Preventing impunity for serious human rights abuses: The Zimbabwe Torture Docket Case

SA CourtWe are delighted to welcome this guest post from Amina Adanan who holds the EJ Phelan Fellow in International Law and is a Ph.D candidate at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, NUI Galway.

On 30 October last, the Constitutional Court of South Africa issued its decision in National Commissioner of the South African Police Service v Southern African Human Rights Litigation Centre and Another (Zimbabwe Torture Docket Case). The judgment affirms that the South African Police Service (SAPS) has a duty to investigate crimes against humanity committed outside of South Africa, subject to certain restrictions.

The case concerns the application of universal jurisdiction in South Africa. Universal jurisdiction is the prosecution of a serious human rights abuse, where the crime is committed abroad, by foreigners, against foreigners. It is a type of extraterritorial jurisdiction that applies to piracy (on the High Seas), the Slave Trade, genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture. Serious human rights abuses are often orchestrated by the state apparatus, thus a prosecution in the territorial state may be unlikely. As such, universal jurisdiction is vital to ensure that abuses are prosecuted. The Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act No. 27 of 2002 (ICC Act) allows South African Courts to exercise universal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity.

Background to the case

In March 2007, the Zimbabwean Police, acting under the direction of ZANU PF (the then one party government) raided the headquarters of the main opposition party, the MDC. Some MDC supporters were detained and tortured by the Zimbabwean Police. The torture was committed as part of a wide-scale and systematic operation executed against the MDC and its supporters in the run up to the 2008 elections. The acts were committed in Zimbabwe, by Zimbabweans, against Zimbabweans.

Following the incident, the South African Litigation Centre (SALC), a prominent public interest NGO, investigated the matter. SALC gathered evidence and compiled a docket, which included medical reports of victims, along with interviews and affidavits from witnesses and victims. In March 2008, the docket was forwarded to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for investigation. In June 2009, SALC received confirmation that SAPS would not investigate the alleged offences. Under the Constitution, it is the duty of the Police to investigate crime.

SALC and the Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum (ZEF) then applied to the High Court in Pretoria, seeking an order to have the decision reviewed. The application was made against the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), the Head of the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit of the NPA and the National Commissioner of SAPS. After the High Court found in favour of the applicants, the National Commissioner of SAPS and the NDPP appealed the High Court’s decision to the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa. In November 2013, the Supreme Court of Appeal found in favour of SALC and ZEF. Saidat Nakitto has provided an excellent analysis of the Supreme Court of Appeal decision.

The National Commissioner of SAPS then appealed the matter to the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Seven amicus curiae joined the proceedings, among them notable academics in human rights law and NGOs around the world, illustrating the importance of the case in the field of human rights.

The findings of the Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court looked to whether SAPS had an obligation to carry out pre- trial investigations into international crimes committed extraterritorially, and if so, what circumstances trigger this duty.

The obligation on SAPS to investigate international crimes committed abroad

First, the Constitutional Court noted the ‘special place’ of international law in South African law; reiterating, that the Constitution and national legislation must be interpreted in light of international law.

The Court then turned to look at Complementarity in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Article 17 of the Rome Statute (and its preamble) affirm that the ICC can only hear a case, where a state with jurisdiction over the offence is unable or unwilling to investigate or prosecute the crime. The ICC is complementary to national courts, when it comes to the prosecution of international crimes (genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity). The ICC can exercise jurisdiction over international crimes that are committed on the territory of a state party, or by a national of a state party, or when a situation is referred to the Court from the UN Security Council. The Constitutional Court noted that a question arises as to states parties’s obligations to prosecute international crimes committed in the territory of a non-state party to the Rome Statute. Here the Court noted:

If an investigation is not instituted by non- signatory countries in which the crimes have been committed, the perpetrators can only be brought to justice through the application of universal jurisdiction, namely the investigation and prosecution of these alleged crimes by states parties under the Rome Statute.

Zimbabwe is not a state party to the Rome Statute and the National Commissioner of SAPS did not dispute the unlikelihood of the torture being investigated in Zimbabwe.

