State Ratification of the ICCPR
During its 110th session last month, the United Nations Human Rights Committee concluded its first reading of Draft General Comment No. 35 on Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which protects the right to liberty and security of person, including the freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention. The Committee invites interested stakeholders to submit comments on the draft before June 1, 2014. [OHCHR] Read more
Participants in the UN Human Rights Council’s 25th Session
Credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
During its 25th regular session last month, the UN Human Rights Council undertook several measures to address the challenges and risks faced by human rights defenders and other civil society actors. On March 11, it held a panel discussion to analyze the factors that reduce civil society space and to evaluate strategies to promote an interactive partnership between States and civil society organizations (CSOs). Later in the session, the Council also adopted a resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, and renewed the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and on Freedom of Expression. Read more
The UN Human Rights Committee begins its 110th session.
Credit: UN Treaty Body Webcast
The UN Human Rights Committee held its 110th session from March 10 to 28 to consider the State reports of Chad, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and the United States of America. Following the session, the Committee released its concluding observations, detailing key concerns and recommendations for these States’ improved implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Read more
As the world becomes more reliant on the internet, digital communication, and other innovations, it is increasingly apparent that technology presents both solutions and challenges for human rights defenders, and can also give rise to new forms of rights abuses. Unfortunately, many of the same tech tools that allow activists to work more effectively also leave them vulnerable to attack. And, in important areas, policymaking and public access to information may lag behind governments’ and corporations’ technological capabilities. Last week, human rights defenders, corporate leaders, funders, government officials, and tech innovators joined together at RightsCon to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and pitfalls of human rights tech.
“This week, the International Justice Resource Center (IJRC) is participating in RightsCon 2014, a conference focused on the intersections between technology and human rights “with the goal of protecting the open internet and the digital rights of its users.” The three-day convening is hosted by Access and is taking place in San Francisco, California. Read more
Today marks the fifth annual observance of World Day of Social Justice, an opportunity for the international community to collectively recognize the ongoing need for social development and social justice amid rising inequality in the world. By establishing a day devoted to the promotion of social justice, the United Nations created a platform to “support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.” [UN]
This month, The Opportunity Agenda and the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) of Northeastern University School of Law issued a comprehensive survey of significant determinations by state courts and attorneys general in the United States that address international human rights law. The report, entitled Human Rights in State Courts 2014, follows up on a 2011 edition and argues that litigants are citing international human rights law in an increasing range of topics, including environmental claims, tort cases and guardianship matters. See Opportunity Agenda & PHRGE, Human Rights in State Courts 2014, at 4. The 2014 report supplements the previous edition with cases decided after 2011, in addition to relevant attorney general opinions. Id.
Credit: Al Jazeera English
The parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has approved legislation granting amnesty for acts of insurgency, acts of war, and political offenses, while excluding amnesty for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. [UN News Centre] This amnesty proposal originated as part of the December 2013 agreement to end fighting between the DRC army and the M23 rebel group, known as the Nairobi Declarations. [UN News Centre] The law, adopted on February 4, has been welcomed by some as an important step towards lasting peace, but other groups are concerned it does not go far enough to prevent impunity and recurring violence. [Miami Herald] Read more
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hear expert and witness testimony in three pending cases concerning extrajudicial executions, convene two private hearings on States’ compliance with prior decisions, and deliberate on the merits of two cases concerning alleged criminal due process violations during its ongoing 102nd Regular Session, being held from January 27 through February 7 at its headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica. [IACtHR Press Release (Spanish)]
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in session
UN Human Rights Council
Credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
From January 27 to February 7, the Human Rights Council is holding its 18th Session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group, to examine the human rights practices of 14 States through an interactive dialogue. [OHCHR] In order of scheduled review, the 14 States are: New Zealand, Afghanistan, Chile, Cambodia, Uruguay, Yemen, Vanuatu, Macedonia, Comoros, Slovakia, Eritrea, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic, and Vietnam. [OHCHR: Universal Periodic Review Timetable]
The 18th Session of the Universal Periodic Review is the sixth session to be held in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). During the second cycle of the UPR, each UN Member State is expected to explain any measures they have taken to implement recommendations made during the first cycle, which was conducted between 2008 and 2011. Each State’s review may be watched on UN Web TV.