Document - 2006 Elections to the Human Rights Council: Background information on candidate countries


2006 Elections to the Human Rights Council

Background information on candidate countries



On 15 March 2006, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 60/251 establishing the new Human Rights Council (the Council). In operative paragraph 7 the General Assembly decided that the Council shall consist of 47 Member States elected directly and individually by secret ballot by the majority of the members of the General Assembly. It further stipulated that the membership shall be based on equitable geographical distribution and distributed seats to the regional groups as follows: African Group, 13 seats; Asian Group, 13 seats; Eastern European Group, 6 seats; Latin American and Caribbean Group, 8 seats; and Western and Others Group, 7 seats.

The resolution further decided that when electing members of the Council, Member States shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto (operative paragraph 8). Finally the resolution decided that the elections of the first members of the Council shall take place on 9 May 2006.

In order to encourage greater openness and transparency around the elections to the Council, Amnesty International urged all candidate countries to announce their intention to stand 30 days in advance of the elections, i.e. by 10 April, and to make public human rights pledges that are concrete, credible and measurable. On that day, 44 countries had put themselves forward and 17 had also made a public election pledge. At the time of writing there were 65 candidates, all of whom had also made public pledges.

In order to assist Member States in assessing the contribution and commitment of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights, Amnesty International is making available brief summaries of its recent research findings into the human rights situation in candidate countries. Please note that these summaries do not intend to give a comprehensive overview of the human rights situation in a particular country; nevertheless, Amnesty International believes they may contribute to Member States’ evaluation of the candidacies in the elections to the Human Rights Council. Additional Amnesty International documents are listed after each country entry, where relevant; these may be downloaded from Amnesty International’s electronic library at www.amnesty.org/library.

Amnesty International also takes this opportunity to draw attention to key elements of candidate countries’ cooperation with the treaty monitoring bodies and the Special Procedures. The information included in this document indicates the countries’ record of ratification of key human rights treaties, the timely submission of reports to the treaty monitoring bodies, the extension of a standing invitation to the Special Procedures, facilitation of visits requested by them, and responsiveness to their urgent and routine communications. This information is based on official UN sources (for more information on these sources, please refer to the Annex I on page 165 of this document).

Finally, please note that Amnesty International neither supports nor opposes any state’s candidacy to the Human Rights Council; however, the organization considers it essential that the Council be a strong and effective body with a membership consisting of states unequivocally committed to upholding human right both nationally and internationally. The election of the first members of the Council is a crucial first step towards achieving this.





AFRICAN STATES: 13 Seats



At the time of writing, 14 countries belonging to the African Group had put themselves forward: Algeria, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia. All candidate countries had also submitted public pledges.(1)



ALGERIA

Although the overall level of violence has decreased in recent years, Amnesty International is concerned at continued reports of killings. In 2005, over 400 killings were reported in the context of continuing violence, including dozens of civilians. There have also been reports of attacks by armed groups on military targets.

Tens of thousands of cases of torture, killings, abductions and "disappearances" carried out since 1992 by the security forces, state-armed militias and armed groups have still not been investigated; this remains a key obstacle to addressing the legacy of the conflict of the 1990s. In February 2006, amnesty laws were introduced granting security forces impunity for crimes under international law, including crimes against humanity and other serious violations, committed during the conflict of the 1990s. The laws provide that complaints against the security forces will not be investigated by Algerian courts and makes criticism of the security forces punishable with imprisonment. Members of armed groups have been granted measures of clemency and exemption from prosecution, including for crimes under international law. The amnesty laws were passed by presidential decree and based on a framework document, the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, which was adopted by referendum in September 2005. The Charter denies the responsibility of state security forces for massive human rights violations in the exercise of their duties, but does not explicitly mention an amnesty.

Victims of human rights abuses, human rights defenders, and others have criticized the measures for failing to uphold the rights of victims and their families to truth and justice; some have reportedly been intimidated by state agents in an effort to stifle criticism.

Torture continues to be reported, particularly of suspects accused of "belonging to a terrorist group" who are routinely held in secret locations during pre-arraignment detention without access to the outside world. The vast majority of allegations of torture made during 2005 and in previous years have not been investigated.

More than a dozen suspected members of armed groups were sentenced to death in 2005, most of them in their absence. However, a moratorium on executions has remained in place.

Journalists, civil society activists and government critics continue to face harassment and intimidation; during 2005, some 18 journalists have been sentenced to imprisonment on defamation charges; others received suspended sentences or heavy fines.

Access to Algeria for independent observers and international non-governmental organizations remains restricted. In December 2005, Lawyers Without Borders were reportedly not granted an entry visa to set up a free legal advice centre for victims of human rights abuses.

Changes to the law have gradually improved the legal status of women; however changes to the Family Code fall far short of offering women equal status with men. Discriminatory provisions governing inheritance rights also remain unchanged. A study on domestic violence, undertaken jointly by the government and non-governmental bodies, reflects the increasing recognition of violence against women as a problem in Algerian society, and identifies the need to improve care for survivors.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· Algeria: New Amnesty Law Will Ensure Atrocities Go Unpunished, 1 March 2006, AI Index: MDE 28/005/2006

· Algeria: President calls referendum to obliterate crimes of the past (AI Index: MDE 28/010/2005)

· Algeria: Initial report of an Amnesty International delegation’s visit to Algeria, 6-25 May 2005 (AI Index: MDE 28/008/2005)


Algeria’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

TreatyRatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified

Entered




Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified art 14





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified art 22





Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict





cltxlrtb

Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography




International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Ratified

Entered




Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Signed





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue reports

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial reports




7

1









Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID)

2. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (SR EJEs)

3. Special Rapporteur on torture (requested since 1997)

4. Special Rapporteur on violence against women (postponed)

5. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression (postponed)

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

WGEID: "The Working Group expresses deep concern that little progress has been made in clarifying cases of disappearance in Algeria. Indeed, 253 new cases have been transmitted to the Government of Algeria and others are being processed by the Secretariat. The Working Group strongly recommends that the Government of Algeria allow NGOs to undertake their work freely and without impediment, that families of victims of disappearances be left free to organize without bureaucratic restriction or legislative obstacles, and that witnesses be protected. The Working Group reminds the Government of Algeria of its obligations under article 14 of the Declaration "to bring to justice all persons presumed responsible for an act of enforced disappearance". The Working Group reaffirms its request to the Government of Algeria for a country visit aimed at clarifying the 1,592 outstanding cases".

SR EJEs: One urgent appeal on a matter of impunity was sent to government, to which one cooperative but incomplete response has been received.

Special Representative on human rights defenders: "The Special Representative thanks the Algerian Government for its responses; she remains nevertheless concerned about the difficulties experienced by human rights defenders in the country in particular those working on enforced disappearances".

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers: "Le Rapporteur spécial remercie le Gouvernement de l’Algérie pour sa coopération et souhaite l’assurer que sa réponse est à l’étude au moment de clore ce document et sera reproduite dans son prochain rapport. S’agissant des allégations qui lui ont été transmises le 27 avril, le Rapporteur spécial espère en outre que le Gouvernement de l’Algérie pourra lui faire parvenir toutes les informations nécessaires au plus tôt, et de préférence avant la clôture de la 62ème session de la Commission des droits de l’homme."

Special Rapporteur on torture: one urgent appeal submitted on behalf of a group including five named individuals, to which the government has not responded.



CAMEROON

Suspects arrested by the police and gendarmerie continue to be subjected to systematic torture and ill-treatment, and although some investigations have been opened in a few cases in which suspects died, most perpetrators are not held to account.

There are reports of high mortality rates in prisons caused by overcrowding, inadequate food and medical neglect. Some inmates have been killed and injured in riots against the harsh prison conditions.

A group of political prisoners, who are members of the Southern Cameroons National Council, were denied an appeal for more than five years. They had been sentenced to between eight years and life imprisonment after an unfair trial before a military tribunal on charges in connection with armed attacks in North-West Province in 1997. After lawyers lodged a complaint with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on their behalf, the Minister of Defence announced in November 2004 that they could appeal to the Appeal Court, and in December 2005, the Appeal Court decided against their convictions. Two of the prisoners, who were serving a 10-year prison term had their convictions quashed and were released. Three prisoners had their life imprisonment reduced to 25 years, while one had his 20-year prison term reduced to 15 years. Two prisoners had their 15-year prison term reduced to 10 years, while four others had their 10-year prison term confirmed. Two of the prisoners had been released in May after serving their 8-year prison term. The prisoners who remain in custody are held in life-threatening conditions and have appealed to the Supreme Court against the decision of the Appeal Court.

Human rights defenders, including critics of the government’s human rights record, are routinely harassed, detained and assaulted. To Amnesty International’s knowledge no action is taken by the government to investigate such allegations.

Freedom of expression continues to be denied and the authorities have used criminal libel laws to imprison journalists in cases that appear politically motivated.

Individuals have been detained on account of their sexual orientation; homosexuality is a criminal offence under Cameroonian law. A group of eleven men and two women were arrested by gendarmes on 20 and 21 May 2005 in the capital and charged with engaging in homosexual practices. The women were released soon after their arrest and two of the men were released in February 2006. The nine remaining men, including a 17-year-old youth, were acquitted in late April after prosecution witnesses failed to appear in court for the second time in as many months. In March 2006, 12 female students were expelled from college after a disciplinary committee found them guilty of belonging to a lesbian network.

