Category Archives: Human Rights

UN calls UK for Assange liberation

First day of new year 2019 the UN office in Geneva, Switzerland, reminds of the United Nations Working group on arbitrary detention (WGAD) reiterated call to the UK that Julian Assange recover his entire freedom. In December 2015, the WGAD had determined the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Assange arbitrary and called for his release.

“GENEVA (21 December 2018) – UN human rights experts today repeated a demand that the UK abides by its international obligations and immediately allows Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to walk free from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been for over 6 years, fearing arrest by British authorities if he leaves, and extradition to the US.

“States that are based upon and promote the rule of law do not like to be confronted with their own violations of the law, that is understandable. But when they honestly admit these violations, they do honour the very spirit of the rule of law, earn enhanced respect for doing so, and set worldwide commendable examples,” the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) said.

In December 2015, the Working Group concluded in its opinion No. 54/2015 that Mr. Assange – who at the time had a European arrest warrant issued against him for an allegation of crimes committed in Sweden ‑ was being arbitrarily deprived of his freedom and demanded that he be released.

“Under international law, pre-trial detention must be only imposed in limited instances. Detention during investigations must be even more limited, especially in the absence of any charge” said the experts. “The Swedish investigations have been closed for over 18 months now, and the only ground remaining for Mr. Assange’s continued deprivation of liberty is a bail violation in the UK, which is, objectively, a minor offense that cannot post facto justify the more than 6 years confinement that he has been subjected to since he sought asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador. Mr. Assange should be able to exercise his right to freedom of movement in an unhindered manner, in accordance with the human rights conventions the UK has ratified,” the experts further said

The WGAD is further concerned that the modalities of the continued arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mr. Assange is undermining his health, and may possible endanger his life given the disproportionate amount of anxiety and stress that such prolonged deprivation of liberty entails.

“The United Kingdom has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and has a responsibility to honour its commitment, by respecting its provisions in all cases,” the experts said.

“As the High Commissioner for human rights said several years ago, human rights treaty law is binding law, it is not discretionary law. It is not some passing fancy that a state can apply sometimes and not in the other,” the experts recalled.

“In addition, the recommendations of the WGAD Opinions are expected to be implemented by all States, including those which have not been a party in the case concerning Mr. Assange,” said the experts.

“On 10 December, the world celebrated International Human Rights Day. Seventy years ago, on that very day, the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the mother of all rights contained in subsequent conventions, including the ICCPR.

“It is time that Mr. Assange, who has already paid a high price for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of opinion, expression and information, and to promote the right to truth in the public interest, recovers his freedom,” the experts concluded.”

This statement by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is endorsed by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mr. Michel Forst.

EU points to China HR violations of Canadians

“The declared motive for the arrest and detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, both Canadian nationals, raises concerns about legitimate research and business practices in China. The denial of access to a lawyer under their status of detention is contrary to the right of defence” – says the text of the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson.

The European Union calls on the Chinese authorities to answer these concerns. The EU supports the efforts of the Canadian Government.

“As raised at the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in July 2018, the EU has concerns about the implementation of the NGO law and its impact on our people-to-people relations and the operations of international NGOs operating in China.”

Tajani calls for release of Sentsov

Sakharov Prizie winner Oleg Sentsov  cousin Natalya Kaplan and lawyer Dmitriy Dinze represented him during the ceremony in Strasbourg  Sentsov was not in the Parliament to collect the award in person, because he remains in prison in Siberia.

Oleg Sentsov was nominated for his peaceful protest against the illegal occupation of his native Crimea. Also for his courage, determination and his convictions in support of human dignity, democracy, the rule of law and human rights; these are the values on which our Union is built, even more after the terrible attack of yesterday, values that this Parliament cherishes, upholds and promotes.” the Parliament President Antonio Tajani said, while awarding the Prize.

Sentsov’s hunger strike and courageous public stance made him a symbol of the struggle for the release of political prisoners held in Russia and around the world,” he added. Noting that the award comes against a backdrop of serious tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Tajani called for a de-escalation of the situation and reiterated support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The President called for the immediate and unconditional release of Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and the Crimean peninsula as well as other imprisoned laureates: “The Sakharov Prize is not only an award. It is a commitment. And we keep standing close by our laureates.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UN human rights chief demands investigation in Khashoggi murder

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet says international investigation needed to determine who was responsible for “awful killing” of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Twenty-two US senators have also called for an investigation under the Global Magnistky Act which could determine whether the Saudis are responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture or other gross violations of human rights.