The Court then turned to look at South Africa’s jurisdiction in respect of the crime of torture. The Court noted that torture is a crime to which jus cogens status attaches and from which no derogation is permitted. South Africa had incorporated the UN Convention Against Torture into domestic law. Jurisdiction over torture on the scale of a crime against humanity had been incorporated into domestic law in South Africa by the ICC Act itself. After examining the sources of international and national law, including regional instruments, the Constitutional Court concluded that South Africa is required (where appropriate) to exercise universal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity.

The ‘connecting factors’ in South Africa’s exercise of universal jurisdiction under the ICC Act

The Court recognised that there were certain ‘connecting factors’, at least one of which must be present for an international crime to be prosecuted in South Africa. Section 4 (3) of the ICC Act, states that South African Courts have jurisdiction over international crimes committed outside of South Africa:

[A]ny person who commits a crime contemplated in subsection (1) outside the territory of the Republic, is deemed to have committed that crime in the territory of the Republic if –

(a) that person is a South African citizen; or

(b) that person is not a South African citizen but is ordinarily resident in the Republic; or

(c) that person, after the commission of the crime, is present in the territory of the Republic; or

(d) that person has committed the said crime against a South African citizen or against a person who is ordinarily resident in the Republic.

In this instance, section 4(3)(c) was relied on. SAPS argued that because the accused persons were not present in South Africa, they were not under a duty to commence an investigation. (Notwithstanding that some of the accused Zimbabwean officials visited South Africa after the crimes were committed, and were not apprehended). The ICC Act itself is silent on whether the accused need be present in South Africa for the pre-trial investigation.

After noting the work of the Institut de Droit International and the content of the amicus curiae brief submitted by John Duggard and others, the Court stated that there was no international rule that the accused must be present for the pre- trial investigation. If not, investigations into crimes against humanity would be unlikely take place. The Constitutional Court did not dispute that the presence of the accused is required at a more advanced stage of proceedings.

Limitations on the exercise of universal jurisdiction by South Africa: subsidiarity and practicability

Looking first at subsidiarity, the Court found that an investigation may only commence where another state with jurisdiction over the crime (the territorial or state of nationality of the alleged perpetrator) is unable or unwilling to do so. The reason being, ‘the principle of non- intervention in the affairs of another country must be observed’. Here, the Court borrows from the language of the principle of complementarity. The Court noted that it was unlikely that the crimes would be investigated by the Zimbabwean Police, given that six cabinet ministers were linked to the offence.

On the issue of practicability, the Court said that the South African authorities must consider if it is reasonable to carry out the investigation, in each particular case. A number of factors must be considered: (1) The likelihood of a prosecution; (2) If the accused persons are likely to enter South Africa, of their own accord, or via an extradition request; (3) The geographical location of the crime; (4) The likelihood of the accused being arrested; (5) The gathering of evidence; and (6) The nature and extent of resources required.

The Constitutional Court unanimously rejected the appeal and costs were awarded against the appellant. The Court highlighted that constitutional obligations must be carried out without delay, notwithstanding the considerable time that had lapsed since the torture had occurred. SAPS will now investigate the crime.

Points of note

There are a number of significant points that arise in this judgment. Firstly, the Rome Statute itself does not demand that states parties exercise universal jurisdiction. As stated above, the ICC has jurisdiction to hear cases relating to international crimes committed on the territory of a state party, or carried out by nationals of the states parties. States parties are obligated to incorporate these forms of jurisdiction into domestic law, at a minimum. Section 4(3) of the ICC Act does not include universal jurisdiction in express terms. The Constitutional Court interpreted section 4(3) as implying the exercise of universal jurisdiction by the South African authorities.

Second, the Constitutional Court was right to distinguish between the presence of the accused for the pre-trial investigation and the presence of the accused for the trial, as it did. State practice shows that many pre- trial investigations related to the exercise of universal jurisdiction begin without the presence of the accused in the forum state. The investigation in Spain, into crimes committed by General Augusto Pinochet during his reign in Chile, are perhaps the most famous example of this. In Belgium, investigations commenced into alleged international crimes committed by former US President George H. W. Bush, and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, without the presence of the accused.

