human rights council

 

  • Burundi: la situation des droits humains continue de s'aggraver avant les élections de 2020

    Conseil des droits de l'homme de l'ONU - 42ème session
    Dialogue interactif avec la Commission d'enquête des Nations Unies sur le Burundi

    CIVICUS et les organisations indépendantes de la société civile burundaise se félicitent de l'important travail de la Commission d'enquête des Nations Unies sur le Burundi, et en particulier de ce rapport qui fournit un aperçu critique de la situation des droits humains dans le pays.

    Comme l'indique clairement le rapport, la situation des droits de l'homme au Burundi reste désastreuse et continue de se dégrader. Il est essentiel d'assurer une surveillance et une communication continues de l'information. L'espace civique au Burundi est fermé, et des voix indépendantes et critiques, notamment celles des organisations de la société civile et des défenseurs des droits humains, y sont particulièrement ciblées. Nous demeurons profondément préoccupés par le fait que la condamnation du défenseur des droits humains Germain Rukuki a été confirmée par la Cour d'appel en juillet 2019.

    Des élections sont prévues au Burundi en 2020. La fragilité du contexte pré-électoral et la montée des tensions politiques risquent de donner lieu à de nouvelles violations des droits humains. Nous sommes particulièrement alarmés par l'intolérance politique de la section jeunesse "Imbonerakure" du parti au pouvoir face aux membres de l'opposition. Les bureaux des partis politiques d'opposition ont été brûlés ou détruits et des membres de ces partis ont été détenus arbitrairement.

    Compte tenu de l'interdiction des médias internationaux et des restrictions injustifiées imposées aux médias privés indépendants au Burundi, il est impératif que les violations des droits humains soient documentées par la communauté internationale. Nous exhortons le Conseil à renouveler le mandat de la Commission afin d'assurer une surveillance et une documentation continues de la situation des droits humains au Burundi, en particulier avant les élections de 2020, car l'espace civique et démocratique limité du pays entrave les sources d'information indépendantes et critiques. Le renouvellement du mandat de la Commission montrerait clairement que l'obstructionnisme, l'indifférence et les menaces du gouvernement burundais contre l'ONU ne sont pas récompensés.

    Nous appelons le gouvernement du Burundi à coopérer pleinement et à permettre l'accès aux mécanismes du Conseil des droits de l'homme des Nations Unies, et nous demandons à la Commission d'Enquête de quel soutien supplémentaire elle a besoin de la part du Conseil des droits de l'homme afin de poursuivre et renforcer son travail.

     

  • Burundi: les disparitions et les arrestations continuent en amont des élections de mai

    Déclaration à la 43ème session de Conseil des droits de l'homme des Nations Unies durant le dialogue interactif avec la Comission d'enquête des Nations Unies sur le Burundi

    CIVICUS et les organisations indépendantes de la société civile burundaise saluent le travail important de la Commission d'enquête et remercient celle-ci pour son actualisation, malgré le refus persistant du gouvernement du Burundi d'accorder l'accès au pays.

    A quelques mois des élections générales prévues pour le mois de mai, la situation des droits humains et de la sécurité reste précaire. Les disparitions forcées et les détentions arbitraires d'opposants et d'autres voix dissidentes se poursuivent sans relâche. En janvier 2020, Jacques Nibigira, Gilbert Ndayishimiye, Eslon Nshinyabigoye et Juma ont été arrêtés par le service de renseignement burundais. On ignore toujours où ils se trouvent.  En octobre 2019, les journalistes Christine Kamikazi, Agnès Ndirubusa, Égide Harerimana et Térence ont été arbitrairement arrêtés alors qu'ils enquêtaient sur les activités des rebelles. Le défenseur des droits humains Germain Rukuki est toujours en prison et purge une peine de 32 ans de prison sous de fausses accusations de "rébellion".

    Le 16 janvier 2020, le journaliste Blaise Pascal Kararumiye a été arrêté et détenu au secret pendant cinq jours par le gouverneur de la province de Karuzi, puis libéré sans aucune charge. La liberté d'expression, l'accès à l'information et l'association restent limités au Burundi. Des membres d'autres partis politiques ont été violemment attaqués par la branche jeunesse du parti au pouvoir. Nous craignons que de telles attaques se poursuivent à l'approche des élections.

    Nous demandons au gouvernement du Burundi de coopérer pleinement et de permettre l'accès aux mécanismes du Conseil des droits de l'homme des Nations unies, y compris la Commission d'enquête ; et à tous les mécanismes des Nations unies sur la paix, la sécurité et les droits de l'homme de soutenir pleinement les travaux et les recommandations de la Commission. Nous appelons en outre le Conseil à tenir sérieusement compte de l'analyse des facteurs de risque effectuée par la Commission et à prendre des mesures pour prévenir les atrocités et faire en sorte que le gouvernement du Burundi soit tenu responsable de ses violations des droits de l'homme.

    Nous demandons à la Commission si elle prévoit le déploiement d'une mission d'observation avant, pendant et après les prochaines élections afin que les violations des droits de l'homme liées aux élections puissent être signalées en temps utile pour contribuer à prévenir l'escalade de la violence électorale.

     

     

  • Burundi: Political activists arrested earlier this month and journalists remain in prison since 2019

    Statement at the 45th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

    Interactive Dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

     


    CIVICUS and independent Burundian civil society organisations welcome the important work of the Commission of Inquiry, and thank the Commission for its report. 

    We welcome that President Ndayishimiye has invited more than 300,000 refugees to return to Burundi, having previously been forced to flee the country. But despite remarks by President Ndayishimiye during his inauguration speech promising accountability and a more transparent approach to tackling human rights violations, the police, the National Intelligence Service, and members of the armed wing of the ruling CNDD-FDD party – the Imbonerakure – continue to harass and intimidate human rights defenders and activists. Several members of the new government are subject to international individual sanctions for their alleged responsibility in human rights violations in Burundi since 2015. We call for thorough and impartial investigations to end impunity.

    Last week, two former military officers, Pontien Baritonda and Prime Niyongabo, were arrested by the NSI. They remain in detention without charge. 29 political activists were arrested earlier this month. Journalists Christine Kamikazi, Agnès Ndirubusa, Égide Harerimana and Térence, of Iwacu media group, remain in prison for investigating rebel activities in October 2019.