The law does not adequately protect women against violence. Female genital mutilation is still not prohibited in law, and approximately 20 per cent of women and girls are reported to undergo this practice primarily in the far north and the south-west. The Penal Code also still contains provisions that exempt a rapist from judicial proceedings if he marries his victim, which effectively protects the perpetrator while subjecting the victim to further abuse.

No death sentences are known to have been passed or executions carried out, and there are no public figures of prisoners awaiting execution.

The government continues to deny Amnesty International access to the country, as it has done for over a decade.



Cameroon’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified art. 22





Optional Protocol CATl



Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Signed





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Signed





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Signed





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue reports

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial reports




11

4









Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

None

Follow up report to implementation of recommendations arising from a past mission: Special Rapporteur on torture (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/6/Add.2)

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Working Group on arbitrary detention: issued two urgent appeals concerning two individuals, to which the government provided one response.

Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances: "In the past, and during the period under review, the Working Group has transmitted 18 cases to the Government; of those, 4 have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the Government and 14 outstanding cases remain before the Working Group."

Special Representative on human rights defenders: "The Special Representative regrets that at the time of the report no responses had been received to her communication from the Government of Cameroon."




DJIBOUTI

Amnesty International does not currently have a programme of research on Djibouti. However, please see the table below for information regarding Djibouti's record on ratification of treaties, submission of periodic reports to the treaty monitoring bodies, and cooperation with the Special Procedures.



Djibouti’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)






Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified





Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict



rdrw15


Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Ratified





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue reports

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial reports




7

2


4







Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

None

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Special Rapporteur on torture: one allegation letter concerning two individuals, to which the government has provided no response.



GABON

Amnesty International does not currently have a programme of research on Gabon. However, please see the table below for information regarding Gabon's record on ratification of treaties, submission of periodic reports to the treaty monitoring bodies, and cooperation with the Special Procedures.



Gabon’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified





Optional Protocol CAT

Signed





Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Signed





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Signed





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Signed





Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Ratified





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified


rs


Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified






Compliance with reporting obligations

Total number of overdue reports

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial reports




11

4

2

1







Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

None

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

No communications sent to the government are recorded in the reports which are available at this time.



GHANA

Violence against women is widespread, and violence in the family is thought to affect one in three women. A law on human trafficking was passed by parliament in June 2005; however, no progress has been made in adopting the domestic violence bill. Although Ghana retains the death penalty in their law books, there have been no executions.

In April 2005, the government issued the final report of the National Reconciliation Commission, set up to investigate human rights abuses committed between 1957 and 1993, together with plans for implementing some of the recommendations and for setting up a reparation and rehabilitation fund. The report concludes that the majority of human rights abuses are attributed to the previous unconstitutional governments, and the government has issued an apology to all those who have been wronged by previous governments.

Forced evictions have been threatened for a long time, and at the end of March and culminating on 8 April 2006 hundreds of residents of the Digya national park area in the Tapa-Abotoase area of Lake Volta were forcibly evicted. The government argued that the evictions were necessary to clear land was set aside as a forest reserve. The evictions were carried out without adequate prior consultation or adequate notice, and neither compensation nor alternative accommodation was provided. The residents, including women and children, have been deprived of their homes and, in most cases, also of their livelihood. Amnesty International is deeply concerned at reports that more than 100 of those evicted died, when a ferry forcibly removing them from the island capsized on 8 April. The rest of the up to 7,000 community members residing in the Digya National Park may face similar forced evictions.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· Ghana: Forced evictions in the Digya national park area must stop (AI Index: AFR 28/001/2006)



Ghana’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Signed





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified art.22

Entered




Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Signed





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Signed





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Ratified





Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Ratified





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified

Entered






Compliance with reporting obligations

Initial reportsidth3




Total overdue reports

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

8

1


4



Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

None

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

No communications sent to the government are recorded in the reports which are available at this time.



KENYA

Torture and unlawful killings by state agents continue to be reported, however some people remain reluctant to report torture for fear of reprisals. There have been several reports of unlawful killings by law enforcement officials and only few of the cases have been investigated or prosecuted, which leads to impunity for such acts.

Women and girls continue to face widespread violence and discrimination. Official figures presented to Parliament show that the police recorded 2,300 rapes in 2004; however, data on violence against women remain inadequate, and statistics from health facilities and non-governmental organizations reveal that the number of unreported rapes could be as high as 16,000 a year.

Amnesty International has received reports of human rights violations during "anti-terrorism" operations following the 2002 bombing of a hotel near Mombasa. These include the use of torture and ill-treatment during detention, detention of suspects without charge in undisclosed locations and without access to a lawyer or relatives, the holding of suspects in degrading and unsanitary conditions without access to medical care; and harassment of family members.

The work of human rights defenders continues to be obstructed and activists have been subjected to harassment and ill-treatment. Some demonstrators have been arrested and charged.

The media and journalists face increased intimidation and harassment by the authorities who have taken aggressive measures to silence investigative or critical voices.

During the 61st session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, the former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Kiraitu Murungi, declared that his government was committed to abolishing the death penalty and that in the meantime all death sentences would be commuted to life imprisonment. By the end of April 2006, however, this process had not been completed.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· Kenya: The Government must respect the rights of refugees under international law (AI Index: AFR 32/007/2005)

· Kenya: Abolition of the death penalty is essential for a Constitution that respects human rights (AI Index: AFR 32/005/2005)

· Kenya: The impact of "anti-terrorism" operations on human rights (AI Index: AFR 32/002/2005)


Kenya’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified

Entered




Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified





Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Signed





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Ratified





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




9

2


3

dth3




Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on indigenous people

2. Special Representative on human rights defenders (SR HRD)



Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions: one allegation letter regarding persons exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression, and about excessive force. The government has not provided a response to this recent communication.

SR HRD: "The Special Representative regrets that at the time this report was being finalized, no response had been received from the Government of Kenya to her communications of 6 July concerning Mr. Ojiayo Samson and Mr. Mithika Mwenda or 27 July 2005 concerning the arbitrary arrest of a number of human rights defenders. The Special Representative regrets that no response has been received from the Government of Kenya to her request for an invitation to conduct a country visit."

Special Rapporteur on torture: one urgent appeal concerning two individuals to which the government has provided no response.



MALI

Amnesty International does not currently have a programme of research on Mali. However, please see the table below for information regarding Mali's record on ratification of treaties, submission of periodic reports to the treaty monitoring bodies, and cooperation with the Special Procedures.



Mali’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified





Optional Protocol CAT

Ratified





Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Ratified





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Ratified





Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Ratified





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




12

4

2

4







Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

Special Representative on human rights defenders

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

No communications with the government are recorded in the reports which are available at this time.



MAURITIUS

Amnesty International does not currently have a programme of research on Mauritius. However, please see the table below for information regarding Mauritius' record on ratification of treaties, submission of periodic reports to the treaty monitoring bodies, and cooperation with the Special Procedures.



Mauritius’ cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Signed





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified





Optional Protocol CAT

Ratified





Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Signed





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Signed





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Ratified





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees






Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees








Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




9

2

1








Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

No communications with the government are recorded in the reports which are available at this time.



MOROCCO

The first truth commission in the region, the Equity and Reconciliation Commission, completed its work in November last year. The remit of the Commission had been to inquire into grave human rights violations committed between 1956 and 1999, and it received information from more than 16,000 people (including Amnesty International); however, in many cases, it had not obtained testimonies requested from state officials. In its report, it recommended that compensation be paid to more than 9,000 people who had suffered human rights abuses between 1956 and 1999, but made no proposals for suspected perpetrators to be brought to account. This is a cause of serious concern as some of the alleged perpetrators continue to serve as members of the security forces.

New allegations have surfaced about Morocco’s role in the US-led "war on terror". In December 2005, a Council of Europe investigator reported that some prisoners previously held by the USA in Europe had been moved to North Africa, possibly Morocco. Morocco denies the claim.

Eight Sahrawi human rights defenders were imprisoned after protests which originated in Western Sahara and to which police responded with excessive force. Six have since been released, five of them in a royal pardon in March 2006; the other two remain in jail.

Amnesty International has received reports that police used excessive force in dealing with popular protests in Western Sahara from May to December. Scores of people were injured, and hundreds were arrested. Two men are alleged to have died after being beaten by police. Dozens of those held in custody alleged that they were tortured or ill-treated, either to force them to sign confessions, to intimidate them from protesting further, or to punish them for their pro-independence stance. Dozens of people were charged with inciting or participating in violence in the demonstrations, and over 20 were sentenced, some of them to several years in prison. Some have since been released in the royal pardon of March 2006.

Thousands of migrants, including an unknown number of refugees and asylum-seekers, have sought to gain access to EU countries via the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla from Morocco. The situation escalated between August and October last year and both Spanish and Moroccan security forces resorted to excessive and, in some cases, lethal force against the migrants. At least 13 were killed. The authorities forcibly moved hundreds of migrants to remote desert areas close to the border with Algeria without adequate water, food or shelter.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· Morocco/Western Sahara: Sahrawi human rights defenders under attack (AI Index: MDE 29/008/2005)

· Morocco/Western Sahara: Torture in the "anti-terrorism" campaign - the case of Témara detention centre (AI Index: MDE 29/004/2004)



Morocco’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified

Entered




Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Ratified





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Ratified

Entered




Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Signed





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




5



2







Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on the right to education

2. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID)

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Working Group on arbitrary detention: two urgent appeals concerning 5 individuals, to which the government provided responses.

