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Just Access co-organiser of a side event on the Third session of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law on “Equal access to justice for all: a necessary element of democracy, rule of law and human rights protection”

Just Access co-organiser of a side event on the Third session of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law   The United Nations Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law held its third session on “Equal Access to Justice for All: a Necessary Element of Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights Protection” on the 16-17 November in Geneva. Just Access co-organised a side event to the session, together with Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights (Cairo, Egypt), the International Organization for the Least Developed Countries (IOLDCs) (Geneva, Switzerland), the International Alliance…

Stakeholders v. Shareholders: reimagining environmental justice

Stakeholders v. Shareholders: reimagining environmental justice   I. An introduction to ESG through investor/shareholder activismFor giant corporations and businesses around the globe, climate justice goals have often reflected less of a conscious accountability towards the larger issue of environmental rights and more of a strategic matter of regulatory compliance at best. Although concerns on sustainable investment practices and carbon output by business giants have been parts of several environmental and social justice conversations preceding the current consciousness of climate crisis, however, institutional responses in the form of introducing and including environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) as part of the…

On Qatar’s Reservations to the ICESCR

On Qatar’s Reservations to the ICESCR   On 18-22 October 2021 in Geneva the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will hold its 69th Pre-Sessional Working Group to start the process of reviewing States’ compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“ICESCR”), one of the most important core human rights treaties.[1] The forthcoming ICESCR compliance review session will be closely observed, as the States reviewed are Armenia, Chad, Mauritania, Qatar, Romania, and Palestine. Among the interesting questions this session will raise, this blog post focuses on Qatar’s reservations. It will be the first review…

Depriving the Myanmar junta of narcotics income: the international community’s, States’ and NGOs’ obligations and opportunities

Depriving the Myanmar junta of narcotics income: the international community’s, States’ and NGOs’ obligations and opportunities   Myanmar is the largest provider of narcotics in Asia, and probably the whole world. Since the military junta’s coup d’état in February 2021, the country has aslo been suffering from ferocious oppression and civil war. Given the persistence of broad-based civilian protests and multiple well-organised ethnic armed groups, the situation in Myanmar may escalate to an all-out civil conflict.1The two facts are not unrelated: the military junta is heavily involved in the production and trade of narcotics. While sanctions imposed on Tatmadaw-affiliated businesses…

20 years in pursuit of ‘access to justice’ under the AARHUS Convention

20 years in pursuit of ‘access to justice’ under the Aarhus Convention   1. Brief journey of the Aarhus ConventionEnvironmental rights and climate justice under the international law regime cannot be discussed without referring to the 1998 Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision–Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, more popularly known as the Aarhus Convention (the ‘Convention’). Negotiated and adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in the year 1998 and entered into force in the year 2001, it recently completed 20 years of being a seminal instrument in…

International Justice Day release

International Justice Day statement  Eighteen days ago Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, outgoing President of the ICC, stated that neither impermanent sophistries nor the glacially evolving fundamentals of international criminal law institutions matter. “Let me be clear here, as clear as I can possibly be: the law is for the people”, he told his interviewer.1 Legal technicalities are vital embodiments of this purpose, but they are secondary to it. Judge Eboe-Osuji added that he sees the Rome Statute as the culmination of eight decades of unceasing efforts to ease the chokeholds of state sovereignty, immunity and impunity on what should be non-negotiable…

Just Access speech at “Protecting Human Rights on the Internet: The Role of Government, Business and Civil Society”. Co-organised by Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights and Just Access on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council 47th session, 13 July 2021.

Just Access speech at “Protecting Human Rights on the Internet: The Role of Government, Business and Civil Society”. Co-organised by Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights and Just Access on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council 47th session, 13 July 2021.   Thank you very much for this opportunity! My remarks will focus on HRC Resolution 38/7, the previous resolution adopted in July 2018 concerning the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet, in order to identify flaws that can now be corrected. The adoption of this Resolution has a long pre-history, and we must…

