New events

Exceptional Measures for Exceptional Times: The Absolute Prohibition of Torture under Threat 

9 June 2017, Peace Palace, The Hague

14:00 to 18:00, followed by a reception 

REDRESS Nederland is organising this high-level discussion to bring together decision makers, diplomats, journalists, academics and representatives from relevant international organisations and civil society to discuss how best to respond to xenophobic and populist rhetoric that justifies and promotes torture in the name of national security and the fight against terrorism. The meeting will also explore the different facets of the absolute prohibition in the context of armed conflict. It will conclude with a roundtable discussion on innovative options for the way forward to re-affirm the absolute prohibition in the contemporary political environment.

To RSVP, please contact Jürgen Schurr, Head of REDRESS Nederland, at juergen@redress.org

Download the invitation here

Past events

Reparations for victims of mass atrocities in Africa

9 May 2017, Niamey, Niger

REDRESS in collaboration with Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, the Refugee Law Project and the Central African Coalition for the International Criminal Court held a meeting focusing on Reparations for victims of mass atrocities in Africa.

The event on 9 May brought together representatives of civil society actors working with victims of atrocities in Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Kenya and Uganda.  Representatives of civil society groups, States and National Human Rights Institutions present in Niamey to participate at the African Commission’s session will attend the gathering. 

Programme: English - French; Concept Notes: English - French; Invitation: English -French


 

Side event on the occasion of the launch of the African Commission’s General Comment No: 4

8 May 2017, Niamey, Niger

On 8 May 2017, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative, the Kenyan Human Rights Commission and REDRESS organised a side event and cocktail reception on the occasion of the launch of the African Commission’s General Comment No: 4 on the Right to Redress for Victims of Torture and Ill-treatment under Article 5 of the African Charter.

Programme


 

REDRESS Nederland meets with the EU Genocide Network

30 March 2017, The Hague, The Netherlands

Nader Diab and Jürgen Schurr from REDRESS Nederland participated in the meeting of the EU Genocide Network, bringing together investigators and prosecutors working on international crimes from EU Member States and Norway, Switzerland, the United States and Canada.

During the meeting, German and Swedish authorities presented on their respective efforts to investigate and prosecute crimes committed in Syria, and highlighted the need for close collaboration. REDRESS Nederland works closely with the EU Genocide Network Secretariat and colleagues from civil society to ensure that civil society perspectives are reflected in the work of the network. REDRESS Nederland is working on a report on victim participation in the investigation and prosecution of international crimes committed in Syria by Dutch authorities.

The Conclusions of the meeting are available here


Launch of the Technical Commentary on the Anti-Torture Framework in Tunisia

9 March 2017,  Tunis, Tunisia

On 9 March 2017, REDRESS in collaboration with Organisation Contre la Torture en Tunisie and Organisation Mondiale  Contre la Torture will hold an event to commemorate the launch of the Technical Commentary on the Anti-Torture Framework in Tunisia. The meeting will bring together various stakeholders including representatives of the National Preventive Mechanism, civil society actors and the Ministry of Justice.

At the event, participants will discuss gaps in the current legal framework to prevent torture;  and assess the implementation of recent legislative reforms. It will consider, among other things, forms of reparation available to victims of torture in Tunisia and access to justice for female torture victims.  Deliberations will focus on the absolute prohibition of torture in the context of counter-terrorism  and  propose recommendations on the way forward. 

All meeting documents are in French. Click here for the concept note and agenda of the event. The Technical Commentary on the Anti-Torture Framework in Tunisia is available here.


 

Launch of the Technical Commentary on the Anti-Torture Framework in Nigeria

2 March 2017, Abuja, Nigeria

On 2 March 2017, REDRESS in collaboration with Legal Resources Consortium will hold an event to commemorate the launch of the Technical Commentary on the Anti-Torture Framework in Nigeria. The meeting will bring together various stakeholders including representatives of the National Human Rights Commission, the Nigerian Law Reform Commission, civil society actors and the Ministry of Justice.

At the event, participants will discuss recent developments in relation to the Bill and consider specific measures that could be undertaken to contribute to existing advocacy efforts.  The meeting is a platform consider the potential role that Nigeria’s development partners could play in their engagement with the authorities, to progress the Bill’s passage into law.

The meeting will identify recent development regarding the status of the anti-torture bill, determine next steps that need to be taken to lead to the Bill's adoption and make concrete suggestions for future engagement with the authorities and parliament. 

Click here for the concept note and agenda of the event. The Technical Commentary on the Anti-Torture Framework in Nigeria is available here.


 

 

REPORTING ON TORTURE: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE MEDIA

Panel discussion and reception

8 December 2016, 6pm – 8pm, followed by a drinks reception

Matrix Chambers | Griffin Buildings | London WC1R 5LN

The important role the media can play to report on and investigate torture will be explored in presentations and discussion convened by international human rights organisations REDRESS and Lawyers for Justice in Libya. The panel will highlight the challenges and opportunities for the media, and will be comprised of highly experienced journalists and human rights experts working in this specialist field.

