Category Archives: domestic courts

News Clips- March 3, 2017

United Nations Security Council votes on imposing sanctions against Syria
Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Civil Society

  • On Wednesday, Russian security officials raided the home of well-known journalist and human rights defender Zoya Svetova. [Committee to Protect Journalists]
  • On Tuesday, hundreds protested the evacuation of settlers from homes in the West Bank settlement of Ofra, after courts found the homes were built on Palestinian land in violation of the law. [CNN]
  • Last Friday, United States President Trump blocked media organizations, including the New York Times, CNN, Politico, and Al Jazeera, from participating in a press briefing. [Al Jazeera]

Armed Conflict, Violence, & Humanitarian Crises

  • On Wednesday, a Russian airstrike accidentally targeted Syrian Arab fighters that were being trained by the United States. [New York Times]
  • On Wednesday, two attacks on security facilities in Afghanistan, for which the Taliban took credit, killed at least 16 people. [Washington Post]
  • On Monday, senior Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Salam Akhund was killed in a bombing raid led by the United States in northern Afghanistan. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Saturday, attacks in Hom, Syria linked to al-Qaeda killed 42 people. [Washington Post]

Activities of International Experts & Bodies

Migrants, Asylum Seekers, & Refugees

  • Over the last week and a half, at least 26,000 Iraqis have been displaced in response to security forces’ efforts to retake the city of Mosul from ISIL. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Sunday, an interior minister in Germany reported that there were 3,500 attacks against refugees, migrants, and their shelters within the country in the last year. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Friday, the International Organization for Migration reported that 366 migrants died at sea during attempted migration to Europe in the first months of 2017; this figure is down from 425 last year. [UN News Centre]

LGBTIQ Rights

  • On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals in Trento, Italy held that same-sex parents should have equal parental rights and that the names of both parents should appear on their child’s birth certificate. [Jurist]
  • This week, United States President Trump removed federal guidelines put in place during the Obama administration that had required access to sex-segregated facilities be based on gender identity. [Al Jazeera]

UN Finds Libyan Trial Violated Rights of Gaddafi Regime Members

The United Nations Mission in Libya hosts an international meeting in London, U.K.
Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Wikimedia Commons

In a report published on February 21, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concluded that the trial of 37 former members of the Gaddafi regime, including Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, failed to meet international due process standards. See UNSMIL & OHCHR, Report on the Trial of 37 Former Members of the Qadhafi Regime (Case 630/2012) (2017), at 1–5. Conducted by the Tripoli Court of Assize from March 2014 to July 2015, the trial resulted in the convictions of 32 officials from the Gaddafi regime for offenses related to the 2011 Libyan uprising, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. See id. at 1, 6, 19. Despite being “so far the most prominent effort” of Libyan authorities to seek justice for these human rights violations, according to the report, the defendants lacked sufficient opportunity to consult with their attorneys, allegations of torture went uninvestigated, and the prosecution failed to call any witnesses in court. [OHCHR Press Release] UNSMIL and OHCHR have urged the Court of Cassation, which will be reviewing the case, to consider these due process violations and, in response to these deficiencies, have encouraged Libya to review and reform its domestic laws to ensure the protection of the right to a fair trial. [OHCHR Press Release] Regional and universal human rights bodies have already highlighted violations of the rights to liberty and fair trial in the context of the defendants’ detention, including Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s secret incommunicado detention. See Report on the Trial of 37 Former Members of the Qadhafi Regime (Case 630/2012), at 52. [IJRC] Read more

Rights Protests Continue Across the U.S. as Immigration Ban Implemented

Women’s March participants
Credit: ufcw770 via Wikimedia Commons

Protesters in the United States and around the world demonstrated last week and over the weekend, calling for the protection of the rights of migrants and refugees, women, and other vulnerable groups, as a new administration assumed power in the United States following a bitterly divisive campaign in which now-President Trump denied sexual assault allegations and promised to enact a “Muslim ban.” [Fortune] During the past year and more recently, various universal and regional international human rights monitoring bodies commented on human rights issues relevant to those prioritized in these protests, and called on American authorities to respect fundamental rights and values.

The organizers of the January 21, 2017 Women’s March on Washington, which may be the largest demonstration in U.S. history, specifically called for the protection of women’s right to be free from violence and discrimination, women of color’s right to be free from racial discrimination, migrants’ rights, environmental rights, and LGBTQIA communities’ right to be free from violence and discrimination, among other rights.

Since then, President Trump has taken several steps that civil society and human rights experts warn greatly threaten many of the same human rights championed by the demonstrators. On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order imposing a 90-day suspension on entry into the U.S. for citizens of seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia); a 120-day suspension of all refugee admissions; and an indefinite pause on the admission of refugees from Syria. The order, which was immediately implemented, unleashed chaos and protests in the country’s airports, as civil society and the courts struggled to define its scope and legality. [New York Times; NPR]

The U.S. is a State party to multiple human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), which protect the rights to, among others, non-discrimination and equal protection. It is also a party to the 1967 Protocol to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, commonly referred to as the “Refugee Convention.” Read more

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