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 email@example.com.
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.
29 NOVEMBER – 1 DECEMBER /THE OECD/DAC FOURTH HIGH LEVEL FORUM ON AID EFFECTIVENESS AFFIRMS CENTRALITY OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN DEVELOPMENT AGENDA: About 2,000 delegates from both donor and receiving countries of official development assistance (ODA), as well as representatives from civil society and the private sector, gathered in Busan, Republic of South Korea. After extended negotiations stakeholders reached an agreement “The Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation”. The Outcome Document reaffirms the relevance of the Millennium Declaration in development efforts by mentioning that “The [Millennium] Declaration identifies that promoting human rights, democracy and good governance are an integral part of our development efforts” and “As we embrace the diversity that underpins our partnership and the catalytic role of development co-operation, we share common principles which – consistent with our agreed international commitments on human rights, decent work, gender equality, environmental sustainability and disability – form the foundation of our co-operation for effective development”. Read more about the HLF here and access the outcome document here.28 NOVEMBER 2011 / CIVIL SOCIETY MUST PLAY BIGGER ROLE IN HUMAN RIGHTS IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA – UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
: Concluding a three-day visit to the Indonesian island of Bali the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights met the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) as well as a broad range of civil society organizations, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay underscored the important developments made so far by regional and national human rights institutions. In the first ever address by a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the AICHR, Ms. Pillay also cautioned that the regional rights body’s overall success would be judged by what it achieves and how its work compares with other regional bodies around the world. “It will be very important to show tangible achievements and creative applications of AICHR’s mandate by the time the first review of AICHR takes place in 2014,” Ms. Pillay said. Read more here.
28 NOVEMBER 2011-1 DECEMBER 2011 / HUMAN RIGHTS AND BUSINESS: PLURAL LEGAL APPROACHES TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION, INSTITUTIONAL STRENGTHENING AND LEGAL REFORM: An International meeting of South East Asian Human Rights Institutions brought together Human Rights Commissioners, indigenous peoples’ representatives, academics and NGOs from across the world. The meeting focused on the challenges of ensuring respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and rural communities in the context of the rapid expansion of agribusiness, notably the palm oil sector, while recognizing the right to development and the need to improve the welfare and situation of rural people. Participants in the workshop issued the “Bali Declaration on Agribusiness and Human Rights in Southeast Asia”21 NOVEMBER 2011 / IMPORTANT DECISION OF THE KENYAN HIGH COURT ON ECONONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL RIGHTS: The Kenyan High Court has issued an important decision on the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs), based on the country’s new constitution and international human rights law. The decision, recognizing the interdependence among civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, highlighted the justiciability of ESCRs. More specifically, it declared that the need to recognize “interdependence [of human rights] is out of the realization that people living without the basic necessities of life are deprived of human dignity, freedom and equality”. The case was brought to the High Court by Odindo Opiata, Executive Director of Hakijamii (Kenya). Read more here. Access the Amicus curiae brief here
and the High Court decision here.
19 NOVEMBER 2011 / WORLD TOILET DAY: The United Nations independent expert on access to water and sanitation as a human right urged States to allocate more resources to improving sanitation and promote efficient use of existing hygiene facilities, stressing that people are entitled to decent toilets. In her recent report to the General Assembly entitled ”Financing for the Realization of the Rights to Water and Sanitation,” Ms. de Albuquerque underscored the need to increase and restructure financing in the water and sanitation to meet human rights requirements. “Money is being spent in the wrong places. We need better targeting of resources aligned with human rights requirements. Read more here.
16 NOVEMBER 2011 –UPCOMING TRADE TALKS MUST FOCUS ON RIGHT TO ADEQUATE FOOD, ACCORDING TO THE UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHT TO FOOD: The right to adequate food must be at the top of the agenda of next month’s global trade talks, according to the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter. “The world is in the midst of a food crisis which requires a rapid policy response. But the World Trade Organization (WTO) agenda has failed to adapt, and developing countries are rightly concerned that their hands will be tied by trade rules,” he said. The meeting, which will take place in Geneva from 15 to 17 December, will focus on the future of the so-called Doha Round of negotiations on reducing international trade barriers, as well as the future of the global trading system. “We should grasp the opportunity to ask what kind of trade rules will allow us to combat food insecurity and realize the human right to food,” said Mr. De Schutter. Read more here.
8 NOVEMBER 2011 / TIME TO MAKE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT A REALITY FOR ALL, UN OFFICIALS STRESS: On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights to Development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pilay stressed the need to make the right to development a reality for everyone, everywhere, and to ensure that it brings about a real difference in the daily lives of billions around the world who continue to live in want and in fear. Development is declared a right that entitles “every human person and all peoples 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,” according to the Declaration. Ms. Pillay noted that the right to development responds to contemporary challenges, and stressed the need to act together to incorporate the right to development across institutions and across layers of governance. Read more here.
4 NOVEMBER 2011 – UN HUMAN RIGHTS BODY INVITES BUSINESSES TO COLLABORATE IN CREATING ITS AGENDA: A new UN expert body that promotes respect for human rights among businesses is inviting governments, companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to submit ideas and proposals to help establish its work programme next year. The UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises will take businesses’ submissions into account during its first session in January, when the Group’s priorities and activities will be determined. The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, endorsed in June by the UN Human Rights Council, outline what businesses need to do to ensure human rights are respected in their enterprises, and give access to effective remedies when those rights have been negatively affected. Read more here.
NEWS FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES:
HUMAN RIGHTS TREATIES DIVISION’S (HRTD) NEWSLETTER ISSUE NO. 13 / OHCHR: Highlights in this issue include, among others: Interview with Mr. Régis de Goutte, Rapporteur on Communications of CERD; General Comment on Article 19 (ICCPR) by the Human Rights Committee; CEDAW general discussion on women in conflict and post conflict situations; CERD General Recommendation on Racial Discrimination Against People of African Descent. Access the newsletter here. Access previous issues of the Newsletter here.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS ON CHILD’S RIGHT TO HEALTH / COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN: The Committee on the Rights of the Child has decided to elaborate a General Comment on the right to health of children under eighteen. The General Comment on the right to health will clarify (a) the normative content of the right of the child and adolescent to enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation in relation to health care services and (b) the legally binding obligations of States parties to the CRC with respect to ensuring the full realization of the child’s right to health. The CRC Committee welcomes inputs on the child’s right to health, in English, French or Spanish, particularly from interested organizations and individuals who have extensive experience or information on the right to health of children under eighteen. The submissions should be limited to 5 pages and sent to the following email address in Word format by no later than 6 January 2012: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more here and see the detailed scope and proposed structure of the General Comment here.
