Category Archives: international human rights

Happy Human Rights Day 2014!

Rights 365

Rights 365Today, the international community is celebrating Human Rights Day, commemorating the 66th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. The UDHR enumerates fundamental rights and freedoms that are considered to be the foundation of international human rights law, and has since inspired the creation of over 60 human rights instruments that protect human rights worldwide.  See OHCHR, Human Rights DayRead more

On Giving Tuesday, Help Make Human Rights Real!

2014 campaign header

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to remembering the causes and communities that matter to us in the midst of the holiday shopping season. This year, we hope you will give in support of human rights, for all, everywhere.

Today, the International Justice Resource Center is launching our new campaign, Making Human Rights Real, in preparation for a year of significantly increased impact and growth. IJRC empowers people to enforce their human rights in nearly every country of the world through the unique informational tools, advice, and training that we provide. The many thousands of individuals and advocates we reach could not get this help elsewhere. For them, we are making human rights real.

Our amazing law fellows, Sarah, Laura, and Tatiana, have created a video to describe what IJRC can do with your support. Watch it below.


Please consider making a contribution to help advance human rights worldwide in 2015. You can also visit the campaign page to share this message with other human rights fans.

Online fundraising for IJRC: Making Human Rights Real

Thank you for supporting human rights, on Giving Tuesday and year-round.

ECtHR: Netherlands Responsible in Death at Military Checkpoint in Iraq

The ECtHR Grand Chamber hears Jaloud v. The NetherlandsCredit: ECtHR
The ECtHR Grand Chamber hears Jaloud v. The Netherlands<br>Credit: ECtHR

The ECtHR Grand Chamber hears Jaloud v. the Netherlands
Credit: ECtHR

On November 20, 2014, the European Court of Human Rights issued its judgment in the case of Jaloud v. the Netherlands, concerning the shooting death of an Iraqi national, Azhar Sabah Jaloud, at a military checkpoint overseen by Dutch troops serving as part of the Stabilisation Force in Iraq (SFIR) in April 2004. [ECtHR] The case is significant because it expands on the Court’s previous jurisprudence concerning the application of extraterritorial jurisdiction in armed conflict situations.

In his application to the Court, the applicant, Jaloud’s father, alleged that the Netherlands had violated the procedural aspects of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to carry out an adequate investigation into the circumstances of his son’s death. [ECtHR] Holding that a State has jurisdiction over the acts of its military service personnel operating abroad under the State’s “exclusive direction or control,” the Court determined that the Netherlands’ exercise of “authority and control over persons passing through the checkpoint” indicated that it had jurisdiction over the shooting death of Jaloud within the meaning of Article 1 (obligation to respect human rights) of the European Convention. ECtHR, Jaloud v. the Netherlands [GC], no. 47708/08, Judgment of 20 November 2014, paras. 151-53.

As such, the Netherlands was under an obligation to conduct an effective investigation into Jaloud’s death. The Court found the Dutch investigation to be inadequate because it failed to preserve certain evidence, to ensure a suitable autopsy, to prevent potential suspects from colluding with key witnesses, and to provide critical reports to the reviewing court. Thus, the Court found that the Netherlands breached the procedural obligations of Article 2 of the European Convention. Id. at paras. 227-28. Read more

Fourteen States Undergo Universal Periodic Review

Egypt participates in the Universal Periodic ReviewCredit: UN Web TV
Egypt participates in the Universal Periodic ReviewCredit: UN Web TV

Egypt participates in the Universal Periodic Review
Credit: UN Web TV

Fourteen States had their human rights records examined during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group’s 20th session in Geneva, Switzerland from October 27 to November 7. [OHCHR Press Release] At the 20th session, Italy, El Salvador, Gambia, Bolivia, Fiji, San Marino, Kazakhstan, Angola, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Madagascar, Iraq, Slovenia, Egypt, and Bosnia and Herzegovina all reported on the challenges and successes encountered in meeting their human rights obligations, and received recommendations from fellow United Nations Member States. [OHCHR Press ReleaseVideo of the 20th session is available on UN Web TV. Through the UPR process, every UN Member State’s human rights practices is reviewed by its fellow States, with input from civil society and UN human rights bodies, approximately every four years. Read more

In Hassan v. United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights Finds Extra-territorial Jurisdiction over Iraqi Detainee and Examines Interplay between Geneva Conventions and European Human Rights Obligations

The European Court of Human Rights holds a hearing in Hassan v. UK in December 2013Credit: ECtHR
The European Court of Human Rights holds a hearing in Hassan v. UK in December 2013Credit: ECtHR

The European Court of Human Rights holds a hearing in Hassan v. UK in December 2013
Credit: ECtHR

On September 16, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its Grand Chamber judgment in Hassan v. United Kingdom, which involved the detention of an Iraqi national, Tarek Hassan, by the British army in Iraq in 2003. The applicant alleged that the United Kingdom was responsible for Tarek’s unlawful detention, ill-treatment, and death. The key issues before the Court were whether the British army’s actions were brought within the Court’s jurisdiction through extra-territorial application of the European Convention on Human Rights and to what extent the surrounding context of international armed conflict modified the State’s human rights obligations. [ECtHR Press Release]

The Court held that there was no violation of the European Convention on Human Rights because, although Tarek was within the UK’s extra-territorial jurisdiction pursuant to Article 1 of the Convention, the Court interpreted Article 5 of the European Convention to allow for the otherwise unauthorized detention of suspected combatants, in keeping with the Geneva Conventions, in the context of international armed conflict. Because it found that Tarek’s detention complied with international humanitarian law and there was insufficient evidence linking his ill-treatment and death to the actions of the British forces, the Court rejected the applicant’s claims. See ECtHR, Hassan v. United Kingdom, [GC], no. 29750/09, ECHR 2014, Judgment of 16 September 2014, paras. 62–64, 80, 108–111. Read more

New United Nations Report Details Human Rights Abuses by Militias in Libya’s Ongoing Armed Conflict

Press Conference of the Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in Libya. Cherif Bassiouni, Chair of the Commission.Credit: UN Photo/UNIS - Geneva
Press Conference of the Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in Libya. Cherif Bassiouni, Chair of the Commission.Credit: UN Photo/UNIS - Geneva

Cherif Bassiouni, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in Libya at a press conference on April 8, 2011.
Credit: UN Photo/UNIS – Geneva

Last week, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) published a joint report providing an overview of human rights abuses committed in Libya from May through August 2014, amid ongoing fighting among militias for control of Benghazi and Tripoli. See UNSMIL & OHCHR, Overview of Violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law During the Ongoing Violence in Libya (2014). The report confirms that “all sides” are: indiscriminately shelling and attacking civilian objects, including hospitals, which is limiting access to medical care; detaining, abducting, and torturing fighters or suspected fighters; and attacking media professionals and civilians. See id. It concludes that the armed groups’ actions violate international human rights law and international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes, which are subject to prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). See id.

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