    We call on the government to unconditionally release all politically motivated detainees including activists, human rights defenders and journalists and to carry out credible investigations into attacks against them. We further call on the government to lift bans on broadcasting outlets, end the use of internet disruptions to control the flow of information, and review repressive legislation.

    The political transition in Burundi presents an opportunity to reset Burundi’s relationship with the UN human rights system. We ask the commission to elaborate on opportunities for renewed engagement with the government for the implementation of its findings and recommendations, particularly towards accountability.

     With real opportunities for meaningful human rights progress in Burundi, we further call on the Council to renew this vital mandate at this critical time.


    Civic space in Burundi is rated as Closed by the CIVICUS Monitor

     

  • Burundi: Progress since 2020 elections, but rights abuses persist

    Statement at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council 
    Delivered by Cyriaque Nibitegeka

    CIVICUS and independent Burundian civil society organisations welcome the important work of the Commission of Inquiry and thank the Commission for its update. 

    We welcome the Presidential pardon of four journalists of Iwacu media group, who were prosecuted for investigating rebel activities in the country in October 2019. We also welcome the return of about 3,000 refugees from Rwanda, having previously been forced to flee the country. 

    But serious human rights violations and abuses have continued since the 2020 elections, often with a view to deprive the main opposition party of opportunities to re-organise. These are mainly committed by members of the Imbonerakure youth league of the ruling party and by local officials who continue to enjoy nearly total impunity, often with participation from or tacit support of security officers.

    Several recent returnees are reported missing, and the extrajudicial killings, arrests and arbitrary detentions of opposition members are far from ending. In February alone, there were at least 17 cases of extrajudicial execution, 170 cases of arbitrary detention and five cases of torture. Germain Rukuki, a human rights activist sentenced to 32 years in prison in April 2018, remains deprived of his liberty.

    We call on the government to unconditionally release all politically motivated detainees including activists and human rights defenders.

    The new administration in Burundi still has an opportunity to reset Burundi’s relationship with UN human rights mechanisms. We ask the commission to elaborate on opportunities for renewed engagement with the government for the implementation of its findings and recommendations, particularly towards accountability and long-term reform. 


    Civic space in Burundi is rated as Closed by the CIVICUS Monitor

     

  • Cambodia: the Council must address human rights and political crisis

    Statement at 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

    Item 10: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Cambodia

    Delivered by Lisa Majumdar

    Thank you, Madame President, and thank you Special Rapporteur. The shrinking civic space and political monopolisation raised in the report has entrenched Cambodia into a de facto one-party state.

    Repressive laws are routinely misused to restrict civic freedoms, undermine and weaken civil society, and criminalize individuals for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly. Human rights defenders, trade unionists, youth activists and journalists and other critical voices are routinely subject to judicial harassment and increasing online surveillance. Environmental activists from Mother Nature Cambodia, along with political activists, have been particularly targeted. Highly politicized courts mean that those arbitrarily detained and charged are often held for prolonged periods in pre-trial detention and have no chance of getting a fair trial.

    These concerns have escalated over the past two years. The COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s repressive response have exacerbated restrictions on fundamental freedoms.

    The main opposition party was dissolved in 2017 and its politicians remain barred from politics. Communal and national elections, set for 2022 and 2023 respectively, are likely to take place under a political climate severely unconducive to being free or fair.

    The fragile veneer of democracy engendered by the Paris Peace Accords has disintegrated past the point of no return in recent years. Those calling for human rights on the ground can no longer afford for the Council to treat the situation as business-as-usual. The Council must take meaningful action now to address the ongoing human rights and political crisis in Cambodia.

    Special Rapporteur, given that the Cambodian government has indicated no political will towards democratic or human rights reform, what action must the Council and member states take to protect civic space and contribute to concrete human rights progress on the ground?

    We thank you.


    Civic space in Cambodia is rated as "repressed" by the CIVICUS Monitor

     

  • Cambodia's attempts to silence dissent are racheting up

    Joint statement at the 45th Session of the UN Human Rights Council -- CIVICUS and the Cambodian Center for Human Rights


    The Royal Government of Cambodia’s attempts to silence dissent in the country - by criminalising political opposition, shutting down media outlets, jailing journalists, and targeting human rights defenders and civil society groups who speak out – is ratcheting up. Twenty activists, artists and human rights defenders have been imprisoned since July. CIVICUS and our member organization CCHR are alarmed by this sharp deterioration of human rights, which at the moment shows no sign of abating.

    The arrest of union leader Rong Chhun in July precipitated the arrest of 13 further people for calling for the release of political prisoners. In addition, recent weeks have seen environmental activists, rappers, and even a Buddhist monk detained simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression. One youth activist was arrested after leaving the OHCHR offices in Phnom Penh, where she had sought protection from fear of arrest.

    Prominent rights groups have been targeted by authorities for their work and this year alone, at least fifteen journalists have been summoned or arrested by police and judicial authorities as a result of their reporting.

    Repressive laws are used to curtail civic freedoms. Most recently, in April 2020, the Royal Government of Cambodia used the COVID-19 crisis to adopt a draconian state of emergency law that provides the authorities with broad and unfettered powers to restrict fundamental freedoms. A heavily criticized draft law on public order and a highly concerning draft sub-decree establishing a national internet gateway loom, brimming with potential to facilitate further human rights violations.

    We question the Special Rapporteur’s suggestion that the Cambodian authorities have displayed "increased awareness of international human rights norms and standards" during her tenure as Special Rapporteur.

    During this period, a systematic crackdown on political opponents, labour activists, independent media, civil society organizations and human rights defenders has transformed Cambodia’s human rights situation for the worse. Such severe, and ongoing, crackdown on all forms of dissent and curtailment of civic space should be clearly condemned.

    It is increasingly clear that that the mandate is not sufficient to adequately address the current situation, nor to protect human rights defenders and civil society members in Cambodia who increasingly risk arbitrary detention, physical attacks and threats.

    An escalation in human rights violations merits a similar escalation in Council action, and we call for the Council to take such action before Cambodia’s hard-fought democratic freedoms are lost completely.