31 OCTOBER- 25 NOVEMBER / COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE 47TH SESSION: The Committee Against Torture (CAT) completed its 47th Session on 25 November, having adopted observations and recommendations on periodic reports from States party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. During the session the Committee also met with NGOs from the States under review, held a public session on follow-up to articles 19 and 22 of the Convention (dealing with submission of State reports and individual communications), and met with the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Read more about the 47th session here.
FIRST SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES: The Committee responsible for reviewing how States implement the provisions of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, opened its first session. The chairperson of the Commitee, Mr. Decaux, said he believed their first priority as a Committee should be to establish good relations and cooperation with States parties, both States which had signed the Convention as well as all Member States, for them to respect their responsibilities and to give a new momentum in the international process of ratification of the Convention. Read more here.
1-11 NOVEMBER 2011 / THE UNITED NATIONS INDEPENDENT HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTS ON ENFORCED OR INVOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCES / 95TH SESSION: In its 95th session, the working group reviewed more than 400 cases, including recently submitted information on previous ones, and other communications concerning almost 40 countries. The five-member UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances held meetings with government delegations and civil society representatives, as well as with relatives of disappeared persons, to exchange views on individual cases under consideration and on enforced disappearances in general. The Working Group also examined allegations submitted by sources regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Read more about the 95th session here.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL CALENDAR 2012: The provisional calendar of the Human Rights Council and Council-related meetings of 2012 is available here.
30 SEPTEMBER 2011 / DAY OF DISCUSSION ON CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS / COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD: in September 2011 the CRC organized a Day of General Discussion. The discussion, attended by over 200 practitioners and experts from across the world, explored State policies and practice related to babies and young children living with a parent in prison and children left “outside” when their parent is imprisoned. Recommendations from the Day included considering non-custodial sentences when the offending parent is a primary caregiver, the importance of deciding on a case-by-case basis when infants or children should live in prison, and the role that new media can play in communicating with a parent in prison, when face-to-face meetings are not possible. Read more here and access written submissions to the day of General Discussion here.
UN WORK IN FOCUS:
29-30 NOVEMBER 2011 / FORUM ON MINORITY ISSUES / GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF MINORITY WOMEN: The Forum offered an opportunity for engagement and dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders to exchange experiences and good practices. The Forum focused, inter alia, on the following issues: International and regional human rights frameworks and recent global initiatives relating to minority women’s rights; Minority women and girls and the right to education; Minority women and effective political participation; Minority women and effective participation in economic, social and cultural life. Background documents included Draft recommendations on guaranteeing the rights of minority women and Note by the independent expert on minority issues, Rita Izsák, on guaranteeing the rights of minority women. Three side events were organized in collaboration with Minority Rights Group; access more information here.
28 NOVEMBER – 1 DECEMBER 2011 / GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE MEETING / UNDP [Contributed, with thanks, by Shireen Said, UNDP New York]: UNDP held its second global human rights community of practice meeting from 28 November to 1 December 2011 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Some of the highlights of the discussions included the following messages: UNDP senior leadership stressed the critical importance of human rights in the work of UNDP as one of the foundational pillars of the United Nations that should guide and inform processes such as Rio+20 and post-MDG agenda; demystification of human rights and translating human rights provisions beyond the legal spectrum; It is necessary to continue enhancing understanding of human rights issues pertaining to women, marginalized groups such as minorities, indigenous peoples, people living with disabilities and youth in vulnerable situations; and to capitalize on the use of social media and new platforms for dynamic exchange of information.
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS BULLETIN VOL. 7, NOVEMBER 2011, OF OHCHR’S HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL ISSUES SECTION, RESEARCH AND RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT DIVISION [Contributed with thanks by Bahram Ghazi, OHCHR]: Highlights in this issue include: African Commission launches Principles and Guidelines on ESCR; Adoption of the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States; Women and ESCR Consultation, organized by OHCHR and ESCR-Net; Launch of a user’s guide on selected indicators economic, social, and cultural rights in Nepal; International Guidelines on Land Tenure: closer to conclusion; UN-wide strategy on food and nutrition security. Access the bulletin here / Previous issues of the Bulletin can be accessed here.
UNDP NEWS BRIEF HUMAN RIGHTS FOR DEVELOPMENT VOL. 4, NOVEMBER 2011: This issue of the News Brief features developments, events and emerging trends that affect global human rights and human development agenda, including articles about: The Right to Development: Where do we stand? 25 Years of the Right to Development, Berlin Conference; The Arab Spring: Interview with Mr. Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, OHCHR; The Rights of Persons with Disabilities – A Legal and Developmental Obligation; Access Volume 4 of the Human Rights for Development News Brief here and access previous volumes of the Human Rights for Development News Brief accessed here.
26-28 OCTOBER / STATE-SUPPORTED COMMUNITY JUSTICE WORKSHOP EXPLORES STRATEGIES TO ENGAGE WITH COMMUNITY JUSTICE SYSTEMS / WORLD BANK [Contributed with thanks, by Pete Chapman, World Bank]: The World Bank’s Justice for the Poor Program (J4P), held a three-day workshop in Honiara on the role of state-supported community justice systems. The workshop built on the on-going Justice Delivered Locally project of the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs of Solomon Islands and brought together practitioners, academics and government officials from ten countries working on or in areas relevant to state-supported community justice systems. Resources from the workshop, including video interviews with various workshop participants, will soon be uploaded to the J4P program website.
AWARDS, LEARNING AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES:
REQUEST FOR INPUTS / REPORT ON STIGMATIZATION IN THE REALIZATION OF THE RIGHTS TO WATER AND SANITATION [Contributed with thanks by Inga Winkler, German Institute for Human Rights]: In 2011/2012, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation will prepare a report on Stigmatization in the Realization of the Rights to Water and Sanitation. The Special Rapporteur seeks to benefit from diverse views and perspectives and encourages all stakeholders to submit their views on the issue. Read more here. Submissions can be made electronically no later than 31 January 2012 and can be sent to email@example.com.
REQUEST FOR INPUTS / SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR’S ON FREEDOM OF PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION QUESTIONNAIRE: The Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr Maina Kiai, is seeking feedback via a questionnaire, towards his first thematic report. Human Rights Council resolution 15/21 invites the Special Rapporteur to elaborate a framework through which to consider best practices to promote and protect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. Responses to the questionnaire, preferably by way of bullet points, will be annexed to the report for illustrative purposes. If requested, the identity of those who respond to the questionnaire can remain confidential (with only the country of origin disclosed). The questionnaire has also been shared with Member States, national human rights institutions and regional human rights mechanisms. The questionnaire is available to download in English, French and Spanish. The deadline for responding to the questionnaire is 20 January 2012. Responses may be addressed to Mr Kiai through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Fax: +41 22 917 90 06.
