The Humanion Arkive Year Delta 2018-19
September 24: 2018-September 23:2019
 
The Arkives
First Published: September 24: 2015
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jurisprudence

Democracy is Not the Rule of the Majority: Rather, It is the Rule of Law That Holds the Majority and Minority in an Equilibrium of a Unity by Virtue of Its Judiciousness Rather Than by the Sheer Force of the Many

|| Jurisprudence Arkive Year Alpha || September 24: 2015-September 23: 2016 ||

No parliament has the right nor can it command nor demand such a right to pass any law that dictates personal morality which belongs entirely, fully, comprehensively and inalienably with the Agency of the Human  Mind what is termed in law as The Person. The Person enters into political membership of the State without compromising its absolute integrity of being a whole and nothing but the whole Person.   This does not require much discussion for this is the fundamental basis of Jurisprudence. The State even cannot take away The Person's Membership of the State:Citizenship: let alone his:her right to make own moral choices. In this no such law can be 'legitimately' passed by any Parliament that requires or forces a Person to opt out of his:her personal morality and commits acts against his:her personal morality such a law that requires doctors to prescribe lethal medication prescription for someone, even if in severe pain and suffering, to kill himself:herself nor can such law force anyone to take part in that self annihilation even if they have to watch and observe or even prepare the person committing suicide.

A society that does not admit of and accommodate differences cannot be a free and democratic society, one in which its citizens are free to think, to disagree, to debate and to challenge the accepted view without fear of reprisal. This case demonstrates that a well-intentioned majority acting in the name of tolerance and liberalism, can, if unchecked, impose its views on the minority in a manner that is in itself intolerant and illiberal: The Canadian British Columbia Court of Appeal on upholding lower court ruling that reversed the Law Society of British Columbia’s denial of accreditation to Trinity Western University’s proposed law school on November 01: 2016

UN Human Rights Dialogue: Europe is Curbing Free Speech



|| June 23: 2017 || ά. On June 19, ADF International addressed increasing speech regulations by so-called 'hate speech' laws in a number of UN Member States during the 35th session of the Human Rights Council. The human rights legal organisation delivered an oral statement responding to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the enjoyment of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

“Everyone should be free to speak without fear of being punished by the government. The number of Member States enthusiastically recommending the expansion of ‘hate speech’ laws is worrying. Freedom of speech is one of the hallmarks of a free and democratic society. ‘Hate speech’ laws create a 'you-can’t-say-that' mindset, which silences debate and has a chilling effect on society. In a free society ideas should be fought with ideas, not criminal penalties.” said Mr Rubén Navarro, Senior UN Counsel for ADF International.

Across Europe, 'hate speech' laws have already had a devastating effect on freedom of speech. Ministers of religion have been arrested for preaching sermons from the Bible, journalists are routinely fined and even private conversations between citizens can result in criminal investigation. For example, in Poland, offending 'religious feelings' carries a two-year prison sentence, while in Sweden anyone who expresses 'contempt' toward a group of people, may be, jailed.

The intervention of ADF International pointed to the fact that there was no formal or universally shared definition of what constitutes 'hate speech', an issue cknowledged by the Council of Europe, the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union and UNESCO. “The European Court of Human Rights has affirmed the right to freedom of expression in numerous cultures and contexts across Europe.

Once the State starts censoring unpopular speech, there is no logical stopping point. Freedom of speech fosters vibrant civil society. Censorship creates fear. Citizens feel like they are treading on eggshells, not knowing whether or not their words, may, lead to arrest and prosecution.” said Mr Paul Coleman, Senior Counsel and Deputy Director for ADF International and Author of the book Censored: How European Hate Speech Laws are Threatening Freedom of Speech. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Swedish Midwife Ellinor Grimmark Turns to Human Rights Court



|| June 14: 2017 || ά. Today Christian midwife Mrs Ellinor Grimmark filed her application with the European Court of Human Rights against Sweden. Mrs. Grimmark had to seek work in another country because she refused to participate in abortions. The Swedish courts have failed to recognise her right to conscientious objection. She is the only midwife, who has suffered at the hands of the Swedish authorities. Ms Linda Steen was, also, denied a job as a midwife because she refused to participate in abortions.

“I chose the midwifery profession because I wanted to help bring life into this world. I cannot understand why the Swedish government refuses to accommodate my conscientious convictions. I am now working in Norway, where my conscience is respected, but no-one can explain why Sweden cannot do the same.” explained Mrs Ellinor Grimmark during a media background briefing in Strasbourg today. Three different medical clinics had refused to employ Mrs. Grimmark because she would not assist with abortions in light of her convictions about the dignity of all human life.

On April 12, the Swedish Labour Court of Appeal refused to protect freedom of conscience and found that Mrs. Grimmark’s rights had not been violated. It required her to pay the local government’s legal costs, amounting to more than EUR150,000. ADF International filed an expert brief in support of her case, highlighting the protection for freedom of conscience that exists under international law.

“Ellinor Grimmark’s case could determine whether people, who value life at all stages of development will be able to pursue a medical career in the future. Sweden has failed to protect this midwife’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience guaranteed by international law.” said Mr Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International.

“The desire to help bring life into this world is what leads many midwives and nurses to enter the medical profession in the first place. Instead of forcing desperately needed midwives out of a profession, states should look to safeguard the moral convictions of medical staff.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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International Criminal Court May Open Probe Into Migrant-Related Crimes in Libya: ICC Prosecutor Told the Security Council

International Criminal Court:ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda briefs the Security Council on the situation in Libya. Image: UN Photo:Manuel Elias

 

|| May 08: 2017 || ά. The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court:ICC today told the United Nations Security Council that her Office was considering launching an investigation into alleged migrant-related crimes in Libya, including human trafficking. “My Office continues to collect and analyse information, relating to serious and widespread crimes allegedly committed against migrants attempting to transit through Libya.” said Ms Fatou Bensouda during a Security Council meeting on the North African country’s situation.

“I’m similarly dismayed by credible accounts that Libya has become a marketplace for the trafficking of human beings.” she added, noting that her Office is carefully examining the feasibility of opening an investigation into migrant-related crimes in Libya, should the Court’s jurisdictional requirements be met. “We must act to curb these worrying trends.” she said. Ms. Bensouda said that reports indicated the country was at risk of returning to widespread conflict and such an outcome would not bode well for the rule of law in Libya and would surely aggravate a climate of impunity, which could in turn lead to widespread human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.

Turning to specific cases before the Court, she said that her office had alleged Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, the former Head of the Libyan Internal Security Agency under the Muammar Gaddafi regime, was responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The pre-trial chamber of the Court found reasonable grounds to believe that the Internal Security Agency, led by Mr. Al-Tuhamy, along with other Libyan military, intelligence and security agencies, arrested and detained persons perceived to be opponents of Mr. Gaddafi and his rule.

The prosecutor said that those persons were allegedly subjected to various forms of mistreatment, including severe beatings, electrocution, acts of sexual violence and rape, solitary confinement, deprivation of food and water, inhumane conditions of detention, mock executions and threats of killing and rape, in various locations throughout Libya.

Ms. Bensouda urged Libya as well as State or non-State parties to take immediate action to verify the suspect’s whereabouts and facilitate his arrest and surrender to the Court. She said that the Court 'unsealed' its arrest warrant for Mr. Al-Tuhamy to enhance the chances of justice being done.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Scots Moot at the Hague: May 17-20: But They Need Some Support to Get There and Invite the Country to Lend a Hand for Them to Gather the Funds

Image: University of Dundee

 

|| May 07: 2017: University of Dundee News || ά. The final-year law students from the University of Dundee will represent Scotland as they take on a prestigious international law moot at The Hague later this month. Each year, hundreds of law students from all over Europe compete against one another, representing their university and country at the Telders International Moot Court Competition, now in its 40th year. This year's event is taking place on May 17-20.

The moot, a mock judicial proceeding, will see the team dispute a fictitious case between two states and defend their position in front of a panel of judges from the International Court of Justice, the highest legal organ in the United Nations. The Dundee team consists of UK students Ms Ruby Davies, Ms Christie Allan, Ms Blythe Petrie and Ms Christiane Schleich. Ms Schleich is a German student on the Erasmus exchange programme from the University of Passau.

Ms Schleich said, "It is a great opportunity to apply the knowledge we have learnt over so many years and put them into practice, especially as an Erasmus student. I have improved my English as well as my law and I am very excited to compete against the German teams."

Ms Ruby Davies said, "We are all really delighted to represent Scotland at Telders. It is exciting to think that we will soon be in front of judges who we have all cited in essays for years. They are like legal celebrities to us."

The team was coached by Dr Jacques Hartmann, Senior Lecturer in International Law and Security at the University. Dr Hartmann said, “I am very impressed by the dedication and the hard work that the students have put into the preparation of the moot. I have no doubt that they will fare well."

The four students are raising funds to assist with the cost of participation in the competition, which takes place at The Hague on May 17-20. Donations can be made through this webpage.

Please, support these young people

The Team said about their Fundraising Bid: We are four final year undergraduate law students from the University of Dundee: Ruby Davies, Christiane Schleich, Christie Allan and Blythe Petrie, coached by Dr. Jacques Hartmann. We have been selected to represent Scotland in the Telders International Law Moot Competition. The competition will take place in May 2017 at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

This year's case relates to diplomatic immunity, inviolability of embassy premises, reservations to treaties and legitimate counter-measures. In order to enter the competition, we need to fund our travel and accomodation costs as well as the entry fee. Anyone interested in sponsoring our team will be credited in the Telders International Law Moot publication which will be distributed to all participating parties and members of the audience. This would provide an excellent opportunity to promote the firm on an international level.

We would greatly appreciate any contributions. Help spread the word! ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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ASEAN Summit: Leaders Must Take a Stand Against the Philippines Bloodshed: Amnesty International

Permanent headquarters of the International Criminal Court at The Hague: Image: UN Photo:Rick Bajornas

 

|| April 26: 2017: Amnesty International News || ά. With mounting evidence of government involvement in thousands of extrajudicial executions in the Philippines President Mr Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’, Amnesty International is calling on regional leaders to take a stand against possible crimes against humanity as they meet at the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations:ASEAN Summit in Manila this week.

“While they meet in their comfortable surroundings, ASEAN leaders should spare a thought for the thousands of people, who have been killed as part of Duterte’s brutal crackdown. The vast majority are from marginalised and neglected communities, making it effectively a war on the poor.” said Ms Champa Patel, Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International. “As the death toll mounts, so does evidence of the Philippines authorities’ role in the bloodshed.

That the Philippines is chairing the ASEAN Summit against this horrifying backdrop is a scandal, and should prompt the government to make independent and effective investigations into unlawful killings an immediate priority. They must send a clear message that there will be accountability and an end to such shocking violations.”

Amnesty International is calling upon ASEAN leaders to consider whether the mass killings in the Philippines amount to a 'serious breach' of the ASEAN Charter and in particular, whether they constitute non-compliance with the Charter’s pledge to human rights. Under Article 20:4 of the Charter, the ASEAN Summit, may, on such occasions meet and take action.

In an open letter to the Philippines Justice Secretary, Amnesty International is, also, urging the Philippines authorities to prioritise prompt, impartial and effective investigations into all drug related killings and to press criminal charges against anyone reasonably suspected of involvement, regardless of their rank or status in the police or government. The letter has been signed by over 20 representatives of the organisation, throughout the Asia Pacific, Europe and Americas regions.

Up to 9000 people have been killed by police or unknown armed persons since July 2016. High-ranking government officials and in particular, President Mr Duterte, have explicitly and repeatedly called on police, as well as private citizens, to kill people they suspect of using or selling drugs, rather than acting in accordance with national laws and respecting international human rights obligations.

Amnesty International has stated that unless key steps were promptly taken, the ICC should initiate a preliminary examination into unlawful killings in the Philippines’s violent anti-drug campaign and related crimes under the Rome Statute, including the involvement of government officials, irrespective of rank and status.

The ASEAN Summit is a semi-annual meeting of the leaders of the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to discuss issues of mutual interest.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Discovery of More Mass Graves in Democratic Republic of Cong Must Be Investigated 

Permanent headquarters of the International Criminal Court at The Hague: Image: UN Photo:Rick Bajornas

 

|| April 19: 2017 || ά. Raising alarm over increasing reports of serious human rights violations in the Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental provinces of Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that the scale and nature of the allegations could warrant an investigation by an international mechanism, such as the International Criminal Court:ICC. According the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR, between April 05 and 07, a team of UN human rights and police officials found 17 further mass graves in the Kasai Central province, which had been the location of clashes between security forces and the Kamuina Nsapu, a local militia.

“The discovery of yet more mass graves and the reports of continued violations and abuses highlight the horror that has been unfolding in the Kasais over the last nine months.” said Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a news release, highlighting the need to monitor the situation closely. “Should there be no effective national investigation, I will not hesitate to urge the international community to support an investigation by an international mechanism, including the International Criminal Court.” he added. Fifteen of the recently discovered mass graves were in a cemetery in the town of Tshimbulu and two in the locality of Tshienke.

According to information received by the UN investigators, soldiers from the Forces armées de la Republique démocratique du Congo:FARDC had reportedly dug the graves, after clashing with presumed elements of the Kamuina Nsapu between March 26 and 28. At least 74 people, including 30 children, were reported to have been killed by soldiers as a result of these clashes.

The militia, loyal to a local customary Chief, who was killed in August last year, has been accused of a number of crimes and human rights abuses, including killings and abduction, recruitment of children and targeting schools, hospitals and churches.

“It is absolutely vital that the Government takes meaningful steps, which to date, have been lacking, to ensure that there is a prompt, transparent and independent investigation to establish the facts and circumstances of alleged human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by all parties.” said Mr Al Hussein.

The UN team, also, visited Kananga, a town in Kasai Central, where between March 28 and 30, FARDC soldiers were reported to have shot dead at least 40 people, including 11 children and 12 women, in the town's Nganza commune and injured at least 21 others. There are further allegations that at least two women and three girls had been raped by the soldiers during that operation.

The UN investigators were informed of the killing of three individuals, including a 17-year-old boy and a one-month-old baby during search operations by the Police Nationale Congolaise.

In the statement, High Commissioner Mr Al Hussein offered his Office's assistance in conducting a credible investigation into the reports and allegations but underscored that it must be provided with unfettered access.

“We reiterate our request for access to all sites of mass graves, as well as to all witnesses, including those in detention and other relevant information necessary to determine responsibility at all levels.” he added.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Juriscommuniprudence: That What the University of Sussex Law School Students are Doing

Image: University of Exeter



|| April 15: 2017: University of Sussex News  || ά. A group of legal students from the University of Sussex is helping local people safeguard and protect a piece of beloved community land as part of a Street Law Project to get students involved in community matters. Sussex Law School students have handed Westdene residents a plan, detailing what can be done legally to protect Redhill Playing Fields from the possibility of being developed on. For years the land, which lies at the top of Redhill Close, has been the subject of various housing development applications.

But with the land now in the ownership of of Brighton and Hove City Council, residents want to find a way of protecting it as much as is possible from future development. The residents contacted Street Law Brighton, where law students conduct research for communities on legal issues, saying they wanted to protect the land from further development, keep the name of the park as Redhill Playing Fields and not Gatton Park, as suggested by previous owner developer Bellway Homes and to ensure the upkeep of the park as now it is back in council hands.

Mr Michael Whitty, Chairman of the Westdene and Withdean Community Association, said, “The enthusiasm and commitment given by the law undergraduates at the University of Sussex is unquestionably invaluable. As local residents working on a voluntary basis we would have struggled to provide the high level, intelligent and informative report provided by the students and tutors. I hope we do justice to the work they have done and we manage to protect the site from building development in perpetuity.”

Local ward councillor Mr Nick Taylor has given his backing to the residents and University, saying they can count on his support. Mr Taylor said, ''It is good to see that local residents are benefiting from having a world class university on their doorstep. Residents and ward councillors have fought for years to preserve this much loved green space. It is clear there is no appetite for further development on this land and we must do everything we can to preserve it.”

The students’ carried out thorough research and their report highlights a number of legal avenues the residents can take, including, ensuring the playing fields are given special community protection, a ‘Local Designated Green Space’ through local and neighbourhood planning, registering the land as an ‘Asset of Community Value’, where the community can buy the land if the owner wants to sell, applying to the council to name the park Redhill Playing Fields and set up a Rubbish Collection Volunteering Scheme to ensure the park is looked after and maintained.

Dr Lucy Finchett-Maddock, a Law Lecturer at the University, who leads the students’ research work, said, “Redhill Playing Fields is an extremely important community asset and the residents were very keen on finding a way of protecting it.

Through Street Law, our students have carried out wide ranging research and discovered a variety of ways the park can be protected. We have presented our findings to the residents, who are as a result, far better legally informed and who can now feel empowered to proceed in findings ways of safeguarding the land. Getting involved in a community project like this not only benefits local people, it, also, makes sure our students learn from the experience and furthers their education.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Sweden: Ellinor Grimmark Case: The Swedish Legal System Makes a Fundamental Error of Judgment: If This Has Happened Because of the Existing Swedish Laws Than Sweden Must Look at Its Laws: For If This Ruling is Anything to Go by This Falls Far Bellow the International Standard of Protection That is Awarded to a Person: Ms Grimmark Should Consider Taking the Case to the European Court of Human Rights: The Humanion Calls on the Best of Legal Minds Across Europe and the World to Come Forward and Join ADF in Supporting This Case

Image: ADF

|| April 12: 2017 || ά. Should a midwife have to choose between following her conscience or pursuing her career? On April 12 the Swedish Labour Court of Appeal, in refusing to protect freedom of conscience, found that midwives could be asked to make that choice. The judgment contradicts international law, protecting conscientious objection. Ms Ellinor Grimmark, a Swedish midwife, who filed the appeal, must now decide whether to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. The question is this, has the court made this judgment within the existing Swedish laws, in which case, the Court is not the focal point of this judgment but the Judiciary of Sweden, that now must look at its existing laws for this judgment brings out the fact that Swedish legal system falls far, far, far bellow and way too far short, in ensuring the same level and degree of protection to a 'person's rights, that are protected under international and European human rights laws.

