The Monthly Resource Update provides information on current human rights-related news including developments, resources, announcements, publications, events and vacancies. Please find below links to PDF version available for print.
UNITED NATIONS NEWS
10 DECEMBER 2014 / MARKING INTERNATIONAL OBSERVANCE, UN DECLARES ‘EVERY DAY IS HUMAN RIGHTS DAY’: 10 December – The universal reach of human rights should not be restricted to one day alone but extended to every day of the year, top United Nations officials declared today as they marked Human Rights Day – an annual UN-backed event commemorating the date on which the General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN Human Rights Policy network published a Special Edition featuring the events and initiatives that colleagues throughout the UN system did to celebrate Human Rights this year. The HuriTALK Human Rights Day Special Editions is available here. Read more here. Read the UN Secretary-Generals message here. Read the UN Rights Chiefs statement here.
10 DECEMBER 2014 / UN AGENCIES ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT EXPRESSING CONCERN ABOUT SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AFFECTING MIGRANTS, ASYULM-SEEKER AND REFUGEES: A number of UN Agencies including UNHCR, IOM, IMO, UNODC and OHCR have released a joint statement that expressed deep concern about the loss of life, injury, trauma and serious human rights violations affecting migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees traveling by sea. The statement further calls on closer cooperation between States of origin, transit and destination, and other relevant actors, to reduce the loss of life at sea, and in addressing the drivers of dangerous sea journeys, as well as ensuring that responses by States upon arrival and disembarkation uphold human rights and dignity. Read more here.
25 NOVEMBER 2014 / INTERNATIONAL DAY TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: UN SOUNDS ALARM TO END ‘GLOBAL PANDEMIC’ OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic that destroys lives, fractures communities and holds back development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as the world body marked the International Day to End Violence against Women. Speaking at an Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) event at Headquarters he said that “violence against women and girls does not emerge from nowhere. It is simply the most extreme example of the political, financial, social and economic oppression of women and girls worldwide.” Read more here. Read the UN Secretary-Generals full statement here.
20 NOVEMBER 2014 / UN CHAMPIONS CHILDREN AS ‘FUNDAMENTAL BUILDING BLOCK,’ MARKING 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF HISTORIC TREATY: As countries around the world celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations family today hailed the landmark treaty as a powerful human rights tool, while taking stock of the long-standing disparities that must be addressed to propel actions for the well-being of all children into the future. Opening a high-level meeting this morning at UN Headquarters in New York, the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, underscored that the Convention is a collective commitment to ensure that every child worldwide has the right to a fair start in life, calling on Member States to safeguard that such rights are fully reflected in the post-2015 development agenda. Read more here.
NEWS FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES
17 DECEMBER 2014 / UN SPECIAL PROCEDURES URGE THE WORLD BANK TO RECOGNIZE THE CENTRAL IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS TO ITS DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL POLICIES: The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, has urged the World Bank to recognize the central importance of human rights to its draft environmental and social policies which apply to its investment project financing. The draft Safeguards policies were released by the Bank in July for public consultation, as part of the multi-stage review. “The draft Safeguards seem to go out of their way to avoid any meaningful references to human rights,” Mr. Alston stressed, in a joint letter, dated 12 December 2014, to World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, together with a group of twenty-seven other independent experts of the largest fact-finding and monitoring mechanism of the UN human rights system. The UN experts signaled that the move away from a requirements-based Safeguards system to an aspirational one represents a clear dilution of existing protections, as does the significant delegation of responsibilities from the Bank to other actors. Read more here. Read the joint letter addressed to the World Bank here.
9 DECEMBER 2014 / SPECIAL PROCEDURES MANDATE HOLDERS JOINT STATEMENT MAKING CRITICAL LINK BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: The largest body of independent experts in the United Nations Human Rights system urged all Governments around the world to integrate human rights standards and principles in the current negotiations taking place at the Lima Climate Change Conference (1-12 December 2014), and in the agreement to be adopted in Paris in 2015. In a joint statement issued in Geneva ahead of Human Rights Day (10 December 2014), the group of 76 human human rights experts urged the UN member States to ensure that the principle of climate justice is at the core of climate change governance. Read more here. Read the full statement by the Coordination Committee of international experts in Spanish here and in English here.
8 DECEMBER 2014 / HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENTS AND THE THEME OF THE 2015 HIGH-LEVEL PANEL ON HUMAN RIGHTS MAINSTREAMING: The Human Rights Council elected its new bureau for 2015 at an organizational meeting appointing Ambassador Joachim Ruecker, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations Office at Geneva, to serve as its President for a term beginning on 1 January 2015. The 47 members of the Human Rights Council also decided that the theme for the 2015 high-level panel on human rights mainstreaming, to be held during the upcoming 28th regular session of the Council on 3 March 2015, will be “strengthening of international cooperation in the field of human rights.” Read more here.
5 NOVEMBER 2014 / UN RIGHTS PANELS OUTLINE STATES’ OBLIGATION TO PREVENT HARMFUL PRACTICES ON WOMEN, GIRLS: For the first time, two United Nations human rights committees have joined forces to issue a comprehensive interpretation of the obligations of States to prevent and eliminate harmful practices inflicted on women and girls, such as female genital mutilation, crimes committed in the name of so-called honour, forced and child marriage, and polygamy. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) released the Joint General Recommendation/General Comment. The objective of the General Recommendation/General Comment is to clarify the obligations of States parties to the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Read more here. Access the full text of the CEDAW General Recommendation/CRC General Comment (CEDAW/C/GC/31/CRC/C/GC/18) here.
3 NOVEMBER 2014 / CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE CELEBRATES 30TH ANNIVERSARY – UN RIGHTS EXPERT URGES UNIVERSAL RATIFICATION: As the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of an international legal framework to prevent torture and other types of inhumane treatment or punishment approaches, a United Nations rights expert urged the committee charged with monitoring its implementation to use the momentum garnered in the celebrations to accelerate efforts to move towards universal ratification of the treaty. Ibrahim Salama, Director of the Human Rights Treaties Division of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), stressed that events to celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, should be seen as opportunities to address the achievements and challenges in the promotion of universal ratification and in the implementation of the Convention’s provisions by State parties. Read more here.
UN WORK IN FOCUS
25 NOVEMBER – 10 DECEMBER / UN AGENCIES CAMPAIGN REINFORCES THAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE: UN Agencies, Programmes and Funds participated in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, an international campaign, from November 25 (International Day Against Violence against Women) and that culminated on December 10 (International Human Rights Day) to reinforce the fact that violence against women is a human rights issue. UN WOMEN, WHO, UNDP, UNFPA and OHCHR were amongst the UN Agencies that lead efforts and events about violence against women and girls around the world. This year, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women invited the public to “Orange YOUR Neighbourhood,” between 25 November and 10 December 2014. Read more here. Read the WHO’s 16 facts on violence against women here; read more on the events lead by UN Women and UNDP in Albania here; and read the stories of courageous women from around the world shared by OHCHR here.
AWARDS, LEARNING AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
COURSE / INDIGENOUS STUDIES SUMMER PROGRAM ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS AND POLICY / COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, 26 MAY – 6 JUNE: The Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race is accepting applications from researchers, professionals, practitioners, and advanced students who wish to participate in an intensive two-week summer immersion program that provides an overview and analysis of the major questions in indigenous affairs today, as they have emerged globally in the last decades. The program has an interdisciplinary approach and incorporates lectures and workshops on the most recent and innovative academics research and policy debates on indigenous peoples’ issues. The deadline for applications is 9 January 2015. More information is available here.
