Posts Tagged ‘United Nations Human Rights Committee’

Nigina Bakhrieva works to end torture in Tajikistan

December 27, 2015

OMCT in its series “10 December, 10 Defenders” focused on Nigina Bakhrieva in Tajikistan. Nigina Bakhrieva’s visceral sense of justice was passed on to by her parents, as she quickly demonstrated by following in the footsteps of her father – a prosecutor – in standing firmly for the rule of law. “It’s what I learned as I child, “ she says. “When I witness human rights abuses, I cannot be indifferent; I take action.OMCT-LOGO

And her career could not have been more ominous. Nigina started law school in Tajikistan, at the doorstep of Taliban-led Afghanistan, at the very outbreak of the bloody civil war that followed the country’s independence, graduating five years later, in 1997, as the war ended, leaving behind a devastated country with some 100,000 people killed and 1.2 million displaced. After teaching law at the Tajik state university, Nigina became a consultant providing capacity-building expertise for various organizations. Moving quickly into human rights, she went to work for the United Nations Tajikistan Office for Peace Building where she reviewed national legislation to make sure it conformed to international human rights standards.

Thus, while still as a budding lawyer and founder of the Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law of Tajikistan, Nigina helped to litigate with success Tajikistan’s first-ever human rights case before the United Nations Human Rights Committee – something unheard of in Tajikistan until then. Her work for the abolition of the death penalty in her country led to a moratorium being adopted in 2004.

In 2009, she created Nota Bene, which leads the Anti-Torture Coalition of 17 leading human rights organizations and activists in Tajikistan. The work initially seemed to pay off handsomely: at the beginning of 2014, Tajikistan had pledged to implement international human rights standards both in law and practice. The Government, however, has recently been limiting the scope of action in the country of human rights lawyers and organizations. It has indeed been made mandatory for non-governmental organizations to declare all foreign funding. What is more, limiting access to the legal profession and placing it under the Ministry of Justice has compromised its independence.

It is worrying that it has become nearly impossible to find lawyers in Tajikistan willing to accept to defend torture cases for fear of criminal prosecution,” reported the OMCT in the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders on 30 November. http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/tajikistan/2015/11/d23494/

As one of the few lawyers who have not given up on combatting the widespread use of torture and other forms of abuse, especially in the armed forces, Nigina is among the key players pushing for full transition of Tajikistan to the rule of law. “The work is hard”, she says. “Each time we re-live with the victims what they went through, and it is horrifying,”

For change to occur, though, the system must work and all actors must do their bit, she explains, detailing every step of the process: individuals must lodge complaints when they are subjected to torture or ill-treatment; the Government must follow a zero-tolerance-for-torture policy; the Prosecutor must respond to every complaint by thorough and effective investigation; courts must punish all those found guilty – not only the direct perpetrators, but also their superiors, who failed to prevent the crime; jail terms should be proportionate to the seriousness of the crime; finally, the Government should compensate all victims of torture.

— by Lori Brumat in Geneva

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/human-rights-lawyer-kudratov-in-tajikistan-sent-9-years-to-penal-colony/

Source: Tajikistan: Meet Nigina: Towards a functioning system that leaves no room for torture / December 3, 2015 / Links / Human rights defenders / OMCT

20 years ago: the Toonen watershed case from Tasmania

April 13, 2014

On 12 April Dan Harrison, in the Australian newspaper ‘Daily Life”, recalls how the famous Toonen case – decided 20 years ago – had a tremendous impact: “The fax arrived from Geneva on a Saturday almost exactly 20 years ago. The message on United Nations letterhead that landed on the fax machine at the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Groups office in Hobart’s Battery Point would change the lives of millions. It carried the UN Human Rights Committees finding that Tasmanian laws, which made consenting sex between adult men in private a criminal offence punishable by up to 21 years jail, were in violation of Australia’s international obligations.” Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Turkmenistan and the UN: a rare comprehensive review of human rights shortcomings

April 3, 2012

On 30 March Human Rights Watch (HRW)  together with the International Partnership for Human Rights, and Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights made public a report that on the result of the Turkmen government’s hearing at the UN Human Rights Committee. Both the hearing and the original NGO submission  show its abysmal human rights record.  “The UN review leaves no doubt about the urgent need for human rights reform in Turkmenistan. What’s key now is to make sure the Turkmen government does what it takes to rectify abuses” stated Veronika Szente Goldston, Europe and Central Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.  Given Turkmenistan’s exceptionally poor record of cooperation with the UN’s human rights bodies, sustained external pressure is essential to enforce compliance, the organizations said.
The Turkmen government’s clampdown on freedom of expression and repression of civil society activism, torture and ill-treatment in places of detention, and the lack of an independent judiciary topped the committee’s concerns. It directed the Turkmen government to report back within one year on measures taken to address them. The committee also highlighted other important areas of concern, such as: Incommunicado detention and imprisonment and restrictions on “the exit and entry into [the country] by certain individuals.  Other concerns raised by the committee include: The Law on Public Associations, which “severely restricts freedom of association; reports of the use of child labor in cotton harvesting; criminalization of homosexuality; and the “alleged use of a forced assimilation policy of ‘Turkmenisation,’ for ethnic minorities.
For the full report go to: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/30/turkmenistan-damning-un-report-shows-need-urgent-action
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Law Students Participate in Hearing of human Rights Committee on violations in Cape Verde

March 23, 2012

This is just one good example of how students can get practically involved in work as human rights defenders. Four law students from the Indiana Purdue University Indianapolis will go to New York this week to participate in the United Nations Human Rights Committee hearing on allegations of the corporal punishment and sexual abuse of elementary school children in Cape Verde.

The four are part of a group of Robert H. McKinney School of Law students who, in partnership with Delta Cultura Cabo Verde, a Cape Verdean nongovernmental organization, researched and wrote a shadow report to a United Nations committee discussing how the government of Cape Verde has failed to combat corporal punishment and sexual abuse of school children (Articles 2, 7 & 24 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights).

“Writing the shadow report has been a rewarding experience. Not only do we get the practical experience of legal writing, but we learn a little more about the world and help prevent human rights violations globally,” said one of the students. Unlike periodic reports submitted by states parties, a shadow report provides U.N. human rights treaty bodies with various forms of information — including victims’ personal accounts, data and statistics —independently prepared by NGOs and details violations by states parties of a specific treaty. “Shadow reporting enables grass-roots human rights defenders to engage in United Nations human rights monitoring and enforcement mechanisms,” Program in Human Rights Law manager Perfecto Caparas said.

for more information: Diane Brown IU Communications habrown@iupui.edu