“The Court has failed to protect Ellinor Grimmark’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience, despite the clear legal protections, that exist in international law. Some have attempted to frame this case as one, that pits one human right against another. However, the only person, whose rights have been violated, is Ellinor Grimmark.” said Mr Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International. The Humanion would encourage Ms Grimmark to seriously consider taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights and that ADF continues to support her and her case. Further, The Humanion calls on other legal organisations and practioners of law across Europe and the World to join ADF in supporting Ms Grimmark in her fight to achieve justice for the violation of her fundamental human rights. She does not fight for herself; no one fights for their human rights for themselves alone. She fights for all humanity, that must fight on in seeking to protect its absolute inviolability of its humanity, of its 'person', of its 'agency'. 

Three different medical clinics in the district of Jönköping had refused to employ Ms. Grimmark because she would not assist with abortions in light of her convictions about the dignity of all human life. However, in November 2015, a district court found that Ms. Grimmark’s right to freedom of conscience had not been violated.

It required her to pay the local government’s legal costs, amounting to 100,000EUR. ADF International filed an expert brief in support of her case, highlighting the protection for freedom of conscience, that exists under international law.

“The desire to protect life is what leads many midwives and nurses to enter the medical profession in the first place. Instead of forcing desperately needed midwives out of a profession, states should look to safeguard the moral convictions of their staff.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has affirmed that ‘no person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion.” added Mr Clarke. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Sweden: If Human Beings are Not Able to Live by Their Conscience They are Brought Down to Simple Biological Physiologies: Should This Be the Choice Sweden Seek to Maintain That Says: Humans are Simply Biological Physiologies: That is the Question the Ellinor Grimmark Case is Posing Before the Swedish Labour Court of Appeal

Image: ADF

|| April 10: 2017 || ά. Should a midwife have to choose between following her conscience or pursuing her career? On April 12, the Labour Court of Appeal will decide this question for Sweden. The case of midwife Ellinor Grimmark has already attracted significant media attention, not least because her legal team exposed Sweden’s disregard for international law protecting conscientious objection. This does not require much argument and the case is prima facie. What is the primary function of Midwifery: as in the function of a knife to cut? Therefore, the test is this: is the knife's primary and sole-prima-existentia function not cutting? What then, when someone then, forces the knife, not to cut but do sawing, instead or in addition to cutting? Then it should not even apply to the argument for the sole-prima-existentia of the knife is not to saw.

The primary, sole prima-existentia of Midwifery is to enable, support and guide giving birth. The task, that requires midwives to conduct abortions, goes strictly against this test of sole prima-existentia. Therefore, to the point, any midwife could, hypothetically and legitimately, refuse to do any task, involving abortions because it does not involve giving birth but terminating birth. This is exactly the same case, if a Consultant refuses to take part in the taking of a life, in the case where the person decided to take their own life and, say, law forces the Consultant to enable that taking of life. Does the Consultant have a right to refuse simply based on the same principle of sole-prima-existentia of a doctor for a physician does not exist to take lives but enable and support lives to heal. The question of conscience arises secondarily in both these cases, which is equally applicable to both instances under our discussion and here is the problem with 'forcing' humanity to become nothing but biological physiologies, which is what happens if they are nor not able to follow their conscience.

This does not, however, take a view in favour or in opposition to the debate of abortions but simply  states the valid jurisprudential principle: a human being is a 'person' by international law, a 'person', that is by definition, comprised with and by an agency of a human mind, that cannot exist without its sanctity of conscience. Or in other words: a human agency of a person is inalienably inseparable from the conscience part of its existence. And if the conscience is ripped apart from the human person's agency than she:he simply ceases to be a person or human and becomes merely a biological physiology. Human rights, civil liberties and all fundamental freedoms do and will simply vanish if we do not adhere to this fundamental philosophical foundation, on which they are established.

Therefore, The Humanion sincerely hopes that the Swedish Labour Court of Appeal sees the danger this cases poses to this very foundation of international law and rule to uphold the human person and that person's inviolability, that is unqualified under the very foundation of, what we call law. No one can, should, must and must be allowed to violate this human person, this human agency. And in this, Ms Ellinor Grimmark has been violated on, at least, two accounts: on account of the test of sole-prima-existentia and on account of the freedom of conscience. And it is an admirable thing that ADF is supporting her with this case. The Humanion hopes that, should the Court rule to uphold the violations, ADF shall continue the fight with, on behalf of and by and for Ms Grimmark, for the most profound, most vital and most fundamental principle, yardstick and foundation of the very concept of law is challenged by these violations, that cannot, must not be accepted.

“Participation in abortions should not be a requirement for employment as a midwife.” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International. "We are hopeful that the Court, in accordance with international law, will protect Ellinor Grimmark’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience. Three different medical clinics in the district of Jönköping had refused to employ Ms. Grimmark because she would not assist with abortions in light of her convictions regarding the dignity of all human life.

However, in November 2015, a district court found that Ms. Grimmark’s right to freedom of conscience had not been violated. It required her to pay the local government’s legal costs, amounting to 100,000 EUR.

ADF International filed an expert brief in support of her case, highlighting the protection for freedom of conscience that exists under international law.

“Some have attempted to frame this case as one that pits one human right against another. However, the only person, whose rights have been violated is Ellinor Grimmark. Midwives in other countries are able to work in accordance with their consciences. This should be proof enough that Sweden stands without an excuse.” said Mr Clarke.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Teesside Law Clinic Receives National Recognition for Its Continued Pro-Bon Legal Work for Those Who Otherwise Have No Access to Legal Counsel

Image: Teesside University

 

|| April 07: 2017: Teesside University News || ά. The Law Clinic, based at the University’s School of Social Sciences, Business and Law, has been shortlisted for the third time in a row, for the Northern Law Awards 2017, which will be awarded on June 01. The Law Clinic has a dual purpose in providing law students with real practical experience of handling legal cases, while offering a service to the community in cases where people, may, otherwise find it difficult to afford legal advice and representation.

Andrew Perriman, Senior Lecturer in Law, Teesside Law Clinic, said, ''To be shortlisted is an incredible achievement and means that the Law Clinic has been a finalist for three consecutive years. No other organisation, educational institute or law firm can boast this accolade.'' The nomination was as a result of the Law Clinic’s work in offering advice to former steelworkers, who were not in a union, following the closure of the SSI site in Redcar.

A special meeting was called in Redcar by the Law Clinic for former SSI steelworkers, who were not in a union in order to offer free legal advice, guidance and representation from law students supervised by academics and lawyers. It came about after the Law Clinic was contacted by a number of former SSI workers with concerns about the consultation process involved when the Redcar site closed.

The Law Clinic offered advice to workers, who weren’t part of a union while they worked at the company to see if they were eligible for a protective award. ''The Law Clinic was approached by a number of ex-employees from the former steelworks formerly owned by SSI, following a case heard in the employment tribunal. Teesside Law Clinic students looked at the issues raised to see if assistance could be offered to those ex-employees, who were not members of a recognised trade union. We met with a number of those steelworkers affected by the closure to discuss their options and clarify some points of law.'''

The Law Clinic was commended by the Attorney General in 2015 for its work on a legal challenge on behalf of a client to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in a bid to secure fair payouts for historic abuse victims. Since its launch in 2012, Teesside Law Clinic has dealt with over 1,000 enquires including referrals from solicitors, the courts, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and MPs. The team has, also, recovered or saved in excess of one and a half million pounds for clients.The Northern Law Awards 2017 will be held in Newcastle on Thursday, June 01.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Bangladesh: Halt the Imminent Executions of the Three Men Who Tried to Kill the UK Ambassador: Amnesty International

World Day Against Death Penalty: Joint Declaration by the European Union and the Council of Europe

|| March 26: 2017: Amnesty International News || ά. Bangladesh must halt the imminent executions of three men sentenced to death for a grenade attack on the UK Ambassador, Amnesty International said. Prison authorities in Bangladesh today confirmed that the executions of Mufti Abdul Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul and Delwar Hossain Ripon, all alleged members of the banned armed group Harkat-ul-Jihad, would be carried out soon. They were all convicted of and sentenced to death over an attack in 2004 which injured the then-UK High Commissioner, Anwar Choudhury, and killed three people.

“These executions must be stopped immediately. While those found responsible for crimes after fair trials should be punished, the death penalty is never the solution. It’s dismaying that the Bangladeshi authorities are looking to take more lives in the name of fighting ‘terrorism’.” said Olof Blomqvist, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh researcher. “The death penalty is always a human rights violation and is in no way a more effective way to tackle crime than life imprisonment. Sending these men to the gallows will not make Bangladesh safer, it will only add to the death toll.”

On March 19, 2017, the Bangladeshi Supreme Court rejected the three men’s final appeals. Their only remaining option is now to seek a presidential pardon to stop the executions. Bangladesh is among the minority of states globally that still implements the death penalty. In 2015, four people were executed in the country, while almost 200 people were sentenced to death.

“We urge President Abdul Hamid to pardon these three men and spare their lives. Bangladesh should, also, immediately impose a moratorium on executions with a view to full abolition of the death penalty. More and more countries around the world are coming around to the fact that taking lives neither deters crime nor is an effective mean to deliver justice.” said Olof Blomqvist.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the executions.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Who are Attending the International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition 2017 in Vienna Austria: April 06-13

Image: Bahir Dar University

 

|| March 13: 2017: Bahir Dar University Ethiopia News || ά. Bahir Dar University:BDU Ethiopia is to participate in the International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition 2017, taking place on April 06-13. BDU LLM students of Business and Corporate Law, School of Law are to represent the university in the 24th William C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition in Vienna, Austria.

The Team will be represented by Ayene Mengesha Sisay, who is, also, an academic staff at the law school and Zena Abera Tesema. The William C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition is one of the most prestigious International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition whereby more than 340 universities around the world will take part in this year only.

BDU and Cairo University are the only representatives from Africa in the competition. Such a global contest is the first for both BDU and Ethiopian universities in general. In the first phase, BDU’s LLM students have submitted written memorials both as an applicant and respondent, and it is after a very competitive screening of memorials submitted by different universities that our team has advance to the oral round.

Before participating in the oral litigation at Vienna, Austria in from April the BDU representatives will participate in the pre-moot event, organised at Heidelberg University, Germany, from March 31–April 05.

In the preliminary round of the oral litigation, BDU representatives will be facing the representatives of Universidad de Brazilia, Erasmus University, the Netherlands, New York University, USA and ILS Law College, Pune, India.

This academic engagement of BDU, through global ties and academic partnerships, is part of its vision of joining hands with institutions, working towards internationalisation of higher education and the assurance of its quality. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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It Appears UP is on the Up Again in South Africa So That Now They are Heading to Washington DC in April

Image: University of Pretoria


|| March 11: 2017: University of Pretoria South Africa News: Gift Kgomosotho Writing || ά. The University of Pretoria Faculty of Law proudly announces that its TuksLaw team has beaten the team from the University of the Witwatersrand in the final round of the South African leg of the 58th Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The national rounds were hosted at the offices of White and Case LLP International Law Firm in Johannesburg on Saturday, February 25. As a result, the University of Pretoria:UP team will represent South Africa at the international rounds of the competition in April 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. The Jessup Competition is the largest and most prestigious moot court competition in the world.

The UP team consisted of Mary-Ann Gettliffe, LLM student, Ashley Makgatho, second-year LLB student and Tinotenda Kakora, final-year LLB student. Obviously, the team members needed a coach, who happens to be Gift Kgomosotho, an LLM student and researcher at the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa, ICLA. Professors Dire Tladi, Frans Viljoen, Christof Heyns and Wisiting Professor Stuart Maslen, ICLA served as judges in the internal practice rounds before this qualifying round of the competition. The team has won all the available categories, best memorials, best oralist, Gettliffe and best overall team.

As the team prepares for Washington, there will be further opportunities for staff and students to assist by acting as guest judges in the internal practice rounds. The 2017 compromis deals with environmental law, the sharing of natural resources and the equitable use thereof, cultural property and state responsibility.

Coach Gift Kgomosotho said upon the team's return to campus, ''I am very proud of Mary-Ann and Ashley. They have worked very hard for this. I admired the growth they showed between their try-outs and when they argued in court. Ashley was only a first-year when I selected him to be on the team; I saw raw potential that would turn into something great.

While I had previously worked with Mary-Ann in 2015, I have seen her improve greatly this time around. Our researcher and assistant coach, Tinotenda, whom I have worked with closely for the past two years, has been instrumental here. She continues to impress with her skill of juggling Jessup with all her other responsibilities. Coaching this team has been a great pleasure because of the participants' sheer commitment to the process.

We are very happy with what we have achieved and we realise that we shall have to do much more in preparation for the international rounds. Many thanks to everyone who acted as guest judges in our practice rounds. Most importantly, many thanks to Professor Heyns and Dean Boraine who made this possible.''

Kakora said that competing in the Jessup is no an easy feat. ''Having participated in the competition in 2016 I can appreciate the intensity and dedication it takes to win. However, the 2017 team more than rose to the occasion. The team sacrificed their holidays and free time during the semester and in addition to this, had to juggle schoolwork and other extra-curricular activities. Despite these challenges they performed extremely well.

''Being a master's student, an academic associate and working as a tutor off-campus, Mary-Ann's work ethic is nothing short of inspirational and her award for best oralist was certainly well deserved. I am also very proud of Ashley, who as a mere first-year law student, was able to not only grasp the complex concepts of international law, a module taught only at third-year level, but also to form cogent legal arguments and present them orally and in written form in front a of a panel of highly experienced and intimidating judges.

''I am very humbled to have worked with Gift Kgomosotho who, being a seasoned mooter himself, was able to coach and groom the team to a winning standard in a limited amount of time. I have learned a great deal from him and hope to use this knowledge should I coach a team one day. The team's performance at the South African qualifying round was excellent and I am excited to see how they perform internationally.''  The Faculty says that it is very proud of its team's accomplishments and wishes the best for them as they prepare to head to Washington DC.
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UN Should Investigate Hate Speech Laws: ADF International

Image: ADF International

|| March 10: 2017 || ά. On Friday, March 10, ADF International expressed its views regarding the current UN Report on the Freedom of Religion or Belief during the General Debate at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council. The report failed to expose existing violations of the freedom of religion or belief, conscience and expression in the US, Australia and Europe.

 “We see a massive curtailing of fundamental liberties in the West. While religious oppression may be fiercer in other regions of the world, we must not turn a blind eye to the developments in the US, Europe or Australia. Many have been pushed out of the public square because they refuse to abandon deeply-held convictions. An aggressive secular liberal polity, which claims to be objective and ideologically neutral, pushes people to choose between their religion and their profession.” said Rubén Navarro, Senior UN Counsel for ADF International.

“We have seen many cases of bakers, florists, photographers or venue providers, who have simply exercised their right to religious freedom. They have refused facilitating or promoting such concepts as same-sex unions or other ideas that stand in stark contrast to their faith. International law guarantees equal protection to all people.

It prohibits discrimination on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion. The UN should not simply accept that citizens lose their jobs, be slandered or even sent off to jail, because they refuse to violate their religious beliefs.” ‘Hate speech’ laws are another cause for concern. The report did not properly address these either, despite the growing tendency in the West to use legislation to curb free speech and silence debate.

In his Oral Statement Navarro mentioned the example of the Australian Archbishop of Hobart. He was summoned by a state tribunal, where he had to justify the distribution of a booklet on Catholic teaching on marriage at one of his diocese´s Catholic schools.

“We believe that a free and democratic society is based on a culture of debate and exchange of ideas. Prosecuting clerics or people of faith because they publicly speak about traditional religious doctrine on marriage, family and sexuality, opposes this democratic culture. It also violates their fundamental rights. We urge the UN and especially the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to investigate and report on these issues in greater detail in the future.” said Rubén Navarro. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Mental Anguish Adds Weight to Argument for Ending Capital Punishment: Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein

World Day Against Death Penalty: Joint Declaration by the European Union and the Council of Europe

 

|| March 02: 2017 || ά. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein today reiterated his call to abolish the death penalty as it raises serious issues in relation to the dignity and rights of all human beings, including the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. “International and national bodies have determined that several methods of execution are likely to violate the prohibition of torture, because of the pain and suffering they are likely to inflict on the convicted person.” said Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, at the opening of the biennial high-level panel discussion on the death penalty, which was organised as part of the Human Rights Council’s current session.

“Studies of the severe pain and suffering caused by other methods has continued to extend this list, to the point where it has become increasingly difficult for a State to impose the death penalty without violating international human rights law.” he stated. He added that the long and highly stressful period that most individuals endure while waiting on ‘death row’ for years, or even decades and frequently in isolation, for an uncertain outcome, has also been referenced as constituting torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. This 'death row phenomenon' has been recognised by the UN Human Rights Committee and other bodies at the international, regional and domestic levels, as well as by the California Supreme Court.

When the authorities fail to give adequate information about the timing of executions, they keep not only the convicted person but also his children and other family members in permanent anticipation of imminent death, he explained. 

''The severe mental and physical suffering which are inflicted by capital punishment on the person concerned and family members should now be added to the weight of the argument.” Mr. Zeid said, explaining that this is another reason why the death penalty should be abolished, besides its capricious and often discriminatory application and its failure to demonstrate any deterrent effect beyond that of other punishments.

Mr A Hussein recalled that a former Special Rapporteur has recommended that the Human Rights Council request a comprehensive legal study regarding the emergence of a customary norm according to which the death penalty constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

It has been 10 years since the General Assembly resolution of December 2007 which urged States to adopt a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with a view towards its full abolition. Over this decade, the global trend against capital punishment has become increasingly strong, with almost three out of four countries now having either abolished it or stopped practicing it.

