Human Rights and Business: The Case of Foreign Occupation

The Working Group was established at the seventeenth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011, and the Geneva Centre welcomes its 8th session as an important opportunity to ensure that respecting human rights becomes a global standard for all businesses wherever they operate, and one that exists independently of states abilities to fulfil their own human rights obligations and above compliance with national legislation.

Hate Crime Conference in Austria Calls for Legal Recognition to Combat Anti-Islamic Prejudice

Speaking at a conference about hate crime, Austrian Religious Affairs Director Fuad Sanac told Anadolu Agency that Muslims faced problems related to wedding ceremonies, funerals and other Islamic traditions not being legally accepted. Sanac said: “We demand the same rights offered to Jews, Catholics, Protestants and the Buddhist communities.”

International Worker’s Day and Forced Labour

International Worker’s Day commemorates a time of civil unrest in the late nineteenth century when workers in industrialised countries demonstrated for improved working conditions, wage raises and the establishment of a maximum working day and week. Many of the demonstrations were suppressed with force. The rights that demonstrators fought for at that time are featured in the preamble to the original ILO Constitution and are still current today.

Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Commends Achievements of Women in UAE

She reported that this achievement acknowledges the ways in which Emirati women have been enabled to excel in the workplace, in social and family life, as educators, and as shapers of an evolving global culture. She also emphasised that this finding represents an important opportunity to work towards a stronger and more equal society for all states in the MENA region.

“People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice, and Development”: The International Decade for People of African Descent

From 7th to 17th April 2014, the United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action met to develop a programme of activities for the International Decade for People of African Descent. The Geneva Centre expresses its support for the initiative and outlines the background and objectives of the decade ahead.

State of Palestine Submits Application to Accede to 15 International Conventions and Treaties

United Nations Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review of Jordan

H.E. Rajab M. Sukayri, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, said that “Jordan places great importance on human rights advancement, and we welcome the UPR as an opportunity to receive constructive criticism”. The Ambassador reported that Jordan has recently approved the granting of nationality to the children of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians and has agreed to grant them civil rights. On the consideration of gender among the criteria of discrimination, he noted that the Jordanian Constitution considers people equally before the law, and said that if gender was not mentioned this did not mean that there was discrimination. When asked about broadening the definition of journalists, Mr Sukatri commented that a relevant Committee had amended the law on the trade union of journalists, and that accordingly the freedom of journalists had been expanded.

Geneva Centre Joins UN to End Racism and Implement the Durban Declaration and Program of Action

In December 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Council elected to follow up to the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance by establishing an Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards. This Committee was mandated to elaborate complementary standards in the form of a convention or additional protocols to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to fill the existing gaps in the Convention, and to provide new normative standards aimed at combating all forms of contemporary racism, including incitement to racial and religious hatred.

Breaking the “vicious circle of mistrust, narrow-mindedness and collective hysteria”: The United Nations Human Rights Council on Freedom of Religion and Belief

Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt opened the session by outlining the key findings of his report. He emphasised that manifestations of collective religious hatred “do not “erupt” like a volcano, but are caused by human beings, whose actions or omissions can set in motion a seemingly unstoppable negative dynamic in societies”. The Special Rapporteur reflectedthat, “hate-filled sentiments can trigger a vicious circle of mistrust, narrow-mindedness, collective hysteria, contempt-filled rumours and fear of imaginary conspiracies”, which often result in “hate manifestations [targeting] members of religious minorities or individual dissenters”.

“They are dying of tuberculosis, and collapsing on hunger strike”: An Urgent Call for the Release of Eritrean Refugees in Negad Detention Centre

HRCE has been campaigning for the release and resettlement of the Eritrean refugees for the last three years. Currently, they are detained incommunicado, without visiting rights, and in inhumane conditions at Nagad Detention Centre in Djibouti. Most are deserters from forcible and indefinite national military conscription in Eritrea and several have been detained for as long as six years.

The UN Resolution on Human Rights Defenders: A Call for Protection and Enforcement

The use and abuse of national law to impair, restrict and criminalise the work of human rights defenders is a contravention of international law and must be addressed, and greater international attention is urgently needed to ensure the protection of those who risk their lives in the exercise and promotion of human rights.

As Violence in Syria Reaches “Unthinkable Levels”, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry reports to the Human Rights Council

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic today reported to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the ongoing conflict. They noted with regret that “save for the efforts of humanitarian agencies operating inside Syria and along its borders, the international community has done little but bear witness to the plight of those caught in the maelstrom. Syrians feel abandoned and hopeless. The overwhelming imperative is for the parties, influential states and the international community to work to ensure the protection of civilians. In particular, as set out in Security Council resolution 2139, parties must lift the sieges and allow unimpeded and safe humanitarian access”.

رفعت لجنة التحقيق الدولية المستقلة بشأن تقريرها إلى مجلس حقوق الإنسان وتصف وصول العنف في سوريا إلى “مستويات لا يمكن تصورها”

وتقدم اليوم اللجنة الدولية المستقلة للتحقيق في الجمهورية العربية السورية تقريراً إلى مجلس حقوق الإنسان التابع للأمم المتحدة بشأن الصراع الدائر. لاحظ أعضاء اللجنة مع الأسف أن ” للحفاظ على جهود الوكالات الإنسانية العاملة داخل سوريا وعلى طول حدودها، لم يفعل المجتمع الدولي إلا القليل ولكنه شاهد على محنة هؤلاء الذين وقعوا في دوامة. يشعر السوريون باليأس والنسيان. يجب على الدول ذات تأثير والمجتمع الدولي العمل على ضمان حماية المدنيين. وخصوصاً، كما هو مبين في قرار مجلس الأمن 2139، يجب رفع الحصار والسماح بوصول المساعدات الإنسانية دون عوائق “.

“The concept of child-sensitive justice is at the centre of the protection of human rights for children”: The United Nations Human Rights Council on Children’s Access to Justice

Article 2 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides for the right to an effective remedy, and this guarantee implies that all children must be able to obtain fair and timely remedy for violations of their rights. In its General Comment No. 31 on the Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on State Parties to the Covenant, the Human Rights Committee also emphasised that such “remedies should be appropriately adapted so as to take account of the special vulnerability of certain categories of person, including in particular children”.

One soldier told a Muslim man as his village was being burned: “The only thing you can do is pray to save your lives”

On the 12th March 2014, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, submitted his report to the United National Human Rights Council. He concluded that “extrajudicial killing, rape and other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment in detention, denial of due process and fair trial rights, and the forcible transfer and severe deprivation of liberty of populations has taken place on a large scale and has been directed against the Rohingya Muslim population in Rakhine State.”

Local Media Commends Geneva Centre’s Human Rights Initiatives

Emirates News Agency commended the work of the Geneva Centre in “promoting values of mutual understanding to work against discrimination”, and expressed hope for the “effective democratic transition in Egypt”. Al Ittihad News also welcomed the Geneva Centre as a strong civil society voice advocating for human rights advancement on the ground.