WGEID: "In the past and during the year under review, the Working Group has transmitted 248 cases to the Government; of those, 46 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the source, 102 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the Government and 100 cases remain outstanding. The Working Group expresses its appreciation to the Government of Morocco for the information that it has provided and for its efforts to investigate the fate and whereabouts of persons reported to have disappeared in the past. It hopes that this process will continue."

Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions: one allegation letter concerning 8 individuals, about excessive force, to which the government has not provided a response.

Special Representative on human rights defenders. "La Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire General remercie le Gouvernement marocain pour sa réponse concernant la communication en date du 27 juillet 2005 et espère recevoir bientôt une réponse à ses autres communications."

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers: "Le Rapporteur spécial remercie le Gouvernement du Maroc pour sa coopération et souhaite l’assurer que l’information envoyée est à l’étude au moment de clore ce document et une analyse du Rapporteur spécial à ce sujet sera insérée dans son prochain rapport."

Special Rapporteur on torture: two urgent appeals concerning four individuals, both of which the government has responded to, and one allegation letter concerning one individual which it has not replied to.



NIGERIA

Death sentences continue to be handed down, but no executions were carried out in the past year. Trials by Shariacourts, which may impose floggings and death by stoning for sexually related offences, are generally grossly unfair. Frequently the poor and vulnerable are denied basic rights such as the right to a lawyer.

The security forces in the oil producing Niger Delta are responsible for killing and injuring people living in affected communities. People who protest against the oil companies have been killed and ill-treated and human rights defenders and journalists covering such issues are frequently ill-treated, unlawfully detained and harassed. Access to justice for the victims of these abuses is hindered by expensive and lengthy litigation processes.

Violence against women is widespread and entrenched, due to discriminatory laws and practices, dismissive attitudes within the police, an inaccessible justice system and the lack of shelters for victims. Women are raped and subjected to other forms of sexual violence by government agents as well as partners, employers and others. In some communities, female genital mutilation and forced marriages continue to be practised.

Political elections in Nigeria are generally marred by fraud and violence. In the period leading up to federal and state elections in April and May 2003, there was an increase in political assassinations, harassment of rival candidates, and violent clashes in which party supporters died. State-endorsed armed vigilante groups are responsible for large numbers of extrajudicial executions in the southeast, and suspected of involvement in a number of unsolved killings of politicians.

Newspaper editors and journalists who criticize the federal government or expose corruption are harassed by the security police, and sometimes held in incommunicado detention for days.

In a number of mass forced evictions, thousands of people have been made homeless without adequate notice, compensation or alternative accommodation. The state officials carrying out the forced evictions reportedly used tear gas, and beat residents, and in the process young children were injured.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· Nigeria: Making the destitute homeless – forced evictions in Makoko, Lagos State (AI Index AFR 44/001/2006)

· Nigeria: Ten years on – Injustice and violence haunt the oil Delta (AI Index: AFR 44/022/2005)

· Nigeria: Unheard voices – Violence against women in the family (AI Index: AFR 44/004/2005)



Nigeria’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified





Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Signed





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Signed





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Ratified





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue reports

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




5

2


1







Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on trafficking

2. Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing

3. Special Rapporteur on torture

4. Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

5. Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons

6. Special Rapporteur on violence against women

Missions carried out during last reporting period: Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/5/Add.2), Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.4) and Special Representative on human rights defenders (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.2)

shdrawnil

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Working Group on arbitrary detention issued one urgent appeal concerning six individuals. No response was sent by the government.

Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances: "In the past the Working Group has transmitted six cases to the Government. The Working Group has clarified five cases on the basis of information provided by the Government. There remains one outstanding case before the Working Group."

Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions: one allegation letter concerning deaths in custody of 20 individuals, to which the government has responded to reject the allegations but without adequate substantiation.

Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health: "The Special Rapporteur regrets that at the time of the finalization of this report, the Government had not transmitted any reply to his communication. News reports indicate that Florencio Ela Bibang and Felipe Esono Ntumu were tried in absentia by a military court in the city of Bata in Equatorial Guinea between 6 and 9 September 2005 and sentenced to 30 years in prison for their alleged involvement in an attempted coup on 8 October 2004. Another news report indicated that the three men were abducted from Nigeria and are being held incommunicado at Black Beach Prison in Malabo. Reports indicate that Florencio Ela Bibang is suffering from hepatitis A and may not be receiving medical care.

Special Representative on human rights defenders: "The Special Representative regrets that at the time this report was being finalized, no response had been received from the Government of Nigeria.

She also notes that in May 2005 at the invitation of the Government, she conducted an official visit to Nigeria. She thanks the Government for its collaboration in preparation and conduct of the mission. She draws attention to her report made following this visit."

Special Rapporteur on torture: one urgent appeal concerning three individuals and one allegation letter concerning one individual. The government has not provided any responses.



SENEGAL

The December 2004 peace agreement ended two decades of conflict in Casamance. This allowed reconstruction work and de-mining to begin and refugees, internally displaced people and former fighters to return home. However, implementation of the peace agreement has been hampered by divisions within rival factions of the Democratic Forces of Casamance Movement (Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance, MFDC).

Journalists and political opponents continue to be harassed and intimidated in violation of the rights to freedom of expression.

Despite public commitments by the authorities, steps have not been taken to end impunity for human rights perpetrators. To date, the government has not acted on the extradition request and international arrest warrant issued by a Belgian judge and charging Chad’s former president, Hissène Habré, with gross human rights violations committed during his 1982-90 rule. Habré has lived in Senegal since he was ousted from power in 1990.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· Senegal: Government must immediately arrest and extradite Hissène Habré to Belgium to face crimes against humanity charges (AI Index: AFR 49/001/2005)



Senegal’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/declarations




International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified art 14





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified art 22





Optional Protocol CAT

Signed





Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Ratified





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Ratified





Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Ratified





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Senegal





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Senegal







Compliance with overdue reports

Total overdue

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




14

5

1

2







Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on the right to education

2. Special Rapporteur on trafficking

3. Special Representative on human rights defenders

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Special Rapporteur on torture: one urgent appeal concerning one individual, which the government did not respond to.



SOUTH AFRICA

In the wave of public protests over socio-economic conditions prior to the local government elections in March 2006 police responded for the most part without use of excessive force.However, in some incidents they misused rubber bullets – the weapon of "last resort" under South African Police Service regulations – in their response to demonstrations in the Cape Town and Durban areas, in Delmas, Queenstown and Johannesburg. There were also incidents involving the misuse of pepper spray, in particular by members of the Municipal Police Services in Cape Town, to break up peaceful protests against local government authorities. The 1993 Gatherings Act was misused by some municipal authorities to suppress demonstrations by groups critical of their failure to deliver services to poor communities. Fifty-one members of the Landless People’s Movement remain subject to unfair trial proceedings two years after their arrest at a non-violent demonstration.

The use of torture and the misuse of lethal force against criminal suspects continue to be reported. The capacity and powers of the police oversight body, the Independent Complaints Directorate, should be strengthened and the draft law to criminalise torture should be introduced in parliament without further delay. Prison conditions are poor due to severe overcrowding.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the courts, the South African Human Rights Commission and NGOs have criticized the government for failing to address organizational issues and arbitrary practices which prevent the majority of asylum-seekers from obtaining access to refugee status determination procedures and documentation in a timely manner. These failures have effectively deniedasylum-seekers the right to work legally and to obtain health care or access to education, and left them at risk of arbitrary arrest, detention in police stations, and deportation.

High levels of sexual violence against women and children continue to be reported, with police recording 55, 114 rapes in the year ending March 2005, an increase of 4.5 per cent over the previous year. A draft law on sexual offences intended to increase access to justice and other services for survivors has been delayed for more than two years. Some improvements in the prosecution of crimes of sexual violence have, nonetheless, continued to be achieved through the development of dedicated sexual offences courts.

HIV prevalence rates among young women below 30 years of age remain disproportionately high relative to men of the same age. Although the number of "accredited" public health facilities providing treatment for people living with full-blown AIDS continues to increase, obstacles remain to access to treatment for the majority of those needing it as a result of severe shortages of skilled medical staff, "under-spending" of HIV/AIDS budgets by provincial departments of health, organizational problems affecting access for HIV-positive prisoners and a lack of national political leadership.



South Africa’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Signed





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified art 14





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified art 22

Entered




Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Signed





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Ratified





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Ratified





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue reports

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




7

2


2







Cooperation with Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

Yes

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing

2. Special Rapporteur on migrants

3. Special Rapporteur on food

Missions carried out during the last reporting period: Working Group on arbitrary detention (UN. Doc E/CN.4/2006/7/Add.3) and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/78/Add.2)

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: "By letter dated 28 October 2005, the Government informed the Special Rapporteur that his letter of 18 October 2005 had been transmitted to the relevant authorities in Pretoria for attention and a response. However, the Special Rapporteur regrets that at the time of the finalization of this report, the Government had not transmitted any reply to his communication. The Special Rapporteur continues to receive information documenting allegations of forced evictions in Johannesburg and he is monitoring the situation with concern."

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers: With reference to the urgent appeal of18 February 2004, the Special Rapporteur was informed by a reliable source and notes with satisfaction that a clerck was appointed to assist Judge Graham Travers who, owing to the fact that he suffers from muscular dystrophy, was under threat to loose his position. He would however appreciate an official confirmation of this development.