However, the overall number of executions in States that continue to resort to the death penalty has increased in the last two years, and some States in which a moratorium had been in place for many years have recently resumed executions. “I take this opportunity, once again to urge all States to end use of the death penalty.” Mr. Zeid said.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Slovakia: Unlawful Ethnic Segregation in Schools is Failing Romani Children

Image: Amnesty International
 

|| March 01: 2017: Amnesty International News  || ά. Romani children in Slovakia are being failed by a discriminatory primary school system which continues to segregate them and seriously hinder their education, condemning them to lives of poverty and exclusion, Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre:ERRC said in a new report published today. A Lesson in Discrimination: Segregation of Romani children in Primary Education in Slovakia shows that limited reforms and even the threat of fines from the European Union for breaching EU law, have done little to end the routine practice of placing Romani children in separate classrooms or schools.

Romani children are also routinely being assessed as having 'mild mental disabilities' and sent to special schools where the quality of education is inferior. “Almost two years after the European Commission launched infringement proceedings against Slovakia for discrimination and segregation in education, Romani children remain trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, marginalization and despair.” said ERRC President Ðorđe Jovanović. “Slovakia’s abject failure to address deeply ingrained prejudices within the education system is blighting the future of generations of Romani children from the moment they step into the classroom.”

The report, which focused on four locations in eastern Slovakia, reveals that Romani children are being placed in segregated Roma-only schools or classes, or special schools and classes for children with 'mental disabilities', which have reduced curriculums and limited career opportunities. Another contributing factor to segregation is the fact that non-Roma parents often remove their children from schools when they feel there are 'too many Romani pupils'. Slovak authorities have no effective plans or policies in place to tackle this phenomenon, known as 'white flight'.

Segregation often begins even before primary school, with Romani children routinely being assessed as not ready for primary education and placed in preparatory 'zero grade' classes instead. The education that Romani pupils receive at special schools and in segregated classes is of such poor quality that very few are equipped to continue their schooling beyond the age of 16. The small number that do, have few options other than vocational schools, hugely reducing their future employment options.

In one of the locations investigated, Romani boys who had enrolled at a private secondary vocational school run by a nearby manufacturing company described how they spend most of their time putting together electric plugs which the company then sells. Girls at the school are offered 'Practical Woman':Praktická Žena lessons, part of a nationwide programme in which Romani girls are taught to become 'good housewives' with lessons in cooking and housework.

Deep-seated prejudices and low expectations of Romani children among the teaching staff further hinder their educational opportunities. One teacher called the school she worked in 'a little zoo'. Another said that Roma 'procreate among themselves. Incest happens very often' before going on to describe her pupils’ 'unrealistic' dreams:

“All of them want to be teachers or doctors…it’s a huge difference between what they fancy to be and how they end up eventually. Although the older ones, especially boys, are more realistic and end up being bricklayers, for example.” The report found a deeply disturbing pattern of cultural bias among those responsible for assigning placements to special schools, resulting in the misdiagnosis of dozens of Romani children. In one of the locations researchers visited, around a third of Romani children had been diagnosed with a 'mild mental disability'.

One Romani mother interviewed described her shock when her son, who was judged by a psychologist to be 'very clever', was placed in a special school without explanation. Parents described how children at special schools are often not allowed to bring textbooks home and are routinely not given any homework. Many Romani children speak Slovak only as a second language, severely curtailing their opportunities to participate in wider Slovak-speaking society.

Several parents said that children were often instructed to draw and paint during Slovak language classes, and the father of one 17-year-old boy told us that when he finished at the special school he was still unable to read, write or speak Slovak. Amnesty International and the ERRC are urging the European Commission to push Slovakia to bring its policies in line with EU law on race discrimination, by issuing a ‘reasoned opinion’ against Slovakia, which is the final step before taking them to court.

“The segregation of Romani children is not only disturbing, it is unlawful. It is this, and not the hefty EU fines that will otherwise surely come their way, that should be motivating the Slovak authorities to put a stop to it.”


Background: In April 2015 the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Slovakia for an alleged breach of EU anti-discrimination legislation, which are ongoing. If it fails to comply with EU law on this issue Slovakia could be subjected to severe financial penalties.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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OHCHR Disappointed with the Thai Government’s Refusal to Criminalise Enforced Disappearance

Image: UN Photo

|| February 28: 2017 || ά. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR today urged the Government of Thailand to criminalise enforced or voluntary disappearance and torture. The announcement follows news last week that Thailand's National Legislative Assembly, the military-appointed parliament, decided not to enact a bill that would have done just that.

“The Assembly’s decision to reject the bill is very concerning, given the continued allegations of torture and disappearances in Thailand and it is deeply worrying that such actions may now continue without any legal redress.” Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva. Ms. Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR, characterised the decision to not enact the bill as 'a devastating blow' to the families of those who have disappeared.

Since 1980, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Voluntary Disappearances recorded 82 cases of enforced disappearances in the country. Those include the disappearances of respected lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit in 2004 and Karen human rights activist Pholachi 'Billy' Rakchongcharoen in 2014.

Speaking to the press, Ms. Shamdasani also raised concern about the increasing number of criminal cases brought against human rights defenders in Thailand for reporting allegations of torture and ill-treatment.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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New Legal Innovation Centre at Ulster University

Andrew Brammer, Allen and Overy Belfast; Ulster University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paddy Nixon;
Executive Director of Baker McKenzie Belfast, Jason Marty and Professor Jonathan Askin,
Brooklyn Law School. Image: Ulster University

 

|| February 22: 2017: Ulster University: Northern Ireland: United Kingdom News || ά. Ulster University today launched a new Legal Innovation Centre, which will be at the forefront of advancing the use of technology-driven innovation in legal services and legal education globally. The Centre, a collaboration between the School of Law and the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, is the first of its kind in the UK. It has been established with support from leading global law firms Allen and Overy and Baker McKenzie, both of which have established bases in Belfast in recent years. The Centre has also received sponsorship from Invest Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Ulster University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paddy Nixon, said, “There is a growing recognition of the crucial and ever-expanding role of technology in law. The Centre will undertake much-needed research on technological innovations to facilitate legal process improvement, and so promote greater economic efficiency and improved access to justice. The Centre will also enable those interested in LawTech, whether legal professionals, law students or others, to study the technological transformation of legal practice, and the implications of this change. In this way it will foster the emergence of legal technologists, ready for the challenges of legal service provision in the information age.

The legal sector is immensely important to our economy and in recent years Northern Ireland has attracted significant investment from several global law firms which has created a hub of legal expertise with a focus on innovation. This new Centre will underpin the strength of our legal sector and further enhance Ulster University’s global reputation for law and computer science research excellence.”

Commenting on the Legal Innovation Centre, Jane Townsend, Partner and Head of A and O’s Legal Services Centre in Belfast, said, “Legal service is a knowledge-led business and technology is pivotal to everything we do. Across our firm, we seek to continually improve and enhance our systems and the way we do things. This collaboration gives us the opportunity to work towards these and other goals while deepening our strong relationship with Ulster University. We’ve been greatly impressed by the high calibre of the Legal Innovation Centre and its strategy for accelerating innovation and technology in the legal sector.”

Jason Marty, Executive Director of Baker McKenzie Belfast, said, “Terrific education at all levels was a deciding factor for us in choosing to locate in Belfast. This new centre extends that strength and directly connects to the opportunities and challenges facing the law and the legal industry. We expect our partnership with the center to provide tangible impacts in how we build our teams, technologies, and business. We also look forward to contributing to the good work of the center on issues with direct benefit to the people and legal system of Northern Ireland and beyond.”

The Centre will be led by three Ulster University academics: Professor Eugene McNamee, Law, Professor Kevin Curran, Computer Science and Centre Director, Dr Catrina Denvir. The Centre will give students and lawyers the opportunity to familiarise themselves with different types of legal technology software provided by the University’s academic partners, Clio and Caselines.

Clio is the world’s leading cloud-based law practice management platform and Caselines is the market-leading service for the preparation of legal bundles and electronic presentation in the court room.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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In a Period of Profound Uncertainty: The Time to Stand up for Human Rights is Now: OHCHR

OHCHR human rights officers speaking with a member of the Chepang indigenous community in Nepal. Image: OHCHR:Robert Few

|| February 15: 2017 || ά. Urging action for greater freedoms, stronger respect and more compassion, OHCHR today launched a $253 million appeal, its largest to date, to bolster its 2017 work programme to protect and advance the rights of people around the world. “In numerous countries, even the rules are under attack, xenophobia and calls for racial and religious discrimination have entered mainstream discourse and every day, seemingly, are more widespread and more deeply rooted.” said Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a news release issued by his office, OHCHR announcing the appeal.

“More and more people are suddenly realising we can no longer afford to be complacent about human rights and that the erosion of other people's human rights will sooner or later lead to the erosion of our own.” According to OHCHR, the extra-budgetary funds will augment its work in providing in-country assistance, supporting UN independent rights experts and the Human Rights Council, as well as contribute to a number of trust funds on issues such as torture, rights of indigenous peoples and contemporary forms of slavery. Erosion of other people's human rights will sooner or later lead to the erosion of our own.

“Through human rights advocacy, advice on laws and constitutions, training of State authorities as well as of non-governmental organisations, fact-finding and hard-hitting investigations that lay the groundwork for accountability and amplify the voices of victims of human rights violations, through these and other means, OHCHR helps in the push for better human rights protections for all.” said High Commissioner Zeid.

The Office has some 60 field presences in different locations around the globe. These include country, regional and stand-alone offices, human rights advisers, and human rights components of UN missions. However, it struggles with 'dramatic and chronic' underfunding.

“More than ever, we need strong partners to stand with us …We need to broaden our financial support base to include more Member States and encourage participation from a much broader range of private donors.” said Mr. Zeid, calling for their support to help prevent human rights crisis from escalating as well as contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“We can advocate a broad, open democratic space and impartial rule of law institutions in every country …we can push back against the current assaults on values and act swiftly to uphold the human rights laws and principles we fought so hard to build.” he highlighted, adding: “The time to stand up for human rights is now. We are counting on your support.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Here's a Splendid Idea: To Sharpen One to Do Double Good: Experimental Family Law Incubator at University of Calgary to Prepare Students Better While Extending Legal Services to Those Who Cannot Access It Otherwise

Image: University of Calgary


|| February 13: 2017: University of Calgary Canada News: Ali Abel Writing || ά.  Are you one of the 60 per cent of self-represented litigants who are in family court and cannot access or afford legal advice or representation? The Family Law Incubator Project at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law represents another step in its commitment to experiential learning and preparing lawyers of the future, while increasing access to justice.

The project will involve graduates serving a two-year term, during which they will complete their Articles and their first year as a practicing lawyer. In addition to the professional legal training articling students will receive, they will be given formal instruction in areas such as business planning, legal project management, marketing, and human resources, so that they are truly prepared in the practice of law.

Incubator combines hands-on learning with technology-based approach to practice. “We feel that graduates who work in the Family Law Incubator will receive a better level of training than traditional Articles,” says Ian Holloway, dean of the law school. “We will give them intense hands-on learning opportunities, while increasing the number of family law practitioners in the city.”

The incubator will also embrace, from the outset, a technology-based, paperless office approach to practice. “The way law offices run is changing. We need to help students and graduates be prepared for the legal marketplace of the future, not the one my counterparts and I joined many years ago,” says Holloway.

The law school has hired Kyla Sandwith to run the incubator as Executive Director. Sandwith is a lawyer and legal operations and management consultant with a master's in law firm management. She is a pragmatic innovator committed to helping new lawyers thrive in the changing legal market.

“Through this project the Faculty of Law is addressing an unmet need in legal education, and I am proud to be a part of this endeavour. The next generation of lawyers will need more than an education in the profession of law, they will need to understand the business of law in order to keep pace with the changing market and effectively meet the needs of clients.” says Sandwith.

The Family Law Incubator will operate out of the University of Calgary’s Downtown Campus and is expected to open early in the second quarter of 2017. 
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Russia: Court Offers Chink of Light in the Case Brought by Jailed Protester Ildar Dadin
 


|| February 10: 2017: Amnesty International News || ά. ''This morning’s Constitutional Court ruling in Saint Petersburg, scaling back Russia’s draconian rules on public protest offers a rare glimmer of hope for the right to peaceful assembly.'' Amnesty International said. In the case brought by Ildar Dadin, a prisoner of conscience, who is the first and so far only person thrown behind bars because of the law, the Court stated clearly that criminal liability of protesters should be based on harm caused or the threat of such harm, rather than the mere fact of holding an ‘unauthorised’ peaceful gathering.

“This ruling represents a chink of light in an otherwise bleak outlook for the right to peaceful assembly in Russia. It sends a strong message to the authorities who have used this draconian legislation to persecute peaceful protesters like Ildar Dadin.” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International. The Court also required a review of Ildar Dadin’s case. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights. The authorities must promptly conduct the review to ensure he is immediately and unconditionally released.

“While this is a step in the right direction, Russia’s anti-protest laws remain chillingly harsh. We reiterate our call on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Dadin and to ensure that nobody else is prosecuted solely for holding a peaceful protest.” said Denis Krivosheev.

Ildar Dadin’s legal challenge questioned the constitutionality of Article 212.1 of Russia’s Criminal Code. The Article was introduced in July 2014 to criminalise the repeated violation, more than three times within 180 days, of Russia’s unduly restrictive rules governing public assemblies. This 'crime' is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

A Moscow court applied the rule to sentence Ildar Dadin to three years’ imprisonment on December 07, 2015, reduced to two and a half years on appeal. The Constitutional Court did not find the article to be unconstitutional but ruled that criminal punishment for these violations must be proportionate to the actual public danger caused by an offense. Furthermore, courts are now required to prove a person’s criminal intent to commit such violations.

The Court called on Russian lawmakers to adjust the Criminal Code accordingly. Ildar Dadin’s first 'violation' was for peacefully protesting, as a lone picketer, against the conviction of peaceful activists from Bolotnaya demonstration of May 06, 2012 in Moscow, for which he was detained and fined. He has since been either fined or detained on three more occasions for similar 'offences'.

On November 01, 2016, in a letter to his wife, published on a news site, Ildar Dadin described the torture and other ill-treatment he was subjected to, including severe beatings and rape threats, in Segezha prison colony, Republic of Karelia, around 1,200 km north of Moscow. Since then, Ildar Dadin was moved to another prison colony in Southern Siberia, thousands of kilometres away from his home and family. This appears to be intended as a form of harassment for his complaints about torture and other ill-treatment.
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Syria: Secret Campaign of Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison: Those Responsible for These Heinous Crimes Must Be Brought to Justice

 



|| February 07: 2017: Amnesty International News || ά. A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people were taken out of their prison cells and hanged to death. In five years, as many as 13,000 people, most of them civilians believed to be opposed to the government, were hanged in secret at Saydnaya. Human slaughterhouse: Mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya prison, Syria also shows that the government is deliberately inflicting inhuman conditions on detainees at Saydnaya Prison through repeated torture and the systematic deprivation of food, water, medicine and medical care. The report documents how these extermination policies have killed massive numbers of detainees.

These practices, which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, are authorised at the highest levels of the Syrian government. “The horrors depicted in this report reveal a hidden, monstrous campaign, authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government, aimed at crushing any form of dissent within the Syrian population.” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s regional office in Beirut. “We demand that the Syrian authorities immediately cease extrajudicial executions and torture and inhuman treatment at Saydnaya Prison and in all other government prisons across Syria. Russia and Iran, the government’s closest allies, must press for an end to these murderous detention policies.

The upcoming Syria peace talks in Geneva cannot ignore these findings. Ending these atrocities in Syrian government prisons must be put on the agenda. The UN must immediately carry out an independent investigation into the crimes being committed at Saydnaya and demand access for independent monitors to all places of detention.” The report reveals a routine of mass extrajudicial executions by hanging inside Saydnaya prison that was in place between 2011 and 2015. Every week, and often twice a week, victims were hanged in groups of up to 50 people, in the middle of the night and in total secrecy. There are strong reasons to believe that this routine is still ongoing today. Large numbers of detainees have also been killed as a result of the authorities’ extermination policies, which include repeated torture and the systematic deprivation of food, water, medicine and medical care.

In addition, detainees at Saydnaya Prison are forced to obey a set of sadistic and dehumanizing rules. The findings of the report are based on an intensive investigation, which was carried out over the course of one year, from December 2015 to December 2016. It involved first-hand interviews with 84 witnesses that included former Saydnaya guards and officials, detainees, judges and lawyers, as well as national and international experts on detention in Syria. A previous report published in August 2016, for which Amnesty International partnered with a team of specialists at Forensic Architecture, University of Goldsmiths to create a virtual 3D reconstruction of Saydnaya prison, estimated that more than 17,000 people have died in prisons across Syria as a result of the inhuman conditions and torture since the Syrian crisis began in 2011. This figure does not include the estimated 13,000 additional deaths as a result of the extrajudicial executions exposed in this report.

Not one of the detainees condemned to hang at Saydnaya Prison is given anything that resembles an actual trial. Before they are hanged, victims undergo a perfunctory, one or two-minute procedure at a so-called Military Field Court. These proceedings are so summary and arbitrary that they cannot be considered to constitute a judicial process. Testimonies from former government officials, guards, judges and detainees helped Amnesty International shape a detailed picture of the farcical procedures that lead up to the hangings.

One former judge from a Syrian military court told Amnesty International the 'court' operates outside the rules of the Syrian legal system. “The judge will ask the name of the detainee and whether he committed the crime. Whether the answer is yes or no, he will be convicted… This court has no relation with the rule of law. This is not a court.” he said. The convictions issued by this so-called court are based on false confessions extracted from detainees under torture. Detainees are not allowed access to a lawyer or given an opportunity to defend themselves – most have been subjected to enforced disappearance, held in secret and cut off from the outside world. Those who are condemned to death do not find out about their sentences until minutes before they are hanged.

Hangings at Saydnaya are carried out once or twice a week, usually on Monday and Wednesday, in the middle of the night. Those whose names are called out were told they would be transferred to civilian prisons in Syria. Instead, they are moved to a cell in the basement of the prison and beaten severely. They are then transported to another prison building on the grounds of Saydnaya, where they are hanged. Throughout this process, they remain blindfolded. They do not know when or how they will die until the noose was placed around their necks.

