News

08 Aug

The Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) eighth periodic report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was reviewed at its seventy-third session (1 – 19 July 2019). During its review the Committee urged the state to adopt a law on HRDs and to take measures to ensure the protection of fundamentals rights. Four key human rights defenders-related recommendations were addressed to the state.

19 Aug

The Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held its seventy-third session from 1 to 19 July 2019 in Geneva. CEDAW considered the fourth periodic report of Côte d'Ivoire on the elimination of discrimination against women. During this session, serious concerns about the protection of women human rights defenders were expressed.

25 Jul

In a country where dissent is repressed and human rights are criminalised, demanding the full enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms is a matter of life or death. 44 international and local NGOs strongly condemn the conviction against human rights defender Germain Rukuki upheld on appeal and call for his immediate and unconditional release​.

25 Jul

As Colombians march for peace on 26 July, we echo their call for a permanent end to the war, and for the government to protect social leaders building peace in their communities. We stand in solidarity with the millions who are struggling to build a just, complete and lasting peace, and who say #26deJulioElGrito.

12 Jul

Civil society organisations welcomed significant outcomes of the Human Rights Council's 41st session, including the extension of the SOGI mandate, adopting the first resolution on the Philippines and extending its scrutiny over Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Belarus and Ukraine. This session witnessed heightened scrutiny of Council members by shedding light on the situations in Saudi Arabia and China. It missed an opportunity, however, to ensure that human rights are not sidelined in Sudan. 

LGBTI rights | Factsheets on UN Special Procedures

10.12.2018
Rainbow flag photo credit: Common Wikimedia Ludovic Bertron

以中国LGBTI为主的特别程序工作资料,请点此.  For a Chinese version of the factsheets, please click here.

ISHR and ILGA have looked through the work of 39 UN Special Procedures over the last seven years to compile factsheets listing the references and recommendations made by these experts regarding LGBTI persons, sexual orientation, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression.

Focusing on the Special Procedures that have made the most regular and in-depth references to issues affecting LGBTI persons, the factsheets examine all thematic reports, reports arising from country visits, and communications sent to different States between January 2011 and November 2018. 

During this period, 34 Special Procedures have made SOGIESC references in a total of 125 country visits, 159 thematic reports and 122 communications. In 2018, every second report contained some reference to SOGIESC. Over the period of 2011-2018, the percentage of reports and Special Procedures mentioning LGBTI issues has steadily risen - in 2018, every second report made references to SOGIESC. Howver, the level of detail and analysis, as well as which mandates do or do not engage with SOGIESC issues regularly, show that there are still oppportunities for LGBTI defenders to strengthen this work.

In addition, since 2016, the Independent Expert on SOGI has played a vital role in adding to the amount and analytical depth of the SOGIESC references. So far, the mandate holders have conducted 4 country visits, made 38 communications and prepared 4 thematic reports exclusively centred on SOGIESC.

Explore our infographics and fact sheets below, and later this year we will also present a more detailed analysis of SOGIESC references, as well as suggestions for future improvements and LGBTI defenders’ engagement with this part of the UN system.

The experts on leprosy, albinism, mercenaries, environment, and right to food, have not yet included any references to LGBTI persons or issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.

Photo credit: Common Wikimedia Ludovic Bertron

Burundi | NGOs condemn 32 years prison sentence for Germain Rukuki

25.07.2019

Lire cet article en français.

On 17 July 2019, also the World Day for International Justice, the Burundian Court of Appeal of Ntahangwa deliberated on the case of the human rights defender Germain Rukuki, confirming his sentence delivered on first instance. The deliberation took place in a public hearing without Germain and his defence being notified. On 22 July, six days after the decision was issued, they were finally informed. 

Arrested at home two years ago on 13 July 2017 and detained since then, on 26 April 2018 Germain Rukuki was sentenced to 32 years in prison by the Ntahangwa High Court  on charges of “rebellion”, “breach of State security”, “participation in an insurrectional movement” and "attack on the Head of State". He appealed this sentence on 29 May 2018. In addition to the many other procedural irregularities that have affected the case, the appeal decision was eventually delivered more than 6 months after the legal deadline.