Third, in the grand design that is modern universal jurisdiction, where the trend of states is to reduce the scope of universal jurisdiction, this judgment is refreshing. Moreover, it is an example of a non- European state taking steps to apply universal jurisdiction (which is usually exercised by European States). Since 2003, in Belgium, the national legislation on extraterritorial jurisdiction is restricted to the active and passive personality principles, or to accused persons or victims who are resident in the state. In Spain, the question of whether recent amendments the national legislation on universal jurisdiction conflict with Spain’s obligations in international law, is currently being explored by the Spanish Constitutional Court. One of the reasons for this trend is because the exercise of universal jurisdiction interferes with the forum state’s international relations. In the Zimbabwe Torture Docket Case, the Constitutional Court of South Africa did not give much attention to SAPS’s concern that the investigation would hamper South African- Zimbabwean relations. The Constitutional Court noted that inter-state tension is unavoidable in the application of universal jurisdiction.

Finally, it can also be said that this judgment is an example of how the principle of complementarity is supposed to work. As the Court noted, the primary responsibility of the prosecution of international crimes rests with the states parties. It may be the case that this judgment comes from a state with a particularly strong will when it comes to human rights. South Africa was the first African State to incorporate the Rome Statute into domestic law. This is an important judgment not only for South Africa, but for other states that exercise universal jurisdiction. It is a positive move towards preventing impunity for serious human rights abuses. Whether the judgment will appeal to other states will remain to be seen.

Case materials are available on the website of the South African Litigation Centre.

Preventing impunity for serious human rights abuses: The Zimbabwe Torture Docket Case

Civil Society Perspectives on Business and Human Rights

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.11.59We are delighted to welcome the latest in a series of cross-posts by Dr Shane Darcy from the Business and Human Rights in Ireland Blog. The Business and Human Rights in Ireland Blog is dedicated to tracking and analysing developments relating to business and human rights in Ireland. It aims to address legal and policy issues, as well as highlighting human rights concerns raised by the activities of Irish companies or multinational corporations based in Ireland. The blog is run by Dr Shane Darcy who is a lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway.

The theme for this year’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade NGO human rights Forum is ‘Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles’. The event, which takes places this Friday, 7 November 2014, is seen by the Department as part of its consultative process towards the development of a national action plan for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles:

The objective is to present the opportunity for business and civil society to set out their views on business and human rights, both in the broad sense and also with a view to helping to develop a national plan.

In the lead-up to the Forum, a series of guest posts have been running on the Business and Human Rights in Ireland blog, bringing together a variety of international and national civil society perspectives on the topic of national plans for business and human rights. In this post, I try to highlight some of the key points made by the contributors, which may be of interest to those attending Friday’s event.

Starting off the series, Shawan Jabarin, the Director General of Al-Haq, the Palestinian human rights organisation, underscores the role that business is playing in perpetuating the Israeli occupation of Palestine. He makes an interesting historical comparision with Ireland, and considers it:

both ironic and disappointing is that today one of Ireland’s largest corporations, Cement Roadstone Holdings, is profiting from the construction of settlements and walls in occupied Palestinian territory, both of which are violations of international law.

Al Haq, who will be represented at the Forum (as will Cement Roadstone Holdings), have expressed their hope that Ireland might use this opportunity to “raise the bar” in the area of business and human rights.

David Joyce from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions reflects in his piece on the contribution that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights can make towards the attainment of the decent work agenda. He sees their importance in the clarification they bring regarding the different roles and responsibilities of business and Governments. He rightly observes that “businesses should not decide what their responsibilities to society are”. David also highlights the weakness of the OECD National Contact Point in Ireland and sees an opportunity in this process for its strengthening.

Karol Balfe, a policy adviser for Christian Aid Ireland focuses on the case of Colombia, in particular on issues relating to trade and human rights. She highlights the opposition of many unions and farmers to the EU Free Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru, which is to be the subject of a forthcoming Dáil debate. Although there are some human rights aspects to the Agreement, she points to the absence of proper monitoring or compliance mechanisms. She calls on the Irish government, in line with the Guiding Principles, to “develop and set out clear and specific human rights guidelines for Irish companies doing business in Colombia in order to ensure they do not violate human rights”.