    Civic space in Cambodia rated as Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor

     

  • Cambodian civil society needs international support

    42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
    Joint statement during interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Cambodia

    CIVICUS and the Cambodian Center for Human Rights welcome the Special Rapporteur’s report. We are alarmed that the situation of civic space in the country is worsening, with individuals and organisations attacked for raising human rights abuses, while Cambodians face ever-decreasing levels of freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

    In July this year, authorities detained two youth activists, Kong Raya and Soung Neakpoan, who participated in a commemoration ceremony on the third anniversary of the murder of prominent political commentator Kem Ley in Phnom Penh. Other peaceful protests have been blocked or restricted. In recent weeks, two local human rights organizations – LICADHO and Samakum Teang Tnaut STT – were called in for questioning by the government after releasing a report on the human rights impact of micro-finance loans; the director of a third CSO – Transparency International Cambodia – was also called in for separate comments he made in a newspaper.

    We echo the Special Rapporteur’s comments that ‘judicial institutions are themselves key to ensuring accountability in society’. Given this, we are dismayed that such institutions continue to be used by the government to silence human rights defenders and others who dissent. Such lack of justice at the national level calls for heightened international scrutiny.

    The dissolution of the main opposition party in 2018 has effectively transformed the country into a one-party state and undermines democratic space. At least 150 opposition activists have been detained or otherwise judicially harassed since 2018, six in the last week alone.

    As highlighted by the Special Rapporteur, Cambodia’s press freedom indices continues to fall. Independent media outlets perceived as critical towards the government were subject to a severe crackdown in 2017 and 2018 through threats and sanctions including shutdowns, and the environment for independent media remains fraught with danger. Two RFA journalists, Yeang Sothearin and Uon Chhin, face up to 16 years in prison for baseless espionage charges. Their verdict is pending.

    Cambodia participated in the third cycle of the UPR process earlier this year, committing to various human rights reforms. During its review, CSOs highlighted that this should be the first step towards improving the deteriorating human rights situation. Developments on the ground since these commitments were made does not bode well for their fulfillment.

    With independent media all but quashed and civic space under threat, international scrutiny is all the more urgent. At a minimum, the mandate of the special rapporteur must be renewed. But to see real change in Cambodia, the situation merits enhanced monitoring and reporting from the High Commissioner of Human Rights, to outline benchmarks the government must meet to comply with its international human rights obligations.

    Cambodian civil society deserves, and needs, international support. We ask the Special Rapporteur where the international community, including the Council, can exert pressure in order to ensure a substantive improvement of civic space, and whether she sees any avenue for Cambodia’s human rights record to improve substantively, given its current political framework.

    We also use this opportunity to call on the Human Rights Council to pass by consensus the resolution on Cambodia tabled during this Session.

     

     

  • Cameroun : L'action de l'ONU est nécessaire pour faire face à la crise des droits humains

    Lettre conjointe

    Aux Représentants permanents des États Membres et Observateurs du Conseil des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies (Genève, Suisse)

    Une action multilatérale robuste est nécessaire pour répondre à la crise au Cameroun


    Madame, Monsieur le Représentant permanent,

    Nous soussignées, organisations de la société civile, sommes gravement préoccupées par les viola-tions graves et persistantes des droits humains au Cameroun. Alors que le Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU (ci-après « CDH » ou « Conseil ») s’apprête à tenir sa 47ème session, du 21 juin au 15 juillet 2021, nous exhortons votre délégation à soutenir une action multilatérale en réponse à la crise des droits humains dans le pays, sous la forme d’une intervention orale conjointe. Cette intervention devrait comporter des indicateurs de progrès qui, s’ils étaient remplis, constitue-raient pour le Cameroun un chemin vers l’amélioration de sa situation. Si, à l’inverse, ces indica-teurs restaient lettre morte, l’intervention orale conjointe ouvrirait alors la voie à une action plus formelle du Conseil, notamment (mais pas nécessairement uniquement) une résolution instituant un mécanisme d’enquête et de redevabilité.

    Au cours des quatre dernières années, les organisations de la société civile ont appelé le Gouvernement du Cameroun, les groupes séparatistes armés et les autres acteurs non étatiques impliqués à mettre un terme aux violations et atteintes aux droits humains1. Compte tenu de l’incapacité des institutions came-rounaises à garantir la justice et la redevabilité, la société civile a également appelé les organes et méca-nismes africains et internationaux de protection des droits humains à enquêter, surveiller et faire rapport publiquement sur la situation au Cameroun.

    Un niveau élevé d’attention au Cameroun, d’un côté, et, de l’autre, dialogue et coopération, ne s’exclu-ent pas mutuellement. Au contraire, ils sont de nature à se renforcer. Ils visent le même objectif : aider le Gouvernement camerounais à mettre fin aux violations, à garantir la justice et la reddition des comp-tes et à remplir ses obligations en termes de droits humains. À cet égard, l’établissement d’une coopé-ration entre le Bureau de la Haute-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme (HCDH) et le Gouvernement du Cameroun, à la suite de la visite à Yaoundé de la Haute-Commissaire, Michelle Bachelet, en mai 20192, et s’appuyant sur les capacités du bureau régional du HCDH pour l’Afrique centrale (CARO)3, est un pas en avant.

    Toutefois, depuis qu’un groupe de 39 États a co-signé une intervention orale conjointe lors de la 40ème session du CDH (mars 2019) et en dépit de la visite de la Haute-Commissaire, de la tenue d’un dialogue national et de la présence du HCDH dans le pays, les violations se sont poursuivies. Certaines d’entre elles, commises par les forces gouvernementales et des groupes armés non étatiques, pourraient être constitutives de crimes de droit international. L’impunité demeure la norme.

