International

Deported by Algeria, migrants abandoned in the Sahara Desert

posted on July 04, 2018 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Victoria Gatenby Source: al Jazeera URL: [link] Date: June 25, 2018 UN migration agency accuses Algiers of neglecting over 13,000 migrants forced to walk long distances without food or water

WATCH VIDEO REPORT.

The United Nations migration agency says Algeria has neglected more than 13,000 migrants in the Sahara Desert in the past 14 months. The migrants, who include pregnant women and children, are left without food or water and forced to walk long distances. Algeria denies committing human rights abuses, calling the allegations a malicious campaign. Al Jazeera's Victoria Gatenby reports (see VIDEO LINK above).

© 2018 Al Jazeera Media Network


Migration policies can amount to ill-treatment and torture, UN rights expert warns

posted on March 05, 2018 | in Category International | PermaLink

by UN Human Rights Council Source: ReliefWeb URL: [link] Date: March 1, 2018 GENEVA (1 March 2018) – Increasingly obstructive laws, policies and practices have pushed migrants towards irregular pathways and methods marked by an escalating prevalence of torture and ill-treatment, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, has told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Mr. Melzer said some policies and practices used by States to deter, prevent or address the arrival of migrants could themselves amount to torture or ill-treatment. “States are increasingly depriving people of their liberty as a routine or even mandatory response to irregular migration,” the expert said. “However, the systematic and open-ended detention of people simply because they are migrants has nothing to do with legitimate border protection but amounts to arbitrary deprivation of liberty. “Such detention can even amount to torture, especially when it is intentionally used to deter, intimidate or punish migrants or their families, to extort money or sexual acts, or to coerce people into withdrawing asylum requests, accepting voluntary repatriation, giving information or providing fingerprints. “The longer a situation of arbitrary detention lasts, the more intense the mental and emotional suffering will become, and the higher the likelihood that the ban on torture or ill-treatment has been breached,” he added. The Special Rapporteur’s full report makes a number of recommendations for how States can address irregular migration while complying fully with their international human rights obligations. “States should enable migrants to claim international protection and to individually challenge any decision as to their detention, treatment or deportation before a competent judicial or administrative body,” he said. The expert also urged States to stop basing their migration policies on deterrence, criminalization and discrimination.. “The only way to end the horrendous suffering caused by migrant trafficking, abusive smuggling and arbitrary detention is to provide migrants with safe and regular migration pathways, and to ensure the effective protection of their human rights not only in theory, but also in practice,” Mr. Melzer stressed. “I hope my report will assist States in ending one of the greatest tragedies of our time: the widespread and systematic contempt for the human dignity and integrity of millions of people who have lost or given up everything in search of protection or a better life,” he told the Council. Mr. Melzer said some newly introduced practices suggested a deliberate erosion of the principle of non-refoulement, which protects anyone from being deported to countries where they risk to face torture or ill-treatment. "No migrant can lawfully be deported without an individualized risk assessment", he stressed, "including through international agreements, diplomatic assurances, border closures or so-called “pushback” or "pullback" operations, by which migrants are forcibly prevented from crossing international borders. The Special Rapporteur said that where no safe and regular pathways are available, migrants increasingly use smuggler networks, many of which allegedly operate in collusion with border officials. Migrants are also at great risk of falling victim to human trafficking during their journeys, he added. Whenever States failed to exercise due diligence to protect migrants, punish perpetrators or provide remedies, they risk to become complicit in torture or ill-treatment, he said. “Moreover, State officials or private citizens must be aware that their personal involvement in shaping, promoting and implementing policies and practices which expose migrants to torture or ill-treatment may amount to complicity or other participation in crimes against humanity or war crimes,” he added. Mr. Nils Melzer (Switzerland) was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in November 2016. Mr. Melzer has previously worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and is currently the Human Rights Chair of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow. The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. For inquiries and media requests, please contact: Ms. Alia El Khatib (+41 22 917 9209 / [email]), or write to [email] For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 / [email])