Despite prohibition in the strongest terms by international law, torture remains highly prevalent, with cases reported in all regions of the world every year. Through accurate reporting, journalists can increase awareness about the prevalence and perpetrators of torture, and who is being targeted and why. Journalists can also highlight the impact of torture on survivors and their communities and the importance of overcoming the many barriers to achieving justice. But many torture cases go unreported in the media. Key challenges faced by journalists include survivors' reluctance to come forward and governments' efforts to silence the truth, including by threatening journalists.

The event marks the recent launch of the Reporting on Torture journalist handbook, developed by REDRESS in partnership with four other human rights organisations working to eradicate torture in a range of countries: the Independent Medico-Legal Unit in Kenya; the National Coordinator for Human Rights in Perú; Advocacy Forum-Nepal and Lawyers for Justice in Libya.

Hard copies of the handbook will be available to attendees and can be downloaded in English, Arabic, Spanish, French and Nepali at www.redress.org/reports

Chair

Mr Guy Vassall-Adams QC, leading practitioner in media law, public law and human rights at Matrix Chambers

Speakers

Read the full biographies of the chair and the speakers here

The drinks reception will take place from 8.00pm to 8.45pm.

Download the Flyer.

To RSVP, please contact Eva Sanchis, REDRESS’ Communications Officer, at eva@redress.org.

Homepage photo by IRIN News.


LFJL and REDRESS workshop in Tunis 

5 - 8 December 2016, Tunis

LFJL and REDRESS organised a 3-day workshop in Tunis from 5 to 8 December 2016 to train 15 Libyan lawyers, activists and media professionals who are actively documenting crimes in Libya. The training covered an overview of transitional justice, documentation efforts in other conflict/post conflict contexts, methods of documentation, as well as digital security and secure storage of evidence.

Please see the agenda here. 


 

Meeting on Regional collaboration towards the adoption and implementation of an Anti-Torture law in Nigeria

1 December 2016, Abuja, Nigeria

On 1 December 2016, REDRESS in collaboration with the Nigerian Coalition against Torture, in Legal Resources Consortium, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) will hold a meeting with Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor, Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) and member of the African Commission’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA).

The meeting will consider the role of key stakeholders in the development and implementation of Nigeria’s anti-torture bill in line with Nigeria’s obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN Convention against Torture. Participants will include national, regional and international stakeholders, including in particular representatives of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, Law Reform Committee and the Ministry of Justice.

Discussions aim to provide participants with an understanding of key issues to be considered in the implementation of the proposed anti-torture legislation once it is passed. The event will lead to the establishment of links between the CPTA and participating institutions and facilitate information sharing amongst participating organisations. Participates will have a better grasp of the CPTA’s mandate and the Nigeria anti-torture bill will feature on the CPTA’s mandate.

Please see the  programme and the concept note of the meeting.


 

Roundtable on Strategies to progress the Nigeria Anti-torture Bill

29 – 30 November 2016, Abuja, Nigeria

From 29 – 30 November 2016, REDRESS in collaboration with the Nigerian Coalition against Torture, in Legal Resources Consortium, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) will hold a round table  on Strategies to progress the Nigeria Anti-torture Bill (the Bill). Relevant provisions for Police Act (Amendment) will also be considered.  

During the gathering which will bring together representatives of the Nigeria Law Reform Commission, the National Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of Justice, national and international non-governmental organizations, participants will consider strategies to progress the Anti Torture Bill’s consideration and passage into law by the National Assembly.

The meeting will result in a harmonised version of the Bill and an agreed timeline to engage with identified stakeholders. The organisers hope that the meeting will lead to increased communication sharing amongst stakeholders on legislative efforts to combat torture in Nigeria.

Please read the programme and concept note of the roundtable.


 

REDRESS renews call for states to release arbitrary detainees at UN WGAD event

At an event to commemorate 25 years of the UN Working Group on Arbtirary Detention (WGAD), REDRESS is renewing calls for WGAD decisions to be enforced by states.

REDRESS Director Carla Ferstman, speaking at the event on 28 November, highlighted the important role of the WGAD in a statement.

REDRESS is working to achieve justice in several cases of arbitrary detention, including the case of Zeinab Jalalian (pictured), a young Kurdish women's rights activist imprisoned in Iran; British national Andy Tsege, kidnapped in Yemen and rendered to Ethiopia leaving his partner Yemi and three children without him; and Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national who was detained on a family visit in Iran.

Further event details are on the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website.


 

VICTIMS' RIGHTS AND COMPLEMENTARITY: PAVING THE WAY TOWARDS TRANSITION IN COLOMBIA, UGANDA AND THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

22 November 2016, The Hague, Netherlands

On 22nd November, REDRESS together with ASF Canada and ASF Belgium is organising a side event in the margin of the 15th Session of the Assembly of States Parties on "Victims' rights and complementarity: paving the way towards transition in Colombia, Uganda and the Central African Republic".

During the event, panelists will discuss ongoing developments in Colombia, Uganda and Central African Republic with regards to efforts prosecute ICC crimes domestically and how victims' rights feature in these efforts.

Click here for the flyer.