ONLINE COURSE / GENDER AND HUMAN RIGHTS / HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION ASSOCIATES – Online, 29 April – 9 June 2015 (Shared, with thanks, by Nate Weisenberg): This e-learning course provides a general introduction to the evolution of concepts of gender equality and women’s rights within the international human rights system. The deadline for applications is 1 February 2015. Further information on this course including registration is here.
PROGRAM / FOUR FREEDOMS SUMMER PROGRAM / HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION ASSOCIATES, 23 June – 10 July 2015 (Shared, with thanks, by Frank Elbers): The Four Freedoms Summer Program is an annual series of human rights courses for students and practitioners that encapsulates the Roosevelt’s’ fundamental values of human rights and global citizenship. The first edition will take place at the UCR campus in Middelburg, the Netherlands from 23 June-10 July 2015. The deadline for applications for all of the course in the Summer Program is 1 April 2015. You can learn more about the Four Freedoms Summer Program here.
RESOURCES: WEBSITE, GUIDES AND TOOLS
GUIDE / GUIDE FOR LITIGATORS ON USING EQUALITY STRATEGIES TO ADVANCE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS / EQUAL RIGHTS TRUST: The Equal Rights Trust launched Economic and Social Rights in the Courtroom: A Litigator’s Guide to Using Equality and Non-Discrimination Strategies to Advance Economic and Social Rights which seeks to identify equality and non-discrimination strategies that NGOs, lawyers and activists may employ in seeking to advance economic and social rights (ESRs) before courts. It also includes a compendium of useful cases in which equality and non-discrimination concepts and approaches have been employed to advance ESRs. Read more here.
GUIDE / PRACTITIONERS’ GUIDE ON THE ADJUDICATION OF ESCR AT NATIONAL LEVEL / INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS: The guide aims to inspire and help judges and lawyers working at national level to litigate cases involving economic, social and cultural rights. It aims at giving examples from a large variety of countries and jurisdictions of how courts and other bodies have dealt with the adjudication of these rights. Chapter two of the guide examines ESC rights under international law and the role of judicial and quasi-judicial bodies. It also addresses issues that legal practitioners are faced with at the different phases of litigation, from initiating a case and evidence building to the provision of remedies and the enforcement of judicial decisions. Read more here.
TOOL / FRAMEWORK OF ANALYSIS FOR ATROCITY CRIMES – A TOOL FOR PREVENTION / UN OFFICE ON GENOCIDE PREVENTION AND THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT (Shared, with thanks, by Claudia Diaz): The Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes is an early warning tool to support the assessment of the risk of atrocity crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes) in all parts of the world and in identifying those countries most at risk. It was developed after broad consultation and extensive research into the processes that lead to those crimes including on massive and serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law of ethnic and racial origin that, if not prevented or halted, might lead to genocide. To be effective, assessments require the systematic collection of accurate and reliable information based on the risk factors and indicators that the Framework identifies. Read more here.
GUIDEBOOK / PROMOCAO DOS DIREITOS HUMANOS DE PESSOAS LGBT NO MUNDO DO TRABALHO [PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS OF LGBT PEOPLE IN THE WORLD OF WORK] / ILO, UNAIDS AND UNDP BRAZIL (Shared, with thanks, by Anna Boelens): The guidebook centers around four stories of the discrimination and stigma LGBT individuals have faced in the workplace, and is focused on creating inclusive corporate policies and fighting discrimination. Read more here.
REPORTS, ARTICLES AND BOOKS
NEWSLETTER – DECEMBER 2014 / ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS BULLETIN / OHCHR (Shared, with thanks, by Bahram Ghazi): The ESCR Bulletin includes information on OHCHR’s activities in the field and headquarters, examples of case laws and policies at international and national level and useful tools, publications and multimedia material on the promotion and protection of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Highlights include a snapshot of OHCHR’s work on the human rights concerns arising from the national response to Ebola in Liberia and a workshop on land and women human rights defenders in Cambodia. Read more here.
ARTICLE – 28 DECEMBER 2014 / HAVE HUMAN RIGHTS TREATIES FAILED? / THE NEW YORK TIMES: This Op Ed article from the New York Times poses the question of whether international human rights treaties work to protect vulnerable populations, or should they be abandoned in favor of other measures? Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch and Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School both offer their insights to this question. Read more here.
ARTICLE – 7 NOVEMBER 2014 / THE TWO WORDS THAT SCARE THE WORLD BANK / The Washington Post: Philip Alston is the U.N. Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. Does it matter that the lead source of funding for, and thinking about, world development won’t go near human rights with a 10-foot pole? World Bank President Jim Yong Kim spoke eloquently last month about the bank’s new commitment to end extreme poverty by 2030 and improve the plight of the poorest 40 percent in developing countries. In a speech at Howard University, he called for gender equity and access for the poor to food, shelter, clean water, sanitation, health care, education and jobs. But because of the bank’s long-standing aversion to discussing human rights, he never once used that forbidden phrase. Read more here.
ARTICLE – 31 OCTOBER 2014 / ANOTHER WOMEN’S TREATY? IMPLEMENT EXISTING ONE, SAY NGOs / INTER PRESS SERVICE: Can violence against women be prevented or eliminated with a new international treaty signed and ratified by the 193 member states of the United Nations? Rashida Manjoo of South Africa, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, told the General Assembly last week the absence of a legally binding agreement represents one of the obstacles to the promotion and protection of women’s rights and gender equality. Read more here.
NEWSLETTER – OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2014 / HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY DIVISION NEWSLETTER NO. 25 / OHCHR (Shared, with thanks, by Ibrahim Salama): The Human Rights Treaties Division Newsletter is a quarterly publication on the latest developments and activities of the United Nations human rights treaty body system. This issue features an interview with the outgoing Member and former Chair of the Human Rights Committee, Christine Chanet, a piece on civil society coordination for effective engagement with the Committee against Torture, highlights of recent Treaty Body Jurisprudence from May-August 2014, and a piece on the Inquiry on Lebanon by the Committee against Torture. It also contains recent developments which include a number of General Comments. Read more here.
ARTICLE – 29 OCTOBER 2014 / UNITED NATIONS: NEED FOR RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH TO FOOD SECURITY / SOCIAL WATCH (Shared, with thanks, by Sarah Rattray): It is imperative that a Human Rights-based approach to food security is adopted in order to eliminate hunger and provide access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food for all, the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms Hilal Elver, has said. In her first report to the UN General Assembly (A/69/275), which is holding its sixty-ninth session in New York, the rights expert said that in order to advance the implementation of the right to adequate food, renewed political commitment is essential and stakeholders must look to those countries that have made significant progress in adopting policies and legislation in this regard. Read more here. The interim report (A/69/275) of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food can be read here.
HuriTALK NETWORK HAPPENINGS
QUERY / ROLE OF PARLIAMENTS IN SUPPORTING FOLLOW UP TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW (29 October – 14 November): Bui Phuong Tra, UNDP Vietnam and Constance Hybsier, Senior Technical Advisor for UNDP Vietnam (consultant) posted a query requesting experiences on engaging/working with parliaments in supporting the implementation of the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review. This query was cross-posted, with thanks, on the Coordination Practitioners’ network (CPN) and the Asia-Pacific Rights and Justice network (AP-A2J net). The Consolidated Reply is being finalized and will be shared with HuriTALK shortly.
