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October 25 2017


OHCHR | UN independent expert urges Spanish Government to reverse decision on Catalan autonomy

“The Spanish Government appears to invoke the principle of territorial integrity to justify forceful attempts to silence political dissent and aspirations of self-determination. While the principle of territorial integrity is important, as understood in many United Nations Resolutions, including GA Resolutions 2625 and 3314, it is intended to be applied externally, to prohibit foreign threats or incursions into the territorial integrity of sovereign States. This principle cannot be invoked to quench the right of all people, guaranteed under Article 1 of the International Covenants on Human Rights, to express their desire to control their futures. The right of self-determination is a right of peoples and not a prerogative of States to grant or deny. In case of a conflict between the principle of territorial integrity and the human right to self-determination, it is the latter that prevails.”

“Of course, there are many peoples worldwide who aspire to self-determination, whether internal in the form of autonomy or external in the form of independence. And while the realization of self-determination is not automatic or self-executing, it is a fundamental human right that the international community should help implement.”

“The international law of self-determination has also progressed far beyond mere decolonization. Applying the 15 criteria contained in my 2014 report (paras 63-77), it is evident that no state can use the principle of territorial integrity to deny the right of self-determination and that arguments about the legality of actions taken by Catalonia’s elected parliament are immaterial. Such arguments do not nullify the ius cogens character of self-determination.”

July 06 2017

  • United Nations News Centre: UN Human Rights Council discusses situations in DPRK, Iran, Myanmar and Burundi (Mar. 13 2017)

    Iranian judiciary ‘neither independent nor free from influence’

    In her briefing on the rights situation in Iran, Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir underlined the importance of the independence of lawyers and legal professionals to protect human rights and ensure a fair administration of justice.

    ‘[However] the judiciary in Iran is neither independent nor free from influence from the executive,’ she said, noting concern that recent developments in this field, including a Bill, introduced last July, which, if adopted, could further undermine the independence of the lawyers.

    ‘Broad and vague definition of certain offences, disrespect for the right of any accused to be promptly informed about charges against them, preventing the accused from freely choosing their legal representation are all contributing factors to violations of the right to fair trial and due process of law,’ she added.

    The Special Rapporteur also voiced concern over the use of torture and ill treatment, which remains legally condoned as well as a number of recent arrests of journalists, writers, social media activists and human rights defenders, in particular women’s rights activists, and called on the authorities take corrective measures.

    ‘I am disturbed by the level of fear of those who try to communicate with me. Several interlocutors living outside and inside the country expressed fear of reprisals against them or their family members living inside the country,’ said Ms. Jahangir.”

  • OHCHR: Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

    “On 24 March 2011, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution re-establishing the mandate of a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The previous mandate established by the Commission on Human Rights was terminated in 2002.

    On 30 September 2016, the President of the Human Rights Council appointed Ms. Asma Jahangir from Pakistan as the new Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ms. Jahangir officially assumed responsibility for the mandate on 1st November 2016. The former mandate holder, Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives assumed this mandate from June 2011 to September 2016.

    Ms. Jahangir presented her first report to the Human Rights Council on 13 March 2017.

    Asma Jahangir is the second Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran since the re-establishment of the mandate by the Human Rights Council.

    Ms. Jahangir was elected as President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and as Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

    Over the years, she has been recognized both nationally and internationally for her contribution to the cause of human rights and is a recipient of major human rights awards. She has worked extensively in the field of women’s rights, protection of religious minorities and in eliminating bonded labour. She is a former Special Rapporteur on summary executions, and on freedom of religion.”

  • Wikipedia: Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran

    “The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran is a United Nations Special Rapporteur whose mandate is to monitor and investigate human rights violations in Iran. The current Special Rapporteur is Asma Jilani Jahangir, a human rights lawyer of Pakistani origin and a former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. She has held the position since 2016.[1] She is the fifth special rapporteur to Iran, following the tenures of Andrés Aguilar (1984-1986), Reynaldo Galindo Pohl (1986-1995), Maurice Copithorne (1995-2002)[2][3] and Ahmed Shaheed (2011-2016).[4]

  • Wikipedia: Asma Jahangir

    Asma Jilani Jahangir (Urdu: عاصمہ جہانگیر‎, translit. ʿĀṣimah Jahāṉgīr; born 27 January 1952 in Lahore) is a Pakistani human rights lawyer and social activist who co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She is widely known for playing a prominent role in the Lawyers' Movement and serves as the trustee at the International Crisis Group.[2][3]

July 01 2017


United Nations News Centre - UN rights chief decries ‘unacceptable attack’ on Al Jazeera and other media

“Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in early June. The countries last week gave Qatar 10 days to comply with a list of demands to end the diplomatic showdown, including the shutdown of Al Jazeera.

The Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) said the dispute has been ‘taken to a new level’ with the inclusion of some fundamental rights and freedoms in the list of demands.

‘To insist that such channels be shut down is extraordinary, unprecedented and clearly unreasonable,’ stated Mr. Colville [spokesperson for High Commissioner].

If Qatar were to comply, the move would ‘open a Pandora’s Box of powerful individual States or groups of States seriously undermining the right to freedom of expression and opinion in other States, as well as in their own,’ he added.

The High Commissioner reiterated his call that all five Governments solve the ongoing matter in a calm, reasonable and lawful manner that does not impact on their own human rights, or those of other countries.”

May 20 2017


OHCHR | Special Rapporteur on Privacy

“In July 2015, the Human Rights Council appointed Prof. Joseph Cannataci of Malta as the first-ever Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy. The appointment is for three years.


The Special Rapporteur is mandated by Human Rights Council Resolution 28/16:

(a) To gather relevant information, including on international and national frameworks, national practices and experience, to study trends, developments and challenges in relation to the right to privacy and to make recommendations to ensure its promotion and protection, including in connection with the challenges arising from new technologies;

(b) To seek, receive and respond to information, while avoiding duplication, from States, the United Nations and its agencies, programmes and funds, regional human rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, including business enterprises, and any other relevant stakeholders or parties;

(c) To identify possible obstacles to the promotion and protection of the right to privacy, to identify, exchange and promote principles and best practices at the national, regional and international levels, and to submit proposals and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in that regard, including with a view to particular challenges arising in the digital age;

(d) To participate in and contribute to relevant international conferences and events with the aim of promoting a systematic and coherent approach on issues pertaining to the mandate;

(e) To raise awareness concerning the importance of promoting and protecting the right to privacy, including with a view to particular challenges arising in the digital age, as well as concerning the importance of providing individuals whose right to privacy has been violated with access to effective remedy, consistent with international human rights obligations;

(f) To integrate a gender perspective throughout the work of the mandate;

(g) To report on alleged violations, wherever they may occur, of the right to privacy, as set out in article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including in connection with the challenges arising from new technologies, and to draw the attention of the Council and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to situations of particularly serious concern;

(h) To submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly, starting at the thirty-first session and the seventy-first session respectively.”

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