Tag Archives: OHCHR

[From the web] UN human rights experts call for independent probe into Philippines violations -OHCHR

GENEVA (7 June 2019) – UN human rights experts* today called on the United Nations to establish an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines, citing a sharp deterioration in the situation of human rights across the country, including sustained attacks on people and institutions defending human rights.

“Given the scale and seriousness of the reported human rights violations we call on the Human Rights Council to establish an independent investigation into the human rights violations in the Philippines,” said the independent experts, referring to the body made up of 47 UN Member States elected by the UN General Assembly.

“We have recorded a staggering number of unlawful deaths and police killings in the context of the so-called war on drugs, as well as killings of human rights defenders. Very few independent and effective investigations have taken place, independent media and journalists are threatened, the law has been weaponised to undermine press freedom, and the independence of the judiciary is undermined,” the experts said.

“We are extremely concerned over the high number of killings which are being carried out across the country in an apparent climate of official, institutional impunity.

“In the past three years, we have repeatedly brought to the attention of the Government cases alleging a range of gross human rights violations, such as extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, including of children, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, trade union and land right activists. Those cases also included allegations of arbitrary detention, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, gender-based violence against women human rights defenders, attacks against the independence of judges and lawyers, freedoms of expression and of assembly, as well as people’s right to food and health. Sadly these cases are just the tip of the iceberg with many more cases being reported regularly.

“It is time for the Human Rights Council to take action against these sustained attacks on human rights defenders and independent watchdog institutions,” the experts said.

They stressed that, in many incidents the alleged perpetrators of killings are members of the armed forces, paramilitary groups or individuals linked to them.

Read more @www.ohchr.org

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[Off-the-shelf] Human rights treaty bodies -OHCHR

Human rights treaty bodies

What are the human rights treaty bodies?
The human rights treaty bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties. Each State party to a treaty has an obligation to take steps to ensure that everyone in the State can enjoy the rights set out in the treaty.

Currently, there are nine human rights international treaties, and one optional protocol, from which 10 treaty bodies have been established. The treaty bodies are composed of independent experts of recognized competence in human rights, who are nominated and elected for fixed renewable terms of four years by State parties.

Learn more and get involved
Watch the videos below to learn about what the treaty bodies do and which human rights they monitor and protect.
Read more about the treaty bodies.
Check the webcast schedule to see when your country will be reviewed.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/Pages/TreatyBodies.aspx

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Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

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[From the web] Committee on ESCR hears from human rights institutions and CSOs from the Philippines and the Dominican Republic -OHCHR

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights hears from human rights institutions and civil society organizations from the Philippines and the Dominican Republic

Civil society organizations from the Philippines

ohchrInternational Service for Human Rights, in a joint statement on behalf of three non-governmental organisations, said that the Philippines ranked as the second most dangerous country in the world in terms of the number of murdered human rights defenders, and as one of the most dangerous to be a land and environmental defender, with 25 deaths alone in 2015 belonging to the indigenous communities.  Economic, social and cultural rights defenders continued to suffer threats, harassment and attacks. The criminalisation of defenders, used to silence them and protect business interests, had increased. Many were subject to judicial harassment.

FIAN-Philippines said that the irony of growth without human development was sadly seen in the Philippines. Despite being Asia’s second fastest-growing economy, hunger and poverty persisted in the country.  FIAN focused on several urgent issues, including the lack of a right to food and nutrition law; the inadequate implementation of the Land Reform Programme, the Law to Modernize Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Law on Indigenous Peoples Rights; and the exacerbation of the poverty situation of citizens due to natural disasters. The Government had to consider climate change mitigation. Finally, there had to be an assessment of the insurance-based systems on social protection.

Defend Job Philippines stated that, since the passage of the Wage Rationalisation Act of 1989, and the Herrera Law, violation of workers’ rights had been made legal and systematic. Wages were pinned down to starvation levels and the unemployment rate was left at 12 percent. To make matters worse, the passage of the Herrera Law attacked not only security of tenure but also other rights, such as fair wages, maternity benefits and union rights.  Workers worked 10-17 hours a day for a three to eight USD wage. There was no job security – only short term contracts or piece-rate system.  There were no benefits and cases of non-remittance of social security premiums were rampant.

E-Net said that the Philippines had ratified the main treaties protecting the right to education, however that right was far from being fulfilled for a large number of Filipinos, particularly the poorest and excluded groups.  Millions of children dropped out of school every year and only 75.3 percent completed six years of primary education.  Some 10 percent, or 6.9 million Filipinos, 10-64 years old, were functionally illiterate in 2013.

TEBTEBBA-Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education noted that there continued to be a serious lack of data on the number of indigenous peoples in the Philippines. There were also serious rights violations of indigenous peoples due to mining activities. Medium and large-scale corporate mining and conflicting laws governing natural resources were major problems that indigenous peoples faced in their communities. The free, prior and informed consent process was being manipulated in favour of mining corporations.