QUERY: PRACTICAL EXPERIENCES OF IMPLMENTING THE THRIGH TO FOOD GUIDELINES (4 – 19 December): Serena Pepino, FAO posted a query to HuriTALK seeking practical experiences of implementing the Right to Food Guidelines. Contributions from this query will seek to inform and strengthen programming, especially the design of new Right to Food programmes and activities. Contributions are still welcome and can be sent to email@example.com.
UNITED NATIONS NEWS
22-23 SEPTEMBER 2014 / FIRST WORLD CONFERENCE ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES – INDIGENOUS PEOPLES CENTRAL TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT : The first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples was held from 22-23 September at UN headquarters in New York resulting in resounding support of the outcome document that seeks to strengthen realization of the rights of more than 370 million indigenous peoples globally. The outcome document underscored the United Nations’ role in promoting and protecting indigenous peoples’ rights, including in the development and implementation of national action plans, strategies and other measures that affect them, in order to achieve the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted in 2007. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon stated that indigenous peoples were “central to human rights and global development discourse.” Read more here and here. The Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples can be found here.
22 SEPTEMBER 2014 / INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT +20: HUMAN RIGHTS, DIGNITY MUST FORM CORNERSTONE OF FUTURE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) took place on 22 September at UN Headquarters in New York. The event marks the 20th anniversary of the ICPD, the 1994 conference in Cairo recognizing that sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and equal access to education are prerequisites for sustainable development. The Special Session brought together 120 presidents, heads of governments, ministers and other senior officials and affirmed their support of the ICPD agenda. Read more here.
8 SEPTEMBER 2014 / NEW HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF OUTLINES PRIOIRITIES OF HIS TENURE: In a far ranging speech to the Human Rights Council, the new High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zaid Ra’ad Al Hussein, spoke strongly on the continuing commitment of his Offices’ focus on the centrality of victims, the importance of the Secretary General’s Human Rights Up Front initiative to strengthen the human rights pillar of the UN and for integrating efforts in the field in addition to the role of human rights in the new development agenda. He stated “it is important – very important – that we continue to strengthen the human rights pillar of the UN system,” and that “societies that uphold human rights are more resilient, more sustainable and thus more secure.” He also reaffirmed that “the mandate of my Office encompasses all human rights, for all people. Its priorities span discrimination; the rule of law and ending impunity; poverty; violence; continuing efforts to improve international human rights mechanisms; and widening the democratic space.” Read the full speech here.
28 AUGUST 2014 / OUTGOING UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF REFLECTS ON HER WORK IN OFFICE AND WHAT IS STILL NEEDED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY: In a wide-ranging interview with the UN News Centre, Ms. Pillay reflected on her tenure, which came to a close on 31 August; the work of her office (OHCHR); and some of the challenges facing the international community today. In noting particular highlights of her time in office she stated, “I am very proud that we’ve addressed all issues, all rights of all persons. We’ve addressed discrimination on all grounds, various grounds that had not been addressed before, such as minorities, migrants, LGBT people, caste-based discrimination and people with albinism.” She also said, “I would say that not a single State can claim to have a perfect human rights record. There are issues of concern in every country in the world.” Read the full interview here.
19 AUGUST 2014 / WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY: REMEMBERING THE LIVES LOST IN SERVICE TO HUMAN RIGHTS: At a Memorial Ceremony in remembrance of those killed in the service of human rights on World Humanitarian Day, the High Commissioner said, “Time after time, we see similar acts of simple and unselfish courage by UN and NGO staff. They deliberately choose to walk into situations of intense volatility, discomfort and danger – places where many other people would certainly not choose to go. They do this in order to mitigate oppression, repair disaster and heal the scars of conflict. The motivations of these humanitarian workers are the universal values that underpin the work of the United Nations: justice, freedom, human rights, safety, integrity and the embrace of human diversity. They seek to improve the human condition, so that all human beings may live in freedom, equality and dignity.” Read more here.
NEWS FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES:
26 September 2014 / HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL CONCLUDES 27TH SESSION – ADOPTS LANDMARK RESOLUTION ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY AND RESOLUTION ON CIVIL SOCIETY SPACE: The Human Rights Council concluded its 27th regular session on 26 September adopting 32 texts on a wide range of issues, its report for the session, as well as adopting a landmark resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity. It expressed grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The Council also created a new mandate for a Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, and resolutions on the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, on civil society space, and on foreign debt. Read more here and here. The OHCHR report (A/HRC/19/41) entitled “Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity” is available here.
15 AUGUST 2014 / RESEARCH NEEDED ON ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN MAINSTREAMING HUMAN RIGHTS – HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADVISORY COMMITTEE CONCLUDES 13TH SESSION: The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee concluded its thirteenth session held in Geneva from 11 to 15 August 2014. The Committee adopted recommendations to the Human Rights Council to entrust it to drafting final reports on the role of local government in the promotion and protection of human rights, including human rights mainstreaming in local administration and public services. It also decided to re-submit an earlier proposal on the possibility of establishing a universal human rights court. The Advisory Committee is a body of 18 independent experts who support the work and serve as a think-tank to the United Nations Human Rights Council. It was established in 2008 to provide studies and research-based advice, as requested by the Council, and meets twice annually. Read more here. Read more on possible universal court of human rights here.
23-27 JUNE 2014 / ANNUAL MEETING OF CHAIRPERSONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY BODIES CONSIDERS HOW TO IMPLEMENT STRENGHTENING HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY BODY SYSTEM: The annual meeting of Chairpersons of the United Nations human rights treaty bodies was held in Geneva on 23-27 June 2014. The Chairs considered how to implement General Assembly’s resolution (A/RES/68/268) on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system. The Chairs agreed that their respective treaty bodies should be encouraged to formulate recommendations that provide specific and actionable guidance for States parties on measures for implementing treaty obligations, including time-bound targets or any priorities, where relevant. They also underscored that simplified reporting procedures would help ensure effective participation of civil society organizations and national human rights institutions. Read more here. Read the General Assembly resolution A/RES/68/268 of 9 April 2014 on enhancing the human rights treaty body system here.
UN WORK IN FOCUS
26 SEPTEMBER 2014 / SYMPOSIUM ON HUMAN RIGHTS UP FRONT – PREVENTING HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS WORLDWIDE: On Friday, September 26th, the International Peace Institute together with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cohosted the Seventh Annual Trygve Lie Symposium on Fundamental Freedoms, bringing together UN representatives, government officials, experts, and members of civil society to discuss how Human Rights Up Front can put human rights and civilian protection at the forefront of the UN agenda. Speaking at the event Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General, said “this will be meaningful only also if it is relevant in the field and the Resident Coordinators, the Country Teams, that they also see the human rights dimension as operational.” Read more here and a video recording of the event is available here.
