World Organisation Against Torture

Created in 1985, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is today the main coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGO) fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. With 311 affiliated organisations in its SOS-Torture Network and many tens of thousands correspondents in every country, OMCT is the most important network of non-governmental organisations working for the protection and the promotion of human rights in the world. [Read more …]

"10 December, 10 Defenders" Campaign


Colombia:  Victims of torture in Colombia are yet to be recognised and repaired

November 18, 2015  |   Monitoring Protection Mechanisms  |  Statements  |  Colombia

UN Forum on Business and Human Rights: Side event on challenges that human rights defenders face in the context of business activities in an age of a shrinking civil society space

OMCT is pleased to co-sponsor a side event on Wednesday 18 November 2015 in the framework of the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, entitled: "Addressing the challenges that Human Rights Defenders face in the context of business activities in an age of a shrinking civil society space"

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November 17, 2015  |   Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Human Rights Defenders  |  Events

Azerbaijan:  Measure of restraint against Mr. Arif Yunusov changed from detention to conditional release for the period of appeal

The Observatory welcomes this long-awaited decision concerning Mr. Yunusov, which had been denied on several occasions over the past months in spite of his deteriorating health. The Observatory reiterates its call for a similar measure being granted to Ms. Leyla Yunus, as a first step to the unconditional release of Ms. Yunus and Mr. Arif Yunusov.

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November 13, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Azerbaijan

European Union (EU):  HRDN Campaign Launch: Stand 4 Human Rights Defenders

The EU and its member states must give, at this crucial political moment, the highest possible priority and resources to enable space for human rights defenders and civil society even as other states work to close it down. As a community based on rule of law and shared values, the EU must stand at the forefront to act and speak out for human rights defenders who are silenced, attacked, harassed and put behind bars. The Stand 4 Human Rights Defenders campaign calls on the EU and its member states to address this issue vigorously and strategically at the highest political level, both inside and outside the EU.

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November 12, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  European Union (EU)

Azerbaijan:  UN Committee against Torture to intervene to stop torture and save lives of anti-torture activists

November 10, 2015  |   Monitoring Protection Mechanisms  |  Statements  |  Azerbaijan

Burundi:  Joint Open Letter: NGOs Call for a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Joint Open Letter to Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council

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November 9, 2015  |   Monitoring Protection Mechanisms  |  Statements  |  Burundi

Azerbaijan:  Joint Shadow Report to the Committee against Torture

The OMCT in collaboration with the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) submitted a joint shadow report to the UN Committee against Torture to inform its review of the fourth periodic report of Azerbaijan at the 55th Session. The Committee against Torture will review Azerbaijan on Wednesday 10 November 2015 (10:00 - 13:00) and on Thursday 12 November 2015 (15:00 - 18:00). The session will be webcasted and can be followed live under

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October 27, 2015  |   Monitoring Protection Mechanisms  |  Reports and Publications  |  Azerbaijan

Venezuela:  Conclusions after the follow-up mission to Venezuela: "Some positive steps have been taken but some hurdles remain impeding effective progress in the prevention and punishment of torture in the country"

October 19, 2015  |   Monitoring Protection Mechanisms  |  Statements  |  Venezuela

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Venezuela: Restrictions to freedom of association must be rejected

November 26, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Venezuela

Mauritania: Transfert à la prison civile de Nouakchott de MM. Biram Ould Dah Abeid et Brahim Ould Bilal Ramdane, respectivement président et vice-président de l'IRA-Mauritanie

November 26, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Mauritania

UNGA passes resolution on the protection of human rights defenders

The fact that the resolution was not adopted by consensus reinforces our concerns about the shrinking space for civil society organisations and human rights defenders across the globe. Now more than ever it’s essential that all of us who are supportive of independent civil society join our voices to defend not only the legitimacy of their work but also to reaffirm how essential it is for any society wanting to advance human rights and the rule of law", declared Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General.

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November 26, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements

Morocco: Report du procès des 7 défenseurs des droits humains

November 26, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Morocco

Burundi: Temporary suspension of the activities of 10 human rights NGOs

November 25, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Burundi

China: Sentencing and ongoing arbitrary detention of prominent Buddhist leader, Mr. Wu Zeheng,as well as some of his followers

According to the information received, on October 30, 2015, the Zhuhai City Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Mr. Wu Zeheng to life imprisonment on charges related to his religious group’s alleged activities, namely “organizing or using an illegal cult to undermine implementation of the law”, “rape”, “fraud”, and “production and sale of harmful food,” resulting in prison terms of 12 years, life, 14 years, and 6 years respectively. The Court also fined him 7.15 million yuan (approx. 1,045,000 Euros) in connection with the last two charges.

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November 25, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  China

Joint Statement to all Member States of the United Nations General Assembly: Support the draft resolution on recognizing the role of human rights defenders and the need for their protection

In a letter addressed to all Member States of the UN General Assembly, OMCT, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, along with over 150 other civil society organizations urge Members States to reject amendments intended to weaken the resolution on protection of human rights defenders. The resolution is set to be adopted on Wednesday, 25 November 2015 in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee.

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November 24, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements

Kazakhstan: Call to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan not to sign into law the bill “On introducing changes and additions in some legislative acts of Republic of Kazakhstan regarding activities of the non-governmental organisations”

If adopted, the bill will obstruct the functioning of non-governmental organisations in the country by introducing vague notions subject to discretionary interpretation. The bill also includes many contradictory provisions and new legal terms thereby adding unnecessary confusion and uncertainty into the legal framework governing CSOs. Finally, the bill unnecessarily imposes additional regulation and control over CSOs by the Ministry of Culture and Sports in addition to the existing accountability mechanisms enforced by the Ministry of Justice and the relevant tax authorities. Proposals submitted by local civil society organisations to improve the bill, to clarify its legal terminology and to bring it in line with existing regulations and Kazakhstan's international human rights obligations were disregarded by the Parliament

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November 24, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Kazakhstan