Just Access has joined the Coalition for the International Criminal Court

Just Access joins the Coalition for the International Criminal Court  We are honoured and delighted to announce that in June 2021 Just Access has joined the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. This innovative, vibrant and world-changing civil society partnership seeks to strengthen state support for and cooperation with the ICC; ensure that the Court is fair, effective and independent; and advance stronger national laws that deliver justice to victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. We greatly look forward to working with the CICC and the other NGOs that it unites and leads in this vital cause.…

Justice for ISIL Victims Part 2: A Jurisdictional Perspective

Justice for ISIL Victims Part 2: A Jurisdictional Perspective   As the national judicial systems in Iraq and Syria are unable to respond to demands for justice from victims of ISIL, the international community has to fulfill its responsibility in promoting accountability for crimes committed by the jihadist group. This is particularly the case for states whose nationals have been implicated in some of the most heinous crimes committed by ISIL members. It is estimated that over 41,000 foreign nationals1 from 80 countries have traveled to Iraq or Syria to join ISIL. Overwhelmed with the burden of carrying for and…

Justice for ISIL Victims Part 1: A Constitutional Perspective

Justice for ISIL Victims Part 1: A Constitutional Perspective  Efforts to hold ISIL accountable for the heinous crimes committed that may amount to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and to attain justice for its victims are stalling due to Iraq’s inadequate constitutional framework and overwhelmed judicial system. Confirming long-held fears, the United Nations established, on 10 May 2021, that there is “clear and compelling evidence” that the unimaginable atrocities suffered by the Yazidis at the hands of ISIL amount to genocide1. A young Yazidi survivor of sexual enslavement describes the horrific events, recounting2 that “when I woke up…

The urgent task of improving the online complaint procedure before Human Rights Council Special Procedures Mandate Holders: towards victim-friendly design and effective collective complaints

The urgent task of improving the online complaint procedure before Human Rights Council Special Procedures Mandate Holders: towards victim-friendly design and effective collective complaints  At the end of 2020, the Office of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (“OHCHR”) launched a new dedicated website enabling victims of human rights violations to submit their submissions to the Human Rights Council (“HRC”) Special Procedures Mandate Holders directly online, via a new uniform complaint procedure.1 If this new online complaint procedure constitutes a real and welcome improvement, many other serious impediments to effective access to justice before the…

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 3

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 3  Later this year, in the second session of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (‘GANHRI’), the Qatar National Human Rights Committee ( ‘QNHRC’) will be assessed for re-accreditation.1 This is an opportunity to reflect on Qatar’s influence on GANHRI and the UN at large, and on the loopholes, poor institutional design, and misaligned incentives that made it possible. It would be particularly problematic if Qatar’s influence on GANHRI were found to be undue and improper, because the international human rights regime is uniquely vulnerable to multiple corruptive influences…

Just Access joins the conversation on the KAS webinar on China in the Western Balkan

Today we were excited to accept the invitation to the webinar “From Rule-Taker to Rule-Shaper? China’s Changing Global Role and its Implications for the Western Balkans” organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office in North Macedonia. The webinar was named after the title of the Policy Brief issued by the KA Foundation and the Association for strategy development, research, education and promotion of international values – ESTIMA.After the opening by Daniel Braun, the official Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in North Macedonia, and the moderator of the event Zoran Necev from the Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” – Skopje,…

Just Access e.V. feedback on “The Extension of the list of EU crimes to hate speech and hate crime”

This initiative of the European Commission “Hate speech & hate crime – inclusion on list of EU crimes” aims to expand the list of EU crimes to include hate speech and hate crime.Here is our feedback to the roadmap:Just Access e.V., a German NGO focused on access to justice, welcomes the initiative to include an improved definition and scope of hate speech and hate crime on the list of EU crimes, with particular attention to sex, sexual orientation, age and disability as the criteria for hate speech and crime. Our recommendation is to improve pertaining EU regulation by balancing the…

Responsible or complicit: a look at Myanmar´s crisis through its business actors, people´s resistance and the international community

Responsible or complicit: a look at Myanmar´s crisis through its business actors, people´s resistance and the international community  1. Myanmar since February 2021Myanmar’s political landscape since February of this year has witnessed some extremely distressing transformation. Right before the start of the new parliament1, the Myanmar military, or popularly known as the ‘Tatmadaw’, deposed the democratically elected government by staging a coup d’etat on February 01, 2021 and detaining the de facto leader and State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, members of the Union Election Commission (‘UEC’)2 and several other political allies from the National League…