DINTEG-Indigenous Peoples’ Legal Centre was concerned about the extrajudicial killings related to the war on drugs. It asked the Committee to say something in that regard. It also asked the Committee to ask the Government about the lack of trust among indigenous peoples with respect to the National Commissions for Indigenous Peoples,

Center for Reproductive Rights, in a joint statement with six other organisations, noting the positive steps on women’s rights to reproductive health services, said that the State party had failed to fully and immediately implement the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.  In addition, a reduction in the budget for family planning had been made. The Philippines was the only country where there was a rise in teenage pregnancies. There were more than half a million abortions conducted in spite of the abortion ban, which was one of the leading causes of maternal deaths. The Centre urged the Committee to question the State party about access to contraceptive information and services, abortion, and post-abortion care. – See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20585&LangID=E#sthash.Q0hPTIxI.dpuf

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[From the web] UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to review the Philippines

UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to review the Philippines

OHCHRGENEVA (23 September 2016) – The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is due to review the Philippines on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 September. The Philippines is one of the 164 States* that have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and so is required to undergo regular review by the Committee.

The Committee, which is composed of 18 independent human rights experts, will discuss a range of issues relating to the Philippines’ implementation of the ICESCR with a Philippine delegation. The Committee’s meetings with the delegation are public and will take place on 28 September from 15:00 to 18:00 (21:00 to 24:00 in Manila) and on 29 September from 10:00 to 13:00 (16:00 to 19:00) in Room XVI at Palais des Nations in Geneva. The meetings are public and will be webcast at http://webtv.un.org/.

The Philippines has submitted a report to the Committee which is available here:   http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1060&Lang=en

Any information submitted by civil society organisations can be accessed through the same link.

The Committee will issue its findings on the Philippines and the other States being reviewed – Costa Rica, Cyprus, Poland, Tunisia, Lebanon, Dominican Republic – on 10 October and publish them at the above link.

For more information, please contact: Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9466 / +41 79 752 0488 ethrossell@ohchr.org

Media accreditation for the Palais des Nations:   http://unog.ch/80256EDD006B9C2E/(httpPages)/70991F6887C73B2280256EE700379C58?OpenDocument

Background: Members of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s concluding observations are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the treaty. More information:  http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/cescr/pages/cescrindex.aspx

*Check which countries have ratified the two Covenants and the other main international human rights treaties: http://indicators.ohchr.org/

50 years of the International Bill of Human Rights

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). These treaties, together with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, form the International Bill of Rights. A campaign by the UN Human Rights Office, entitled “Our Rights, Our Freedoms, Always”,  is running throughout the year to promote and raise awareness of the two treaties, focussing on the timeless themes of rights and freedoms, in particular freedom from fear, freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom from want. Check the campaign website at http://2covenants.ohchr.org

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– See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20557&LangID=E#sthash.ZIdqZhx3.dpuf

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[From the web] Human Rights Day 2015 -OHCHR

Human Rights Day 2015
10 December

Fifty years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted two international treaties that would forever shape international human rights: The International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

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Created in the aftermath of WWII, the two Covenants along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights became the International Bill of Human Rights setting out the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings.

Since that time a fundamental sea change has occurred across the world, with many countries recognizing human rights and the rule of law as the basis for truly resilient and stable societies.

The Two Covenants – More Relevant Today Than Ever

Yet, challenges remain.

Read full article @www.ohchr.org

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[From the web] COP21: “States’ human rights obligations encompass climate change” – UN expert -OHCHR

COP21: “States’ human rights obligations encompass climate change” – UN expert

PARIS (3 December 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, today reminded all parties attending the Paris Climate Conference* that “States’ human rights obligations also encompass climate change,” and urged them to adopt a rights perspective in tackling environmental issues.

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“Every State in the climate negotiations belongs to at least one human rights treaty, and they must ensure that all of their actions comply with their human rights obligations. That includes their actions relating to climate change,” Mr. Knox said in Paris, where he is taking part in the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties – COP 21.

Representatives of more than 190 States are gathered in Paris to discuss a possible new universal and legally binding agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the threat of dangerous warming due to human activities.

“I call on Governments to honour their human rights obligations as they negotiate the climate agreement,” the expert stated. “Even including a reference to human rights in the agreement itself would be of great symbolic and practical importance.”

“It is now beyond debate that climate change threatens the enjoyment of a vast range of human rights. Moreover, it is inherently discriminatory, harming most those who have contributed least to the problem.”

“An increase of even 2 degrees would have devastating effects on the human rights of the most vulnerable,” he said. “The Climate Vulnerable Forum countries’ proposed target of 1.5 degrees would better accord with human rights principles.”