The Special Rapporteur further welcomes the above-reported opening of the Southern

Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) which represents a major hope and resource for increasing the

human rights awareness of judges and lawyers and should thus help consolidating the rule of

law in the southern African region.




TUNISIA

There are reports that dozens of people have been arrested and charged under anti-terrorism legislation passed in December 2003. Some were sentenced to lengthy prison terms following unfair trials. Some of them have been held incommunicado, and there are allegations of torture to extract confessions or to force detainees to sign statements.

Freedom of expression remains severely curtailed. The first congress of the Union of Tunisian Journalists was banned from taking place in September 2005. In connection with the World Summit on the Information Society, held in November 2005, some human rights organizations were prevented from carrying out their activities.

Human rights defenders face harassment and sometimes physical violence. Many human rights defenders, their families and friends are under surveillance by the authorities, and their activities are severely restricted.

There are reports of attacks on the independence of the judiciary and the right to freedom of expression of judges has been restricted. Some judges are reported to have been arbitrarily transferred to isolated areas, far from their families, in an attempt to intimidate and silence them.

0 Hundreds of political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, remain in prison; many have been held for more than a decade. Some are held in solitary confinement despite government promises to end such practices.

Large numbers of political prisoners have gone on repeated hunger strikes to protest against the continuing denial of medical care and harsh prison conditions. In April 2005, the authorities signed an agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which allows it to visit prisons regularly to assess conditions of detention and the treatment of prisoners.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· Tunisia: Human rights abuses in the run-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (AI Index: MDE 30/019/2005)



Tunisia’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified art.22





Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Ratified





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court






Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified





Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




12

3


2







Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on torture

2. Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

3. Special Representative on human rights defenders

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Working Group on arbitrary detention: adopted Opinion 36/2005 concerning one individual whose detention was not found to be arbitrary and Opinion 41/2005 concerning one individual whose detention was found to be arbitrary. Government provided a response in both cases. Working Group also issued one urgent appeal concerning one individual, to which the government provided a response.

Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism: "As at 15 December 2005, there had been no response to the Special Rapporteur’s correspondence."

Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances: "In the past and during the year under review, the Working Group has transmitted 17 cases to the Government; of those, 5 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the source and 12 have been clarified on the basis of the information provided by the Government. There are no outstanding cases of disappearances before the Working Group."

Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions: two allegation letters concerning deaths in custody of two individuals to which the government provided one cooperative but incomplete response to one communication, and no response to the other

Special Representative on human rights defenders: "La Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général remercie le Gouvernement tunisien pour ses promptes réponses à la plupart de ses communications. Elle prend bonne note des informations apportées par le Gouvernement. Néanmoins, en dépit de ces éclaircissement, elle demeure profondément préoccupée par les apparentes violations à la liberté d’association, d’expression et de réunion des défenseurs des droits de l’homme en Tunisie.

La Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général regrette que le Gouvernement tunisien n’ait toujours pas répondu favorablement à sa demande d’invitation afin d’effectuer une visite officielle dans le pays pour pouvoir évaluer la situation des défenseurs des droits de l’homme."

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers: "Le Rapporteur spécial est inquiet de constater que ce ne sont pas moins de six series de graves allégations qui lui sont parvenues concernant la Tunisie durant l’année. Il remercie le Gouvernement de la Tunisie pour sa coopération et les informations qu’il a bien voulu lui transmettre en réponse à ses communications du 25 janvier, 9 mars, 16 juin et 7 septembre. Il regrette que ses communications du 9 mai 2004, 12 mai et 19 août 2005 soient par contre demeurées sans réponse à ce jour et invite instamment le Gouvernement de la Tunisie à lui faire parvenir au plus tôt, et de préférence d’ici la clôture de la 62eme session de la Commission des droits de l’homme, des informations précises et détaillées en réponse aux allégations relayées dans ces deux communications. Eu égard aux informations reçues, elles appellent des commentaires approfondis qui dépassent les limitations techniques du présent rapport ainsi que des compléments d’information sur plusieurs points. D’une manière générale, le Rapporteur spécial est fortement préoccupé par les actes de violence et d’intimidation à l’encontre des avocats et magistrats tunisiens, dont le but semble être de les empêcher d’exercer leur travail de façon libre et indépendante. A la lumière de ces faits, il rappelle que les demandes de visite adressées au Gouvernement tunisien successivement les 4 décembre 1997, 15 avril 2002 et 20 janvier 2004 sont restées sans réponse. Il réitère sa proposition de mener au plus tôt une visite en Tunisie pour être à même de vérifier sur place si les allégations d’atteinte à l’indépendance du Pouvoir judiciaire et d’atteinte à l’intégrité des avocats et des magistrats sont véritablement fondées et en général pour examiner avec le Gouvernement et les organisations et personnes intéressées les dispositions souhaitables pour renforcer l’efficacité et l’indépendance du Pouvoir Judiciaire. Il espère que le Gouvernement accèdera à sa demande et pourra l’en informer d’ici la clotûre de la 62ème session de la Commission des droits de l’homme."

Special Rapporteur on torture: two allegation letters concerning two individuals, to which the government has not responded, three urgent appeals concerning fifty two individuals, to which the government has provided two responses, and three urgent appeals concerning members of la Ligue tunisienne des droits de l’homme, to which the government has provided no responses. The Special Rapporteur also received responses from the government to three previous cases concerning thirteen individuals.



ZAMBIA

There are reports of torture of suspects in police custody and excessive use of force by police. Low-paid police officers regularly detain people in order to recover debts owed by them to third parties.

Sexual violence against women is a major cause of HIV/AIDS. Many women are forced into economically dependent sexual relations because of poverty.

Opposition party officials have been denied equal access to state-controlled media and some have been arrested. Independent journalists have also been harassed and arrested.

President Mwanawasa made a public commitment that there would be no executions during his presidency and in November 2005 commuted 12 death sentences to life imprisonment. To Amnesty International’s knowledge no death sentences have been carried out since 1997.



Zambia’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR

Ratified





Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified

Entered




Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified





Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict






Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography






International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Ratified





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified

Entered




Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue reports

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial reports




2










Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

Special Representative on human rights defenders

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Special Rapporteur on torture: follow up to previously transmitted case, to which the government has provided a response





ASIAN STATES: 13 seats



At the time of writing, 18 countries belonging to the Asian Group had put themselves forward: Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand. All candidate countries had also submitted public pledges.



BAHRAIN

Under a new counter-terrorism law proposed by the government anyone convicted of committing or planning terrorist acts would face the death penalty. Human rights activists and members of Parliament have criticized the proposed law as an attempt to restrict freedoms excessively. In July 2005, Parliament also approved a new law to regulate political associations; human rights and other groups have criticized the new law as overly restrictive and have called on the King to cancel it.

In February 2005, three men were arrested in connection with comments published on their website which were alleged to be critical of the government and offensive to the royal family. They were charged with "inciting hatred, defamation and spreading false information". The three went on hunger strike during their detention and were released on 14 March 2005. By the end of 2005, it was not clear whether they were still awaiting trial.

A leading human rights defender, Ghada Jamsheer, appeared in court in June 2005 on charges of insulting the judiciary; defamation and slander of a family court judge; and slander of the husband of a victim of domestic violence. The first charge arises from petitions and articles issued between October 2002 and June 2003 by the Women’s Petition Committee, of which Ghada Jamsheer is the director. Ghada Jamsheer denied all the charges, all of which were subsequently dropped or dismissed by the courts.

In June 2005, the security forces reportedly used excessive force when dispersing peaceful demonstrators calling for more job opportunities. Many of the demonstrators were beaten and some required hospital treatment. About 30 were arrested, but released the same day without charge. In July, a further demonstration against unemployment resulted in more than 30 people being severely beaten by the security forces; some required hospital treatment.

Two Bangladeshi nationals, sentenced to death for murder in November 2004, had their death sentences upheld on appeal in December 2005.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Women deserve dignity and respect (AI Index: MDE 04/004/2005)



Bahrain’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)






Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified

Entered




Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Ratified





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Signed





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees






Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees








Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




5

1


3







Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on migrants

2. Special Rapporteur on trafficking (tentative date set for 2006)

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Special Representative on human rights defenders: "The Special Representative thanks the Government of Bahrain for its detailed and prompt responses to the communications sent. She welcomes the clarifications which they bring. In the case of Ghada Yusif Jamsheer she is encouraged by the steps reportedly taken by the Government as well as the assurances given with regards to the protection of women’s rights and women human rights defenders in Bahrain. She notes however, the the clarifications brought to her by the Government in its response do not entirely dispel her concerns with regards to the freedom that defenders enjoy with respect to criticizing existing institutions and demanding reforms in particular the Sharia courts and judge. She remains concerned in particular at the heaviness of the alleged sentence and she reiterates the principles enunciated, inter alia, by the Commission on Human Rights in its Resolution 2000/63, that criminal defamation laws should be repealed in favour of civil laws, and that sanctions for defamation should not be so large as to exert an alarming effect on freedom of expression. It is provided in the same Resolution that public figures are required to tolerate a greater degree of criticism than private citizens. With respect to the case concerning the ill-treatment of demonstrators in Manama, the Special Representative is encouraged by the commitment expressed by the Government to the principle of freedom of expression and assembly and its stated intention to ratify the ICESCR. She notes however, that the explanations provided by the Government of Bahrain on the general freedom of assembly do not entirely dispel the concern expressed in this particular case."

