Category Archives: regional human rights protection

GQUAL Campaign to Increase Gender Parity on International Rights Bodies

Credit: GQUAL
Credit: GQUAL

Credit: GQUAL

A new campaign, GQUAL, aims to address the gender imbalance on international courts and human rights bodies, where women make up less than 25% of the existing membership. [GQUAL Press Release] The campaign will work to change the nomination and voting practices of States and the relevant institutions, to ensure that gender balance is a real consideration. Through its website, declaration, petition, events, and informational materials, the campaign is striving to raise awareness, engage civil society voices, and increase the transparency of election processes. Additionally, the GQUAL Jobs Board provides information on recent and upcoming elections for nearly all international tribunals and monitoring bodies. On September 17, 2015, the GQUAL (for “gender equal”) campaign formally launched at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. [GQUAL Press Release] Read more

Burkina Faso’s President Reinstated and Elections Rescheduled after Coup


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and interim President of Burkina Faso, Michel Kafando
Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Burkina Faso’s interim President Michel Kafando was reinstated on September 23, 2015, following a truce agreement between coup leaders and the national army. [BBC News: Reinstated; Al Jazeera: Coup leaders sign truce] This truce agreement came after the September 16th coup in which members of the Regiment of Presidential Security (RSP, for its French name: Régiment de sécurité présidentielle), calling themselves the National Democratic Council, under the leadership of General Gilbert Diendéré, kidnapped interim President Kafando, Prime Minister Zida, and two ministry officials, Augustin Loada and Rene Bagoro. [The Guardian: Warning Shots; The Guardian: Violent Protests] Following this, the military announced that it was in power and that the transitional government, which had been put into place in November 2014, had been dissolved. [Al Jazeera: Military Claims Control; Al Jazeera: Transitional Government] Under the agreement that was reached on September 23rd, the RSP agreed to step down and return to its barracks and the national army agreed to withdraw its troops from the capital, Ouagadougou, and guarantee the RSP’s safety. [Al Jazeera: Coup leaders sign truce]

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Ecuador Attempts to Dissolve Only Remaining Independent Press Freedom Organization


The directors of Fundamedios, César Ricaurte and Mauricio Alarcón, during a press conference
Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Carlos Rodríguez

On September 8, 2015 the National Secretariat of Communications of Ecuador (SECOM) sent a letter of notification to La Fundación Andina para la Observación y Estudio de los Medios [The Andean Foundation for the Social Observation and Study of Media] (Fundamedios), a non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to promoting freedom of expression, that it was initiating an administrative process to dissolve the organization. [Committee to Protect Journalists] The SECOM order accuses Fundamedios of violating both its own founding statutes as well as Ecuadorian law governing the role of civic organizations by publishing messages, alerts, and essays with “political overtones.” [El Universo; OAS Press Release] As evidence of this, the annex to SECOM’s notice contains 57 tweets, many of which it claims contain links to opinion pieces or news articles that criticize the government. [Human Rights Watch] The organization was given 10 days since the receipt of this dissolution order to present evidence in its defense. [Freedom House]

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Inter-American Court of Human Rights Holds 53rd Extraordinary Session


The seminar that was held during the Court’s 53rd Extraordinary Session

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) held its 53rd Extraordinary Session in Honduras, which began on August 24 and concluded on August 29, 2015. During this session the Court held public hearings in two cases: Quispialaya Vilcapoma v. Peru and Ángel Alberto Duque v. Colombia. The Court also held a private hearing concerning compliance on the part of Honduras with sentences in six cases: Juan Humberto Sánchez v. Honduras, López-Álvarez v. Honduras, Servellón-García and others v. Honduras, Kawas-Fernández v. Honduras, Pacheco Teruel and others v. Honduras, and Luna López v. Honduras. The Court prepared judgments in two cases: Gonzáles Lluy (TGGL) and family v. Ecuador and Galindo Cárdenas and others v. Peru. Additionally, the Court started proceedings in two cases: Garífuna Community of “Triunfo de la Cruz” and its members v. Honduras and Garífuna Community of Punta Piedra and its members v. Honduras. The Court also reviewed various pending cases and administrative issues.

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ECtHR: Italy’s Failure to Recognize Same-Sex Relationships Violates Privacy Rights


The European Court of Human Rights
Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Cherry X

On July 21, 2015, in Oliari and Others v. Italy, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held that the State violated the European Convention on Human Rights (Convention) by failing to ensure that a legal framework recognizing and protecting same-sex unions was available. See ECtHR, Oliari and Others v. Italy, nos. 18766/11 and 336030/11, Judgment of 21 July 2015. The case was brought by three same-sex couples whose relationships were not recognized under Italian law, which does not allow for the possibility of marriage or any other type of civil union for homosexual couples. The Court, in deciding that Italian laws failed “to provide for the core needs relevant to a couple in a stable committed relationship,” also noted the increasing international and domestic support for legal recognition of same-sex couples. For example, the Court stated that Council of Europe Member States are increasingly putting into place legislation that legally recognizes same-sex couples. Similarly, the Italian Constitutional Court has repeatedly called for protection and recognition of same-sex couples. [ECtHR Press Release]

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