In the weeks since Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated, the steady stream of disturbing and macabre allegations has presented a file of evidence so damning that even the Saudi government had to reverse its initial denials and acknowledge that he was killed.

The circumstances surrounding his death have resonated globally because such a heinous act not only demands answers — it also demands truth and justice.

 

AMENDED: European Parliament Vice-president Fabio CASTALDO fully supported the proposal of the UN Human rights chief, demanding justice for the assassinated journalist. Mr.CASTALDO also raised issue of the violations of human rights by Saudi Arabia, he insisted to be examined on many occasions before the tragic events taking place in Istanbul in the Consulate of Saudi Arabia , where the journalist perished.

EU supports Nobel Prize winners projects

The European Commission has announced an additional €5 million in support of concrete projects of the two 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege maintaining its commitment to women who are victims of sexual violence.

This new support was announced  in Brussels as the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Development, Neven Mimica, met with Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege. The two winners were invited to discuss the eradication of violence against women and its impact on development, together with EU development Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council.

“As the European Union, we admire the immense courage and tireless work of Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege, who often put their own lives at risk. We have a duty to support their work and all the people they represent, as we are doing, and this is also the best way to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women” Mogherini said.

“Violence against women and girls is one of the most horrendous crimes, one of the greatest injustices of our time, and an obstacle to the development of any society. I am very pleased to be able to strengthen our support for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureates. This is how the European Union can help put an end to sexual violence, once and for all, everywhere in the world”, Commissioner Neven Mimica added

The EU plans to strengthen its ongoing stabilisation and reconstruction efforts in the Sinjar region in Iraq through a €1 million contribution to Nadia Murad’sSinjar Action Fund” initiative. European development cooperation in the liberated areas of Da’esh in the country supports in particular the needs of displaced populations, vulnerable groups and local communities.

A further €4 million will support Dr Mukweges work to ensure the continuity of support programmes for victims of sexual violence and women suffering from gynecological conditions at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This initiative for the reconstruction of Sinjar will create infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and encourage the return of displaced populations to their homeland.

Since 2014, the European Union’s development cooperation in Iraq amounts to approximately €310 million. Part of this funding is specifically dedicated to the stabilisation and the socio-economic reconstruction of the areas liberated from Da’esh. EU support helps create the conditions for sustainable return of displaced people, including by clearing contaminated sites, restoring basic services and providing livelihoods. Since the beginning of the crisis, more than 1.7 million displaced people have returned to their homes.

The European support for the two 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureates is part of its broader commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment globally. The EU has established an ambitious partnership with the United Nations by launching the “Spotlight Initiative” in September 2017. This programme is supported by €500 million to fight all forms of violence against women and girls.

Following the South-East Asia programme of the Spotlight initiative launched in November 2017 and the Latin America programme launched in September 2018, the Africa programme will be officially launched in early 2019. With €250 million in funding, the Africa programme will focus on combating harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation and forced child marriage.

Europarliament Human Rights week

The European Parliament is organising a week of events for the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A High Level Conference will focus on how to integrate human rights in business, sustainable development and external actionBetter social security for cross-border workers is on the table. The aim is to allow them to receive unemployment benefits and health services even when they’ve changed country. (Image above: Catalan protests).

Members vote to better protect whistle-blowers acting in the public interest. They would have legal and financial aid and help protecting their identity. Members vote on rules to limit workers’ exposure to new cancer-causing chemicals, particularly in laboratories, construction work and the textile industry. Parliament debates clear regulations on autonomous vehicles like self-driving cars and automated aircraft. It wants to promote real-life testing and new research, while ensuring data protection and consumer safety.

Ukrainian anti-corruption activist died after acid attack

Anti-corruption campaigner Kateryna (Katya) Gandzyuk, injured in an acid attack in July, died in a hospital, supporters and the Ukrainian government confirmed.

Katya is dead. Details will be available in a while,” posted a Facebook group that publishes updates about Gandzyuk‘s health and news on the investigation into the crime.

President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the news and offered condolences to Gandzyuk‘s relatives at a meeting with representatives of the Ukrainian community in Turkey’s Antalya, where he is on an official visit.

“I appeal to law enforcement officers to do everything possible so that the murderers of Kateryna Gandzyuk are found, put on trial and punished,”

Katya’s death is a judgement of the system, with all its “reforms,” empty bravado, worthless praise...” wrote Yulia Timoshenko in her Twitter micro blog.

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