Special Rapporteur on torture: one allegation letter concerning a group, including two named individuals, to which the government has provided a response.



BANGLADESH

The level of violence has escalated following a series of bombings in 2005, including suicide bombings, targeting buildings and individuals. Leaflets at the bomb sites called for the introduction of Islamic law in Bangladesh. More than 25 people were killed and hundreds injured in these attacks. Following the attacks, hundreds of people were arrested. Despite persistent reports in the Bangladeshi media that armed Islamist groups were responsible for these attacks, the government continued to blame the political opposition, without providing any evidence to substantiate such claims. However, in March 2006, the government began to respond to the mounting internal and international concern that individuals and groups allegedly responsible for these attacks enjoyed impunity, and a number of individuals belonging to Islamist groups were detained against whom there were persistent allegations of bomb and grenade attacks.

Impunity for human rights violations is a widespread concern in Bangladesh. Torture continues to be reported and the government has done little to stop its practice and bring those responsible to justice.

Human rights defenders face abuses by the police, army and other law enforcement personnel, including arbitrary arrest and torture. Many have been threatened by individuals or groups linked to armed criminal gangs or political parties. Despite the attacks, human rights defenders have remain very active.

Hundreds of journalists have been harassed, intimidated and attacked by state agents and non-state actors, including Islamist groups, which have also attacked courts, judges and lawyers, apparently because they practised non-Islamic law.

Minorities, including Hindus, Christians, Ahmadis and tribal people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and elsewhere have been attacked with apparent impunity.

In the first quarter of 2005, according to media reports, more than 1,900 women were subjected to violence including rape, acid attacks, abuse for not meeting their husbands’ dowry demands, and being trafficked.

In 2005, at least 217 men and one woman were sentenced to death, and at least three men were executed by hanging.

List of main AI documents:

· Bangladesh: Investigations must comply to international human rights standards and extend to all those involved in human rights abuses regardless of their political links (AI Index: ASA 13/003/2006)

· Bangladesh: Harassment of leaders of the indigenous people (AI Index: ASA 13/010/2005)

· Bangladesh: Alleged government complicity in physical attacks against opposition activists (AI Index: ASA 13/008/2005

· Bangladesh: Human rights defenders under attack (AI Index: ASA 13/004/2005)



Bangladesh’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified

Entered




Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Ratified

Entered




Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Ratified





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Signed





Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Signed





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees






Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees








Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue reports

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial reports




8

2


3







Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression

2. Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Working Group on arbitrary detention: one urgent appeal concerning one individual, to which the government provided a response.

Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances: "In the past and during the year under review, the Working Group has transmitted one case to the Government and this one case remains outstanding."

Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions: two urgent appeals and two allegation letters sent to the government concerning 7 individuals, and in respect of death threats, death penalty safeguards, a death in custody and excessive force. The government has sent one largely satisfactory response and has acknowledged receipt of one communication. The government has not responded to two communications.

Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health: "By letter dated 26 September 2005, the Government informed the Special Rapporteur that his letter of 16 September 2005 had been transmitted to the relevant authorities in Bangladesh for necessary inquiry and action. However, the Special Rapporteur regrets that at the time of the finalization of this report, the Government had not transmitted any reply to his communication."

0 Special Representative on human rights defenders: "The Special Representative thanks the Government of Bangladesh for its detailed responses. She is encouraged to observe that in a majority of cases, the Government has taken measures to ensure alleged violations are investigated and the perpetrators held accountable. In the case of the attacks against judges she is also encouraged by the concrete measures and overall attention that the Government has paid to this issue. She notes however, that despite these efforts according to the information received no perpetrators of violations have yet been brought to justice."

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers: "The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of Bangladesh for its cooperation and values its efforts in providing within a short delay substantive information in response to the above allegations. He wishes to assure the Government that their replies are being studied at the time of finalizing this report and will be commented shortly."

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief: "The Special Rapporteur is grateful for the Government’s response to the communications sent on 5 July 2005. However, taking into account the serious character of the situation faced by the Ahmadiyya community in Bangladesh, she regrets that she has still not received a reply to her previous communication dated 10 March 2005. The Special Rapporteur therefore urges the Government to take concrete measures to eliminate acts of religious intolerance towards the Ahmadiyya community in accordance with article 8(a) of the 2005/40 Resolution of the Commission on Human Rights and would like to receive detailed information about the content of these measures as soon as possible."

Special Rapporteur on torture: one urgent action concerning one individual, to which the government provided a response, two allegation letters concerning eight individuals, which the government has not responded to, and a follow up letter on a past case concerning one individual, to which the government has replied.



CHINA

Individuals regularly attempt to seek redress for various abuses through China’s petitioning system, or the courts; however, few succeed due to fundamental weaknesses in these systems. Human rights defenders continue to lobby the authorities and the international community about various abuses; however, the authorities use broadly defined national security offences to prosecute and imprison activists.

There has been a renewed crackdown on journalists and the media, and several have been detained for broadly defined "state secrets" offences. Those reporting on sensitive issues or challenging the status quo are at risk of dismissal, arbitrary detention or imprisonment. Restrictions on Internet use have been tightened and dozens of people have been arrested for accessing or circulating politically sensitive information on-line.

Forced evictions in urban areas as well as land requisition and high taxes in the countryside have increasingly led to local protests and unrest. These have been met with violence, sometimes by criminal gangs, allegedly backed or hired by local authorities or enterprises.

General working conditions in factories, mines and other enterprises remain poor, and the rights of freedom of expression and association of workers’ representatives continue to be severely restricted; independent trade unions are illegal.

Despite laws prohibiting such practices, many women continue to be subjected to forced abortions and sterilizations by local authorities in line with strict family planning policies. Trafficking in women and children, especially girls, continues to be reported. Reports of domestic violence remain widespread, and women in detention risk sexual abuse and other forms of torture or ill-treatment.

The crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement was renewed in April 2005; many Falun Gong practitioners reportedly remain in detention where they were at high risk of torture or ill-treatment. Unregistered Catholics and Protestants associated with unofficial house churches have also been harassed, arbitrarily detained and imprisoned.

The death penalty continues to be used extensively and arbitrarily. People have been executed for non-violent crimes such as tax fraud and embezzlement as well as drug offences and violent crimes.

Torture and ill-treatment continue to be reported in a wide variety of state institutions. Common methods include kicking, beating, electric shocks, suspension by the arms, shackling in painful positions, and sleep and food deprivation. Restricted access to the outside world and the lack of effective complaints mechanisms are key factors allowing the practice to flourish.

People accused of political or criminal offences continue to be denied due process. Detainees’ access to lawyers and family members is severely restricted and trials fall far short of international standards for fair trial.

People continue to flee from North Korea into China to escape acute food shortages. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of North Koreans have been arrested and forcibly returned by the Chinese authorities who consider them to be economic migrants and deny them access to any refugee determination procedures, in breach of the UN Refugee Convention.

The authorities continue to use the global "war on terror" to justify harsh repression in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, resulting in serious human rights violations against the ethnic Uighur community. Freedom of religion, expression and association also continue to be severely restricted in Tibet. Dozens of prisoners of conscience remain behind bars, including Buddhist monks and nuns.

In Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, police used pepper spray, tear-gas and bean-bag rounds against protesters during ministerial meetings of the World Trade Organization in December 2005, prompting accusations by human rights monitors of excessive use of force. More than 1,000 protesters were detained, and several claimed to have been ill-treated in police custody. All were subsequently released.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· People’s Republic of China: Briefing on EU concerns regarding human rights in China (AI Index: ASA 17/027/2005)

· People’s Republic of China: The Olympic countdown – three years of human rights reform? (AI Index: ASA 17/021/2005)

· People’s Republic of China: Human Rights Defenders at risk - Update (AI Index: ASA 17/002/2005)



China’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Signed





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified

Entered




Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified

Entered




Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Signed





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Ratified





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court






Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified

Entered




Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified

Entered






Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue reports

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




5

1









Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression

2. Special Rapporteur on toxic waste

3. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (SR EJEs)

4. Independent Expert on extreme poverty

5. Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

Mission carried out during the last reporting period: Special Rapporteur on torture (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/6/Add.6)

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Working Group on arbitrary detention: Opinion 17/2005 concerning two individuals whose detention was found to be arbitrary. No response from government. Opinions 20/2005, 32/2005, 33/2005, 38/2005, 43/2005 concerning a total of five individuals whose detention was found to be arbitrary. A response from government received in all cases. WGAD sent 10 urgent appeals concerning 14 individuals. The government has responded to 7 appeals.

Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances: "In the past and during the year under review, the Working Group transmitted 110 cases to the Government; of those, 10 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the source, 69 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the Government and 31 cases remain outstanding. The Working Group expresses its appreciation to the Government of China for its cooperation. However the Working Group notes a worrying circumstance in which individuals from vulnerable groups, including children and mentally challenged people, have allegedly disappeared."

SR EJEs: three urgent appeals and three allegation letters concerning 9 individuals plus a group of persons, and in respect of death penalty safeguards and deaths in custody. The government has provided three largely satisfactory responses and one cooperative but incomplete response. The Special Rapporteur is awaiting translations of two government responses.

Special Rapporteur on the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health: "The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for its responses. However, he regrets that at the time of the finalization of his report, the Government had not transmitted any reply to his communication sent on 29 September 2005."

