States Elect Nine Members to the UN Human Rights Committee

On September 17, 2020, the States parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) filled nine seats on the United Nations Human Rights Committee. [Centre for Civil and Political Rights] Nine electees will begin four-year terms on January 1, 2021, while one additional electee will immediately fill a vacancy in a term ending on December 31, 2020.

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Human Rights Bodies: Schedule & Procedural Changes Amid COVID-19 Pandemic (June 2020)

Universal and regional human rights oversight bodies have postponed or cancelled their upcoming sessions and suspended some procedural deadlines as a result of the developing COVID-19 pandemic, while striving to maintain other activities. Beginning in mid-March 2020, almost all human rights bodies have suspended their meetings and travel through at least June, with the United Nations treaty bodies postponing all

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Human Rights Committee Finds Russia Responsible for Torture of Chechens

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has found Russia responsible for violating the rights to fair trial and to be free from torture of six Chechen men who were unlawfully detained and tortured, in the North Caucasus region, between September 2004 and February 2005 before being convicted of terrorism related charges. See Human Rights Committee, Taysumov et al. v. Russia,

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OHCHR & Human Rights Committee Address Derogations During COVID-19

The United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have published new guidance on derogations from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in light of reports indicating that States have or are considering implementing emergency measures in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. [OHCHR Press Release] While some States

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ACHPR Publishes Special Mechanism Rules Ahead of New Rules of Procedure

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has published new rules that partially clarify and formalize the work of the individuals and groups appointed to monitor and protect specific human rights and vulnerable groups on the Commission’s behalf. See ACommHPR, Standard Operating Procedures on the Special Mechanisms of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (2020). The

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Sri Lanka Pardons War Criminal, Rejects Human Rights Council Commitments

Efforts to secure accountability for the atrocities of Sri Lanka’s civil war faced another setback in March 2020 when Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa pardoned one of very few individuals convicted of committing atrocities during the conflict. [OHCHR Press Release: Pardon] President Rajapaksa, himself an accused war criminal, ordered the immediate release of former army Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake, convicted in

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Human Rights Bodies: Schedule & Procedural Changes amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Universal and regional human rights oversight bodies have postponed or cancelled their upcoming sessions and suspended some procedural deadlines as a result of the developing COVID-19 pandemic, while striving to maintain other activities. Beginning in mid-March 2020, almost all human rights bodies have suspended their meetings and travel through at least April, with the European Court of Human Rights extending

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Expert Calls for Greater Accountability for Sexual Abuse by UN Personnel

The latest report by the United Nations Victims’ Rights Advocate (VRA) reviews the progress made in 2019 to address sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel, and calls on the international community to dedicate additional resources to supporting and protecting victims and ensuring accountability. [UN News] Jane Connors, the first-ever UN Victims’ Rights Advocate is responsible for strengthening the

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