Redress - Ending Torture, Seeking Justice for Survivors
Reparation News
July 2015
Donate Today

Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to our latest edition of Reparation News. Please find below a summary of recent case updates, news and publications from REDRESS. We hope you find this resource useful and invite you to know more about our work. For the most up-to-date information, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Please contact us if you have any questions about our work, want to learn more or would like to collaborate with us. Thank you for your continued interest in our work and for your support. 

Carla Ferstman

Director


 

Case updates

Photo credit: B. Hussein Soetoro

Inter-American Commission orders precautionary measures against USA for Guantanamo Bay detainee

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered precautionary measures in the case of Guantanamo detainee Mustafa Al-Hawsawi on 7 July, deeming them necessary to protect his life and personal integrity. The Commission specifically asked the United States to provide him with the necessary medical care to treat the injuries incurred during his detention and interrogation by its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Mr Al-Hawsawi suffers from Hepatitis C, tearing within his rectum and a rectal prolapse among other ailments. Some of the abuses he suffered at the hands of the CIA -including "sodomy with a foreign object”-  were described in a US Senate Committee on Intelligence report released last year. Mr Al-Hawsawi has been detained in Guantanamo Bay since 2006, where he has received poor and sporadic medical care, according to his lawyers. An analysis of public evidence suggests that he was held at undisclosed locations in various European countries, including Lithuania, after being kidnapped in 2003 in Pakistan. REDRESS has been working to clarify the role of these states where he is believed to have been detained and interrogated. 

Read more about the case 


 

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calls on release of British activist jailed in Ethiopia

In a case that REDRESS and REPRIEVE are supporting, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for the immediate release of Andargachew Tsege, a British citizen and Ethiopian opposition activist, and for him to be compensated. He was kidnapped while in transit at the airport in Sanaa, Yemen, handed over to Ethiopian officials and taken, without any legal process, into Ethiopia. The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights is also considering the responsibility of Ethiopia for a variety of breaches of the African Charter.

More information on the case here


 

REDRESS to intervene before the Supreme Court in Belhaj case

On 29 July 2015 REDRESS and other human rights organisations were granted permission to intervene before the Supreme Court in the case brought by a former anti-Gaddafi leader, Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, and his wife, Fatima Bouchar, against the British intelligence and security officials they claim were involved in their abduction and illegal transfer to Libya, where they were tortured.

In 2013, the High Court struck out their lawsuit after finding that, even though they had a “potentially well-founded claim” that the UK authorities were “directly implicated” in their abduction, the case should not be heard because it could damage UK-US relations. In 2014, however, the Court of Appeal ruled that they had the right to sue these officials because the failure to allow so would result in a denial of a legal remedy for very grave allegations of human rights violations. The Court held that the risk of displeasing other States could not outweigh the imperative of providing access to justice to victims. 

The UK government has been granted permission to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court on both the issue of foreign act of state and state immunity. REDRESS, JUSTICE, Amnesty International and the International Commission applied to intervene in the case before the Supreme Court, after having intervened in the case before the Court of Appeal.

Read more about the case


 

Sudan: REDRESS and partners pursue case on behalf of lawyer

REDRESS and partners continue to pursue a complaint on behalf of Abdel Moneem Adam Mohammed against Sudan before the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR). Mr Mohammed is a Sudanese lawyer who was arbitrarily arrested in 2014 by Sudanese intelligence and security officers after providing legal assistance to human rights activists. In a new submission to the ACHPR on 10 July, we argued that our complaint from 20 February 2015 should be considered admissible as our client cannot obtain an effective or sufficient remedy in Sudan. We asked the ACHPR to examine allegations that Sudan has violated several of Mr Mohammed's rights under the African Charter, including his right to be free from torture and ill-treatment, and his right to liberty and security and to freedom of expression. Our partners are the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) and the East and Horn for Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP).


 

DRC: Submission in case of rape victim now available in French

REDRESS has made a submission on admissibility in the case of S.A. v DRC, which concerns a complaint seized by the African Commission of a Congolese rape victim. The victim was raped by a member of the Armed Forces in the late 2000s, in the context of the armed conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. During the attack, the soldier also stole all the family's savings. The victim was awarded damages against the State which have not yet been paid. Our complaint sets out the legal framework of court-ordered damages in the DRC and the obstacles faced by victims when seeking enforcement of these awards.

Read our submission in French

Read more about the case in English 


 

India: Submission to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

REDRESS, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) and the University of Bristol Human Rights Implementation Centre have submitted an allegation letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture regarding the continuing problem of torture and other ill-treatment committed by the Border Security Forces in West Bengal, India. Our submission was a follow up to an earlier report submitted in 2013, and considered both the issue of the lack of follow-up by the Government of India on the earlier cases we had set out as well as new cases that had come to light in the meantime.

Global campaign against torture

Torture still prevalent in Nepal: new report from Advocacy Forum

Advocacy Forum, our partner in Nepal, has released a new report, ‘Torture in Nepal in 2014: More of the Same’, under our joint project to fight impunity for torture around the world. The report concludes that the longstanding practice of torture prevails in Nepal: 16% of the 1,916 detainees interviewed by AF during 2014 were subjected to torture or other ill-treatment. The report also draws attention to the shortcomings of the Torture Bill, tabled in Parliament in August 2014, which aims to criminalise torture and to provide a mechanism for the investigation of torture complaints and to afford compensation to victims, in line with Nepal’s international law obligations. The report contains recommendations for strengthening the bill. 