Selina Donnelly, Policy Officer for Trócaire, also contributed a post, drawing on the detailed policy position paper on business and human rights that the organisation has just published. Extraterritorial enforcement of human rights is particularly important, she writes, “given the increasing globalisation of business, and growth of corporate influence”. She highlights the significant risks that Irish businesses may become directly responsible or complicit in human rights violations, especially in countries with poor human rights records or weak regulatory environments. She outlines Trócaire’s recommendations regarding remedies, due diligence and the need for a gender focus.

On the subject of national action plans for business and human rights, Claire Methven O’Brien, Strategic Adviser to the Danish Institute for Human Rights, makes the compelling case as to why such plans can help advance the business and human rights agenda. She highlights five key reasons as to why States should adopt national implementation plans: stocktaking, increasing the visibility of particular rights issues, exposure of poor human rights practice, facilitating dialogue between Governments, business and civil society, and, finally, permitting home-grown responses to concerns over business impacts on human rights.

In the most recent contributions, Nicholas McGeehan, Middle East Researcher for Human Rights Watchexplains that the adoption of the Guiding Principles has “undoubtedly” helped NGOs address corporate violations of human rights, by providing a framework in which to put pressure on companies. He focuses on forced labour in the Gulf, particularly prominent in the context of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, and provides some basic advice for construction companies that might be operating there. Hannah Grene, an independent researcher in human rights and development, also looks at issues of extraterritorial respect for human rights. She draws on Ireland’s poor record in relation to bribery overseas and advocates for significant changes to the way in which the OECD national contact point operates here.

 

* * *

 

This post gives just a flavour of some of the business and human rights issues that civil society will be seeking to be addressed at the annual DFAT NGO human rights Forum this Friday. A recent post on the blog also included a summary of recommendations made by the Irish Centre for Human Rights in 2012 on the subject of business and human rights. Other NGOs in Ireland have also made submissions to the Department in the recent past relating to business and human rights, including Amnesty International, and no doubt they will also make their voices heard at the Forum.

Civil Society Perspectives on Business and Human Rights

UN Special Rapporteur on Corrib Gas Protests

We are delighted to welcome this cross-post by Dr Shane Darcy from the Business and Human Rights in Ireland Blog.  The Business and Human Rights in Ireland Blog is dedicated to tracking and analysing developments relating to business and human rights in Ireland. It aims to address legal and policy issues, as well as highlighting human rights concerns raised by the activities of Irish companies or multinational corporations based in Ireland. The blog is run by Dr Shane Darcy who is a lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders has raised concerns regarding the treatment of those opposing the onshore gas pipeline being built by Shell and Statoil in Erris, Co. Mayo. Margaret Sekaggya outlines her views in a report submitted this week to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur finds that there is credible evidence which indicates:

the existence of a pattern of intimidation, harassment, surveillance and criminalization of those peacefully opposing the Corrib Gas project.

The policing of protests seems to have been disproportionate in some instances, she reports, while “there have also been serious concerns about the lawfulness of certain actions by the private security firm employed by Shell”.

The Corrib Gas dispute has Continue reading “UN Special Rapporteur on Corrib Gas Protests”

UN Special Rapporteur on Corrib Gas Protests

Dealings by Irish companies in repressive countries raise concerns about business and human rights

We are delighted to welcome this Guest post from Dr Shane Darcy.  Dr Darcy is a lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway. A previous version of this article appeared in the Sunday Business Post on 11 March 2012.

The news that products provided by Irish companies are being implicated in repression and human right abuses overseas should not come as a surprise, given the lack of adequate regulation here. Software sold in Syria by Dublin-based Cellusys and AdaptiveMobile has been reported as being used by the Syrian government to censor text messages by protestors challenging President Assad’s rule. This is a government which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has accused of “gross, widespread and systematic human rights violations”, amounting perhaps to crimes against humanity. As Ireland increasingly positions itself as an export orientated economy, its commitment to human rights requires that it ensure that companies operating here are human rights compliant.

