Janvier 2013 / n°603f - AFP PHOTO / IAN TIMBERLAKE

sans distinction aucune, notamment de race, de couleur, de sexe, de langue, de religion, d’opinion politique ou de toute autre opinion,
d’origine nationale ou sociale, de fortune, de naissance ou de toute autre situation. De plus, il ne sera fait aucune distinction fondée
sur le statut politique, juridique ou international du pays ou du territoire dont une personne est ressortissante, que ce pays ou territoire
soit indépendant, sous tutelle, non autonome ou soumis à une limitation quelconque de souveraineté. Article 3 : Tout individu a droit à
la vie, à la liberté et à la sûreté de sa personne.
Article 4 : Nul ne sera tenu en servitude ;

Annual Report 2013

Blogueurs et cyBerdissidents
derrière les Barreaux
Mainmise de l’État sur Internet

Janvier 2013 / n°603f - AFP PHOTO / IAN TIMBERLAKE

Article premier : Tous les êtres humains naissent libres
et égaux en dignité et en droits. Ils sont doués de raison et de conscience et doivent agir les uns envers les autres dans un esprit
de fraternité. Article 2 : Chacun peut se prévaloir de tous les droits et de toutes les libertés proclamés dans la présente Déclaration,
sans distinction aucune, notamment de race, de couleur, de sexe, de langue, de religion, d’opinion politique ou de toute autre opinion,
d’origine nationale ou sociale, de fortune, de naissance ou de toute autre situation. De plus, il ne sera fait aucune distinction fondée
sur le statut politique, juridique ou international du pays ou du territoire dont une personne est ressortissante, que ce pays ou territoire
soit indépendant, sous tutelle, non autonome ou soumis à une limitation quelconque de souveraineté. Article 3 : Tout individu a droit à
la vie, à la liberté et à la sûreté de sa personne.
Article 4 : Nul ne sera tenu en servitude ;

annual Report 2013

Cover photo: Bombing wreckage, Aleppo, Syria. © AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF

04

Our Fundamentals

05

A Universal and Federalist Movement

06

FIDH 38th Congress

08

178 Member Organisations

09

International Board

10

International Secretariat

12

Priority 1

Supporting Human Rights Defenders

19

Priority 2

Promoting and Protecting Women’s Rights

25

Priority 3

Promoting and Protecting Migrants’ Rights

29

Priority 4

Promoting the Administration of Justice and Combat Impunity

38

Priority 5

Strengthening Respect For Human Rights in the Context of Globalisation

44

Priority 6 Conflicts, Closed and Transition Countries: Defending Democratic Principles and
Providing Support For Victims of the Most Serious Human Rights Violations

44

> North Africa and the Middle East

50

> Sub-Saharan Africa

56

> The Americas

61

> Asia

66

> Eastern Europe and Central Asia

70

Organisational Challenges

78

Financial Report 2013

79 Acknowledgements

Our Fundamentals
Our mandate: Protect all rights
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is an
international NGO. It defends all human rights – civil, political,
economic, social and cultural – as contained in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.

Our commitment: Three pillars of action
FIDH acts in conjunction with its member and partner
organisations. Its actions are founded on three strategic pillars:
securing the freedom and capacity to act for human rights
defenders, the universality of rights and their effectiveness.

Guiding principle: The accountability of all
FIDH’s work is directed at States as primary human rights
guarantors. However, it also addresses non State actors such
as armed groups and multinational corporations. FIDH is
committed to holding individual perpetrators of international
crimes to account through the international criminal justice
system.

Ethics: Independence and objectivity
FIDH is a non partisan, non sectarian, apolitical and not for profit

organisation. Its secretariat is headquartered in France, where
FIDH is a recognised NGO. FIDH’s independence, expertise
and objectivity are the hallmarks of its credibility. It maintains
this by acting with complete transparency.

Interaction: Local presence - global action
As a federal movement, FIDH operates on the basis of
interaction with its member organisations. It ensures that
FIDH merges on-the-ground experience and knowledge with
expertise in international law, mechanisms of protection
and intergovernmental bodies. This unique combination
translates through joint actions between FIDH and its member
organisations at national, regional and international levels to
remedy human rights violations and consolidate processes of
democratisation. It makes FIDH highly representational and
legitimate.

A system of governance:
Universality and transparency
FIDH’s structure and operations place its member organisations
at the heart of the decision making process, and reflect its
principles of governance.

38th FIDH International Congress, May 2013, Support for detained human rights defenders Ales Bialiatski (Belarus) and Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain). © FIDH

4 — F I D H ANNUaL RePORT 2 0 1 3

A Universal and
Federalist Movement
The Congress

•M 
eets once a month and reports to the International Board.

• Is composed of the 178 member organisations of FIDH since
the end of the FIDH Congress in Turkey in 2013;
• Meets every three years;
• Discusses the FIDH thematic and geographical priorities and
decides on the policy orientations of FIDH.

The International Board
• Comprises 22 volunteers from FIDH member organisations. The Board is elected by the Congress and consists
of the President, the Treasurer, 15 Vice-Presidents and 5
Secretaries-General;
• Determines FIDH’s main strategic goals and orientations,
according to the policy orientations set by the Congress
and approves the annual accounts;
• Meets three times a year and reports to the Congress.

The Executive Board
• Is composed of the President, the Treasurer, 5 Secretaries
General and 5 Deputy Secretaries General;
• Prepares and organises the meetings of the International
Board;

The International Secretariat
• Based in Paris, it is composed of a team of professionals
managed by a Chief Executive Officer and an Executive
Director, who sit as non-voting advisory members of the
International and the Executive Boards. The team is
structured by regions, action priorities, and delegations.
The International Secretariat has permanent delegations at
the United Nations in New York and Geneva, at the European
Union in Brussels, before the International Criminal Court
in The Hague; regional offices in Cairo, Nairobi, Tunis,
Lima, and Bangkok; and offices in conjunction with
member organisations in Conakry, Abidjan, and Bamako.
It also comprises a Communications and Public Relations
department, and an Administrative and Financial Support
department.
• In permanent contact with the actors in the field, the
International Secretariat implements the decisions of the
FIDH policy-making bodies in conjunction with the member
organisations, the chargés de mission, and members of the
International and Executive Boards.

Key
activitie
s
2013
International
missions

Fact-finding
reports
and
position
papers

53 30

Material
support
to defenders
at risk

Advocacy
missions
before intergovernmental
organisations

Alerts
on the
situation
of
defenders

Judicial
actions
on behalf
of victims

60 100
400 110
F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 5

The 38th FIDH
Congress
FIDH 38th Congress held in Istanbul in 2013
FIDH and member organisations met in Turkey in May 2013 for
their 38th Congress.
The Forum: “Political Transitions and Human Rights: experiences and
challenges”
On 23 and 24 May 2013 FIDH and its member organisations, the
Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD) and the Human Rights
Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), held a forum for 400 participants
consisting of representatives of FIDH member organisations
from around the world, human rights experts, members of the
diplomatic community, the highest Turkish authorities, and
representatives of Turkish civil society.
The FIDH governing bodies chose “transitions” as the theme
of the Forum, a theme which was made prominent by the Arab
Spring uprising and has become of increasing interest to most
FIDH member organisations.
Transitions are not linear. Experience has shown that they have
their advances and setbacks. Discussions during the Forum
illustrated indivisibility and interdependence of human rights.
Periods of transitions are especially revealing. The Forum also
highlighted the importance of the judicial process in transitions
and the need for special attention to the rights of women,

minority groups, and indigenous peoples – all of whom are often
forgotten in the transition process. The connection between
religion and human rights also generated much interest and
discussion.
The Forum provided an opportunity to assess the growing
role of the so-called “emerging countries” on the regional
and international scenes. A certain number of countries are
going through political transitions, the outcomes of which
are still uncertain. Adapting strategies, especially advocacy,
communications and alliances, to constantly changing settings
is one of the main challenges the human rights movement will
face in the coming years.
The tight link between development, human rights, and
environmental protection was high on the agenda in discussions
regarding the rights of indigenous peoples and regarding human
rights violations by businesses. This issue will also require
innovative responses by human rights organisations in the
future.
A report summarised the presentations and experiences shared
during the Forum with emphasis on the discussion outcomes
and lines of actions identified by the participants who will
continue to bolster and guide strategies implemented by FIDH
through its multi-year strategic plan.

