Last week the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association presented his report to the Third Committee of the General Assembly urging states and private sector to respect the exercise of human rights of those mobilising peacefully to address the climate crisis.
On 23 September 2021, the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in Burundi presented its last report to the Human Rights Council. During his presentation, the president of the Commission M.Doudou Diène highlighted that the human rights situation in the country has seen no major structural improvement since the recent election of president Evariste Ndayishimiye, despite his promises to work toward the restoration of the rule of law. The Commission of Inquiry still reports cases of arbitrary detentions where tortures occur, as well as executions, enforced disappearances, abductions, harassments on people who denounced violations and a concerning number of people victims of armed attacks from local authorities and the Imbonerakure.
While the Commission commended the liberation of human rights defenders Germain Rukuki and Nestor Nibitanga, and of more than 5000 detainees, they considered those gestures to be symbolic. States, NHRIs and the Commission deplored the continued restrictions to democracy and the exploding corruption. M. Doudou Diène also stressed the inadequacy and the counter-productive nature of the measures adopted to strengthen the legal system as they contribute to reinforce the control of the judiciary by the executive.
Moreover, Burundi continues to exercise excessive control and surveillance over civil society and to demonize opponents and human rights defenders, labelling them as enemies of the States.
In a joint statement, ISHR and the Forum pour la Conscience et le Développement (FOCODE) shared their concerns about the denial by the government of several cases of enforced disappearances, hundreds of murders and also on the lack of distance between the newly nominated Burundian Independent National Commission on Human Rights and the government’s narrative about the human rights situation in the country, including that they have not been informed of enforced disappearances in 2020.
The statement also highlighted the situation of journalists, the restricted space for civil society, human rights defenders and opponents in the country who remain heavily harassed or put in jail, in some cases sentenced to life in-abstentia as it is currently the case for 12 defenders and forced to exile.
Today, UN member States elected members to the UN's top human rights body, the Human Rights Council, for the 2022-2024 term. 18 candidates ran for 18 seats, and all were elected, leaving civil society disappointed in a process that can hardly be called an election.
Mozambique has accepted 236 of the 266 recommendations received. While this highlights a slight progress since their last Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the human rights situation in the country still needs large structural improvements.
During the adoption of the outcome of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, Niger manifested its willingness to cooperate with human rights mechanisms by accepting almost all the recommendations. However, more efforts for an efficient implementation remain necessary.
Despite Sierra Leone's acceptance of recommendations aiming to improve civil society’s space, cases of reprisals against human rights defenders are still reported.
The DRC has noticeably improved the protection of human rights in the Kasaï region but progress remains slow and action is still needed towards transitional justice and the protection of defenders in this region.
Defender Zhang Haitao's wife addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 20 September, after more than 1240 days without information about her husband's status. He is serving 19 years on 'national security'-related charges, punishing him for exercising freedom of speech.
Human rights organisations* urge the immediate and unconditional release of Egyptian human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer, who completes today two years in arbitrary detention.
Human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia continue to face an increasing crackdown including arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, and medical and administrative neglect. The UN Human Rights Council must take action by establishing a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.
Ten organisations renew their call for the immediate and unconditional release of Egyptian human rights defender Abdulrahman Tarek as he receives Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Award
This week in an online event, 10 candidate States publicly spoke to an audience of around 200 people on their pledges as incoming Human Rights Council members for 2022 – 2024. They also faced questions on pressing human rights issues from both States and civil society organisations.
ISHR welcomes the Council’s historic consensus decision, led by the Africa Group, to adopt a resolution mandating an independent international expert mechanism to address systemic racism and to promote racial justice and equality for Africans and people of African descent. The adoption of this resolution is testament to the resilience, bravery and commitment of victims, their families, their representatives and anti-racism defenders globally.