Posts Tagged ‘Theo van Boven’

The ‘Van Boven Principles’: short video

July 23, 2019

This short video dates back to 17 November 2015 but is now available as UN VIDEO. It is a short version of a full-length documentary film on Theo van Boven who was head of the UN Human Rights Division in the late seventies/early eighties when in Latin America hundreds of thousands were tortured, killed and disappeared. Theo was one of the few courageous UN leaders to speak out:  “It is inexplicable and indefensible for the United Nations not to react urgently to situations of gross violations of human rights”.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/03/07/new-book-on-theo-van-bovens-crucial-role-in-the-development-of-the-un-human-rights-system/

https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/12/16/theo-van-boven-reflects-on-70-years-united-nations/

https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/03/05/theo-van-boven-honored-with-film-and-debate-in-geneva-side-event-14-march/

https://videos.un.org/en/2015/11/17/the-van-boven-principles/

New book on Theo van Boven’s crucial role in the development of the UN human rights system

March 7, 2019

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The Advent of Universal Protection of Human Rights – Theo van Boven and the Transformation of the UN Role

In this ‘biography’ Bertie Ramcharan tells the story of Theo van Boven’s dynamic and courageous leadership to develop UN protection. Van Boven has been a life-long scholar and practitioner of human rights. He served in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented The Netherlands in the UN Commission on Human Rights, served as an expert in its Sub-Commission on Human Rights, and also on the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. He was the Director of the UN Human Rights secretariat from 1977 to 1982, and later served as Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, and as UN Special Rapporteur against Torture.

As Director of the UN Human Rights secretariat, Professor van Boven built up the protection capacity of the United Nations piece by piece and thereby transformed the UN’s role. He initiated every protection mechanism in use at the United Nations today. He was thus ‘the father‘ of the contemporary system of United Nations protection.

This book is a study of leadership and strategy. If one is to be able to deepen the protection capacity of the UN in the future, it is crucial to understand how the foundations were laid. This book, based on the personal papers of Professor van Boven and of the author, who was his Special Assistant, tells the story of his remarkable leadership of the UN Human Rights secretariat. Published by Springer – ISBN 978-3-030-02221-1

 

In 1982 Meulenhoff published Theo’s speeches on the occasion of his forced departure from the UN. In the preface I tried to explain the how and why.

https://www.springer.com/gb/book/9783030022204#aboutBook

Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Mexican scholar on indigenous and minority rights, passed away

November 7, 2016

It is good to remember not only the front-line human rights defenders but also those who struggled on the side of the oppressed contributing their academic and diplomatic talents. One of those is certainly Rodolfo Stavenhagen (born 29 August 1932) who died on 5 November 2016. He was a Mexican sociologist,a professor-researcher at El Colegio de México and former Deputy Director General of UNESCO. From 2001 – 2008 he was the first United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people through Resolution 2001/57. Read the rest of this entry »

Theo van Boven reflects on 70 years United Nations

December 16, 2015

Theo van Boven – former Director of the UN Human Rights Division – was asked by the United Nations Association of the Netherlands to express his personal views of the UN and his role in the development of the human rights sector. Under the title “THE UNITED NATIONS AT THE AGE OF 70″ he said inter alia the following: 

Theo van Boven 2011

Theo van Boven 2011

Read the rest of this entry »

12 November 2014: 5th Theo van Boven lecture by Hina Jilani

November 1, 2014

Theo van Boven 2011

Theo van Boven 2011

On 12 November 2014 the fifth annual Theo van Boven Lecture will be delivered by Mrs. Hina Jilani, in the University of Maastricht (16.00 – 18.30). The lecture is in honour of Prof. Theo van Boven, one of the founders of the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights and the most crucial human right director in the UN in 1977-1982 when the first special procedures were enacted. [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/theo-van-boven/]

Mrs. Jilani is an internationally known human rights defender from Pakistan. She created Pakistan’s first all-women law firm and co-founded Pakistan’s first legal aid centre. She also founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Pakistan’s Women Action Forum, a prominent women’s rights group whose campaigns have been at the heart of the democracy movement in the country. She was the first Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders from 2000 to 2008. Since 2013 she is a member of The Elders. For more information on her work: http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/web/file?uuid=23a2b13c-1422-4e13-8df8-4209bb39e791&owner=20b720a7-b4e5-478d-a68e-9b2019fc1761. The lecture is open to the public.