Members of the new International Board
elected in 2013. © FIDH

6 — F I D H ANNUaL RePORT 2 0 1 3

The FIDH Internal Congress
For three days (25-27 May 2013) FIDH member organisations
discussed actions to cope with human rights situations
throughout the world and internal matters of importance.
Geographical groups met to establish the main strategies
for FIDH over the next three years. The Congress adopted
ordinary and urgent resolutions on: political transitions and
human rights; the right to education; strengthening the interAmerican human rights system; multinational enterprises; free
trade agreements; development models and their impacts on
human rights; reforms to the League of Arab States; and the
human rights situations in Honduras, Iran, Tibet, Cuba, Canada,
Guatemala, Vietnam, Russia, Sudan, Mali, CAR, Syria, etc.

Furthermore, 19 human rights organisations from Syria, Egypt,
South Africa, Uzbekistan, China, Honduras, and Kuwait became
members of FIDH, bringing the total number of members to
178.
Lastly, the Congress elected a new FIDH International Bureau
including its new president, Karim Lahidji, successor to Souhayr
Belhassen who served for two terms.
The 39th Congress will be held in 2016.
The Congress and Turkey

The member organisations also continued the FIDH+10 process
by amending the FIDH Statutes. FIDH+10, which was initiated
at the Yerevan Congress in 2010, is an on-going process,
implementing the wishes of the FIDH members on the unity of
the organisation; geopolitical, political and economic changes;
technological changes; and the actors involved in and affected
by FIDH’s work. The goal of FIDH+10 is to strengthen FIDH’s
mandate, functioning and resources, thereby enabling FIDH to
better contribute to the protection of human rights.

The presence of FIDH in Turkey provided an opportunity for
multiple meetings and exchanges with the highest Turkish
authorities, including the President, on the situation of human
rights in this country. FIDH called on its interlocutors to
respect the rights of human rights defenders, and in particular
requested the release of Muharrem Erbey, the imprisoned VicePresident of the Turkish Association of Human Rights (IHD),
one of FIDH’s member organisations. As a result of continuous
advocacy by FIDH and its member organisations, on 12 April
2014 the Turkish court finally ordered the provisional release of
Muharrem Erbey due to “lack of evidence,” after he spent more
than four years in custody.

