Category Archives: regional human rights protection

On 4th International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, Advocacy and Monitoring Continue on Behalf of Victims and Families

Remembrance, Truth and Justice.Credit: Lisa Reinsberg

On August 30th, the international community will commemorate the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, honoring those who have been forcibly disappeared, while encouraging States to cease this practice and remedy the damage it has caused. Enforced disappearance is defined as arrest, detention, abduction, or other deprivation of a person’s liberty by agents of the State, combined with the “refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person.” See International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, art. 2. In honor of this year’s International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that enforced disappearance “is a practice that cannot be tolerated in the twenty-first century,” urging States to “provide full information about the whereabouts of persons who have been disappeared [and to] effectively implement the right to the truth, justice and reparation for all victims and their families.” [UN]

Remembrance, Truth and Justice.<br>Credit: Lisa Reinsberg

A mural urges remembrance, truth, and justice.
Credit: Lisa Reinsberg

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Inter-American Commission Holds Extraordinary Session & Outreach Events in Mexico This Month

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 152nd Extraordinary Session in Mexico

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 152nd Extraordinary Session in MexicoThis week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Commission) will hold its 152nd Extraordinary Period of Sessions in Mexico City, Mexico, to focus on the general human rights situation in the countries of Central America. [IACHR] These hearings will be the first in seven years to be held away from the Commission’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. In light of the controversial reform process of the past few years, the Commission seems to be striving to make itself increasingly accessible to the public and to emphasize that its mandate includes all of the Americas. On the dates surrounding the session, the Commission will host a workshop on the Inter-American human rights system and help present the Mexican Supreme Court’s new guidelines for judges in cases concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more

European Convention on Violence against Women Enters into Force, Codifying Advances in the Protection of Women’s Human Rights

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Council of Europe Istanbul Convention

Credit: Council of Europe

August 1, 2014 marked the entry into force of the first legally binding instrument in Europe that specifically targets violence against women and domestic violence. The “most far reaching international treaty to tackle this serious violation of human rights,” the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, requires States parties to take steps to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and to implement policies, practices, and supportive measures that assist survivors and relevant agencies. [COE] The Istanbul Convention was drafted by the Council of Europe (COE), an intergovernmental organization with 47 Member States. Unlike the European Convention on Human Rights, ratification of the Istanbul Convention is not a requirement for COE membership, nor is its implementation to be overseen directly by the European Court of Human Rights. Rather, the convention establishes its own independent monitoring mechanism, very similar to a United Nations human rights treaty body. Read more

European Court of Human Rights: Poland Responsible for Secret Detention, Torture, and Rendition of Two Guantánamo Detainees

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Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 11.12.52 AM

UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Mr. Ben Emmerson, speaks as a third party intervenor in the cases before the European Court of Human Rights.

In its first judgment concerning the human rights of current Guantánamo detainees, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found that Poland failed to uphold its international obligations by allowing the secret detention, torture, and extraordinary rendition of a Saudi Arabian national and a stateless Palestinian, both suspected of terrorist acts. See ECtHR, Al Nashiri v. Poland, no. 28761/11, Judgment of 24 July 2014; ECtHR, Husayn (Abu Zubaydah) v. Poland, no. 7511/13, Judgment of 24 July 2014. In both cases, the Court found Poland had violated the applicants’ rights under the European Convention on Human Rights by: enabling the United States to secretly detain and torture the applicants on Polish soil, conducting an inadequate investigation into the acts of torture and ill treatment committed in Poland, and allowing the applicants’ transfer to Guantánamo despite the real risk they would be tortured and could be subjected to unfair trials and the death penalty by the United States. The Court held that these failures constituted violations of the applicants’ rights to humane treatment, liberty and security, respect for private and family life, an effective remedy, and a fair trial.  The tribunal also held that Poland had failed to comply with its Article 38 obligation to cooperate with the European Court’s investigation in the cases.

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Three New Judges Elected to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

African Court on Human and Peoples' RightsCredit: AfCHPR
African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights Credit: AfCHPR

Staff and Judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Credit: AfCHPR

The Assembly of the African Union appointed four judges to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) during its 25th Session in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Three of the judges, Mrs. Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda), Mr. Rafaa Ben Achour (Tunisia), and Mr. Angelo Vasco Matusse (Mozambique), are new to the AfCHPR and the fourth, Justice Sylvain Oré (Côte d’Ivoire), was re-elected to serve a second term. [AfCHPR: New Judges] The swearing-in ceremony will be held on September 8, 2014 in Arusha, Tanzania during a public session of the Court. Read more

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