REQUEST FOR INPUT ON TECHNICAL GUIDANCE TOOLS / HUMAN RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH TO REDUCING PREVENTABLE MATERNAL MORTALITY AND MORBIDITY / OHCHR: OHCHR is seeking the following inputs for technical guidance that it was requested to develop on the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity: 1. any existing technical guidance tools applying a human rights-based approach to policies and programmes related to: a) reducing preventable maternal mortality and morbidity; and/or b) other areas of health. 2. How would such guidance assist your organization in efforts to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and morbidity? Submissions should be sent by 15 December 2011 to: email@example.com. Read more here.
COURSE ON HEALTH RIGHTS LITIGATION AND THE HEALTH RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN PROGRAM / FXB CENTER FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY JUNE 18-22 2012, BOSTON USA: This week-long course is part of the Global School on Judicial Enforcement of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The course offers participants an opportunity to develop specialist‐level knowledge in relation to litigating health‐related rights at the national, regional and international level. Read more here.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS / EXPERT MECHANISM ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES / INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ LANGUAGES AND CULTURE: The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is calling for submissions on the role of languages and culture in the protection and promotion of the rights and identity of indigenous peoples (see Human Rights Council Resolution 18/8).The study will be prepared for the Expert Mechanism’s fifth session in July 2012. Submissions are invited from: indigenous individuals and peoples and/or their representatives; non-state actors including non-governmental organizations; national human rights institutions any other relevant stakeholders. The deadline for submissions is: 17 February 2012. Read more here. Submissions may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
CALL FOR PROPOSALS / UN TRUST FUND IN SUPPORT OF ACTIONS TO ELIMINATE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: The UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women was established by UN General Assembly resolution 50/166 in 1996 and is managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN system. The UN Trust Fund is accepting applications for its 16th grant cycle (2011) from government authorities at the national and local levels, civil society organizations and networks — including non-governmental, women’s and community-based organizations and coalitions and operational research institutions — and UN Country Teams in partnership with governments and civil society organizations. The deadline for applications is 19 January 2012, 23:59 EST (GMT–5). Read more here.
6 NOVEMBER / SEXUAL MINORITIES UGANDA (SMUG) AND THEIR LEADER FRANK MUGISHA RECEIVES 2011 RAFTO PRIZE: The 2011 Rafto Prize is awarded to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of SMUG, will receive the award on behalf of the organisation. The Prize is awarded to SMUG for its work to make fundamental human rights apply to everyone, and to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Read more here.
INTER-AMERICAN HUMAN RIGHTS MOOT COURT COMPETITION [Contributed with thanks by Catherine Rochon, Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law]: The American University Washington College of law will host the 17th Annual Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition May 20 – 25, 2012 in Washington, DC. The theme for the 2012 Competition is Indigenous Rights. Read more here.
SUMMER COURSES AT WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW’S / ACADEMY ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW / MAY 28-JUNE 15, WASHINGTON D.C. USA: The Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law offers the following summer courses: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; European Human Rights Law; Human Rights and Development; Human Rights and International Tribunals; International Humanitarian Law; International Justice for Human Rights Violations; Regional Approaches to Human Rights Law: America, Asia and Africa; Rights of Disadvantaged and Vulnerable Groups; United Nations Human Rights System; Women and International Human Rights Law. Read more here.
HUMAN RIGHTS ESSAY AWARD COMPETITION [Contributed with thanks by Raquel Salinas, Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law]: This annual competition sponsored by the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law seeks to stimulate the production of scholarly work in international human rights law. The 2012 topic is The Rights of Indigenous Peoples and International Human Rights Law. Read more here. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2012
NEW INTERDISCIPLINARY MSC HUMAN RIGHTS AND MULTICULTURALISM / BUSKERUD UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, NORWAY: This is a two-year (120 ECTS) programme open to both Norwegian and international students and addressing human rights and cultural diversity at local, national, regional and international scales. The programme is taught in English throughout. The MSc programme is designed to accommodate students with a first degree in range of academic disciplines. There are no tuition fees payable in Norway, for Norwegian or international students, although the cost of living is relatively high. Some bursaries are available to students from specific countries. Read more here.
CHILDREN IN WAR AND ARMED CONFLICTS / HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION ASSOCIATES (HREA) / 29 FEBRUARY-10 APRIL 2012 [Contributed, with thanks, by Frank Elbers, HREA]: HREA will be offering a short certificate course that examines the effect of armed conflict on children in the 21st century. It looks at the various ways in which children are involved in conflicts and the substantial impact that they can have on children’s mental and physical well-being. The course highlights concrete actions that can be taken to contribute to the full implementation of children’s rights in conflict and post-conflict contexts, including through the application of humanitarian law; and the increasing ways in which perpetrators can be held to account. Read more and apply online here.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS / HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION ASSOCIATES (HREA) AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE OF THE UN MANDATED UNIVERSITY FOR PEACE (UPEACE) / 7 MARCH-17 APRIL 2012 [Contributed, with thanks, by Frank Elbers, HREA]: HREA and UPEACE will be offering a new e-learning course on indigenous peoples. This short certificate course introduces participants to the increasingly significant field of indigenous peoples’ rights and looks at the contemporary issues that have paradoxically led to a recognition of those rights on the one hand, while simultaneously challenging their implementation on the other. Read more and apply online here. Access information about other e-courses here.
RESOURCES / WEBSITES, GUIDES AND TOOLS:
WEB PORTAL / UN PRACTITIONER’S PORTAL ON HUMAN RIGHTS-BASED APPROACHES TO PROGRAMMING / UN DEVELOPMENT GROUP – HUMAN RIGHTS MAINSTREAMING MECHANISM (UNDG-HRM): The UN has accumulated a wide range of knowledge and experience in mainstreaming human rights into its work. To make this body of knowledge and experience available through a single entry point, the UNDG-HRM launched the updated UN Portal on Human Rights-Based Approaches to Programming (HRBA Portal). The Portal features, among others: Resources; Background information and practical examples about the UN and HRBA; 25 Topics in relation to the UN’s work on Human Rights – including for each topic a wealth of resources, human rights standards, case studies, HuriTALK consolidated replies, and relevant links; Programming Tools; Learning and Training Materials; and the HuriTALK Corner – the virtual home of the UN Human Rights Policy Network HuriTALK. Access the portal here.
ELECTRONIC DISCUSSION PLATFORM / WHO / ACTION: Social Determinants of Health (SDH): houses knowledge on the social determinants according to the five social determinants of health action areas identified in the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health in October 2011. The tool features the following: i) embedded web-pages pages on SDH knowledge relevant to the five action areas for SDH that were identified in the Rio Declaration; ii) discussion forums that can be used to share tacit knowledge from practice – either by invitation only, or open to all members; iii. a document repository that initially is housing selected WHO materials on SDH – documents are classified as Examples (case studies), Tools & Resources, and E-library. Access the platform here.
