Posts Tagged ‘Switzerland’

Daughter of former Uzbek dictator detained over fraud claims

July 29, 2017

Having reported in 2014 on the fate that had befallen Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the former Uzbek dictator [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/08/22/how-the-mighty-fall-in-uzbekistan-gulnara-karimova-asks-human-rights-protection/], I now feel that I should follow-up by referring to media reports (Reuters Almaty) that she is in fact being detained over fraud claims. Uzbek Prosecutors have revealed that Gulnara Karimova, who has not been seen in public for three years, was convicted of embezzlement already back in 2015. Gulnara Karimova’s lawyer has raised concerns about the welfare of the socialite.

Gulnara Karimova

 

 

 

Photograph: Yves Forestier/Getty Images for Style.Uz Art Week

The prosecutor general’s office said it was seeking to freeze about $1.5bn (£1.15bn) in assets held by Karimova in countries including Switzerland, Sweden, Britain, France, Latvia, Ireland, Malta, Germany, Spain, Russia, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. Karimova could not be contacted for comment. Her Swiss lawyer Gregoire Mangeat said he did not know where she was being held and revealed that he had been forced to cancel a visit to see her this month. “The methods and behaviour adopted by the Republic of Uzbekistan thereby constitute a serious violation of the most fundamental human rights guarantees,” Mangeat said.

Source: Daughter of former Uzbek dictator detained over fraud claims | World news | The Guardian

FIFA Governance Committee starts dealing with a human rights policy

February 2, 2017

The FIFA Governance Committee held its first meeting at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 26 January 2017. Key aspects of FIFA’s future  human rights policy seem to have come up but details are not known yet.  [See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/06/12/42-human-rights-defenders-also-want-to-win-in-world-cup/]. This is what the report said:

Sustainability and diversity: The committee members received an update about FIFA’s concrete measures in the areas of anti-discrimination, environmental protection, social development and sustainability, in particular in the context of the upcoming FIFA World Cups™. 

Human rights: In line with FIFA’s commitment towards human rights enshrined in the FIFA Statutes and FIFA’s 2.0 vision, the committee discussed FIFA’s responsibilities in this area, as well as the key aspects of a FIFA human rights policy, which will eventually be submitted to the FIFA Council for approval. 

……

Integrity in football: While the Governance Committee does not intervene in sports regulatory matters, it was agreed that it would conduct an analysis of the economic and social dimensions of football regulation that intersect with questions of human rights, transparency and conflicts of interest and that may impact on the integrity of the game and public trust.

 

……Following the meeting, the chairman set up two working groups to work on the human rights policy and the electoral guidelines, to be coordinated by committee members Justice Navi Pillay (former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) and Joseph Weiler (Professor at New York University Law School and former President of the European University Institute) respectively.

{The FIFA Governance Committee was set up following the reforms approved by the Extraordinary FIFA Congress in February 2016 and its main role is to deal with, and advise and assist the Council on, all FIFA governance matters.}

Source: FIFA Governance Committee assesses implementation of reforms at first meeting – FIFA.com

On 24 October there is a side event in NY on the implementation of human rights treaty body recommendations

October 18, 2016

The Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, Finland, and Switzerland to the United Nations, together with Amnesty International and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), are organizing a side event in the margins of the General Assembly’s 71st session in New York on 24 October 2016 on the topic of: Implementation of United Nations human rights treaty body recommendations.

The event will take place at 3pm in Conference Room 6 of United Nations HQ in New York.

Some of the question to be discussed are: How can implementation of human rights treaty bodies’ recommendations be strengthened? What progress has there been in the area of follow-up and implementation since the High Commissioner’s 2012 report on strengthening the United Nations human rights treaty body system and Resolution 68/268? What are the national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up (NMRF) and which models have been the most effective in different States?

The discussion will focus on tools to encourage engagement and compliance with human rights treaty body recommendations in order to improve the promotion and protection human rights for all, including the treaty body follow-up procedures, national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up, and the role of civil society. Speakers will include representatives of treaty bodies, OHCHR, civil society, and government.

