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 …]



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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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

Russian Federation: NGOs officially portrayed as “foreign agents”, “anti-constitutional” and “anti-Russian”, what next?

“Defending the rights set out in the Russian Constitution should be the states and citizens duty. Sadly, in the Russia of today, exercising and defending the very rights protected in the Constitution and in the treaties ratified by the Russian State can be declared unconstitutional, anti-Russian or subversive”, said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General. “And it can get worse: the potential control of any communication on human rights violations to global organisations is a new dimension of suffocating any critical voice leaving victims of torture and other violations unheard, he added in a comment.

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November 23, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Russian Federation

Syrian Arab Republic: Fears for Life of Free Expression Advocate: Bassel Khartabil, in Undiscloed Location, May Face Death Sentence

Bassel Khartabil, a defender of freedom expression being held in conditions amounting to enforced disappearance may be facing a death sentence, 36 local and international organizations said today. His wife has received unconfirmed reports that a Military Field Court has sentenced him to death. His whereabouts should be disclosed immediately, and he should be released unconditionally, the groups said.

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November 20, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Syrian Arab Republic

Bahrain: European Parliament urges Bahrain’s King to lift Nabeel Rajab’s travel ban and drop charges

On 19 November 2015, Member of the European Parliament Mr. Pier Antonio Panzeri, together with 80 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), issued a letter to Bahrain’s King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, calling on the Bahraini government to immediately lift the travel ban and drop all charges against human rights defender Nabeel Rajab. The undersigned 20 international NGOs welcome the letter and echo the call to lift Mr. Rajab’s travel ban and end the judicial harassment against him.

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November 20, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Bahrain

Angola: Press Release: The Angola 15 must be released and their right to a fair trial guaranteed

As the trial against pro-democracy activists detained since June 2015 opened three days ago in Luanda, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a joint FIDH-OMCT programme) reiterates its call on the authorities of Angola to release them immediately and unconditionally and to guarantee their right to a fair trial.

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November 19, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Angola

Cuba: Release and subsequent re-arrest of Messrs. Zaqueo Báez Guerrero and Ismael Bonet Reñé as well as Ms. María Josefa Acón Sardiñas, and arrest of aproximately 70 members of the Ladies in White

The Observatory condemns the re-arrest of Messrs. Zaqueo Báez Guerrero, Ismael Bonet Reñé and Ms. María Josefa Acón Sardiñas, and strongly deplores the ongoing judicial harassment against them. The Observatory calls upon the Cuban authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against them as they only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities.

The Observatory further condemns the arrest of approximately 70 members of the Ladies in White including Mss. Leticia Ramos Herreria, Annia Abascal Zamora, Sisy Abascal Zamora, Mercedes López Suárez and Marisol Fernández Socorro and calls on the Cuban authorities to respect the legitimate activities of human rights defenders including the human right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

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November 18, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Cuba