Hina Jilani 2014

Human Rights Defender Charles Harper Honoured by Argentinian Government

September 19, 2014

(From left to right — Charles Harper, Estela Barnes de Carlotto, Ambassador Alberto D’Alotto and Bishop-emeritus Aldo Etchegoyen. Photo: Argentinian mission in Geneva)

A former World Council of Churches (WCC) official from Brazil, Rev. Charles Harper, has been honoured with the Order Comendador de Mayo, a high decoration of the Argentine government for his emblematic legacy of struggles for human rights in the ecumenical movement. Harper, was WCC’s director of the Human Rights Resource Office for Latin America from 1973 to 1992. He received this honour in a ceremony held on 16 September in Geneva, Switzerland. Harper, born to an American missionary father working in Brazil, joined the anti-colonial struggle through the Committee for Assistance to Evacuees (CIMADE). At CIMADE, he worked with young people and Algerian immigrants in Marseille, France, in the early 1960s. With CIMADE and later as director of the John Knox International Reformed Centre, Harper supported church leaders persecuted in Mozambique, Angola and Cape Verde. Many of those become key actors in the independence struggles of their countries. At the WCC, Harper coördinated a number of systematic international initiatives denouncing human rights violations in Latin America. He created strong networks to protect the persecuted, imprisoned and tortured people in the region.

Accompanying human rights movements in the 1970s, the WCC was able to respond to the calls for solidarity at regional and global levels. Harper’s work at the WCC was initiated by the WCC member churches in Latin America, following a dialogue held with the WCC’s Commission on International Affairs, chaired then by the renowned jurist Dr Theo van Boven, who also received an honour from the Argentine government in 2012.

In his speech Harper pointed out the current global challenges that a new generation of human rights advocates has to deal with. “Thirty years later – today – the challenges facing the world community of nations, both as international and ecumenical family, not only persist but become more intense: The World Council of Churches, an instrument of unity and service to humanity, strives to accompany churches and groups related to them in critical situations to defend human rights and human dignity, fighting impunity, demanding punitive justice, and building just and peaceful societies.”

At the ceremony, Ambassador Alberto D’Alotto said, “Protestant churches have played an important role in defending human rights and in starting movements for human rights in my country. They helped in founding human rights organizations and sponsored their consolidation, and managed international financing much needed in the beginning…..The churches helped to find ways to overcome the information blockade imposed by the military authorities, giving international visibility to what was happening in Argentina and denouncing the military repression in international forums,” he said.

via Human Rights Defender Charles Harper Honoured by Argentinian Government – Standard Newswire.

Treaty Bodies add ammunition to struggle against reprisals

May 20, 2014

Thanks to Theo van Boven, who alerted me, I am happy to report another small step in the war against reprisals. On 21 April 2014 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the Strengthening on the Treaty Bodies in which operative paragraph 8 strongly condemns intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders and others who coöperate with the treaty bodies. (A/RES/69/268).   For text of resolution: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/68/268

for more posts on reprisals: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/reprisals/

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:

Russian HRD Magamed Abubakarov to receive Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2013

May 21, 2013

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(Magamed Abubakarov)

Magamed Abubakarov, a Russian human rights lawyer specialized in terrorist cases in the North-Caucasus, will receive the Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2013. Magamed Abubakarov will accept the award on 31 May at the end of a seminar called ‘Lawyers controlled, independence at stake?’ in Amsterdam. Read the rest of this entry »

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans: “Support for Human Rights Defenders worldwide is a Top Priority”

April 18, 2013

The annual lecture on human rights in Maastricht with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, has quickly become a major event on the human rights agenda. As I was not able to attend, i have the great honor to introduce as my first guest author the well-known Theo van Boven, professor emeritus at Maastricht University, former Director of Human Rights in the UN, former Special Rapporteur on several subjects and a Patron of the MEA. With many thanks and in the hope that this will encourage others to contribute:

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Theo van Boven 2011 (c) THF

On Wednesday April 17th, the newly appointed Foreign Minister of The Netherlands, Frans Timmermans, came to a very well-attended meeting at Maastricht University where he made a passionate plea for human rights as one of the cornerstones of Dutch foreign policy. While the Foreign Minister was the main speaker, his appearance was framed in a broader setting with other lively presentations on such issues as the need for consistency between domestic and foreign human rights policy (“practise what you preach”), the role of women in the Syrian armed conflict and the Rights of Lesbian ,Gay, Trans, Bisexual and Intersex Persons (LGTBI rights).
 
Frans Timmermans expressed his strong personal commitment to human rights : “I passionately believe in human rights” and he recalled that no human right was achieved without struggle. He stressed that human rights, the rule of law, and democracy are strongly interconnected but that democratic majorities should respect the rights of minorities and individuals.
 
The Netherlands foreign minister praised the role of persons,groups and organizations who in situations of great risk are standing up for human rights. He pledged his support for human rights activists/defenders as a  “top priority“. It is of crucial importance to help human rights activists in expressing themselves and for The Netherlands to coöperate with other countries, bilaterally and through international organizations, in the defence and the promotion of the values enshrined in human rights instruments.
 
Among the points that came up in the Q and A discussion were the need to give due and equal weight to the promotion and protection of economic,social and cultural rights together with civil and political rights; the inherent and imminent danger to human rights of the use of drones; the serious reduction in the Netherlands budget for development coöperation ( although not implying the reduction of funds in support of human rights activities); and the persistent evil of human trafficking as a contemporary form of slavery.

Theo van Boven