For more information, please contact m.sinclair@ishr.ch.

Video to learn more about the Nelson Mandela Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners

February 10, 2016

On 4 February 2016 Penal Reform International, the Quaker UN Office, and the Permanent Representations of Switzerland and Uruguay to the UN in Geneva, invited delegates, representatives of NGOs and interested stakeholders to a briefing in the Palais des Nations in Geneva on the recently adopted revised UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’.
An expert panel provided an overview of the revision process and the significance of this set of standards, and then focused on a number of critical areas of the Rules that were updated. It sought to initiate discussion on the implementation of the Nelson Mandela Rules and to start collecting recommendations and good practice in this regard.

The panel was moderated by Laurel Townhead, Quaker UN Office, and included:
· Representative of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland
· Philipp Meissner, UN Office on Drugs and Crime
· Robert Husbands, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
· Nigel Rodley, Chair, Essex University Human Rights Centre
· Stefan Enggist, World Health Organization
· Andrea Huber, Penal Reform International.

The video – prepared by True Heroes Films (THF) – is on the long side (1 1/2 hours) but is excellent for people who want to learn more about the revised standards.

Algerian government fails to prove accusation against human rights defenders held in Italy

September 17, 2015

On 15 September 2015, the Turin Court of Appeal ruled to release Algerian human rights defender Mr Rachid Mesli, who has been under house arrest since 22 August 2015, and to allow him to leave the country, as reported by Front Line Defenders.

 

The human rights defender was released before the end of the 40 day period during which the Algerian government could submit a formal request for extradition. The Court recognised Rachid Mesli’s important and peaceful work in the defence of human rights, as well as the high risk of torture he would face if returned to Algeria. While the court is yet to make its final decision on the extradition warrant, the release order highlighted that, according to the information received, Rachid Mesli’s human rights activities were not in any way related to terrorism.

On 22 August, the Italian court placed the human rights defender under house arrest following three days in detention in Aosta prison. Rachid Mesli was arrested on 19 August 2015 (https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/29390) as he travelled to Italy on holiday with his wife and son. The arrest occurred as a result of an arrest warrant issued by the Algerian authorities in April 2002 on terrorism-related charges.

[Rachid Mesli is the Legal Director of Alkarama, an independent human rights organisation based in Geneva that works to assist victims of extra-judicial executions, disappearances, torture and arbitrary detention in Arab states. And this is not first effort by the Algerian government see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/mourad-dhina-algerian-head-of-the-human-rights-organization-alkarama-detained-in-france/]

Interesting tot note Front Line Defenders’ call on Interpol to ensure the legitimacy of all warrants issued by its members and to put in place safeguards so that the system cannot be abused in order to target human rights defenders.

Human rights defender Emin Huseynov allowed to leave Azerbaijan!

June 15, 2015

One ‘winner’ of the Baku Games is known: Front Line reports that on 13 June 2015, human rights defender Mr Emin Huseynov left Azerbaijan, ending his 10 month-long refuge in the Swiss embassy in Baku. [see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/azerbaijani-human-rights-defender-emin-huseynov-hides-in-swiss-embassy/. Read the rest of this entry »

More on impunity: Guatemala’s ex-police chief, jailed for life, in appeal before Swiss court

May 7, 2015

Erwin Sperisen in 2007

Guatemala ex-police chief Erwin Sperisen in 2007

This morning’s post about impunity in Colombia, could be combined with the case of Erwin Sperisen, Guatemala’s ex-police chief, who in 2014 was sentenced to life in prison in Switzerland over the deaths of seven prisoners in 2006. His appeal is currently (4 to 8 May) serving before the Criminal Chamber of Geneva’s Court of Justice in Switzerland. The Prosecutor has again demanded life imprisonment. Sperisen could not be extradited as has Swiss-Guatemalan dual nationality. Sperisen was tried under a law allowing Swiss nationals to be tried in their own country for crimes committed abroad. [The former Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Vielmann, who fled the country at the same time as Sperisen, is due to stand trial on similar charges in Spain.]