“They kept them hanging there for 10 to 15 minutes. Some didn’t die because they are light. For the young ones, their weight wouldn’t kill them. The officers’ assistants would pull them down and break their necks.” said a former judge who witnessed the hangings. Detainees held in the building in the floors above the “execution room” reported that they sometimes heard the sounds of these hangings. If you put your ears on the floor, you could hear the sound of a kind of gurgling. This would last around 10 minutes… We were sleeping on top of the sound of people choking to death. This was normal for me then.” said 'Hamid', a former military officer arrested in 2011.

As many as 50 people can be hanged in one night. Their bodies are taken away by the truckload to be secretly buried in mass graves. Their families are given no information about their fate. Survivors of Saydnaya also provided spine-chilling and shocking testimonies about life inside the prison. They evoke a world carefully designed to humiliate, degrade, sicken, starve and ultimately kill those trapped inside.

These harrowing accounts have led Amnesty International to conclude that the suffering and appalling conditions at Saydnaya have been deliberately inflicted on detainees as a policy of extermination. Many of the prisoners said they were raped or in some cases forced to rape other prisoners. Torture and beatings are used as a regular form of punishment and degradation, often leading to life-long damage, disability or even death. The cell floors are covered with blood and puss from prisoners’ wounds. The bodies of dead detainees are collected by the prison guards each morning, around 9am.

“Every day there would be two or three dead people in our wing… I remember the guard would ask how many we had. He would say, ‘Room number one – how many? Room number two – how many?’ and on and on... There was one time that… the guards came to us, room by room, and beat us on the head, chest and neck. Thirteen people from our wing died that day.” said “Nader”, a former Saydnaya detainee.

Food and water are regularly cut off. When food is delivered, it is often scattered over the cell floors by the guards, where it mixes with blood and dirt. The very few who leave Saydnaya often do so weighing half the body weight they had when they arrived. Saydnaya also has its own set of “special rules”. Prisoners are not allowed to make any sounds, speak or even whisper. They are forced to assume certain positions when the guards come into the cells and merely looking at the guards is punishable by death.

The international community, notably the UN Security Council, must take immediate and urgent action, to put an end to this suffering. “A firm decision must be made by the UN Security Council. It cannot turn a blind eye to these horrible crimes and must pass a resolution demanding that the Syrian government opens up its prisons for international monitors. The UN Human Rights Council must immediately demand an independent investigation into these grave violations of international law.” said Lynn Maalouf.

“The cold blooded killing of thousands of defenceless prisoners, along with the carefully crafted and systematic programmes of psychological and physical torture that are in place inside Saydnaya Prison cannot be allowed to continue. Those responsible for these heinous crimes must be brought to justice.”
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UN Rapporteur Deeply Concerned About Reprisals Against Those She Met on Her Official Visit to Myanmar

Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar Yanghee Lee. Image: UN Photo:Jean-Marc Ferré

|| January 24: 2017 || ά. A United Nations expert warned today about possible reprisals against the people she met during her recent visit to the country, noting that she was particularly struck by the fear of some she spoke to 'who were afraid of what would happen to them after talking to me'. “There is one word that has hung heavily on my mind during this visit, reprisals.” the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said in a press statement wrapping up her January 09-21 mission to the country.

She said that she was deeply concerned about those with whom she had met and spoken, 'those critical of the Government, those defending and advocating for the rights of others, and those who expressed their thoughts and opinions, which did not conform to the narrative of those in the position of power'. Moreover, she noted the increasing use of section 66:d of the Telecommunications Law against many, 'merely for speaking their minds'. “It is particularly alarming to learn that the security forces’ counter operations in the villages of Maungdaw north in Rakhine state have reportedly been resumed following a brief lull, with raids conducted in several villages including nearby the villages I visited.” Ms. Lee stressed.

There are further allegations of arbitrary arrests and detention in relation to these latest reported raids. The expert was especially dismayed to note that during the visit, feelings of optimism and hope had appeared to be fading among the country’s ordinary people, just one year after nationwide elation over the last general elections.

The Special Rapporteur regretted that due to security reasons, she was only allowed to go to Myitkyina, and not Laiza and Hpakant in Kachin, stating that the situation 'at the northern borders is deteriorating'.

“Those in Kachin state tell me that the situation is now worse than at any point in the past few years. Whilst I was not able to travel to the areas most severely affected, the situation is now such that even in Myitkyina, the capital of the state and home to over 300,000 people, residents are afraid and now stay home after dark.” the UN expert explained.

In visiting a hard labour camp in Mon state, Ms. Lee was concerned over prisoners’ living conditions, pointing to the use of shackles as a form of additional punishment and the lack of transparency regarding their transfer to the hard labour camp. Without an individual complaint system in prisons she was 'struck by the fear of those prisoners who were afraid of what would happen to them after speaking to me'.

A report from the visit will be presented in March to the UN Human Rights Council, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system. Ms. Lee’s position is honorary and she does not receive a salary for her work.
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Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein Urges for a Probe Into Askarov Case Despite Kyrgyz Decision to Uphold Life Sentence

A Penitentiary facility in Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyz Republic. Image: Alessandro Scotti:UNODC

 

|| January 24: 2017 || ά. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today voiced deep concern about a decision by a Kyrgyz court to uphold a life sentence against human rights defender Azimjan Askarov, saying it highlights 'serious shortcomings' in the country’s judicial system. “The decision by the national court clearly had not taken into account the views of the UN Human Rights Committee which had found in March 2016 that Askarov had been arbitrarily detained, held in inhumane conditions, tortured and prevented from adequately preparing his defence.”Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement.

“Despite the repeated commitment of the Kyrgyz authorities to uphold international fair trial standards and to resolutely investigate torture allegations, this trial vividly displayed the deficiencies in the country’s judicial and law enforcement system.” the High Commissioner added. Reading the statement to reporters in Geneva, spokesperson for the High Commissioner’s Office:OHCHR Ravina Shamdasani noted that the hearing allegedly relied on the same witness testimonies as in the first trial, and that the court-appointed interpreter for Mr. Askarov was repeatedly absent.

Ms. Shamdasani reiterated OHCHR’s call for Askarov’s conviction and sentence to be quashed and urged Kyrgyzstan to conduct 'impartial, objective and thorough investigations and judicial proceedings in order to ensure justice for all'.

Mr. Askarov was sentenced to life imprisonment and confiscation of his private property in November 2010 for the murder of a police officer, participation and organization of mass riots and incitement to inter-ethnic hatred.

His arrest is believed to be related to his peaceful activities as a human rights defender, particularly his documentation of inter-ethnic violence in the Jalal-Abad region in June 2010, OHCHR had said at the time of his original sentencing. ω.

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UN Rapporteur Urges Saudi Arabia to Use Economic Plan to Bolster Women’s Rights

Special Rapporteur Philip Alston. Image: UN Photo:Loey Felipe

 

|| January 19: 2017 || ά. An independent United Nations expert today urged Saudi officials to use their bold new plan for economic transformation to improve the human rights of women and the poor. Known as Vision 2030, the plan, which was announced in April 2016, is meant to reduce Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil and develop other service sectors, such as tourism.

“Despite the plethora of serious human rights issues in Saudi Arabia … Vision 2030 recognises that Saudi women represent ‘a great asset’ which is currently under-utilised, and the need to recognise women’s rights points in the same direction.” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, at the end of his official visit to the country.

He noted that a 2012 decision allowing women to work in the retail sector 'transformed the lives of millions of women' who could work outside of the home. He calls for the economic transformations to lift restrictions on women’s economic and independence. “The driving ban should be lifted, and women should no longer need authorisation from male guardians to work or travel.” Mr. Alston said.

During his 12-day visit, Mr. Alston met with ministers and other senior officials, as well as experts, academics and individuals living in poverty in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Jizan. “In meetings with me the Government was severely self-critical of the shortcomings of its current social protection system and it appears to be making genuine attempts at reforming that system.” said the UN expert.

The Special Rapporteur described the current social protection system for the poor as 'a veritable hodgepodge of programmes which is inefficient, unsustainable, poorly co-ordinated and, above all, unsuccessful in providing comprehensive social protection to those most in need.”

Independent experts and Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
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Bahrain: First Executions in More Than Six Years a Shocking Blow to Human Rights: Amnesty International

A prison cell: Image: UNICEF:Rajat Madhok


|| January 15: 2017: Amnesty International News || ά. In response to the execution today of three men accused of killing three police officers in Bahrain Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Campaigns in Beirut, Samah Hadid said, “This is a dark day for human rights in Bahrain. These executions, the first to be carried out since 2010, are a deeply regressive step for a country whose authorities have repeatedly trumpeted their commitment to human rights.

“The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and the fact that this execution was carried out after an unfair trial and despite claims from the men that they were tortured in custody makes this news even more shocking. Instead of stepping up executions Bahrain’s authorities should establish an immediate moratorium on executions and work on abolishing the death penalty once and for all.”

On January 09, Bahrain’s Court of Cassation in Bahrain upheld death sentences for Ali Abdulshaheed al-Sankis, Sami Mirza Mshaima and Abbas Jamil Taher Mhammad al-Samea. It also upheld life sentences against seven others and the revocation of the nationality of eight of them. All 10 men were convicted following an unfair trial in relation to the March 2014 killing of three policemen.
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Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein Urges Business Executives Gathering in Davos to Stand Up for Human Rights

|| January 13: 2017 || ά. The senior United Nations human rights official today called on business leaders gathering at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in the Swiss town of Davos, taking place next week to use their considerable influence to stand up for human rights and prevent rights violations in countries where they operate.

“The hard-won laws and principles of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights are increasingly imperilled, and the business leaders gathering in Davos next week have a key role to play to stem this terrible tide and to insist upon respect for human rights in the States where they operate.” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a news release issued by his Office:OHCHR.

The UN rights office launched in December 2016 a global campaign called 'Stand Up for Someone's Rights Today'. The campaign is an effort to galvanize everyone, private sector, governments, individuals, civil society, to play an active role in standing up to defend the human rights of all, at a time when these hard-won rights and freedoms are facing increasing pressures across the world.

Responsible business relies on stability, sound institutions, the smooth functioning of justice, sustainable development and public confidence in their personal safety, Mr. Zeid said, stressing that human rights lie at the core of such long-term stability.

He also underscored the need for companies to take a clear, unequivocal stance that they will not tolerate links to human rights abuses anywhere in their operations and supply chains and to have systems in place to ensure such abuses are actively prevented and promptly addressed. For instance, some banks have withdrawn funding for projects where human rights violations have occurred.

“Many companies have already begun taking steps to prevent and mitigate human rights abuses in their operations in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including by setting up ways for people to safely lodge complaints.” Mr. Zeid said.

Zeid commended the steps taken by some leading companies to take a stand against media outlets peddling hate speech and xenophobic content and called on others to show similar leadership and to join in the fight for the global values that are currently under threat.

Zeid also welcomed the increasing participation by large multinational corporations in the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights and the growing implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Liberty Launching Its Legal Challenge to the Investigatory Powers Act: Seeks Yours Support


|| January 10: 2017 || ά. Liberty is launching a landmark legal challenge to the extreme mass surveillance powers in the Government’s new Investigatory Powers Act, which lets the state monitor everybody’s web history and email, text and phone records, and hack computers, phones and tablets on an industrial scale. Liberty is seeking a High Court Judicial Review of the core bulk powers in the so-called Snoopers’ Charter and calling on the public to help it take on the challenge by donating via crowdfunding platform CrowdJustice.

Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, said, “Last year, this Government exploited fear and distraction to quietly create the most extreme surveillance regime of any democracy in history. Hundreds of thousands of people have since called for this Act’s repeal because they see it for what it is an unprecedented, unjustified assault on our freedom. We hope anybody with an interest in defending our democracy, privacy, press freedom, fair trials, protest rights, free speech and the safety and cybersecurity of everyone in the UK will support this crowdfunded challenge, and make 2017 the year we reclaim our rights.”

The Investigatory Powers Act passed in an atmosphere of shambolic political opposition last year, despite the Government failing to provide any evidence that such indiscriminate powers were lawful or necessary to prevent or detect crime. A petition calling for its repeal has since attracted more than 200,000 signatures.

Liberty’s challenge

Liberty will seek to challenge the lawfulness of the following powers, which it believes breach the public’s rights:
Bulk hacking: the Act lets police and agencies access, control and alter electronic devices like computers, phones and tablets on an industrial scale, regardless of whether their owners are suspected of involvement in crime, leaving them vulnerable to further attack by hackers.
Bulk interception: the Act allows the state to read texts, online messages and emails and listen in on calls en masse, without requiring suspicion of criminal activity.
Bulk acquisition of everybody’s communications data and internet history: the Act forces communications companies and service providers to hand over records of everybody’s emails, phone calls and texts and entire web browsing history to state agencies to store, data-mine and profile at its will. This provides a goldmine of valuable personal information for criminal hackers and foreign spies.
Bulk personal datasets: the Act lets agencies acquire and link vast databases held by the public or private sector. These contain details on religion, ethnic origin, sexuality, political leanings and health problems, potentially on the entire population and are ripe for abuse and discrimination.

A major victory

Liberty is launching this challenge just weeks after a landmark ruling from the EU Court of Justice:CJEU rendered core parts of the Investigatory Powers Act effectively unlawful. In a challenge to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act:DRIPA by MP Tom Watson, represented by Liberty, the CJEU ruled the UK Government was breaking the law by indiscriminately collecting and accessing the nation’s internet activity and phone records.

DRIPA forced communications companies to store records of everybody’s emails, texts, phone calls and internet communications and let hundreds of public bodies grant themselves access with no suspicion of serious crime or independent sign-off.

Judges ruled the regime breached British people’s rights because it:
Allowed indiscriminate retention of all communications data.
Did not restrict access to the purpose of preventing and detecting precisely defined serious crime.
Let police and public bodies authorise their own access, instead of requiring prior authorisation by a court or independent body.
Did not require that people be notified after their data had been accessed.
Did not require that the data be kept within the European Union.
DRIPA expired at the end of 2016 – but its powers are replicated and vastly expanded in the Investigatory Powers Act, with no effort to counter the lack of safeguards found unlawful in the case.

Support Liberty’s challenge by donating through.

Liberty can be contacted on 0207 378 3656 or  07973 831 128: ω.

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UN Human Rights Rapporteur to Assess Potential Human Rights Abuses in Northern Myanmar

Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar Yanghee Lee. Image: UN Photo:Jean-Marc Ferré

|| January 06: 2017 || ά. An independent United Nations expert will assess the human rights situation in Myanmar starting next week, it was announced, following increasing concerns about civilians in Kachin State and the escalating violence in Rakhine State. “The events of the last few months have shown that the international community must remain vigilant in monitoring the human rights situation there.” said Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the country.

The 12-day visit, at the invitation of the Government, will include meetings political and community leaders, civil society, as well as victims of human rights violations and members of the international community. Starting on January 09, this will be Ms. Lee's fifth visit to Myanmar. She plans to visit Myitkyina, Hpakant and Laiza in Kachin State, where civilians are caught in fighting between the Myanmar army and an armed group.

“The escalation in fighting in Kachin and Shan, with its inevitable negative impact on the situation of civilians, is causing some disquiet regarding the direction that the new Government is taking in its first year of administration.” Ms. Lee said.

She will also gather information in Sittwe, Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungdaw in Rakhine State, as well as Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon.

Last month, the top UN human rights official, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that he was deeply disappointed by a lack of access to some of the worst areas in northern Rakhine, particularly, given numerous alarming allegations of rights violations, including killings, rapes and the burning of homes belonging to the Rohingya minority group.

A report from the visit will be presented in March to the UN Human Rights Council, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system. Ms. Lee's position is honorary and she does not receive a salary for her work.
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United Nations Resolution Paves Way for Accountability on Syria War Crimes: Amnesty International


|| December 22: 2016: Amnesty International News || ά. In response to the United Nations General Assembly resolution establishing an independent international mechanism to ensure accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria since March 2011, Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research said, “With this resolution, the General Assembly helps overcome the Security Council's deadlock on accountability and is the first step toward justice for thousands of victims.

“The situation in Syria continued to be one of the most heartbreaking tragedies of our time. It is also a clear example of the failure of the broken international system that was established, with the Security Council at its centre, to prevent the atrocities that shock the conscience of humanity. By passing this resolution, the international community is standing up against the Security Council’s utter inability to act in the face of gruesome atrocities being committed before the eyes of the entire world.

This is a crisis that, over five years, has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and caused unimaginable suffering to the people of Syria. The overwhelming support for the resolution by UN member states sends a strong message to all parties to the conflict in Syria that war crimes and crimes against humanity will not be tolerated. Perpetrators will be held accountable. Impunity is not an option.

It is now imperative that we work to make sure this resolution is swiftly and fully implemented and that this mechanism is capable of leading to the prosecution of those individuals who are responsible for the crimes that have been taken place, and continue to take place in Syria.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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You See Law: UCL Centre for Access to Justice

Shiva Riahi: Manager: UCL Centre for Access to Justice: Image: UCL

|| December 17: 2016: UCL News || ά. “When I was studying law at UCL I was one of those sappy people who wanted to make a difference.” laughs UCL alumna Shiva Riahi, Law 2012. In her final year, Shiva was one of eight students to successfully apply for the UCL Centre for Access to Justice’s pilot, Access to Justice and Community Engagement course. When she completed her course, Shiva applied to be a research assistant at the UCL Centre for Access to Justice:CAJ and is now the manager. “I always thought I’d be a lawyer.” she says. “But I love what I do here. There are a lot of different ways to use the law to help people.”

She explains the founding mission of the CAJ: “To enrich students’ education by adding the experience of working with real clients. The Centre has a holistic approach, it was built on Professor Dame Hazel Genn’s research, which showed how people’s legal problems tended to cascade into other areas of life, such as health.” she says. “For instance, unfair dismissal or workplace bullying can lead to stress and mental health problems, which in turn has an impact on the NHS. I think that link between the academic and the practical is quite unique to UCL.”