Muharrem Erbey, Vice-President of the Turkish Association of Human

Public demonstration in Ankara (Turkey) © OZAN KOSE / AFP

Rights (IHD) in his jail cell. © IHD

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 7

178 Member Organisations
Afghanistan, Armanshahr/Open Asia / AlbaniA, Albanian human rights group (Ahrg) / AlgEriA, Collectif des familles de disparu(e)s
en AlgÉrie (Cfda) / AlgEriA, Ligue AlgÉrienne de défense des droits de l’homme (Laddh) / angola, Associação Justiça Paz e Democracia (AJPD) / ArgentinA, Liga Argentina Por Los Derechos Del Hombre (Ladh) / ArgentinA, Comité De Acción Jurídica (Caj) / ArgentinA,
Centro De Estudios Legales Y Sociales (Cels) / ArmEniA, Civil Society Institute (Csi) / AuStriA, Osterreichische Liga Fur Menschenrechte (Olfm) / AzerbaIjan, Human Rights Center Of Azerbaijan (Hrca) / BahrAIn, Bahrain Human Rights Society (Bhrs) / BahrAIn,
Bahrain CentER For Human Rights (Bchr) / Bangladesh, Odhikar / Belarus, Human Rights Center Viasna / BelgiUM, Liga Voor
Menschenrechten (Lvm) / BelgiUM, Ligue Des Droits De L’homme - Belgique / BEnin, Ligue Pour La Défense Des Droits De L’homme Au
BÉnin (Lddhb) / BoliviA, Asamblea Permanente De Derechos Humanos De Bolivia (Apdhb) / Botswana, The Botswana Centre For Human
Rights – Ditshwanelo / BrAZil, Movimento Nacional De Direitos Humanos (Mndh) / BrAZil, Justiça Global (Cjg) / Burkina Faso, Mouvement BurkinabÉ Des Droits De L’homme Et Des Peuples (Mbdhp) / BUrma, Altsean Burma / Burundi, Ligue Burundaise Des Droits De
L’homme (Iteka) / CambodIA, Cambodian Human Rights And Development Association (Adhoc) / CambodIA, Ligue Cambodgienne De Défense Des Droits De L’homme (Licadho) / CameroOn, Maison Des Droits De L’homme (Mdh) / Canada, Ligue Des Droits Et Des Libertés Du
QuÉbec (Ldl) / CentraL African REpubliC, Ligue CentrafricAIne Des Droits De L’homme (Lcdh) / CentraL African REpubliC, Organisation Pour La Compassion Des Familles En DÉtresse (Ocodefad) / chad, Ligue Tchadienne Des Droits De L’homme (Ltdh) / chad, Association Tchadienne Pour La Promotion Et La Défense Des Droits De L’homme (Atpdh) / ChilE, Observatorio Cuidadano / ChilE, Corporacion De Promocion Y Defensa De Los Derechos Del Pueblo (Codepu) / ChinA, CHINA LABOUR BULLETIN (CLB) / ChinA, Human Rights In China
/ CHINA (TIBET), International Campaign For Tibet (Ict) / ColombiA, Corporacion Colectivo De Abogados José Alvear Restrepo Ccajar
/ ColombiA, Instituto Latinoamericano De Servicios Legales Alternativos (Ilsa) / ColombiA, Organización Femenina Popular (Ofp) /
ColombiA, Comite Permanente Por La Defensa De Los Derechos Humanos (Cpdh) / Congo, Observatoire Congolais Des Droits De
L’homme (Ocdh) / Costa Rica (Aseprola), Asociación De Servicios De Promoción Laboral (Aseprola) / Ivory Coast, Mouvement Ivoirien
Des Droits Humains (Midh) / Ivory Coast, Ligue Ivoirienne Des Droits De L’homme (Lidho) / CroatiA, Civic Committee For Human Rights
(Cchr) / Cuba, Comision Cubana De Derechos Humanos Y Reconciliacion National (Ccdhn) / cZECH REpubliC, Human Rights League
(Hrl) - Liga Lidskych Prav / DEmocratiC REpubliC OF Congo, Ligue Des Électeurs (Le) / DEmocratiC REpubliC OF Congo, Groupe Lotus / DEmocratiC REpubliC OF Congo, Association Africaine Des Droits De L’homme (Asadho) / Djibouti, Ligue Djiboutienne Des
Droits Humains (Lddh) / Dominican REpubliC, Cnd Comisión Nacional De Los Derechos Humanos, Inc / ECuaDor, Fundación Regional
De Asesoria En Derechos Humanos (Inredh) / ECuaDOr, Centro De Derechos Economicos Y Sociales (Cdes) / ECuaDOr, Comisión Ecuménica De Derechos Humanos (Cedhu) / Egypt, Cairo Institute For Human Rights Studies (Cihrs) / Egypt, Human Rights Association For
The Assistance Of Prisoners (Hraap) / Egypt, Egyptian initiative for personal rights (eipr) / Egypt, Egyptian Organization For Human
Rights (Eohr) / El Salvador, Comision De Derechos Humanos Del Salvador (Cdhes) / EthiopiA, Human Rights Council (Hrco) / Europe,
Association Européenne Pour La Défense Des Droits De L’homme (Aedh) / Finland, Finnish League For Human Rights (Flhr) - Ihmisoikeusliitto / France, Ligue Des Droits De L’homme Et Du Citoyen (Ldh) / FRANCE (NEW CalEdoniA), Ligue Des Droits Et Du Citoyen De
Nouvelle Calédonie (Ldhnc) / FRANCE (FRENCH PolynEsiA), Ligue PolynÉsienne Des Droits Humains (Lpdh) / GEorgiA, Human Rights
Center (Hridc) / gERMANY, Internationale Liga Fur Menschenrechte (Ilmr) / GrEEce, Hellenic League For Human Rights (Hlhr) / Guatemala, Comision De Derechos Humanos De Guatemala (Cdhg) / Guatemala, Centro De Acción Legal En Derechos Humanos (Caldh) /
GuineA-Bissau, Liga Guineense Dos Direitos Humanos (Lgdh) / GuineA-Conakry, Organisation GuinÉenne De DÉfense Des Droits De
L’homme Et Du Citoyen (Ogdh) / gUlf, Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) / HaIti, Centre Oecumenique Des Droits Humains (Cedh) /
HaIti, Réseau National De Défense Des Droits De L’homme (Rnddh) / Honduras, Centro De Investigación Y Promoción De Los Derechos
Humanos (Ciprodeh) / Honduras, Comité de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH) / IndIA, Commonwealth
Human Rights Initiative (Chri) / INDONEsiA, KontraS / Iran, Defenders Of Human Rights Center In Iran (Dhrc) / Iran, Ligue Pour La DÉfense Des Droits De L’homme En Iran (Lddhi) / IrEland, Free Legal Advice Centres Limited (Flac) / IrEland, Irish Council For Civil Liberties (Iccl) / IsraEl, B’tselem / IsraEl, Association For Civil Rights In Israel (Acri) / IsraEl, Public Committee Against Torture In Israel
(Pcati) / IsraEl, Adalah / ItalY, Lega Italiana Dei Diritti Dell’uomo (Lidu) / ItalY, Unione Forense Per La Tutela Dei Diritti Dell’uomo (Uftdu)
/ JapAn, Center For Prisoners’ Rights (Cpr) / Jordan, Amman Center For Human Rights Studies (Achrs) / KAZAKHSTAN, Kazakstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (KIBHR) / Kenya, Kenya Human Rights Commission (Khrc) / Kosovo, Council For
The Defense Of Human Rights And Freedoms (Cdhrf) / KUWAIT, Human Line Organisation (HLO) / KYrgYzstan, Human Rights Movement
(Bir Duino-Dyrgyzstan) / KYrgYzstan, Kyrgyz Committee For Human Rights (Kchr) / KYrgYzstan, Legal Clinic Adilet / KYrgYzstan,
Kylym Shamy / Laos, Mouvement Lao Pour Les Droits De L’homme (Mldh) / LATVIA, Latvian Human Rights Committee (Lhrc) / LEbanON,
Palestinian Human Rights Organization (Phro) / LEbanON, Centre Libanais des Droits Humains (CLDH) / LibEria, Regional Watch For
Human Rights (Lwhr) / LibyA, Human Rights Association for Recording and Documenting War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity /
LibyA, Libyan League For Human Rights (Llh) / LitHuaniA, Lithuanian Human Rights Association (Lhra) / MalaYsiA, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) / Mali, Association Malienne Des Droits De L’homme (Amdh) / MaltA, Malta Association Of Human Rights/ Fondation De
Malte / MauritaniA, Association Mauritanienne Des Droits De L’homme (Amdh) / MexiCO, Liga Mexicana Por La Defensa De Los Derechos
Humanos (Limeddh) / MexiCO, Comision Mexicana De Defensa Y Promocion De Los Derechos Humanos (Cmdpdh) / MOLDOVA, Promo-LEX
/ MOrocCO, Organisation Marocaine Des Droits De L’homme (Omdh) / MOrocCO, Association Marocaine Des Droits Humains (Amdh) /
Mozambique, Liga Mocanbicana Dos Direitos Humanos (Lmddh) / Nicaragua, Centro Nicaraguense De Derechos Humanos (Cenidh) /
Niger, Association Nigerienne Pour La DÉfense Des Droits De L’homme (Anddh) / NigEria, Civil Liberties Organisation (Clo) / NorTHERN
IrEland, Committee On The Administration Of Justice (Caj) / Pakistan, Human Rights Commission Of Pakistan (Hrcp) / Palestine, Al
Mezan Center for Human Rights (AL MEZAn) / Palestine, Palestinian Centre For Human Rights (Pchr) / Palestine, Al Haq / Palestine,
Ramallah Centre For Human Rights Studies (Rchrs) / Panama, Centro De Capacitación Social De Panamá (Ccs) / PERu, Asociacion Pro
Derechos Humanos (Aprodeh) / PEru, Centro De Derechos Y Desarrollo (Cedal) / Philippines, Philippine Alliance Of Human Rights
Advocates (Pahra) / Portugal, Civitas / RomaniA, The League For The Defense Of Human Rights (Lado) / RussiA, Anti-Discrimination
Center Memorial (Adc Memorial) / RussiA, Citizens’ Watch (Cw) / Rwanda, Collectif Des Ligues Pour La DÉfense Des Droits De L’homme
(Cladho) / Rwanda, Association Rwandaise Pour La DÉfense Des Droits De La Personne Et Des LibertÉs Publiques (Adl) / Rwanda, Ligue
Rwandaise Pour La Promotion Et La DÉfense Des Droits De L’homme (Liprodhor) / SEnEgal, Organisation Nationale Des Droits De
L’homme (Ondh) / SEnEgal, Rencontre Africaine Pour La DÉfense Des Droits De L’homme (Raddho) / SEnEgal, Ligue Sénégalaise des
Droits Humains (LSdh) / SerbiA, Center For Peace And Democracy Development (Cpdd) / SOUTH AFRICA, LAwyer for human rights (LHR)
/ spaIn, Asociacion Pro Derechos Humanos De Espana (Apdhe) / spaIn, Federacion De Asociaciones De Defensa Y Promocion De Los
Derecho (Fddhh) / Sudan, Sudan Human Rights Monitor (Suhrm) / Sudan, African Center For Justice And Peace Studies (Acjps) / SWITZERLAND, Ligue Suisse Des Droits De L’homme (Lsdh) / SyriA, Damascus Center For Human Rights Studies (Dchrs) / SyriA, Syrian Center
for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) / SyriA, Committees For The Defense Of Democracy Freedoms And Human Rights (Cdf) /
TaIwan, Taiwan Association For Human Rights (Tahr) / TAJIKISTAN, Tajik « Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law » (BHR) / TanzaniA,
The Legal And Human Rights Centre (Lhrc) / ThaIland, Union For Civil Liberties (Ucl) / THE NETHERLANDs, Liga Voor De Rechten Van De
Mens (Lvrm) / Togo, Ligue Togolaise Des Droits De L’homme (Ltdh) / TunisiA, Ligue Tunisienne Des Droits De L’homme (Ltdh) / TunisiA,
Forum tunisien pour les droits économiques et sociaux (FTDES) / TunisiA, Association Tunisienne Des Femmes DÉmocrates (Atfd) /
TunisiA, Doustourna / TunisiA, Conseil National Pour Les LibertÉs En Tunisie (Cnlt) / TurKeY, Insan Haklari Dernegi (Ihd) / Diyabakir /
TurKEY, Human Rights Foundation Of Turkey (Hrft) / TurKEY, Insan Haklari Dernegi (Ihd) / Ankara / uganda, Foundation For Human
Rights Initiative (Fhri) / UniTED KINGDOM, Liberty / UniTED StatEs OF AMERICA, Center For Constitutional Rights (Ccr) / UniTED StatEs
OF AMERICA, Center For Justice & Accountability (Cja) / uzbekistan, Association internationale de défense des droits de l'Homme
« Club des cœurs ardents » / uzbekistan, Human Rights Society Of Uzbekistan (Hrsu) / uzbEkistan, Legal Aid Society (Las) / Vietnam,
ComitÉ Vietnam Pour La DÉfense Des Droits De L’homme (Cvddh) / YEmen, Human Rights Information And Training Center (Hritc) /
YEmen, Sisters’ Arab Forum For Human Rights (Saf) / Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights).
8 — F I D H ANNUaL RePORT 2 0 1 3

International Board
PRESIDENT

TREASURER

Karim LAHIDJI
Iran

Jean-François Plantin
France

VICE-PRESIDENTS

Ezzedine Al Asbahi
Yemen

Yusuf Alatas
Turkey

Aliaksandr Bialiatski
Belarus

Noeline Blackwell
Ireland

Dimitris Christopoulos
Greece

Katherine Gallagher
United States of America

Tolekan Ismailova
Kyrgyzstan

Shawan Jabarin
Palestine

Dismas Kitenge Senga
Democratic Republic
of Congo

Elsie Monge
Ecuador

Sheila Muwanga
Uganda

Rosemarie R. Trajano
Philippines

Drissa Traoré
Ivory Coast

Paulina Vega Gonzalez
Mexico

Zohra Yusuf
Pakistan

Debbie Stothard
Burma

Pierre Esperance
Haiti

Paul Nsapu Mukulu
Democratic Republic
of Congo

Patrick BaudoUin
France

Daniel Jacoby
France

Michel Blum
France

Nabeel Rajab
Bahrain

Alice MOGWE
Botswana

Artak KIRAKOSYAN
Armenia

SECRETARIES GENERAL

Amina Bouayach
Morocco

Dan Van Raemdonck
Belgium

HONORARY PRESIDENTS
Souhayr Belhassen
Tunisia

Sidiki Kaba
Senegal

and in cooperation with:

DEPUTY SECRETARIES GENERAL
Florence Bellivier
France

Khadija CHERIF
Tunisia

PERMANENT DELEGATES
Dobian Assingar
before the Economic and
Monetary Community
of Central African States

Mabassa Fall
before the African
Union (AU)

Luis Guillermo Perez Casas
before the Organization
of American States (OAS)

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 9

10 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

Assistant to the Executive
Directorate

Charline Fralin

Director, Human Resources

Marie-France BURQ

Director, Fundraising

Kate COLES

Director, Accounting

Nina NOUYONGODE

Director, Financial Control

Sergueï FUNT

Fundraising Officer

Nathalie LASSLOP

Accountant

Tony MINET

Finance Officer

(Ad interim during Samia MERAH’s leave)

Tania DUCHENE

Eric JOSEPH

Assistant Accountant

ADMINISTRATION, FINANCES and HUMAN RESOURCES

headquarters (PARIS)

Department DIRECToRS

executive Directorate
Antoine MADELIN

Nicolas BAUDEZ

Lidya OGBAZGHI

Executive Assistant
Secretary

Director, Operations

Nancy DEMICHELI

Geneviève PAUL

Marion CADIER

Alexandra POMEON

Director, Observatory
for the Protection of Human Rights
Defenders

Hugo GABBERO

Programme Officer, Observatory
for the Protection of Human Rights
Defenders

Deputy Director,
International Justice

Delphine CARLENS

Karine BONNEAU

Director,
International Justice

Assistant, Women’s Rights
and Migrants’ Rights

Daisy SCHMITT

Programme Officer,
Globalisation and Human Rights

(Geneviève PAUL until Dec. 13)

Director, Women’s Rights
and Migrants’ Rights

Katherine BOOTH

Director, Globalisation
and Humans Rights

(Elin WRZONCKI until Dec. 13)

Programme Officer,
North Africa and Middle-East

Marie CAMBERLIN

Director,
North Africa and Middle-East

Assistant, Eastern Europe
and Central Asia

Joanna HOSA

Hassatou BA

Programme Officer, Africa

Director, Eastern Europe
and Central Asia

Alexandra KOULAEVA

Publications
Officer

Céline BALLEREAU TETU
Director,
Publications

Director, Asia

Michelle KISSENKOETTER

Programme Officer, Americas

(Claire COLARDELLE until Dec. 13)

Natalia YAYA MARTELLO

Florent GEEL

Director, Africa

(David Knaute until Dec. 13)

Christophe GARDAIS

Press Officer

Audrey COUPRIE

Technician, Information
Systems

Marceau Sivieude

(until May 14)

Coordinator,
Belarus Programme

Léa SAMAIN-RAIMBAULT

(Isabelle Brachet until end of Nov.13)

REseaRCH and OPeRATIONS

Isabelle Chebat

Director, Communication and
Public Relations

updated june 2014

Digital Communication
Officer

Jean-Baptiste PAULHET

Director, Press Relations

Arthur MANET

Director, Information
Systems

Nicolas BARRETO DIAZ

COMMUNICATION and PUBLIc RELATIONS

Director, International
Advocacy

Corinne BEZIN

Director, Finance and
Administration

Juliane FALLOUX
Executive Director

Antoine BERNARD
Chief Executive Officer

International Secretariat

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 11

(from April 14)

Representative to the UN

Stéphanie DAVID

(until end of March 14)

Representative to the UN

Michelle KISSENKOETTER

Delegate to the UN

Nicolas AGOSTINI

Representative to the UN

Julie GROMELLON

Liaison Officer,
Delegation to the EU

Catherine ABSALOM

Delegate to the EU

Jean-Marie ROGUE

Representative to the EU

Gaelle DUSEPULCHRE

NEW YORK

GENEVA

BRUSSELS

MOBILISATION of INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS

DeLeGATIONS, ReGIONAL OFFICES AND JOINT OFFICES FIDH/LEAGUES

Consultant – Communication
Officer on Latin America
and the Caribbean

José Carlos THISSEN
LIMA

COMMUNICATION and
PUBLIc RELATIONS
Antonin RABECQ

Consultant FIDH Delegate Tunis

Yosra FRAWES

Consultant – Middle East/North
Africa Programme

Salma EL HOSEINY

Director, North Africa/Middle
East (until March 14)

Stéphanie DAVID

Programme Officer,
Western Europe

Elena CRESPI

Director, Americas

Jimena REYES

Montserrat CARBONI

Representative before the ICC

Programme Officer,
Advocacy Coordinator
before the AU

TUNIS

CAIRO

BRUSSELS

THE HAGUE

NAIROBI

Programme Officer,
AMDH/FIDH joint programme

Lalla TOURE

Drissa TRAORE

Programme Officer,
AMDH/FIDH joint programme

Accountant Secretary,
OGDH/FIDH joint programme

Aboubacar SYLLA

Programme Officer,
OGDH/FIDH joint programme

Mamadou Boussouriou DIALLO

Amadou BARRY

Programme Officer,
OGDH/FIDH joint programme

Deputy Coordinator,
MIDH/LIDHO/FIDH
joint programme

Willy NETH

Tchérina JEROLON

Delegate in Ivory Coast
and Guinea (Programme Officer

in Guinea until end of December 2013)

BANGKOK

Director,
Asia/South-East Asia

Andrea GIORGETTA

REsEaRCH and OPeRATIONS

BAMAKO

CONAKRY

ABIDJAN

Priority 1

Supporting Human Rights
Defenders
Context and challenges
The safety of human rights defenders is especially precarious
in conflict, post-conflict and security crisis situations. In 2013,
these situations were prevalent in Syria, Colombia, Mexico, the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Philippines, Nepal,
Sri Lanka and Chechnya/Russian Federation. Hampered in their
actions, defenders operating in these contexts have often been
caught in the crossfire and accused by protagonists of taking
sides.
Human rights defenders working under authoritarian regimes
or in situations of political crises and popular protest are also
severely repressed in a bid to stifle both the denunciation of
human rights abuse or criticism of the authorities. Such was
especially the case in 2013 in the countries of the 2011 Arab
Spring (Egypt, Bahrain), but also in the Maldives, Iran, Belarus,
Bangladesh, Cambodia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Zimbabwe, Sudan,
Djibouti, etc.
Certain categories of defenders are particularly vulnerable due
to the very nature of the rights they defend. Such defenders are
targeted either because their action hinders politico-financial
interests or because they come up against intolerance and
discrimination. This is the case for land and environmental rights
defenders (LERD), and is a trend that has continued throughout
2013. With an increase in the number of conflicts linked to
land tenure and ownership of natural resources, more and more
defenders of rights associated with these issues, whether leaders
of rural or indigenous communities, journalists, lawyers or NGO
activists, are targeted by acts of violence and criminalisation
campaigns. This is particularly the case in Latin America (Brazil,
Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru), Asia
(Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines), Africa
(Cameroon, DRC) and Eastern Europe (Russia). Defenders of
the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex
persons (LGBTI) are also especially vulnerable, often facing
discrimination and criminalisation, as well as falling prey to
heinous crimes of violence in many countries where sexual
orientation and gender identity rights are not recognised

12 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

(Belarus, Cameroon, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Moldavia, Uganda,
Russia, Ukraine).
Many defenders are arbitrarily detained. For example, 2013
saw FIDH International Bureau members (Ales Bialiatski in
Belarus and Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain) endure yet another year
in detention – as did FIDH member organisation representatives
in Iran, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Turkey, Syria, and Bangladesh.
Defenders subject to legal harassment face either expedited
trials or long drawn-out legal proceedings that become a form
of punishment in themselves and prevent these individuals from
continuing their human rights work (Bangladesh, Syria, Turkey).
In several countries the degree of liberty enjoyed by civil
society has considerably diminished, especially following
the adoption or the implementation of restrictive legislation.
Initiatives designed to prevent NGOs from having access to
sources of funding, particularly from abroad, have become
widespread. At the same time, financial smears have been used
to discredit NGOs in the eyes of the public and of the donors
(Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Israel,
Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela).
The vulnerability of defenders is often compounded by a lack of
local, regional and international visibility of their situation and
the impunity of perpetrators of violations, as well as by limits
to the capacity of protection mechanisms.