24 JULY 2014 / 5 MILLION WORKERS TO BE REACHED USING A RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE – UPDATE ON THE ILO AND WHO JOINT INITIATIVE AT ‘AIDS 2014’: Progress was shared on the VCT@WORK joint initiative of the International Labor Organization and the World Health Organization in a session chaired by UNAIDS at the AIDS 2014 Conference on 24 July in Melbourne, Australia. By 2015, VCT@WORK seeks to provide access to quality voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services to 5 million women and men workers including HIV counseling and testing. HIV is driven by gender inequality and harmful gender norms compounded by poverty, discrimination and social exclusion. All partners in this initiative are committed to promote human and human rights-based approach to achieve universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support. Results shared at the session showed that the initiative has reached over 1 million workers (63% men and 37% women) and has tested nearly 200,000 workers (67% men and 33% women) in 19 countries since it was launched in November 2013. Read more here. A video of the presentation can be viewed here. Additional resources can be found on Health and Human Rights on the HRBA Portal here.
AWARDS, LEARNING AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
COURSE / EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES / HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION ASSOCIATES (Online, 29 October – 9 December) (Shared by Nate Weisenberg, HREA): This e-learning course introduces staff members of (international) development agencies and NGOs to the legal frameworks protecting and governing education in emergencies. More than half the world’s permanently out-of-school children live in areas affected by emergencies, either natural disasters or armed conflict. Further information on this course including registration is available here.
COURSE / CHILD SAFEGUARDING / HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION ASSOCIATES (Online, 29 October – 9 December) (Shared by Nate Weisenberg, HREA): This e-learning course aims to equip professionals who hold responsibilities for implementing child safeguarding policies within their organisations with a basic understanding of the key issues, concepts and frameworks pertaining to child protection and safeguarding. It will help build the knowledge and skills to enable them to strengthen, develop and implement protection measures to keep their organisations safe for children. Further information on this course including registration is available here.
CONFERENCE / DEVELOPING A RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH TO TUBERCULOSIS (New Delhi, India 5-6 December, 2014): The conference aims to generate and promote thought, dialogue and policy actions on developing and implementing a rights-based approach to TB. The organizers hope to include stakeholders and partners from India and around the world. Participants will range across a number of disciplines and professions, including medical professionals, lawyers, academics, community members, policy makers, and others. Further information on the conference is available here.
CONFERENCE / “ADVANCING UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS CULTURE” – FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION (IHREC) (Washington D.C., 4-7 December 2014) (Shared by Tanisha Santo): The theme of the 5th IHREC will be “Advancing Universal Human Rights Culture” and focus on the UN and the UN World Programme for Human Rights Education and the impact of the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. It will also address a broad range of legal, social, and educational issues. Further information is available on the conference website here.
L.L.M. PPROGRAM / INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW / AMERICAN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW’S ACADEMY ON HUMAN RIGTHS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW (Shared by Claudia Blount): This program is a new LL.M. program in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. This program is designed for practitioners and other human rights professionals who wish to pursue advanced studies in international human rights law and humanitarian law alongside their existing work responsibilities. Deadline for registration is 1 November. Further information is available here.
TRAINING / UNDERSTANDING ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS / GENEVA ACADEMY ON INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS (Geneva, Switzerland 17-21 November 2014): The training will cover topics regarding the normative content of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR), particularly the rights to health, housing, education, food, water and work. The organizers will further arrange sessions on the justiciability of ESCR and universal ESCR mechanisms, including the UN Committee on ESC Rights, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Human Rights Council, and the UN Special Procedures. Deadline for applicants, who do not require a visa to enter Switzerland, is 7 November 2014. Further information on registration is available here.
VIDEO / REPRISALS: THE HUMAN COST OF COOPERATING WITH THE UNITED NATIONS / INTERNATIONAL SERVICE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: In a new video produced by ISHR and True Heroes Films they share the stories of reprisals against individuals and organisations who have bravely engaged at the UN. The trailer for the video is available here.
WEBSITE, GUIDES AND TOOLS
TOOL / WORKING TOGETHER: NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS AND GLOBAL COMPACT LOCAL NETWORKS / DANISH INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL COMPACT: Describes how National Human Rights Institutions and Global Compact Local Networks can collaborate to help businesses understand and meet their human rights responsibilities and commitments. National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and Global Compact Local Networks (GCLNs) both have important roles to play in strengthening business respect for and support of human rights. NHRIs and GCLNs share the aim of helping business understand and meet their human rights responsibilities and commitments. This common goal provides a strong foundation for NHRIs and GCLNs to explore opportunities for collaboration and mutual support. Read more here. Further resources on NHRIs are available on the HRBA Portal here.
DIRECTORY – AUGUST 2014 / SPECIAL PROCEDURES MANDATE HOLDERS / OHCHR: This directory provides an update, as of 1 August 2014, of the 52 Special Procedures (38 thematic mandates and 14 mandates relating to countries or territories) with currently 73 mandate-holders. The Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. The system of Special Procedures is a central element of the United Nations human rights machinery and covers all rights: civil, cultural, economic, political, and social. The updated directory is available here.
WEBSITE / STATUS OF TREATY RATIFICATION INTERACTIVE DASHBOARD / OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (Shared by Grace Sanico Steffan, OHCHR): The dashboard allows users to view treaty ratification through interactive world and regional maps, downloadable in pdf format. Users can generate some statistical data such as number of State parties to a treaty, download the data in excel, and create filters to obtain a more tailored information on acceptance of individual communications procedure and inquiry procedure. Users can also view an aggregated map that shows the total number of treaties each Member State has ratified. Access the Dashboard here.
WEBSITE / NEW KNOWLEDGE SHARING PLATFORM ON FORCED LABOUR AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING / INTERNATINAL LABOR ORGANIZATION: AP-Forced Labour Net is a new ILO-sponsored online knowledge sharing platform for individuals, organizations, and institutions working on issues related to forced labour, human trafficking and slavery in the Asia-Pacific region. Access the platform here.
REPORTS, ARTICLES AND BOOKS:
REPORT / FROM COMMITMENT TO ACTION ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS: LESSONS FROM THE FIRST CYCLE OF THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW / UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND: This report assesses the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review from the perspective of the recommendations related to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. It examines the level of attention paid to different aspects of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, the quality of recommendations, positive developments, issues of concern, and regional trends. It also assesses the implementation of UPR outcomes, including national planning processes and monitoring systems. The report concludes with final considerations for various stakeholders. The publication is available here.
REPORT / INTEGRATING HUMAN RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY IN EVALUATIONS / UNITED NATIONS EVALUATION GROUP (Shared by Marco Segone, UN Women): This guidance was developed by the UNEG Taskforce on Human Rights and Gender Equality led by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women). It aims to provide in-depth information on ways in which to integrate human rights and gender equality into each phase of an evaluation. The publication is available here.
MULTIPLE BLOGS / WHAT SHOULD THE NEW UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF PRIORITIZE? / OPEN GLOBAL RIGHTS: The post of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was set up 20 years ago. A new High Commissioner, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan, has just been appointed and he will take up his post in August. He is the sixth High Commissioner. Open Global Rights asks: How should he proceed? In a world of competing priorities, how to choose? What issues risk being ignored? What should distinguish this High Commissioner’s term in office? Read a compilation of blogs that offer answers to these questions here.
NEWSLETTER – AUGUST 2014 / HUMAN RIGHTS MONITOR / INTERNATIONAL SERVICE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: This edition of the Human Rights Monitor features an editorial offering recommendations for the incoming High Commissioner for Human Rights focusing on the situation of human rights defenders globally. There is also an article making note of the events and groups paying tribute to the outgoing High Commissioner. Read more here.
