February 5, 2011
US Senate Resolution on Egypt
Senator Kerry (D-Massachusetts) has introduced Senate Resolution 44 to support democracy, universal rights, and the peaceful transition to a representative government in Egypt. It was considered and agreed to. Congressional Record S544 (Feb. 3, 2011).
Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office
A Quick Video Explains the Differences Between Italians and Germans
Back by popular demand, here is again a short cartoon that illustrates some differences between Italians and Germans. These are all cultural stereotypes of course . . . well, maybe. You decide.
Hat tips to Yadi Narimani (Germany) and David Austin (Italy).
February 2, 2011
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated his call for the release of journalists, opposition candidates and their supporters detained in Belarus after recent presidential elections.
“The Secretary-General continues to call for respect for the rule of law, democratic principles and protection of human rights in Belarus,” spokesman Farhan Haq told a news briefing in New York.
“He is concerned about reports of harassment and continued detention of journalists, civil society activists and opposition candidates. The Secretary-General reiterates his call for their release and for the full adherence to due process.”
Mr. Ban also called for the release of detainees last month following President Alexander Lukashenko’s victory in December’s elections. Immediately after the poll, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced deep concern at the post-electoral violence, including the abduction of opposition candidates, and called for the immediate release of those detained.
She had noted in particular that a leading opposition candidate was attacked on his way to a mass rally in the capital, Minsk, hospitalized and later abducted by unidentified persons. In addition, attempts by some radical supporters of opposition candidates to break into a government building were followed by mass detentions of opposition candidates and their supporters, human rights activists and journalists, and harassment of civil society.
(UN Press Release)
February 1, 2011
UN Officials on the Situation in Egypt
United Nations officials, including its human right chief, today voiced alarm at the high number of casualties amid the protests in Egypt, while calling on the country’s authorities to heed the demands of the people for democratic reform and respect for human rights. “The popular movement in Egypt, unprecedented in recent decades, has for the most part been carried out in a courageous and peaceful manner,” said Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“The whole world is watching how the President and the reconfigured Government will react to the continuing protests demanding a radical change to a wide range of civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights,” she said. Ms. Pillay deplored the rising number of casualties, saying unconfirmed reports suggests that as many as 300 people may have been killed so far, over 3,000 injured and hundreds arrested. She urged authorities to ensure police and other security forces avoid excessive use of force, and warned against arbitrarily detention of people for expressing their political opinion.
The fact that the Egyptian Government has maintained an emergency law for 30 years was an indication of its disregard for human rights, she stated, while speaking out against the withdrawal of the police from the streets at the weekend, a factor she said led to widespread looting.
Ms. Pillay urged governments in the region and around the world to take note of the fact that genuine and lasting stability does not arise from suppression of dissent, but is built on the respect of human rights and democratic principles.
For her part, Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), called for protecting the freedom of expression as well as Egypt’s cultural heritage. She expressed concern for the reported inference with the flow of information and freedom of the press in Egypt, citing the blocking of the Internet and reports that a number of journalists have been arrested and their equipment confiscated. “It is crucial that both national and foreign press be allowed to perform their duty of informing the public from an objective perspective,” the Director-General stressed. “Preventing the media from doing their job will not restore calm or create the conditions necessary for constructive dialogue.”
She also noted that Egyptian cultural heritage, both its monuments and its artefacts, are part of the ancestral heritage of humanity. “The value of the 120,000 pieces in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo is inestimable, not only in scientific or financial terms, but because they represent the Egyptian people’s cultural identity,” she added. Over the weekend, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Egypt’s leaders to take some “bold measures” to address the concerns of the scores of thousands of people who have been demonstrating for change, stressing at the same time that the protests must be peaceful.
(UN Press Release)
January 31, 2011
European Court of Human Rights Releases Annual Report for 2010
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held its annual press conference on January 27, at which time it issued is annual report for 2010. The report presents a summary of the Court's activities during the last year. The President of the ECtHR and the President of the European Court of Justice also issued the first ever joint statement by these presidents concerning the upcoming accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights.
Some of the more interesting statistics from 2010 include the fact that approximately 61,000 new applications were filed and the Court had almost 140,000 petitions pending on January 1, 2011. More than half of the new applications were filed against one of four countries: Russia, Turkey, Romania or Ukraine, and more than one-third of the Court's judgments were filed against one of those same four states in 2010. The Court delivered almost 1,500 judgments in total during 2010. The most common violations found by the Court were violations of Article 6 (right to fair trial), article 5 (right to liberty and security, article 2 (right to life) and article 3 (prohibition on torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment).
More information may be found on the ECtHR website.
January 30, 2011
Jessup Compromis Authors Sought for 2012
The International Law Students Association (ILSA) is seeking proposals for the 2012 Compromis from prospective compromis authors. The ILSA Board of Directors will consider all proposals and decide the winning submission at the end of March. Proposals should contain four principal legal issues based on realistic, cutting-edge questions of international law, as well as a one-page outline of the sub-issues raised. Proposals are due to Will Patterson at email@example.com by March 1, 2011. For more information about submitting a 2012 Compromis proposal and authorial responsibilities, please click here.