Joint Letter to Human Rights Council on resolution related to peaceful protests

Civil society organisations urge States to reject amendments to Human Rights Council resolution on “the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests” (HRC/31/L.21)

 

Statement at the Human Rights Council on Syria, Egypt and Bahrain

On Syria: CIVICUS sincerely hopes that the mediated peace talks will finally get off the ground and lead to results. However, we are concerned that between the 1st and 11th of March, the Syria Ceasefire Monitor reported over sixty violations, including mortar attacks, airstrikes, barrel bomb attacks, sniper attacks and other attacks on the civilian population that continue to result in the deaths of children and adult civilians. CIVICUS calls on all parties to abide by its provisions and refrain from attacks on the civilian population. We also urge the COI to investigate these ceasefire violations within the scope of its mandate. CIVICUS also repeats our call to the Syrian authorities to immediately release all unlawfully detained civilians, civil society activists, journalists, human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, to ensure the ‘tracking of missing victims of enforced disappearance and the independent ‘monitoring of places of detention’ as recommended by the COI in its current report.

 

Statement at Human Rights Council on excessive and lethal force against protesters

CIVICUS greatly welcomes the Council’s growing recognition of the crucial role civil society plays in facilitating the full realization of all human rights. In particular, we welcome the Council’s increased attention to the need to protect and promote the right to freedom of assembly to effectively engage with a range of stakeholder on pressing rights issues.

 

Statement to Human Rights Council on the systematic attacks against civil society around the world

High Commissioner, CIVICUS welcomes your annual report, very rich update this morning and your strong independent voice! We share your concern that a growing number of states are selectively adhering to their international human rights and humanitarian law obligations. We note, in particular, the introduction of a spate of national legislation undermining the rights to freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly and participation in public affairs.

 

Joint Statement at Human Rights Council on the Burundi Crisis

Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders 
Delivered by Pierre Claver Mbonimpa on behalf of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders, Protection International, and CIVICUS

On behalf of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, CIVICUS and Protection International I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak before this Council once again.

 

CIVICUS STATEMENT DURING THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT OF THE 31ST HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL SESSION

Thank you Mr. President, 

I warmly welcome this important opportunity to address the Council on shrinking space for civil society. My organization has worked for nearly two decades to strengthen citizen action and civil society throughout the world. However, despite the growing recognition of the importance of a vibrant, independent civil society sector, civil society activists and organisations are becoming the target of a concerted global campaign to restrict civic space. Those of us who monitor conditions for civil society show that, in 2015 alone, fundamental freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly were significantly violated in over 100 countries.

 

Annual High-Level Panel on the 2030 Agenda, human rights and the Right to Development

31st session of the Human Rights Council
Delivered by Renate Bloem

CIVICUS welcomes this timely high-level debate when we move from adoption to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 

Joint letter to the UN HRC: Address restrictions on freedom of assembly and civil society in Ethiopia

Jointlogos

A group of civil society organizations (CSOs) have written to the UN Human Rights Council (UN HRC) to express their concern over the Ethiopian Government’s grave restrictions on fundamental human rights, exemplified by the recent crackdown on largely peaceful protests in the Oromia region.

They call on the delegation of the 31st HRC session to make joint or individual statements reinforcing and building upon the concerns of these and other international bodies.

Read the letter here

 

 

Joint CIVICUS EHAHRDP Burundi UNHRC Oral Statement

CIVICUS and the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) welcome the holding of this Special Session and the Council’s effort to address the escalation of violence and gross violations of human rights in Burundi. 

