Training on Understanding Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Date: 28 September – 2 October 2015

Location: Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights,
Villa Moynier – Rue de Lausanne 120B – CP 67 – 1211 Geneva 21 – Switzerland


The Geneva Academy organizes a training on “Understanding Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”. The courses are taught by academics including, Dr. Christophe Golay and Dr. Joanna Bourke-Martignoni, as well as senior professionals from international organizations and non-profit and are designed for civil society, staff of NGOs and national human rights institutions, representatives of government, staff from UN and other international organizations, as well as academic researchers. Continue reading

Sri Lanka’s Army Displaces and Expropriates Tamil People


Sinhalese army and Tamil people

A new report claims that post-conflict harmony in Sri Lanka is undermined by military occupation in north and east, combined with land grabs that have marginalised Tamil people.

The report, published by the US based thinktank the Oakland Institute and entitled “The Long Shadow of War: The Struggle for Justice in Postwar Sri Lanka”, finds little meaningful evidence of reconciliation after the 26-year-long conflict between the majority Sinhalese government and Tamil separatists finally ended in 2009 with the defeat of the Tamils.

It says hopes of peaceful coexistence are being thwarted by the enduring displacement of Tamils, the appropriation of their land by the military, the new government’s refusal to take the country off its war footing, and the delay in investigating allegations of war crimes committed by both state forces and the Tamil Tigers.

The report also describes the Sinhalese army’s ongoing occupation of what the government terms “high security zones” in the north and east of the country. The report estimates that in 2014, there were at least 160,000 almost entirely Sinhalese soldiers stationed in the north, which means that there is one soldier for every six civilians, as the area’s population stands at a little more than 1 million people.

The report argues that the military occupation has long ceased to be about ensuring security.

“The army has expanded non-military activities and is engaged in large-scale property development, construction projects, and business ventures such as travel agencies, farming, holiday resorts, restaurants, and innumerable cafes that dot the highways in the northern and eastern provinces,” it says. “The army officially runs luxury resorts and golf courses that have been erected on land seized from now–internally displaced peoples.” Continue reading

Letpadaung Convictions Taint the Legal System in Myanmar

by Vani Sathisan, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) International Legal Adviser, and Hayman Oo, ICJ Legal researcher, in Yangon

Letpadaung Copper Mine

Letpadaung Copper Mine, Myanmar

“They can imprison my body, but never my mind,” U Nay Myo Zin told us when we asked him whether he expected to be released, right before police led him into the Dagon Township courtroom for the verdict last week. The Court was teeming with police guards and supporters of the accused chanted slogans at the police, “not to kowtow to the military government” and that “the legal system lacks principle.” U Nay Myo Zin then added, “I will never surrender.”

He was one of the six human rights activists, besides Daw Naw Ohn Hla, Daw Sein Htwe, Ko Tin Htut Paing, Daw San San Win and U Than Swe, who were sentenced to four years and four months in prison with hard labour.

Their conviction, after a trial that didn’t meet basic standards of fairness and due process, highlights the tremendous pressure on the country’s judiciary at a time when Myanmar desperately needs to show improvements in the rule of law. Continue reading

Latest Newsletter of the Human Rights Review Panel

HRRPThe Human Rights Review Panel (HRRP) has issued its Twelfth newsletter. The newsletter comprises a detailed analysis of the Panel’s decisions over the past four months.

The newsletter also highlights the meetings that the HRRP held with officials and international organisations. The Panel met with the new Head of EULEX Press and Public Information Office (PPIO) to discuss future co-operation between the PPIO and the Panel in awareness raising and an outreach campaign in the media.

The Panel also met the Deputy Head of EULEX Executive Division and the Head of Executive Police, as well as the EULEX Executive Police command. The participants discussed human rights issues and challenges the EULEX Police officers face in their everyday work. They also considered the Panel’s case-law which can be relevant and helpful to the work of the EULEX Police.

The HRRP’s mandate is to review alleged human rights violations by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) in the conduct of its executive mandate. The Panel will look into whether a violation of human rights occurred or not and formulate recommendations for remedial action.

iLawyer Dr. Guénaël Mettraux is a member of the Panel.

Leiden Summer School on International Children’s Rights

by Leiden University and the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies

Venue: Leiden and The Hague

Date: 6-10 July 2015

Summer School 2015 International Children Rights

The Leiden Summer School on International Children’s Rights offers a great opportunity to engage with eminent professors, children’s rights experts and colleagues from all over the world and acquire state of the art knowledge of the most important global children’s rights themes.

The one week programme offers insight in highly relevant and topical issues including migration and children’s rights, children and digital technologies, children in armed conflict and conflict situations, child justice and child protection. In addition, you will be challenged to engage with experts in strategic litigation, monitoring of children’s rights and the role of civil society in implementing children’s rights.

The summer school is held in the beautiful cities of Leiden and The Hague and includes excursions to the Leiden Children’s Rights House, a youth institution and the International Criminal Court, as well as social activities. Previous editions have attracted professionals and advanced students from all over the world

The course will be coordinated by Professor Ton Liefaard, UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University, and by Professor Julia Sloth-Nielsen, Professor of Children’s Rights in the Developing World at Leiden Law School

Guest speakers  will include Human Rights experts and academics.

Tuition fees for professionals are: €1100, and for students: €900.

A limited amount of applicants will be admitted to this summer school. The course is mainly aimed at professionals, but advanced students are invited to apply as well.

If you wish to apply, click here.

The deadline for applications is 1 June 2015.

ICJ Report on the Flaws of the Arab Court of Human Rights

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) published a report today, highlighting numerous failings in the drafting process and the provisions of the Statute of the Arab Court of Human Rights that fall short of international standards.


