News

12 Jul

This is another historic victory, not only for communities of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, but for humanity as a whole: In a defining vote, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert focusing on the protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

11 Jul

In an unprecedented move, a cross-regional group of 22 States have urged China to uphold its international obligations and to allow independent observers to access and investigate grave human rights violations in Xinjiang.

08 Jul

Today marks the 4th anniversary of the '709 crackdown' against over 300 lawyers and legal rights defenders. Four years on, UN experts and the international community must speak out against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and deteriorating conditions for human rights lawyers in China.

09 Jul
#RenewIESOGI the campaign hashtag

Over 1300 NGOs from across the globe call for the renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and others highlight the situation of defenders working on these issues.

 

22 Jul

After starting the process in 2016, civil society in Niger, with the support of ISHR, presented a draft law for the promotion and protection of human rights defenders for debate and adoption to the government.  This draft law was substantially inspired from the model national law on the recognition and protection of human rights defenders developed by ISHR in 2016. 

MoldovaScorecard-update

Reprisals | Submission: Reprisals against Maldives Human Rights Commission violate freedom of expression

12.06.2019

In October 2016, ISHR filed a communication with the UN’s Human Rights Committee on behalf of Ahmed Tholal and Jeehan Mahmood, former Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM), to highlight the Maldives’ failure to ensure their right to share information freely with the UN without reprisal. Click here for the orginal article.

The HRCM was prosecuted in 2015 by the Supreme Court in the Maldives following a submission made by the HRCM on human rights in the Maldives to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review.

The Government of the Maldives replied to ISHR’s communication in April 2019, noting ‘the concerns and allegations’ raised by the authors and acknowledging ‘the subsequent operational adversities’ faced by the HRCM. Furthermore, the Maldives sought to assure the Committee that the effects of the Supreme Court judgment ‘will be taken into consideration’, that the Maldives have entered a ‘new era of democratic rule’, and that the new administration pledges to reform, reconstitute and transform all State institutions to, inter alia, reinstate respect for international obligations and promote operation of State institutions within the designated ambit of authority.

In its observations to the Maldives’ reply, ISHR acknowledged and welcomed the proposed legislative amendments, while also submitting that the proposed amendments do not provide an effective remedy for past violations.

‘We maintain that the Maldives breached Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by prosecuting the HRCM for the content of its communications to the UN and by limiting future communication between the HRCM and the UN,’ said Madeleine Sinclair, Legal Counsel for the International Service for Human Rights. ‘We furthermore request that the Human Rights Committee call on the State party to support, and the legislature to pass, the proposed Bill,’ said Sinclair.

 

Contact: Madeleine Sinclair, New York Co-Director and Legal Counsel, ISHR, m.sinclair@ishr.ch, +1-917-544-614

Photo:  Law/Flickr

 
 

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Opinion:

Despite current circumstances being conducive to the opening of a healthy democratic space, doubts linger over whether the new authorities will seize this opportunity to put an end to impunity, bring its legislation into line with international standards and take concrete steps to promote and protect human rights.

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Mechanism

1984

ISHR commences work to develop an international Declaration on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders

1988

ISHR publishes first Human Rights Monitor, connecting human rights defenders on the ground with international human rights systems and developments

1993

ISHR facilitates global civil society engagement with the Second World Conference on Human Rights, which leads to the strengthening of women’s rights, the affirmation of universal rights, the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the establishment of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

1994

ISHR provides training, technical assistance and support to its 1000th human rights defender

1998

After 14 years of ISHR lobbying, advocacy and negotiation, the UN General Assembly adopts the landmark Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

2000

UN Secretary-General appoints Hina Jilani as inaugural UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, strengthening protection of human rights advocates at risk worldwide.

2004

ISHR leads a successful campaign for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

2005

ISHR co-founds and supports a range of international and regional human rights coalitions, including the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and the West African Human Rights Defenders Network

2006

ISHR contributes to the establishment and institution building of a new global peak body for human rights issues, the UN Human Rights Council

2007

ISHR leads and coordinates the development of the Yogyakarta Principles on sexual orientation and gender identity, strengthening legal recognition and protection of LGBT rights worldwide

2011

ISHR’s sustained advocacy on the issue of reprisals and intimidation faced by human rights defenders leads to adoption of landmark UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning and strengthening protections against reprisals

2012

Working with key NGO partners such as Amnesty International, ISHR leads civil society efforts to strengthen UN human rights treaty bodies, prevent their weakening and better connect their work with victims and human rights defenders on the ground

2013

Working with supportive states and NGOs, ISHR advocacy leads to adoption of historic Human Rights Council resolution calling on all States to review and amend national laws to respect and protect the work of human rights defenders