 

Event (23 Nov): Working towards an enabling environment for the promotion and protection of the rights to water, land and food – Linking Global Advocacy with Local Action

When: November 23, 2015, 4 - 6pm, followed by a light reception

Where: Right Livelihood Award Geneva Office,Maison de la Paix, Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2E, 1202 Geneva

Organisers: The Right Livelihood Award, The World Future Council, CIVICUS, IBFAN

Register: RSVP before 20 November to 

“The dramatic increase in demand for natural resources has brought with it a plethora of concerns relating to the sustainability of economic growth and its impact on the climate, the environment, and, more generally, on human rights.” – Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, April 2015 report to the UN Human Rights Council

The event will consist of a panel discussion with Laureates of the “Alternative Nobel Prize" on the topic of a human rights based approach to indispensable natural resources.

 

Pakistan Announces New Policy for Foreign Aid Groups Amid Crackdown

Pakistan’s new policy to regulate the registration and operations of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) has been strongly condemned by civil society.

Issued on 1 October 2015, the new rules place substantial burdens on INGOs while subjecting them to debilitating bureaucratic controls including through excessive interference in their activities and limits on placement and retention of staff.

 

CIVICUS interventions during the 30th UN Human Rights Council Session

During the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, CIVICUS and its partners raised a number of pressing human rights concerns requiring the Council’s attention. The joint and individual oral statements, panel discussions and advocacy letters underscored a broad range of thematic and country specific violations gravely undermining fundamental civil society rights. CIVICUS further provided recommendations to create a safe and enabling operating environment for human rights defenders and ensure effective accountability for persistent human rights violations.

 

CIVICUS at the Human Rights Council: Statements on Cambodia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan

At the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, CIVICUS presented a number of statements about the operating environment for human rights defenders and civil society groups in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Sudan. In particular, CIVICUS provided insights and recommendations on the security and operating environment for civil society in each of these countries. To read the statements, please see below:

 

CIVICUS at the HRC: Joint Statement on Yemen

Amidst the war in Yemen, a group of civil society organisations are advocating for the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent, international mechanism to document violations committed by all parties of the armed conflict in Yemen.

 

CIVICUS at the HRC: Civil Society Joint Statement on Bahrain

As the government of Bahrain continues to curtail the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, a group of NGOs has written to the delegations of 18 member states at the UN Human Rights Council urging them to formally condone the human rights violations in Bahrain. In particular the NGOs are urgin g member states to endorse the position of Switzerland who has written a letter to Bahrain calling for reform.

 

CIVICUS at the HRC: Statement on civil society cooperation with the UN on human rights

At the 30th Session of the UN Human Rightc Council, CIVICUS urged UN Member States to devise a coordinated response to reprisals against human rights defenders and civil society organisations which range from threats, harassment, smear campaigns, fines, travel bans, the forced closure of organizations, politically motivated prosecutions, arbitrary imprisonment, torture and assassinations.

 

CIVICUS at the HRC: Comments on the Universal Periodic Review of Belarus

At the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, CIVICUS expressed its concern with the government of Belarus, which failed to adopt the recommendations made at its last Universal Periodic Review in 2011. Since then, the human rights conditions have deteriorated and the government deploys repressive practices such as arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, abductions and continued harassment of human rights defenders.

 

CIVICUS at the HRC: General Debate on Countries with Vulnerable Civil Society Sectors

At the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council, CIVICUS drew attention to a set of countries that regularly attack and undermine the rights of civil society. The key case studies were as follows:

 

CIVICUS UN Universal Period Review Submissions on Hungary, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania & Thailand

In advance of the 25th Session of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR), CIVICUS and its partners have made five submissions on the rights to freedom of assembly, association, expression and the environment for human rights defenders in Hungary, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Thailand. The submissions further provide a number of recommendations to the State under Review (SuR) to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society.

 

Enhancing the Effectiveness of the UN Universal Periodic Review: A Civil Society Perspective

In a new report released today, “Enhancing the effectiveness of the UN Universal Periodic Review: A civil society perspective,” CIVICUS examines the experiences of civil society groups from across the world in engaging with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The report, based on interviews with civil society leaders operating in diverse regions of the globe, provides a number of substantive recommendations to strengthen the UPR process to support the creation of a safe and enabling environment for civil society to promote and protect human rights.