    Dans les régions anglophones du Nord-Ouest et du Sud-Ouest, les atteintes perpétrées par les sépara-tistes armés et les forces gouvernementales continuent de causer des pertes en vies humaines et d’af-fecter la sécurité, les droits et les moyens de subsistance des habitants. Les griefs ayant donné naissance à la « crise anglophone » demeurent intacts4. Dans l’Extrême Nord, le groupe armé Boko Haram conti-

    nue à commettre des violations à l’encontre de la population civile. Par leur réponse aux menaces sécu-ritaires, les forces de sécurité ont également commis de graves violations des droits humains. Dans le reste du pays, les autorités camerounaises ont intensifié leur répression des membres et soutiens de l’opposition politique, des manifestants, des professionnels des médias et des acteurs de la société civile, notamment via des actes de harcèlement, des menaces, des arrestations arbitraires et des détenions.

    Le Cameroun fait partie des crises des droits humains face auxquelles le Conseil des droits de l’homme a échoué à formuler une réponse appropriée. L’inaction d’autres organes (notamment l’Union africaine (UA) et le Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies), rend d’autant plus indispensable l’envoi par le CDH d’un message clair, qui élève son niveau de surveillance et d’engagement.

    Nous pensons qu’une action multilatérale plus robuste est nécessaire. Lors de la 47ème session du Conseil, nous exhortons les États Membres et Observateurs à soutenir, au minimum, une inter-vention orale conjointe. Cette intervention devrait indiquer clairement que si le Cameroun échouait à prendre des mesures concrètes pour enquêter sur les violations des droits humains, garantir la reddition des comptes et améliorer sa situation des droits humains, une action plus formelle du Conseil s’ensuivrait sous la forme d’une résolution instituant un mécanisme d’en-quête et de redevabilité.

    Une intervention orale conjointe devrait :

    • Répondre aux violations et atteintes commises à la fois par les forces gouvernementales et par les groupes armés non étatiques dans le Nord-Ouest, le Sud-Ouest, l’Extrême Nord et d’autres régions du Cameroun, et exhorter toutes les parties à mettre un terme immédiat à ces violations et atteintes ;
    • Rappeler au Gouvernement camerounais sa responsabilité primaire de protéger sa population des crimes et autres violations des droits humains ;
    • Exhorter le Gouvernement camerounais, en coopération avec le HCDH et les organisations came-rounaises de défense des droits humains, à mettre au point et à appliquer une feuille de route pour les réformes en matière de droits humains et la redevabilité, dans le but de prévenir des violations supplémentaires et de garantir la reddition des comptes, ceci dans le cadre d’un effort global de règlement de la crise que traverse le pays, en particulier dans les régions du Nord-Ouest et du Sud-Ouest, ainsi que le conflit armé dans la région de l’Extrême Nord ;
    • Au surplus, l’intervention conjointe devrait définir des indicateurs de progrès devant être remplis par le Gouvernement du Cameroun afin de démontrer la réalité de tout progrès en termes de droits humains, y compris en :
      • mettant un terme immédiat aux violations commises à l’encontre des membres et des soutiens de l’op-position, des professionnels et organes des médias, des manifestants et des membres de la société civile, notamment avocats, responsables syndicaux, professeurs et défenseurs et organisations des droits hu-mains ;
      • libérant les prisonniers de conscience ;
      • respectant pleinement les droits humains de tous les citoyens camerounais, notamment leurs droit à la liberté d’opinion et d’expression, de réunion pacifique et d’association, ainsi que leur droit à la vie, à la liberté et à la sûreté ;
      • coopérant pleinement avec le HCDH, y compris en lui permettant un accès sans entrave aux régions du Nord-Ouest et du Sud-Ouest, afin qu’il y conduise des enquêtes et un travail de surveillance de la situation et de rédaction de rapports publics ;
      • coopérant pleinement avec le Conseil et ses mécanismes, conformément aux obligations du Cameroun en tant que Membre du Conseil, y compris en permettant aux titulaires de mandats de procédures spé-ciales d’accéder au pays ;
      • fournissant un accès plein et sans entrave aux organisations et aux travailleurs humanitaires et de pro-tection des droits humains – ceci inclut la restauration de l’accès au pays pour les organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) internationales afin qu’elles puissent faire rapport sur la situation des droits humains dans le pays ; et
      • coopérant avec les organes et mécanismes régionaux, y compris la Commission africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples (CADHP)5.
    • Encourager la Haute-Commissaire aux droits de l’homme à rendre publiques les conclusions des enquêtes menées en 2019 par le HCDH dans les régions anglophones et à fournir des mises à jour régulières au Conseil, notamment en tenant des briefings ou des conversations informelles avec les Membres et Observateurs, entre les sessions. Ces mises à jour devraient inclure des informa-tions sur son dialogue avec les autorités camerounaises, la situation dans le pays et le travail du HCDH dans le pays ;
    • Encourager les États à augmenter leurs contributions volontaires en faveur des activités du HCDH, notamment pour le travail du bureau régional du HCDH pour l’Afrique centrale au Cameroun et en Afrique centrale ; et
    • Indiquer clairement que si le Cameroun échouait à prendre des mesures concrètes pour améliorer sa situation et démontrer des progrès en termes de droits humains d’ici à la 48ème session du Conseil (13 septembre-1er octobre 2021), une action plus formelle du Conseil s’ensuivrait, sous un point de l’ordre du jour approprié.

    Nous vous remercions de l’attention que vous porterez à ces préoccupations et nous tenons prêts à fournir à votre délégation toute information supplémentaire.

    Dans l’attente, nous vous prions de croire, Madame, Monsieur le Représentant permanent, en l’assu-rance de notre haute considération.


