15 October 2014 - President Salva Kiir should veto a bill giving South Sudan’s National Security Service sweeping powers, REDRESS and other national and international human rights organizations said today.
The bill would allow the security service virtually unfettered authority to arrest and detain suspects, monitor communications, conduct searches, and seize property.
The bill passed its third reading in South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly on October 8. The organisations don’t expect further changes will be made to the bill before its final reading, after which it will be sent to the President to be signed into law.
The organisations are calling on the President not to sign this bill into law and send it back to parliament for amendment.
"Experiences from other countries show that when you give security services policing powers, there is a high risk of torture and ill-treatment,” said our Counsel Lutz Oette.
Photo: UN Photo by Paul Bank
REDRESS and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies have made a submission to the Pre-Sessional Working Group on Sudan, which is to issue a list of questions that Sudan will be required to answer prior to making its scheduled appearance before the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, from 1-5 December.
In their submission, the organisations outline their main concerns in relation to Sudan's implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Some of these concerns are related to the ongoing human rights violations, armed conflict, impunity and weak rule of law in Sudan.
REDRESS is among the proud recipients of the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
In 2011, REDRESS received a $500,000 grant from the American foundation for effectively addressing pressing national and international challenges and having had an impact that is disproportionate to its small size.
"These exceptional organizations effectively address pressing national and international challenges and they have had an impact that is disproportionate to their small size," said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci during the announcement. "The MacArthur Foundation is proud to recognize them. It is our hope that these Awards will help position them for long-term growth and even greater impact in the years ahead."
REDRESS, together with a team of Sudanese organisations and lawyers, recently filed a submission to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on the admissibility of a petition brought by Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy – the abandonment of a religion - and 100 lashes for adultery in Sudan in May.
The petition concerns the violations of her human rights as a result of the apostasy charge against her, the court process which followed and her treatment in prison, including being forced to give birth while her legs were shackled.
Ms Ibrahim won an appeal before a domestic court in Sudan in June and now lives in the USA. Our submission, filed on 3 October, comes after the Commission informed REDRESS that it had decided to proceed with the case. The petition underscored the challenges that Ms Ibrahim and her family have faced to seek justice for the suffering they endured. As a results of threats, they were forced to flee the country after her ordeal and are now based in the USA.
Photo courtesy of Hardwiredglobal.org
17 September 2014 - The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights today upheld the rights of victims of torture to have their cases investigated and prosecuted, even many years after the events. It awarded two applicants substantial compensation.
In Mocanu & Others v Romania the Court considered complaints brought by victims of a brutal government crackdown on anti-government protests in Bucharest in June 1990.
REDRESS intervened in the case as a third-party. Our intervention set out international standards and comparative jurisprudence on criminalisation of torture and ill-treatment, the phychological effects of such treatment and how it can impact on the ability to make a complaint, and statutes of limitation in relation to such crimes.
One of the victims complained to the authorities about his treatment in 2001, but after an investigation, proceedings were closed because of the limitation period applicable to the crime of assault. In its judgement, the Grand Chamber recognised that the psychological impact of torture and ill-treatment, and lack of faith in state authorities, may explain a delay in making a complaint. It referred to REDRESS's submissions on this issue.
Photo by Cristian Chirita: 1990 Mineriad in Bucharest.