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing: "The Special Rapporteur regrets that at the time of the finalization of this report, the Government had not transmitted any reply to his communication. The Special Rapporteur continues to receive information on the violation of the rights of housing activists protesting forced evictions, most recently at the United Nations Global Compact Summit in Shanghai on 1 December 2005 when approximately 60 activists were detained by police, though later released or returned to their home districts, when they attempted to deliver a letter to United Nations officials attending the Summit. The letter was addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and reportedly documented allegations against the local Shanghai authorities and police of human rights abuses, including forced evictions and land grabs. The Special Rapporteur continues to monitor the situation with interest."

Special Representative on human rights defenders: "The Special Representative thanks the Government of China for its replies to the communications of 2005 but regrets that it was not possible for her to make any comment on these cases due to these not being translated in time for the writing of this report. With regard to the responses to communications sent in 2004, the Special Representative takes note of the Government’s position. The Special Representative notes with concern the limitations by domestic law to Chinese defenders’ rights and freedoms under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and especially their right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association and freedom of assembly. She remains deeply concerned by reports of arbitrary arrests and detention, including incommunicado, torture and ill-treatment of defenders, and in particular those that deal with issues concerning the 1989 events of Tiananmen Square, religious minorities, ethnic minorities such as Uirghurs and Tibetans, and lawyers who take on human rights cases such as forced sterilization and abortions, forced evictions and labour issues."

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers: The Special Rapporteur notes the number of communications that had to be addressed to the Government of China between 2004 and 2005. He thanks the Government for its cooperation and the substantive information it provided in answer to his requests while being concerned by the delays in receiving them. He similarly regrets and apologizes for the particularly long delays in translations of the Government latest reply which have made it impossible for him to make appropriate and timely follow-up on them. Both delays have no small incidence for the alleged victims and he is concerned that they may be avoided in the future. With this in mind, he urges the Government also to provide at the earliest possible date, and preferably before the end of the 62nd session of the Commission on Human Rights, detailed substantive answers to the allegations relayed to them in his letters of 1 July, 25 November and 21 December 2005, and the Secretariat to arrange for early translation of the Government responses." [Please consult report for complete text of observation]

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief: due to technical difficulties it is not possible to read the full text of the observation of the Special Rapporteur at this time.

Special Rapporteur on torture: six urgent appeals concerning twenty named individuals and 400 monks. The government responded to three. Two allegation letters concerning two individuals, to which the government provided no responses. The Special Rapporteur sent seven follow-up letters to past cases concerning ten named individuals and a group of Falun Gong practitioners, all of which the government responded to.




INDIA

Although politically motivated violence has slightly decreased in Jammu and Kashmir, torture, deaths in custody and "disappearances" continue to be reported. At least 38 people are reported to have died in custody in 2005.

The vast majority of survivors of targeted killings and sexual violence in Gujarat in 2002 - most of them Muslim - have still not received justice and reparations for these crimes, some of which amount to crimes against humanity. In December 2005 a mass grave containing the remains of the victims was found. In February 2006, in a key case relating to the violence, nine persons were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Amnesty International continues to receive reports of harassment of human rights defenders and the social and economic boycotting of the Muslim minority in Gujarat particularly after criminal convictions.

Members of the security forces continue to enjoy impunity for human rights violations. Nine years after the "disappearance" and killing of human rights lawyer Jalil Andrabi in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, an army major identified as responsible by a special investigation team has still not been brought to justice. In Punjab, police officers responsible for serious human rights violations in the mid-1990s continue to evade justice, despite the recommendations of several judicial inquiries and commissions.

Human rights defenders in many parts of the country continue to be harassed and attacked, including activists working on behalf of socially and economically marginalized communities.

At least 77 people were sentenced to death in 2005; however, no executions took place. There is no comprehensive information on the number of people under sentence of death in each state. The central and state governments do not publish any information on the number of people under the sentence of death.

Although the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed more than a year ago, the cases of those held under the Act have not yet been fully reviewed, and some state governments have yet to take action on the recommendations by the judicial committee reviewing the cases. Human rights organizations have expressed concern over amendments made to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and state-level acts (especially in Chattisgarh state) which grant special powers to the state, similar to those previously provided by the POTA.

A government committee has recommended the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which gives sweeping powers of immunity to security forces in conflict situations. The government has deferred decision on the demand for repeal of the Act.

Despite positive economic gains in recent years, approximately 300 million people remain mired in poverty. Twenty-one years after the Union Carbide Corporation’s pesticide plant in Bhopal leaked toxic gases that took a heavy toll on lives and the environment; survivors are still fighting for adequate compensation, medical help and rehabilitation. The plant site has still not been cleaned and toxic waste continues to pollute the groundwater.

Dalits still face intense social, political, cultural and economic discrimination, oppression and violence. Only a few cases registered under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 have led to convictions. Adivasi communities in several states also face tremendous pressure from dam and mining projects, expansion of modern forms of agriculture and settlements and have to contend with serious displacement issues arising from lack of adequate rehabilitation and resettlement policies and programmes.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· The death penalty in India: briefing for the EU-India Summit, 7 September 2005 (AI Index: ASA 20/034/2005)

· Briefing on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Manipur) (AI Index: ASA 20/025/2005)

· India: Union Carbide Corporation, DOW Chemicals and the Bhopal communities in India - the case (AI Index: ASA 20/005/2005)

· Justice the victim: Gujarat state fails to protect women from violence in 2002 (AI Index: ASA 20/002/2005)



India’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Ratified

Entered




Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Ratified

Entered




Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Signed





Optional Protocol to the CAT



drb

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

RatifiedEntered



Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Ratified





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court






Convention Relating the Status of Refugees






Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees








Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




4

2

1








Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on torture (requested since 1993)

2. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (SR EJEs, first requested in 2000)

3. Special Representative on human rights defenders (SR HRD)

4. Special Rapporteur on racism

5. Special Rapporteur on toxic waste

6. Working Group on arbitrary detention

7. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

8. Special Rapporteur on the sale of children

Missions carried out during the last reporting period: Special Rapporteur on the right to food (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/44/Add.2)

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Working Group on arbitrary detention: two urgent appeals concerning four individuals to which the government has not responded.

Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances: "In the past and during the year under the review, the Working Group has transmitted 382 cases to the Government; of those, 10 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the Government and 325 cases remain outstanding. While expressing its appreciation to the Government of India for the information provided during the course of the year and for its efforts to investigate cases of disappearance, the Working Group remains concerned about the number of cases brought to its attention and the lack of any clarification."

SR EJEs: three allegation letters issued concerning 38 individuals, about a death in custody, impunity and excessive force, to which the government has sent no responses.

SR HRD: "The Special Representative regrets that at the time this report was finalized no responses had been received from the Government of India to her communications of 2005. The Special Representative thanks the Government of India for their reply to her communication of 6 October 2004 and welcomes the news that Mr. Umakanta Meiti was released without charges. The Special Representative notes that no response has been received to her request to conduct a country visit."

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief: "The Special Rapporteur expresses her concern at not having received any response from the Government. She urges the Government to provide her a detailed reply concerning the communications sent as soon as possible. She would like to point out that article 4(g) of Resolution 2005/40 of the Commission on Human Rights urges States to ensure that all public officials and civil servants, including members of law enforcement bodies, in the course of their official duties, respect different religions and beliefs and do not discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief. In addition article 10 of the Resolution emphasizes the importance of a continued and strengthened dialogue among and within religions or beliefs to promote greater tolerance, respect and mutual understanding. With regard to the problem of conversion, the Special Rapporteur would like to draw attention to paragraph 5 of General Comment 22 of the Human Rights Committee which provides that, "the freedom to "have or to adopt" a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views, as well as the right to retain one's religion or belief." In addition the Special Rapporteur would like to refer to paragraphs 40 to 68 of her previous report to the General Assembly (A/60/399) where she addressed the question of conversion as well as missionary activities and propagation of religion. In particular, she underlined that "[m]issionary activities and other forms of propagation of religion are part of the right to manifest one’s religion or belief. They may be limited only under restrictive conditions, and the Special Rapporteur disapproves of the criminalization of certain acts specific to the propagation of one’s religion". She would furthermore like to draw attention to paragraph 21 of General Comment 28 of the Human Rights Committee which provides that article 18 of may not be relied on to justify discrimination against women by reference to freedom of thought, conscience and religion."

Special Rapporteur on torture: four allegation letters concerning five individuals to which the government provided no responses, and two follow-up letters to previous cases concerning six individuals to which the government did respond.




INDONESIA

The human rights situation in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalamhas improved significantly after the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on 15 August 2005 which sets out a framework to end peacefully the 29 year conflict between the government and the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM). However, concerns remain that past human rights violations will not be prosecuted and that impunity could undermine prospects for a lasting peace. Despite provisions in the MoU that a human rights court would be set up, the government has announced that the court will not have powers to hear cases from the past.

During the military and civil emergencies (May 2003 – May 2005), suspected GAM members and supporters faced unfair trials; many were denied full access to lawyers and were convicted on the basis of confessions reportedly extracted under torture. Local human rights monitors were subjected to arrest, detention and other forms of harassment and intimidation. During the civil emergency period alone, 80 civilians were killed: three died as a result of torture; 64 were assassinated; six were abducted and killed; and seven were killed during shootings.

In Papua the human rights situation remains tense. There have been reports of arbitrary arrests, unlawful killings, torture and ill-treatment. Independent human rights monitoring is hampered by tight restrictions on access to the province by foreign journalists and other international human rights monitors, as well as by harassment and intimidation of local activists. There is concern that plans to increase troop numbers could lead to more human rights violations in the province.