    1. Africa Call – South Sudan
    2. AfricanDefenders (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network)
    3. Amnesty International
    4. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
    5. CDDH – Benin
    6. Center for Human Rights Defenders Zimbabwe (CHRDZ)
    7. CIVICUS 8. Club Humanitaire sans Frontières (CHF)
    9. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    10. Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) – South Sudan
    11. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
    12. Defenders Coalition – Kenya
    13. Dialogue and Research Institute (DRI) – South Sudan
    14. Dignity Association – Sierra Leone
    15. Economic Justice Network Sierra Leone
    16. Franciscans International
    17. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
    18. HAKI Africa
    19. HRDSNET Uganda Ltd – Human Rights Defenders Solidarity Network
    20. Human Rights Defenders Network – Sierra Leone
    21. Human Rights Watch
    22. Initiative for Plataforma das Organizações Lusófonas dos Direitos Humanos (POLDH)
    23. International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
    24. International Refugee Rights Initiative
    25. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
    26. Kenya Human Rights Commission
    27. National Alliance of Women Lawyers (NAWL) – South Sudan
    28. Network of the Independent Commission for Human rights in North Africa
    29. Nouvelle Génération de la Cinématographie Guinéenne (NOGECIG)
    30. Oasis Network for Community Transformation
    31. Pan African Lawyers Union
    32. Partnership for Justice, Lagos – Nigeria
    33. Protection International – Kenya (PIK)
    34. Raise The Young Foundation
    35. REDRESS
    36. Réseau des Organisations de la Société Civile pour l’Observation et le Suivi des Élections en Guinée (ROSE)
    37. Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN)
    38. South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network (SSHRDN)
    39. Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC)
    40. The Independent Medico-Legal Unit
    41. Togolese Human Rights Defenders Coalition / Coalition Togolaise des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (CTDDH)
    42. Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC)
    43. West African Human Rights Defenders Network / Réseau Ouest Africain des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (ROADDH/WAHRDN)
    44. Watch Democracy Grow
    45. Women’s Centre for Guidance and Legal Awareness (WCGLA) – Egypt

    62. 17 organisations supplémentaires se joignent à cette lettre, portant le nombre total de signataires à 62. En raison du contexte sécuritaire auquel elles font face, leur nom demeure confidentiel.

    L'espace civique au Cameroun est classé comme Réprimé par CIVICUS Monitor.

     

  • Civic space and fundamental freedoms in Zimbabwe

    Joint Statement at the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council

    CIVICUS and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) welcome the High Commissioner’s update. With a continued focus on prevention, we request the High Commissioner and the Council to pay attention to the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe. The government has continued with its crackdown on civil society in violation of fundamental rights and freedoms.

    The state’s attacks on civil society have been systematic. Since the January 2019 shutdown atrocities where more than 17 people were shot dead and several injured, civil society members across the country have reported an increase in surveillance, abductions, arbitrary arrests and detention and interruption of their meetings by suspected state agents. Their legitimate and vital work of providing oversight, supporting and protecting vulnerable citizens, is now criminalised.

    The nation is currently gripped with a crippling economic situation which is creating a restless population. The response of the government by closing civic space and trampling on fundamental freedoms is deplorable.

    In the same period, Zimbabwe’s state-controlled media has led an onslaught against civil society leaders whom they accuse of planning to topple the government. These baseless allegations have been followed by a spate of arrests of civil society activists.  A total of eleven civil society leaders are currently facing charges designed to criminalise human rights work.

    CIVICUS and the Forum request the members of the Council to pay special attention to the situation in Zimbabwe, to read the warning signs of a deteriorating situation and act accordingly.


    Civic space in Zimbabwe is rated as Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor

     

  • Civic Space Initiative statement on public participation guidelines

    39th Session of the Human Rights Council
    General Debate

    Civic Space Initiative, including Article 19, CIVICUS, European Center for Not-for-profit Law, International Center for Not-for-profit Law and World Movement for Democracy, welcomes the draft guidelines on effective implementation of the right to participate in public affairs prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

    We emphasise the critical importance of equal and meaningful participation in the realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as already laid out in Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Equally, we recognise the centrality of participation in building democratic societies, social inclusion, gender equality and in advancing economic development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

    We welcome the transparent, open, and inclusive manner in which the OHCHR developed the draft guidelines, including consultations our organizations participated in all parts of the world.

    We underscore allpractical recommendations at national and international level which will help UN member States to create an environment necessary for the public to have their say. We highlight in particular the rightof access to information and States’ obligations to encourage and support civil society to do its work and refrain from any harassment and reprisal of rights-holders.

    Therefore, we strongly encourage the Council to endorsethe guidelines on effective implementation of the right to participate in public affairs, and call on all UN Member States, local authorities, relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, funds and programmes to promote the use and implementation of the guidelines within their work and public outreach.    

    We look forward to working with OHCHR, as well as States at the international and national level to enhance the right to public participation.

     

  • CIVICUS Addresses the New UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

    39th Session of the Human Rights Council  
    Opening Statement to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
     

    High Commissioner Bachelet, CIVICUS warmly welcomes you to the Council and congratulates your appointment as 7th UN High Commissioner. You take up this position at a time when human rights and the institutions to uphold them are under attack, and we look to you to be the voice of the thousands of human rights defenders working on the front lines, risking their lives on a daily basis. 

    We also welcome your call for new strategies and stronger tools for prevention, early intervention and also accountability so that the power of justice can deter and prevent even the worst violations and crimes. 

    The CIVICUS Monitor, a platform that tracks and rates civic space globally, has developed a Watch List of countries where on which individual activists and civil society organisations are experiencing a severe infringement of their civic freedoms as protected by international law, and urgent action is needed to reverse the trend. The Monitor  recently placed Bangladesh, Cameroon, the DRC, Guatemala, Maldives and Nicaragua on its Watch List

    These violations include brutal attacks by police on peaceful protests in Nicaragua and Bangladesh; the killing of 18 human rights defenders since January 2018 in Guatemala; flagrant disregard for the rule of law in Maldives ahead of elections scheduled this month; killing of protesters, targeted campaigns of harassment and arbitrary detention of activists and political opposition in the DRC; and the prosecution of human rights defenders and journalists on trumped-up charges in Cameroon amidst an escalating civil conflict and humanitarian crisis. 

    We call on you, High Commissioner and on all delegations to address these attacks and restrictions as a bellwether for further violations to come, and act now to reverse these worrying trends.

     

  • CIVICUS at Human Rights Council: Civil society helps fulfil human rights commitments

    35th session of the Human Rights Council
    Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and of association and the Special Rapporteur on the right to education
    7 June 2017

    Thank you Mr. President,

    CIVICUS welcomes the reports of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and of association and the Special Rapporteur on the right to education.  We again commend the former Special Rapporteur, Maina Kiai, for his steadfast support for civil society across the world. We also welcome the new Special Rapporteur, Annalisa Ciampi, and remain committed to supporting the mandate to undertake its essential work.