The Centre operates on a micro level, sending students to represent clients in tribunals to, for example, secure benefits or overturn a pending eviction. “The benefits system is difficult for people to navigate.” says Shiva. “We help clients understand the questions being asked of them. Our intervention can mean the difference between being able to pay rent and homelessness.”

But CAJ also works on a macro level, both in terms of its impact on students and potential influence on government policy. “We have a lot of students who go on to work in corporate law,” says Shiva. “But they go there with a sense of social justice. One student was so inspired he went back to Hong Kong to try and set up similar pro bono programmes there. And the research we are doing at the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health & Wellbeing Centre, for example, will, we hope, eventually inform policy.”

The Centre in the borough of Newham was originally built for the 2012 London Olympics to treat athletes. It now houses a general practice downstairs and the UCL Legal Advice Clinic, part of the CAJ, upstairs. This, in Shiva’s view, makes perfect sense. The Centre, on the UCL East site, is one of the projects enabling UCL to support the integration and enrichment of the lives of local communities.

The project is still in its first year, but Shiva says it aims to expand to receive referrals from other GPs in the Newham area. “The Citizens Advice Bureau sometimes has outposts in GP surgeries, but I think UCL is unique in having a student clinic.” she says.

Philanthropy has played, and will continue to play, a critical role in the success and impact of the Centre for Access to Justice in East London. Through UCL’s Global Philanthropic and Engagement Campaign, the UCL Legal Advice Clinic at the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health and Wellbeing Centre will continue to provide disadvantaged communities with access to free legal advice within a local health setting, as well as shape and influence policy to better support communities around the UK and the world.

Donor support helps to maintain and expand activities of the UCL CAJ by providing funding to help run the advice sessions and provide students with specialist training for casework. It also helps enhance summer maintenance bursaries for students who could otherwise not afford to live in London and undertake unpaid social welfare law work experience. It is essential to help fund additional expert supervision to extend the range of UCL’s advice and case work services.

Philanthropy will ensure the centre, which has more than 8,000 patients, and the CAJ can grow its legal services and reach even more people in the London Borough of Newham, the third most deprived local authority in England. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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UN: States Should Commit to Pathway Towards Global Ban on Killer Robots: Amnesty International


|| December 16: 2016: Amnesty International News || ά. Governments meeting today at the United Nations in Geneva should commit to a global process to negotiate a total ban on the development, transfer and potential use of 'killer robots', Amnesty International said. The organisation and its NGO partners believe a new international treaty is needed to address this emerging technology. Once activated, these weapons, also known as lethal autonomous weapon systems, can select, attack, kill and injure human targets without meaningful human control.

To date, 19 states have called for a pre-emptive ban and states in Geneva today are expected to agree a recommended plan of action, including establishing a Group of Governmental Experts:GGE to begin formal discussions in 2017. Amnesty International believes the talks should continue with a view to negotiating a ban on these 'killer robots'. “A total ban on the development, deployment and use of ‘killer robots’ is the only real solution, if states want to avoid sleepwalking beyond the point of no return where machines are empowered to make life or death decisions in policing and warfare.” said Rasha Abdul Rahim, Adviser on Arms Control at Amnesty International.

“Taking a ‘wait and see’ approach would be simply too risky, leading to the further investment by states in the development of fully automatic weapons systems and their rapid proliferation in a new arms race.” Amnesty International is a member of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which has been attending the Fifth Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons concluding in Geneva today.

Ten Reasons Why It’s Time to Get Serious About Banning ‘Killer Robots’ robots

The following piece is by Rasha Abdul Rahim, Advocate:Adviser on Arms Control, Security Trade & Human Rights at Amnesty International

Governments are meeting today in Geneva to discuss what to do about “Killer Robots”. Amnesty International is calling for the creation of a formal negotiation process with a view to establishing a new global ban on lethal and less-lethal 'Killer Robots' both on the battlefield and in policing operations. Here are 10 reasons why such a ban is essential.

01. 'Killer Robots' will not be a thing of science fiction for long

Killer robots are weapons systems which, once activated, can select, attack, kill and injure human targets without a person in control. Once the stuff of dystopian science fiction, these weapons, also known as 'fully automatic weapon systems', will soon become fact.

Many precursors to this technology already exist. The Vanguard Defense Industries’ ShadowHawk drone, for example, can be armed with a grenade launcher, a shotgun with laser designator, or less-lethal weapons such as a Taser or bean-bag round launcher. In 2011 the office of the Sheriff in Montgomery County, Texas, purchased an unarmed ShadowHawk with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. In August this year North Dakota became the first US state to legalise the use of drones that can be used remotely to incapacitate people with high-voltage electric-shocks.


02. They will be openly used for repression by unaccountable governments

Some governments argue that 'Killer Robots' could reduce the risks of deploying soldiers to the battlefield, or police on dangerous law enforcement operations. Their use would therefore make it easier for governments to enter new armed conflicts and use force in, for example, policing of protests. Though soldiers and police might be safer, this lowered threshold could lead to more conflict and use of force and, consequently, more risk to civilians.

Proponents of 'Killer Robots' also argue that their lack of emotion would eliminate negative human qualities such as fear, vengeance, rage and human error. However, human emotions can sometimes act as an important check on killing or injuring civilians, and robots could easily be programmed to carry out indiscriminate or arbitrary attacks on humans, even on a mass scale. 'Killer Robots' would be incapable of refusing orders, which at times can save lives. For example, during mass protests in Egypt in January 2011, the army refused to fire on protesters, an action that required innate human compassion and respect for the rule of law.

03. They would not comply with human rights law and international policing standards

International policing standards prohibit the use of firearms except in defence against an imminent threat of death or serious injury, and force can only be used to the minimum extent necessary. It is very difficult to imagine a machine substituting human judgment where there is an immediate and direct risk that a person is about to kill another person, and then using appropriate force to the minimum extent necessary to stop the attack. Yet such a judgement is critically important to any decision by an officer to use a weapon. In most situations police are required by UN standards to first use non-violent means, such as persuasion, negotiation and de-escalation, before resorting to any form of force.

Effective policing is much more than just using force; it requires the uniquely human skills of empathy and negation, and an ability to assess and respond to often dynamic and unpredictable situations. These skills cannot be boiled down to mere algorithms. They require assessments of ever-evolving situations and of how best to lawfully protect the right to life and physical integrity that machines are simply incapable of. Decisions by law enforcement officers to use minimum force in specific situations require direct human judgement about the nature of the threat and meaningful control over any weapon. Put simply, such life and death decisions must never be delegated to machines.

04. They would not comply with the rules of war

Distinction, proportionality and precaution are the three pillars of international humanitarian law, the laws of war. Armed forces must distinguish between combatants and non-combatants; civilian causalities and damage to civilian buildings must not be excessive in relation to the expected military gain; and all sides must take reasonable precautions to protect civilians.

All of this, clearly, requires human judgement. Robots lack the ability to analyse the intentions behind people’s actions, or make complex decisions about the proportionality or necessity of an attack. Not to mention the need for compassion and empathy for civilians caught up in war.

05. There would be a huge accountability gap for their use

If a robot did act unlawfully how could it be brought to justice? Those involved in its programming, manufacture and deployment, as well as superior officers and political leaders could be held accountable. However, it would be impossible for any of these actors to reasonably foresee how a 'Killer Robot' would react in any given circumstance, potentially creating an accountability vacuum.

Already, investigations into unlawful killings through drone strikes are rare, and accountability even rarer. In its report on US drone strikes in Pakistan, Amnesty International exposed the secrecy surrounding the US administration’s use of drones to kill people and its refusal to explain the international legal basis for individual attacks, raising concerns that strikes in Pakistani Tribal Areas may have also violated human rights.

Ensuring accountability for drone strikes has proven difficult enough, but with the extra layer of distance in both the targeting and killing decisions that 'killer robots' would involve, we are only likely to see an increase in unlawful killings and injuries, both on the battlefield and in policing operations.

06. The development of 'Killer Robots' will spark another arms race

China, Israel, Russia, South Korea, the UK, and the USA, are among several states currently developing systems to give machines greater autonomy in combat. Companies in a number of countries have already developed semi-autonomous robotic weapons which can fire tear gas, rubber bullets and electric-shock stun darts in law enforcement operations.

The past history of weapons development suggests it is only a matter of time before this could spark another hi-tech arms race, with states seeking to develop and acquire these systems, causing them to proliferate widely. They would end up in the arsenals of unscrupulous governments and eventually in the hands of non-state actors, including armed opposition groups and criminal gangs.

07. Allowing machines to kill or use force is an assault on human dignity

Allowing robots to have power over life-and-death decisions crosses a fundamental moral line. They lack emotion, empathy and compassion, and their use would violate the human rights to life and dignity. Using machines to kill humans is the ultimate indignity.

08. If 'Killer Robots' are ever deployed, it would be near impossible to stop them

As the increasing and unchecked use of drones has demonstrated, once weapons systems enter into use, it is incredibly difficult or near impossible to regulate or even curb their use. The 'Drone Papers' recently published by The Intercept, if confirmed, paint an alarming picture of the lethal US drones programme. According to the documents, during one five-month stretch, 90% of people killed by US drone strikes were unintended targets, underscoring the US administration’s long-standing failure to bring transparency to the drones programme.

It appears too late to abolish the use of weaponized drones, yet their use must be drastically restricted to save civilian lives. 'Killer Robots' would greatly amplify the risk of unlawful killings. That is why such robots must be pre-emptively banned. Taking a ‘wait and see’ approach could lead to further investment in the development and rapid proliferation of these systems.

09. Thousands of robotics experts have called for 'Killer Robots' to be banned

In July 2015, some of the world’s leading artificial intelligence researchers, scientists, and related professionals signed an open letter calling for an outright ban on 'Killer Robots'.

So far, the letter has gathered 2,587 signatures, including more than 14 current and past presidents of artificial intelligence and robotics organisations and professional associations. Notable signatories include Google DeepMind Chief Executive Demis Hassabis, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallin, and Professor Stephen Hawking.

If thousands of scientific and legal experts are so concerned about the development and potential use of 'Killer Robots' and agree with the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots that they need to be banned, what are governments waiting for?


10. There has been a lot of talk but little action in two years

Ever since the problems posed by 'Killer Robots' were first brought to light in April 2013, the only substantial international discussions on this issue have been two weeklong informal experts’ meetings in Geneva at the conference on the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons:CCW. It is ludicrous that so little time has been devoted to so serious a risk, and so far little progress has been made.

For Amnesty International and its partners in the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a total ban on the development, deployment and use of lethal autonomous weapon systems is the only real solution. The world can’t wait any longer to take action against such a serious global threat. It’s time to get serious about banning Killer Robots once and for all.

Please, note, The Humanion does not use 'autonomous' to describe an autodriven, automatic 'machine:construct' simply because a machine is not a human mind only which, under law, is and can be autonomous. Instead, The Humanion uses automatic or autodriven. This signifies the machines has no human control over it. Then comes the most fundamental of questions, of law, who takes responsibility for what that 'autodriven' machine does, and particularly, when it kills or rather when it is 'directed' to kill?

Stopping the Killer Robots Before Its Too Late: By Rasha Abdul-Rahim: ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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France Shall Take All Measures at Its Disposal to Make Sure That the Premises Presented as Housing the Diplomatic Mission of Equatorial Guinea at 42 Avenue Foch in Paris Satisfy the Required Treatment Outlined in Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations: The ICJ

International Court of Justice:ICJ delivers Order in Immunities and Criminal Proceedings
Equatorial Guinea v. France. Image: UN Photo:ICJ-CIJ:Frank van Beek
 

|| December 07: 2016 || ά. The International Court of Justice:ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has delivered its Order on the case concerning Immunities and Criminal Proceedings, Equatorial Guinea v. France and the request by Equatorial Guinea to indicate provisional measures. The Order indicates that France shall take 'all measures at its disposal' to make sure that the premises presented as housing the diplomatic mission of Equatorial Guinea at 42 avenue Foch in Paris satisfy the required treatment outlined in Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The Court also unanimously rejected the request of France to remove the case from the General List. The Court recalled that, on 13 June 13, 2016, Equatorial Guinea instituted proceedings against France with regard to a dispute concerning the immunity from criminal jurisdiction of the Vice-President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, and the legal status of the building which 'houses the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea' located at 42 avenue Foch in Paris.

In September 2016, Equatorial Guinea submitted a Request for the indication of provisional measures, asking the Court, inter alia, to order that France suspend all the criminal proceedings brought against the Vice-President of Equatorial Guinea; that France ensure that the building located at 42 avenue Foch in Paris is treated as premises of Equatorial Guinea's diplomatic mission in France and, in particular, assure its inviolability; and that France refrain from taking any other measure that might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the Court.

Established in 1945 under the UN Charter, the ICJ, widely referred to as the 'World Court', settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by authorized UN organs or specialized agencies. ICJ Judgments are final and binding on the Parties involved in the legal disputes submitted to the Court.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Humanion Humanity of the Year 2016: Angela Merkel: Aung San Suu Kyi: Hillary Clinton: Jeremy Corbyn: Dr. Kanayo Nwanze: Dr Margaret Chan and Professor Peter Piot

 

UNHCR Urges Governments to Recognise People Fleeing War-Plagued Countries as Refugees

This photo shows Amal who is looking at her destroyed home in Sana’a, Yemen, after it was hit by an airstrike in April 2015. Image: UNICEF:Ahmed Jahaf

 

|| December 02: 2016 || ά. Faced with record displacement due to conflict, the United Nations has moved to reinforce the global refugee protection regime by issuing new guidelines on dealing with people fleeing their country because of war, who are not recognised as refugees by some States. “These guidelines are crucial because most conflicts today target groups of civilians because of their real or perceived ethnic, religious, social or political affiliation. There is no question that those fleeing the devastating effects of armed conflict may indeed be refugees.” said Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Türk, according to briefing notes issued today by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees:UNHCR in Geneva.

UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told reporters that the guidelines aim to ensure that States generally consider those fleeing armed conflict and other violent crises as refugees, noting that discrepancies still exist today when determining refugee eligibility, with some countries not recognizing such a claim by victims of violence. “The 1951 Refugee Convention, the cornerstone of our work, has always included refugees from war. But over the years it has been inconsistently applied, and some countries have required people fleeing war to prove they were individually targeted.” said the Assistant High Commissioner.

“The idea that one has to be singled out and individually targeted to be a refugee is a myth.” Mr. Türk added. UNHCR called on all countries to follow the new guidelines in order to apply a consistent and harmonised standard for refugees, one that provides international protection to all who need it.

Forced displacement is at a record high globally, with 65.3 million people displaced as of the end of 2015. Refugees make up about a third of this total, or 21.3 million, with the overwhelming majority being people displaced within their own country.

UNHCR has a mandate to protect refugees, stateless people and people displaced internally. On a daily basis it helps millions of people worldwide, often on the front lines of conflict. It also monitors compliance with the international refugee system and provides Governments with guidelines, information and legal policy advice aimed at helping them meet their obligation to uphold refugee and human rights.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Myanmar: Spiral of Violence in Rakhine State: OHCHR

Ethnic Rakhine people shelter in a stadium in Sittwe. Image: Joe Freeman:IRIN

|| November 29: 2016 || ά. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR today expressed alarm over reports of serious rights violations in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state that cite allegations of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and sexual violence, and a renewed spike in hate speech, including on social media. OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told reporters that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has said the Government needs to condemn such inflammatory, potentially very dangerous, rhetoric no matter who is responsible. Failing this, there is a real risk that it could exacerbate the current spiral of violence.

On October 09, OHCHR received reports that three Border Guard police posts in Maungdaw and Rathidaung, also part of the Rakhine State, were attacked during security operations. The High Commissioner 'unequivocally condemns the reported use of violence by armed individuals in northern Rakhine state, and recognises that this is not something the authorities can ignore'. However, Ms. Shamdasani added that it is 'essential' that the Government’s attempts to restore security are 'firmly grounded in international human rights laws and standards' and are recognised by the affected population.

Likewise, offensives in Kachin and Northern Shan state continue to cause human rights violations and displacement. “Protection of civilians and unfettered humanitarian access to conflict affected areas is critical. Measures that may heighten the vulnerability or pose threats to the safety and security of internally displaced people, such as requiring internally displaced persons:IDPs to cross conflict lines, must be avoided.” Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.

The UN rights Office also stressed that the authorities must respect international humanitarian law and the rights of IDPs, pointing out that continued failure to do so would draw a sharp response from the international community. The High Commissioner also regretted that, beyond the formation of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine state led by Kofi Annan, the Government has largely failed to act on the recommendations made in an OHCHR report in June on the situation of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar.

The report documented a wide range of human rights violations and abuses against the Rohingya, including arbitrary deprivation of nationality, severe restrictions on freedom of movement, threats to life and security, denial of rights to health and education, forced labour, sexual violence and limitations to political rights, among others. It also raised the possibility that the pattern of violations against the Rohingya may amount to crimes against humanity.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Rights of Rough Sleepers, Protesters and Disabled Residents are at Risk: Liberty Urges Enfield Council to Abandon Discriminatory PSPO Plans

This PSPO Issue Must Be Challenged for Local Governments Do Not Have and Must Not Be Given the Power to Make Laws That Infringe and Violate National and International Laws Because Their Competence Only Relates to Local Issues  and Their Locality is Neither a Nation nor a State Only Which Has the Competence, Authority, Power, Expertise, Mechanism and System to Pass Laws That Apply Throughout the Land:  The Humanion


|| November 25: 2016 || ά. Liberty has written to Enfield Council urging it to abandon proposals that could penalise the vulnerable and chip away at residents’ civil liberties. The council is considering using a Public Space Protection Order:PSPO to introduce 18 separate criminal offences. PSPOs are disturbingly broad powers that let local authorities ban a huge range of activities. A public consultation into the plans, which closes on Monday, November 28, outlines the council’s intentions to ban 'sleeping or living in a public place without consent' and to criminalise 'annoying' public speakers, the latter of which would constitute a significant threat to protest rights.