“It is with great disappointment that I learn of this very unfair and sad decision. The Court of Appeal did not consider my case with all the attention and caution it deserved, but instead decided to simply confirm the verdict of the trial court”, declares Germain Rukuki today. “This judicial conviction is nothing more than a political decision”. 

Despite the attention of the international community and the recognition of Germain’s commitment to human rights, the decision of the court to impose a harsh verdict on Germain Rukuki remains notable miscarriage of justice and the result of the unlawful criminalisation Germain has experienced since he was arrested because of his past activities as a human rights defender with the organisation ACAT-Burundi. His prosecution exposes the way in which he and other human rights defenders in Burundi are harassed and targeted through the criminal justice system simply for exercising their right to defend human rights. This is also an emblematic example of the continuous political determination of Burundian authorities to silence human rights defenders, or any source of dissidence, in Burundi.

“Germain's place is not in prison. He must be released, close to his family and friends. The legitimacy of his work in achieving social justice and protecting human rights must be recognised”, Germain’s relatives and friends share today.  

We, the undersigned non-governmental organisations, strongly condemn Germain’s unlawful conviction and call on Burundian authorities to:

  • Comply with international human rights standards, notably the right to a fair trial, to reverse and remedy this wrongful conviction by releasing Germain without further delay
  • Recognise the legitimacy of human rights work and stop criminalising human rights defenders in Burundi 

The support of the international community, the diplomatic representations in Burundi, the African Union and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as the African regional leaders in particular, remains crucial at this stage. 

We therefore urge the international community to:

  • Advocate for the release of Germain Rukuki
  • Communicate their support and solidarity with Germain Rukuki and his family 
  • Publicly condemn the policies of harassment, as well as arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defenders in Burundi.

For media inquiries, please contact ao@protectioninternational.org// +32 (0)2 609 44 09.  

 

Signatories: 

  1. AfricanDefenders
  2. Amnesty International
  3. Association Européenne pour la défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  4. Association Burundaise pour la Protection des Droits Humains et des Personnes Détenue (APRODH)
  5. Association des Journalistes Burundais en Exil (AJBE)
  6. Coalition burundaise des Défenseur·e·s de Droit Humains
  7. Coalition Burundaise pour la Cour Pénale Internationale (CB CPI)
  8. Collectif des Avocats pour la défensedes Victimes de Crimes de droit International commis au Burundi(CAVIB)
  9. Coalition de la Société Civile pour le Monitoring Electoral (COSOME)
  10. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
  11. Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations (CEHRO)
  12. Fédération internationale des ACAT (FIACAT) and the following ACAT (Action des chrétiens pour l’abolition de la torture):
  13. ACAT Burundi
  14. ACAT Bénin
  15. ACAT Congo (BZV)
  16. ACAT USA
  17. ACAT Suisse
  18. ACAT Allemagne
  19. ACAT République centrafricaine
  20. ACAT Belgique
  21. ACAT Espagne
  22. ACAT Luxembourg
  23. ACAT Madagascar
  24. ACAT Liberia
  25. ACAT Canada
  26. ACAT RDC
  27. ACAT Ghana
  28. ACAT France
  29. ACAT Italie
  30. Fédération Internationale pour les Droits humains (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  31. Forum Pour le Renforcement de la Societe Civile (FORSC)
  32. Front Line Defenders
  33. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  34. Ligue Burundaise des Droits de l'Homme Iteka
  35. Mouvement des femmes et filles pour la paix et la securite au Burundi (MFFPS)
  36. Mouvement Citoyen pour l'Avenir du Burundi (MCA Burundi)
  37. Observatoire de Lutte contre la Corruption et les Malversations Economiques (OLUCOME)
  38. Organisation mondiale contre la torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  39. Protection International
  40. Organisation pour la Transparence et la Gouvernance (OTRAG Burundi)
  41. Réseau des Citoyens Probes (RCP)
  42. SOS-Torture/Burundi
  43. Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN)
  44. Union Burundaise des Journalistes

 

Timeline of events in the case of Burundian human rights defender Germain Rukuki

2019

  • 17 July: the Court of Appeal of Ntahangwa deliberates on the case, confirming his sentence delivered on first instance. The deliberation takes place in a public hearing without Germain and his defence team being informed, something that was only done 6 days after on 22 July. 
  • 31 May: A quick hearing takes place at the Court of Appeal where the judges confirm some new competent judges, as well as the new deadline for the appeal decision (28 June). The lost file seems to have finally been found, without further details about its disappearance and recovery.
  • 27 March: The spokesperson for the Burundi Supreme Court tells local media that Germain’s judicial file has been misplaced during the restructuring of the Appeals Court of Bujumbura. The loss of the file comes in addition to other numerous procedural irregularities that had affected the case.