ONLINE DATABASE / THE UNITED NATIONS WORKING GROUP ON ARBITRARY DETENTION: At an event in Paris marking the 20th anniversary of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention the Working Group launched an online database that contains official Opinions on their cases on which more than 600 cases are now availableThe database is a joint initiative of the UN, Thomson Reuters and Freedom Now. Read more here and access the database here: http://www.unwgaddatabase.org/un/
WEBSITE / INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE RESOURCE CENTER (IJRC): IJRC is a non-profit organization focused on empowering social justice advocates around the world by ensuring they have access to international human rights law and the bodies that enforce it. By creating a one-stop online resource hub, IJRC aims to democratize access to human rights information and mechanisms, so that advocates’ efforts to educate their communities, represent victims seeking redress, and campaign for change have as positive and powerful an impact as possible. Access the website of the IJRC here.
ONLINE DOCUMENTATION / HEALTH – A HUMAN RIGHT [Contributed, with thanks, by Martin Leschhorn Strebel, Medicus Mundi, Swiss]: Millions of people die each year in developing countries due to easily preventable diseases. This is a basic violation of the human right to health. That is why this year’s Swiss Health Cooperation Symposium of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland (MMS) has debated organized a symposium titled “Health – A Human Right” to discuss the question how the human right to health could be strengthened in the Swiss Foreign Health Policy as well as in Global Health. Access online-documentation on this issue here.
LEGAL GUIDE / INTERNATIONAL COURTS AND TRIBUNALS – REGIONAL COURTS INCLUDING HUMAN RIGHTS / ADVOCATES FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (AI4D): This is part four of a four part series on international courts and tribunals from Clifford Chance LLP. This part concerns regional courts, including human rights courts, in Europe, the Americas and Africa, including: the ECJ, the ECHR, the IACHR, the CJAC, the CCJ, CARICOM, the ACHPR, OHADA, the COMESA Court. Access the guide here.
REPORTS, ARTICLES AND BOOKS:
REPORT /AT WHAT AGE…ARE SCHOOL-CHILDREN EMPLOYED, MARRIED AND TAKEN TO COURT? TRENDS OVER TIME / RIGHT TO EDUCATION PROJECT: Through analysis of legal minimum ages across 187 countries, this report focuses on four key areas: completing compulsory education, entering employment, getting married; and being accorded criminal responsibility. The report analysis data from 18 years of reporting under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) concerning the above-mentioned areas. Access the report here.
REPORT / A LONG WAY TO GO: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN LAW IN AFGHANISTAN / UNAMA AND OHCHR: There is a long way to go before the rights of Afghan women are fully protected, according to the report, noting that the Government has not yet succeeded in applying a two-year-old landmark law to the vast majority of cases of violence against women. The 2009 Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law criminalises child marriage, forced marriage, selling and buying women for the purpose or under the pretext of marriage, baad (giving away a woman or girl to settle a dispute), forced self-immolation and 17 other acts of violence against women, including rape and beating. It also specifies punishment for perpetrators. Access the report here.
BOOK / ACCOUNTING FOR HUNGER: THE RIGHT TO FOOD IN THE ERA OF GLOBALIZATION / EDITED BY OLIVIER DE SCHUTTER, THE UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHT TO FOOD, AND KAITLIN Y CORDES, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]: This book describes the current situation of global hunger; it considers how it relates both to the development of food systems and to the merger of the food and energy markets; and it explains how the right to food contributes to identifying solutions at the domestic and international levels. The right to food, it argues, can only be realised if governance improves at the domestic level, and if the international environment enables governments to adopt appropriate policies, for which they require a certain policy space. An abstract of the book is available here.
REPORT / MACROECONOMICS AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS TO WATER AND SANITATION WRITTEN BY SAVITRI BISNATH [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]: This report 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. This 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.
RETHINKING JUSTICE REFORM IN FRAGILE AND CONFLICT-AFFECTED STATES [Contributed with thanks by Pete Chapman, World Bank]: Drawing on donor experiences in Liberia and Afghanistan, this chapter first problematizes the conceptual underpinnings of existing justice reform efforts: that of rule of law linked to state building, and that of justice reform linked to economic growth. The chapter then argues that Justice reform is best understood as an adaptive rather than (primarily) technical problem and one that requires a sustained commitment to understanding the idiosyncrasies of the context(s) in order to more correctly identify binding constraint problems and possible solutions. Access the report here.
PAPERS / PERSPECTIVES ON INVOLVING NON-STATE AND CUSTOMARY ACTORS IN JUSTICE AND SECURITY REFORM [Contributed with thanks by Pete Chapman, World Bank]: This volume, a synthesis of papers presented at “Access to Justice and Security: Non-state actors and the local dynamics of ordering” held in Copenhagen in 2010, aims to combine insights from empirically-based scholarly studies with discussions of policy options and international programs that engage non-state justice and security provision. Access the papers here.
REPORT / THE PHILIPPINES: INDIGENOUS RIGHTS AND THE MILF PEACE PROCESS / INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: This report examines the fears of the Lumad that an eventual political settlement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) may not recognise their distinct identity and land. Many Lumads who live on the conflict-torn island of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago worry they will be unable to claim the resources and exercise their right to self-governance after a deal is signed with the MILF. Access the Executive Summary here and the full PDF Report here.
REPORT / DIVERS PATHS TO JUSTICE – LEGAL PLURALISM AND THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA / FOREST PEOPLES: This report makes clear that ‘legal pluralism’ is not an arcane field of analysis for academics but lies at the heart of indigenous peoples’ struggles for the recognition of their rights. Access the report here.
PUBLICATION / FRENCH LANGUAGE VERSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEMS OF EUROPE, CENTRAL ASIA AND NORTH AMERICA: A COMPENDIUM OF GOOD PRACTICE [Contributed with thanks by Frank Elbers, HREA]: This publication was jointly published the Council, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2009. Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) was retained to develop the Compendium under the guidance of these partners. The French language version has recently been released. Access the French, English and Russian language versions here.
REPORT / DIGNITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS: A MISSING DIALOGUE? / PROGRAMME ON WOMEN’S ECONOMIC SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (PWESCR): The concept of dignity is part and parcel of the core international human rights instruments. What is human dignity? How can we use the concept of dignity to better advance our struggles for human rights? Can we expand the principles of dignity to provide the much needed floor that would prevent human life from sinking below a certain standard? Dignity is used by most women in an inherently natural way. It is the language of the poor used globally. Can concept of dignity bring human rights closer to people and their realities? Access the report here.