The 48-page report entitled “The Arab Court of Human Rights: A Flawed Statute for an Ineffective Court” calls on member States of the League of Arab States (LAS) to refrain from ratifying the Statute of the Arab Court of Human Rights unless and until it is comprehensively amended.

According to the ICJ, the Statute, approved by the Ministerial Council of the LAS on 7 September 2014, does not permit individuals or groups, including victims of human rights violations, to file a complaint directly with the Court. Only States parties, and NGOs that are both accredited in a State party and are specifically permitted to do so by that State, can bring cases before the Court. Continue reading

Justice Rapid Response’s 2014 Annual Report

Justice Rapid Response has just released its 2014 Annual Report, capturing its growth and achievements for the past year and plans for 2015.

JRRJustice Rapid Response is a mechanism that manages the rapid deployment of criminal justice and related professionals from a stand-by roster. Created by States from North and South to ensure that the capacity and the mechanisms are in place to conduct credible investigations wherever needed, its objective is to give the international community an effective and efficient tool to deliver on its commitment to ending impunity. To meet this goal, Justice Rapid Response established a diverse, global, expert roster of criminal justice and related professionals. These deployments can be requested by the international community: States and international or regional organizations with appropriate jurisdiction, such as various parts of the United Nations system or the International Criminal Court, to investigate, analyze and report on situations where serious human rights and international criminal violations have been reported.

Event: Women’s Power to Stop War

To celebrate its centennial anniversary, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is organizing a large-scale public conference on “Women’s Power to Stop War”.

WILPF 2015

Date: 27 to 29 April 2015

Venue: World Forum, The Hague, NL

Almost 100 years ago, more than a thousand women from twelve countries assembled in The Hague to protest against World War I and formulate conditions for a lasting peace. From this unique conference, of which Aletta Jacobs was one of the organizers, the WILPF originated.

Again in The Hague, WILPF will festively celebrate its 100th anniversary by the end of April 2015 in the form of an international congress at the Peace Palace (accessible for WILPF sections only) where a bust statue of Aletta Jacobs will be revealed, followed by a public conference.

This conference will cover a wide range of topics such as: Human Rights, Disarmament, Social and Economic Justice and Sustainability. These are dedicated to the promotion of peace and the eradication of violent conflicts. The three-day program consists out of several parts: plenary sessions, 40 workshops and roundtable discussions, international speakers, a market, exhibitions, public actions, a music festival and various creative activities.

Everyone is welcome to contribute a bit to a new peace agenda for the 21st century, tackling the very causes of violent conflicts. To register and for further information, click here.

EU Human Rights Review Panel Annual Report

The European Union Human Rights Review Panel (HRRP) has just released its fifth Annual Report. As in previous years, the Panel continued throughout the reporting period with its review of complaints of human rights violations by EULEX Kosovo in the conduct of its executive mandate in the justice, police and customs sectors.

Family member from Krusha e Vogel/Mala Krusa, 25 March 2014/ Enisa Kasemi ©EULEX

Family member from Krusha e Vogel/Mala Krusa, 25 March 2014/ Enisa Kasemi ©EULEX

In 2014, the Panel conducted five sessions and reviewed 35 complaints and witnessed a considerable increase in its case-load with the receipt of 42 new complaints. The Report details the findings of these cases and of the recommendations submitted to the Head of Mission of EULEX Kosovo to address violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Panel and its Secretariat also continued with its outreach campaign in order to disseminate information about its mandate, including a TV information campaign. It concentrated its efforts primarily on the Kosovo judiciary, human rights and legal aid NGOs, civil society representatives as well as religious bodies in Kosovo.

EULEX is deployment of EU police and civilian resources to support Kosovo on its path to a greater European integration in the rule of law area. In April 2009, EULEX became fully operational. The EU Joint Action of February 2008 and Council Decision of June 2010 and June 2012 provide the legal basis for the Mission. EULEX works within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. EULEX is supported by all 28 European Union Member States and five contributing States (Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States), and its mandate runs until June 2016.

The Annual Report – 2014 of the EU Human Rights Review Panel is available in the Albanian, Serbian and English languages.

iLawyer Dr. Guénaël Mettraux is a member of the Panel.

Latest Newsletter of the Human Rights Review Panel

HRRPThe Human Rights Review Panel (HRRP) has issued its eleventh newsletter. The newsletter comprises a detailed analysis of the Panel’s decisions over the last two months.

The newsletter also highlights the meetings that the HRRP held in November with officials and international organisations.

The HRRP met with Mr Gabriele Meucci, the new Head of Mission of EULEX Kosovo. The Panel briefed Mr Meucci on its mandate, procedures and operations. The meeting was also an occasion to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern.

The HRRP also met with its sister institution, the Human Rights Advisory Panel (HRAP) of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The Panels compared mutual professional experiences to date, discussed matters of common concern and future challenges.

The HRAP and the HRRP are the first ever institutionalized entities engaged in the assessment of alleged human rights violations by international organizations in the conduct of their executive powers in peacekeeping missions and rule of law missions respectively.

The HRRP also continued its outreach campaign around Kosovo. It met with Mr Srećko Bogajčević, the Political Advisor and the Chief of Cabinet at the Ministry for Communities and Return. The meeting was an occasion to brief Mr Bogajčević on the mandate and procedures of the Panel as well as its case load and decisions.

The HRRP’s mandate is to review alleged human rights violations by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) in the conduct of its executive mandate. The Panel will look into whether a violation of human rights occurred or not and formulate recommendations for remedial action.

iLawyer Dr. Guénaël Mettraux is a member of the Panel.