Those citizens of a country, in this case, in England, within the UK, have no home, do not loose their citizenship because they have no homes. And if they do not loose their citizenship by losing their homes then they have every right, like any other citizen, to use the public spaces and facilities for which no local government nor even the national government can make them criminally liable! This simply beats even the 'Kafkaesque' unreality of the bureaucrats coming up with the most absurd, most ridiculous and absolutely callous and brutal of ideas! Why do we use words like callous and brutal? What else can be used? These are human beings, these homeless people and the council is proposing to criminalise their use of the public spaces? What time of human history, Enfield Council thinks, we are living in the UK that it thinks it can treat human beings, who are citizens of this country, with such contempt as if they are not humans? Can Enfield Council, tell the country, where, when they refuse to offer any help to house these very homeless people, these homeless people to 'stay alive' if they cannot use the public spaces? Where are they going to be forced to find 'shelter'? And if they cannot use these public spaces, where is the Council telling them to go?

This PSPO issue must be challenged for local governments do not have and must not be given the power to make laws that infringe and violate national and international laws because their competence only relates to local issues and their locality is neither a nation nor a state only which has the competence, authority, power, expertise, mechanism and system to pass laws that apply throughout the land and all these include the provision that such laws can effectively be challenged for the validity, constitutionality and on legal theories and principles of jurisprudence etc. The Humanion invites Liberty and all other civili liberties, human rights, disability rights and other rights related groups across the UK to come together and challenge this PSPO provisions that are ill-thought out and it would fail miserably the basic test of what constitutes 'good law'. And, as Liberty has been involved in many ridiculous instances across the country where local authorities were seeking to misuse and abuse these 'powers' of the PSPO and against which Liberty has been putting up resistance, and therefore, it knows very well, that if there exists a tumour inside the brain no amount of painkiller would cure it and that it requires drastic surgery or severe medication therapies such as radio or chemo etc to treat it.

The only way to deal with these PSPO is to challenge it at the Court. The Humanion, at the same time, invites The Law Society and the Bar Council and all other related legal agencies and charities across the UK to offer, volunteer support to Liberty in this challenge if they seek to bring it about for it would require substantial resources, particularly, of expertise. We encourage, invite and call on the senor students, trainees, from both part of the legal profession, to come forward and donate their resources of time, knowledge, energy and passion in this project. The Bar Council and the Law Society ran their ProBono Week only at the beginning of November. We invite the National Probono Centre to offer substantial support, assistance and help to Liberty and join forces; for everyone who has learnt even the spelling of the word law, knows, without laws and the vigorous defense of these very laws, there remains not very much to celebrate about. To summarise the essence of Greek minds, the difference between human and beast is law. And we add to this, this, the good laws are those laws that support, empower and offer us the means and inspiration to raise us up, towards the higher end of humanity and bad laws, that may be politically convenient and often the case is that such laws are rushed, ill-thought out of and badly constructed, but they tend to lead us towards the lower end, risking us falling downhill. And the people we are referring to would know what PSPO is and why it is such a risky, bad and poor law and why it must be challenged and it is absolutely paramount that it is stopped by challenging it at the highest court of the land. This must be challenged.  

The National Pro Bono Week: November 07-11


The council also seems to be considering prohibiting the use of some mobility scooters on pavements, a measure which would clearly discriminate against disabled people. It also envisages using the PSPO to fine anyone considered to be engaging in street-based prostitution. If introduced, the PSPO would give police and council officers the power to issue on-the-spot penalties of up to £100. If unable to pay, those in breach could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. Liberty believes several of Enfield’s proposed bans, if implemented, risk breaching residents’ fundamental rights, protected by the Human Rights Act. The Act requires the council not to behave in a way which would disproportionately affect those rights.


Risking discrimination: In today’s letter, Liberty’s Legal Officer Rosie Brighouse advises council leader Doug Taylor that: The proposed ban on 'unauthorised sleeping' will essentially criminalise rough sleeping at a time when homelessness is increasing at an alarming rate. It will punish vulnerable members of society by imposing financial penalties they cannot afford.

PSPOs are extremely blunt instruments incapable of addressing the complex causes of homelessness or street-based prostitution, which may involve issues of addiction, trafficking, coercive control and poverty. In contrast to the existing criminal law surrounding soliciting, PSPOs can only lead to fines, and are therefore likely to draw vulnerable people into both the criminal justice system and a cycle of debt.

The proposed criminalisation of public speaking could breach residents’ right to freedom of speech and their right to protest.

A ban on mobility scooters on pavements if they are capable of travelling at more than four miles an hour would discriminate against disabled people who have as much right as any able-bodied pedestrian to travel on the pavement.

PSPOs allow councils to ban activities if they believe there is evidence a certain activity is having a detrimental effect on residents’ quality of life in a certain area. Unusually, these proposals would apply to the whole borough of Enfield regardless of whether there is evidence that a particular area requires such measures. It is doubtful a PSPO on such a scale could be lawful.

Rosie Brighouse, Legal Officer for Liberty, said: “Enfield Council is at an early stage in its plans, but is going in a dangerous and legally dubious direction.  It is common sense, using your wheelchair on the pavement to stay safe isn’t antisocial behaviour and vulnerable people should be helped off the streets as the cold weather sets in, not slapped with impossible fines and criminal records. Enfield deserves better, the council must abandon these plans now.”

About PSPOs: PSPOs are intended to provide means of preventing activities that have a persistent and unreasonable detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the area.
Created in 2014 by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, PSPOs enable local authorities to criminalise activities that have a persistent and unreasonable detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the area.
Liberty opposed their creation on the basis that they are too widely drawn, with vague definitions of what can be criminalised and disproportionately punitive sanctions, and would result in the fast-tracking of vulnerable individuals into the criminal justice system.
Liberty is campaigning to end the use of unfair, overbroad PSPOs which penalise the most vulnerable in our societies. Liberty has so far encouraged Cheshire West and Chester Council, Birmingham City Council and Newport City Council to scrap their plans, while also drawing serious concessions from Oxford City Council.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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If Passed, Israeli Legislation Would Be Another Nail in the Coffin for Two-State Solution: UN Special Rapporteur

One of several junctions leading to and from Palestinian villages and towns in Hebron governorate
blocked by Israeli forces in late June 2016. Image: OCHA
 

|| November 21: 2016 || ά. A new piece of Israeli legislation would enable the confiscation of privately owned Palestinian land and if passed, would deal yet another severe blow to hopes of lasting peace in the region, according to a United Nations human rights expert. Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, expressed deep concern over the proposal to legalise more than 100 illegal outposts in the occupied West Bank. The legislation passed its first reading in the Knesset on November 16.

According to Mr. Lynk, the unauthorised outposts have been set up on private Palestinian land, deep within the occupied West Bank, and are considered illegal under current Israeli domestic law. To retroactively legalise them would be 'another nail in the coffin for the two-state solution', he said. “These outposts undermine the Palestinian right to self-determination, violate their rights to property, freedom of movement, and development, and continue to confine the Palestinians into smaller and smaller cantons of non-contiguous lands within their own territory.”

If adopted, the legislation would allow the Israeli State to appropriate private Palestinian lands where the outposts have been built, thereby repurposing them for use by Israeli settlers. The Special Rapporteur emphasised that international law prohibits the confiscation of private property, such as proposed by the current law.

“The Knesset should not be giving the green light to theft by changing the law.” said Mr. Lynk, adding that violating international law would be neither lessened nor mitigated by the bill’s proposed measures to compensate Palestinians whose land has been unlawfully taken.
The current draft follows a recent ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court that the Amona outpost must be evacuated by December 25, thereby rejecting a request for delay from the Israeli Government.

“Among the purposes of this legislation is to regularise the legal status of Amona.” said the Special Rapporteur. Mr. Lynk was alarmed to note that some senior Israeli cabinet ministers not only supported the bill, but were also openly calling for annexation of large parts of the West Bank. “The international community must be very clear with the Government of Israel.” he said. “The annexation of occupied territory likewise would be a profound breach of international law. If Israel proceeds with either step, the international community must be prepared not only to condemn the action, but also to adopt appropriate measures to reverse these violations.”

“An occupying power is expressly prohibited from transferring its civilian population into an occupied territory. This violates the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949, and is contrary to numerous UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, as well as a major advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice in 2004.” he said.

Mr. Lynk is part of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, which is part of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Rapporteurs are neither UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Slovenia: Constitutional Right to Water Must Flow Down to the Roma Communities: Amnesty International

In Slovenia: Image: Thomson Lakes and Mountains


|| November 19: 2016: Amnesty International News || ά.  A constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to water for all must be fully implemented to benefit the lives of Slovenia's Roma communities denied access to water, said Amnesty International. Whilst the amendment passed on November 17 recognises that everyone has the right to drinking water, some Romani communities are still forced to fetch water from polluted streams or public taps and do not have access to adequate toilets. “Enshrining access to drinking water as a constitutional human right is an important legal step forward for Slovenia, but Roma communities need more than legal changes.

Action is now needed to ensure the changes flow down to all those without water and sanitation.” said Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International's Deputy Europe Director. “It is shocking that in a highly developed country like Slovenia, where almost 100 per cent of the population have access to safe water, some Roma communities struggle to collect even small amounts of water to drink, cook and bathe themselves and their families.” Many Roma families in Slovenia live in informal settlements in inadequate and at times unsanitary housing conditions. Some do not have access to water close to their homes and have to travel long distances with jerry cans to get water from petrol stations, cemeteries or polluted streams. These conditions impact their lives and result in illnesses including water borne diseases.

In 2011 a government commission recommended that access to water should be provided to all Roma communities as matter of urgency, but no effective measures have so far been taken. “The government must now ensure that the constitutional recognition that everyone has a right to drinking water leads to swift and concrete changes.” said Fotis Filippou.

“Failure to do so would not only be an abject dereliction of responsibility by the government but could also prove costly since the new amendment will strengthen the case of anyone challenging their lack of access to water in domestic courts.”

The constitutional amendment requires that water for drinking and household use is provided purely by the public sector. In 2014 two Roma families from Škocjan and Ribnica took the issue of lack of access to water to the European Court of Human Rights. The case Hudorovic v. Slovenia is currently pending before the Court.

Branko Hudorovič has stated: “The Roma do not need riches, what we really need is a water pipe for our children to wash and to be able to drink water when thirsty.”

It is estimated that between 10,000 and 12,000 Roma people live in Slovenia. Most of them live in isolated and segregated settlements or slums in rural areas. Many live in poorly constructed homes or informal settlements which lack security of tenure. Widespread discrimination often prevents Romani families from buying or renting housing in other areas.

Under Slovenian law, citizens can only obtain access to communal public services if they own or hold other legal claims to the land on which they live, along with a building permit. Many Roma are therefore denied even minimum levels of access to water and sanitation, as well as utilities such as electricity.

The denial of their rights to adequate housing, water and sanitation, whilst also negatively impacting other rights such as education, work and health, feeds into a cycle of poverty and marginalisation. Widespread prejudice against Roma, including children and women persist on the grounds of their lack of access to basic sanitation.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Australia’s Human Rights Record Tainted by Regressive Migration Policies: UN Expert

Villawood Immigration Detention Centre outside Sydney, Australia, which houses asylum-seekers. Image: IRIN

|| November 19: 2016  || ά. Concluding his first official visit to Australia, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants said the country’s human rights standing has been tarnished by its 'regressive' migration policies that fall 'way behind' international standards. “The punitive approach adopted by Australia towards migrants who arrived by boat has served to erode their human rights.” said Special Rapporteur François Crépeau in a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR.

“While Australia has the power to admit, deny entry or return migrants, it equally has an obligation to respect the human rights of all migrants in the process.” he added, noting that the country must respect the principles of non-refoulement, of non-discrimination and to act in the best interest of children. According to the Special Rapporteur, mandatory and prolonged on and off shore immigration detention, obstacles in accessing justice and basic services such as health care and discrimination in all areas of life as a result of one’s immigration status or that of their family are causing 'immense suffering' to the migrants, as well as taking a toll on their mental health.

“The cure lies ultimately with Australia, which has the responsibility to settle those from the regional processing centres who are found to be refugees.” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Any agreement regarding third country resettlement must be meaningful, in terms of numbers, timeliness and opportunities to rebuild, and adhere to Australia’s international humanitarian and human rights obligations.”  Welcoming different visa options for migrants, including work visas, the UN rights expert cautioned that the temporary nature of such visas could increase the migrants’ vulnerability as they would often refrain from reporting, protesting and mobilising, in fear of having their visa cancelled, being detained or deported.

“I came across information about the exploitation of backpackers on working holiday visas, as well as of asylum seekers on bridging visas and students by employers in Australia.” he said, calling for strong oversight mechanisms to combat such abuse. The rights expert also voiced concern at an increase in xenophobia and hate speech, despite Australia’s rich history of migration. This, he said, has led to significant negative perceptions of migrants: “Politicians who have engaged in this negative discourse seem to have given permission to people on the street to act in xenophobic ways and to allow for the rise of nationalist populist groups.”

Underscoring that Australia must work to fight xenophobia, discrimination and violence against migrants, in both acts and speech, Mr. Crépeau added: “Maintaining section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act sets the tone of an inclusive Australia, committed to implementing its multicultural policies and programmes and respecting, protecting and promoting the human rights of all.” Section 18C of the Act refers to addressing offensive behaviour against someone due to their race, colour, national or ethnic origin.

Further in the news release, the expert hailed several migration policies adopted by the authorities, such as the resettlement programme granting humanitarian protection to a high number of refugees and assisting them in their integration process, as well as the welcoming of 12,000 refugees from Syria.

During his 18-day-long mission, the Special Rapporteur met with Government officials, civil society, trade unions, the country’s human rights commission as well as migrants themselves. He also visited on-shore detention centres and regional processing centres in the neighbouring island of Nauru. The human rights expert will present a formal report on this mission to the UN Human Rights Council in June next year.

Independent experts and Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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UN Expert Warns on Turkish Government’s Draconian Measures on Freedoms of Expression

Image: UN Photo

|| November 18: 2016  || ά. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of opinion and expression raised concerns over the Turkish Government’s widespread measures to erode independent opinion and freedom of expression in the country. Following a week-long official visit to Turkey, David Kaye referred to the Government’s actions as 'draconian measures' that are occurring 'across the board'. “The press, individuals online, artists, opposition voices and many others face unprecedented pressure, from censorship to outright detentio.” he announced and urged the Government to reverse this course 'and return to protecting and promoting the rights that all people in Turkey enjoy under their Constitution and international human rights law'.

Turkey is currently facing a wide range of serious threats, particularly after the July 15 attempted coup, to which Mr. Kaye expressed sympathy for those who continue to feel its shock. The coup attempt resulted in a number of deaths and injuries as well as assaults on the country’s democratic institutions. Mr. Kaye insisted that the country must be responsible for the lives of its citizens and the continuation of its democratic freedoms. While the Government expressed to him its concerns about national security, he said, “The unjustified attacks on lawyers, judges, journalists, artists, academics and activists undermine security and generate polarisation and long-term instability.”

Defence of life and protection of democratic institutions must involve measures that are consistent with Turkey’s international obligations, he continued in a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Several laws in particular, such as the Anti-Terrorism Law, the Emergency Decrees, the criminalization of defamation of the President, and various Internet regulations are imposing unnecessary and disproportionate attacks on the freedom of expression, even in the context of a state of emergency.

The Special Rapporteur determined during his visit that the anti-terrorism laws are regularly being used to criminalise reporting and shut down all forms of media. He said that the situation for freedom of expression is 'grave'.  “I call on the Government in the strongest possible terms to immediately release all those held in prison for exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression.” Mr. Kaye urged.

With permission from the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Kaye met with a number of people who have been detained due to their media work, which he described as 'an opportunity,an honour. He met with five detainees from Cumhuriyet newspaper who are being held at the Silivri Prison in Istanbul: Hakan Karasinir, Bülent Utku, Güray Tekin Öz, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, and Onder Celik. He also met with the writer and activist Necimye Alpay at the Borokoy Women’s Prison in Istanbul, and spoke with a number of other detainee’s lawyers and associates.

Mr. Kaye reported that the Ministry of Justice had denied access to eight other writers and journalists: Asli Erdogan, Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Kadri Gursel, Murat Sabuncu, Turhan Gunay and Musa Kart, as well as the UN criminal judge Aydin Sefa Akay. He urged the Turkish Government to release the individuals with whom he met as well as their colleagues and numerous others who are detained on similar charges throughout the country.

Others have been dismissed from universities and the media, measures that he said 'are not only drastic and disproportionate, but lack any form of transparency'. “As with media professionals, the Government accuses people of serious crimes, but without presenting evidence, without due process and without any form of transparency.”

Mr. Kaye said that review mechanisms and functioning independent appeal systems are critical and also drew attention to attacks on the freedom of expression of Kurdish artists, media outlets, and academics. Non-governmental organizations:NGOs in the country have also reported deterioration in their ability to work. 370 NGOs were suspended on November. 11 Meanwhile, civil society continues to face increased government control, censorship, and administrative pressures.

“Turkey has enjoyed a vibrant civil society, which the authorities have a duty to protect and promote.” the UN expert recalled. “Civil society is any government’s ally in the promotion of stability and economic growth. It is with deep regret that I observe the severe measures taken by the authorities in the opposite direction.” he underscored.

The Government has blocked websites and networks, including mobile services, actions that the Special Rapporteur said were incompatible with international standards. “Parliament should consider adopting legislation that would impose restrictions on the arbitrary power to block the Internet and mobile communications.” he said.

Mr. Kaye intends to continue to work with the Turkish Government in order to improve the legal and political environment for fundamental rights. He praised the country for maintaining a dialogue with various human rights mechanisms and thanked authorities for their willingness to engage in frank discussions.

The Special Rapporteur will prepare a report for the UN Human Rights Council on the findings of his visit as well as with recommendations on how to promote the right to freedom of expression in Turkey. Special Rapporteurs are independent human rights experts appointed by the Council to address specific situations or thematic issues around the world. They are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Do Not Betray the Victims: Stand by the Rome Statute and the ICC:  UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Permanent headquarters of the International Criminal Court at The Hague: Image: UN Photo:Rick Bajornas

|| November 16: 2016  || ά. In the wake of three States withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has underlined that there is no substitute for the Court and called on the international community to 'place their collective shoulder behind the institution'. “Do not betray the victims, nor your own people. Stand by the Rome Statute and the Court.” said Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in his keynote address at the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court:ICC.