You can access the Monthly Resource Update for November 2011 in PDF format here.
The UN Human Rights Policy network (HuriTALK) Monthly Resource Update is a publication of the UN Human Rights Policy Network HuriTALK.
The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the official views of the United Nations Development Group member agencies.
31 OCTOBER 2011 / ARGENTINA: FIRST MEMBER OF THE G20 TO BECOME PARTY TO THE NEW UN MECHANISM TO ENFORCE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]: Argentina is the first member of the G20 group of the world’s largest economies to ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights. The Optional Protocol will allow individuals and groups within the country to seek justice from the United Nations should these rights – which include the rights to adequate housing, food, water, sanitation, health, work, social security and education – be violated by their government. The decisions made by this new mechanism are likely to influence decisions of national and regional courts around the world. Five countries, including Argentina, have now ratified the Optional Protocol. Read more here.
24 OCTOBER 2011 / PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS LAUNCHED BY AFRICAN COMMISSION [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights formally launched its Principles and Guidelines on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Reporting Guidelines on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during its 50th ordinary session in Banjul, the Gambia. These instruments clarify and strengthen the protection of the rights to property, to housing, to work, to health, to food, to water and sanitation, to culture and to social security under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The guidelines will soon become available here. Read the press release issued by 12 organizations and networks here. Access the final communiqué of the 50th session of the ACHPR here.
18 OCTOBER 2011 / THIRD PARTY INTERVENTION BY THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER ARTICLE 36, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: According to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, persons with disabilities are often denied access to justice on an equal basis with others. He submitted written observations to the European Court of Human Rights on a case concerning the treatment of a person with disability in Romania. According to Hammarberg, “There is an atmosphere of impunity surrounding abuses committed against people with disabilities. A strict application of standing requirements to these persons would have the undesired effect of depriving a particularly vulnerable group of people of any reasonable prospect of seeking and obtaining redress for violations of their human rights.” Read more here and access the text of the third party intervention here.
17 OCTOBER 2011 / MAASTRICHT PRINCIPLES ON EXTRATERRITORIAL OBLIGATIONS OF STATES IN THE AREA OF ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS [Contributed, with thanks, by Ashfaq Khalfan, Amnesty International]: In October 2011, a group of experts in international human rights law adopted the Maastricht Principles on Extra-Territorial Obligations of States in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These international legal principles serve to clarify the human rights obligations of states beyond their own borders and cover all economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to water, to health, housing, sanitation and education. The Principles affirm that states are obliged to cooperate and assist other states in the realization of economic, social and cultural rights, and emphasise that states can and must be held to account for violations of human rights that occur due their conduct beyond their borders. Read more here and access the full text of the Maastricht Principles here .
17 OCTOBER 2011 / INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY:
On the occasion of the International Day for the Eradiation of Poverty UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cautioned that progress so far in the fight against poverty risked being reversed by a failure to put people at the centre of development policies and strategies aimed at economic recovery following the global financial crisis. He pointed out that too often in the debate about the future, the voices of the poor and the young are being ignored, and so are environmental concerns. In addition the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty, Ms. Sepulveda, noted that it was clear that the poorest and most excluded bore the brunt of the financial crises. “What is required are recovery measures that are equitable, accompanied by human rights safeguards and designed from the ground up, taking into consideration the specific needs of vulnerable populations.” Read more here.
14-15 OCTOBER 2011 / ASEAN INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS / CONFERENCE ON MATERNAL HEALTH: The two-day conference aimed to start the development of ASEAN best practices and regional approaches on reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, and ensuring maternal health in the ASEAN region. Present during the two-day conference were representatives of ASEAN member states to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), experts on maternal health from ASEAN member states, experts from the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and Asia-Pacific experts on maternal health. There were calls for, inter alia, increasing budget allocations for health; ensuring proper tracking of funds and investments on reproductive health; promoting compliance with international human rights treaties; introducing new legislation and amending existing legislation to promote maternal health and reproductive health; and ensuring access to effective remedies when women’s reproductive rights have been violated. Read more about the AICHR here and read more about the maternal health conference here.
16 OCTOBER 2011 / WORLD FOOD DAY: United Nations agencies tasked with tackling global hunger highlighted the need for concerted efforts to address the root causes, focusing on the need to ensure that children have enough to eat, and addressing the factors that make food unaffordable for so many. FAO chose the theme of ‘Food Prices – From Crisis to Stability’ for this year’s Day to shed light on the trend and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable. Access FAO’s report “The State of Food Insecurity in the World” (2011) here. The UN World Food Programme (WFP), for its part, marked the Day with an effort to connect the lives and dreams of hungry children in developing countries with activists and supporters who are in a position to help them, through a new online platform. Read more about the Right to Food here. Read more about World Food Day 2011 here.
3 OCTOBER 2011 / WORLD HABITAT DAY: Close to a third of the global population continues to live in slums and unplanned settlements, often located in areas exposed to serious environmental risks and hazards, said the UN Special Rapporteurs on Housing, Raquel Rolnik, and on Internally Displaced Persons, Chaloka Beyani. “People living in informal settlements are particularly affected by climate change induced disasters. After a disaster, they are more exposed to eviction and land grabbing as they lack legal protection and their rights to tenure are not recognized.” The Special Rapporteurs called on States and international agencies to recognize informal settlements and the human rights of their inhabitants, and to address their unique needs and vulnerabilities as an integral and indispensable part of disaster risk reduction
and recovery efforts.” Read more here.
NEWS FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY BODIES:
21 OCTOBER 2011 / COMMITTEE ON ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN CONCLUDES FIFTIETH SESSION: The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women concluded its fiftieth session. During the session, the Committee adopted a General Statement on rural women in which it noted that despite efforts undertaken to encourage the overall empowerment of rural women, there were still many issues that needed to be addressed as women, and in particular rural women, faced discrimination in all spheres of life. Furthermore, in a statement on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the fiftieth anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, the Committee requested all States parties to reaffirm their commitment to adhering to their international obligations by ensuring that their laws, policies and practices did not discriminate against refugee and stateless women and girls. The Committee called on States to recognize gender related forms of persecution and to interpret the “membership of a particular social group” ground of the 1951 Convention to apply to women. Read more about the fiftieth session of CEDAW here.
