A milestone for the protection of torture victims in Africa as first regional instrument on their right to redress is adopted
The first-ever regional instrument on the right to redress for victims of torture and other prohibited ill-treatment has been adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), the institution responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa.
The General Comment on the Right to Redress for Victims of Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment was adopted during the African Commission’s Extraordinary Session on 27 February 2017, the Commission announced on 9 March 2017.
The General Comment offers much needed clarification to African Member States on their obligations towards victims of torture and ill-treatment. REDRESS, together with other human rights organisations, provided technical support to the CPTA during the development process of the General Comment.
Photo credit: UN Photo by Stuart Price
Together, the transitional justice mechanisms of Nepal have received over 61,000 complaints and cases of rights violations committed during the decade-old armed conflict. But inherent flaws have seriously impeded their work from the outset, including a lack of consultation with victims in the early stages, inadequate resources and little government support.
REDRESS together with TRIAL International and several NGO partners in Nepal called this month for the Government of Nepal to extend their mandate and provide them with sufficient resources. While the organisations recognise that the transitional justice mechanisms are far from perfect, they believe they remain victims’ best chance to access truth and obtain reparations.
Photo credit: UN Photo by Steve Malloch.
Uganda: Roundtable on the International Crimes Division
The International Crimes Division (ICD) is the first domestic court in Uganda to try international crimes. Last month, REDRESS organized a round-table discussion with actors of the ICD at the High Court in Uganda together with the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, in Kampala. The participants discussed victims’ rights and participation at the ICD by looking at examples from other jurisprudence, including the US and the ICC.
Women rights' activist brings complaint against Libya after being forced to flee the very revolution that she helped brought about
On International Women’s Day, human rights organisation REDRESS filed a complaint with the UN on behalf of Magdulein Abaida, a human rights defender and women rights’ activist who was forced to flee Libya in 2012, after being tortured and subjected to death threats for her human rights work.
Madgulein turned today to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the body of experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the global treaty on women’s rights, to which Libya is part.
In her complaint to CEDAW, Magdulein urges the Committee to find that Libya violated her rights under the Convention by arresting and detaining her on several occasions as a result of her women’s rights activism, and for torturing her while in detention.
Magdulein is also asking Libya to issue a formal apology for what happened to her and to compensate her for the harm suffered and for rehabilitation. In addition, she is urging CEDAW to order Libya to reform its laws and institutions to prevent future violations against women rights in Libya and to enable women to participate in Libyan society, including by working as human rights defenders.
International Women's Day plea to Iran to release Kurdish women's rights activist
REDRESS and Justice for Iran are concerned about the health and well-being of Zeinab Jalalian, a female Kurdish activist who is currently serving a life sentence in Iran.
Zeinab was arrested on International Women’s Day nine years ago and she is believed to be the only female political prisoner currently sentenced to life imprisonment in Iran.
On 7 March 2017 our organisations brought her case again to the attention of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), a body of independent experts tasked specifically with analysing the situation of persons deprived of their liberty.
Almost a year ago, WGAD urged Iran to immediately release her, but she continues to languish in detention and virtual isolation, and she is losing her eyesight.
The WGAD expressed “grave concern” that her mental and physical integrity may be at risk of “irreparable harm”.