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 …]

 

Highlights

Russian Federation:  Press Release: New legislative and administrative moves to restrict and criminalise human rights defenders

In the past months, new laws were adopted by legislative bodies to further restrict the space of civil society, including human rights work conducted in the country. The Observatory expresses its utmost concerns over these new developments, in particular the drawing up of a “patriotic stop list” by the Parliament, the labelling of the Committee Against Torture (CAT), OMCT member organisation, as “foreign agent” and the introduction of two new pieces of legislation providing police and security forces with new means to suppress and repress social dissent.

The aim of the authorities is to form a mass of obedient citizens isolated from the rest of the world, deprived of independent sources of information and without a possibility to stand up for their rights”, declared OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock.

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July 17, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Russian Federation

Azerbaijan:  Beginning of the first trial against Ms. Leyla Yunus and Mr. Arif Yunusov


According to the information received, on July 15, 2015, a pre-trial hearing was held at the Baku Grave Crimes Court. Ms. Yunus is accused of large scale fraud (Article 178.3.2), fake manufacturing or selling of official documents (Articles 320.1 and 320.2), large scale tax evasion (Article 213.2.2) and illegal business with extraction of income in large size (Article 192.2.1) while Mr. Yunusov is accused of large-scale fraud (Article 178.3.2). Ms. Yunus and Mr. Yunusov were placed in a glass courtroom cage and the interpreter they needed (they are Russian-speaking persons and the hearing was held in Azeri) sat near the cage.

The Observatory calls upon the authorities in Azerbaijan to immediately drop all charges against Ms. Leyla Yunus and Mr. Arif Yunusov as their detention seems to only aim at sanctioning their activities amidst a wave of increasing repression against civil society organisations and representatives in Azerbaijan. In the meantime, the Azeri authorities should urgently put an end to their pre-trial detention and change it for house detention taking into account the critical health condition of both human rights defenders.

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July 16, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Azerbaijan

Colombia:  La aplicación correcta de la justicia en el caso de las quince personas detenidas por los atentados en Bogotá

July 10, 2015  |   Urgent campaigns  |  Statements  |  Colombia

Philippines:  Publication of a report: Human rights defenders remain steadfast in their struggle for justice amid pervasive culture of violence and impunity

Geneva- Paris, July 9, 2015 – Human rights defenders in the Philippines, in particular those advocating for land and environmental rights, remain under serious threat, the Observatory said in a new report launched today. Defenders are systematically vilified, intimidated, and targeted both by state and non-state actors.

The report clearly shows that laws and the criminal justice system are on most occasions used to harass, detain, and imprison human rights defenders, effectively removing them from the human rights arena. Despite the chilling effect that those actions have on the whole Filipino human rights community, human rights defenders remain steadfast in their struggle for justice”, stated OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock.

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July 9, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Reports and Publications  |  Philippines

Mexico:  Carta abierta: A un mes de los hechos ocurridos en Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero, la OMCT insta a una apuesta firme por el diálogo y a la realización de investigaciones eficaces

July 8, 2015  |   Urgent campaigns  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Mexico

Mexico:  Necesario reconocer las dimensiones reales de la tortura en México para instrumentar políticas públicas y erradicar esta terrible práctica

July 1, 2015  |   Urgent campaigns  |  Statements  |  Mexico

Saudi Arabia:  Joint Letter: Raif Badawi - Arbitrary Detention and Illegal Treatment

The sentence of lashing and imprisonment imposed on Raif Badawi violates Saudi Arabia’s international law obligations and must be rescinded. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the Law Society of England and Wales and the International Federation for Human Rights - FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture - OMCT - within the framework of their joint programme the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders call on the Government of Saudi Arabia and the international community to take effective action to ensure the immediate and unconditional release from prison of Raif Badawi and his protection from lashings.

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June 30, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Saudi Arabia

Congo, Democratic Republic:  Les Prisons dans les Kivu : Arbitraire et atteintes aux droits humains - Publication du rapport d'étude OMCT/AEDH





June 26, 2015  |   Monitoring Protection Mechanisms  |  Reports and Publications  |  Congo, Democratic Republic
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Syrian Arab Republic: Press Release: Selective application of amnesty leaves Mazen Darwish in jail

​Paris-Geneva, July 24, 2015 – Granted amnesty, Hussain Ghrer and Hani Al-Zaitani were released on July 17 and July 18, 2015, respectively. Both had been arbitrarily detained since February 2012, for promoting freedom of expression and monitoring gross human rights violations committed in Syria. The Observatory welcomes their release, but expresses its extreme concern for the situation of their fellow colleague and Director of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), Mazen Darwish, who is still in prison.

