Tag - Latin America ( 52 )

News | UN experts condemn string of Ecuador clampdowns on human rights organizations

Dec 30 2016

(Español) GENEVA – A group of United Nations human rights experts* have criticized the Government of Ecuador for stifling civil society, after issuing an order for the closure of an NGO which supports environmental and indigenous rights. On 18 December, ‘Acción Ecológica’ called for a Peace and Truth Commission to explore the attacks on indigenous and environmental rights. Two days later, the Ministry of the Environment initiated the dissolution process, giving the group 24 hours to respond and ten days to present defence evidence. The move against ‘Acción Ecológica’ comes amidst a conflict involving indigenous Shuar people who are trying to halt mining on what they claim to be their territory. The campaign group, which has vocally supported the indigenous protesters, is the latest in a series of organizations to be targeted by the government. The group of independent human rights experts urged the Ecuadorian authorities to reverse the decision and reform the legislation it is using to dissolve the groups. The UN experts have already censure the government for dissolving groups such as ‘Pachamama’ and the ‘Unión Nacional de Educadores’, and also attempting to close the NGO ‘Fundamedios’ over the past three years. “The Government of Ecuador seems to be... Continue reading →

News | Brazil: Kiai writes court after historic decision on protest management suspended pending appeal

Nov 09 2016

(Português) NAIROBI - Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai has written to the Justice Tribunal of São Paulo in Brazil about the recent decision – and subsequent suspension pending appeal – in civil public action case No. 1016019-17.2014.8.26.0053, Public Defender of the State of São Paulo versus the State of São Paulo, which deals with police management of protests. A local Court decision issued last week had instructed Military Police to develop a police plan for action at demonstrations, a development which Kiai hailed. The decision was suspended by the President of the Court on Nov. 7, however, pending appeal. The President said the exceptional measure was necessary because maintaining the decision would “result in serious injuries to public order and security because it impedes regular police activities." Kiai, who is the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, said in his letter that he was disappointed to learn of the suspension, as he welcomed the initial decision’s approach and praised the decision for its focus on key details of assembly management. (The original decision can be found here in Portuguese) “While I have general reservations on the role to play by Military Police instead of civil authorities in the management of assemblies... Continue reading →

News | Brasil: Relator Especial escreve à Corte após suspensão, ainda passível de recurso, de decisão histórica sobre gestão de protestos

Nov 09 2016

(English) NAIROBI - O Relator Especial Maina Kiai escreveu ao Tribunal de Justiça de São Paulo, no Brasil, sobre a recente decisão - e subsequente suspensão passível de recurso - na ação civil pública no 1016019-17.2014.8.26.0053, Defensoria Pública do Estado de São Paulo versus Estado de São Paulo – um caso envolvendo a gestão policial de protestos. Na semana passada, um tribunal de primeira instância instruiu a Polícia Militar a desenvolver um plano de ação policial em protestos, um resultado que Kiai saudou. A decisão foi suspensa pelo presidente da Corte no dia 7/11, em determinação ainda passível de recurso. O presidente disse que a medida excepcional foi necessária porque a manutenção da sentença anterior "ocasionará grave lesão à ordem e segurança públicas, pois cria embaraços à regular atividade policial". Kiai, que é Relator Especial sobre a liberdade de reunião e associação pacífica, afirmou em sua carta estar desapontado pela notícia da suspensão, já que havia saudado a linha da decisão anterior e elogiado a sentença por seu foco em detalhes centrais na gestão de manifestações. (A decisão original pode ser consultada aqui). “Mesmo que eu tenha reservas, de forma geral, com o papel desempenhado pela Polícia Militar ao invés de... Continue reading →

News | Ecuador: Expertos de ONU condenan la ‘muerte legal’ de la Unión Nacional de Educadores