Members of the police have used excessive force on various occasions, including against demonstrators and detainees. In September 2005, 37 people were wounded when the police shot into a crowd of around 700 peasant farmers in Tanak Awuk, Lombok Island. The gathering was organized to commemorate National Peasants’ Day and to discuss land issues. The police said they were responding to people attacking them.

A survey conducted by a local non-governmental organization concluded that over 81 per cent of prisoners arrested between January 2003 and April 2005 in Salemba detention centre, Cipinang prison and Pondok Bambu prison, all in Jakarta, were tortured or ill-treated.

At least 64 civilians were arrested under the Law on Combating Criminal Acts of Terrorism between April and June 2005. Amnesty International is concerned about the legislation, including its inadequate definition of acts of "terrorism", provision for up to six months’ detention without access to judicial review; and provisions allowing capital punishment.

Human Rights Courts have proved unable to bring perpetrators of serious human rights violations to justice including those in Tanjung Priok, Timor-Leste and Abepura. In a report to the Security Council, a Commission of Experts (CoE) appointed by the UN Secretary-General to review the prosecution of serious violations of human rights in Timor-Leste in 1999, concluded that the judicial process before the Indonesian ad hoc Human Rights Court for Timor-Leste was "manifestly inadequate with respect to investigations, prosecutions and trials". The report also pointed to provisions in the terms of reference of the newly established Truth and Friendship Commission which "contradict international standards on denial of impunity for serious crimes".

At least 19 prisoners of conscience were sentenced to prison terms during 2005 and three others remain in jail. They include peaceful political and independence activists, members of religious minorities, students and journalists.

At least 17 people, including two convicted of terrorism-related charges, have been sentenced to death since January 2005 bringing to at least 89 the total number of people known to be under sentence of death. At least one woman and one man were executed by firing squad in 2005. Both were convicted of murder.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· A briefing for EU and ASEAN countries concerning the deployment of the Aceh Monitoring Mission to Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province (AI Index: ASA 21/017/2005)

· The role of human rights in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami: A briefing for Members of the Consultative Group on Indonesia, 19-20 January 2005 (AI Index: ASA 21/002/2005)

· Recommendations to the Government of Indonesia on the occasion of the election of Ambassador Makarim Wibisono as Chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (AI Index: ASA 21/001/2005)


Indonesia’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR



rdrw15


Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR





International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified

Entered




Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Signed





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified

Entered




Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict

Signed





Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Signed





International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Signed





Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court






Convention Relating the Status of Refugees






Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees








Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




4

1


1







Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

No

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on torture (requested since 1993)

2. Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (requested since 1996)

3. Special Rapporteur on migrants

4. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression

5. Special Representative on human rights defenders (SR HRD)

6. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (SR EJEs)

7. Independent Expert on structural adjustment policies and external debt

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances: "In the past and during the year under review, the Working Group transmitted 159 cases to the Government; of those, 3 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the Government and 156 cases remain outstanding. The Working Group encourages the Governments of Indonesia and Timor-Leste to cooperate fully in clarifying cases that occurred on the territory of what was formerly East Timor. The Working Group is deeply concerned about reports of persecution of human rights defenders working on disappearance cases, in particular the death of Mr. Munir, Chairman of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances."

Special Rapporteur on countering terrorism while promoting and protecting human rights: "A response to the Special Rapporteur’s correspondence was requested by 14 January 2006."

SR EJEs: one urgent appeal concerning 3 individuals, about death penalty safeguards, to which the government provided a cooperative but incomplete response.

SR HRD: " The Special Representative thanks the Government of Indonesia for its reply to her communication of 23 November 2005, but regrets that at the time this report was being finalized, she had not received a response to her communication of 16 June 2005 concerning Mugiyanto Sri Suparyati, Usman Hamid, and Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara and Thoby Mutis. While she acknowledges the Government’s position with regard to the communication of 23 November 2005 concerning Mr. Munir Said Thalib’s murder, she remains concerned that the detailed findings of the TPF investigation team, including those suggesting the involvement of high-ranking intelligence officials and senior employees of Garuda airlines, were not fully taken into account when the authorities proceeded with the case against the sole suspect Mr. Pollycarpus Priyanto who has since been convicted of the murder. The Special Representative also regrets that her request to conduct a country visit was refused by the Government of Indonesia."

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers: "The Special Rapporteur thanks the Indonesian Government for their cooperation and their substantive replies. With regard to Mr. Sakak bin Jamak, the Special Rapporteur takes note of the Government comments regarding the judicial proceedings. While noting that the Government does not provide specific details to assure him of the suspension of the execution of the death sentence imposed upon the person in question, he welcomes their comments regarding the rare carrying out of this sentence. He wishes to take this opportunity to reiterate his firm opposition to the death penalty and to urge the Indonesian Government to move towards removing this sentence from national legislation. He further wishes to ask the Government to kindly confirm whether the death penalty against Mr. Sakak bin Jamak was eventually commuted to a given prison term and, if so, what term. With regard to Mr. Munir, the Special Rapporteur notes with satisfaction the swift action taken by the Government and the Judiciary with a view to clarifying the circumstances of his death and to bring those responsible to court and sentence them."

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief: "The Special Rapporteur is grateful for the Government’s responses to some of the communications and urges the Government to reply to the other communications. The Special Rapporteur draws the Government’s attention to Resolution 2005/40 of the UN Commission on Human Rights, in which the Commission urges States to ensure the right of all persons to worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief and to establish and maintain places for these purposes. Paragraph 8 (a) of Resolution 2005/40 urges states to step up their efforts to eliminate intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief notably by taking all necessary and appropriate action, in conformity with international standards of human rights, to combat hatred, intolerance and acts of violence, intimidation and coercion motivated by intolerance based on religion or belief, with particular regard to religious minorities and also to devote particular attention to practices that violate the human rights of women and discriminate against women. She also recalls Article 6(a) of the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion in which it is stated that the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "[t]o worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief, and to establish and maintain places for these purposes". In addition Article 6(b) provides that the freedom to establish and maintain appropriate charitable or humanitarian institutions is also included in the right to freedom of religion. The Special Rapporteur would also like to take this opportunity to insist on receiving an invitation from the Government to visit Indonesia to assess the situation of freedom of religion or belief. As she underlined in her previous report to the General Assembly (A/60/399), the Government has been reminded of this request for an invitation on many occasions since 1996.

Special Rapporteur on torture: four allegation letters concerning ten individuals, to which the government has provided two responses, and two urgent appeals concerning four individuals, to which the government has replied.



IRAN

Discriminatory laws and practices remain a source of social and political unrest and lead to human rights violations, particularly against Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities. In April 2005, at least 31 Arabs were killed and hundreds injured during clashes with the police in Ahvaz and elsewhere in Khuzestan province. At the end of June 2005, scores of ethnic Azeris participating in an annual cultural gathering in Kalayber were arrested; at least 21 were subsequently later sentenced to prison terms of between three months and one year. In July 2005, Iranian security forces shot dead a Kurdish opposition activist, and reportedly dragged his body through the streets behind a jeep. Thousands of Kurds took to the streets in protest. Security forces reportedly killed up to 21 people, injured scores more and arrested at least 190.

Members of Iran’s religious minorities have also been killed, detained or harassed because of their faith. Even the recognized religious minorities of Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians face are discriminated against in law and practice with respect to employment, marriage, and criminal sanctions. Unrecognized religions such as the Baha’is, Ahl-e Haq and Sabeaens (Mandeaens) are at particular risk of discrimination.

Freedom of expression and association remains severely curtailed. Journalists and webloggers have been detained and imprisoned and some newspapers have been closed down. Human rights defenders face reprisals because of their work, including harassment, intimidation, attacks, detention, imprisonment and torture.

Amnesty International is concerned that trials in Iran before General, Revolutionary or Special Courts do not meet international standards for fair trial. The independence of lawyers and judges is undermined and detainees are not afforded timely access to legal counsel, leading to prolonged periods of incommunicado detention, during which torture or ill-treatment may be used to obtain confessions.

Torture continues to be routine in many prisons and detention centres. At least five people died in custody in 2005. In several cases, torture or ill-treatment may have been a factor. At least three amputations have been carried out in 2005, and it is common for courts to hand down sentences of flogging.

At least 94 people were executed in 2005, including at least eight minors. Many others were sentenced to death, including at least 11 minors. The true figures may well be higher. In October 2005, a woman was reportedly sentenced to death by stoning, despite a moratorium on the use of this punishment introduced in 2002.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· Iran: Human rights defenders in the front line (AI Index: MDE 13/026/2006)

· Iran: Amnesty International condemns violence against women demonstrators in Iran (AI Index: MDE 13/024/2006)

· Iran: Worrying trends in use of death penalty (AI Index: MDE 13/020/2006)

· Iran: Urgent investigation required into security forces violence against Sufi Muslims in Qom (AI Index: 13/016/2006)

· Iran: New government fails to address dire human rights situation (AI Index: MDE 13/010/2006)

· Iran: Human Rights Defender at risk appeal case- Abdolfattah Soltani (AI Index MDE 13/009/2006)

· Iran: Amnesty International calls for end to death penalty for child offenders (AI Index: MDE 13/005/2006)


Iran’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified





Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)






Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified





Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)






Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CRC on children in armed conflict






Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography






International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families






Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Signed





Convention Relating the Status of Refugees

Ratified

Entered




Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified







Compliance with reporting obligations

Total overdue

5 years overdue

10 years overdue

Initial overdue




8

4

2








Cooperation with the Special Procedures

Extension of a standing invitation

Yes*

Outstanding requests by the Special Procedures to carry out a visit

1. Special Rapporteur on torture

2. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (SR EJEs)*

3. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (postponed)

4. Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

* NB: SR EJEs draws particular attention to the problems experienced in relation to his repeated requests to Iran despite the existence of a standing invitation. See UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/53.