FIDH and its member and partner organisations
in action
In accordance with its multiannual strategic action plan, FIDH
and its member and partner organisations have carried out
numerous activities in order to meet the objectives of protecting
endangered defenders and reinforcing their capacity to act. The
activities designed to protect defenders have been carried out
within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of
Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory), a joint programme
set up in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against
Torture (OMCT).

Objective 1 > Protecting defenders in
situations of insecurity or repression
Establishing the facts and alerting on a daily basis
Public denouncements of violations of defenders’ rights directed at all actors concerned (state and non-state actors, including
armed groups and corporations), and mobilising the media and
decision makers on this issue can often cause such violations to
cease and even prevent their recurrence.
Thus, on the basis of reliable, detailed information that has been
verified and cross-checked by FIDH member and partner organisations and the OMCT network, FIDH issued 239 urgent
interventions (urgent appeals, press releases and letters to the
authorities) concerning over 400 defenders in 51 countries.

“This morning I have just spoken to my son Onyx
on the telephone. Hearing his voice has reassured me, after
the anguishing moments we have lived through, following
his abduction and confinement. My thoughts go out to you,
because with your messages and advice on strategy you have
always been by our side, myself and the family. Thanks to
your support, my child is alive and sheltered among our small
circle back home. For all such solidarity I should like to say,
on my behalf and on behalf of my family, thank you. This has
marked us profoundly, and we shall remain deeply grateful.”
Paul Nsapu Mukuku, president of the Ligue des électeurs
(DRC), refugee in Belgium

“I would like to express my warmest thanks to
you for your support during my latest period of arbitrary
detention. It was extremely useful. Again many thanks.”
Houssein Ahmed Farah, journalist of La Voix de Djibouti,
a member of the Ligue djiboutienne des droits humains

In accordance with the objectives listed in FIDH’s multiannual
strategic action plan, these figures show a decline compared to
earlier years. The aim was to establish priorities for FIDH’s public communications, so as to highlight emblematic cases, or cases
requiring increased visibility, and countries where violations are
systematic and/or serious.
Thanks to this orientation it has been possible to intensify the
follow-up of cases, notably by specifically addressing the authorities concerned, as well as intergovernmental mechanisms
for the protection of defenders, thereby achieving a stronger impact. FIDH missions in the field have provided opportunities for
advocacy vis-à-vis the authorities on the situation of defenders
subject to insecurity or repression. FIDH’s congress in Turkey
was also an occasion for considerable public mobilisation for
addressing the highest authorities of the State on the situation
of defenders in prison.

Another characteristic feature of urgent interventions in 2013
was that FIDH was especially mobilised not only in following up in cases of arrest and arbitrary detention, but also in the
violation of the rights of LGBTI defenders and defenders of
rights linked to land tenure and management of natural resources
and the environment. In that regard, FIDH has commissioned a
communications agency to design a social network campaign
on the detention of defenders, and consolidated its information
network with NGOs specialised in such fields through strategydefining meetings, such as those held with Global Witness, ILC,
Inter-LGBT, ILGA, IGLHRC and, during sessions of the African
Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), with local and regional African NGOs defending LGBTI rights.
On the basis of information gathered and its urgent interventions,
FIDH has produced a map showing the most serious types of
violations of defenders’ rights by country, a popularisation instrument much appreciated and used by decisionmakers.
Activation of the protective capacity of intergovernmental
organisations
All the Observatory’s urgent interventions are systematically sent
to international and regional mechanisms for the protection of
defenders (Special Procedures of the UN, ACHPR, CIDH, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, OSCE Focal Point
and EU mechanisms), according to their field of competence.
These referrals often lead to interventions by these international
and regional mechanisms, including direct appeals to the competent authorities in each case.
FIDH has also referred cases to other bodies in order to mobilise
them on cases of repression against defenders (European Parliament, UN Council for Human Rights, etc.) and for that purpose
has organised advocacy meetings between representatives of its
member organisations and the institutions concerned.
Providing emergency assistance in the presence of threats
and danger
In situations where defenders are under threat or in danger
of being physically or psychologically attacked, FIDH has
provided material assistance to 58 defenders and/or members
of their families, as well as to 2 Human Rights NGOs. It has

Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary of the NGO Odhikar, arrested on the basis of false allegations
in August 2013 in Bangladesh. © Demotix / Ibrahim Ibrahim

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

— 13

thus been possible to meet immediate needs regarding prevention
(e.g. making offices and homes secure, communication costs,
protection during travel: Cambodia, Cameroon, Uganda),
protection (e.g. cost of temporary or permanent relocation: Syria,
the DRC, Cameroon, the Gambia, Uzbekistan), legal and medical
costs (the DRC, Sri Lanka, Russia).

“In the difficult situation that REDHAC, my colleagues and my family find ourselves in, your moral support
has been invaluable. The Network of human rights defenders
wishes to express its warmest thanks for what you have done
to provide security for our offices, myself and my children.
REDHAC also wishes to thank you for what you are doing
to help us to work under better conditions.”
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe, President of REDHAC
(Cameroon)
Responding to judicial harassment
Responding to the use or instrumentalisation of justice to hinder
or criminalise defenders’ actions, FIDH organises observation,
legal defence and solidarity missions. Such missions serve several purposes: providing expert legal aid specialised in such cases
in support of the victims; providing solidarity and attracting
public attention, which can contribute to the right to a fair trial
being respected; helping to draw attention to violations of legal
procedures, in order to make the international community react.
In 2013 FIDH organised 4 trial observation missions to Turkey:
to observe the trial of Pinar Selek, sentenced to life imprisonment
despite the fact that the same court had acquitted her on three
previous occasions, in 2006, 2008 and 2011; to observe the trial
of 47 lawyers accused of terrorism for having appeared for the
head of the PKK; and the trial of 22 members of the CHD (Turkish Contemporary Lawyers Association) for having appeared for
persons accused of terrorism. FIDH also observed the civil trial
of its Russian member organisation, ADC Memorial, for failure
to register as a “foreign agent” under new liberty-depriving rules
on associations. In Bangladesh, FIDH also observed a hearing
on a plea for the conditional release of Adilur Rahman Khan,
Secretary of Odhikar, who was released on that occasion.

2013 also saw FIDH go to the DRC to investigate the legality of
proceedings against Bantundu defenders accused of disturbing
the peace for having exercised their right to demonstrate, as well
as to review the situation with lawyers of the families of the two
murdered defenders in the Chebeya-Bazana case. Lastly, FIDH
pursued the observation of the “trial of the 94” political opponents and defenders in the United Arab Emirates, publishing a
report denouncing serious procedural irregularities.

FOCUS ON
Urgent mission on the situation of Adilur Rahman Khan
in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, the authorities make use of a legal arsenal and
restrictive practices in order to prosecute and exert pressure
on human rights defenders, who face physical attacks, arbitrary
detention and legal harassment. The political atmosphere is fundamentally polarised, and the situation, already very tense in the
run-up to the general elections in early 2014, remains so in the
present post-electoral climate. These issues were already outlined in a report published by FIDH in November 2013, based on
the results of an international fact-finding mission that took place
in 2012 on the situation of defenders in the country.
Mr Adilur Rahman Khan, Odhikar Secretary, was detained from
10 August to 11 October 2013, and Mr Nasiruddin Elan, Odhikar
Director, from 6 November to 1 December. Both were targeted
following the publication by Odhikar of a report on the police
crackdown on a demonstration last May.
On the occasion of FIDH’s mission, the delegation was able to be
present at the hearing at which the decision to release these two
defenders was taken. It met with representatives of civil society
and embassies, as well as the national authorities and institutions
to discuss the situation of Odhikar, its Secretary and its Director.
The mission contributed to the release of the two Odhikar members. However, both remain charged with “cyber-criminality”.