 


Moving Reparation Forward - Some Lessons Learned

19 November 2016, The Hague, Netherlands

On 19 November 2016, REDRESS will organise a side event in the margin of the 15th session of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC entitled "Moving Reparation Forward - Some Lessons Learned".

The event will discuss the conclusions of the report recently released by REDRESS on the issue and bring together experts, représentatives of victims and of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims to exchange on lessons learnt in the field of reparation and how to improve processes relating to court ordered reparation.

Click here for the flyer in English and in French.


Roundtable on Strenghthening Legislative Frameworks to Prevent Torture in Africa

17 November 2016, Tunis, Tunisia

On 17 November 2016, REDRESS in conjunction with the  Tunisian Ministry in Charge of Constitutional Bodies, Civil Society and Human Rights and DIGNITY - the Danish  Institute  against Torture, will hold a ‘Roundtable on Strenghthening Legislative Frameworks to Prevent Torture in Africa.’  The event,  which will bring together representatives of the African Commission’s Committee for the Prevention in Africa, government  institutions, the National Preventive Mechanism, national and international civil society actors;  aims to explore how the existing legislative framework on  torture could be strengthened.

The gathering  will result in specific recommendations  to address key challenges; it will also   explore how existing opportunities  could be leveraged to improve the  existing legislative framework.   The meeting will provide the  Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa and REDRESS an opportunity to establish links with key stakeholders;  allowing  both Institutions  to appreciate the practical realities affecting  efforts to combat torture in Tunisia.

Please see the programme and the concept note of event, both in French.


 

CNDDHH and REDRESS held the National Legal Training for lawyers of the CNDDHH’s network 

14-15 November 2016, Lima, Peru

CNDDHH and REDRESS held the National Legal Training for lawyers of the CNDDHH’s network in Lima, Peru on 14-15 November 2016. The training covered sessions on the human rights situation in Peru, international mechanisms to redress cases of excessive use of force and torture, and mechanisms to litigate cases of sexual violence perpetrated in the context of the Peruvian armed conflict. Gaia Pergolo from REDRESS attended as a trainer.

Please see the agenda in Spanish here.

 

 


REDRESS hosted a side event with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa on anti-torture legislative frameworks in Africa

24 October 2016, Banjul, The Gambia

On 24 October 2016, REDRESS hosted a side event with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa on anti-torture legislative frameworks in Africa. The Event brought together law reform experts from Nigeria, Tunisia and Uganda. Members of the CPTA, civil society groups and State representatives participating on the margins of the African Commission’s session also took part.

The meeting took place in the context of collaboration between REDRESS and the CPTA to support domestic efforts to introduce comprehensive anti-torture legislative frameworks. This collaboration included engagement with a wide range of stakeholders in several African countries where law reform processes are on-going with a view to introduce a more robust anti-torture legal framework, including in Nigeria and Tunisia. Previous collaboration in 2015 included an analysis of relevant legislation in South Africa, Nigeria, DRC, Uganda, Kenya, Tunisia and Namibia (See our report on ‘Legal Frameworks to Prevent Torture in Africa: Best Practices, Shortcomings and Options Going Forward’, March 2016, at http://www.redress.org/downloads/publications/1603anti-torture-legislative-frameworks-in-africa.pdf.)

See here for further information:

Concept Note

Agenda


 

REDRESS, in collaboration with its partners from Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, organised a panel discussion on "Reparation for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Africa"

18 October 2016, Banjul, The Gambia

On 18 October 2016, REDRESS, in collaboration with its partners from Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, organised a panel discussion on "Reparation for Conflict- Related Sexual Violence in Africa". The event took place in the framework of the NGO Forum in advance of the 59th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. At this session, the African Commission celebrated the Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the rights of women. REDRESS and partners, the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), FIDA Uganda, Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU), Kenyan Section of International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya), Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), Refugee Law Project, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, published a briefing paper in advance of the event with concrete recommendations to State Parties and the African Commission on how to ensure redress for victims of sexual violence in conflict.


Read our Advocacy Briefing Paper here.


 

REDRESS and Bangui Bar Association organise workshop in Central African Republic

5-6 October 2016, Central African Republic

On 5-6 October 2016, REDRESS, jointly with the Bangui Bar, organised a workshop for civil society, lawyers and magistrate in Central African Republic to discuss how the Rules of the upcoming Special Court in CAR could better reflect international standards on victims’ rights. The Workshop, which focused on building the capacity of participants on victims rights also included representatives from the government, justice ministry and the UN MINUSCA.

See here for the agenda of the meeting (in French).


Advocacy Forum-Nepal and REDRESS organize workshop for lawyers in Nepal

October 2016

Advocacy Forum-Nepal and REDRESS organised a 2-day workshop for lawyers on International and National Standards in the Litigation of Torture Cases in Dhulikhel, Nepal on 28-29 October 2016. The training included sessions on the documentation and collection of evidence in torture cases for litigation at the domestic and international level, international mechanisms for the litigation of torture and subsequent implementation and the collection of forensic evidence in cases of physical and mental torture. Kamal Pathak participated in the workshop as trainer on behalf of REDRESS.

See here the agenda.

See here the workshop report.


 

REDRESS marks the opening of our new office in The Hague with a conference

29 September 2016, The Hague

REDRESS is opening a new office in The Hague, the Netherlands, and a new charitable body registered under Dutch Law. This new venture will strengthen REDRESS’ work with international organisations, contribute to ongoing work in Europe and help us meet our objectives to support torture survivors worldwide. It will also help us strengthen our long-term work in The Hague to ensure that victims' rights are protected and respected throughout the International Criminal Court's judicial process.

To mark the opening of our new office in The Hague, REDRESS is organising a conference on “Justice for victims and accountability for torturers: past, present and future strategies”, from 2-6pm on 29 September 2016, at The Carlton Ambassador Hotel in The Hague. 

The aim of the conference is to reflect on a range of approaches taken to afford justice to victims and to hold those responsible for torture to account, and to identify potential strategies for the way forward. It draws on experiences in several countries and situations, and brings together lawyers and other experts with direct knowledge and experiences of regional, hybrid and domestic efforts and mechanisms.

Paul Lomas, Chair of the inaugural Board of Directors of our Dutch charity, and a Senior Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, will open the conference.

Please find the event’s agenda here.


Kenya - Journalists Training 

13-16 September 2016

From 13 to 16 September 2016, a training of IMLU network journalists took place, with 25 journalists from 20 Counties (Nairobi, Kisumu, Migori, Bungoma, Vihiga,Narokk, Bomet, Kericho, Mombasa, Kilifi, Embu, Meru, Isiolo, Nyeri, Laikipia, Nakuru, Tharaka Nithi, Kajiado, Kitui) (both from print and local media) attending the four-day training. The training was linked to the Prevention of Torture and the Coroner Service Bills (which are still pending), the 2017 General Elections (monitoring and reporting of police behaviour or any torture-related incidents/cases), their safety as Human Rights defenders and the collaboration of the National and County Governments in policing through the Community Policing Authority. During the sessions the participants were taken through the “Reporting on Torture” Handbook. Thereafter, 50 copies of the handbook were distributed to the participants with a further 30 copies sent to editors in the media houses within Nairobi. Plans are underway to have the copies dispatched to media houses in the counties not represented in the training. 

Please find the event's agenda here.


REDRESS holds international conference in Nairobi

REDRESS and partners have organised an international conference that will take place during the 8 and 9 of September in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of the two-day conference "Fighting torture at home: the implementation of States' international obligations at the domestic level" is to provide experts and practitioners from different countries an opportunity to discuss and exchange experiences litigating torture cases domestically as well as before regional and international human rights mechanisms. 

Two public events will also take place during the conference. One will be a panel discussion on "Sexual violence as a form of torture", where experts will discuss challenges and opportunities in implementing States' obligations to prevent and redress. The second panel discussion, "Reporting on Torture", will be chaired by award winning investigative reporter and CNN fellow John Allan Namu. Other renown Kenyan journalists will also be part of the discussion, which will focus on the role journalists can play in uncovering the crime of torture and the main challenges that media professionals face during the course of their work. The discussion follows the release of our "Reporting on Torture" handbook in several languages. 

The conference is part of a three-year project funded by the EU in which REDRESS and partners from Peru, Kenya, Nepal and Libya looked to develop strategies with partners, lawyers and civil society groups to ensure survivors’ access to criminal and civil remedies; to advocate for ratification and domestic implementation of international treaties and principles; and to build the capacity of civil society and national actors to enforce anti-torture standards.

See agenda of the conference

See agenda of our "Reporting on Torture" discussion and Q&A


 

REDRESS and Avocats sans Frontières workshop in Central African Republic

On 12-13 July 2016, REDRESS, jointly with Avocats sans Frontières, organised a workshop for civil society in Central African Republic to discuss issues around victims’ rights and the creation of a Special Criminal Court in CAR, to investigate and prosecute the gravest crimes committed in the country since 2003, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. Participants heard from various stakeholders, including representatives from the government, justice ministry and the UN MINUSCA, updates on the setting up of the Court and issued a short report with recommendations on the way forward.

See here for the agenda of the meeting (in French).

See here for the report of the meeting (in French).


 

Training for Kenyan Prosecutors on the Application of the Victim Protection Act

On 21-22 June 2016, REDRESS organised a training session for approx. 30 Kenyan prosecutors on the implementation of the Kenyan Victim Protection Act. In addition to REDRESS trainers, specialists on victims rights during criminal proceedings from the USA and South Africa provided important insights into how  victims' rights were strengthened in criminal proceedings in other common law countries. The meeting also benefited from REDRESS' report on victim participation in criminal law proceedings. See the agenda of the training session, here.


Blackboard Theatre and REDRESS present a profound dissection on the relationship between victim and torturer  

Blackboard Theatre in partnership with REDRESS brought 'Pedro and the Captain' back to the London stage for the first time in 30 years. The play by acclaimed Uruguayan playwright Mario Benedetti is a profound dissection of the relationship between victim and torturer, an unprecedented rally to both understand and fight the most wretched act of institutionalised violence. Six representations took place at the Vaults Festival, from 2nd to 6th March. 


Consultation workshop on Nigeria’s Anti-Torture Bill

26 February 2016

On 26 February 2016, REDRESS and the Human Rights Implementation Centre of the University of Bristol, with the support of Nigeria’s Law Reform Committee, hosted a consultation workshop on the anti-torture bill currently being developed by the Law Reform Committee for submission to the Attorney General’s Office. The workshop  brought together key experts and stakeholders to take stock of the process for reviewing the Bill and to consider additional revisions to the text that would further strengthen the draft. Participants could share information and identify concrete areas for potential input and develop an advocacy strategy. The workshop was organised with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and took place in the framework of a project undertaken by REDRESS on anti—torture legislation in a number of African States, including Nigeria. It also follows previous workshops in Nigeria organised by the HRIC in 2014 and 2015 where earlier drafts of the anti-torture Bill were discussed within the context of strengthening the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.


REDRESS hosts Pan-African expert meeting on anti-torture legislation in Africa

26 - 27 January 2016, Nairobi, Kenya

A Pan-African conference hosted with our partners, the Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU), took place on 26 - 27 January in Nairobi, with the aim of promoting the adoption and effective implementation of anti-torture legislation. This initiative is part of a comparative initiative led by REDRESS on anti-torture legislative frameworks in seven African countries (the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia and Uganda), a key goal being to support the Committee on the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA) and other stakeholders to actively engage states parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to introduce, adopt and implement adequate anti-torture legislation.   

See here for the agenda of the meeting

See here for the background paper


12 years exhibition - Stories of resilience: oral accounts of Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK from 2001 to 2013

18 - 24 January 2016

The Tabernacle, London, 35 Powis Square, off Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 2 AY 

About the exhibition: This exhibition sought to share some of the stories of thousands of Zimbabweans who went through the complex asylum process in the UK from 2001 to 2013. Over two years Zimbabwe Association volunteers interviewed 40 Zimbabwean asylum seekers throughout the United Kingdom about their journey through the asylum process from 2001 to 2013. Many of them were torture survivors. As the exhibition showed, many endured additional suffering and traumatic experiences in the UK because of a broken asylum system. The oral stories will be deposited at the Black Cultural Archive in Brixton, London, after the closing of the exhibition. This exhibition has been curated by the Zimbabwe Association and is supported by REDRESS, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the University of Sussex.


14th Assembly of State Parties side events 

States must lead on ensuring victims’ rights

21 November 2015, The Hague

Co-hosted by REDRESS, The Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ))

Speakers:
Allan Ngari, ISS
Chris Ongwen, Ugandan Victims Foundations
Edith waruru, Kenyan Human rights commission
Gaelle Carayon, REDRESS
Boris Youcogo, CAR Consultant
Yacuba Dubian, FIDH

In discussions on victims reparations across the African continent, civil society representatives from the Institute for Security Studies, REDRESS, the International Federation for Human Rights, and Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice to represent a variety of perspectives on the situations and proposals for moving forward. Substantive comparisons were drawn between the ICC as a court of last resort and the need in domestic systems to better develop ‘first resorts’ in order to provide victims with the fullest opportunity to participate. Additionally, presentations recommendations for enhanced reparations plans.

From admission to reparation: Heeding the voices of victims

21 November 2015, The Hague

Co-hosted by the Victim’s Rights Working Group, Chile and Finland

Speakers:
Fidel Nsita Luvengika (DRC): legal representative of victims in the Katanga case
Betty Abade-Okero: CSO Network(Kenya)
Jane Anwar Adong (Uganda): International Justice Programme in Uganda, Avocats Sans Frontières
Tatiana  Viviane: Femme Homme Action Plus, CAR
Tamar Avaliani: Human Rights Centre Georgia

In a panel composed of grassroots victims’ organizations and representatives, including a counsel victims, participants offered perspectives from the field shared moving stories of victims affected by ICC crimes. They offered recommendations and called on states and the Court to do more to more to keep victims interests at the centre of the ICC’s work.


Discussion: Heads of States Immunities for International Crimes; Prospects for Consensus or Irreconcilable Impasse? 

Chatham House, London

The meeting discussed the divergences in approaches to the understanding of the nature and role of immunities for international crimes, having regard to the work of the International Law Commission, as well as the prospects for strengthening legal certainty in this area of law. While the International Criminal Court does not recognize immunities for sitting heads of states, the African Union adopted a protocol in 2014, providing immunity from prosecution to any serving African Union head of state and extending the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to include criminal jurisdiction over international crimes. This event was held in association with Doughty Street Chambers and REDRESS.

Expert Meeting on Anti-Torture Legislative Frameworks in Africa 

28-29 September 2015,  Nairobi, Kenya 

From 28-29 September 2015, REDRESS hosted an expert meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, on anti-torture legislative frameworks in Africa. The meeting took place in the margins of a comparative Pan-African project on anti-torture legislative frameworks in Africa. It brought together experts who carried out research on legislative frameworks in DRC, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda, Commissioner Lawrence Mute as the Chairperson of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA), representatives from REDRESS and other organisations advocating for the adoption and implementation of effective anti-torture legislation. Participants discussed the findings of each country study, identified crosscutting issues, challenges and best practises as well as the role of regional and international mechanisms. Participants also discussed the development of national and regional strategies for the drafting, adoption and implementation of anti-torture legislative frameworks.

See here for further background and agenda of the meeting.


Accountability and Justice for Serious International Crimes in Africa: towards the creation of an African practitioners' network

10-11 September 2015,  Pretoria, South Africa

On the 10th and 11th of September, REDRESS and its partners, the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) and International Commission of Jurists - Kenya Section  (ICJ- Kenya) hosted an expert conference on  "Accountability and Justice for Serious International Crimes in Africa: towards the creation of an African practitioners’ network."

The conference brought together practitioners, lawyers, prosecutors and civil society actors from a number of African countries to discuss how an increase of cooperation among practitioners can strengthen capacity of national authorities to effectively fight against impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and enforced disappearances.

Background note (English)
Background note (Français)
Conference Agenda (English)
Conference Agenda (Français)

Conference report (English)


Expert conference on participation of victims of international crimes in national criminal justice systems

8-9 September 2015, Pretoria, South Africa

On the 8th and 9th of September, REDRESS and the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) hosted an expert conference to present our report on participation of victims of international crimes in national criminal justice systems. The conference brought together practitioners, lawyers, prosecutors and civil society actors from a number of African countries to discuss how to strengthen victims’ participation, in light of the conclusions of our recent report.

Read the report (English)

Read the agenda (English)

Read the agenda (Français)


REDRESS joins other organisations in protest against the torture and detention of Bahraini academic Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace

27 August 2015

On the 27th of August, REDRESS joined the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), English Pen and the Index on Censorship in a protest outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, calling on the Bahraini government to release Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace from prison. Dr Al-Singace is an academic and blogger who was arrested for his peaceful participation in the Arab Spring protests in 2011. He was subjected to torture and ill-treatment during his initial detention, including forced standing, verbal and sexual assault, beatings, and prolonged solitary confinement. He was tried by a military court in June 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. 

The date marked the 160th day of Dr Al-Singace's hunger strike, which began on 21 March 2015 in protest against the deprivation of basic rights and ill-treatment of prisoners in Jau prison. 

More information about Dr Al-Singace's situation is available here.


Advocacy and litigation workshop in Uganda

24-27 August 2015

From 24-27 August 2015, REDRESS, together with its partner, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) held a workshop on strategic advocacy and litigation at regional and international levels. The workshop brought together human rights defenders from the East and Horn of Africa, and sought to strengthen their capacity to better pursue legal challenges and advocate on behalf of human rights defenders at risk of or having suffered serious violations of human rights.

Read the programme

Read the concept note

Read the Strategic Advocacy and Litigation Training Report


Round-table discussion on human rights in Bahrain and UK policy towards the country- now available to watch online

13 August 2015

On the 13th of August, REDRESS Legal Advisor Kevin Laue participated in a round-table discussion with the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and Human Rights Watch. The discussion, which focused on human rights in Bahrain and UK policy towards the country, was chaired by Nicholas McGeehan, Gulf researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW). The event also included speakers Shane Enright, Global Trade Union Adviser at Amnesty UK and Isa Al-Ali, a Bahraini torture survivor recently granted asylum by UK court. The discussion was attended by representatives from a number of organisations including Amnesty International, Index on Censorship, Reprieve, NASUWT, English Pen and Chatham House amongst others.You can watch the discussion using the link above, as well as here

Read the event summary


Free discussion at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law on legal aid and redress for victims of violence in Europe and beyond

13 July 2015

On the 13th of July, REDRESS Director Carla Ferstman joined Stephen Grosz QC and other experts in a discussion hosted by the 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". At this event, professionals and specialists in criminal justice issues and the law and practice relating to redress for victims of violence across jurisdictions shared their experiences of such issues and discussed examples of good practice.

More information about the event, including the venue and profiles of the speakers, is available here

The event was available to follow on twitter using @BinghamCentre and #accesstojustice.

See the flyer


REDRESS runners took part in the British 10K London 

12 July 2015

On Sunday 12 July, eight runners completed the London 10K in support of REDRESS. Ernesto, Nancy, Paul, Natalie, Eva, Gaia, Kartik and Mai all completed the run in impressive time, and still need your help fundraising so that more torture survivors can obtain the justice they deserve. Donating to our runners is a great way to support the fight against torture and the hundreds of victims we assist around the world. All the assistance we provide is free of charge, so any donation, no matter how small, can truly make a difference: £10, for example, covers the fees to initiate court proceedings for a torture case in some countries where we work and £20 enables us to post the necessary documentation to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva to file a complaint on behalf of a torture survivor.

You can still donate to our runners quickly and securely through JustGiving by clicking on the links on their names above. Please be generous and help us build a world free of torture.


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

6-7 July, Accra, Ghana 

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.

Read the Meeting Report as published by the ACHPR here

 


Free 26 June Webinar on working together to create a #TortureFreeWorld- now available to watch online

26 June 2015

On the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, REDRESS Director Carla Ferstman joined the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez, and other experts for a webinar which is now available to watch online. During the webinar, experts and practitioners discussed the challenges they face in working towards a world free of torture. The event provided viewers with a unique opportunity to hear the participants discuss their work for a #TortureFreeWorld and to submit questions and comments before and during the event. 

To watch the webinar, click on the image above.

Further information


Free Webinar: Making justice a reality for torture survivors- now available to watch online

22 June 2015

 

Our 22 June webinar on making justice a reality for torture survivors is now available to watch online. REDRESS partnered with human rights organisations in Perú, Libya, Kenya and Nepal in this free, live-streamed webinar on Google Hangouts. During this Hangout, participants share their experiences of seeking justice for torture. They discuss some of the legal cases they are working on, the challenges that they face in their work and the wider impact of torture in their societies. Former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Sir Nigel Rodley also joins the discussion.

The discussion is moderated by REDRESS Legal Advisor Juergen Schurr. 

See the flyer


Training and symposium for lawyers in Kenya

15-26 June 2015, Nyeri and Nairobi, Kenya

REDRESS and partners in Kenya organised several trainings and activities in June. A training organised with the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) focused on documenting and litigating torture cases at the national, regional and international levels and was attended by 15 Kenyan lawyers. On 26 June, IMLU also organised a symposium in Nairobi, where the Attorney General gave an update on the current status of the Anti Torture Bill 2014, which is yet to be enacted and would bring domestic laws in compliance with the UN Convention against Torture. REDRESS and IMLU are advocating for the enactment of this bill. From 15-17 June, REDRESS also organised a workshop together with Kituo Cha Sheria for victims' representatives on domestic transitional justice mechanisms.


REDRESS convenes panel discussion on legal representation for victims at the ICC 

Asser Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands, 10 June 2015, 7-8 pm

REDRESS is convening this panel to discuss the main findings of its new report Representing Victims before the ICC. This report reflects research carried out by REDRESS and many of the discussions which arose at a seminar that took place at the premises of the ICC last year, in which counsel for victims, intermediaries, representatives of the Registry and others were invited to exchange their views on the current system of legal representation for victims and discuss how to strengthen it and overcome a range of challenges.

See the flyer

Read the report in French


REDRESS and The Grotius Centre present panel discussion on prospects for reparations for victims in the Lubanga case

Faculty Campus The Hague, The Hague, 23 March 2015, 6.30-8.30pm

See the flyer


REDRESS and Human Rights Watch Film Festival present "Uyghurs, prisoners of the absurd"

Curzon Soho, London, 22 March 2015, 6pm

Ritzy Brixton, London, 24 March 2015, 6.15pm

REDRESS is partnering with Human Rights Watch Film Festival to present Patricio Henriquez’s film: "Uyghurs, prisoners of the absurd". The film recounts the journey of 22 members of China’s Uyghur minority who having fled repressive authorities in Beijing, happen to be in Afghanistan during October 2001 as US-led forces invade Afghanistan in search of Osama Bin Laden.  

From here they are drawn into an unbelievable odyssey. Sold to US forces, they are illegally detained at Guantánamo for years. Focusing on three of these “survivors of the absurd”, the film guides the viewer through the labyrinth of contemporary geopolitics as the filmmaker lays bare the worrisome drifts in the the fight against terrorism.

The UK premiere of Uyghurs, prisoners of the absurd will be followed by a Q & A with filmmaker as part of Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

For more information on the event and to purchase tickets


Training project to strengthen the skills of civil society in eastern DRC to investigate conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence

Goma, DRC, 23-27 March 2015

REDRESS and the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI) are partnering in a grass-roots training project to strengthen the skills and knowledge of investigators in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to document conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The project will work in accordance with international standards and best practice with a view to bolstering local work to seek accountability and redress for these conflict-related crimes.

The main activity of the project will be a practical 5-day training course, tailored to the needs and circumstances of local civil-society investigators and will build upon earlier and on-going capacity building and SGBV-investigation work there. Training components will include investigation planning, interviewing skills, and witness-management and support. 


Seminar on human rights defenders and torture in Sudan: advocacy, litigation, political and personal struggle

SOAS, London, 27 February 2015, 6-8pm.

REDRESS, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) and the School of Oriental and African Studies centre for human rights law present a seminar on the ill-treatment of human rights defenders in Sudan.The talk will be held in memory of two Sudanese human rights defenders, the late Abdelsalam Hassan and Osman Hummaida. 

Hassan was a renowned lawyer and intellectual who played a leading role in the struggle for human rights and justice in Sudan. He was the Sudan legal advisor on our Project for Criminal Law Reform in Sudan and fought for justice in the country since the 1980s. He continued defending human rights in Sudan as legal advisor for REDRESS from 2007 until he was tragically murdered in his south London home in 2010. Hummaida was founder of the ACJPS, an authoritative organisation on human rights in Sudan, and its first executive director. In November 2008 he was detained and tortured by Sudanese authorities in connection with his work promoting justice and accountability. The Sudanese government accused Hummaida of helping the International Criminal Court investigate crimes committed in Darfur. He continued to defend human rights in Sudan after his exile until his death in 2014. 

Amir Suliman (African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies), Najlaa Amhed (a Sudanese human rights advocate) and Dr Lutz Oette (SOAS/REDRESS) will be giving the address. The meeting will be held in room G3 in the SOAS main building, 18 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. The talk is welcome to all and will be followed by a reception. 


The US Senate report on Torture: Prevention, Accountability and Transparency

University of Westminster, London, 11 February 2015, 5:30-8pm

Our director Carla Ferstman participated in a discussion examining the implications of the US Senate report on Torture for the UK in terms of accountability, prevention and transparency. The report provided a detailed account of the techniques used by the CIA in the "war on terror", including prolonged sleep deprivation, forced “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration”, as well as waterboarding on more prisoners than previously admitted. The torture took place under a programme carried out by CIA officials and contractors in secret prisons around the world as well as in Guantánamo Bay in the years after the 9/11 attacks.   

For more information on the event


Training in the Maldives on how to document ill-treatment and torture 

Malé, the Maldives, 25-29 January 2015

In conjunction with the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, REDRESS organised a training for medical professionals, lawyers, activists and staff of the Human Rights Commission on medico-legal documentation of torture and ill-treatment. The training was assisted by medical experts from Sri Lanka and the Philippines. REDRESS and the Commission also held a meeting with state officials from the police, prisons and Ministry of Health on the same issue that lead to commitments to change practices and policies to bring them in line with international standards set out in the Istanbul Protocol. The events are part of a project funded by the Special Fund of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.


REDRESS calls for victims to be given a stronger voice at the ICC

New York, 8-17 December 2014

REDRESS attended the annual session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) - the ICC governing body representing 122 States Parties – at the UN headquarters in New York. A timely debate on improving cooperation with the Court took place during the session, following the withdrawal of charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta. REDRESS was among those calling for stronger cooperation mechanisms. For more information, click here to see our two press releases on the Kenyatta case: one commenting on the withdrawal of charges against Kenyatta and the other on the lack of cooperation from Kenya. See also a press release from the Coalition for the ICC, of which REDRESS is a steering committee member. 

REDRESS also contributed to the debate on another crucial issue: how to improve the system of victim participation, producing a special edition of the ACCESS bulletin, a publication from the Victims’ Rights Working Group's, a broad coalition of experts, victims' groups and human rights organisations which advocate for victims' rights before the ICC. 

The special edition of ACCESS bulletin is available in English, FrançaisEspañol and عربي


REDRESS discusses impunity in the Sudans

Durham, UK, 15-16 December 2014

Our Counsel Dr. Lutz Oette presented a paper on impunity and justice in the Sudans at a conference titled "Justice in Sudan and South Sudan" that took place at the Law School of the Durham University. Dr Oette is our expert on Sudan and has been responsible for our Project for Criminal Law Reform in Sudan.


Training and capacity building in Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya, 26-28 November and 6-10 December 2014

In November, REDRESS co-hosted a workshop with victim representatives in Kenya on transitional justice. The participants discussed the latest developments at the International Criminal Court, the progress in implementing the Internally Displaced Person Act, the advocacy efforts on the International Crimes Division and the status of the recommendations made by the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.


 

Victim participation at the national level: prospects for complementarity

New York, 10 December 2014

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and REDRESS hosted a side event at the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the inclusion of victims’ participatory rights in complementarity initiatives aiming at prosecuting ICC crimes at the domestic level.

Flyer


 

Seminar on victims' legal representation at the International Criminal Court

The Hague, 26 November 2014

REDRESS organised, in collaboration with the Victims Participation and Reparations Section of the ICC, a one day seminar to discuss the system of victims’ legal representation at the ICC and ways to ensure the delivery of quality representation of victims. Participants included ICC officials, lawyers representing victims in a variety of jurisdictions, current and former legal representatives of victims before the ICC and experts. The seminar was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Finland. REDRESS' work on victim participation is also partially supported by the Open Society Human Rights Initiative and Humanity United. 

See the agenda of the seminar

See background note


 

Seminar 'Delivering justice to victims of International Crimes' in the margins of the EU Genocide Network meeting

The Hague, 29 October 2014

REDRESS and our partner organisations – the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Track Impunity Always (TRIAL) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) – is hosting a seminar on ‘Victims’ rights to participation, protection, support and reparation'. The seminar, organised with the support of the EU Genocide Network Secretariat, will take place on Monday 29 October 2014 in the margins of the 17th meeting of the EU Genocide Network. 

REDRESS will also be launching its report, ‘Driving Forward Justice: Victims of Serious International Crimes in the EU’, which provides information on how the 2012 EU Directive on minimum standards for victims, which must be transposed into national law by 16 November 2015, applies to victims of international crimes and how victims can benefit from its implementation. 

See the agenda

See our report 

Click here to see more events


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