13 0CTOBER 2011 / PILLAY HAILS COMPLETION OF FIRST-EVER HUMAN RIGHTS REVIEW OF ALL 193 STATES: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay congratulated the Human Rights Council for completing a peer review of the human rights record of all 193 member states of the United Nations, and said she looked forward to concrete results in terms of human rights promotion and protection on the ground. Ms. Pillay said that the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) has in many instances provided a framework for exchange and dialogue across State structures as well as between the State and members of civil society. She also noted that the UPR had produced a lot of recommendations and warned that for such recommendations to be useful, they must be precise, constructive and time-bound. Read more about the completion of the first cycle of the UPR here and access a blog by A.H. Monjurul Kabir (UNDP Bratislava regional center) about the UPR process here
UN WORK IN FOCUS:
27 OCTOBER 2011 / LAUNCH OF THE UNDG-HRM MULTI DONOR TRUST FUND [Contributed, with thanks, by Emilie Filmer-Wilson, UNDOCO, New York]: The United Nations Development Group’s Human Rights Mainstreaming Mechanism (UNDG-HRM) Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) was officially launched by Ms. Helen Clark, Chair, United Nations Development Group, and Ms. Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Trust Fund will support the work of UNDG-HRM in four areas: Promoting a coordinated and coherent UN system-wide approach towards the integration of human rights principles and international standards into UN operational activities for development; providing coherent and coordinated support to Resident Coordinators and UN country teams in mainstreaming human rights; developing a coherent UN-system wide approach, through cooperation and collaboration among UN agencies, to providing support towards strengthening national human rights protection systems at the request of governments; and contributing to the integration of human rights issues in the overall UNDG advocacy on development agenda and global issues. Access more information on the launch and the Multi Donor Trust Fund here. Access the fact
sheet about the UNDG-HRM in English/French/Spanish.
PROTECTING CHILD RIGHTS IN AFGHANISTAN / HUMAN RIGHTS SUPPORT UNIT AND UNICEF [Contributed, with thanks, by Shahriniso Najmetdinova, UNDP Afghanistan]: Children are one of the most vulnerable groups in Afghanistan. The Government of Afghanistan is party to key international treaties that protect the rights of children and adults alike. However, the realization of rights through the enactment of national laws is slow. To support the Afghan government in meeting its international obligations, UNDP’s Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan (JHRA) project established the Human Rights Support Unit (HRSU) in 2010. At the request of the Ministry of Justice, HRSU is currently working with UNICEF to develop the National Child Act, which will supersede all existing legislation, and provide comprehensive legal protection in accordance with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Child Act will also outline systems and procedures to increase the protection children have within the justice system. Read more here.
28 OCTOBER 2011 / SECOND UNIPP POLICY BOARD MEETING [Contributed, with thanks, by Jessica Jansson, UNDP New York]: The second Policy Board meeting for the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Partnership (UNIPP), a partnership of ILO, OHCHR, UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA aimed at developing national capacities to promote effective dialogue and partnership to fulfill indigenous peoples rights at the country level concluded with the review of seven project proposals submitted from the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Nepal and the UNDP Regional Center for Asia Pacific and OHCHR South-east Asia. The proposals targeted the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous issues as stated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO Convention 169, the two key international documents that upholds indigenous peoples’ rights. The successful project proposals will receive communication from UNIPP secretariat and project implementation is foreseen to start in the first quarter of 2012. Read more here.
3-5 OCTOBER 2011 / OSLO GOVERNANCE FORUM: SIDE EVENT ON MAINSTREAMING HUMAN RIGHTS INTO GOVERNANCE ASSESSMENTS [Contributed, with thanks, by Beatriz Fernandez, UNDP New York]: UNDP’s Oslo Governance Center, in collaboration ActionAid, ACTAlliance, PRIA, UNDEF, NORAD, and the World Bank Institute, organized the Oslo Governance Forum, which included a side event on mainstreaming human rights into governance assessments. The presentations emphasized that human rights are components and important indicators to governance. The participants agreed that human rights need to be systematically embedded in governance assessment processes and that the emphasis should be placed in facilitating the space for the participation of rights-holders, particularly those who are traditionally marginalized. Access the Oslo Principles on Democratic Governance Assessments here and access more information about the Oslo Governance Forum here.
HRBA/RBM SKILLS WORKSHOP 2011 / UN SYSTEM STAFF COLLEGE [Contributed, with thanks, by Adriana Jacinto, UNSSC]: The UN System Staff College Human Rights-Based Approach/Results-Based Management (HRBA/RBM) held in Turin from 17 to 21 October was attended by 20 UN colleagues from 10 different UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes. The workshop ranged from the human rights protections systems (international, regional and national) and normative framework through to the origins of the UN Common Understanding on the Human Rights-based Approach and its introduction as a mandatory programming principle in the UN Common Country Programming processes, particularly the Country Analysis and the UNDAF. Read the HuriTALK Insights Series about the updated Common Learning Package on a HRBA/RBM here. The calendar for upcoming UNSSC HRBA/RBM Skills Workshops for 2012 is under development and will soon be available here.
REGIONAL MEETING OF MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY ON HIV AND THE LAW IN WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA / UNAIDS, OHCHR, UNDP and AAHJF [Contributed, with thanks, by Mamadi Diakite, UNAIDS Regional Support Team for West and Central Africa]: Ministers of Justice and members of the judiciary from West and Central Africa met in Dakar, Senegal, from 6 to 8 February 2011 for a high level meeting on HIV and the law. The meeting focused on the potential role of Ministers of Justice, members of the judiciary and other officials responsible for justice in removing barriers to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care, including legal support, and the promotion of a legal and judicial environment conducive to an effective HIV response. Exchanges were based on the principle that when the law is based on human rights and is evidence-informed, HIV exposure and vulnerability risk factors will be reduced and universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services enhanced. The meeting resulted in the adoption of a Statement of Commitment on HIV and the Law for Members of the Judiciary in West and Central Africa (see Annex 1 of the meeting report). Access the report here.
SEPTEMBER 2011 / WORLD BANK SYMPOSIUM ON JUSTICE, CONFLICT AND DEVELOPMENT, SYDNEY [Contributed, with thanks, by Pete Chapman, World Bank]: World Bank’s Justice for the Poor program held a symposium on Justice, Conflict, and Development. The one-day session brought together participants from around the world to explore the links between justice, conflict and development and the implications for donor support to justice reform.
A summary of the conference, and links to the presentations is available here. Furthermore the World Bank in Sydney hosted a conversation on law, justice and rights in the Pacific that is available here.
AWARDS, LEARNING AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES:
24 OCTOBER 2011 / NANSEN DIALOGUE CENTRE SKOPJE (NDC SKOPJE) RECEIVES MAX VAN DER STOEL AWARD: According to the jury, NDC Skopje has taken up the challenging task of bringing together students, parents and teachers in an area that has been affected by the 2001 conflict and is characterized by great ethnic divisions. Its integrated bilingual schools are models for promoting respect for diversity, bilingualism and harmonious relations between teachers, pupils and their parents from different ethnic backgrounds. NDC Skopje also supports education reforms, which aim at eliminating inequalities and guaranteeing national minority rights while promoting interethnic interaction. Access a video documentary on the work of the Nansen Dialogue Centre Skopje here.