2021 EU Justice Scoreboard roadmap-the feedback of Just Access e.V.

Using the opportunity to influence the shaping of laws and policies of the European Commission, today we submitted our feedback on the roadmap for 2021 EU Justice Scoreboard.We are conveying our feedback integrally:Just Access, a registered German NGO focused on access to justice, applauds the EU Justice Scoreboard, including its section 3.2.1 specifically dedicated to Accessibility.While the quantitative element of this comparative exercise is unavoidable and in many ways useful, we recommend the regular and thorough revision of the Scoreboard’s metrics. In addition to being a formal and immediate obligation, the provision of justice is also an aspirational exercise, a…

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 2

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 2  Our previous blogpost1 made a pointed enquiry into the extent to which international law provides an infrastructure of access to justice for individuals and communities harmed by corruption across multiple sectors of society. It took into account how it has proven difficult to have an exhaustive and universal definition of corruption given its intrinsic link to the socio-political and economic circumstances, among other things, across societies. The post also identified the challenges entailed in seeking to widen the definition of corruption in order to widen the scope of applicable legal…

Just Access e.V. in the media in North Macedonia and Bulgaria

Our blog article Access to the EU and justice denied: How Bulgaria’s actions against North Macedonia amount to abuse of the EU’s accession procedural rules: How Bulgaria’s actions against North Macedonia amount to abuse of the EU’s accession procedural rules echoed in the media of North Macedonia after Deutsche Welle informed about our work. More than two dozen media outlets in the country followed by sharing the news.The oldest daily newspaper published our analysis integrally in the printed weekend version on the 27th of March.  Bulgarian media shared the news and commented: Today, the European Parliament is expected to "scold"…

Access to the EU and justice denied-How Bulgaria’s actions against North Macedonia amount to abuse of the EU’s accession procedural rules

Access to the EU and justice denied: How Bulgaria’s actions against North Macedonia amount to abuse of the EU’s accession procedural rules  After several years of efforts to satisfy the requirements of the European Union for possibly becoming a candidate country, including a notable attempt towards resolution of the historical dispute regarding its very identity on the international front on account of Greece’s constant opposition these last decades until conclusion of the Prespa Agreement in 2018, North Macedonia finds its political destiny being held hostage by Bulgaria in an unprecedented move. Bulgaria’s arm-twisting tactics began in 2019 when it resorted…

Our comments to the BBC on the first Koblenz verdict for Syrian state torture

Read our Director’s comments to the BBC on 24 February 2021, the day that the Koblenz Court delivers its first verdict under universal jurisdiction on Syrian state torture. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-56160486His full statement to the BBC read,  “Tomorrow’s decision will enter the history books. Critics say that the accused, Eyad A., was a low-ranking intelligence officer who acted on superior orders and would have risked his life if he disobeyed; that he willingly cooperated with German authorities as a witness to the Syrian regime’s crimes against humanity and against Anwar R., and that his statements are now unfairly used against him. Critics also say…

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 1

Corruption and access to justice in international law, Part 1  Coronavirus may be sweeping the globe, but over the past three decades the contagion of corruption has done much to harm public trust in democracy throughout the world. As western states channel money towards struggling sections of their populations and economies, literal and metaphoric contagions look set to collide. In both Europe and the Americas, the race to buy up equipment and supplies has seen governments award contracts without due oversight or accountability.1 In December 2020 the European Union sought to ensure that money flowing to member states as part…

The international responsibilities of “de facto authorities” and terrorist organisations in the Yemeni conflict

The international responsibilities of “de facto authorities” and terrorist organisations in the Yemeni conflict  At the occasion of the 130th Session of the Human Rights Council (12 October 2020 – 6 November 2020), Just Access together with the Maat Foundation for Peace, and Development and Human Rights Association (MAAT), filed a submission in August 2020 in the context of the review of Yemen under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[1] In our submission, we raise the legal responsibility for multiple crimes and international law violations committed in Yemen by the Houthis and terrorist groups, underscored by the fact…