2018

  • 26 November: The appeal hearing takes place before the Bujumbura Court of Appeal. A 30 day window is given for the appeal decision to be delivered. It is not.
  • 5 July: Human Rights Subcommittee (DROI) of the European parliament calls for the immediate release of Germain during an urgency resolution on the human rights situation in Burundi.
  • 26 June: He applies for bail under medical and humanitarian grounds. To date no response has been given.
  • 18 June: Germain is transferred back to Ngozi prison although he remains in critical condition.
  • 11 June: Germain undergoes a surgical operation in Ngozi hospital after he fractures his ankle in prison.
  • 29 May: Germain appeals his conviction.
  • 16 May: Chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee (DROI) of the European parliament Pier Antonio Panzeri calls on authorities to release Germain. 
  • 8 May: High Representative Mogherini issues a statement on behalf of the EU specifically mentioning the case of Germain Rukuki against the background of the wider human rights concerns in the country.
  • 26 April: Germain is sentenced to 32 years in prison by the Ntahangwa High Court for “rebellion”, “threatening state security”, “attacking the authority of the state” and “participation in an insurrectionist movement”. Germain is acquitted on charges of “assassination” and “destruction of public and private buildings”. Neither Germain nor his lawyers are present when the verdict is read out in court. 
  • 3 April: Second hearing takes place before the Ntahangwa High Court. The prosecution fails to present concrete and convincing evidence at both trials.
  • 13 February: First hearing takes place before the Ntahangwa High Court. Three additional charges of “assassination”, “destruction of public and private buildings” and “participation in an insurrectionist movement” are added. 

 

2017 

  • 25 August: UN experts call for release of Burundi human rights defender Germain Rukuki. 
  • 21 August: The Court confirms his pre-trial detention.
  • 1 August: He is charged with ‘breaching the internal security of the State’ and ‘rebellion’ by the Court of First Instance of Ntahangwa in Burundi, on the grounds of his work with NGO ACAT-Burundi.
  • 26 July: Germain is transferred to the Ngozi prison.
  • 13 July: Germain Rukuki is arrested at home and brought to the National Intelligence Service (Service National de Renseignement - SNR) facilities. He is detained and interrogated without a lawyer present. 

 

Photo credit: Google/Protection International

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1984

ISHR commences work to develop an international Declaration on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders

1988

ISHR publishes first Human Rights Monitor, connecting human rights defenders on the ground with international human rights systems and developments

1993

ISHR facilitates global civil society engagement with the Second World Conference on Human Rights, which leads to the strengthening of women’s rights, the affirmation of universal rights, the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the establishment of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

1994

ISHR provides training, technical assistance and support to its 1000th human rights defender

1998

After 14 years of ISHR lobbying, advocacy and negotiation, the UN General Assembly adopts the landmark Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

2000

UN Secretary-General appoints Hina Jilani as inaugural UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, strengthening protection of human rights advocates at risk worldwide.

2004

ISHR leads a successful campaign for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

2005

ISHR co-founds and supports a range of international and regional human rights coalitions, including the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and the West African Human Rights Defenders Network

2006

ISHR contributes to the establishment and institution building of a new global peak body for human rights issues, the UN Human Rights Council

2007

ISHR leads and coordinates the development of the Yogyakarta Principles on sexual orientation and gender identity, strengthening legal recognition and protection of LGBT rights worldwide

2011

ISHR’s sustained advocacy on the issue of reprisals and intimidation faced by human rights defenders leads to adoption of landmark UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning and strengthening protections against reprisals

2012

Working with key NGO partners such as Amnesty International, ISHR leads civil society efforts to strengthen UN human rights treaty bodies, prevent their weakening and better connect their work with victims and human rights defenders on the ground

2013

Working with supportive states and NGOs, ISHR advocacy leads to adoption of historic Human Rights Council resolution calling on all States to review and amend national laws to respect and protect the work of human rights defenders