new Director to start in January or as soon thereafter as practicable.

    Applications must include a full resume and a covering letter setting out why you are interested in the role, what you would bring to it, what you would want to achieve as Director and how you meet the criteria above. Applications are invited by 30 September 2017 to Sheilagh@redress.org.

Universal Jurisdiction gathers momentum says group of NGOs

March 31, 2017

After my post on Civitas Maxima [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/03/21/new-magazine-global-geneva-puts-civitas-maxima-in-the-limelight/] I feel that I should complete the picture with a reference to “Make Way for Justice #3” which argues that universal jurisdiction has gathered unprecedented momentum in 2016. In this annual report, ECCHR and its partners FIBGARFIDHREDRESS and TRIAL International look back on its application through 47 recent cases. Five years of conflict, hundreds of thousands of dead. In Syria, large-scale war crimes are committed in all impunity. Effective prosecution has been repeatedly impeded at the international level, yet justice has found a way forward: universal jurisdiction. Thanks to this principle, States can prosecute criminals regardless of their nationality or where the crime was committed. The interest of such procedures for lawless regions is obvious.

2016 alone, five States have brought charges for alleged crimes in Syria. Investigations are ongoing in three others. For victims, these proceedings may be their only chance to obtain justice. Universal jurisdiction has proved a significant tool against impunity in Syria, but it also applies to many more situations: Rwanda, Nepal, Guatemala and Iraq, to name but a few.

To illustrate this breadth, ECCHR, FIBGAR, FIDH, REDRESS and TRIAL International released their annual report on universal jurisdiction, Make way for Justice #3. In 2016 alone, 13 States have made use of this principle in 47 cases – an unprecedented success.

Source: publications – ECCHR – EUROPEAN CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS (en)

Mutabar Tadjibayeva wins landmark case in UN Human Rights Committee against Uzbekistan

October 8, 2015

Mutabar Tadjibayeva is remarkable, even among human rights defenders. Her story is well-known in human rights circles: arrested, detained and tortured in Uzbekistan’s prisons, she was released on medical grounds and allowed to leave the country in 2008. That year she came to Geneva to receive in person the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders [see: http://www.martinennalsaward.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=73&Itemid=116&lang=en and https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/mutabar-tadjibayeva/].OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But she does not just live quietly in exile in Paris. She continues fight for her rights, lodged a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee in 2012 and this body found on 6 October 2015 that there had been “multiple violations” of her rights, according to a press release issued by three human rights NGOs on 8 October (the Fiery Hearts Club, Redress and FIDH).   Read the rest of this entry »

Leah Levin; a human rights defender of the first rank

October 7, 2013

This blog tends to prioritize news on human rights defenders who are in trouble. This makes one overlook perhaps too often the contribution made by those who are working for the cause in other ways. To rectify I want to pay tribute to a woman who made an enormous contribution to the creation and development of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders: Leah Levin. After 20 years she is leaving the Board of the Foundation today, 7 October, just before the ceremony on October.

Leah was there from the start; from the now ancient looking logo of the first yearsmealogo

to the current one:

When the MEA came into being in 1992, a year after Martin died, Leah was already an ‘old hand’ and a well-known name in the international human rights movement. She was one of Martin’s closest friends and felt very strongly motivated by the idea of making sure his legacy was honored and made useful.

bellagio may 1979

(one of the last pictures where Leah and Martin are seen together – 1979 Bellagio)

But Leah is more than the MEA. She has a OBE and is Hon. Doctor of the University of Essex. She served on the Boards of United Nations Association, Anti-Slavery and International Alert. Was Director of JUSTICE from 1982-1992 and is currently on Boards of Redress, Readers International and The International Journal of Human Rights. She is the author of UNESCO’s ‘Human Rights : Questions and Answers’, one the world’s widely disseminated books on human rights.

Twenty years of active Board membership in any enterprise is impressive; doing it on a voluntary basis without always getting the recognition deserved is outright admirable. We all owe her a lot.

MEA Laureate files complaint against Uzbek government for forcible sterilisation and torture

February 28, 2013

mutabar in berlin zoo Duco oct 2008

Mutabar Tadjibayeva, one of Uzbekistan’s best known human rights defenders and Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award 2008, has filed a complaint against Uzbekistan for her brutal torture and forced sterilisation when she was serving an eight-year prison sentence for her human rights activities. The international human rights organisations FIDH and REDRESS recently filed the complaint on her behalf before the UN Human Rights Committee. This is the first known case before the Committee involving a Uzbek human rights defender being forcibly sterilised.

