The Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution condemning the "outrageous attack by the Israeli forces against the humanitarian flotilla of ships", which took place on 31 May 2010. The resolution, adopted following an urgent debate during its 14th session, calls on Israel "to immediately lift the siege on occupied Gaza and other occupied Territories".
During the debate, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that while details are still emerging, the attack against the humanitarian flotilla took place in international waters, and that any investigation into the incident must be "prompt, impartial, credible and independent" and in line with international standards. Outlining that the Israeli military‟s use of force was "highly excessive", the Deputy High Commissioner concluded with the hope that the Government of Israel will do what is necessary to "demonstrate to the international community a clear commitment to abide by international law".
Israel has rejected requests for an international independent investigation and insists on conducting its own internal investigation as well as a military inquiry. While the format of the investigation is yet to become clear, Israel is expected to appoint a state panel of justices to carry out the investigations and will concede to allowing two international observers, one of whom is likely to be from the US.
To view the speech of the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights in full, please follow the link http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=10091&LangID=e.
UN International Human Rights Day takes place annually on December 10th. The aim of the day is to promote awareness of human rights and advocate for their fulfilment and enjoyment by all. This year’s slogan ‘My Voice Counts’ emphasises how important it is to hear the voices and respect the rights of marginalised and vulnerable groups. While December 10 is naturally marked with different events and happenings that are all well documented, the days around it also contain a plethora of exciting events.
Bearing this in mind, FLAC created a dedicated pop-up site (www.humanrightsweek.com/) that gathered together all the events and campaigns taking place during Human Rights Week 2012. The wide variety of events only serves to highlight how vibrant the Irish human rights community is.
You can promote the site using the Twitter hashtag #hrweek2012
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a second arrest warrant for Omar Al-Bashir, President of Sudan, for three counts of genocide, a measure which will increase the already mounting international pressure on his regime. This is the first time the ICC, which has jurisdiction over international crimes committed in Darfur, has issued an arrest warrant for genocide. The three counts of genocide under the warrant entail genocide by killing (article 6-a of the Rome Statute of the ICC 1998), genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm (article 6-b) and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction (article 6-c).
The first arrest warrant for President Bashir was issued in March 2009, charging the leader with war crimes and crimes against humanity - making it the first warrant issued by the ICC for a sitting head of state.
To view further details of the arrest warrant against President Bashir, click here.
The UN International Court of Justice has issued a non-binding ruling that Kosovo's declaration of independence in 2008 was not in violation of international law. This finding, which was in response to Serbia's claim that the declaration of independence was a "flagrant violation" of its territorial integrity, could have significant consequences for regions seeking greater autonomy around the world. Many western states including the US recognized the 2008 declaration of independence, with Serbia and its ally Russia rejecting it.
Following the ruling, Serbia has now submitted a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly stating that "unilateral secession cannot be an acceptable way of resolving territorial issues". The statement further calls on "all the parties involved to find a mutually accepted solution . . . through peaceful dialogue in the interest of peace, security and co-operation in the region".
To view the Advisory Opinion of the ICJ from 22 July 2010, finding the declaration of independence of Kosovo adopted in 2008 to not violate international law, please follow this link.
Spain has become the first European country to become party to a new UN Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which will provide for a complaints mechanism in relation to infringements to various rights under the Convention, including the right to adequate housing, food, water, health and education, amongst others.
The Protocol was adopted by the UN General Assembly by consensus on 10 December 2008 and was opened for ratification in September 2009. It can only come into force after 10 countries have ratified it. In addition to Spain, Ecuador and Mongolia have ratified the Protocol, whilst 32 other countries have taken the first step by signing it, therefore indicating a willingness to be bound by it. These include Kazakhstan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).Eight other EU states- Belgium, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia- have signed the Protocol, although Ireland has not yet to date. It is hoped that Spain's declaration of commitment to realising economic and social rights will not only set an example but will also be followed by many other countries, including Ireland, and encourage them to ratify, or at the very least sign the Protocol.
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has published a guide for victims and NGOs on recourse mechanisms in cases of corporate-related human rights violations. The guide, which was launched on the 7 July 2010 in Amsterdam, is intended as a tool for victims, their representatives, NGOs, to obtain justice in cases involving human rights abuses by multinational corporations. The guide was launched amid a public debate on corporate justice with contributions from Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, author of the guide's foreword and Katherine Gallagher, Attorney of the Centre for Constitutional Rights and FIDH Vice-President. The debate was held in collaboration with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Watch.
The aim of the guide is to provide assistance for victims of corporate-related abuse such as the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India, where, 20 years after the explosion that devastated the area, victims are still awaiting compensation and the toxic site still remains to be cleaned up.
The guide explores the different options open to victims of corporate human rights violations including intergovernmental mechanisms, legal options and mediation mechanisms such as the OECD national contact points. It details complaints mechanisms stemming from financial support received by companies and also mechanisms that can be explored according to voluntary commitments taken by companies.
For further information, or to read the guide in full, please click here.
The information contained on this website is for information purposes only, it is not to be construed as legal advice. FLAC accepts no responsibility for actions taken on foot of this website or for the content of external websites or information sources referred to within it.