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November 2016
Editor-in-Chief: Nicola Giovannini
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 Highlights

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: NPWJ calls for enhanced commitment to protect women’s rights
 

On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) takes this opportunity to remember the too many gaps hindering – at various levels and sometimes in a brutal and cruel manner – the process towards the full recognition and protection of women’s rights as universal human rights.
 
Millions of women and girls worldwide are still victims or at risk of violations of their human rights, as both a result and a perpetuation of gender inequality and discrimination that denies them the most basic forms of personal autonomy and self-determination. They are victims of sexual abuse, exploitation and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage. In many parts of the world, women who have the courage to fight for their dignity by challenging regressive social conventions are exposed to great personal risks, including social rejection, harassment, imprisonment and even death.
 
The human rights of women must be pursued without compromise, promoted and encouraged until they are enshrined in legislation, and protected and safeguarded over time as essential components of the rule of law. The fight is broad: for the right to self-empowerment, the freedom to make informed and autonomous choices about the course of one’s life, one’s sexuality, if and when to have children, whether and when to marry, and all within a context of public policies and structures that allow for real choice. Moreover, unless the legal framework that guarantees full equality between men and women is constantly strengthened, all advances will continue to be attacked, undermined, weakened or revoked.
 
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Alvilda Jablonko is Director for Gender and Human Rights of No Peace Without Justice

Mauritania: NPWJ welcomes the release of ten IRA anti-slavery activists
 

No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) welcomes the release of ten of the imprisoned IRA members who had been unfairly sentenced for peacefully expressing their opinions. However we express concern over the fate of the three anti-slavery activists still held in prison after a trial which, as reported by UN experts, was marred by serious violations of due process rights and international fair trial standards.
 
We urge the Mauritanian authorities to immediately put an end to the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders and civil society organisations in Mauritania, including the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement. Instead of using the judicial system to intimidate and silence them, they should recognise the legitimacy of their work aimed at putting an end to slavery and discrimination in the country.
 
Despite Mauritania has passed domestic laws to stamp out slavery and punish its perpetrators, the practice - that particularly targets the Haratin community -  not only is still deeply-ingrained and tolerated across all the country, but also sustained and promoted by elites and government. Civil society organisations such as IRA campaigning against slavery have often faced undue restrictions from the authorities to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association.
 
As part of an advocacy tour aimed at fostering international support to the work of its organisation, Mr Biram Dah Abeid, founder and president of IRA will visit Rome for a series of meetings with Italian institutions and NGOs, organised with the support of No Peace Without Justice. On 26 November 2016, a roundtable discussion with the participation of Emma Bonino, former Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and founder of NPWJ, will be hosted at the Rome Office of NPWJ. On 28 November 2016, Biram Abeid will also participate to the conference "DIFENDIAMOLI! Storie di difensori dei diritti umani nel mondo e strategie di protezione", which will be held at the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
 
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ICC Withdrawals: NPWJ welcomes clarity and leadership of UNHCHR Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein: “Stand firm on Article 27". "Those who want to leave, leave”.
 

Speaking at the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which opened today in The Hague, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called on States Parties to robustly defend the Court and to resist the challenges posed by the decisions of three African States (South AfricaBurundi and Gambia) to withdraw from it.
 
In his keynote speech, the High Commissioner highlighted that the position of “States Parties seeking to desert the Court, to desert victims of the most abominable international crimes” seems to be aimed at “protecting their leaders from prosecution”. While lamenting these decisions as denying “victims of core crimes (…) their right to remedy and redress”, the High Commissioner stressed that “if the State Parties, who apparently have been masquerading in recent years as countries devoted to criminal accountability, want to leave, then they should leave”.
 
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) strongly welcomes UNHCHR’s call to the Assembly to stand firm to the principles underpinning the Rome Statute and to preserve its integrity, in particular in respect of Article 27 (the irrelevance of official capacity, i.e. that there is no immunity for Heads of States or any other officials for crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC) . As stated by the High Commissioner, “while the Rome Statute provides for revisions, no change should be undertaken under threat of withdrawal, nor should any future amendment touch on the critical articles of the Statute. Specifically, the principle of the irrelevance of official capacity is prime, is existential for the Court”.
 
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 NPWJ events

ICC ASP: NPWJ convenes Side event on "A prima facie case against Philippines President Duterte"
 

 

In the margins of the 15th Session of the International Criminal Court Assembly of States Parties, No Peace Without Justice(NPWJ) convened a Side Event on “International Criminal Liability for Spoken Word Alone: Inducing and Soliciting Crimes against Humanity under Article 25(3)(b) of the Rome ICC Statute. A prima facie case against President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines”, which was held on 21 November 2016 (from 11:00 to 13:00, Antarctica Room, World Forum, The Hague).
 
Since his rise to power, President Duterte engaged in an infamous “war on drugs” that has led to the extrajudicial killing of thousands of alleged drug users and dealers. According to UN experts, “more than 850 people have been killed between 10 May, when Rodrigo Duterte was elected President of the Philippines vowing to crackdown on crime, and 11 August 2016. As of 14 October 2016, 12:00pm, a “Kill List” that is updated twice a week by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, indicates that since 10 May 2016, 1,372 persons have been killed as a result of Duterte’s administration “war on crime”. President Duterte himself has publicly expressed his delight at the deadly results of his campaign and the “war on drugs” continues.
 