The Special Rapporteur also noted that States must also take human rights law into account in their actions to adapt to climate change and to undertake response measures.

“Governments do not check their human rights obligations at the door when they respond to climate change,” he said. “They must respect the rights of their people to receive information about proposed climate actions and to have their voices heard in the decision-making processes.”

Mr. Knox recalled that the Governments on the Human Rights Council have unanimously agreed that human rights obligations and principles can strengthen climate policy-making by promoting coherence, legitimacy and sustainable outcomes.

“The Paris Agreement is vital to the protection of human rights of present and future generations, in every country of the world. The Agreement should recognize that fact,” the Special Rapporteur concluded.

Mr. Knox delivers a keynote speech Friday 11 at the inaugural conference of the Climate Law and Governance Day, at the Sorbonne.

(*) Paris Climate Conference – COP21: http://www.cop21paris.org/

The UN Human Rights Council appointed Professor John Knox in 2012 to serve as Independent Expert, and reappointed him in 2015 as Special Rapporteur, on the issue of human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The Council requested Mr. Knox, a professor of international law at Wake Forest University in the United States, to clarify the application of human rights norms to environmental protection, and to identify best practices in the use of human rights obligations in environmental policy-making. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/SREnvironment/Pages/SRenvironmentIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

– See more @www.ohchr.org

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[From the web] New technologies –if used right– are vital tools in the fight against human rights violations -OHCHR

New technologies –if used right– are vital tools in the fight against human rights violations

GENEVA (19 June 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Christof Heyns, has called on the UN system and other international human rights bodies to “catch up” with rapidly developing innovations in human rights fact-finding and investigations. “The digital age presents challenges that can only be met through the smart use of digital tools,” he said.

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In his latest report to the Human Rights Council, Mr. Heyns highlighted that information and communication technologies (ICTs) —the hardware and software that produce and transmit information in the digital space— can play an increasing role in the protection of all human rights, including the right to life, by reinforcing the role of ‘civilian witnesses’ in documenting rights violations.

“We have all seen how the actions of police officers and other who use excessive force are captured on cell phones and lead to action against the perpetrators. Billions of people around the world carry a powerful weapon to capture such events in their pockets,” the expert said. “The fact that this is well-known can be a significant deterrent to abuses.”

The expert described in his report how various organizations are developing alert applications that journalists, human rights defenders and others can use to send an emergency message (along with GPS co-ordinates) to their friends and colleagues if they feel in immediate danger.

“New information tools can also empower human rights investigations and help to foster accountability where people have lost their lives or were seriously injured,” the Special Rapporteur noted.

The use of other video technologies, ranging from CCTV cameras to body-worn “cop cams” can further contribute to filling information gaps. The use of resources such as satellite imagery to verify such videos, or sometime to show evidence of violations themselves, is also an important dimension.

However, despite the many advantages offered by ICTS for the protection of human rights, Mr. Heyns also warned that it will be short-sighted not to see the risks. “Those with the power to violate human rights can easily use peoples’ emails and other communications to target them and also to violate their privacy,” he said.

The human rights expert also noted that the fact that people can use social media to organise spontaneous protests can lead authorities to perceive a threat – and to over-react.

Moreover, there is a danger that what is not captured on video is not taken seriously. “We must guard against a mind-set that ‘if it is not digital it did not happen,’” he stressed.

In his report, Mr. Heyns also cautioned that not all communities, and not all parts of the world, are equally connected, and draws special attention to the fact that “the ones that not connected are often in special need of protection.”

“There is still a long way to go for all of us to understand fully how we can use these evolving and exciting but in some ways also scary new tools to their best effect,” the expert stated, noting that not all parts of the international human rights community are fully aware of the power and pitfalls of digital fact-finding.

The Special Rapporteur made several recommendations in his report, including that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights appoints as soon as possible a specialist in digital evidence to assist it in making the best use of ICTs.

(*) Check the Special Rapporteur’s report: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/29/37

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns (South Africa), is a director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria, where he has also directed the Centre for Human Rights, and has engaged in wide-reaching initiatives on human rights in Africa. He has advised a number of international, regional and national entities on human rights issues. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Executions/Pages/SRExecutionsIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name 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 Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

For more information and media requests, please contact Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 9635 / bvukovic@ohchr.org) or write to eje@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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Source: www.ohchr.org

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[From the web] New OHCHR publication: “Moving Away from the Death Penalty. Lessons in South-East Asia” -OHCHR

New OHCHR publication: “Moving Away from the Death Penalty. Lessons in South-East Asia”

(BANGKOK, 27 March 2015) – The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) is pleased to release its new publication on death penalty in South East Asia. The report provides an extensive review of global trends in the application of the death penalty, a summary of the applicable international legal standards, and the current status of legislative reform related to the death penalty in the region.