REPORT – 28 JULY 2014 / HUMAN RIGHTS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY: A PRIMER ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (SECOND EDITION) / AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: This publication outlines some of the key features of economic, social and cultural rights. It presents an overview of these rights, outlines their scope and content, and gives examples of violations and what can be done to address them. This revised and updated second edition of Amnesty International’s primer on economic, social and cultural rights reflects significant developments over the past decade in advancing these rights including a section covering the coming into force for the first time of a dedicated international complaints mechanism for economic, social and cultural right. Read more here.
JOURNAL – JULY 2014 / HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS: CLIMATE JUSTICE / HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS JOURNAL: This is a special edition of the Health and Human Rights Journal focusing on climate justice and the right to health. Paul Farmer, editor-in-chief notes in the editorial, that Issue 16.1 employs a human rights perspective to address the health risks that arise from the thus far unabated effects of climate change. Farmer calls on governments to acknowledge the scientific evidence of climate change and actively engage in climate change mitigation efforts with transparency and accountability. In her foreword, Mary Robinson congratulates the authors for proposing a range of interdisciplinary solutions toward ameliorating the predicted ramifications of climate change on health and human rights. Read the special edition here.
ARTICLE – JULY 2014 / SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS: A GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH, AND HUMAN RIGHTS PRIORITY / WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: This article makes the case that universal access to sexual and reproductive health is essential not only to achieve sustainable development but also to ensure that it meets the needs and aspirations of people around the world and leads to realisation of their health and human rights. Read more here.
REPORT – 3 JULY 2014 / “FREEDOM FROM HATE” – STATE OF THE WORLDS MINORITIES AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES 2014 / MINORITY RIGHTS GROUP INTERNATIONAL: This year’s edition of State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples highlights how hate speech and hate crime, though frequently unreported or unacknowledged, continue to impact on every aspect of their lives. The volume also documents many of the initiatives being taken to promote positive change and the different ways that governments, civil society and communities can strengthen protections for minorities and indigenous peoples. The report is available for download here.
NEWSLETTER – APRIL-JUNE 2014 / HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY DIVISION NEWSLETTER NO. 23 / OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: The Newsletter of the Human Rights Treaties Division is a quarterly publication on the latest developments and activities of the UN human rights treaty bodies. This edition highlights the adoption of the General Assembly resolution on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system (A/RES/68/268) and other developments. Read more here.
REPORT – 30 JUNE 2014 / TECHNICAL GUIDANCE ON THE APPLICATION OF A HUMAN RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES TO REDUCE AND ELIMINATE PREVENTABLE MORTATLITY AND MORBIDITY OF CHILDREN UNDER 5 YEARS OF AGE / REPORT OF THE OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: The aim of the technical guidance is to assist States and non-State actors to improve the realization of the rights of the child by providing guidance on addressing mortality and morbidity of children under 5 years of age in accordance with human rights standards. It outlines the key elements of a human rights-based approach to reducing child mortality and morbidity, provides guidance for operationalizing such an approach, and includes an illustrative example of how it can be applied. The full report (A/HRC/27/31) is available here.
REPORT / INTEGRATING GENDER INTO OVERSIGHT OF THE SECURITY SECTOR BY OMBUDS INSTITUTIONS AND NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS / ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND CO-OPERATION IN EUROPE – OFFICE FOR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS (Shared by Triquet Veerle): This guidance note is aimed to be a practical resource for ombuds institutions and NHRIs, and those who support them. It seeks to help an ombuds institution or NHRI engage more effectively with police and other security sector institutions to monitor and reinforce how the human rights of men and women working there are upheld. It can strengthen oversight of how well police and others meet the needs of communities. This publication is available in English, French and Bosnian here.
19 DECEMBER 2011 / NEW OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD ON A COMMUNICATIONS PROCEDURE ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure affords children the right to appeal to an international mechanism. Now children who are victims of abuses and violations of their rights will be able to make a complaint to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child if they have not been able to get legal remedies for these violations in their countries. The communications procedure also allows other parties to submit information about grave or systematic violations to the Committee. The Protocol will apply to all the international child rights instruments ratified by the State party: the Convention on the Rights of the Child and/or the Optional Protocol on the sale of children and/or the Optional Protocol on children and armed conflict. The new Protocol needs to be ratified by ten States before it can enter into force. Read the reaction of the OHCHR on the adoption of the communications procedure here and read the press release of an international coalition representing over 80 NGOs working on children’s rights here.
19 DECEMBER 2011 / ADOPTION BY THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE DECLARATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION AND TRAINING: The UN General Assembly adopted, without a vote, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training by resolution 66/137. This landmark document recognises the right of every one to have access to human rights education, a lifelong process involving all ages, all parts of society, and every kind of education, formal and informal. The Declaration specifies not simply what one should learn about human rights, but also how and why – for human rights, which includes empowering persons to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others. Access the Declaration in English, French and Spanish.
18 DECEMBER 2011 / INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY: On December 18 the international community celebrated the rights of migrants around the world, marking the 1990 approval by the UN General Assembly of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The Convention affirms the human rights of all migrants, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. In a joint statement, the special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and the chairperson of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families criticized a tendency of States to criminalize irregular migration, saying that “innocent persons, including children and women, are deprived of their dignity and fundamental safeguards of access to a lawyer, independent doctor and contact with the outside world, including their families.” Read the joint statement by aforementioned UN experts here and read about the activities of civil society organizations to mark the day here.
15 DECEMBER 2011 / DISCRIMINATORY LAWS AND PRACTICES AND ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS BASED ON THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY: The first ever United Nations report on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people details how around the world people are killed or endure hate-motivated violence, torture, detention, criminalization and discrimination in jobs, health care and education because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. According to the report – prepared in response to a request from the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year- homophobic and transphobic violence has been recorded in every region of the world, and ranges from murder, kidnappings, assaults and rapes to psychological threats and arbitrary deprivations of liberty. Charles Radcliffe, the chief of OHCHR’s global issues section, stressed that all UN Member States have an obligation under international human rights law to decriminalize homosexuality, adding it was important to persuade States to change their laws. Read more here and access the report in English here, in French here and in Spanish here.
10 DECEMBER 2011 / CELEBRATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2011: UN Agencies and human rights organizations commemorated Human Rights Day, a day marked to celebrate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, by looking at what 2011 has meant for Human Rights. Various agencies referred to 2011 as an exceptional year for human rights, referring in particular to the events that have unfolded in the Arab region and the role of social media in these developments. According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “the importance of human rights has been underlined over and over again this year. Across the globe, people mobilized to demand justice, dignity, equality, participation—the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration. Read the Secretary-General’s statement in full here. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay “during the course of this extraordinary year, [power] was wielded not just by mighty institutions in marble buildings, but increasingly by ordinary men, women, and even children, courageously standing up to demand their rights.” Read the High Commissioner’s Statement in full here. Read the message from UNESCO’s Director here. Read the message from UN Women’s Executive Director here.
8-10 DECEMBER 2011 / ADVANCING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SOUTH ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISM: An ASEAN-SAARC Knowledge Exchange on establishing a sub-regional human rights mechanism in South Asia gathered representatives from the judiciary, civil society and academia in Delhi from the 8th to the 10th of December 2011. They outlined the importance of a future South Asian human rights mechanism with a broad mandate to protect and promote human rights and to develop a shared understanding of human rights values. The workshop was co-organised by the Asian African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO) and the South-Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Law (SAARCLAW). Read more here.