Read the full report in English here and in Nepali here

This project is subsidized by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights

Advocacy Work

Preparatory meeting to draft a General Comment on the right to redress for victims of torture under the African Charter

The Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA) decided during the last ordinary session of the African Commission that victims’ right to redress was not comprehensively set out in relevant instruments adopted by the African Commission. Following this decision, the CPTA, in collaboration with REDRESS, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and the Kenya Human Rights Commission, convened a two-day meeting in Accra, Ghana, from 6 to 7 July to begin developing a General Comment on the Right to Redress for Victims of Torture and Ill-Treatment under the African Charter. The meeting brought together 28 national, regional and international experts on the absolute prohibition of torture and victims’ right to redress. Participants concluded that the General Comment should be framed to respond to redress holistically; ensure victims’ needs remain at the centre of interventions and needed to take account Africa's realities and contexts. The Committee will publish a report on the meeting. For further information, please contact our Legal Advisor Jürgen Schurr on juergen@redress.org.


 

REDRESS presents statement to the UN Human Rights Committee

On 14 July, REDRESS's International Legal Advisor, Kyra Hild, presented an oral statement to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) in Geneva, during a half day discussion on the preparation of a General Comment on Article 6 (right to life) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Our statement focused on the death penalty and its relevance to torture. REDRESS also provided a written submission to the UNHRC with more detailed comments. 

Read our statement to the UNHRC 


 

UN Human Rights Committee echoes REDRESS' concerns regarding the slow pace of investigations into abuses by UK troops abroad 

A UN Human Rights Committee Report released 23 July called on Britain to do more to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by British troops abroad, echoing concerns raised in our submission to the Committee. This was the UN Human Rights Committee's first review of Britain since 2008. The Committee criticised the UK for the slow progress of the Detainee Inquiry and the Iraq Historical Allegations Team (IHAT); the inadequacy of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) as an investigative mechanism, and the lack of information on what, if any, investigation has taken place about UK Special Forces personnel handing over detainees to US custody at Camp Nama. It also encouraged the government to take the necessary steps to address these and other shortcomings.

Publications

Photo credit: UN by Albert González Farran

Analysis on constitutional reforms and human rights in Sudan 

Our Counsel Dr Lutz Oette participated in a meeting between experts on the rule of law and human rights in Sudan on Institutional Reforms for the Future of Sudan, organised by the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) in Nairobi from 23-25 July.  Dr Oette provided analysis on the adverse repercussions of the constitutional amendments on the rule of law and human rights protection in Sudan. Of particular concern are the centralisation of power, the militarisation and constitutional broadening of the powers granted to the National Intelligence and Security Services, the lack of effective independence of the judiciary, the proliferation of special courts and the strengthening of the executive in respect of investment in land at the expense of effective rights protection. "The rule of law and human rights implications of Constitutional Amendments in Sudan" and other papers produced in the first phase of the initiative can be found at www.democracyfirstgroup.org/category/research/. Further resources and information on REDRESS’ work on law reform and human rights in Sudan are available at www.pclrs.com.


 

New opinion pieces by REDRESS staff

REDRESS' ICC Legal Officer Gaelle Carayon has published several Op-Eds on the system of legal representation at the International Criminal Court.  These outline some of the issues which are canvassed in REDRESS' recent report on legal representation. See:

REDRESS' Director, Carla Ferstman, published an Op-Ed on the recent decision of the International Court of Justice to re-open proceedings in the DRC v Uganda case, on the issue of reparations. See: Regarding Rights, The International Court of Justice and the Question of Reparations 


 

REDRESS Annual Report 2015

Our annual report for 2015 has been published. It provides an overview of the work that REDRESS undertook in over 25 countries affecting approximately 850 individual torture survivors from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. The report shows that more and more of our clients are receiving positive judgments from human rights courts and related tribunals, but it also reminds us that impunity remains a deep-seated problem in many countries where we work and that we should continue to confront this problem, until we overcome it.

Read the annual report here

Events and Conferences

Discussion on legal aid and redress for victims of violence

On 13 July, REDRESS Director Carla Ferstman joined Stephen Grosz QC and other experts in a discussion hosted by the London-based Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law on the topic of "Criminal legal aid and redress for victims of violence: international perspectives on access to justice". Professionals and specialists in criminal justice issues and the law on redress for victims of violence across jurisdictions shared their experiences and discussed examples of good practice. More information about the event is available here.


 
Meeting on the implementation of the Luanda Guidelines

REDRESS’ legal advisor Jürgen Schurr participated in a meeting on the Luanda Guidelines in Accra, Ghana, on 8 July. The guidelines were adopted at the 55th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR held in Angola last year to provide guidance to policy makers and criminal justice practitioners with the aim of strengthening the day-to-day practice of arrest, police custody and pre-trial detention. The meeting was organised by the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice. Participants discussed how the recently adopted Luanda Guidelines have been implemented in Ghana, monitoring and evaluation, and the development of an Action Plan for its implementation. 

Fundraising

Eight REDRESS runners completed the British 10K London

On 12 July, eight runners successfully took part in the British 10K London in support of REDRESS. Ernesto, Kartik, Eva, Nancy, Paul, Gaia, Maï and Natalie all completed the run in impressive time, and it’s not too late to donate to them and help us to ensure that torture survivors obtain the justice they deserve. Donating to our runners is a great way to help support the fight against torture and the hundreds of victims we assist around the world. All the assistance that we provide is free of charge, so any donation, no matter how small, can truly make a difference. You can donate quickly and securely through JustGiving by clicking on their names above. We thank you in advance for your generosity.

REDRESS 87 Vauxhall Walk, London
SE11 5HJ | Tel: +44 (0) 207 793 1777
Charity no 1015787
www.redress.org | info@redress.org
Donate Today
Follow REDRESS on:
Visit our Twitter page Visit our Facebook page Visit our YouTube page Visit our Flickr page
You have received this email because you have indicated an interest in receiving further information from REDRESS. If you do not wish to receive further information from REDRESS, simply unsubscribe here.