FIDH also published its trial observation report on the trial of
Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights,
and FIDH Deputy Secretary General, who was sentenced to two
years imprisonment for having exercised his right to peaceful
demonstration and expression. The report served as a basis for
intense advocacy by FIDH to demand his release.

Mabassa Fall, FIDH Representative to the AU, presides over a panel on human rights defenders
at the ACHPR. © FIDH

14 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

Establishing responsibilities
In accordance with its multiannual strategic action plan, FIDH
has continued to engage in litigation before national courts, and
regional and international mechanisms for the protection of human rights. It has done so in order to determine governmental or
individual responsibility in emblematic defenders’ rights cases;
to support victims’ rights to justice, and to help prevent the recurrence of such violations, including through the creation of legal
precedents on the protection of defenders’ rights.

In 2013 FIDH thus initiated 11 new proceedings before competent
mechanisms (see the table below of FIDH submissions to quasijudicial bodies). FIDH also paid special attention to the progress
of proceedings regarding the assassination of two human rights
defenders, Floribert Chabeya and Fidèle Bazana in DRC.
FIDH voiced public criticism over acts of obstruction in appeal

proceedings, organised strategic meetings to support the work of
the lawyers and victims claiming compensation (parties civiles),
and obtained testimony from one of the policemen sentenced in
the lower court confirming that principle responsibility for the
killings lay with the former Inspector General of the police, in
order that he be brought to justice.

Examples of submissions of complaints to quasi-judicial bodies 2013
country
Iran

situation

mechanism

Date of complaint

status or result

Evolution of the
situation

Nasrin Sotoudeh

United Nations
Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention

April

No information yet

Provisional freedom
(October 2013)

Bangladesh

Adilur Rahman
Khan

United Nations
Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention

August

No information yet

Provisional freedom
(October 2013)

Bahrain

Nabeel Rajab

United Nations
Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention
(follow-up)

Follow-up in April

July 2013: “The
detention is
arbitrary”

Still detained as of
December 2013

Cambodia

Yorm Bopha

United Nations
Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention

October

No information yet

Provisional freedom
(November 2013)

Azerbaijan

Hilal Mammadov
(follow-up)

United Nations
Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention
(follow-up/response)

Follow-up
in November

November 2013:
“The detention is
arbitrary”

Still detained

Mexico

Marcial Bautista
Valle and Eva
Alarcón Ortiz

United Nations
Committee
on Enforced
Disappearances
(follow-up/response)

Follow-up
in October

No information yet

Still missing

Sri Lanka

Sinnavan Stephen
Sunthararaj

United Nations
Working Group
on Enforced
or Involuntary
Disappearances

August

No information yet

Still missing

Syria

Mazen Darwish,
Mohamed Hani Al
Zaitani, Hussein
Hammad Ghrer

United Nations
Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention

July

November 2013:
“The detention is
arbitrary”

Still detained

Burma

Htin Kyaw

United Nations
Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention

August

November 2013:
“The detention is
arbitrary”

Pardoned
(31 December 2013)

Khosro Kordpour
and Massoud
Kordpour

United Nations
Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention

August

November 2013:
“The detention is
arbitrary”

Still detained

Osman Hummaida,
Abdelmoneim Aljak
and Amir Mohamed
Suliman

African Commission
on Human and
Peoples’ Rights

Follow-up
complaint (2009)

No information yet

Complaints of torture
and abuse

Human Rights
Council

African Commission
on Human and
Peoples’ Rights

August

No information yet

Complaints of
violation of the
right to freedom of
association

iran

Sudan

ethiopia

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

— 15

Objective 2 > Reinforcing defenders’
capacity to act
Action for a favourable political and normative framework
for defenders
In 2013 FIDH carried out two fact-finding missions on the
general situation of defenders in Angola and Guatemala, another
on land tenure conflicts and their impact on defenders of land
and environmental rights in Indonesia, and prepared a mission
on defenders of LGBTI rights in Cameroon (which took place
in January 2014). FIDH also published its fact-finding report on
the situation of defenders in Bangladesh, on the basis of which it
carried out an advocacy mission before the national authorities.
It also published a memorandum on the situation of LGBTI
defenders’ rights in the Eastern Europe Central Asia region;
reports published on Russia and Moldavia also mention the issue
of defenders.
FIDH has joined the OSCE advisory group charged with preparing
draft guidelines on the protection of human rights defenders in the
OSCE region, and its explanatory report.
Regarding in particular its mobilisation in respect of freedom of
association, FIDH has also published its annual report on violations
of NGOs’ rights to financing (see Focus). It has denounced draft
legislation on associations that is contrary to international human
rights law (Kenya, Bahrain, Ukraine and Kyrghyzstan), and has
also continued its advocacy for strengthening national mechanisms
for the protection of defenders (Ivory Coast, Mexico, DRC), in
consultation with national civil society. FIDH has also mobilised
at the regional level, with FIDH participation in the ACHPR group
of experts charged with drafting a report and guidelines on the
freedoms of association and peaceful assembly in Africa.

FOCUS ON
Advocacy against the violation of NGOs’ rights to
funding
The obstacles encountered by defenders raise more and more
questions that are both complex and technical. The format of
the Observatory’s annual report was revised in 2013 in order
better to assist actors in the field and the authorities in deciphering and analysing the data. With the new format a more
strategic operational plan can be devised, and the need to
analyse new problem areas can be met.
On February 28, 2013, the Observatory published its annual
report on the violation of NGOs’ rights to funding. The 100page report was published in French, English, Spanish, Arabic
and Russian; it was widely distributed to the decision makers
concerned in printed (4,550 copies) and electronic format. The
report was accompanied by a map of the repression exercised
in particular in the countries on which the Observatory had
been active, highlighting cases of assassination, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention. To boost the circulation
of the report FIDH organised several press and presentation
conferences: press conferences in Geneva and Cairo, presentation at the EIDHR Forum in Brussels, at the United Nations
Human Rights Council in Geneva, at the ACHPR in Bangui and
at the OSCE in Vienna.
Positive reactions:
“Your annual report is the ‘bible’ on NGOs’ rights to funding”.
M. Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights, in his speech at the opening session of the FIDH
Congress in Istanbul (May 2013)
“Everyone in this room should take away a copy of the
Observatory’s report on the harassment of NGOs and the
obstacles to access to funding.” Jean-Louis Ville, Directorate-General for development and cooperation EuropeAid,
during the session of the EIDHR forum on the funding of
NGOs (April 2013)
Impact:
When the annual report was launched at the Human Rights
Council in February 2013, an important resolution on the protection of defenders was being negotiated and was due to be
adopted. The parallel event launching the FIDH report, attended
by dozens of diplomats and defenders, along with FIDH’s advocacy on the issue, was instrumental in the right to funding
being clearly mentioned, for the first time, in a resolution of the
Council on the protection of defenders. The annual report was
also used by the UN Special Rapporteur on the freedoms of
peaceful assembly and association, whose June 2013 report
was devoted to the subject.

 

16 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

Material support and training for NGOs and defenders
In order to strengthen defenders’ capacity to act, 2013 saw FIDH
provide material assistance to NGOs in the DRC, Syria, Ethiopia, Mali and Liberia.
FIDH also helped a human rights centre in the north of Syria
become operational, and organised several training seminars
on human rights, and how to promote and protect them, for its
members. In addition, in view of the risks involved in documenting human rights violations during the crisis in Mali, FIDH
organised training for Malian defenders on the safe storage and
sending of information. Lastly, FIDH contributed to the training of defenders in Guinea by the TRACES organisation on the
psychological aspects of gathering testimonies from victims of
human rights violations.
Moreover, FIDH prepared a series of activities in cooperation with TRACES (the first of which was a seminar held at
the beginning of 2014) to provide psychological support to 20
representatives from our partner and members organizations in
Belarus working in a highly repressive context.