 

Call on the UN Human Rights Council to Address the Deteriorating Human Rights Situation in Cambodia: Joint NGO Letter

Cambodia letter signatories

Geneva, 20 August 2015,

Re: Addressing the deteriorating human rights situation in Cambodia and ensuring that the United Nations retains its protection role and monitoring capacity in the country 

Your Excellency, 

We urge your delegation to address the deteriorating human rights situation in Cambodia by supporting a resolution, at the 30th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council (14 September-2 October 2015), that highlights patterns of serious violations and calls on the Cambodian Government to put an end to such violations and to abide by its domestic and international legal obligations. The resolution should also extend the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.

 

Joint CSO Letter on Human Rights Situation in Bahrain

CIVICS along with 11 other civil society organisations have sent a letter to the permanent representatives of Member and Observer states of the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution to address the human rights situation in Bahrain. There is particular concern over the Government of Bahrain´s continued repression of dissenting voices, including through the arbitrary detentions of high-profile opposition activists and human rights defenders. 

 

CIVICUS interventions during the 29th UN HRC Session

During the 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (15 June - 3 July 2015), CIVICUS made a number of joint and individual interventions to highlight restrictions on civil society space. The interventions, including 9 parallel side events and 10 oral statements, underscored pressing thematic and country specific concerns on the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression and persecution of human rights defenders, which require the Council’s attention.

 

Statement at HRC 29 on LGBTI Thematic Reports

Delivered by Dora Tuez

CIVICUS wishes to address the Council on the High Commissioner’s report on discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

Statement at HRC 29 Panel discussion on the effects of terrorism on human rights

CIVICUS strongly condemns last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Somalia, France and Kuwait and express our deepest sympathies with the victims and their families. But we also applaud the principled stand of the High Commissioner in addressing the challenges to human rights: “The fight against terror is a struggle to uphold the values of democracy and human rights – not undermine them”.

 

CIVICUS UPR submissions on restrictions on civil society space in Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, Singapore and Somalia

In advance of the 24th Session of the UN Universal Period Review (UPR), CIVICUS and its partners have made five submissions on restrictions on the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression and persecution of human rights defenders (HRDs) in Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, Singapore and Somalia. The submissions provide a number of substantive recommendations to support the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society.

 

Statement at HRC 29 to UNSR on Right to Freedom of Expression And UNSR on Peaceful Assembly & Association

29th session of the Human Rights Council

Thank you Mr. President. CIVICUS warmly welcomes the timely reports of both Special Rapporteurs. We commend the Special Rapporteurs for supporting an inclusive consultative process with a wide range of civil society actors to address the pressing concerns raised in their reports.

 

Statement at HRC 29 Interactive Dialogue with Working Group on Discrimination Against Women

29th session of the Human Rights Council

Thank you Mr. President. CIVICUS welcomes the important report of the Working Group on discrimination against women, a report, especially in an Egyptian context, so very relevant at this critical time.

 

Event at Human Rights Council (19 June): Civil Society Space in Central Asia

When: Friday, 19 June 2015, 11:00-13:00

Where: Geneva, Palais Des Nations, Room XII

Organisers: CIVICUS, ICNL, World Movement for Democracy, ECNL, Article 19, fidh, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch

 

Event at the Human Rights Council (18 June-Geneva): Overcoming Restrictions on Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa Region

When: 18 June, 10:00-11:30 am
Where: Palais des Nations, Room XXII
Organisers: CIVICUS, International Service for Human Rights, Gulf Center for Human Rights

 

Opening remarks at the 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

On the first day of the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council, CIVICUS provided opening remarks on human rights violations in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Burundi, and Egypt.

 

CIVICUS side events during the 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (15 June – 3 July 2015)

During the forthcoming 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, CIVICUS and its partners will host a series of thematic and country-specific panel discussions highlighting pressing concerns for civil society and human rights defenders at the national, regional and international levels. The events will provide an important opportunity for a cross-section of the global human rights community to identify practical recommendations to create an enabling environment for civil society and effective strategies to foster greater transnational solidarity to address unwarranted restrictions on civic space.