“In a world that seems increasingly adrift, the turmoil yet to face humanity may be far greater than any challenge we have yet experienced, we can safeguard our societies by standing firm on the principles of justice which anchor this institution.” he added. The Assembly of States Parties, also called the Assembly, is the ICC’s management oversight and legislative body and is composed of representatives of the States that have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute.

In his speech, the High Commissioner said that the Assembly is meeting in the 'shadow' of the withdrawals by three States. South Africa, Burundi and Gambia have notified the UN Secretary-General, who is the depository of the Rome Statute of the ICC, of their intent withdraw from the Court. Withdrawals come into effect one year after official notification.

Noting the withdrawals, Mr. Zeid said, “We are not convinced their position is based entirely on principle. Quite the opposite: it appears to aim more at protecting their leaders from prosecution. If the State Parties, who apparently have been masquerading in recent years as countries devoted to criminal accountability, want to leave, then they should leave.” he stressed, adding, By withdrawing from the Rome Statute, leaders may shield themselves with immunities, but it will be at the cost of depriving their people of the protection of a unique and essential institution.”

Urging the State Parties attending the Assembly to 'stand firm' on Article 27 relating to 'Irrelevance of official capacity' Mr Al Hussein said, “No change should be undertaken under threat of withdrawal, nor should any future amendment touch on the critical articles of the Statute. Specifically, the principle of the irrelevance of official capacity is prime, is existential for the Court.”

According to Article 27, the Rome Statute shall apply equally to all persons without any distinction based on official capacity, including as a Head of State or Government. And that official capacity shall, in no case, exempt a person from criminal responsibility, nor shall it constitute a ground for reduction of sentence. It also notes that immunities or special procedural rules which may attach to the official capacity of a person, whether under national or international law, shall not bar the Court from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person.

Recalling that African countries have been the 'backbone' of ICC and that their leadership was exemplary, particularly, during the initial days of the Court, he said that he was pleased that many countries from the continent, including Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Malawi, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia and Sierra Leone have signalled they will not leave.

The High Commissioner further noted that current challenges confronting the Court are not 'the first stern test' it has faced and neither 'they will not be the last', he called on all Start Parties to resist such challenges and face them with resolve and strength.“I urge you to summon your determination, place your collective shoulder behind this institution, and when the tensions become extreme, you will find all of us in the human rights community alongside you and this Court, our Court.” he concluded. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Japan: Secretive Executions Can’t Hide the Fact That Japan is on the Wrong Side of History When It Comes to the Death Penalty


 

|| November 12: 2016  || ά. Secretive executions can’t hide the fact that Japan is on the wrong side of history when it comes to the death penalty, Amnesty International said after a death row inmate was hanged on Friday. Kenichi Tajiri, 45, was executed at Fukuoka Detention Centre in the early hours of Friday. He was sentenced to death in 2012 for two murders committed in 2004 and 2011. “The death penalty never delivers justice, it is a cruel and inhumane act. The Japanese government cannot hide the fact that it is on the wrong side of history, the majority of the world’s states have turned away from the death penalty.” The execution is the third to be carried out in Japan in 2016 and the 17th under Prime Minister Abe’s government.

The hanging comes a month after the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations formally adopted a policy calling for an end to the death penalty. Among other things, the lawyers’ group highlighted the risk of wrongful convictions and the lack of evidence that the death penalty reduces crime. And The Humanion puts, further to this attempt to seek evidence to justify death penalty: stop seeking evidence. Death Penalty is against humanity and it kills:ends:terminates human life. No human, no agency has the right to do that. Furthermore, no human nor agency has the right to ask, demand, force other human beings to take part in that 'legal execution' of human lives. Period. There is no evidence that death penalty counters crime; instead, there are ample evidence that it does nothing of that sort. However, this is besides the point: humans do not and cannot create human lives nor did they create or make humans themselves; therefore, they have no right nor can them claim to have such right whatsoever to take that human life. Period.

The Humanion is absolutely inspired and encouraged by the fact that the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations have taken up the position against death penalty and calls for its end. The Humanion urges all Japanese, particularly, the all professions involving the Practice of Medicine and all young people studying at all the Japanese educational institutions, demand the end of death penalty. Demand the end of this brutal, cruel, inhuman, degrading, barbarous and absolutely harmful and unnecessary death penalty. Humans do not have and cannot claim any such right to kill people or take other human lives: neither as individual or as group of individuals nor as agency or body formed of agencies: no one and nothing has that right.

Further, no one and nothing has this power or authority to force other humans to take part in taking lives for that is what they are forced to do when they 'execute' someone following death penalty. Additionally, the one whose life is taken had suffered the torture, the brutality of being in death row but those the soul leaves behind, children, the family, friends, colleagues continue to suffer the brutality and inhumanity and torture that the person had had to endure. And add to this, those who take part in killing this person: what happens to them? Do they not suffer mental torture for if they do not they are not humans! They do suffer and they, too, are humans and the State does not have that right nor the individuals that are members of that State singly has this power to inflict such infinite torture and burden on all these groups of humans that suffer the resultant of this barbarity, called, death penalty. Japan, you the the land of the rising sun: but a place where life is taken out by law is no place of light. End it. Now.

“Instead of signing further death warrants, Minister of Justice Katsutoshi Kaneda should listen to the many voices opposing the death penalty, such as the United Nations and these respected lawyers, and work to end its use in Japan.” said Hiroka Shoji. Executions in Japan are shrouded in secrecy with prisoners typically given only a few hours’ notice, but some may be given no warning at all. Their families, lawyers and the public are usually notified about the execution only after it has taken place.

Secret executions are in contravention of international standards on the use of the death penalty. This and the lack of other adequate legal safeguards for those facing the death penalty in Japan has been widely criticised by UN experts. This includes defendants being denied adequate legal counsel and a lack of a mandatory appeal process for capital cases. Several prisoners with mental and intellectual disabilities are also known to have been executed or remain on death row.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, the guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
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The National Pro Bono Week: November 07-11

|| November 05: 2016  || ά. National Pro Bono Week 2016 is happening in November 07-11. The Week is sponsored by the Bar Council, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives:CILEx and the Law Society. The aim of the week is to celebrate pro bono work undertaken by the legal profession. Many barristers devote their time to pro bono work, whether that be providing legal advice or representation for free to those in need, or by volunteering their skills in another capacity, such as giving careers advice in schools, acting as a trustee, even coaching a team of students for a mock trial competition.

The Bar Pro Bono Home Hub has been created in conjunction with the Bar Pro Bono Board to demonstrate the varied and important work barristers do on a pro bono basis. The Bar Council established the Bar Pro Bono Board in 2016. The Bar Pro Bono Unit is the Bar's national charity that makes it possible for barristers to balance a dedicated practice with making a significant contribution to the community. We match make members of the public who need help with barristers who are willing to donate their time and expertise in deserving cases for those who are unable to obtain legal aid and cannot afford to pay.

The Unit is an application based service which members of the public can access via referral from advice agencies, law centres, or their local MP. Over 3600 barristers including a third of all QC's have committed to take on pro bono cases on behalf of our applicants.

The Bar Pro Bono Unit

The Bar Pro Bono Unit is the Bar’s national charity that makes it possible for barristers to balance a dedicated practice with making a significant contribution to the community. We match make members of the public who need help with barristers who are willing to donate their time and expertise in deserving cases for those who are unable to obtain legal aid and cannot afford to pay.

The Unit is an application based service which members of the public can access via referral from advice agencies, law centres, or their local MP. The Unit ensures that in each case, the barrister providing assistance is of the same expertise and experience as would be expected in a paying case. Every application is subject to the same rigorous procedure of checking, reviewing, communicating with the applicant, allocating to a barrister where appropriate and closing down once the work is complete.

We are the sole pro bono charity to provide legal assistance in all areas of law, across all levels from tribunal through to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Over 3600 barristers including a third of all QC’s have committed to take on pro bono cases on behalf of our applicants. We do not seek any public funding and the source of our funding is almost entirely through the Bar.

History

The Bar Pro Bono Unit was established in 1996 by Peter Goldsmith QC, with 350 panel members and premises in Gray's Inn. In the first year the Unit was awarded the Silver Medal at The Lawyer:HIFAL Awards and by 1998 the Unit's coverage reached 50 areas of law. By the year 2000 the number of panel members exceeded 1000 and the Bar in the Community scheme was established.

2004 saw the Unit relocate to bespoke premises at High Holborn, with the Free Representation Unit:FRU alongside. The same year the Unit hosted the first "Early Bird" plenary seminar on pro bono work held at the Bar Conference and hosted by the Vice Chairman of the Bar.

Pro Bono Centre

The National Pro Bono Centre was created in 2010 and has been at 48 Chancery Lane since October 19, 2010. The Centre houses the profession’s national clearing houses for legal pro bono work delivered in England and Wales: the Bar Pro Bono Unit, LawWorks:the Solicitors’ Pro Bono Group and the CILEx Pro Bono Trust:CILEx PBT.

The coming together of the three branches of the profession, solicitors, barristers and chartered legal executives, in this way was an unprecedented move. It helps to improve joined-up thinking, co-ordination, collaborative working and a more efficient service to all stakeholders in pro bono, members of the public, and the lawyers and voluntary sector agencies serving the public.

A number of other legal charities, including Access to Justice Foundation, London Legal Support Trust and Pro Bono Community are also housed within the Centre. The Centre is designed to be a “hub” for pro bono charities across the sector and supports the wide range of pro bono projects and brokerage which the charities support, helping individuals and community groups all over England and Wales. The office on Chancery Lane provides a central resource for charities who help people seeking pro bono legal advice and representation.
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Withdrawal from International Criminal Court Could Send ‘Wrong Message’: Ban Ki-moon

Image: UN Photo

 

|| October 28: 2016  || ά. Expressing regret over the intention of three African countries to withdraw from the International Criminal Court:ICC, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for strengthening the Court from within its processes. “Deterring future atrocities, delivering justice for victims, and defending the rules of war across the globe are far too important priorities to risk a retreat from the age of accountability that we have worked so hard to build and solidify.” said Mr. Ban at the start of a Security Council meeting earlier today on co-operation between UN and regional organisations on matters of international peace and security.

“The world has made enormous strides in building a global system of international criminal justice, with the International Criminal Court as its centrepiece.” he added, recalling the ground-breaking convictions secured by the ICC and other international tribunals. In his remarks, the UN Secretary-General said that these and other gains have also been accompanied by setbacks and shortcomings such as prosecutions taking many years and not all countries accepting the Court’s jurisdiction. “Even some of those that do accept the ICC’s jurisdiction, do not always support the Court fully.” he noted.

He also noted the concern raised that the Court has convicted only Africans despite evidence of crimes in other parts of the world, and stressed that such challenges are best addressed not by diminishing support for the ICC, but by strengthening it from within. South Africa on October 24, and Burundi, yesterday have informed the Secretary-General, who is the depository of the Rome Statute of the ICC, of their intent withdraw from the Court.

According to a UN spokesperson, official communication from Gambia, the third country which, according to reports, is intending to withdraw, has not been received. “I regret these steps, which could send a wrong message on these countries’ commitment to justice.” said the Secretary-General this morning.

According to ICC, the withdrawal will only come into effect one year after the official notification. Court’s founding Rome Statute sets out the tribunal’s jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and, as of an amendment in 2010, the crime of aggression. In addition to jurisdiction, it also addresses issues such as admissibility and applicable law, the composition and administration of the Court, investigations and prosecution, trials, penalties, appeal and revision, international co-operation and judicial assistance, and enforcement.
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UN Expert Panel Cites Crimes Against Humanity Committed by Eritrean Authorities Dating Back 25 Years

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea Sheila B. Keetharuth. Image: UN Photo:Amanda Voisard

|| October 28: 2016  || ά. Eritrean officials have committed crimes against humanity since 1991, including enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, rape and murder, a member of the former United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the country reported to UN Member States. “My plea to you … is for you to pay heed to voices of victims of crimes against humanity in Eritrea.” said Sheila Keetharuth, presenting the panel’s final report to the UN General Assembly’s main body dealing with social, humanitarian and cultural issues:Third Committee.

The three-member Commission, established by the UN Human Rights Council, ended its mandate in June 2016. Ms. Keetharuth highlighted the Commission’s clear findings that crimes against humanity have been committed since 1991 by Eritrean officials, adding that such a dire assessment left no room for “business as usual” in the international community’s engagement with the Government of Eritrea. “The crimes of enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, rape and murder have been committed as part of a widespread and systematic campaign against the civilian population.” she said. “The aim of the campaign has been to maintain control over the population and perpetuate the leadership’s rule in Eritrea.”

She explained that the Commission has concluded the Government of Eritrea has neither the political will nor the institutional capacity to prosecute the crimes documented, and therefore recommends that the UN Security Council refer the situation in Eritrea to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court:ICC and that the African Union establish an accountability mechanism.

“There is still no constitution, no parliament where laws are discussed, enacted, and where questions of national importance are debated; indefinite national service persists, with its adverse impacts on individual rights; there is no free press and no non-governmental organisations, except for Government-sponsored ones.” she said.

“The population lives in fear and the Government still controls their daily life, making the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all Eritreans a remote possibility.” she added. She noted that while several foreign delegations, journalists and others had been invited to visit Eritrea over the past year, the rampant human rights violations taking place in isolated locations and detention facilities were not apparent to the casual visitor.

Ms. Keetharuth noted that Eritreans were among the largest numbers of African nationals seeking asylum in Europe and that the overall recognition rate for Eritrean asylum seekers in European countries remained high. “The findings of the Commission underscore that it is not safe to forcibly return those who have left Eritrea.” she stressed, noting that the Commission’s first report documented that individuals forcibly repatriated, with a few exceptions, have been arrested, detained and subjected to ill-treatment and torture.

“I appeal to Member States to grant Eritreans access to their territory and asylum procedures.” she said, reiterating her call to protect all Eritrean asylum-seekers from refoulement and to refrain from any forced repatriation to Eritrea or to third countries where they may still be at risk or unwelcomed.

Ms. Keetharuth is also UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honourary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. ω.

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General Assembly Can Take Steps to Reduce Violence Against Persons with Albinism: UN Rights Expert

|| October 26: 2016  || ά. United Nations human rights expert Ikponwosa Ero called upon government representatives gathered in New York for the General Assembly to take swift action to end a growing problem of violence and severe discrimination against people with albinism. Ms. Ero is the first Independent Expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on the situation of those worldwide who have albinism. She urged Governments to address root causes and said: “Given their relative size, cost cannot be an excuse in addressing the dire straits faced by persons with albinism.”

Her latest report, reviewed today in the Assembly’s main body dealing with human rights issues, Third Committee, identifies root causes of attacks and discrimination against people with albinism and points to concrete legal steps in order to improve the situation. For example, she encourages regulating the practice of witchcraft in all forms, creating long-term and sustained awareness raising campaigns, and policies that support mothers of children with albinism.

“Root causes of attacks are found in traditional and culturally entrenched misbeliefs and misconceptions about albinism such as the myth that persons with albinism are ghosts, that they do not die but they disappear.” she said. “This contributes to minimizing the social impact of attacks and justifies alleged disappearances.” One of the most concerning impacts of beliefs such as these is that families and communities abandon children with albinism, and sometimes their mothers as well.

Ms. Ero encourages regulating witchcraft practices that are at the root of such discrimination. For example, it is believed by some “that drinking the blood of persons with albinism gives extra magical power; that the bones of persons with albinism can help discover gold in mines; that their hands are burned to ashes and mixed in a paste to cure strokes; and that the blood of persons with albinism is used to boost vitality and intellectual capacity.”

Poverty can also incentivize attacks on members of the population with albinism. Witchcraft practices such as those she identified have given rise to a black market that values their body parts; thus, the potential to make money has led to a strong incentive for attacks.

“Aside from myths, witchcraft practice and poverty, there are also aggravating factors, including the visibility of persons with albinism, particularly in regions where they stand out given their pigmentation, the characterization of persons with albinism in films and literature that perpetuate misconceptions, impunity and weak judicial response to attacks.” the human rights expert added.
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Declaration by the EU High Representative on South Africa and Burundi and the International Criminal Court

Federica Mogherini EU High Representative: Image: The EU

|| October 21: 2016  || ά. The European Union deeply regrets the Republic of South Africa's decision to initiate its withdrawal from the Rome Statute. We equally note with deep concern that Burundi has formalised steps to withdraw from the Rome Statute. Until now, no State has ever withdrawn from the Rome Statute. South Africa played a significant role in the establishment of the ICC and was one of the first signatories of the Rome Statue.

We will continue to engage with both countries on how they can remain partners to the Rome Statute. The International Criminal Court:ICC is a key institution to assist citizens achieve justice when confronted with the most serious crimes, where this is not possible at the national level. A majority of African situations were submitted by the national authorities concerned. The Court is also involved in situations all over the world.

We all have a shared interest in strengthening the rule of law and working together with the ICC, including along the lines suggested by the President of the Rome Statute's Assembly of States Parties.

The EU and its Member States remain staunch supporters of the ICC and are committed to full co-operation on the prevention of serious crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the Court. Where concerns are raised within the framework of the Rome Statute, we remain open for constructive discussion.
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UN Human Rights Experts Outline Steps to Strengthen Prohibition and Prevention of Torture

Torture victims undergo rehabilitation at the African Centre for the Prevention and Resolution of
Conflicts, in Senegal. The centre is funded by the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. Credit: OHCHR
 

|| October 19: 2016  || ά. Following a discussion with the main committee of the United Nations General Assembly responsible for social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues affecting people all over the world, three UN human rights experts briefed reporters in New York, highlighting steps to strengthen protection against torture. “I encouraged Member States of the UN and human rights experts to consider the elaboration of a document …which offers the best practices of interrogation of suspects as well as intervening witnesses and victims.” UN Special Rapporteur, on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Mendez told journalists at the briefing.