“During the course of this seminar, we obtained
documents that we now use in our daily work. This meeting
allowed us to see our work differently, to fight against
the impact of our professional activities on our private
lives, and to create a protocol for the conduct of evidence
collection that we never had before but that was sorely
needed. We hope to develop these activities in turn at the
national level in order to further spread the benefit from
this little known experience to other colleagues.”
A seminar participant
Visibility of the situation of defenders
Several actions carried out in 2013 have increased awareness
of the situation of defenders, and of the importance of their
protection.
• Advocacy meetings with intergovernmental organisations
(see above) have made defenders better known to such
bodies, thereby increasing follow-up of their actions
• Support for the Geneva International Human Rights Film
Festival
• Videos posted on the FIDH website presenting the actions
of defenders and matters of concern to them, such as NGOs'
right to funding. Speakers interviewed in the videos include
Mr. Maina Kiai (UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to
freedom of peaceful assembly and of association), and
human rights defenders from Bahrain, Bangladesh, and
Egypt
• Updating of the Free Ales website, demanding the release
of Ales Bialiatski, as well as the page of the FIDH website
on imprisoned defenders who are members of the FIDH
movement (with Storifys on Bahrain, Iran and Turkey)
• Contributions to the media coverage of the actions of
defenders
• Tweets on the situation of defenders

Support for young defenders  
In order to further its contribution to training new generations of
human rights activists and supporters, FIDH launched a process
to strengthen its internship programme. A working group and
focal point were created, which worked on the development
of an action plan for 2014-15. This programme aims to
contribute to enhancing the involvement of youth in FIDH’s
campaign strategies and to encourage interaction between
different generations within the FIDH movement. Among the
key activities will be the establishment of a database of FIDH’s
“alumni” network and the creation of a communications hub
using social media tools to mobilize and organize.

Examples of outcomes
FIDH has enabled or contributed to the following results:
Releases, ending of judicial harassment, progress towards
justice
• 110 releases (in Bangladesh, Belarus, Burma, Cambodia,
China, Djibouti, Iran, Israel, Malaysia, the DRC, Russia,
Tunisia, Turkey and Zimbabwe), charges dropped (Bahrain,
Burma, Russia).
• Cancellation of the issuance by Interpol and Red Alert of an
international arrest warrant for Pinar Selek.
Material protection and safety of defenders
• Medical, safety or judicial assistance measures for
29 defenders and NGOs
• Relocation of 15 defenders and/or family members in safe
countries
• Training of 15 defenders on the safe storage and sending
of data
Decisions and declarations of intergovernmental protection
mechanisms and mobilisation of diplomatic representations
• 5 decisions of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
recognising the arbitrary detention of human rights defenders
detained in Bahrain, Syria, Burma, Azerbaijan, Iran
• Advocacy and public denunciation of proceedings against
Turkish defenders and ADC Memorial (Russia)
• Resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on the protection
of defenders, with a paragraph on NGOs’ rights to funding
Improvement of legislative framework at national level
• Suspension of the adoption of draft legislation on NGOs that
is contrary to international human rights law in Bahrain and
Kyrgyzstan
• Repeal of restrictive legislation on NGOs in Ukraine
• Suppression of controversial amendments to the law on
NGOs in Kenya
Prizes awarded to defenders for whom FIDH had campaigned
• Vaclav Havel prize to Ales Bialiatski, FIDH Vice President and
President of Viasna (Belarus)

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

— 17

• “Rights Livelihood” prize to Raji Sourani, Palestinian Center
for Human Rights (FIDH member organisation in Palestine)
• Rafto Foundation prize to the Bahrain Center for Human
Rights (FIDH member organisation in Bahrain)
• UN prize for Human Rights to Khadija Ryadi, former President

of AMDH (FIDH member organisation in Morocco)
• Bruno Kreisky prize to Mazen Darwish, President of the Syrian
Centre for Media (SCM)
• Silver Rose prize to CALDH (FIDH member organisation in
Guatemala)

FIDH interacting with its member and partner organisations
4 international fact-finding and advocacy missions (Angola, Indonesia,
Bangladesh, Guatemala)
7 trial observation and defence
missions (Turkey, DRC, Russia,
Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates)

Strategy seminars:
• Mali: Workshop for 15 defenders on
safe storage and sending of data
• Guinea: Training workshops for local
NGOs on the psychological aspects
of gathering testimonies from victims
• Syria: Training seminar for 10 trainers
on promoting Human Rights

239 urgent appeals
More than a dozen of legal and quasilegal proceedings initiated and pursued

Public demonstration, Sumatra, January 2013 © WALHI

18 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

Partnerships: OMCT in the framework of
the Observatory, and 400 members and
partners.

Reports
Bangladesh: Alarming escalation of
threats to human rights defenders
Bahrain: Sentenced to two years in
prison for advocating and exercising
the right to peaceful assembly
United Arab Emirates: Flagrant disregard
of fair trial guarantees shown in UAE94
trial
Moldavia: Torture and ill-treatment
in Moldavia including Transnistria:
impunity prevails
Russia: Discrimination against visual
minorities, Roma, migrants and
indigenous peoples

Priority 2

Promoting and Protecting
Women’s Rights
Context and challenges
The international context has been characterised by an increase
in conservative attitudes that challenge women’s rights. As the
20th anniversary of the Beijing World Conference on Women
approaches, the advances made by women’s rights movements
over the last few decades have generally come under threat. The
risk of regression is most severe in the areas of sexual and reproductive rights, as well as regarding the protection of women
from domestic violence, and gender equality within the family.
At the same time, the incidence of international and regional
declarations recognising the critical role of women and the
importance of equality between men and women in the construction of lasting peace, the economy and development has
risen sharply. It is generally accepted that the failure to attain
the Millennium Development Goals, due for renewal in 2015,
is the result of a failure to achieve equality between the sexes.
In 2013, negotiations on the adoption of a declaration concerning the elimination of violence against women at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) met with strong resistance; there were attempts by a coalition of States, including
the Vatican, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Russia, to renege on past
agreements on key commitments. In light of these efforts, the
final document produced by the Commission represented a significant victory, calling for accessible and affordable healthcare
services, including sexual and reproductive health services such
as emergency contraception and safe abortions for victims of
violence.
Whilst in the Middle East and North Africa, the “Arab Spring”
created opportunities for the promotion of equality in law and
practice, they have also seen a rise in the risk of regression.
In Tunisia, constitutional reform is underway. The outcome
of negotiations on provisions to guarantee equality and nondiscrimination will have a major impact on women's rights. In
Egypt, women’s participation in the transition has been seriously threatened by the persistent perpetration of violence against
women who exercise their right to participate in public life.

Women demonstrators continue to be targets of acts of sexual
violence, which is committed with complete impunity. In Syria,
the ongoing conflict has had a particular impact on women
and girls, heightening their vulnerability and the incidence of
gender based violence. In Yemen, the transition process has
brought about opportunities for legislative reform, including
proposals made at the National Dialogue Conference to raise
the minimum marriage age for women to 18.
As women struggle to secure representation in political transition and peace-building processes, in conflict zones they continue to suffer the worst forms of violence against women.
Rape and other forms of sexual violence continue to be used
as a weapon of war with impunity. In the Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC), often referred to as the world's rape capital,
massive and systematic crimes of sexual violence have been
committed over the 20 year conflict with few victims having
access to the courts and none receiving reparation. Syria’s ongoing conflict has affected girls and women particularly, heightening their vulnerability with a sharp increase in the incidence
of gender-related acts of violence.

FIDH and its member and partner organisations
in action

Objective 1 > Contribute to securing
equal rights for women and men
Strategic exchanges and advocacy
In 2013, FIDH continued to focus on actions in the MaghrebMiddle East due to the significant challenges facing women
in the region, which include serious risks of setbacks in sexual
equality, as well as the potential opportunities presented by
the Arab Spring.
Based on its 2012 report entitled Women and the Arab Spring:
Taking their place? (analysing the role of women in protest,

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

— 19

revolution and transition in the Arab world, as well as developments in women’s rights in eight countries since 2011), FIDH
and its members and partner organisations have conducted a
series of activities to raise awareness on and advocate for reforms that guarantee the application of international standards
to protect women’s rights.
These activities have primarily been conducted at the national
level and aimed at the relevant authorities. Regional media was
used to disseminate the civil society organisation messaging,
put pressure on decision makers, and raise awareness amongst
the general population. FIDH published a position paper on
proposals for Egyptian Constitutional reform, outlining how
the amendments under consideration are contrary to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women (CEDAW). The position paper was communicated to the authorities and the national media and has contributed to debate on this issue. FIDH also conducted several
advocacy campaigns in Tunisia, calling on the executive and
legislature to guarantee sexual equality in the draft Constitution
currently under discussion. (See focus box).
Additional advocacy campaigns were aimed at the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Working Group on the issue of
discrimination against women in law and in practice, and the
European Union. The campaigns asked these bodies and institutions to call on Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to
respect women’s rights.
Two strategy meetings were held in Cairo with representatives
of regional civil society organisations to define action to be
taken during the “Equality Without Reservation”, campaign
launched in 2006 by the Democratic Association of Moroccan
Women (ADFM) and FIDH. This campaign seeks the withdrawal of reservations to the CEDAW and the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW made by States in the region.