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July 24, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Syrian Arab Republic
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Azerbaijan: Press Release: Intigam Aliyev's sentence upheld following a summary trial

This sham appeal trial is the first of what is probably going to be a long series of summary appeals to secure the detention of all dissident voices and human rights defenders in Azerbaijan. With some limited exceptions, the reaction of the international community to this wave of repression has been very mild and it is about time for a strong response”, concluded OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock.

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July 23, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Azerbaijan
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Cambodia: Ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Ny Chakrya, Head of the Human Rights and Legal Aid Section of ADHOC

According to the information received, on July 19, 2015, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to refer Mr. Ny Chakrya’s file on charges of “public defamation”, “acts of slanderous denunciation”, and “publication of commentaries to put pressure on jurisdiction” (Art. 305, 311, and 522 of the Criminal Code respectively) to the investigating judge.
The Observatory strongly condemns the ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Ny Chakrya, which only aims at sanctioning his legitimate human rights activities.

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July 22, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Cambodia
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Korea, (South) Republic of: Detention of Mr. Lae-Goon Park, a standing steering committee member of the Coalition 4.16 on the Sewol Ferry Disaster

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the detention of Mr. Lae-Goon Park, a standing steering committee member of the Coalition 4.16 on the Sewol Ferry Disaster  (Coalition 4.16) which demands an independent investigatory commission be set up for the Sewol Ferry incident which happened on April 16, 2014. In addition, since April 2015, six protesters, including Mr. Hyung-Jae Ham  and Mr. Hyun-Sik Kim, two staff members from the People's Committee for the Sewol Tragedy, have been detained and face criminal charges for participating in the Sewol ferry tragedy protests .
 
The Observatory calls upon the South Korean authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Lae-Goon Park, Hyung-Jae Ham, Hyun-Sik Kim and all peaceful protesters, and to drop all charges against them as these charges are related solely to their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

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July 22, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Korea, (South) Republic of
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China: Joint Open Letter: The recent arrest of a large group of human rights lawyers in China

All these lawyers, law firm staff and human rights defenders who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty should be immediately released. If they are not immediately released, we urgently request that you immediately confirm the whereabouts of those currently in detention and that you ensure that they have prompt and regular access to their lawyers and family.

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July 21, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  China

Mexico: Murder attempt against Ms. Rocío María Olivera Toro Maya

July 20, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Mexico

Thailand: ​Thailand must end harassment of researchers and human rights defenders

Around 30 NGOs and trade unions are demanding Thailand to end harassment of researchers and human rights defenders in the run-up to the final preliminary hearing in a criminal defamation and computer crimes case, brought by Natural Fruit against researcher and activist Andy Hall, on 20th July.

The undersigned organisations are also disappointed to learn that Thailand's Attorney General is trying to get another, already dismissed, case against Andy Hall re-opened.

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July 20, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Statements  |  Thailand

Azerbaijan: Ongoing judicial harassment against prominent human rights lawyer Mr. Khalid Bagirov

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Khalid Bagirov, prominent human rights lawyer who represented human rights defenders Ms. Leyla Yunus, Mr. Arif Yunusov and Mr. Rasul Jafarov.

The Observatory is deeply concerned about the number of violations of fair trial standards that occurred during both hearings, and deems that these actions only aim at hindering his legitimate professional activities as a human rights lawyer. The Observatory highlights that the accusations against Mr. Bagirov and the judicial harassment he has been facing bring serious concerns on the independence of the Azerbaijan Bar Association (ABA) as well as on its ability to protect the interests of the legal profession in the country.


The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the disbarment of Mr. Bagirov as the number of human rights lawyers in the country is decreasing alarmingly thus denying human rights defenders and activists their right to legal defense.

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July 17, 2015  |   Human Rights Defenders  |  Urgent Interventions  |  Azerbaijan