Posts Tagged ‘UN Council of Human Rights’

A lot more on the protection of Defenders of economic social and cultural rights

March 16, 2016

On 7 March 2016 the ISHR held a joint side event on the protection needs of human rights defenders working on economic, cultural and social (ESC) rights [http://wp.me/pQKto-1ZJ]. Here a report and some more:

Panellists spoke about the crucial work of ESC rights defenders in their countries, including defenders in Ethiopia protesting illegal land grabs to prevent the displacement of communities; defenders in Malaysia working towards inclusive and sustainable development and to oppose corruption; and defenders in Guatemala working to protect indigenous rights and ensuring that companies consult with affected communities.

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South Africa disappoints terribly in the Human Rights Council: support for China’s silencing the silence

March 27, 2014

A column in the South African City Press under the title “A chilling point of order for SA” written by Juliette De Rivero on 26 March 2014 makes a punchy statement about the disappointment felt all though the human rights movement when South Africa opted to support China’s point of order in the UN Council of Human Rights. In my post about this ‘court drama’ (reference below) I did not list all the countries coming out against allowing a moment of silence for the deceased Chinese human rights defender Cao Shunli and indeed the position of South Africa was in many way the most surprising, in de Rivero’s words: “…The South African delegate took the floor and warned that allowing the activists to proceed with the moment of silence would “create a dangerous precedent” that the council would not be able to sustain in the future.He noted that the action was “irregular and incompatible with the rules of procedure of this council”.South Africa’s choice to stand with the government that prevented Cao Shunli from participating in the UN came as a blow to the activist community – a community that was willing to stand up for Cao just as it had been willing to denounce the injustice of apartheid.South Africa’s concern that the moment of silence – not the death of the activist – was setting a bad precedent in the UN body sent such a chilling message to the human rights community that it should not be ignored…”

Let me add: That silence is a way of speaking should be clear to all, including South Africa, e.g. when on 6 December 2013 the General Assembly held a moment of silence to honour the memory of Nelson Mandela (“Madiba”).

full piece in:  A chilling point of order for SA – City Press.

background in: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/china-in-the-un-human-rights-council-manages-to-silence-cao-shunli-as-well-as-ngos/

Who can speak for NGOs in the UN? A precedent set in 1982

March 21, 2014

Yesterday, 20 March 2014, there was a fierce debate in the UN Council of Human Rights where the issue of the right of NGOs to speak came up, more precisely whether accredited NGOs had the right to let speakers mention other NGOs who do not have such accreditation. In this case it was China taking exemption to the FIDH letting its member NGOs (including a pro Tibetan group) take the floor in its name. For more context see my post of yesterday: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/china-in-the-un-human-rights-council-manages-to-silence-cao-shunli-as-well-as-ngos/.

The Chair and Secretariat rightly spoke of a standing practice in this regards. One such precedent is 30 years old and probably lost to most observers, so I give here my own recollection of this story in the hope that someone with access to the UN files or a better memory can confirm or correct the details.

It is 1982 and the Working group on Disappearances (created in 1980 after a long struggle and with the active support from the then Director Theo van Boven)) is reporting to the Commission on Human Rights (the predecessor of the Council). The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), of which I was the Executive Secretary at the time, has lined up to speak. Read the rest of this entry »