5 DECEMBER 2011 / IMPORTANT DECISION ON HOUSING RIGHTS IN JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) and Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) in South Africa won an important case within the Constitutional Court on the right to housing, particularly because of its inclusion of positive State obligations. In the case of the City of Johannesburg v. Blue Moonlight Properties South Africa’s Constitutional Court considered how the constitutional prohibition against arbitrary deprivation of property, the right of access to adequate housing, and the obligation of local government to provide temporary emergency housing inter-relate. According to the judgment, the City’s policy of providing shelter to people it removes from allegedly unsafe buildings, but refusing to provide shelter to equally desperate people evicted by private owners, was unreasonable and unconstitutional. Access the High Court decision here; access a press release by SERI and CALS here; and access more background about the case here.
2-5 December 2011 / WEST AFRICA REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON IMPUNITY, JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Over 200 participants gathered in Bamako for a regional conference on impunity, justice and human rights. The conference adopted a Declaration and Regional Strategic Framework (the Bamako Declaration) to promote justice, human rights and the fight against impunity, in order to strengthen the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and States of the sub-region. The Declaration complements the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which ten years ago affirmed that human rights and justice are indispensable to peace and security. Thematic recommendations include the consolidation of the rule of law; measures to reinforce national justice systems in complementarity with international justice; strengthening the ECOWAS Court of Justice; promoting human rights; the role of the media; and the fights against organized crime, illicit trafficking and piracy. Read more here and access the Bakamo Declaration here.
3 DECEMBER 2011 / INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: The theme the 2011 celebration of the international day of persons with disabilities was “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development”. In a statement issued on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for governments, civil society and the global community to work alongside persons with disabilities, saying their participation is essential to achieve inclusive and sustainable development worldwide. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which came into force in 2008, aims to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities. According to Mr. Ban, despite significant progress, many persons with disabilities still experience unequal conditions: “Persons with disabilities experience higher rates of poverty and deprivation and are twice as likely to lack health care. This multi-dimensional exclusion represents a huge cost, not only to persons with disabilities but to society as a whole.” Read the Secretary-General’s statement here and a statement by the High Commissioner for Human Rights here.
2 DECEMBER 2011 / COMMEMORATION OF THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT: On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Right to Development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remarked that “[the anniversary of the R2D is] an occasion to celebrate its visionary promise of people-centered development and to recommit to making this a reality.” The UN Declaration on the Right to Development unequivocally establishes development as a right and seeks to put people at the centre of the development process. The landmark document, adopted by the General Assembly on 4 December 1986, first proclaimed the inalienable right, declaring that everyone is “entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.” Read the SG’s statement here and read about a panel discussion about the relevance of the Right to Development here.
2 DECEMBER 2011 / INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the private sector to play a more active role in combating modern forms of slavery, saying that humanity still lives in a world blighted by serfdom. He recalled that the United Nations Human Rights Council earlier this year endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, outlining how States and businesses should implement the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework. “The corporate responsibility to respect includes ensuring that their activities do not cause or contribute to contemporary forms of slavery in the workplace, and taking steps to stop it from happening in supply chains and elsewhere,” said Mr. Ban. Read more here and access a radio interview with the UN independent expert on slavery Ms. Gulnara Shahinian here.
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2011 – UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE IN DURBAN A ‘MAKE OR BREAK MOMENT FOR HUMANITY’: The United Nations Climate Change Conference, seeking to advance ways to cut global carbon emissions and pollution, took place from 28 November till 9 December 2011. The conference discussed the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the legally binding treaty to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, whose first commitment period is due to expire in 2012. The UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity, Ms. Virginia Dandan, issued a statement in which she called the Durban conference a “make or break moment for humanity.” Ms. Dandan stressed that decisive action and work in solidarity are needed to achieve concrete results, adding that negotiations must also take into account principles of human rights, equality and justice if they are to be successful. “Failure in Durban would impact on the three pillars of the UN – namely, peace and security, development and human rights, and pin the world down to ground zero,” she said. Read Ms. Dandan’s statement here and read a summary of key decisions made in Durban here.
NEWS FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY BODIES:
24 NOVEMBER 2011 / CEDAW ISSUES ITS VIEWS ON COMMUNICATION 22/2009: The communication 22/2009, L.C. v. Peru, concerns a 13-year-old victim of sexual abuse who attempted suicide. After rising from her failed attempt, she suffered serious spinal injuries. Her hospital refused to perform an abortion and delayed a spinal operation, because of possible harm to the fetus. The young girl is now paralyzed from the neck down. CEDAW issued its views under article 7, paragraph 3, of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Optional Protocol creates mechanisms to ensure implementation of the Convention by providing an opportunity for specific redress in individual cases when a State violates women’s rights and allows the Committee to highlight the need for more effective remedies at the national level. The Committee considered that the State party has not complied with its obligations and has therefore violated the rights of L. C. established in articles 2(c)and(f), 3, 5and 12, together with article 1of the Convention. The Committee therefore recommends that the State party, inter alia, review its laws with a view to establish a mechanism for effective access to therapeutic abortion under conditions that protect women’s physical and mental health and prevent further occurrences in the future of violations similar to the ones in the present case. Access CEDAW’s views on the Communication here.
HUMAN RIGHTS TREATIES DIVISION NEWSLETTER NO. 14 – OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2011 [Contributed, with thanks, by Ibrahim Salama, OHCHR]: The HRTD Newsletter is prepared on a quarterly basis with the purpose of providing in-depth information and analysis on the work and functions of the UN human rights treaty bodies. Highlights in Newsletter No. 14 include:The expectations of the new Committee on Enforced Disappearances – Interview with Mr. Decaux, Chair of CED; Treaty Body’s case law on individual communications: CEDAW’s selected case; The human rights of children of incarcerated parents – in the footsteps of a Day of General Discussion organized by CRC; Treaty Body Strengthening Process – academic consultation in Luzern; Dublin II wrap-up meeting; Training on Treaty Bodies – workshops in various Honduras, Western Balkan region, and South Africa. Access the Newsletter issue #14 by clicking here. Access previous issues of the HRTD Newsletter by clicking here.
UN WORK IN FOCUS:
14 DECEMBER 2011 / OPENING THE DOOR TO EQUALITY: ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR DALITS IN NEPAL / NATIONAL DALIT COMMISSION AND OHCHR NEPAL: World-wide, an estimated 260 million people are affected by caste-based discrimination, the result of rigid social stratification which is descent-based and hereditary in nature. Under this system, those in the lowest category, Dalits, are regarded as “untouchable”. Nepal’s National Dalit Commission and OHCHR Nepal have concluded a 100 day campaign against caste discrimination and untouchability. The campaign aimed to widely disseminate the content of the recently promulgated Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability (Offence and Punishment) Act 2068 to ensure its effective implementation. The report from OHCHR Nepal, “Opening the Door to Equality: Access to Justice for Dalits in Nepal”, launched within the context of the campaign, identifies the factors that continue to make it difficult for victims of caste-based discrimination to access justice. It is based on cases investigated and tracked by OHCHR Nepal, primarily in the far-western region – one of the most impoverished and least developed parts of the country – over the past five years. Read more here and access the report here.