Supreme Court of Ireland blocks State from deporting Algerian man linked to terrorism

posted on August 03, 2017 | in Category International | PermaLink

Source: The Journal URL: [link] Date: July 26, 2017 THE SUPREME COURT has ruled that the Minister for Justice must reconsider a decision to remove an Algerian man with alleged links to Islamic terrorism against his removal from the State. The State claimed the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is involved with Islamic terrorism and was convicted of terrorism offences in Algeria and France. The Minister issued a deportation order after gardaí informed the Department of Justice the activities of the man and his associates were “of serious concern” and “contrary to the State’s security”. The man, aged in his 50s and living in Ireland for several years, denies being involved in terrorism and claims that if deported to Algeria he is at risk of being tortured and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment due to his political views. The man, represented by Michael Lynn SC and David Leonard Bl, appealed a High Court order which found the Minister’s decision that there were no substantial grounds to find that the man would be at real risk of ill-treatment if deported to his home country was lawful. The State opposed the appeal. In its judgment today, five judges at the Supreme Court unanimously quashed the Minister for Justice’s refusal to revoke the deportation order issued in December last year. The court remitted the man’s case back to the Minister for further reconsideration. Giving the court’s decision, Justice Donal O Donnell said in this case there was “no reasonable basis” upon which any Minister could conclude there was no real risk of a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights – that nobody should be treated to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. The judge said he found it difficult to understand precisely how the Minister arrived at the conclusions in respect of the man that he was not at risk of being treated contrary to Article 3. The judge said it was not sufficiently clear why the Minister came to the conclusion that the man could be deported to Algeria without a real risk of torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment and why the Minister considered such a decision ought not to be revoked. The judge said he had come to the conclusion he “could not have the level of assurance necessary that the decision sets out a clear reasoned path and one that was not flawed or incorrectly unjustifiable limitations or irrelevant legal considerations”. The Minister’s finding was in contrast to an earlier finding by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal that considered the man’s application for protection that he was at risk if deported to Algeria. To depart from such a finding required clear reasons, he said. The judge said the revocation application is to go back to the Minister and should be addressed by focused submissions, including up-to- date information concerning Algeria. There was no reason why the fresh consideration should not occur promptly, the judge said. Submissions, he said, should be focused on the issue whether there is a real risk on substantial grounds of the man being treated contrary to Article 3. If the man only submits a generalised complaint with no attempt to focus submissions on his personal situation and the up-to-date position in Algeria, then he will find it difficult to complain about a decision which treats the issue at the same level of generality, the judge added. Once the matter has been reconsidered by the Minister any outstanding issues in relation to the case should go back before the High Court, the judge added. The Chief Justice Susan Denham, Justice John MacMenamin, Justice Elizabeth Dunne and Justice Iseult O’Malley all concurred with the decision. Speaking after the judgment the man’s solicitor Gavin Booth of KRW Law welcomed the court’s decision. He said that “it was always our case that the Minister could not deport this man without breaching Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights”. The man denies involvement in terrorism and rejects claims he is involved in groups such as Al-Qaeda. He has been in custody for some months and will remain in detention pending the outcome of the process. During the 1990s, he was convicted of several offences in Algeria and received three life sentences and two death sentences, which are no longer carried out. Those offences include forming an armed terrorist group intending to spread murder, sabotage, possession of prohibited war weapons assassination, theft intending to harm the security of his home country. He was also convicted and jailed for eight years following his arrested in France in 2002. A French court found him guilty of charges including membership of a criminal organisation preparing an Act of Terrorism. Content copyright © Journal Media Ltd. 2017


OSCE/ODIHR Director Link calls on participating States to strictly observe prohibition of torture or other ill-treatment of returned individuals

posted on June 29, 2017 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Press Release Source: Relief Web URL: [link] Date: June 26, 2017 WARSAW, 26 June 2017 – On the occasion of today’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), called on all OSCE participating States to ensure that no one is exposed to the risk of torture, including by ensuring that the states’ actions do not put people at risk of being tortured in other countries. “States are prohibited from exposing anyone to a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment in another country, without exception,” the ODIHR Director said. “The principle of non-refoulement requires states to ensure their actions do not lead to torture or other ill-treatment anywhere in the world – including as a result of turning away refugees, asylum-seekers, political dissidents, criminal suspects, or anyone else who could face the risk of such treatment.” Under international human rights treaties reaffirmed in OSCE commitments, countries are absolutely prohibited from returning individuals who risk being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment as a result of their expulsion, extradition or other forms of refoulement to another State. The principle is applicable in all circumstances, including armed conflicts, states of emergency and refugee contexts. “Before expelling or denying entry to anyone, OSCE participating States must determine whether the individual could face torture or other ill-treatment if returned to another state,” said Director Link. “They must take into account all relevant considerations, such as the existence in the states concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights, including of persecution based on prohibited grounds of discrimination.” Illustrating the genuine risks faced by individuals subject to expulsion by OSCE participating States, national and international courts have issued hundreds of binding stays on removal orders in OSCE participating States from 2014 to 2016, in order to prevent the expulsion of people to countries where they may face torture or other serious human rights violations. Such interim measures have been applied to prevent the return of asylum seekers and other individuals to situations of potential torture or other ill-treatment, including due to persecution on the basis of their religious beliefs, sexual orientations, political opinions and other prohibited grounds. Director Link also noted that, under the principle of non-refoulement, the procurement of so-called “diplomatic assurances” cannot be used by states to escape the prohibition on returning individuals to a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment. For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/odihr/325346