Tadijbayeva has repeatedly sought an investigation from Uzbek authorities into the serious human rights violations that she has suffered since 2002, but her claims have never been investigated and no-one has ever been prosecuted for them. Tadjibayeva is asking the Committee to order Uzbekistan to conduct an effective investigation, punish those found responsible and provide her with reparation, including compensation, as well as her full medical records about the surgery that left her infertile, among other things.
Read the rest of this entry »

Libya: emerging movement of Human Rights Defenders faces huge challenges and needs support with understanding

November 22, 2011

Lutz Oette, from the NGO ‘REDRESS’, published on 22 November 2011 an interesting analysis in openDemocracy, in which he describes the enormous challenges faced by the small number of human rights lawyers in Libya. 

Emerging from an enforced time warp, the Libyan population is today confronted with the wreckage of a regime that was based on a barely comprehensible ideology, repression and sheer force. The recent atrocities are a particularly grim episode in a long history etched into the collective memory of Libyans over the last forty-two years. With the focus in the west on Gaddafi’s image as terrorist or madman, or both, there has been little sense or understanding of what life has been like in Libya in all these years. In Libya itself, individuals and groups are now beginning to talk openly about their experiences. This entails having to come to terms with the multiple sufferings and deprivations endured. It also means grappling with the more fundamental question of what these have done to the political and social fabric of the country.

Libya, both its current government and society at large, is at an important crossroads where the past, present and future interlink: how it provides justice for past violations and how it respects the rights of those who currently find themselves on the wrong side will be crucial for the broader task of rebuilding a system in which human rights are better protected. Many Libyans are keenly aware of the importance of getting this process right. From the moment it became possible, several initiatives sprang up in Benghazi, Misrata, Tripoli and elsewhere to document human rights crimes and to develop local justice initiatives. There are also official committees tasked with monitoring detention conditions and human rights.

Organizations such as Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) are helping build a network of human rights defenders. Their commitment was evident during a recent meeting in which LFJL brought together lawyers from across the country. Many of these lawyers – several of whom have personally suffered torture – have maintained a genuine belief in the rule of law. Little attention has been paid to their important work on the ground. For all the inevitable shortcomings of a nascent human rights movement, it provides the much needed impetus to rebuild a credible legal system.

For now, the lawyers involved are looking for ways of how best to work together to deal with the many pressing problems, not least what to do with members of their own profession who failed to live up to expected standards under the previous regime. This raises vexed questions both about the responsibility of judges, prosecutors and others, and due process for those accused of wrongdoing. These efforts are but one part of the precious process taking place today in which Libyans are seeking to reclaim their society. It is already clear that this process will neither necessarily be smooth nor take place in isolation. There is a need for outside expertise and capacity building, including in questions of human rights protection. Indeed, many Libyans may welcome such an engagement. However, the involvement of international actors is a double-edged sword if experiences in other countries in conflict or post-conflict situations are anything to go by. It is too early to tell how the current transition in Libya will pan out. International actors have an important role sharing experiences and seeking to uphold international standards. However, it is equally critical that they tread carefully when engaging in Libya, particularly in an area as painful and sensitive as human rights.

 In my view the author quite rightly points out that international institutions, such as the United Nations or the International Criminal Court, NGOs and donors will undoubtedly take a keen interest in questions of human rights and justice in Libya. …” Yet it is important that they give the fledgling Libyan human rights movement and civil society the space and time needed to develop and to address the issues facing them. There is a risk that international actors – even if only unwittingly – import their own priorities and change the local dynamics. The potential pitfalls are many, such as conflicting objectives, taking an approach that does not reflect the primary concerns of local actors at the time, introducing an element of ‘human rights’ bureaucracy or business, or undermining local networks through recruitment policies.”

This is very much in line with my views on NGOs in transition countries as published in the book and China and NGOs, “The international human rights movement: not perfect, but a lot better than many governments think”  Ashgate, ISBN: 978-1-4094-1959-4: “Repression is, in some ways, the binding and mobilising element in a weak civil society. Afterwards, the challenge becomes to find common ground that is based more solidly on human rights philosophy and has a forward-looking element [….] International NGOs – especially those with links to a variety of domestic NGOs – may be helpful in building consensus. What is also subsequently required from NGOs is constructive participation in debating, designing and implementing a host of new regulations, processes and mechanisms, including those relating to democratic governance and the ratification of international human rights standards.  International NGOs can bring expertise, funding and pressure, but have to take care that they do not overwhelm the local NGOs.[….] The creation of democratic governance institutions also requires a human rights ‘culture’. Many people in transition countries will not fully understand the human rights discourse.[ ….The] domestic NGOs are often small and weak in the early phases of transition and international NGOs can help with quick access to relevant information, sharing experiences, staff training, visibility and access to donors. However, again, the risk is that this privileges certain NGOs relative to their national counterparts and the ‘foreign’ resources may hamper the feeling of ownership.

After a history of false hopes and lost opportunities, it is now crucial to support Libyans who take a lead in discussing how best to respond to violations and develop a system that stands the test of time for the right reasons. For the full text see:

Libyan lawyers and human rights: a nascent movement facing a challenge | openDemocracy.