Sep 27 2016

(Click for English) GINEBRA – Un grupo de expertos en derechos humanos de las Naciones Unidas condenaron hoy el uso de legislación nacional en Ecuador para disolver la Unión Nacional de Educadores (UNE), la asociación de educadores más importante del país. La UNE, fundada en 1950, fue disuelta debido a la aplicación del Decreto Ejecutivo N. 739 que regula la operación de las organizaciones sociales. “El Decreto Ejecutivo N. 739 establece restricciones demasiado amplias a la libertad de expresión y asociación, lo cual permite a las autoridades disolver asociaciones con base de criterios ambiguos”, señalaron los expertos. “Estamos profundamente preocupados por esta legislación que ciertamente confiere al Ejecutivo poderes discrecionales para suprimir la voz de la sociedad civil en el país”. Los expertos subrayaron que todas las personas deben gozar del derecho a la libertad de asociación reconocido en el derecho internacional y consagrado en el Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos, ratificado por Ecuador en marzo de 1969. “El derecho a la libertad de asociación es un derecho fundamental, al que sólo se puede aplicar un cantidad limitada de restricciones”, expresó el Relator Especial de la ONU para la libertad asociación, Maina Kiai, al tiempo que... Continue reading →

News | Ecuador: UN rights experts condemn the ‘legal death’ of a prominent teachers association

Sep 27 2016

(En español) GENEVA – A group of United Nations human rights experts today condemned the use of the domestic legislation in Ecuador to dissolve the National Union of Teachers (UNE), the largest teachers trade union in the country. The UNE, founded in 1950, was dissolved through the application of Executive Decree N. 739, which regulates the operation of social organizations. “Executive Decree N. 739 establishes overly broad restrictions to freedom of expression and freedom of association, and allows State authorities to dissolve associations based on ambiguous criteria,” the experts noted. “We are deeply concerned that this legislation indeed provides the executive with discretionary power to suppress the voice of civil society in the country.” The experts stressed that all people should enjoy the right to freedom of association recognized by international law and enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Ecuador ratified in March 1969. “The right to freedom of association is a fundamental right, to which only a very limited number of restrictions may apply,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, while stressing that “the right to freedom of association is at the core of... Continue reading →

News | El asesinato de Berta Cáceres: expertos de la ONU reiteran su llamado a Honduras para que ponga fin a la impunidad

Apr 11 2016

(English) GINEBRA – Más de mes después del asesinato de Berta Cáceres, expertos de las Naciones Unidas reiteraron su llamado al Gobierno de Honduras para que se haga justicia y se esclarezca el asesinato de la defensora de los derechos humanos, y para que se garantice la seguridad y protección de todos los defensores del medio ambiente y de los derechos humanos en el país. Berta Cáceres, fundadora del Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH), fue asesinada a balazos el 3 de marzo de 2016 pese a que la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos exigió que Honduras que la protegiera. A pesar de repetidos actos de intimidación, incluidos atentados específicos por su condición de mujer, así como las detenciones y violencia sufridas en los últimos años, siguió defendiendo los derechos de la comunidad Lenca de Río Blanco, denunciando y oponiéndose a la explotación de los bienes naturales autóctonos, especialmente por el proyecto hidroeléctrico de ‘Agua Zarca’. “El asesinato de Berta Cáceres, que se cree está directamente vinculado con su trabajo y con el hecho de que era una mujer e indígena, ilustra tristemente una terrible reacción contra las defensoras de los derechos humanos y especialmente, contra las defensoras de los bienes... Continue reading →