OHCHR

This publication comes at an important juncture where the region appears to follow global trends in ‘moving away’ from capital punishment while facing complex challenges, such as the application of death penalty for drug-related crimes and pressures to return to executions after periods of moratorium. Some States are fully abolitionist (Cambodia, Timor-Leste, and the Philippines), others are abolitionist in practice (Brunei Darussalam, Lao PDR, Myanmar), while others have an unofficial moratorium in place (Thailand). Some are undertaking efforts to reduce the numbers of executions and other reforms (Singapore, Malaysia), while in others, the direction seems more uncertain (Indonesia, Vietnam). As stated by Professor William Schabas: “Fundamentally, it is a positive picture of progress and one consistent with the worldwide trend. The continuation of this trajectory should be encouraged so this region may eventually be free of capital punishment.”

The publication is based on a number of years of work of the OHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia. The Office collaborated with the Ministry of Justice in Thailand to organize an Expert Seminar on “Moving Away from the Death Penalty in South-East Asia” in Bangkok on 22 – 23 October 2013. Participants laid the ground for establishing a forum for intra-regional exchange between key stakeholders on international and regional law and practice regarding the death penalty. As a follow-up to that meeting, the Indonesian Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) organized with OHCHR its Third Jakarta Human Rights Dialogue on “The Right to Life and Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty” in Jakarta on 10 – 11 November 2014.

Both events had participants from Governments, AICHR, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations, as well as international experts, lawyers, and academia from the region. “We hope this publication can be a resource for further discussions in the region and help to establish moratoria on the use of death penalty and ultimately its abolition,.” noted Matilda Bogner, the Regional Representative of the OHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia.

The English version is accessible on OHCHR Bangkok website at http://bangkok.ohchr.org/. The publication will be soon available in Thai, Bahasa and Vietnamese. In the coming months, the Regional Office will also launch the publication at events organized with partners in the region.

The Regional Office for South-East Asia in Bangkok represents the High Commissioner for Human Rights within South East Asia. The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the United Nations and heads the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which spearheads the United Nations’ human rights efforts .

OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org
OHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia website: http://bangkok.ohchr.org/

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[From the web] Expert says key housing rights responsibility lie with local authorities -OHCHR

Expert says key housing rights responsibility lie with local authorities

There are over a billion people around the world living in inadequate housing, said Leilani Farha, Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing.

By inadequate, Farha means people who are homeless, or living without title to land, living with the threat of forced eviction or living without essential services such as water, electricity or sanitation. And key responsibilities for making this better, lay with local and subnational authorities, she said.

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“It is my opinion that the right to adequate housing cannot be effectively implemented without the full participation of local governments,” Farha said.

Farha raised her concerns during the presentation of her report during the 28th session of the Human Rights Council. This is Farha’s first report to the Council, since taking up her duties in 2014.
Read full article @www.ohchr.org

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[From the web] Human rights 365 -OHCHR

Human rights 365

HRD2014_Banner_Bigger

On 10 December every year, Human Rights Day commemorates the date on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”

This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.

In 2014 the message from Human Rights 365 is unequivocal: the UN Human Rights Office stands by its mandate and stands with the millions of men and women globally, who risk their all for human rights.

Make your voice heard now via our campaign on Vine: explain why Human Rights matter 365.

It is as important now, as it has been at any time in recent years to declare your membership of and support for the international human rights community.

On any scale, 2014 will be remembered as a year of daunting human rights challenges. In places where only recently there had been progress in achieving human rights, there has now been retreat. Nonetheless, there have been, significant, ongoing, global advances in achieving our human rights.

Support for the Declaration continues to grow: this year the Convention against Torture reached its 30th year, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is 25. In 2015, the very first of the international agreements giving effect to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination marks its half century.

As a global community we all share a day when those milestones can be acknowledged and we can take stock of the challenges ahead: Human Rights Day on 10 December. It offers all of us the opportunity to declare our commitment to the principles and standards developed over the more than six decades since the the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted.

Human Rights 365 on Vine
In six seconds tell us why human rights matter 365 and post it on Vine. Tag your Vine with #rights365 and we will collect them all in our Storify and tell the story on 10 December.

Human Rights 365 on social media
We want all of you to mobilize in support of our right to enjoy every day as a human rights day. Join our Thunderclap: support human rights 365.

Statements and video messages
Statements by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will be available shortly before December 10.

Visual designs
Visual designs promoting Human Rights DAY 2014 will soon be available in all six official UN languages and may be downloaded in either colour or black and white.

Source: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/HRDay2014/Pages/HRD2014.aspx

[Resources] Web resource gathers human rights education commitments of States in one place -OHCHR

Web resource gathers human rights education commitments of States in one place

The UN Human Rights Office launches a new resource, making available all the human rights education provisions of treaties and other instruments in one place.