10 DECEMBER 2011 / HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS NEWSLETTER / WHO [Contributed, with thanks, by Yehenew Walilegne, WHO]: This newsletter gives an overview of developments in Health and Human Rights. This issue features, among others, the trend of health litigation in national court systems; the right to health of older persons; and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Access the newsletter here.
LINKING NATIONAL LEGAL SYSTEMS WITH THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS FRAMEWORK: LESSONS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL LAW PROJECT IN LAO PDR / UNDP ASIA PACIFIC REGIONAL CENTRE: This publication is an in-depth case study of the International Law Project (ILP) in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Its principal purpose is to enable the lessons learned from the ILP to become more broadly known to ensure more effective work for the promotion of rights and justice. The ILP is a UNDP project implemented by the Department of Treaties and Law in the Lao PDR’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs through a project team located within the Ministry. The ILP seeks to strengthen the Lao PDR’s engagement with and participation in the international legal system, particularly the international human rights system, through assisting treaty ratification and implementation. This includes compliance with reporting obligations and education and training in international law, particularly international human rights and humanitarian law. Access the publication here.
AWARDS, LEARNING AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES:
AWARD / 2012 FRONT LINE DEFENDERS AWARD: Nominations for the Human Rights Defenders at Risk are currently being accepted. The annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk was established in 2005 to honour the work of a human rights defender or group of human rights defenders who, through non-violent work, are courageously making an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights of others, often at great personal risk to themselves. Nominations for the 2012 award are accepted until 30 January 2012. Read more here.
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS / 2012 FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME FOR PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT: The Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent provides participants with an intensive learning opportunity to deepen their understanding of the United Nations human rights system, instruments and mechanisms, with a focus on issues of particular relevance to people of African descent. The Programme will allow the participants to better contribute to the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of Afro-descendants in their respective countries. This year the Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent will be held from 12 to 30 March 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. The programme will coincide with the 11th session of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent enabling the fellows to attend and observe the Working Group’s session and gain a better understanding of its mandate and work. The deadline for applications is 15 January 2012. Read more and apply here.
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS / WOMEN’S HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION INSTITUTE, MAY 21-JUNE 28 / WHRI: The Women’s Human Rights Education Institutes (WHRI) is now accepting applications for the 6-week “Women’s Human Rights Education Institute,” with feminist jurist and activist Alda Facio. WHRI brings feminist perspectives to the inextricably related issues of peace, human rights and development. Participants will develop a practical understanding of the UN Human Rights system and how to apply a women’s human rights framework to a multiplicity of issues. Applications are also being accepted for a 1-week “CEDAW for Change” module offered in collaboration with IWRAW-AP Malaysia, held from May 28 – June 1, 2012. The deadline for applications is 28 February 2012. Read more and apply here.
LLM INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY / CORK UNIVERSITY, IRELAND [Contributed, with thanks, by Siobhán Mullally, University College Cork]: University College Cork is accepting applications for 2012-13: LLM (International Human Rights Law and Public Policy). The LLM in International Human Rights Law and Public Policy combines expertise across a range of areas of interest in Human Rights law and builds on the University’s reputation in the field of human rights law. The programmes includes a core focus on essential human rights lawyering skills: oral and written advocacy (legal and policy); strategic litigation; fact-finding and international development. Access more information here.
COURSE / HUMAN RIGHTS FOR DEVELOPMENT / 30 JULY – 24 AUGUST, ANTWERP, BELGIUM: Human Rights for Development is a joint initiative of two Flemish interuniversity partnerships: the Flemish Interuniversity Research Network on Law and Development (LAW&DEV) and the Children’s Rights Knowledge Centre (KeKi), in cooperation with the Institute of Development Policy and Management (University of Antwerp). The training programme consists of a general part (two weeks on human rights and development), and a thematic part (two weeks on children’s rights and globalization). It targets ‘leaders of the future’ in practice, policy and academia, from South and North. The deadlines for application are 1 February 2012 (when applying for a scholarship) and 1 April 2012 (when not applying for a scholarship). Access more information here.
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS / BRIDGRES ACROSS BORDERS SOUTHEAST ASIA COMMUNITY LEGAL EDUCATION INITIATIVE (BABSEA CLE): Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEA CLE) is currently accepting applications for its 2012 Legal Studies Externship Program. The BABSEA CLE 2012 Legal Studies Externship Program’s proposed activities emphasize four main areas: community legal education research and curriculum development, community service, education & culture, and self-reflection. The deadline for applications is March 1st, 2012. For more information on the BABSEA CLE International Legal Studies Externship Program, click here.
CONSULTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION AND CONTINUING TRAINING OF JUDGES, PROSECUTORS, PUBLIC DEFENDERS AND LAWYERS / SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE INDEPENDENCE OF JUDGES AND LAWYERS: The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers is inviting stakeholders to share information on the practices of human rights education and continuing training of judges, prosecutors, public defenders and lawyers. The deadline for inputs is 17 February 2012. Inputs may be provided online in English here, in French here, or in Spanish here.
CONSULTATION / WORKING GROUP ON THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT: The conclusions and recommendations of the twelfth session of the intergovernmental open-ended Working Group on the Right to Development, adopted by consensus on 18 November 2011, acknowledge the need to further consider, revise and refine the right to development criteria and operational sub-criteria contained in document A/HRC/15/WG.2/TF/2/Add.2. Consequently, OHCHR calls for comments and proposals on the right to development criteria and operational sub-criteria. The contributions received will be made available at the website of OHCHR and will be made available to the Working Group at its next session, scheduled from 23-27 April 2012, in the form of two conference room papers. The deadline for contributions is 16 March 2012; contributions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEBSITES, GUIDES AND TOOLS:
ON-LINE TRAINING PORTAL FOR PROFESSIONALS ON JUSTICE ON MATTERS INVOLVING CHILD VICTIMS AND WITNESSES OF CRIME / UNICEF AND UNODC: The training portal targets geographically diverse criminal justice professionals including law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, social workers, health sector workers, lawyers, and informal justice providers. The training offers 12 general modules and one specific for each profession. It is anticipated that at the end of the training participants will get better knowledge and understanding of relevant standards, best practices and approaches in dealing with child victims and witnesses of crime. Professionals are encouraged to go through the whole general training package which is rights-based as well as the specific training tool adapted to their profession. Access the Portal here (registration required).
HANDBOOK ON THE UN STANDARDS FOR THE TREATMENT OF FEMALE PRISONERS / ADVOCAID AND GIZ: AdvocAid and GIZ have developed a Handbook on the United Nations Standards for the Treatment of Female Prisoners. This handbook aims to provide a clear, portable and easy to use guide to the “Bangkok Rules,” adopted by the United Nations in 2010, which outline international standards for the treatment of female prisoners and female offenders. The information is in point form, illustrated with cartoons and referenced with detailed footnotes. It is organised according to prison officials’ duties and functions. The handbook is designed to assist prison officials, prisoners and civil society in fostering enforcement of human rights standards for girls, women and their children in the criminal justice system. Access the handbook here.