More information about this case can be found at http://www.trial-ch.org/guatemala-en/index.html. TRIAL (TRack Impunity Always) is a very interesting NGO that goes after the perpetrators. The mirror image of a Gallery of Human Rights Defenders so to say!

Guatemala ex-police chief jailed for life by Swiss court – BBC News.

Jean-Daniel Vigny hopes to improve NGO participation at the UN

May 4, 2015

Getting ‘consultative status’ with the UN is for many NGOs a nightmare and a subject that does not attract the most attention. Hopefully this opinion piece written by Jean-Daniel Vigny, Swiss human rights expert and member of the Board of the International Service for Human Rights (27 April 2015) will help to change this:

ISHR-logo-colour-high

He makes 5 recommendations in relation to the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs (shortened version):

  1. Ministries of Foreign Affairs positively inclined to civil society and the big international NGOs represented in New York should actively participate in each session of the ECOSOC Committee;
  2. The EU and the rest of WEOG and other friendly States of civil society from the East European Group, GRULAC, the African Group and the Asian Group and national and international NGOs should join the campaign for improved membership and modalities of the NGO Committee;
  3. The status quo of quasi permanent membership to the NGO Committee by some States not favourable to civil society should be broken;
  4. (a rather difficult one) ECOSOC could develop an ‘interpretative guide’ for the Committee on the application of ECOSOC resolution 1996/31 (or get agreement on a paragraph calling for all applications for consultative status to be forwarded to ECOSOC for decision within a 3 years limit, thereby short-circuiting the present practice of repeated deferral of many applications);
  5. Share cases of denial or repeated deferral of consultative status as reprisals with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly and to pursue implementation of his recommendations to strengthen NGO participation at the UN and in other multilateral fora. We could also encourage the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders to study, report and make recommendations as to the reform of the NGO Committee, including in relation to the misapplication of ECOSOC resolution 1996/31.

The full text of the piece entitled “NGO participation at the UN: A roadmap for reform” follows:

Read the rest of this entry »

Azerbaijani human rights defender Emin Huseynov hides in Swiss Embassy

February 12, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights defender Emin Huseynov is in hiding in the Swiss embassy in Baku since 18 August, 2014 reports the ”Caucasian Knot” referring to the Norwegian Human Rights House Foundation. He went there after the Azerbaijani authorities searched the office of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and confiscated equipment and documents. The office of the organisation remains sealed since 11 August, 2014, and the employees are called to interrogation. According to the article, Florian Irminger, the head of the Geneva office of the HRHF thinks that Switzerland should go on supporting the Azerbaijani human rights defender on humanitarian grounds: ”His stay at the Embassy is justified with the crackdowns level in the country, false charges against human rights defenders in Azerbaijan, and the impossibility to defend oneself in the court because of the lack of judicial system independence in the country and pressure on their lawyers’‘. The Swiss Foreign Ministry confirmed in the “Rundschau” that they had provided the Azerbaijani human rights defender with shelter on humanitarian grounds. ‘‘Since then we’ve been discussing the matter with the Azerbaijani officials in order to find a solution to the situation,” the Swiss Foreign Ministry written response reads. Read the rest of this entry »

Adama Dieng speaks on prevention of mass atrocity on 10 October

October 3, 2014

Prevention of mass atrocity crimes:Achievements, current trends and challenges” is the topic on which Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide ( former Registrar of the Rwanda Tribunal and former Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists) will speak on Friday, 10 October 2014, from 10h30 to 11h45, in Bundesgasse 28, Room BGA 12, Bern, Switzerland.

There are only a limited number of seats available, so please book your seat by e-mail to nathan.broquet[at]eda.admin.ch before Wednesday 8 October 2014.