    The Special Rapporteur’s report on mapping the achievements of civil society articulates an unassailable case for why civil society should be seen as an ally, rather than an adversary. As expressed by the mandate holder, civil society has played a crucial role in shepherding and realizing scores of progressive values and rights. The report provides a wealth of examples of these achievements, including through pursuing accountability, supporting participation and empowerment, driving innovation and fostering sustainable development. We urge all states to explicitly acknowledge the integral role that civil society plays in ensuring that states can actualize their domestic and international human rights commitments.

    We further reiterate the recommendations raised by the Special Rapporteur in his report on the  United States. National and public security concerns must not be misused to suppress freedom of assembly. The continued use of excessive force by police departments across the United States against peaceful protesters requires a concerted and proactive federal response. We also regret that immigrant workers face the specter of official harassment and deportation for attempting to exercise their right to freedom of association, including joining labor unions. 

    In the United Kingdom, we remain equally concerned by recent reports that Prime Minister Theresa May is willing to forfeit human rights in the pursuit of countering terrorism. Such a wholesale forfeit of human rights undermines the United Kingdom’s international obligations as well as efforts to address the roots causes of terrorism.

    We urge all States to pledge their support to the Special Rapporteur including by providing all necessary informational and financial resources to discharge the mandate and to work closely with civil society.

    We thank you.

     

  • Civicus at Human Rights Council: Statement on global state of civil society

    35th session of the Human Rights Council
    General debate on High Commissioner´s oral update
    7 June 2017

    Thank you Mr. President,

    CIVICUS welcomes the High Commissioner’s oral update. We applaud the prominence given to civic space and we share his concern that civil society faces growing and debilitating threats.

    Yesterday, CIVICUS released its annual State of Civil Society report which explores the worrying backsliding on democratic norms across the world. The report underscores that The world is facing a democratic crisis through unprecedented restrictions on the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly which constitute a global emergency. 

    The report further highlights that around the world it is becoming increasingly dangerous to challenge power, and to do so risks reprisals. In several countries, right-wing populist and neo-fascist leaders have gained prominence by winning elections or commanding enough support to push their ideas into the mainstream. Their politics and worldview are fundamentally opposed to civil society seeking to promote human rights, social cohesion and progressive internationalism.

    This is happening even in countries where we believed the concepts of constitutional, participatory democracy had long been established. And while much of the world’s attention has lately focused on political shifts in the US and Europe, we see populist strongmen increasing their grip in countries such as India and the Philippines, as well as longstanding autocratic states such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Burundi, Saudi Arabia and others where independent civil society space has long been closed.

    However, Mr. President, Civil Society is also fighting back. 

    The last 6 months were marked by multiple forms of mass peaceful protests. Around the world, whenever new leaders have come to power on polarizing right-wing populist platforms, they have been met with major demonstrations by those taking a stance against them. The democracy of the street is alive and well.

    We call on all member and observer States of Council to understand, articulate and make clear to their governments that the realization of civil society rights is an essential part of the defense of democracy and a healthy society.

    We thank you

     

  • CIVICUS at the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

    The opening week of the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council will be dominated by the high level segment which will include approximately 99 high level speakers including top political leaders from UN member states as well as UN Secretary General, Mr Antonio Guterres, and the President of the General Assembly amongst others.
     
    To note is the oral update given by the High Commissioner for human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, on the 7th March which will address a number of pressing issues on the Councils agenda as well as bringing to light issues that are not being properly addressed by the Council and merit further attention.
     
    On the agenda this session of Interest to CIVICUS will be reports on the safety of journalists, the report on effectiveness and reform of the Human Rights Council, the report on Human Rights Defenders and People on the move by Michel Forst, SR for Human Rights Defenders. Also of note, the right to privacy and a number of country specific situations. CIVICUS will be following many discussions where civic space is touched upon and will continue to advocate for an enabling environment for civil society.

    Thursday, 1 March 14:00 - 15:00 (Room XXVII) | Human Rights & Citizenship in the Gulf Region | Organised by: SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, CIVICUS, International Federation for Human Rights, and
    Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme

    Across the Gulf Region, the relationship of citizenship and human rights has become a central issue. This event will examine how the authorities have increasingly sought to strip human rights defenders of their citizenship as a reprisal for their perceived political views and legitimate human rights work. See full invitation.

    PANELISTS: 

    • Tor Hodenfield, CIVICUS
    • Tara O'Grady, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights
    • Mohamed Sultan, Bahrain Center for Human Rights
    • Abdelbagi Jibril, Darfur Relief & Documentation Centre
    • Moderator: Asma Darwish, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights

    Friday, 2 March 11:30 - 13:00 (Room XXIV) | Ethiopia: The role of the international community in ending impunity and ensuring accountability for violations of fundamental rights | Organised by: Defend Defenders,Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, and CIVICUS

    The event will provide an opportunity to examine the state of civic space in Ethiopia and the setbacks in has suffered over the last decade. Civic space has become increasingly controlled and restricted as human rights defenders have faced threats, arrests, and detention while attempting to exercise their rights to assembly, association, and expression. This even will ook at these threats and trends. See full invitation.

    PANELISTS: 

    • Yared Hailiemariam, Director, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia
    • Tsedale Lemma, Editor-In-Chief, Addis Standard Magazine
    • Bayisa Wak-Woya, Director, Global Refugee & Migration Council 
    • Moderator: Hassan Shire, Executive Director, DefendDefenders

    Friday, 2 March 15:00-16:30 (Room XI) | Counterterrorism, Emergency Powers, and the Protection of Civic Space | Organised by: Article 19, ECNL, CIVICUS, ICNL, World Movement for Democracy, and International Federation for Human Rights

    The use of exceptional national security and emergency powers to combat terrorism has become increasingly common. The event will look at how counterterrorism measures and emergency powers have increasingly resulted in the restrictions of fundamental freedoms, including the rights to assembly, association and expression. See full invitation.

    PANELISTS: 

    • Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
    • Kerem Altiparmek, Ankara University, Faculty of Political Science
    • Yared Hailemariam, Director, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia
    • Lisa Oldring, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
    • Sonia Tanic, Representative to the UN, International Federation for Human Rights
    • Moderator: Nicholas Miller, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

     

  • CIVICUS at the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

    The opening week of the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council will commence with the high level segment which will include approximately 99 high level speakers including top political leaders from UN member states as well as UN Secretary General, Mr Antonio Guterres, and the President of the General Assembly amongst others.
     