13 OCTOBER 2011 / MARTIN ENNALS AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS GOES TO KASHA JACQUELINE NABAGESERA: Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera is the winner of the 2011 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, awarded annually by 10 human rights NGOs. She is the founder and executive director of the LGBT rights organization Freedom and Roam Uganda. Under Uganda’s legal system, homosexuality is a criminal offence that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. A bill proposed in 2009 sought to entrench discrimination and hatred against LGBT people. Read more here. Nominations for the 2012 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders are accepted until the 9th of December 2011. Forms can be filled out here.
UNITED NATIONS DEMOCRACY FUND GRANTS FUNDING FOR PROJECTS TO ADVANCE DEMOCRACY [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]:
The United Nations Democracy Fund invites civil society organizations to apply for funding for projects to support democracy. Proposals may be submitted on-line between 15 November 2011 and 31 December 2011. Access guidelines and apply online here.
APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED TO SPECIAL FUND OF THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE UN CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE 2011-2012 / OHCHR will accept applications from eligible applicants aimed at implementing recommendations made by the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture after a visit to a State party. In 2011, four thematic priorities have been established: Notifications of fundamental rights to detainees in a language which they can understand; Improving recreational and/or vocational activities for juveniles in detention; Basic training programmes for detention personnel; Any other specific recommendation in the visit reports that details a pressing and compelling need. The deadline for applications is 30 November 2011. Read more and apply here.
MULTI-DISCIPLINARY PROGRAM IN HUMAN RIGHTS / INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS EXCHANGE /JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: The International Human Rights Exchange (IHRE) is a full-semester, multidisciplinary program in human rights. The program is housed at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and is a joint venture with Bard College. Each year — starting in July and ending in November – undergraduate students and faculty from Africa and North America come together to participate in a deep and multifaceted intellectual engagement in human rights. In addition to a required core course, students choose from 12 or more electives exploring human rights from the perspective of a variety of academic disciplines. Applications deadlines are November 15, 2011 for the Spring 2012 Semester and March 1, 2012 for the Fall 2012 Semester. Read more and apply here.
VARIOUS E-LEARNING COURSES / 2011-2012 / HREA: Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) is issuing a call for applications for the following upcoming courses: Specialised courses – Child Rights Programming – La Programmation basée sur les droits humains – Le Monitoring des droits de l’homme – Monitoring Children’s Rights – Monitoring Women’s Rights Project Development and Management in the NGO Sector – Use of ICTs and Social Media for Human Rights Work. The deadline for applications for e-learning courses is 15 November 2011. HREA also offers short certificate courses: Derecho Internacional Humanitario - Development and Human Rights: Implications for the Globalised World – Indigenous Peoples’ Rights – International Refugee Law and Contemporary Challenges – The European System of Human Rights Protection and Promotion -The Right to Education. The deadline for applications for short certificate courses is 1 December 2011. Read more and apply online here.
CALL FOR ENTRIES / 2012 HUMAN RIGHTS ESSAYS AWARD [Contributed, with thanks, by Lauren Bruce, Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law]: The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law announced the topic for the 2012 Human Rights Essay Award: “The Rights of Indigenous People and International Human Rights Law”. The Human Rights Essay Award is an annual competition sponsored by the Academy and seeks to stimulate the production of scholarly work in international human rights law. Participants have the flexibility to choose any subject related to the assigned topic; the essay has to be a legal article. The deadline for submissions is 1 February 2012. Access more information here.
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR THE 33RD ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS TRAINING PROGRAM / 3-22 JUNE 2012, QUEBEC, CANADA [Contributed, with thanks, by Ian Hamilton, Equitas]: Equitas will be holding its 33rd International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP) in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec, Canada, from June 3rd June 22nd, 2012. This annual, intensive three-week program brings together around 120 participants from approximately 60 countries. The IHRTP is an intermediate-level program that focuses on international human rights standards, current human rights issues and human rights education strategies. The exploration of human rights principles and instruments, ongoing critical reflection and inquiry and extensive sharing of experiences allow participants to strengthen their capacity to engage in effective human rights education. The deadline for applications is November 21, 2011. Read more and apply here.
WEBSITES, GUIDES AND TOOLS:
GUIDES ON BUDGETING AND COSTING HUMAN RIGHTS / EQUAL IN RIGHTS [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]: Intended as resource guides, these publications published by Equalinrights respectively seek (i) to define the notion of ‘frontloading human rights’ as translating international human rights principles and obligations into policy- and budget recommendations, through an extensive review of background material on budgeting for human rights, and (ii) to develop a methodology for calculating the implementation cost of a human rights policy. This work is an attempt to understand better the concepts underpinning human rights budget work, to make cross linkages with existing budget work, and to develop and/or improve the methodology for frontloading and costing human rights. Access “Frontloading Human Rights: A Conceptual Framework for Building Budgets and Realising Rights” and “A Guide to Costing Human Rights”.
LEGAL GUIDE / THE RIGHT TO FOOD / ADVOCATES FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT:
This legal guide provides an introduction to the key sources for the human right to food under international law. It clarifies what the right to food entails under diverse bodies, discusses different interpretations of the right to food, and considers a case study of right to food litigation in India. Access the guide here.
LEGAL GUIDE / THE AARHUS CONVENTION / ADVOCATES FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: This legal guide concerns the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s ‘Aarhus Convention’, an environmental treaty promoting environmental justice. The guide explains the significance of the treaty, the emphasis it places on NGO involvement, and how it will be a key tool for those seeking to promote environmental justice. It details the 44 parties to the Aarhus Convention, the ‘Three Pillars’ of the treaty and implementation of the Aarhus Convention in the UK. Access the guide here.
UPDATED ONLINE TRAINING MANUAL ON HUMAN RIGHTS FOR HEALTH WORKERS / IFHHRO [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]: The International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organisations (IFHHRO) expanded its Health and Human Rights online Training manual. The manual aims to educate health workers in relevant human rights frameworks and applications in order to help safeguard people’s basic right to health. The manual includes expanded material; improved content based on users’ feedback; and is available in English, Spanish, French and Russian. Users are requested to register; after that the manual can be downloaded free. You can register for and access to the manual here.
E-INFO TOOL / NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS / GERMAN INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS [Contributed, with thanks, by Andrea Kämpf, German Institute for Human Rights]: This e-info tool aims to introduce National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) as strategic partners for development cooperation, to highlight possible areas and methods of cooperation, and to give examples of successful cooperation with NHRIs. Access the tool here.
