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.
During its last review, Sierra Leone accepted 216 of the 274 recommendations it received. Among them, the revision of the 2019 law on sexual offences and the abolition of death penalty and the law on seditious defamation to allow more civic space were particularly commended by the parties.
While welcoming Sierra Leone’s acceptance of recommendations on human rights defenders’ protection, ISHR and the Human Rights Defenders Network expressed their concern on the ongoing criminalization of agribusiness group opponents. They notably mentioned two land rights defenders, Mohamed Ansumana and Mustapha, who got shot dead by security forces during protestations against SOCFIN Group palm oil plantations.
The statement calls on the country to:
- Make sure land workers and defenders are protected from State security force abuses,
- Refrain from adopting policies that will interfere with their financial autonomy and independence of action and,
- Implement a national law on the protection of human rights defenders in line with the UN Declaration on the Human Rights Defenders and the Model National Law on the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
A majority of States and civil society organisations also underscored that all the recommendations relating to feminine genital mutilation were only noted and not accepted. They underlined the contradiction this has with the acceptance and implementation of recommendations related to the improvement of the situation of girls and women and with recommendations on child protection and rights.
Finally, NGOs have been vocal on the slow progress of the general implementation of recommendations since the last Universal Periodic Review of Sierra Leone. The country demanded the assistance of the Council to carry out the implementation in the best way possible.
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.
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
Despite the Burundian government’s efforts, the human rights situation in the country remains a matter of concern. During the presentation of its report, the Commission of Inquiry underscored the necessity to take more significative actions to pave the way towards sociopolitical stabilization and democracy.
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.