    To note is the oral update given by the High Commissioner for human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, on the 7th March which will address a number of pressing issues on the Councils agenda as well as bringing to light issues that are not being properly addressed by the Council and merit further attention.
     
    Of interest to CIVICUS will be reports on the safety of journalists, the report on effectiveness and reform of the Human Rights Council, the report on Human Rights Defenders and People on the move by Michel Forst, SR for Human Rights Defenders. Also of note, the right to privacy and a number of country specific situations. CIVICUS will be following many discussions where civic space is touched upon and will continue to advocate for an enabling environment for civil society.

    Thursday, 1 March 14:00 - 15:00 (Room XXVII) | Human Rights & Citizenship in the Gulf Region | Organised by: SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, CIVICUS, International Federation for Human Rights, and Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme

    Across the Gulf Region, the relationship of citizenship and human rights has become a central issue. This event will examine how the authorities have increasingly sought to strip human rights defenders of their citizenship as a reprisal for their perceived political views and legitimate human rights work. See full invitation.

    PANELISTS: 

    • Tor Hodenfield, CIVICUS
    • Tara O'Grady, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights
    • Mohamed Sultan, Bahrain Center for Human Rights
    • Abdelbagi Jibril, Darfur Relief & Documentation Centre
    • Moderator: Asma Darwish, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights

    Friday, 2 March 11:30 - 13:00 (Room XXIV) | Ethiopia: The role of the international community in ending impunity and ensuring accountability for violations of fundamental rights | Organised by: Defend Defenders,Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, and CIVICUS

    The event will provide an opportunity to examine the state of civic space in Ethiopia and the setbacks in has suffered over the last decade. Civic space has become increasingly controlled and restricted as human rights defenders have faced threats, arrests, and detention while attempting to exercise their rights to assembly, association, and expression. This even will ook at these threats and trends. See full invitation.

    PANELISTS: 

    • Yared Hailiemariam, Director, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia
    • Tsedale Lemma, Editor-In-Chief, Addis Standard Magazine
    • Bayisa Wak-Woya, Director, Global Refugee & Migration Council 
    • Moderator: Hassan Shire, Executive Director, DefendDefenders

    Friday, 2 March 15:00-16:30 (Room XI) | Counterterrorism, Emergency Powers, and the Protection of Civic Space | Organised by: Article 19, ECNL, CIVICUS, ICNL, World Movement for Democracy, and International Federation for Human Rights

    The use of exceptional national security and emergency powers to combat terrorism has become increasingly common. The event will look at how counterterrorism measures and emergency powers have increasingly resulted in the restrictions of fundamental freedoms, including the rights to assembly, association and expression. See full invitation.

    PANELISTS: 

    • Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
    • Kerem Altiparmek, Ankara University, Faculty of Political Science
    • Yared Hailemariam, Director, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia
    • Lisa Oldring, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
    • Sonia Tanic, Representative to the UN, International Federation for Human Rights
    • Moderator: Nicholas Miller, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

    Thursday, 15 March 15:00-16:00 (Room XXII) | The Link Between the Deterioration of Human Rights in Egypt and the Massive Violations in the Gulf States | Gulf Center for Human Rights | International Federation for Human Rights | OMCT | International Service for Human Rights | CPJ | ALQST | CIVICUS | CPJ

    A look at the middle east governments' coordinated efforts to target human rights defenders and journalists across the region. See full invitation.

    PANELISTS:

    • Yahya Al-Assiri, Director of ALQST for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
    • Justin Shilad, Committee to Protect Journalists
    • Nardine Al-Nemr, Academic & Activists from Egypt
    • Sara Brandt, Advocacy & Campaigns Officer, CIVICUS

     

  • CIVICUS at the 38th Session of the Human Rights Council

    The 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council, from 18 June to 6 July 2018, will consider core civic space issues of freedom of association, assembly and expression. During this session, CIVICUS will be supporting advocacy missions on the grave human rights situations in Tanaznia, Ethiopia and Eritrea and Nicaragua, while also participating in reviews of citizen rights in Burundi, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the European Union. Additional areas to note:

    • The first week of the session will coincide with World Refugee Day (20 June)
    • Be the first session of the newly appointed Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly, Clement Voule
    • Process to renew and strengthen the Civic Space Resolution

    If you are in Geneva, please join us at the following events that CIVICUS is organising with partners:

    These events will be livestreamed on our CIVICUS Facebook Page and daily updates provided on Twitter.

     

  • CIVICUS at the 40th Human Rights Council

     

    The 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council will meet from 25 February to 22 March. While in session, CIVICUS will be presenting research and conducting advocacy activities related to UN Member States' records on protecting civil liberties. In particular, CIVICUS is organising a number of side events, issuing advocacy statements and supporting our members engage in official proceedings, where they can inform government and UN officials on the state of civicspace conditions in their countries. 

    Panel discussions CIVICUS will be co-organising:

    Friday, 1 March, 13:00-14:00 (Room XXVII) | The Role of Counter-Terrorism Laws in the Closing of Civic Space | Civic Space Initiative (Article 19, CIVICUS, ECNL, ICNL, World Movement for Democracy)

    This event will examine the misuse of counter-terrorism laws by States to target government critics and human rights defenders. The panel will look at how states are abusing security legislation to curtail civic freedoms. See full invitation. Speakers include:

    • Fionnuala Ni Aolain, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
    • Alexander Verkhovskiy, Director, SOVA Center
    • Melanie Strickland, community activist and member of the Stansted 15
    • Befekadu Hailu, Blogger and Human Rights Activist, EHRP/Addis Maleda 
    • Moderator: Nicholas Miller, Legal Advisor, ICNL

    Tuesday,  5 March, 13.00-14:00 (Room XXVII) | Escazú and Beyond: Strengthening the Global Normative Framework on Protecting Environmental Defenders | Article 19, Centre for Environmental Rights, CIVICUS, Defend Defenders, Frontline Defenders, Global Witness, Ground Work, Human Rights Watch,  International Land Coalition
     