The Philippines acceded to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 30 August 2011 and it entered into force on 1 November 2011. In a statement on 13 October 2016, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda declared that she is “deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings and further seem to encourage State forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force”. Article 25(3)(b) of the Rome ICC Statute enshrines the principle that an individual is criminally responsible and liable for punishment for crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction if that person “solicits” or “induces” the commission of such a crime which in fact occurs or is attempted.
 

The side event proposed an analysis of the situation in light of the Rome ICC Statute and aimed to discuss ways in which the Court may take on the situation, both as a way to curb state sponsored violence in the Philippines and to send a wider message to political leaders that soliciting, inducing and inciting crimes under international law carries consequences whether or not a direct hierarchical relationship with the direct perpetrators can be proven.

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NPWJ, HRW and ESDF convene Side Event on "Accountability Options for Syria"
 

In the margins of the 15th Session of the International Criminal Court Assembly of States Parties, No Peace Without Justice, Human Rights Watch and the Euro-Syrian Democratic Forum convened a Side Event on “Accountability Options for Syria”, which was held on 19 November 2016 at the World Forum, The Hague. The meeting was co-hosted by the Governments of Liechtenstein, Canada and the Netherlands.
 
Despite various initiatives, the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, with few prospects of an end in sight. According to UN sources, up to 470,000 people have been killed since 2011; over half the population forced from their homes; some 4.6m people eke out a minimal existence in places that few can leave and aid cannot reach; and a further 4.8m people, including an estimated 2m children, have left. The conflict has fractured Syria and threatens the peace and stability of the entire region.
 

Against this backdrop, the side event looked how justice might be served in an environment where an ICC referral continue to be highly unlikely given the position of some Members of the United Nations Security Council. To what degree can universal jurisdiction provide at least some justice to Syrian victims? How could the General Assembly answer the increased calls for action – could  it create a mechanism for crimes committed in Syria to collect, preserve and prepare evidence to facilitate and expedite criminal proceedings nationally, regionally or internationally and to have the evidence ready for any future trials? At the same time, could States engage the International Court of Justice, for example through the mechanism provided in the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment?.

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 NPWJ on Radio Radicale

Stay tuned with No Peace Without Justice
 

No Peace Without Justice and Radio Radicale, the foremost Italian nationwide all-news radio, have an ongoing partnership to provide news and information on our activities to a broad Italian audience. This partnership features an in-depth weekly program on NPWJ’s current campaigns and activities. The program is broadcast in Italian every Wednesday evening at 23.30.

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 NPWJ press releases

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: NPWJ calls for enhanced commitment to protect women’s rights
Brussels – Rome, 25 November 2016

ICC ASP: NPWJ convenes Side event on "A prima facie case against Philippines President Duterte"
15th ASP to the ICC, The Hague, 21 November 2016

Mauritania: NPWJ welcomes the release of ten IRA anti-slavery activists
Brussels-Rome, 20 November 2016

NPWJ, HRW and ESDF convene Side Event on "Accountability Options for Syria"
15th ASP to the ICC, The Hague, 19 November 2016

ICC Withdrawals: NPWJ welcomes clarity and leadership of UNHCHR Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein: “Stand firm on Article 27". "Those who want to leave, leave”.
15th ASP to the ICC, The Hague, 16 November 2016

XV Congress of Radicali Italiani : Panel dedicated to « Persecutions against minorities in Syria and Iraq
Rome, 30 October 2016

NPWJ regrets South African withdrawal, calls on States to protect the integrity of the International Criminal Court
Brussels - Rome, 26 October 2016

Crans Montana Forum: Emma Bonino awarded "Prix de la Foundation 2016"
European Parliament, Brussels, 19 October 2016

 NPWJ in the news


 

NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS – call for investigation of crimes in Philippines
Post by Carmen Risimini, ICL Media Review, 29 November 2016

Difendiamoli! Oggi alla Camera un convegno sui difensori dei diritti umani
di Riccardo Noury, Corriere della Sera, 28 November 2016

In arrivo in Italia una delegazione internazionale di difensori dei diritti umani
Agenpress, 27 November 2016

International Criminal Court urged to probe Duterte, killings
Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News, 23 November 2016

ASP 15 Day Four - Will Syria ever justice?
Coalition for the ICC, 19 November 2016

Il mondo si è accorto del genocidio degli yazidi
Adriano Sofri, Il Foglio, 29 October 2016

L'Alternativa. Nice e l'impegno di Amref per le donne dell'Africa
Radio Radicale, 25 October 2016

Il Sudafrica annuncia l'intenzione di uscire dalla Corte Penale Internazionale
Radio Radicale, 22 October 2016

Convegno "Why women matter - Promoting gender balance in public life and economic strategies"
Radio Radicale, 21 October 2016

Christians and the impending crisis in Mosul
BarnabasAid, 20 October 2016

La CPI s’apprête à compenser les victimes
CCTV.com française, 16 October 2016

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