A Promise Not to Torture Was Enough for US Detainee Transfers, Says Declassified Report

posted on May 12, 2016 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Jason Leopold Source: VICE News URL: [link] Date: May 10, 2016 Foreign nations that took custody of more than 1,000 detainees held captive by the US military between 2010 and 2011 provided assurances to the United States that they would not torture any of them — even though reports later surfaced alleging that some of those detainees were tortured after being turned over. A heavily redacted 10-page report [pdf at the end of this story] examining detainee transfers and the reliance on diplomatic assurances, declassified this week by the Department of Defense Inspector General in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by VICE News three years ago, says Defense (DOD) did not have a strict policy that "specifically addressed how detainees will be treated once transferred to another country." "DOD should promulgate policies or directives that include an express statement that the DOD may not transfer any person to a foreign entity where it is more likely than not that the person will be tortured," said the February 28, 2012 report prepared by the deputy inspector general for intelligence. Two years after the Inspector General (IG) made the recommendation, the DOD adopted such a policy, barring the transfer of detainees to foreign countries if US authorities determined "that it is more likely than not that the detainee would be subjected to torture." According to the report, the US transferred 1,064 detainees who were held by the DOD in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo between August 2010 and August 2011 (a number that, with the exception of Guantanamo, was previously undisclosed.) The breakdown was: 802 detainees from Afghanistan, 259 detainees from Iraq, and three detainees from Guantanamo who were sent to Germany and Algeria, the latter of which has a poor human rights record. The US also held three people who were captured off the coast of Somalia and were believed to be pirates. An earlier report issued by the IG in December 2010 said the US had transferred 4,781 detainees. After it released the detainees, the US received diplomatic assurances from the foreign governments that the men would not be tortured. But the US has not determined whether the foreign governments are living up to their promises.



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Bid to deport six terror suspects blocked after UK judges cite torture fears in Algeria

posted on May 12, 2016 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Victoria Parsons Source: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism URL: [link] Date: April 18, 2016 Six men accused of having links to al Qaeda cannot be deported to Algeria because there is a “real risk” they would be tortured, UK judges ruled today in what marks a major defeat for the Home Office. Judges at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) ruled against Home Secretary Theresa May and found in favour of the six men who have been fighting deportation orders for 10 years. The Home Office argued they were a national security risk to Britain, but the Siac judges agreed with the men that their human rights would be at risk if returned to Algeria. “It is not inconceivable that these Appellants, if returned to Algeria, would be subject to ill-treatment infringing Article 3 [prohibition of torture under the European Convention on Human Rights]. There is a real risk of such a breach,” they ruled today. The six men are living under strict bail and curfew conditions at various locations in England. The men cannot be identified for legal reasons and the Home Secretary now has 10 days to appeal today’s decision. It is highly unusual for the Home Office to lose such appeals in Siac, which often hears evidence in secret. The ruling was announced by the UK’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on Twitter this morning.



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Bid to deport six terror suspects blocked after UK judges cite torture fears in Algeria

posted on April 18, 2016 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Victoria Parsons Source: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism URL: [link] Date: April 18, 2016 Six men accused of having links to al Qaeda cannot be deported to Algeria because there is a “real risk” they would be tortured, UK judges ruled today in what marks a major defeat for the Home Office. Judges at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) ruled against Home Secretary Theresa May and found in favour of the six men who have been fighting deportation orders for 10 years. The Home Office argued they were a national security risk to Britain, but the Siac judges agreed with the men that their human rights would be at risk if returned to Algeria. “It is not inconceivable that these Appellants, if returned to Algeria, would be subject to ill-treatment infringing Article 3 [prohibition of torture under the European Convention on Human Rights]. There is a real risk of such a breach,” they ruled today. The six men are living under strict bail and curfew conditions at various locations in England. The men cannot be identified for legal reasons and the Home Secretary now has 10 days to appeal today’s decision. It is highly unusual for the Home Office to lose such appeals in Siac, which often hears evidence in secret. The ruling was announced by the UK’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on Twitter this morning.