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The web resource “The Right to Human Rights Education”, launched during a side event at the 27th session of the Human Rights Council, outlines in one place all the existing commitments by Member States — made at the United Nations and at the regional level — to undertake and promote human rights education.

In her opening remarks during the event, Jane Connors, Director of the UN Human Rights Office Research and Right to Development Division, said it was important to remember that human rights education is an essential prerequisite for realizing all human rights.

“If we don’t know what human rights are and how to protect them, how can we claim them or enforce them?” she said. “Effective human rights education is relevant to our daily lives. It engenders a discussion on how human rights norms can be translated into social, economic, cultural and political reality.”

The resource is aimed at governments, national human rights institutions, intergovernmental organizations and civil society. It is intended to serve as a guidance and advocacy tool for all these stakeholders.

The resource was three years in the making, and brought together a partnership of numerous groups including the International Contact Group on Citizenship and Human Rights Education, other intergovernmental organizations and civil society. It replaces a publication of the same name issued by the Human Rights Office in 1999 in printed form. Being web-based means the resource is easily updatable and more easily accessible to a much wider audience.

22 September 2014
Sourece: www.ohchr.org

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[From the web] OHCHR welcomes arrest of Palparan

OHCHR welcomes arrest of Palparan

BANGKOK (13 August 2014) – We welcome the arrest by the Filipino Army of former maj. general Jovito Palparan, which represents an important step towards addressing impunity for serious human rights abuses in the Philippines.

OHCHR

Palparan was arrested this Tuesday after three years in-hiding. He was indicted in 2011 for ordering the torture, rape, and execution of two Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno in 2006. According to reliable sources, Palparan has also been linked to several human rights abuses, including disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings of leftist activists from 2001 to 2006.

In early 2007, after his official mission to the Philippines, the UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions recommended that “as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the President must take concrete steps to put an end to those aspects of counterinsurgency operations which have led to the targeting and execution of many individuals working with civil society organizations.” We recognise the current efforts of the Aquino administration to follow-up on the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur, and further encourage the Government to take additional steps to strengthen the rule of law and accountability mechanisms.

Ensuring justice in this case will set an important precedent for the Philippines and South East Asia region, where impunity remains an issue of serious concern.

ENDS
The Regional Office for South-East Asia in Bangkok represents the High Commissioner for Human Rights within South East Asia. The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the United Nations and heads the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which spearheads the United Nations’ human rights efforts .

OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org
OHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia website: http://bangkok.ohchr.org/

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[Around the world] Painting human rights -OHCHR

Painting human rights

Oz Montania was just 12 years old when he started using aerosols to draw and paint. Now, one of Paraguay’s best known street artists, Montania says he is driven to paint in the streets by events around him. Paintings that are ornamental only, are not for him, he says, listing as his influences local Paraguayan culture, music, indigenous tradition , politics and his immediate environment.

OHCHR

A mural by one of Paraguay’s best known street artists, Oz Montania © UN Human Rights OfficeMontania’s latest project has exposure most artists can only dream of, located alongside one of Asunción’s major freeways. A collaborative venture with the UN Human Rights Office in Paraguay, the Ministry of Culture, the Ports Administration, and the Municipality of Asunción, Montania’s wall mural encourages the public to reflect on human rights, particularly respect for cultural diversity and the elimination of discrimination and intolerance.

This is the second collaboration between the Human Rights Office and Montania. A mural painted by him for Human Rights Day 2013, highlighted indigenous rights, particularly the decades-long struggle of the Sawhoyamaxa community for restitution of their ancestral lands. In 2006 the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of the community’s claim but it was not until June 2014 that a law returning a portion of their land was promulgated. .

The mural is now on display in Asunción’s Palacio de Justicia and has become a reminder of the important work of human rights defenders and their long struggle in the country.

Advocating awareness of and solutions to inequality and discrimination is a priority of the UN Human Rights Office in Paraguay. Human Rights Adviser Liliana Valiña says that despite recognition of the right to non-discrimination in the Constitution of Paraguay, discrimination based on social, ethnic, regional, cultural and urban-rural perceptions remains common.

Commenting at the launch of their latest collaboration, Valiña said: “We do not always understand that our differences enrich us as individuals and as a society. Paraguay has a very diverse culture reflected in their many different languages -Spanish, Guarani and other indigenous languages. If we acknowledge our diversity but also appreciate our common humanity, then we will be truly equal in dignity and rights.”

7 August 2014

Source: www.ohchr.org

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[From the web] Philippines: Justice in the wake of natural disaster -OHCHR

Philippines: Justice in the wake of natural disaster

Typhoon Haiyan has affected nearly ten million people in the Philippines, with more than four million displaced in nine regions. In the aftermath of the disaster, the administration of justice, an essential institution often overlooked, has been severely affected with court buildings, equipment and places of detention substantially destroyed in a number of major centres.

OHCHR

Judicial processes were badly hit in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. © OHCHRAlphinor Serrano, Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court in Tacloban City, explains: “the scale and destruction brought by Typhoon Haiyan took us all by surprise. With no emergency plan to rely upon for a disaster of this scale, our court rooms, offices, files and equipment were destroyed. Ninety five percent of my case files were under water and mud and court staff spent their days manually drying files and hanging them out to dry.”

“While we have made great efforts to get our courts functioning again, it is difficult and time consuming work and any delay has an impact on a person’s right to speedy trial and other due process rights,” Serrano said.

The UN Human Rights Office collaborating with the Human Rights Commission of the Philippines has undertaken a joint project to assist in rebuilding the judicial process in the affected regions and to begin a process which ensures better preparedness for future natural disasters.

After the destruction of a number of prisons, some inmates were moved to other jails without adequate access to their families, lawyers and medical care. Often, too, the cases of people who had been arrested and detained before the typhoon could not be processed as the files had been destroyed or lost.

Senior Police Superintendant Domingo Say Cabillan, from the city of Tacloban has reported that he is “dealing with a significant number of detainees who have been held for five months in police cells. The maximum time limit in Philippine law for people to be brought before the Prosecutors office to file a case upon the commission of the crime is thirty six hours for grave offences.”

“As the case files submitted to the Prosecutor’s office have in many of these cases been washed away, we have struggled to resolve the situation of these cases caught in a legal limbo,” Cabillan said.

The Human Rights Office and Human Rights Commission of the Philippines have been working very closely with the police, prison authorities and judiciary to address these issues of concern. At the end of April, OHCHR organized with the Commission a roundtable on the administration of justice with representative of the judiciary, the Philippines police, the Public Attorney and Prosecutors Offices, the Bureau of Jail and Penology Management and the Warden of Leyte province.

Participants discussed the impact of typhoon Haiyan on the administration of justice, proposing solutions to case backlogs, including the situation of twelve inmates, who have been detained in police cells since the typhoon struck in November last year and recommendations to limit the devastating effects of future disasters.

Judge Serrano welcomed the initiative: “It is clear that we need to rethink our institutional preparedness so that we can reduce the disruption to the justice system after a disaster. We need to make clear recommendations for action and put systems in place such as storing information electronically.”

The Chair of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Loretta Ann Rosales stressed the importance of the collaboration with the UN Human Rights Office: “Our joint monitoring with OHCHR has shown that our justice system is not only vulnerable but has ceased to function for a significant amount of time in the aftermath of a disaster such as Haiyan.”

“Where can I go to challenge the legality of my detention if the court is destroyed and the records are washed away? We need to plan. When people caught in this legal limbo have little opportunity to claim their due process rights, and duty bearers in the administration of justice are not able to respond to the challenges of the legality of detention, the right to due process will not be fulfilled,” Rosales said.

“We must not forget the vulnerability of criminal justice systems during emergencies,” she said. “Access to justice should become a critical part of our future disaster risk, resilience and reduction efforts in the Philippines.”

Source: www.ohchr.org

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[Resources] New Practical Guide for civil society on follow up on human rights recommendations-OHCHR

New Practical Guide for civil society on follow up on human rights recommendations
Launch in Geneva on 29 November 2013

How to ff up UN recom

The Guide describes methods and activities that civil society actors can use to promote the implementation of human rights recommendations as well as existing follow-up procedures and practices of UN human rights mechanisms and how civil society can participate.

Complemented by real experiences contributed by civil society actors and OHCHR field presences, the Guide offers a menu of options from which civil society actors can select on the basis of their own priorities and capacity.

The Guide is being translated into Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. We will share translations once available in the coming weeks.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights will launch the Guide in an event in Geneva. The launch will take place on Friday 29 Novemberin Palais des Nations, room XXIII, Geneva.

Download guide from www.ohchr.org

Best regards,

Civil Society Section
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel. +41 (0) 22 – 917 – 9656

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[Press Release] Thailand and Gabon first States to ratify new UN treaty giving children access to justice at the international level -Ratify OP3CRC

Thailand and Gabon first States to ratify new UN treaty giving children access to justice at the international level.

Geneva/Manila, 26 September 2012 – Thailand and Gabon are the first countries to ratify the new international treaty on children’s rights, which allows children and their representatives to report rights violations to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The ratifications are receiving strong support from NGOs around the world.

“Before this new treaty, it was almost impossible to challenge violations of children’s rights at the international level,” said Anita Goh, Co-Chair of Ratify OP3CRC – International Coalition for the OPCRC on a Communications Procedure, an alliance of children’s rights NGOs and institutions.

The treaty, a third Optional Protocol (OP) to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), establishes a channel of complaint for children whose rights have been violated, for example through violence, sexual exploitation, or lack of access to education. If violations cannot be addressed effectively by national courts, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will be able to examine them.