News | Berta Cáceres’ murder: UN experts renew call to Honduras to end impunity

Apr 11 2016

(Español) GENEVA – More than a month after Berta Cáceres’ murder, United Nations experts - including Maina Kiai - have reiterated their appeal to the Government of Honduras to provide justice and reveal the truth in the killing of the woman human rights defender, and to ensure the security and protection of all people defending the environment and human rights in the country. Berta Cáceres, founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations Honduras (COPINH), was shot to death on 3 March 2016 in spite of the 2009 decision by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights requiring Honduras to protect her. Despite repeated acts of intimidation, including gender-specific attacks, arrests and violence that she suffered over the years, she continued to defend the rights of the Lenca community of Rio Blanco, denouncing and opposing the exploitation of indigenous natural resources, especially via the hydroelectric project of ‘Agua Zarca’. “The murder of Berta Cáceres, which is believed to be directly linked to her work and to the fact that she was a woman and indigenous, sadly illustrates an appalling backlash against women human rights defenders and, especially against environmental activists,” the experts stated. Women human rights defenders are generally further... Continue reading →

News | Expertos de la ONU piden a México contrarrestar la campaña de desprestigio y respaldar a los defensores de derechos humanos

Apr 06 2016

(English) GINEBRA – Tres expertos de derechos humanos de Naciones Unidas* exhortaron hoy al Gobierno de México a expresar su completo respaldo al trabajo de los defensores y las organizaciones de derechos humanos de la sociedad civil, y a que contrarreste activamente la actual campaña de estigmatización que busca socavar su trabajo como promotores de las libertades fundamentales en el país. “Las autoridades mexicanas deberían reconocer públicamente que la defensa de los derechos humanos y de las víctimas de violaciones de derechos humanos no es sólo una actividad legítima, sino fundamental para fortalecer el estado de derecho, la rendición de cuentas ante la justicia y la democracia en el país”, dijo el Relator Especial de la ONU sobre la situación de los defensores de los derechos humanos, Michel Forst. El llamado de los expertos se da en el contexto de una ola de críticas en diversos medios mexicanos contra defensores de derechos humanos, organizaciones no gubernamentales y miembros de organismos internacionales de derechos humanos que está empeorando el clima para la promoción y protección de los derechos humanos en el país. En el último mes, a través de una campaña mediática, varios defensores y organizaciones de derechos humanos de la sociedad civil han sido... Continue reading →

News | UN experts urge Mexico to counter current smear campaign and openly support rights defenders

Apr 06 2016

(Español) GENEVA – Three United Nations human rights experts* today urged the Government of Mexico to express its full support for the work of human rights defenders and civil society organisations, and to actively counter the current stigmatisation campaign to undermine their work as promoters of fundamental freedoms in the country. “The Mexican authorities should publicly recognise that defending human rights and victims of violations of human rights is not only legitimate, but fundamental to strengthen rule of law, accountability, and democracy within the country,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst. The experts’ appeal comes as a wave of criticism of human rights defenders, non-governmental organisations and members of international human rights bodies in various Mexican media outlets is contributing to a worsening climate for the promotion and protecting of human rights in the country. In a targeted media campaign over the past month, several human rights defenders and civil society organizations have been accused of fraud and corruption, of defending alleged criminals and falsely claiming torture thus promoting impunity. “The work carried out by human rights defenders and civil society in Mexico has actively contributed to... Continue reading →

News | “Action needed to stop Honduras turning into a lawless killing zone for human rights defenders”

Mar 18 2016

(Español) GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, today urged the Government of Honduras “to take immediate and concrete actions, or risk turning the country into a lawless killing zone for human rights defenders.” His call was joined by Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai, among others. Mr. Forst’s appeal comes after the killing of yet another outspoken leader of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations Honduras (COPINH), the organization founded and led by prominent indigenous leader Berta Cáceres, an environmental and women human rights defender slain earlier this month Nelson García’s killing reportedly occurred on 15 March, shortly after he had witnessed a forced eviction carried out by security forces in the Río Lindo area, South of San Pedro Sula. “This new tragedy points once again to major faults in the protection of rights defenders in the country,” the expert said. “Amid unrelenting attacks against environmental and indigenous defenders, it is high time the Honduran authorities take concrete steps to ensure safety for all human rights defenders in the country, and their families,” Mr. Forst stressed recalling States’ obligation to guarantee security and protection for all human rights... Continue reading →