ELECTRONIC TOOLKIT / INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT / OHCHR:
The year 2011 is the International Year for People of African Descent. The Year aims at strengthening national action and regional and international cooperation for the benefit of people of African descent. This includes their full enjoyment of economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights, their participation and integration in all political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society, and the promotion of a greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage and culture. The toolkit aims to assist UN staff around the world tackle issues related to the situation of people of African descent, during the International Year and beyond. Access the toolkit here.
HUMAN RIGHTS IMPACT ASSESSMENT GUIDE: REVISED ONLINE EDITION / RIGHTS & DEMOCRACY [Contributed, with thanks, by Julia Kercher, UNDP New York]: Rights & Democracy launched a revised, online version of its Human Rights Impact Assessment guide. Titled “Getting it Right”, the guide provides a step-by-step process for those wishing to take stock of the positive and negative human rights impacts of an investment project in their community. The guide also provides a virtual library, examples of research techniques, and a detailed, interactive process for selecting assessment indicators. The guide is accessible in English and French here. A Spanish language version is forthcoming in January 2012.
REPORTS, ARTICLES AND BOOKS:
THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS: MILESTONES OR MILLSTONES? HUMAN RIGHTS PRIORITIES FOR THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA: This paper, authored by Mac Darrow (OHCHR) examines the history, impacts and ongoing significance of the Millennium Development Goals in re-framing and re-focusing international and national poverty reduction efforts and policies. The paper concludes by venturing a set of substantive and process-related parameters that should guide the reformulation of a post-2015 global poverty reduction compact, positioning human rights arguments and identified priorities within an increasingly challenging constellation of threats to international human rights and underlying ethics of global social justice. Access the paper here and access other scholarly articles in relation to human rights here.
25 OCTOBER 2011 / PRESENTATION OF REPORT ON EXTREME POVERTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS [Contributed, with thanks, by Lidia Rabinovich, OHCHR Geneva]: The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Magdalena Sepulveda, presented her annual report to the UN General Assembly. The report includes a human rights analysis of laws, regulations and practices that punish, segregate, control and undermine the autonomy of persons living in poverty. Across the developing and developed world, States are increasingly treating people living in poverty as dangerous and dirty, an eyesore and a burden, and are adopting policies and laws which penalise, and even criminalise, the poor for their situation. According to the report, these measures represent a serious threat to the enjoyment of human rights by persons living in poverty. Access the report here.
21 OCTOBER 2011 / UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON COUNTER-TERRORISM AND HUMAN RIGHTS TO FOCUS ON RIGHTS OF VICTIMS AND PREVENTION OF TERRORISM: The newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, has told the General Assembly that he will pay particular attention to the rights of victims of terrorism and prevention of terrorism during his tenure. The Special Rapporteur considers it “essential that the protection of the rights of the victims of terrorism is seen as a genuine legal duty resting primarily on States, and that it is not misused as a pretext for violating the human rights of those suspected of terrorism, for taking emergency measures which provide for excessive and disproportionate executive powers, or for other essentially political gain.” Access the report here.
21 OCTOBER 2011 / BEYOND BUILDINGS AND PROPERTY RIGHTS: WHAT IT TAKES TO ENSURE THE RIGHT TO ADEQUATE HOUSING IN DISASTER RELIEF: “Disaster relief provides opportunities but also serious risks for human rights,” said United Nations Special Rapporteur Raquel Rolnik, urging governments to go beyond physical structures and individual property rights in their relief efforts and protect the right to adequate housing of the most vulnerable. Housing rights are human rights; General Comment 4, adopted by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1991, lays out the criteria of adequate housing. The Special Rapporteur also stressed the broad implications of fully taking into account the right to adequate housing in disaster response. ““Putting the right to adequate housing at the core of reconstruction efforts requires the willingness to address difficult issues, such as inequalities in society, that are magnified and exacerbated by disasters. It is crucial to do so if we are serious about making human rights commitments a reality in all circumstances.” Access the report here and access a factsheet about the right to housing here.
21 OCTOBER 2011 / UN EXPERT CALLS FOR A GENDER PERSPECTIVE FOR THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: There is an urgent need to integrate a gender perspective in the criminal justice system as a fundamental step towards allowing equal access to justice for women and men, said Friday the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul. Expressing her concern by the lack of integration of gender and women’s perspectives into judging, judicial procedures and the judiciary at large, the Special Rapporteur underscored that “traditional notions of judging must be challenged and the representation of women in the judiciary encouraged.”Access the report here.
FRAMING LOCAL CONFLICT AND JUSTICE IN BANGLADESH [Contributed, with thanks, by Pete Chapman, World Bank]: Vivek Maru and Maitreyi Das authored an article on the institutional landscape of local dispute resolution in Bangladesh. The article suggests a number of opportunities for strengthening local justice and argues that the village courts may pose a useful bridge between Bangladesh’s informal and formal justice institutions. The report is available here.
NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS / REPORT BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: This report contains information on activities undertaken by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to assist in establishing and strengthening national human rights institutions. The report provides an overview of measures taken by Governments and national human rights institutions, as well as support provided to the international and regional activities of national human rights institutions. It further details technical assistance to national human rights institutions and cooperation between those institutions and international mechanisms to promote and protect human rights. Access the report here.
THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT / REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: This report contains an overview of the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights relating to the promotion and realization of the right to development, including in the context of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development. The report also presents a compilation of the conclusions and recommendations adopted by consensus by the Working Group on the Right to Development, of the Human Rights Council, with a view to contributing to intergovernmental deliberations. Access the report here.
REPORT / FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION AND ACCESS FOR ALL: The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, urged Governments to guarantee the free flow of information on the Internet, and to ensure that the Internet is made widely available, accessible and affordable to all. “Governments are using increasingly sophisticated technologies and tactics which are often hidden from the public to censor online content and to monitor and identify individuals who disseminate critical or sensitive information, which frequently lead to arbitrary arrests and detention,” said La Rue, presenting his annual report to the UN General Assembly. Access the report here.
REPORT / THE WORLD WE WANT / GCAP [Contributed, with thanks, by Matt Davies, International Policy and Advocacy International Movement]: GCAP has published its annual report titled “The World We Want” which features an article on progress towards Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights (pp.30-33). Access the publication here.
CONNECTING HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION – GUIDANCE FOR DEVELOPMENT PRACTITIONERS [Contributed, with thanks, by Andrea Kämpf, German Institute for Human Rights]: Human rights and conflict transformation are both instrumental for sustainable peace and development, yet “Peace v. Justice” has long been perceived or constructed as a divide. This publication argues that a closer interaction of human rights and conflict transformation practitioners on the ground will deepen analysis and create synergies: by emphasizing the structural dimensions of peace and development and by focusing on governance and power relations in development cooperation. It shows that both approaches are complementary, and illustrates this by using examples from the experiences of development practitioners in countries around the world. Access the publication here.