“We applaud Thailand’s and Gabon’s lead, and urge every country to ratify the OP to recognize children as full rights holders” said Ryan Silverio, representing Child Rights Coalition Asia, a member organisation of the International Coalition. “Ratifying this treaty is an important step towards ensuring that children have equal access to justice at the international level,” added Silverio.

“The International Coalition especially looks for leadership of States that supported the creation of the Protocol and all those that have signed it. We call for its entry into force by February 28, 2013, the first anniversary of its signing,” said Goh.
Thailand and Gabon ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the UN annual treaty event on 25 September 2012, in New York. The Protocol enters into force once ten States ratify it. It can then be used by children and their representatives in every state where it is ratified.

Background information

Thailand was part of the core group of twelve States (Austria, Chile, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Kenya, the Maldives, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand and Uruguay) that led the drafting of OP3 CRC.
Other States have initiated the ratification process. For example, Germany adopted a draft law on the ratification of the OP in August 2012.

Fifty-five States expressed official support for OP3 CRC when it was adopted by the United Nations in 2011: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Maldives, Mali, Montenegro, Morocco, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America, Uruguay and Zambia

As of 25 September 2012, in addition to Thailand, thirty-one States have signed OP3 – indicating their intention to ratify: Albania, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Finland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Montenegro, Morocco, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and Uruguay.

For more information and interviews, please contact:

Anita Goh, NGO Group for the CRC, Co-Chair of Ratify OP3 CRC – International Coalition for the OPCRC on a Communications Procedure (in English, French or Spanish), based in Geneva, Switzerland, on +41 763581222 or goh@childrightsnet.org

Ryan Silverio, Child Rights Coalition Asia, Member of Ratify OP3CRC – International Coalition for the OPCRC on a Communications Procedure (in English), based in Manila, Philippines, on +632-3766388 or rsilverio@childrightscoalitionasia.org

Ratify OP3 CRC – International Coalition for the OPCRC on a Communications Procedure, a group of over forty national, regional and international children’s rights NGOs and institutions, is guided by a Steering Committee composed of: African Child Policy Forum, Eurochild, Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia), Child Rights International Network (CRIN), Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of children (GIEACP), NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (NGO Group for the CRC), Kindernothilfe, Plan International, Red latinoamericana y caribeña por la defensa de los derechos de los niños, niñas y adolescentes (Redlamyc), Save the Children, Terre des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF), and World Vision.

For background information on the International Coalition, see: www.ratifyop3crc.org

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[Resources] Torture and ill-treatment in the Philippines–Implementation of the Anti-Torture Act

Torture and ill-treatment in the Philippines–Implementation of the Anti-Torture Act 

The Alternative Report jointly prepared and submitted by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), the Medical Action Group (MAG) and the Balay Rehabilitation Center to the UN Human Rights Committee, 106th Session (October 15-Novemner 2, 2012) for the Philippines Fourth Periodic Report on the CCPR.

Read full report @ www2.ohchr.org

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[From the web] Pillay urges ASEAN to set the bar high with its regional human rights declaration –

Pillay urges ASEAN to set the bar high with its regional human rights declaration

source: ohchr.org

GENEVA (11 May 2012) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday offered her encouragement to ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in drafting a regional human rights declaration, but called for a meaningful consultation on the draft with the widest spectrum of people in the region before it is presented to ASEAN’s foreign ministers in July.

As the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) concludes its latest drafting meeting in Bangkok, Pillay expressed her hope that the Declaration will play an important role in improving the enjoyment of human rights for people in South-East Asia.

“Regional human rights instruments should complement and reinforce international human rights standards,” Pillay said. “But my hope is that that the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration will go further by setting the bar higher for governments to ensure full protection and promotion of human rights through their policies, legislation and practices.”

While welcoming the consultation AICHR has had with ASEAN sectoral bodies as well as the planned consultation with NGOs at the end of June, Pillay emphasised that engaging early, in a transparent process of inclusive and meaningful consultation will help the Declaration to acquire the status and popular support it deserves.

“The process through which this crucial Declaration is adopted is almost as important as the content of the Declaration itself,” Pillay said. “I very much hope that AICHR recognises the value of holding meaningful consultations with people from all walks of life, in every country across the South-East Asia region.”

“This will help to ensure that the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration will have the distinction of embedding international human rights standards in the local context and representing the interests and aspirations of the people in the region.”

Pillay met with AICHR members as well as civil society groups and national human rights institutions from the region during her visit to the Indonesian island of Bali last November.

“During my visit last year, I heard about the fast pace at which the countries of the region are moving in terms of political reform and economic development, and how increased regional integration towards an ASEAN community in 2015 is reinforcing and complementing this process of change,” the High Commissioner said. “It is vital that universal human rights standards and principles shape this process of change – making the adoption of a credible ASEAN human rights instrument extremely significant and timely.”