Missions carried out during last reporting period: Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/41/Add.2) and Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.3)

Communications with the Special Procedures during the last reporting period

Working Group on arbitrary detention sent eighteen urgent appeals concerning forty two individuals. The Government responded to eight of the communications.

8 Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances: "The Working Group regrets that the mission to the Islamic Republic of Iran scheduled to take place in July 2004 has been postponed and remains deeply concerned that little has been done to clarify the more than 500 outstanding cases and that no information has been received from the Government during the period under review. The Working Group wishes to remind the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran of its obligations under the Declaration to take all measures necessary to prevent further cases of disappearance, to investigate all outstanding cases and to bring the perpetrators to justice."

SR EJEs sent 12 urgent appeals plus five allegations letters concerning 46 individuals, and in regard to death penalty safeguards, attacks or killings, and excessive force. The government has provided five largely satisfactory responses, five cooperative but incomplete responses, and one response rejecting the allegations but without adequate substantiation. The government has not responded to six communications, one of which was sent recently.

Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health: "The Special Rapporteur regrets that at the time of the finalization of this report, the Government had not transmitted any reply to his communications. According to news reports, Nasser Zarafshan was released temporarily in order to receive medical treatment for kidney stones on 4 July 2005 and Akbar Ganji was sent back from hospital to Evin Prison on 3 September 2005 to serve the remainder of his six-year sentence. Information received alleges that Mr. Ganji was tortured by security officers while in the quarantine wing of Milad hospital in Tehran and that he has been denied medical treatment for a dislocated shoulder that resulted from mistreatment."

Special Representative on human rights defenders: "The Special Representative thanks the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its replies to her communications of 15 November 2004 and 16 November 2004 and 4 August 2005, but regrets that at the time this report was being finalized, she had not received replies to the majority of her communications in 2005 concerning Mrs. Shirin Ebadi (13 January 2005), Mr. Nasser Zarafshan (16 February 2005), Ms. Najmeh Omidparvar, Ms. Chahrzad Kariman, Ms. Chiva Nazar-Ahari and Ms. Fariba Hedayati (10 March 2005), Mr. Nasser Zarafshan (16 June 2005), Mr. Akbar Ganji (27 June 2005) and Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani and Mrs. Shirin Ebadi (24 August 2005). The Special Representative looks forward to receiving information to her communication of 15 December 2004 concerning Mr. Bahram Mashhadi, a Baha’I who is alleged to have been tried in absentia, without an access to any form of legal counsel. Mr. Mashhadi is said to be currently imprisoned in Tehran. The Special Representative remains concerned as to how raising legitimate human rights concerns in a written appeal on behalf of an entire community, particularly one that does not have Constitutional protection, could attract serious charges carrying incarceration sentences. The Special Representative thanks the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its reply of 22 August 2005 concerning Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani but looks forward to receiving further information pending the legal proceedings against him".

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers: "The Special Rapporteur notes that in the course of 2005 no less than seven communications had to be addressed to the Government of Iran, and that only five of the communications referred to above were the subject of answers. He therefore wishes to thank the Government of Iran for its cooperation in that connection and at the same time to urge it to provide at the earliest possible date, and preferably before the end of the 62nd session of the Commission on Human Rights, detailed substantive answers to the grave allegations regarding which it did not yet provide answers. The Special Rapporteur was informed by non-governmental sources that on 3 December 2005, a judicial decision was issued for Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani, the subject of the urgent appeal sent on 4 August 2005, for an additional period of three months in detention. He urges the Government of Iran to specify the legal basis and grounds for the continued detention, and the place and conditions of detention, and also to confirm that Mr. Soltani was eventually unconditionally released at the end of the three months period. On the other hand, the Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of Iran for providing information on measures taken to reform the Judiciary. He notes that directives were issued by the Head of the Judiciary regarding the involvement of the prosecutor’s office during investigations and welcomes the amendment providing for the mandatory presence of legal counsel during proceedings. He would be very interested in receiving further information on the actual implementation and effectiveness of these directives."

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief: "The Special Rapporteur is grateful for the Government’s responses to some of her communications. However, she regrets that some of the responses were only partial and hopes to receive further information as soon as possible. The Special Rapporteur remains particularly concerned about the continued persecution of members of the Bahá'í community and would in this respect like to reiterate her support for the recommendations made by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in its most recent concluding observations (CERD/C/63/CO/6, para.14). Additionally she would like to draw the Government’s attention to paragraph 9 of General Comment 22 of the Human Rights Committee which provides that, "the fact that a religion is recognized a State religion or that it is established as official or traditional or that its followers comprise the majority of the population, shall not result in any impairment of the enjoyment of any of the rights under the Covenant, including articles 18 and 27, nor in any discrimination against adherents to other religions or non-believers ". Furthermore paragraph 21 of General Comment 28 of the Human Rights Committee provides that State parties must take measures to ensure that freedom of thought, conscience and religion will be guaranteed and protected in law and practice for both men and women, on the same terms and without discrimination. Article 18 may not be relied upon to justify discrimination against women by reference to freedom of thought, conscience and religion."

Special Rapporteur on torture: Twenty urgent appeals concerning sixty four individuals, to which the government has provided five responses, and one follow-up letter to past cases concerning one individual, which the government has replied to.




IRAQ

Nearly three years after United States and allied forces invaded Iraq and toppled the government of Saddam Hussain, the human rights situation in the country remains dire. The deployment of US-led forces in Iraq and the armed response that engendered has resulted in the death of thousands of civilians (according to the independent Iraqi Body Count, the number of civilian casualties in Iraq since the military intervention in March 2003 is somewhere between 34,000 and 39,000). Reports from Iraq indicate that attacks by armed groups continue unabated. Hundreds of Iraqi civilians have reportedly been killed or injured in indiscriminate car bombings and suicide attacks by armed groups targeting Iraqi police and government forces, as well as military convoys and bases of the Multinational Force (MNF). Amnesty International is also concerned at reports that the MNF continues to use force against civilians indiscriminately.

Incidents of "disappearances", kidnappings and extra-judicial killings – often along sectarian lines – are reported to be increasing. Moreover, the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration recently stated that around 10,000 families have been uprooted as a result of the ongoing sectarian killings, and a large number of Iraqis have sought refuge outside the country.

There are reports of widespread torture and ill-treatment by the Iraqi security forces in secret detention centres, police stations and official detention centres in different parts of the country. Methods of torture include hanging by the arms, burning with cigarettes, beatings, the use of electric shocks on different parts of the body, strangulation, the breaking of limbs and sexual abuse.

Thousands of people have been held without charge or trial by the MNF. Most are Sunnis arrested in the so-called Sunni Triangle where armed groups opposed to the MNF and the Iraqi government are active. Most were denied access to lawyers and families for the first two months of detention.

US military forces continued to control four main detention centres: Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad; Camp Bucca in Um Qasr, near Basra in the south; Camp Cropper near Baghdad International Airport; and Fort Suse, near Suleimaniya in the north. At the end of November 2005, more than 14,000 detainees were held in these detention centres; more than 1,400 for more than a year.

Dozens of people have been sentenced to death by Iraqi criminal courts during 2005, and dozens of people remain on death row. The first executions since Iraq re-imposed the death penalty in August 2004 were carried out in September 2005.

The trial against former President Saddam Hussain and seven others started on 19 October 2005 before the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal. An Amnesty International delegation observed the opening session of the trial, which has been marred by procedural irregularities.. The seven men are accused in connection with the executions of 148 people from al-Dujail, following an assassination attempt against Saddam Hussain in 1982. The defendants, all of whom could face death sentences if convicted, have denied the charges and questioned the legitimacy of the court.

Women and girls continue to face threats, attacks and harassment; some have been killed and abducted by armed groups. Their freedoms are severely curtailed as a result of the lack of security on the streets. Many women and girls are under pressure to wear the hijab and to change their behaviour.

Human rights abuses have also been reported from areas of northern Iraq controlled since 1991 by the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Recent Amnesty International reports:

· Iraq: Amnesty International’s concerns with regards to "Operation Swarmer" (AI Index: MDE 14/011/2006)

· Iraq: Beyond Abu Ghraib, torture and detention in Iraq (AI Index: MDE 14/001/2006)

· Iraq: The new Constitution must protect human rights (AI Index: MDE 14/023/2005)

· Iraq: In cold blood – abuses by armed groups (AI Index: MDE 14/009/2005)

· Iraq: Iraqi Special Tribunal – fair trials not guaranteed (AI Index: MDE 14/007/2005)

· Iraq: Decades of suffering, now women deserve better (AI Index: MDE 14/001/2005)



Iraq’s cooperation with the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures

Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties

Treaty

RatificationReservations/ declarations



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR






International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Ratified

Entered




Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratified

Entered




Optional Protocol to the CEDAW






Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Ratified

Entered




Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)






Optional Protocol CAT






Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratified

Entered