This is not the first instance of involvement by Irish companies in the suppression of human rights outside of Ireland. Bloomberg reported in October 2011 that a system sold by AdaptiveMobile may have been used by Iran’s law enforcement and security agencies in their repression of political activists. Cement Roadstone Holdings has been criticised for its 25% shareholding of Israeli company Mashav, which controls Nesher Cement, supplier of concrete for the construction of settlements and the ‘separation wall’, declared to be unlawful by the International Court of Justice. Human rights is not just a matter for Continue reading “Dealings by Irish companies in repressive countries raise concerns about business and human rights”

Dealings by Irish companies in repressive countries raise concerns about business and human rights

Ruggie, Rights and Regulation: Ireland and UN Framework on Business and Human Rights

We are delighted to welcome this Guest Post from Dr. Ciara Hackett.  Ciara is a lecturer in the School of Law at NUI Galway where she also serves as Deputy Director of the LL.M in Public Law.  Her research interests include corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, globalisation and marxist theories of development.

In 2011, Ireland signed up to the United Nations Framework on Business and Human Rights (Ruggie Principles) (see here).  The initial aim of the framework was to ensure that companies have the same obligations and range of duties under International Human Rights Law as states, namely “to promote, secure the fulfilment of, respect, ensure respect of, and protect human rights.”  The only distinctions made between the two seems to be that states have a “primary” duty and companies have a “secondary” duty.

The framework rests on three main pillars.  First is States’ duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business enterprises through appropriate policies regulation and adjudication.  The second is the corporate responsibility to respect human rights (i.e. avoid infringing on rights and address adverse impacts) and finally the need for access by victims to remedy (para. 6).

Reactions to the principles suggest that the framework is a weak formulation and does not go far enough (see here).  Addressing this framework in the context of the on-going financial crisis and indeed the particular case of Ireland raises some questions as to the effectiveness of the framework or indeed whether or not the aims are realistic.  In particular this post refers to the foundational principles of the framework: that states must protect against human rights abuse in particular through effective policies, legislation and regulations.  This requires a re-imagining of the current Irish regulatory framework for addressing the responsibilities of business.

As society endeavours to emerge from the economic crisis, governments are faced with a balancing exercise between retaining or achieving a desired competitiveness in a post recessionary era and developing regulatory structures to ensure that the same problems do not occur again.  For states like Ireland the problem is more ingrained, stemming from the nature of an economy that was for so long Continue reading “Ruggie, Rights and Regulation: Ireland and UN Framework on Business and Human Rights”

Ruggie, Rights and Regulation: Ireland and UN Framework on Business and Human Rights

Call for Papers: Ireland and the United Nations Framework for Business and Human Rights

A one-day conference organised by the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the School of Law, NUI Galway entitled “Ireland and the United Nations Framework for Business and Human Rights” will take place on 24 March 2012 at the National University of Ireland Galway.  The conference seeks to explore and analyse issues of law and policy for Ireland arising from the 2011 adoption by the United Nations of Professor John Ruggie’s framework for business and human rights.  The framework emphasises a State’s duty to protect human rights, a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the need to provide remedies to respond to violations of human rights by business.  This conference seeks to look beyond the voluntary corporate social responsibility approach to business and human rights; as Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission has observed, “voluntarism can never be a substitute for global standards on businesses’ mandatory compliance with human rights”. The organisers welcome in particular contributions which address seek to address legal questions which arise in relation to the UN framework on business and human rights.  Ireland represents an obvious case study in this context, given the presence of numerous multinational corporations, increasing privatisation of public services and allegations of corporate involvement in human rights violations both in and outside of Ireland. The conference aims to address the following topics:

  • Legal and policy approaches to regulation of Irish companies for human rights
  • Obligations of the State and companies when public functions are privatised
  • Role of extraterritorial jurisdiction in Irish law to address violations committed overseas by Irish companies or multinationals based here
  • The potential role of criminal law to address violations of human rights by business
  • Civil litigation as a means accountability – lessons from the Alien Tort Claims Act
  • Remedies for victims

Abstract Submission

Abstracts should be sent by 21 December 2011 to: Dr Shane Darcy (shane.darcy@nuigalway.ie) and Dr Ciara Hackett (ciara.hackett@nuigalway.ie). Successful applicants will be informed in January 2012 of their acceptance to the conference. For further information and registration for the conference please contact: Hadeel Abu Hussein: h.abushussein1@nuigalway.ie

Call for Papers: Ireland and the United Nations Framework for Business and Human Rights