CAPACITY ASSESSMENT MANUAL FOR NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS / ASIA PACIFIC FORUM OF NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS, OHCHR, AND UNDP Asia Pacific Regional Centre: This manual includes an assessment methodology that was adapted to suit the particular circumstances of national human rights institutions (NHRIs). The methodology entails an intensive self-assessment process which helps NHRIs identify areas in which they need to improve, and potential strategies to foster this improvement. It incorporates both qualitative and quantitative elements in assessing current capacities, forecasting future capacity requirements, identifying capacity gaps and, most importantly, developing strategies to close those gaps in the most significant areas. It also provides a firm basis for international cooperation to assist NHRIs when they undertake institutional strengthening. Access the manual here.
ACCESS TO JUSTICE ASSESSMENTS IN THE ASIA PACIFIC: A REVIEW OF EXPERIENCES AND TOOLS FROM THE REGION / UNDP ASIA PACIFIC REGIONAL CENTRE: This publication is a result of a comprehensive study of over 23 access to justice] assessments conducted between 2000 and 2010 in 14 countries in the Asian region. The study provides case studies and analyses of the approaches, strategies, methodologies and tools used in various assessments. Its ultimate purpose is to assist practitioners in conducting and improving their access to application of a human rights-based approach to access to justice assessments. It lays out why and how access to justice assessments can serve a means of understanding and identifying people’s justice needs, their barriers of accessing justice, as well as their capacity gaps and structural problems, encompassing legal, as well as social, economic, political and cultural challenges. Access the report here.
REPORTS, ARTICLES AND BOOKS:
ARTICLE / HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS / HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Issue 13.2 of Health and Human Rights, published by the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, reports on diverse rights violations and injustices among marginalized populations around the globe, from prisoner-patients to labor migrants to those without potable water. Articles include, among others: The right to water in rural Punjab: Assessing equitable access to water in the context of the ongoing Punjab Rural Water Supply Project and EquiFrame: A framework for analysis of the inclusion of human rights and vulnerable groups in health policies. Access the articles here.
BOOK / ACCOUNTING FOR HUNGER: THE RIGHT TO FOOD IN THE ERA OF GLOBALISATION, STUDIES IN INTERNATIONAL LAW: [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, BDP/PG, New York]: The challenge of global hunger is now high on the agenda of governments and international policy-makers. This book addresses this challenge by stressing the need for accountability both at the domestic and international level in reshaping the current relevant regimes of trade, investment and food aid. It also includes a publication by Boyan Konstantinov “Invoking the Right to Food in the WTO Dispute Settlement Process: The Relevance of the Right to Food to the Law of the WTO.” Read more about the book here.
BOOK / HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE CAPABILITIES APPROACH: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY CONVERSATION [contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]: Among several contesting views about the purpose of development and how progress should be evaluated, human rights and capabilities (or human development) stand out as two approaches that are concerned first and foremost with the well-being of individuals, their freedom, dignity and empowerment. These two approaches contrast sharply with the dominant development frameworks that emphasize economic growth as the essential objective. Though human rights and capabilities share these common commitments to human priorities, they are distinct concepts and fields that have developed separately. The aim of this volume, edited by Diane Elson, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Polly Vizard, is to explore the relationship between them in order to enhance the understanding of both as theoretical paradigms, as public policy frameworks and as approaches to development. Read more about the book here.
REPORT / ENFORCING RIGHTS AND CORRECTING WRONGS: OVERCOMING GENDER BARRIERS IN LEGAL SYSTEMS / UNDP [Contributed, with thanks, by Sarah Rattray Hildebrants, UNDP New York]: This paper uncovers barriers to equality in legal systems that restrict human rights along gender lines – patent and latent. It testifies that the Asia-Pacific region has some extreme forms of discrimination and violence despite being one of the world’s most ‘inclusive’ and economically dynamic regions. The paper proposes possible ways to redress legal discrimination for accelerating human development. It explores three strategic avenues for simultaneous action. One, fixing institutions – laws, legal practices and modes of access; two, changing attitudes of those who create, uphold, and use laws; and three, establishing ongoing assessments to reveal inequalities and monitor progress. Access the report here.
REPORT / REPORT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS OF WOMEN / IACHR: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published the Report The Labor, Education and Resources of Women: The Road to Equality in Guaranteeing Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. According to the report, where economic, social and cultural rights are concerned, discrimination against women continues to be evident in the job market, in women’s limited access to social security, in the high rates of illiteracy among women and girls by comparison to men, in the extreme poverty and social exclusion which affects women, and in the scant opportunities of political participation for indigenous and Afro-descendent women, among other relevant issues. The recommendations contained in the report concern the design of state interventions and measures to ensure that women are able to exercise their right to work, their right to education, and their right to have access to and control over economic resources, in conditions of equality and free from any form of discrimination. Access the report here (English) and here (Spanish).
REPORT / Legal Standards related to Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in the Inter-American Human Rights System: Development and Application / IACHR: This report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) analyzes what impact the standards, recommendations, and decisions of the inter-American system has had in case-law related to gender equality and women’s rights emerging from countries of the Americas. A significant number of judicial judgments have been identified and handed down by various courts throughout the Americas, in which explicit reference has been made to the standards of the inter-American human rights system on discrimination and gender-based violence. The IACHR observes that the application of the standards of the inter-American human rights system throughout the Americas is heterogeneous across countries and the judicial decisions examined reflect their still-limited application by the judiciary in many countries of the Americas. Additionally, the report confirms the gravity and pernicious nature of the problems of discrimination and violence against women, as well the challenges in bringing these cases to justice. The report is available here (English) and here (Spanish).
REPORT / THE HUMAN RIGHTS IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE AMERICAS / AIDA: The report The Human Rights Impacts of Climate Change in the Americas by the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) details the negative effects of climate change on human rights to life, access to water, health, food, and housing for millions of people in Latin America. “Climate change harms the human rights most of those who are least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions – vulnerable and historically disadvantaged communities such as peasant farmers, indigenous peoples, and the urban poor,” according to AIDA staff attorney Jacob Kopas. AIDA issued the report to inform an investigation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the link between climate change and human rights. Access the full report here and executive summary here.
REPORT / MACROECONOMICS AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS TO WATER AND SANITATION / CWGL: This report, published by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), is the culmination of a two-day experts meeting, “Macroeconomics and the Rights to Water and Sanitation,” which took place in Lisbon, Portugal from March 31 to April 1, 2011. The meeting was organized as a means to contribute to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation’s work on gender equality and macroeconomics. The report aims to inform the work of advocates monitoring States’ compliance with obligations to realize the rights to water and sanitation, as well as economic, social and cultural rights more generally. Access the report here.
REPORT / INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS ON CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION TO MILITARY SERVICE / QUNO [Contributed, with thanks, by Rachel Brett, Quaker United Nations Office]: Recognition of conscientious objection to military service as a human right is now stronger than ever. To reflect the recent changes in international law and practice, the Quaker UN Office (QUNO), has updated its publication on International Standards on Conscientious Objection to Military Service. Access the publication in English, French, or Spanish.
REPORT / INTERNATIONAL LEGAL PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN ARMED CONFLICT / OHCHR: Published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), this publication provides a legal analysis and guidance to State authorities, human rights and humanitarian actors and others on the application of international human rights law and international humanitarian law for the protection of persons in armed conflict. It addresses the complementary application of these two bodies of law and provides the necessary legal background and analysis of the relevant notions, in order for the reader to better understand the relationship between both bodies of law, as well as the implications of their complementary application in situations of armed conflict. Access the report here.