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Algeria: Government Bars UN Experts from Probing Human Rights Abuses, AI

posted on March 02, 2016 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Kamailoudini Tagba Source: North Africa Post URL: [link] Date: February 25, 2016 Amnesty International lashed out at Algerian authorities in its human rights annual report presented Wednesday because of their persistent refusal to let UN experts investigate human right abuses and because they granted immunity to the authors of the grave crimes and tortures cased during the internal bloody war of 1990s. “The authorities persisted in their refusal to allow visits to Algeria by some UN human rights bodies and experts, including those with mandates on torture, counter-terrorism, enforced disappearances and freedom of association,” the report says. Algerian authorities have maintained state control on human rights and have attacked any one daring to speak against regime. The report takes in account many aspects of human rights namely freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of association, the state of human rights activism, the justice system, women’s rights, impunity and the death penalty. On all those aspects, the Algerian regime is severely slammed for doing nothing to improve its records. The annual report indicates that over the year 2015, the State brutally handled gatherings and protests by activists and people claiming their rights. The report for instance explained that members of the National Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC) were handed prison terms of between one and two years. The report also highlights government attempts to restrict freedom of association and determination to muzzle organizations and associations that fail to fall in line with government code of conduct. “Associations seeking legal registration under Law 12-06, including Amnesty International Algeria, were left in limbo by the authorities, who failed to respond to registration applications.” the report says. Commenting on the report, Amnesty International Algeria local Director Hassina Oussedik charged Algerian authorities for closing eyes on heinous and grave crimes committed during Algeria’s darkest history period of 1990s. For her the national reconciliation immunity granted in the new constitution to authors of grave crimes rolls back victims’ right for justice and reparation. “The authorities continued to fail to investigate thousands of enforced disappearances and other serious human rights violations and abuses, bring perpetrators to justice, and provide effective remedies to victims’ families,” the report adds. © 2016 The North Africa Post


Supreme court was right to ban use of secret evidence by intelligence services

posted on July 14, 2011 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Richard Norton-Taylor Source: The Guardian UK URL: [link] Date: July 13, 2011 Parliament must now reject government attempts to abandon the fundamental right to open justice

[PHOTO: Supreme court judges dismissed an attempt by the security forces to keep intelligence secret from those it was being used against.] Some very fine words were expressed by the supreme court judges as by majority they dismissed claims by MI5 and MI6 that any intelligence they have gathered must remain secret, withheld not only from the public but from their opponents in court. "The open justice principle is not a mere procedural rule," said Lord Dyson. "It is a fundamental common law principle." Parties have a right to know the case against them, and the right to confront their accusers, he said. "Any weakening in the face of advances in the methods and use of secret intelligence in a case such as this would be bound to lead to attempts to widen the scope for an exception to be made to the principle of open justice," warned Lord Hope.

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Supreme court bans use of secret evidence to hide torture claims

posted on July 14, 2011 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent Source: The Guardian UK URL: [link] Date: July 13, 2011 Intelligence services tried to exploit 'closed material procedures' to conceal evidence relating to Guantánamo detainees

[PHOTO: Binyam Mohamed and Jamil el-Banna, two of the former Guantánamo Bay detainees at the centre of the secret evidence case.] The supreme court has outlawed the use of secret evidence in court by the intelligence services to conceal allegations that detainees were tortured. The decision will be seen as a significant victory for open justice, but the panel of nine judges pointed out that parliament could change the law to permit such "closed material procedures" in future. The appeal was brought by lawyers for MI5 seeking to overturn an earlier appeal court ruling that prevented the service from suppressing accusations British suspects had been ill-treated at Guantánamo Bay and other foreign holding centres. The case arose originally out of claims by Bisher al-Rawi, Binyam Mohamed, Jamil el-Banna, Richard Belmar, Omar Deghayes and Martin Mubanga that MI5 and MI6 aided and abetted their unlawful imprisonment and extraordinary rendition.

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