For more information about these events please contact:

 and/or 

 

Addressing the human rights situation in Uzbekistan at the UN Human Rights Council

JointNGOLetterUzbekistan12

10 years removed from the massacre in Anadijan, Uzbekistan, which left hundreds of civilians killed by security forces, the country remains one of the most persistent human rights violators in the world. To mark the anniversary, CIVICUS and nine other organisations have written a letter to representatives of the UN Human Rights Council urging them to take action.

 

Belarus: Summary of Second Universal Periodic Review

Following the second UPR of Belarus, CIVICUS has produced a summary of the country's current human rights situation, associated recommendations from member states, and recent civil society advocacy activities that have taken place at the UN in Geneva.

 

CIVICUS event (4 May, Geneva):Freedom of Association and Legal Conditions for Civil Society Organizations in Belarus

UPRBelarusFlyer800

Side Event during the 22nd UPR Session

When: Monday, 4 May 2015, 12:45-14-15

Where: Palais des Nations Room 

While Belarus accepted a number of recommendations on improving the environment for freedom of association during its initial UPR review in 2010, little appreciable impact has been observed in this field. Accordingly, the legal conditions for freedom of association and civil society groups remain among the worst in the region. Moreover, from 2010-2014 several restrictive legal measures and laws have been adopted further imperiling the right to freedom of association.

 

CIVICUS INTERVENTIONS AT THE 28TH SESSION OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

image001During the 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, 2-27 March 2015, CIVICUS and its partners made several high-level interventions to support the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society across the world. CIVICUS co-organized a number of thematic and country specific side events to draw attention to acute restrictions on civil society, human rights defenders and fundamental democratic freedoms. In addition, CIVICUS issued several oral statements calling on the Council to address persistent violations of basic human rights.

 

CIVICUS at the HRC: Remarks on Gambia's UPR

Delivered by Okwaraogoma Ononuju Silver, CIVICUS

CIVICUS welcomes the decision by the Gambian government to accept several recommendations aimed at improving the environment for the respect of fundamental freedoms including those to fully protect and promote freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly for all without fear of arbitrary detention or harassment and to continue to improve the protection and promotion of human rights.

 

CIVICUS examines the environment for civil society in Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman and Rwanda

hrcIn advance of the 23rd Session (November 2015) of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR), CIVICUS has made five joint and stand-alone submissions on the rights to freedom of assembly, association, expression and the environment for human rights defenders (HRDs) in Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman and Rwanda. The submissions further provide a number of specific policy recommendations to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society and ensure greater compliance with international human rights law. 

 

CIVICUS at the HRC: Remarks on the commission of inquiry on Syria

CIVICUS welcomes with horror the detailed report of the Commission and deplores once more the dire situation of the Syrian People. We are shocked about the lethargy of the International Community when innocent civilians in Syria are living through unspeakable horror and when the Security Council, deadlocked by vetoes or threats of vetoes, has been powerless to step in and alter this landscape of destruction and bloodshed.

 

CIVICUS at the HRC: Remarks on the state civil society in Ethiopia, Azerbaijan and Bahrain

The fundamental and necessary conditions which allow for the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society are being systematically threatened across the globe. This precipitous decline in respect for fundamental civil liberties, including the rights to expression, association and assembly, is afflicting both emerging and consolidated democracies.  The examples highlighted below, while particularly acute, are only illustrative of the global backsliding on the promotion and protection of civil society rights that the Council must address without delay.

 

CIVICUS statement on the challenges of balancing anti-terrorism measures with human rights

CIVICUS applauds the very principled stand of the High Commissioner in addressing the challenges to human rights to counter terrorism.  In this context we pledge once more support for the independence of the HC and his Office.

 

CIVICUS STATEMENT TO SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON CULTURAL RIGHTS AND THE SALE OF CHILDREN

CIVICUS welcomes the first report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children and congratulates her innovative road map to implement her mandate. We also welcome the report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights and want to address her country report on Vietnam in conjunction with the country report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion as well as the section on Vietnam in the High Commissioners report.

 

Opening remarks by CIVICUS at 28th session of UNHRC

On March 3rd in Geneva, Switzerland at the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council, CIVICUS in cooperation with UNDP and the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, hosted the 'Annual High-Level Panel on Human Rights Mainstreaming'.To open the event, Renate Bloem from CIVICUS delivered the following remarks:

 

Event (19 January): Post-2015 Development Agenda and Accountability - A Data Revolution Anchored in Human Rights to Make the SDGs a Reality for All

The objective of the event organised by CIVICUS, in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was to share information and discuss the potential roles of data revolution and the work of human rights mechanisms in the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.

 

Préoccupations de CIVICUS concernant la situation de la liberté d’expression, d’association et de réunion en Côte d’Ivoire

Cote_d_IvoireDans ce document, CIVICUS fait état de ses inquiétudes concernant l’environnement dans lequel les organisations de la société civile, les défenseurs des droits de l’homme et les journalistes travaillent en Côte d’Ivoire ; CIVICUS y relève aussi les menaces auxquelles font face ces individus et organisations dans l’exercice de leur liberté d’expression, d’association et d’assemblée. La restriction des libertés fondamentales est exacerbée par les effets des années de conflits et de la violence postélectorale.

 

CIVICUS interventions at the 27th UN Human Rights Council Session

HRC27During the 27th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, 8-27 September 2014, CIVICUS and its partners made a number of interventions to promote the creation of a safe and enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders.  CIVICUS co-organized several panel discussions focusing on unwarranted restrictions on the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression requiring the Council’s further attention. In addition, eight joint and stand-alone oral statements were issued to highlight pressing thematic and country specific human rights concerns.

In parallel to the Council session events, CIVICUS co-organized six panel discussions to help identify  emerging global trends in civil society restrictions and reflect on the essential measures States and the UN must take to protect the spaces in which civil society operate. The events, including on Bahrain, Ethiopia, and Yemen, provided crucial ingresses for human rights defenders to discuss the challenges they face at the national level and examine their governments’ adherence to international human rights obligations.

 

Over 40 civil society organisations urge States to oppose proposed amendments that would weaken draft Human Rights Council resolution on civil society space

Over 40 civil society organisations have sent a joint letter to members of the UN Human Rights Council to support a landmark resolution on civil society space. The resolution, which will be voted on this week, mandates the OHCHR to create practical recommendations on how to effectively protect civil society space at the international, regional and national level.

Read the full letter

 

CIVICUS examines the human rights situation in Belarus, Honduras, Liberia, Malawi, Maldives, and the USA

In advance of the 22nd Session of the UN Universal Period Review (UPR), which examines each countries human rights record every 4 and a half years, CIVICUS has issued six joint and standalone submissions. The submissions, including on Belarus, Honduras, Liberia, Malawi, Maldives, and the USA, analyse each countries’ commitments to uphold the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression and to protect human rights defenders. The submissions further include a number of concrete recommendations to ensure the creation of an enabling environment for civil society. 

 

Joint UNHRC Oral Statement on Civil Society Space

CIVICUS on behalf of the Civic Space Initiative welcomes OHCHR’s Summary Report on the Civil Society Space Panel and we once again express our sincere thanks to the Panel’s organizers.

We wish to reiterate the Report’s clear message that civil society is an essential pillar of any democratic society and an indispensable partner of the Human Rights Council whose space needs to be both promoted and protected in accordance with international human rights law.

Read more

 

Universal Periodic Review Submissions

CIVICUS and its partners have produced joint and stand-alone UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on 11  countries. 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. You can download the submissions at the following links:

If you would like additional information about these submissions please contact tor.hodenfieldATcivicus.org

 

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