    This side event will review State obligations for protecting the rights of environmental defenders and how the recently adopted Escazú Agreement can inform the work of the Human Rights Council. The panel will look at how the standards of the regional Escazú Agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean can support global efforts to end the widespread attacks against environmental and land rights activists. See full invitation (Espanol). Speakers include:

    • Leiria Vay, Comité de Desarrollo Campesino, CODECA Guatemala
    • Matome Kapa, Attorney, Centre for Environmental Rights, South Africa
    • Marcos Orellana, Director Human Rights and Environment Division, HRW
    • David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment
    • Moderator: Natalia Gomez, Advocacy & Network Engagement Officer, CIVICUS

    Other events that CIVICUS is cosponsoring at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council, include:

    • 5 March (10:00-11:00) | The case for international action on Bahrain | Room XV
    • 6 March (11:00-12:00) | Women Human Rights Defenders: Local Realities & Shared Global Challenges | Room XXI
    • 8 March (12:00-13:00) | East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project - Human Rights in South Sudan | Room XXVII

    CIVICUS will be live-streaming events through its Facebook page and posting updates on Twitter

     

  • CIVICUS at UN Human Rights Council: Human rights challenges in the context of countering terrorism

    37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
    Oral Statement – Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

    1 March 2018

    CIVICUS, on behalf of the Civic Space Initiative, welcomes the Special Rapporteur’s report on the human rights challenge of states of emergency in the context of countering terrorism.

    This Council has reaffirmed that the most effective means of countering terrorism is through the respect for human rights, including by addressing conditions conducive to terrorism such as a lack of respect for the rule of law, political exclusion, suppression of dissent.

    Worryingly, from the Maldives, to France, to Turkey, to Ethiopia, governments across the world are invoking states of emergency, with the effect, and in some cases the intent, of criminalising dissent and persecuting human rights defenders, protesters and civil society organisations. Rather than pursue legitimate national security objectives, these laws are applied to insulate governments from legitimate criticism. Such measures are contrary to international human rights law and are counter-productive to peace and security.

    We urge states to heed the Human Rights Committee’s guidance that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly should not be derogated, and we consider the same to be true for other rights essential to civil society.

    All national counter-terrorism laws must be brought into compliance with international human rights law, with the full and effective participation of civil society. We call on States that are currently under States of Emergency to ensure their independent review by the judiciary, and to end them where they are no longer justified by the exigencies of the situation.

    We ask the Special Rapporteur how the Human Rights Council can better support the UN Security Council in addressing the shrinking of civic space, to provide accountability for abuses of counter-terrorism measures against persons exercising their rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression.

     

  • CIVICUS Joint UN Universal Periodic Review submissions on civil society space

    Submissions on civil society space– Afghanistan, Chile, Eritrea, Macedonia, Vietnam & Yemen

    CIVICUS and its partners have submitted joint UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on six countries in advance of the 32nd UPR session in January 2019. The submissions examine the state of civil society in each country, including the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression and the environment for human rights defenders. We further provide an assessment of the States’ domestic implementation of civic space recommendations received during the 2nd UPR cycle over 4 years ago and provide a number of targeted follow-up recommendations.  

    Afghanistan: CIVICUS, Afghanistan Human Rights Organization (AHRO), Civil Society and Human Rights Network and People’s Action for Change Organization explore the continued insecurity in Afghanistan, which has resulted in the closure of space for civil society, including through targeted attacks on humanitarian workers, protesters and journalists. We further discuss violence against women and the desperate situation faced by women HRDs in Afghanistan who are subjected to a heightened level of persecution because of their gender and their human rights activism.

    Chile: CIVICUS and Pro Acceso Foundation (Fundación Pro Acceso) highlight serious concerns regarding the persistent misuse of the Anti-Terrorism Law to silence members of the Mapuche indigenous community advocating for land rights. We are also concerned by the lack of government commitment to amend legislation regulating the right to peaceful assembly and by the violent suppression of social protests, especially those led by the student movement and indigenous communities. 

    Eritrea: CIVICUS, EMDHR and Eritrea Focus highlight the complete closure of the space for civil society in Eritrea to assemble, associate and express themselves. We note that there are no independent civil society organisations and private media in the country. We further discuss how the government selectively engages with international human rights mechanisms including UN Special Procedures. 

    Macedonia: CIVICUS, the Balkan Civil Society Development Network and the Macedonian Centre for International Cooperation outline serious concerns over the institutional harassment of NGOs in receipt of foreign funding since 2016. Despite a recent improvement in respect for civic freedoms, the submission discusses several restrictions on investigative journalists and media outlets. We also remain alarmed over smear campaigns against human rights defenders and critics of the government orchestrated by nationalist groups. 

    Vietnam: CIVICUS, Civil Society Forum, Human Rights Foundation (HRF), VOICE and VOICE Vietnam examine systematic attempts in Vietnam to silence HRDs and bloggers, including through vague national security laws, physical attacks, restrictions on their freedom of movement and torture and ill-treatment in detention. The submission also explores strict controls on the media in law and in practice, online censorship and the brutal suppression of peaceful protests by the authorities.

    Yemen: CIVICUS, Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Front Line Defenders discuss the ongoing extreme violence against and HRDs and journalists including regular abductions, kidnappings and detention in undisclosed location. We further examine restrictions on freedom of association including raids on CSOs causing many to reduce their activities drastically and even closed entirely. 

    See full library of previous UPR country submissions from CIVICUS and partners. For the latest news on civic space in all UN Member States, see country pages on the CIVICUS Monitor

     

  • CIVICUS UN Universal Periodic Review submissions on civil society space

    CIVICUS and its partners have submitted joint and stand-alone UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on 9 countries in advance of the 28th UPR session (November 2017). The submissions examine the state of civil society in each country, including the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression and the environment for human rights defenders. We further provide an assessment of the States’ domestic implementation of civic space recommendations received during the 2nd UPR cycle over 4 years ago and provide a number of targeted follow-up recommendations.  

    Countries examined: Benin, Gabon, Guatemala, Pakistan, Peru, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and Zambia.