Minority Rights Summer School Highlights Plight of the Rohingyas

I was the organiser for this year’s Minority Rights Summer School, held at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, from 13th-17th June. It was the eleventh year of the School, which always attracts an interesting group of academics, students, activists and lobbyists, as well as those with a general interest in minority and indigenous rights and the role of human rights law in promoting equality and diversity. The programme this year saw a range of speakers, including a full day of sessions dedicated to a forum on indigenous peoples’ rights with contributions from scholars and practitioners. Continue reading “Minority Rights Summer School Highlights Plight of the Rohingyas”

Minority Rights Summer School Highlights Plight of the Rohingyas

Minority Rights Summer School, NUI Galway, 13-17 June

The tenth annual Minority Rights & Indigenous Peoples Summer School will take place from June 13-17, 2011, at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. This highly acclaimed course gives an overview of the legal, political and philosophical issues pertaining to international human rights law and its relationship to minority rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. In addition, each year it gives a more in-depth perspective on a particular theme, which this year is religion.

Minorities and Religion

Religion has a fraught relationship with minority and human rights standards, being perceived at once as a right and a cause of the denial of rights. The theme of this year’s school highlights religion in contemporary minority rights discourse, focussing on issues such as: religious minorities, religion and international institutions, Islam in Europe, caste, indigenous peoples and spiritual beliefs, women and religion, genocide and defamation of religion.

The list of speakers and registration details can be seen here. It promises to be a lively and engaging course, and a unique opportunity to hear a range of insights on this fascinating and complex area.

Minority Rights Summer School, NUI Galway, 13-17 June

The Trials and Travel Bans of Shawan J.

HRinI is delighted to publish this post by John Reynolds. John is a Government of Ireland Scholar and a PhD candidate at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway.

With the transfer of our economic sovereignty to an army of foreign accountants dominating the news of late, readers may not have seen reports in the Irish Times (here and here) and Sunday Tribune that Palestinian human rights defender Shawan Jabarin was prevented by the Israeli authorities from coming to Ireland last week to receive a ‘Distinguished Graduate Award’ from the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Shawan is the General Director of Al-Haq, which is the West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists and the oldest human rights organisation in the Middle-East. He is also a graduate of NUI Galway, where he completed his LLM in International Human Rights Law in 2004/5.

Since 2006, Shawan has been subject to an arbitrary and indefinite travel ban by the Israeli military authorities, preventing him from leaving the West Bank. While we have heard much in recent times of the siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip, Israel also keeps a tight stranglehold on the borders of the West Bank. Many Palestinians there—particularly political activists and human rights defenders—are slapped with unconditional bans on leaving the territory for fear that they might speak truth to the world about the reality of the situation that their people live under.

The facade of national security that Israel typically rolls out to justify such bans is not difficult to see through. Consider Shawan’s case. During the 1980s, as popular Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation mounted, Shawan was detained by the military authorities on suspicion of being a member of the PFLP political party. All Palestinian political parties had been banned under Israeli military rule, and the restrictions on freedom of assembly and association at the time went far beyond what was ever imposed in the north of Ireland or even by the apartheid regime in South Africa. Continue reading “The Trials and Travel Bans of Shawan J.”

The Trials and Travel Bans of Shawan J.

Event: Celebrating the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

 The Irish Centre for Human Rights together with the Office of the European Parliament in Ireland are holding an event to mark the 2010 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought.

Time: Thursday 7 October, 6:00pm

Venue: NUIG campus, Theatre IT250 (1st Floor IT Building)

Since 1988, in the spirit of Andrei Sakharov, the European Parliament has awarded the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in order to honour individuals or organisations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and fundamental freedoms and against oppression and injustice. There are nine nominees for the prize this year.As part of the event, each nominee will be represented by students from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, who will give a short presentation and argue the case for the award to be given to this nominee. Following the presentations the floor will be opened for debate, after which the audience will take part in a vote to choose who they believe should receive the award. Representatives of the European Parliament will convey the result back to the Parliament’s Human Rights Sub-Committee, where the next stage of deliberations is due to take place.

A reception will follow the event.

For information on the event, please contact Dr Noam Lubell at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Tel: +353.91.492065, noam.lubell@nuigalway.ie

For information on the Prize and on the Nominees see here

Event: Celebrating the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought