• Monday, December 18, 2006

    More on the CICIG agreement in Guatemala

    An article by Srabani Roy, “U.N. to Probe Violent Underworld” (IPS) quotes Philip Alston at some length for some context on why the UN and the government have agreed to establish a special mechanism to combat impunity. The full text of his comments on impunity are available here.

  • Thursday, December 14, 2006

    UN and Guatemala reach agreement on mechanism to combat impunity

    Yesterday, the United Nations and the government of Guatemala reached an agreement to establish the Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG). (The agreement must still be approved by Congress.) This is a new version of what was called the Comisión Investigadora de Cuerpos Ilegales y Aparatos Clandestinos de Seguridad (CICIACS).

    Guatemala/ONU: contra la impunidad” (BBC Mundo)

  • Friday, December 08, 2006

    UN Special Rapporteurs’ statement on poverty and human rights

    On Human Rights Day, the UN Special Rapporteurs made a joint statement, “States must address poverty with utmost urgency".

    Philip Alston also took part in this panel discussion, “Beyond Charity: Rights, Power and Poverty".

  • Friday, December 08, 2006

    Asian Human Rights Commission on extrajudicial executions in Thailand

    In a statement issued today, the Asian Human Rights Commission addressed the problem of extrajudicial executions in Thailand:

    The military government has persistently directed public attention towards the excesses of the previous administration while playing down or entirely ignoring its shared responsibility for human rights abuses of recent years. The interim prime minister has apologised for the killing of some 84 people in Narathiwat Province in 2004 but has not acknowledged the liability of the army for these deaths, least of all the 78 who died in its custody. He has ordered the security forces to cease using “blacklists” to hunt for suspects but has not yet explained anything about how they were made, who used them, which abuses occurred as a result of them and what investigations of wrongdoing will follow due to the use of the lists. Nor has his government yet lifted the emergency decree over the southern provinces, which a U.N. expert in July said “makes it possible for soldiers and police officers to get away with murder.” Martial law remains in effect across half of the rest of the country nearly three months since the military took power.

    The statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions is available here. The Special Rapporteur has also engaged in correspondence with the Government in relation to the events in Narathiwat Province.

  • Monday, December 04, 2006

    ICJ and ICG on Sri Lanka

    The International Commission of Jurists has issued a statement (29 November) calling on members of the Human Rights Council to:

    - Remain seized of the situation in Sri Lanka and examine the human rights situation in detailed discussions during the third session of the Human Rights Council;

    - Support the recommendation made by UN human rights experts (Special Procedures), and also the High Commissioner for Human Rights, that international protection mechanisms are needed in Sri Lanka, by encouraging discussions with the Sri Lankan Government to develop a plan to establish an international human rights field presence in Sri Lanka;

    - Follow closely the work of the planned Presidential Commission of Inquiry and seek reports from the Sri Lankan Government, the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons and the High Commissioner for Human Rights about the Commission’s progress, including compliance with international standards on investigations of past human rights violations;

    - Request the Government to invite the UN Working Group on enforced and involuntary disappearances to visit Sri Lanka;

    - Fully consider the section of the report of the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict that relates to Sri Lanka, when it is released.

    The International Crisis Group has issued its first report on Sri Lanka – “Sri Lanka: The Failure of the Peace Process” Among other findings:

    Most concerning is the failure of domestic institutions to address the human rights crisis. The Human Rights Commission, set up in 2001, has been plagued by a constitutional crisis about appointments to it and is starved of funds. A new ministry of human rights has yet to make an impact. The security forces have routinely ignored or covered up abuses. Inquiries into serious massacres and killings have produced no prosecutions. President Rajapakse’s proposal for a new presidential commission to investigate abuses has been met with some scepticism, given this history. Unless the new presidential commission confounds its critics and produces some real results, the increasing pressure for a credible, UN-led human rights monitoring presence will become much harder to resist.

  • Monday, December 04, 2006

    Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon

    The Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon has issued its report (A/HRC/3/2) to the Human Rights Council.

    Earlier this year, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions took part in a joint mission to Israel and Lebanon, and issued a report (A/HRC/2/7) available below.