The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration is scheduled to be adopted by leaders during the ASEAN Summit this November.

ENDS

Learn more about the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/HighCommissioner.aspx

For more information or media requests, please contact press officers Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org) or Xabier Celaya (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org).

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[From the web] “The world is moving online”: promoting freedom of expression -OHCHR

“The world is moving online”: promoting freedom of expression

How can the right to freedom of expression be respected, protected and promoted when exercised through the Internet? Is there a need to define new rules for human rights on the Internet? And how can we bridge the digital divide, and attain universal access to the Internet? Under international human rights law, limitations of freedom of expression are permissible in exceptional cases, such as child pornography and incitement to hatred: what are the most effective ways in which such exceptional cases can be taken into account, without jeopardizing the right to freedom of opinion and expression?

These and other questions were the focus of the first-ever panel discussion on the right to freedom of expression on the Internet held by the UN Human Rights Council on 29 February 2012.

Like no other communications medium before it, the Internet allows individuals to communicate instantaneously and inexpensively, and it has had a dramatic impact on the way information and ideas are shared and accessed.

“The Internet has transformed human rights movements,” said UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay. “States can no longer exercise control by claiming a monopoly over information.”

“This has resulted in a backlash effect and intensified attempts to unduly restrict access to online content or Internet as such,” she stressed. While there is a need to combat criminal activities on the Internet, “there is also a real concern that methods to identify and track down criminals may be used to crack down on human rights defenders and suppress dissenting voices,” Pillay noted.

“Currently 40 countries sanction the Internet, up considerably from a few years ago,” explained William Echikson, Head of External Relations for Google. “Among the 150 countries where Google operates, 25 countries ban or block Google’s products.”

Carl Bildt, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, said that the “freedoms and human rights that we cherish in the off-line world must also be protected in the on-line world.” Failure to do so means that “as we switch on to the online world, we switch off our freedoms.” For Bildt, hate speech, for example, should and could be stopped by the same laws for the Internet as on print media.

“Whether through oral or written words, art or any other form of expression, the same basic international norms and standards on the right to freedom of expression apply,” said Frank La Rue, UN expert on the right to freedom of opinion and expression.” “We do not need new standards on human rights for the Internet,” he stressed.

In his latest reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, La Rue underscored that the types of information or expression that may be restricted under international human rights law in relation to off-line content also apply to online content.

“There is an increasing trend to criminalize the Internet, and as a result, there is a need for a decriminalization campaign for the Internet,” he said at the panel. La Rue stressed the need for a multi-stakeholder dialogue to establish acceptable mechanisms to regulate exceptional types of content deemed to be illegal under international law, including measures such as blocking and filtering.

He also suggested that the Council could adopt a declaration recognizing the indispensable role of the Internet to exercise the right to freedom of expression, and condemning censorship on the Internet. On the question of access to the internet, La Rue said that it is crucial to understand that it was a question of freedom of expression and the international community should strive towards Internet access for everyone.

The Internet has become a vital communications medium which individuals can use to exercise their right to freedom of expression, or the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, as guaranteed under articles 19 of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

9 March 2012

Source: http://www.ohchr.org

[From the web] Indigenous Fellowship Programme -www.ohchr.org

Indigenous Fellowship Programme

English speaking programme (sessions imparted in English):

The English speaking component of the Indigenous Fellowship Programme (IFP) was established in 1997.

The Fellows are based at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland. The programme is an inter-active process, which consists of briefings on several topics (OHCHR’s mandate and activities, the UN system, Human Rights instruments and mechanisms, including those more specifically dealing with indigenous issues) and individual and group assignments.

Fellows will also have the opportunity to receive training/briefing sessions with other UN and specialized agencies (ILO, WIPO, UNESCO, UNDP, UNITAR) and with other international organizations and Geneva based Human Rights NGOs.

At the end of the Programme, each Fellow will have a general knowledge on the United Nations system, international human rights instruments and mechanisms, in particular those relevant to indigenous peoples and be capable of giving training sessions within their communities/organizations on the knowledge acquired.

Fellows attending the English speaking component of the programme are entitled to the following: a return ticket (economy class) from the country of residence to Geneva; modest accommodation in Geneva for the duration of the Programme; basic health insurance for the duration of the Programme; a monthly grant to cover other living expenses in Geneva.

New: In 2012, the English linguistic component of the IFP will run from 11 June to 13 July In 2012, the English linguistic component of the IFP will run from 11 June to 13 July and fellows will be able to participate in the session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Participants to the 2012 English linguistic component of the IFP are still in the process of being identified.

Please note that the deadline to receive applications for the 2013 English speaking programme is: Tuesday 1 May 2012.

For application online pls visit http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IPeoples/Pages/IFP.aspx

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