He added that such a document, based on the model of presumption of innocence and stressing that the objective of a criminal investigation be establishing truth based on evidence, would not only prevent torture but also other forms of coercion and mistreatment. Also at the briefing, the chair of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, Malcolm Evans, drew particular attention to the fact that sites of torture are no longer just limited to “classical places” within the criminal justice system. “Such sites are now being found increasingly outside the system, for instance, in the context of irregular migration or in low-level conflict.” he said.

Mr. Evans also expressed concern at growing reprisals against persons who co-operate with independent human rights experts in the planning and execution of their visits to countries to monitor and report on the human rights situation, and called on countries to ensure that such individuals are not placed in peril. Both Mr. Mendez and Mr. Evans also expressed concern about the level of co-operation from countries, particularly, in response to requests for invitation and in allowing complete and unhindered access to places of detention in the context of their respective mandates.

Further today, the chair of the Committee against Torture Jens Modvig, highlighted steps taken by the Committee to become more effective and efficient and noted that the Committee has held numerous dialogues with States party to the Convention against Torture to strengthen the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations. Noting that there has been the implementation of the recommendations stand between 50 to 60 per cent, Mr. Modvig said: “We believe that this is a positive indication, the ideal situation would be all State parties implementation all the recommendations.”

He also reported that a number of African countries have initiated work to establish legal frameworks against torture and that these are showing an impact in addressing the prevalence of torture. “These efforts to strengthen …the prevention and prohibition of torture, I believe that there are reasons for a certain amount of optimism although much needs to be done before the phenomenon of torture is finally eradicated,” he said.

The three experts had earlier in the day held an interactive discussion with UN Member States at the General Assembly’s Third Committee where they discussed these and other related issues with the UN membership. The Committee against Torture is a body of independent human rights experts that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture by its State parties.

The subcommittee on prevention of torture:SPT, a body under the Convention’s Optional Protocol, has a preventive mandate that is focused on a sustained and proactive approach to the prevention of torture and ill-treatment. Independent experts and Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. ω.

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The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council Meeting in Luxembourg  on Today

Image: Finland Parliament: Suomen Eduskunta


|| October 13: 2016  || ά. The EU home affairs ministers are meeting today at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg, Finland is represented by Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko. The matters on the agenda are border management and migration. The ministers will discuss, for example the European Border and Coast Guard, information systems related to border management and the reform of the Common European Asylum System. Other issues on the agenda will be relocation of asylum seekers within the EU and resettlement, i.e. reception of quota refugees.

Last year, EU countries agreed to the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers within the EU: 39,600 will be relocated from Italy and 66,400 from Greece to other Member States. Negotiations on the rest of the relocations are still underway. In addition, the Schengen countries agreed on resettlement of about 22,000 refugees. Finland has done its share in the agreed resettlement. Relocation of asylum seekers is also going very well. Other Member States also need to sharpen their focus and do their part. It is unbearable if the agreed measures are not implemented, Ms Risikko stresses.

In connection with the meeting, Finland will sign a mobility partnership with Belarus together with the EU and six other Member States. This partnership aims to support Belarus to develop its migration administration and to step up the fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking.

Finland has actively supported the EU's comprehensive migration and asylum policy targeted at third countries. The mobility partnership to be signed continues this work. The EU has concluded similar partnerships previously with many countries, such as Tunisia, Armenia and Cape Verde. This is the first time Finland is a signatory.

Inquiries: Laura Yli-Vakkuri, Director General, tel. +358 40 720 2216, firstname.lastname at intermin.fi:
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OHCHR Calls for Independent Inquiry Following Numerous Deaths at an Ethiopian Festival

Women fill their containers at a water collection point in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Image: OCHA Ethiopia:Zelalem Letyibelu
 

|| October 07: 2016  || ά. Expressing concern at increasing unrest in several Ethiopian towns following deaths of a number of people in unclear circumstances in the country’s Bishoftu town, OHCHR has called on protesters to exercise restraint and on security forces to conduct themselves in line with international human rights laws and standards. “The protests have apparently been fuelled in part by a lack of trust in the authorities’ account of events, as well as wildly differing information about the death toll and the conduct of security forces,” Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR told journalists at a regular press briefing at the UN Office at Geneva:UNOG.

“There is clearly a need for an independent investigation into what exactly transpired last Sunday and to ensure accountability for this and several other incidents since last November involving protests that have ended violently,” he added. According to OHCHR, last Sunday, a number of people died after “falling in ditches or into the Arsede lake” while ostensibly fleeing security forces following a protest at the Irrecha religious festival in Bishoftu, located in the Oromia region, about 50 kilometres south-east of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. These incidents have caused increased unrest in several other towns in the region.

Furthermore, drawing attention to the cutting off access to mobile data services in parts of the country, including in Addis Ababa, the OHCHR spokesperson urged the Government to address the increasing tensions, including “by allowing independent observers to access the Oromia and Amhara regions to speak to all sides and assess the facts.”

He recalled that in August this year, High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein had requested access to the regions to enable OHCHR to provide assistance in line with the African nation’s human rights obligations. “We again appeal to the Government to grant us access,” Mr. Colville underscored. Also at the briefing, the OHCHR spokesperson expressed concern at reports of mass arrests in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

He further noted that two bloggers, Seyoum Teshoume and Natnael Feleke, the latter from the blogging collective Zone Nine, were arrested this week, for reportedly “loudly discussing” the responsibility of the Government for the deaths at last Sunday’s festival in Oromia. “We urge the Government to release those detained for exercising their rights to free expression and opinion,” said Mr. Colville, adding, “Silencing criticism will only deepen tensions.”
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Reports That Yahoo Aided US E-mail Surveillance Draw Concern of UN Human Rights Expert

Image: UN Photo


|| October 07: 2016  || ά. The Senior United Nations expert of free expression said today that reports that Yahoo complied with United States intelligence demands by searching the e-mails of hundreds of millions of customers “raise serious human rights concerns.” According to reports, Yahoo customised software to scan all incoming e-mail traffic for information responsive to criteria provided by the US National Security Agency or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR.

“Government monitoring of digital communications, when conducted as described in recent reports, could undermine the privacy that individuals depend on in order to seek, receive and impart information online,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, said, adding: “Based on the allegations reported, I have serious concerns that the alleged surveillance fails to meet the standards of necessity and proportionality for the protection of legitimate government interests.”

In a 2013 report to the UN Human Rights Council on communications surveillance, the previous special rapporteur, Frank La Rue, concluded that government “access to communications data held by domestic corporate actors should only be sought in circumstances where other available less invasive techniques have been exhausted.”

Mr. Kaye said that Yahoo’s apparent accession to government surveillance requests, without evident legal challenge, also raises concern about the involvement of technology companies in questionable government programmes that impact freedom of expression, recalling his June 2016 report on the private sector and freedom of expression in the digital age.

“States place undeniable pressures on the private information and communication technology sector that often lead to serious restrictions on the freedom of expression,” the 2016 report stated. Mr. Kaye reiterated that companies in all areas of the industry “are capable of establishing and exercising varying degrees of leverage in their relationships with States to resist or mitigate the harm caused by abusive application of the law.”

His report also highlighted that private entities should be evaluated on the steps they take both to promote and undermine freedom of expression, even in hostile environments unfriendly to human rights. Independent Experts and Special Rapporteurs, are appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. ω.

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Repealing Anti-Abortion Laws Would Save the Lives of Nearly 50,000 Women a Year: UN Experts

 

 

|| September 27: 2016  || ά. Warning that unsafe abortions kill nearly 50,000 women each year, United Nations human rights experts today called on States across the world to repeal restrictive abortion laws and policies, and all punitive measures and discriminatory barriers to access safe reproductive health services. “Criminalisation of abortion and failure to provide adequate access to services for termination of an unwanted pregnancy are forms of discrimination based on sex,” they said in a joint statement on the eve of the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion.

“Restrictive legislation which denies access to safe abortion is one of most damaging ways of instrumentalising women’s bodies and a grave violation of women’s human rights. The consequences for women are severe, with women sometimes paying with their lives” they said. The experts are: Alda Facio, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice; Dainius Pûras, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Juan E. Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“In the 21st century, unsafe abortion is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity,” they said, noting that according to the UN World Health Organisation:WHO, about 22 million unsafe abortions take place each year globally and some 47,000 women die from complications from the resort to unsafe practices.

Restrictive laws apply to 40 per cent of world’s population. In countries which prohibit it, women who seek health services for an abortion, whether to carry out the termination or seek medical care after a miscarriage, may be subjected to prosecution and imprisonment. Prohibition does not reduce the need and the number of abortions, it merely increases the risks to the health and life of women and girls who resort to unsafe and illegal services, the experts said, calling evidence-based comprehensive sex education and availability of effective contraception essential to lower the incidence of unintended pregnancy, and hence abortions.

“Indeed, it has been demonstrated that countries where access to information and to modern methods of contraception is easily available and where abortion is legal, have the lowest rates of abortion,” they added. “The possibility of accessing safe abortion remains essential. Unwanted pregnancies cannot be totally prevented since no contraceptive method is 100 per cent effective, and women may be exposed to sexual violence,” the experts said.

They recommend the practice in many countries providing women’s access to safe abortions on request in the first trimester of pregnancy. “We insist on international legal requirements that women can access abortion at the very least in cases of risk to their life or health, including mental health, rape, incest and fatal impairment of the foetus during the first trimester and later,” they stressed.

“We cannot tolerate the severe violation of women’s human rights on the basis of their sex and biological differences. We cannot tolerate the high incidence of women’s and girls’ preventable deaths resulting from maternity-related issues, including from unsafe abortion,” said the experts.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
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The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law: Now Accessible Online



|| September 26: 2016: MSF News || ά. The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law was published for the first time by Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier in 1998. Regularly updated, and translated into several languages, the latest edition has now been developed into a free, publicly accessible website.

Written from the perspective of victims and those who provide assistance to them, the Practical Guide presents the rules of humanitarian law applicable to the protection and assistance of victims of conflicts and crisis in accessible and reader-friendly alphabetical entries.

It analyses how international humanitarian law has evolved in the face of new challenges to international peace and human security related to the war on terror, new forms of armed conflict and humanitarian action, the emergence of international criminal justice, and the reshaping of fundamental rules in a multipolar world.

An unprecedented work, intended for journalists, policy makers, opinion leaders, relief workers, members of humanitarian organisations, practitioners, war leaders and servicemen among others.
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OHCHR 'Deeply Worried' About Situation in Cambodia

Image: UN Photo

|| September 06: 2016 || ά. Expressing concern over recent incidents of intimidation of opposition politicians and their supporters, civil society, and peaceful demonstrators in Cambodia, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR has called on the authorities to create an environment that is conducive the enjoyment of human rights.

“An increase in rhetoric by high-level army officials, who have vowed to defend the ruling party against political opposition, is deeply worrying,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the OHCHR, said at a regular press briefing in Geneva today, referring to a strong show of force recently conducted by the country's armed forces at the headquarters of the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party:CNRP.

“We remind the Government of its duty to take measures to ensure the safety of all Cambodians, particularly high profile political opponents,” she added.  The UN Spokesperson also said that the Government has invoked concerns about public security to block peaceful protests and to arrest and charge demonstrators, and that, yesterday, the authorities set up roadblocks and mobilized troops in an attempt to block a CNRP event and arrested some 20 people in connection with two unrelated protests in the capital Phnom Penh.

“We urge the Government to create an environment conducive to the enjoyment of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, which are particularly critical in a pre-electoral context,” added Ms. Shamdasani, referring to the local and national elections to be held in 2017 and 2018.

Additionally, referring to a number of legal charges brought against CNRP's Acting President, Kem Sokha and 29 other members or supporters of the party, fourteen of them have been convicted and given heavy prison sentences, she urged the authorities to strictly adhere to international fair trial standards during the criminal proceedings, including ensuring transparency in the administration of justice. ω.

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Head of OHCHR Calls for International Probe into Alleged Violations in Yemen

|| August 25: 2016 || ά. Underlining the seriousness of alleged breaches of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Yemen, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on the international community to establish an international, independent body to carry out comprehensive investigations in the country.

“Civilians in Yemen continue to suffer, absent any form of accountability and justice, while those responsible for the violations and abuses against them enjoy impunity,” High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said today in a news release issued by his office:OHCHR. “Such a manifestly, protractedly unjust situation must no longer be tolerated by the international community,” he added.

The UN human rights chief's call comes as his office:OHCHR released today, a report on the situation of human rights in the country which outlines a number of serious allegations of violations and abuses committed by all sides to the conflict in Yemen and highlights in particular their impact on civilian lives, health and infrastructure.

It contains examples of the kinds of possible violations that have occurred between July 01, 2015 and June 30, 2016, including attacks on residential areas, marketplaces, medical and educational facilities, and public and private infrastructure; the use of landmines and cluster bombs; sniper attacks against civilians; deprivation of liberty, targeted killings, the recruitment and use of children in hostilities, and forced evictions and displacement.

 “The perpetuation of the conflict and its consequences on the population in Yemen are devastating,” the report stated, adding: “The international community … has a legal and moral duty to take urgent steps to alleviate the appalling levels of human despair.” The report also noted that in several of the documented military attacks, OHCHR was unable to identify the presence of possible military objectives.

“In numerous situations where military targets could be identified, there remain serious concerns as to whether the incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects that could be expected from the attack were not excessive in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage apparently sought,” it added.

Furthermore, while a national commission of inquiry was established in September 2015 by the President of Yemen, the report found that the commission did not enjoy the co-operation of all concerned parties and could not operate in all parts of the country. “It was thus unable to implement its mandate in accordance with international standards,” said the news release.

It further noted that the High Commissioner also urged all parties to the conflict to work towards a negotiated and durable solution to the conflict in the best interest of the Yemeni people and to ensure full respect for international humanitarian law. According to the UN human rights arm, between March 2015 and August 23, 2016, an estimated 3,799 civilians have been killed and 6,711 injured as result of the war in Yemen. Furthermore, at least 07.6 million people, including three million women and children are currently suffering from malnutrition and at least three million people have been forced to flee their homes.

Following nearly 16 months of conflict in Yemen, the cessation of hostilities was declared on April 10. While peace talks between a Yemeni Government delegation and a delegation of the General People's Congress and Ansar Allah continued, serious violations have occurred in Marib, al Jawf, Taiz and in the border areas with Saudi Arabia. Those UN-facilitated talks ended on August 06. ω.

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OHCHR to Bangladesh: Annul Death Sentence Against Opposition Member
The Humanion to Bangladesh: It is Time Bangladesh End Death Penalty Itself

 

|| August 24: 2016 || ά. Amid reports that the trial of Mir Quasem Ali, a senior opposition member, and its appeal processes were marred with irregularities and failed to meet international fair trial and due process standards, a group of United Nations human rights experts have urged the Government of Bangladesh to annul the death sentence imposed upon him, and to re-try him in compliance with international standards.

“International law, accepted as binding by Bangladesh, provides that capital punishment may only be imposed following trials that comply with the most stringent requirements of fair trial and due process, or could otherwise be considered an arbitrary execution,” they said in a news release issued yesterday by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR.

The Humanion understands and accepts that Bangladesh is right to seek to try to bring those to justice who committed the severest form the most hyenas of crimes such as atrocities, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and about which the world may not be as aware after all this time elapsing, and these accused are  being tried at the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal:ICT.

However, the very purpose of democracy and seeking to achieve justice is to enable due process of law. If that fails the very point that Bangladesh is seeking to achieve is lost. Even those who committed genocide and such other horrible crimes must be given a fair trial and all the judicial safeguards so that the due process is 'duly' at work and it is seen to be 'duly' at work. If that fails Bangaldesh does great disservice to herself; for Bangladesh has chosen the path of democracy and there is no short cut to this democratic path. Due process of law is the earth on which the tree of democracy lives on.

And on this, The Humanion invites Bangladesh Government to sincerely begin contemplation of ending death penalty all together for democracy and death penalty stand as anathema. That what you cannot give, you cannot take. Life sentence is enough of a punishment. End death sentence and end it now. And in this instance of OHCHR call about this case, pay regard for there is no short cut way to become a strong democracy. One may seek to get a short cut but it only short changes one. Follow due process of law dictated by democracy, democratic values and culture. Criminals must be punished but the system that delivers that punishment must do so with the 'fairest' of hands. Without due process in action that does not, and never, happens and it weakens the jurisprudential principle and culture Bangladesh is seeking to establish.

The experts' request comes as the Supreme Court prepares to review Mr. Ali's case on August 24. He was sentenced to death in 2014 by the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal:ICT for crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Independence War. The decision was confirmed by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on March 08, 2016.

“The death penalty is the most severe form of punishment,” they stressed. “In light of its irreversibility, every measure must be taken to ensure that all the defendants before the International Crimes Tribunal, including the Appellate Division, have received a fair trial.” In the news release, the experts recalled that the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found in 2012 that Mr. Ali's deprivation of liberty was arbitrary and in breach of articles 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“We regret the Government's non-compliance with the expert group's recommendations to remedy the situation of Mr. Ali, and call upon the Bangladeshi authorities to respect their international obligations,” they added. The UN human rights experts also expressed alarm at reports that Mr. Ali's son and part of his legal defence team, Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem, was abducted from his home on 9 August by Bangladeshi security forces, two weeks before his father review hearing.

“We understand that no information has been given on where he is being held, by whom or under what suspicion or charge. We urge the authorities to immediately disclose the whereabouts of Mr. Quasem,” they said. The news release further added that the UN human rights experts have on several occasions expressed alarm regarding serious violations of fair trial and due process guarantees in the judicial proceedings before the ICT that were reported to them.

The ICT is a special domestic court with the jurisdiction to try and punish any person accused of committing atrocities, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country. It has sentenced 17 individuals to death for crimes committed during the Independence war.

In the past three years, five of those convicted by the ICT have been executed. The experts voicing their concern include: Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Mónica Pinto, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Juan E. Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Sètondji Roland Adjovi, current chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
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