Reprisals | UN Human Rights Committee finds the Maldives violated freedom of expression of members of the national human rights institution

The UN Human Rights Committee has ruled that the Supreme Court of the Maldives violated the freedom of expression of two former members of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) when it carried out reprisals against the HRCM for engaging with the UN.

News

17 Feb

The 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, from 22 February to 23 March 2021, will consider issues including the protection of human rights defenders, systemic racism, police brutality and violence against peaceful protests-particularly in the United States of America-, freedom of religion or belief, protection and promotion of human rights while countering terrorism, the right to food, among others. It will also hold dedicated debates on grave human rights situations in States including Nicaragua, Venezuela, Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem, Syria, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Eritrea, among many others. Here’s an overview of some of the key issues on the agenda.

11 Feb

In a dedicated, urgent session this Friday, the UN Human Rights Council will seek to address current and future human rights violations stemming from the military takeover in Myanmar; with some countries reengaging on the one hand, and other, new Council members emboldened in their own rights violations on the other, the meeting is on many fronts the first test for the Council in 2021.

11 Feb

The Martin Ennals Foundation has granted Yu Wensheng, a leading Chinese human rights lawyer, the 2021 Martin Ennals Award. Lawyer Yu was among the three finalists to the Award selected by a jury of ten global human rights organisations - among which ISHR -, along with Loujain AlHathloul from Saudi Arabia and Soltan Achilova from Turkmenistan.

11 Feb

ISHR, as part of the Free Saudi Activists Coalition, welcomes the release of two women human rights defenders from detention. On 10 February 2021, it was reported that Loujain Al-Hathloul, and Nouf Abdulaziz have been released conditionally from prison after spending over two and a half years in detention solely for advocating for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, including the right to drive and the dismantling of the male guardianship system.

29 Jan

"I hope for a future built on compassion, unity and hope." Nicoline Nwenushi wazeh Tumasang, a courageous and inspiring human rights defender from Cameroon shares her story of hope, resilience and fight for gender equality.

HRC 40 | Accountability under attack in Guatemala

19.03.2019

The International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) – created through an agreement between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Government of Guatemala – has successfully held individuals in the highest positions of government to account.  It has provided means to revitalise and strengthen the national judicial system.  Government efforts to stop its work have been rejected by the Constitutional Court but its future in the country remains uncertain. 

CICIG must be defended, said ISHR and the International Platform Against Impunity in a statement delivered to the Human Rights Council.  

Attacks against CICIG are taking place in a context in which key achievements in strengthening the rule of law are threatened. 

Amendments to the National Reconciliation Law, if passed, will lead to impunity for grave internationally recognized crimes, including genocide and torture.  Convictions could be overturned and the important drive against impunity will be reversed.  

UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet has expressed deep concern about the initiative, noting, 

'This amendment, if passed, will represent a drastic set-back to accountability and the rule of law in Guatemala. At the same time, it will gravely endanger the progress made by the country to grapple with the legacy of the civil war and to prevent further violence.'  

Changes to other laws further threaten the struggle to secure justice and accountability.   The Law of NGOs for Development is amended, will impose increased inspection and registration requirements that would restrict the work of NGOs.  

'Guatemala stands at a cross roads, ' said ISHR and the International Platform Against Impunity in their statement.  'Those calling for key post- conflict human rights achievements to be respected and built upon are facing the likelihood of greater threats. Their rights to call for accountability must be respected and they must be heard.' 

ISHR and the International Platform Against Impunity made the following three calls:  

1/  States must make public their support of the work of CICIG and to urge Guatemala to reengage with the processes of accountability CICIG promotes.  

2/ Amendments that seek to undermine laws that have provided for individuals to be held to account for the gravest of crimes must be rejected. 

3/  Guatemala must  ensure that human rights defenders’ rights are upheld, including during the upcoming period of Presidential elections in June. 

Watch our statement here: 

 

Contacts:

Salma El Hosseiny [Geneva]: s.hosseiny@ishr.ch

Eleanor Openshaw [New York]: e.openshaw@ishr.ch 

Photo:  Zero-CC0 Justice

 

 

HRC 40 | Accountability under attack in Guatemala

19.03.2019

The International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) – created through an agreement between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Government of Guatemala – has successfully held individuals in the highest positions of government to account.  It has provided means to revitalise and strengthen the national judicial system.  Government efforts to stop its work have been rejected by the Constitutional Court but its future in the country remains uncertain. 

CICIG must be defended, said ISHR and the International Platform Against Impunity in a statement delivered to the Human Rights Council.  

Attacks against CICIG are taking place in a context in which key achievements in strengthening the rule of law are threatened. 

Amendments to the National Reconciliation Law, if passed, will lead to impunity for grave internationally recognized crimes, including genocide and torture.  Convictions could be overturned and the important drive against impunity will be reversed.  

UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet has expressed deep concern about the initiative, noting, 

'This amendment, if passed, will represent a drastic set-back to accountability and the rule of law in Guatemala. At the same time, it will gravely endanger the progress made by the country to grapple with the legacy of the civil war and to prevent further violence.'  

Changes to other laws further threaten the struggle to secure justice and accountability.   The Law of NGOs for Development is amended, will impose increased inspection and registration requirements that would restrict the work of NGOs.  

'Guatemala stands at a cross roads, ' said ISHR and the International Platform Against Impunity in their statement.  'Those calling for key post- conflict human rights achievements to be respected and built upon are facing the likelihood of greater threats.' 

ISHR and the International Platform Against Impunity made the following three calls:  

1/  States must make public their support of the work of CICIG and to urge Guatemala to reengage with the processes of accountability CICIG promotes.  

2/ Amendments that seek to undermine laws that have provided for individuals to be held to account for the gravest of crimes must be rejected. 

3/  Guatemala must  ensure that human rights defenders’ rights are upheld, including during the upcoming period of Presidential elections in June. 

 

Contact: Eleanor Openshaw   e.openshaw@ishr.ch 

Photo:  Zero-CC0 Justice

 

 

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Opinion:

Par Maître Armel Niyongere, avocat aux barreaux du Rwanda et de Bruxelles inscrit sur la liste de Conseils de la Cour Pénale Internationale (CPI) et Président de l'association Action des Chrétiens contre la torture (Acat-Burundi).

Depuis Avril 2015, le Burundi traverse une crise politique majeure. Elle se caractérise notamment par des violations massives et continues des droits humains.

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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