FOCUS ON
The promotion of a new Constitution for Tunisia that
upholds women’s rights
FIDH supports its Tunisian member organisations by monitoring
the constitutional reform process and exposing provisions that
violate women’s rights and are contrary to the principles of
sexual equality and non-discrimination.
In this context, FIDH mobilised the media and raised awareness
among the general population on the incompatibility of the
draft constitution with international human rights standards by
which Tunisia is bound. FIDH also conducted several advocacy
campaigns aimed at national authorities (a mission in January
to meet with top State authorities, among them the President,
followed by repeated meetings with the representatives of the
executive branch and the members of the NCA), influential third
States and European institutions. In meeting the latter it sought

20 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

to promote equality and obtain guarantees that respect for
women’s rights be a principle condition for inter-state relations
with the Tunisian government. This work led to the mobilisation
of the UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against
women in law and in practice and to strong recommendations to
the Tunisian authorities working on constitutional reform.
As a result, the Constitution that was adopted in January 2014
contains provisions for sexual equality, non-discrimination, and
the protection of women from violence.

"The adoption of the new Tunisian Constitution was
a victory for civil society as a whole, but particularly for
women. It establishes the fundamentals of democracy and
equality. We must now remain vigilant, because like all
texts favorable to women's rights, its true value will depend
on its interpretation and its effective implementation.”
Souhayr Belhassen, Honorary President of FIDH

FIDH also pursued its work in Africa, notably with the campaign “Africa for women’s rights, Ratify and Respect!” This
campaign was launched in 2009 with 100 regional and national
organisations working in the area of human rights and women’s
rights. The FIDH campaign used its activities in the field and
its work with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to call upon authorities to ratify the Protocol on
women’s rights in Africa to the African Charter on Human and
Peoples’ Rights and harmonise law and practice accordingly.

In Uganda – where discriminatory laws on marriage and divorce prevail, being applied on the basis of a person’s religion
– FIDH continued to advocate for the adoption of a draft reform
that has existed for decades and has been modified on several
occasions. Consultative meetings were organised by FIDH and
its member league, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, as well as with Ugandan women’s rights organisations,
to analyse obstructions to reform and organise a mission, in
the beginning of 2014, to establish strategies to expedite the
adoption of amendments.
FIDH has continued its advocacy work on women’s participation in the peace process by working on having the issue put
on the agenda for the Africa-France Summit held in December
2013. It also increased the number of requests made to Mali
and the United Nations to have women’s rights become an
integral part of the transition in that country.
FIDH, its member and partner organisations, also conducted
activities to promote women’s rights in Asia. FIDH and its Iranian member organisation LDDHI alerted the UN Committee on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on discrimination against
women. Additionally, FIDH helped one of its member organisations, Armanshahr/Open Asia, to organise the first film festival
on women’s rights held in Herat, Afghanistan, in March 2013.

Legal action
Implementing FIDH’s multi-year strategic plan, the FIDH
Legal Action Group decided to lodge complaints against the
increasing questioning of principles of equality and women’s
rights, as well as against attacks on human rights activists
working on women’s rights.

FIDH supported Meriem Ben Mohamed, a young Tunisian
woman who was raped by police officers, in her fight to have
charges of indecent behaviour filed against her dropped. FIDH
was asked by the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women
to join the team of lawyers working for Miriam on the case
against the police officers for rape and extortion.

FIDH has subsequently mandated two lawyers, one from Mauritania and another from France, to assist Tunisian lawyers in
defending Amina Sboui “Tyler”, accused of association with
the Femen cause. In addition to facing a legal battle, Amina
Sboui has been subjected to a virulent campaign by Tunisian
public opinion and radical groups who use violent language
and have gone so far as to call for her to be sentenced to capital
punishment. Amina has been freed from prison, but judicial
proceedings are still underway.

FIDH also continued to provide legal support to 300 victims
(and their families) of repression perpetrated by the military
junta in Guinea-Conakry during a peaceful demonstration that
was attended by the opposition and civil society and is generally referred to as the 28th September 2009 Massacre. In this
case, FIDH has made it a point to provide support to victims
of sexual violence by collecting their testimonies, assisting
them during hearings before judges in Guinea, and aiding with
requests for specific judicial documents required by judges to
establish criminal liability. FIDH has also been instrumental in
providing training to the representatives of victims’ organisations and human rights NGOs on the psychological aspects of
collecting victims’ testimonies, specifically testimony regarding sexual violence.

Objective 2 > Promoting access to
justice for women
Documentation
Following the Arab uprisings, FIDH conducted fact-finding
missions and published its findings in a bid to change the culture of silence surrounding violence against women and promote victims’ rights to justice.
Working with its partner organisations, FIDH conducted a factfinding mission in Egypt to look into acts of violence perpetrated against women in public places. The mission revealed that
harassment and sexual abuse against women in Egypt continue
to be widespread. This situation is a major obstacle to women’s
participation in the transition process in their country. Successive governments have failed to take the measures required
to put an end to acts of violence against women and they are
consequently perpetrated with impunity. The mission report is
scheduled for publication in early 2014.

FIDH conducted fact-finding missions to Gao, Kidal, Mopti,
and Sévaré on crimes committed by extremist groups during
their occupation of Northern Mali and on the crimes committed
since the counteroffensive launched by national and international forces. During these missions, FIDH collected a large
number of testimonies on acts of sexual violence and met with
many local organisations working with women who have been
victims in the conflict. Strategic discussions were held to analyse the possibility of lodging complaints with national courts
in light of victims’ anxieties as a result of social taboos and a
lack of trust in the justice system.
In Ivory Coast, FIDH continued to encourage investigating
magistrates to identify the parties who committed acts of sexual
violence during the post-election crisis.

In 2013, the publication of FIDH’s report Violence Against
Women in Syria: Breaking the Silence helped to raise awareness
within the international community on the use of rape during
the conflict. The report also denounced the particularly worrisome situation for Syrian refugees in Jordan that led FIDH to
advocate on their behalf to the Jordanian authorities and the
UNHCR, and to use UN Special Procedures and human rights
protection mechanisms.
Legal action
Access to justice for women remains hindered by numerous
obstacles, including financial, social and political. As such,
FIDH worked to support the right to justice for women victims
of human rights violations and worked to fight against impunity
for perpetrators.
Silhouette of three women, Mugunga III camp (DRC), August 2013. © AFP

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

— 21

National, regional, and international advocacy activities
FIDH and its Libyan partner organisation, the Observatory for
Gender in Crisis, worked together to get the Libyan government
to support the passing of a law to recognise victims of rape during
the crisis as victims of war. In June 2013, the government approved a draft bill that was then submitted to the General National
Congress for adoption. The draft legislation was approved by the
Congressional Legal Commission. FIDH then started an advocacy
campaign aimed at convincing influential States to call for the
adoption of the draft bill. In July 2013, FIDH participated in a
seminar organised by the Italian Parliament. The Italian Parliament
subsequently adopted a resolution calling on the Libyan General
National Congress to adopt the draft legislation, now scheduled
on the General National Congress agenda for the start of 2014.

The findings of the FIDH mission were presented to the UN
Human Rights Council during its May session, and were
instrumental in the Council’s decision to convene a high-level
panel of experts on the fight against impunity for sexual crimes
in the DRC in March 2014.
The findings were also presented by FIDH and its member
organisations in July 2013 to CEDAW experts during a briefing
that preceded the examination of the DRC’s implementation
report in respect of that convention. In its concluding
observations, CEDAW denounced the widespread impunity
enjoyed by the perpetrators of sexual violence committed
during conflict in Eastern DRC, as well as the delay in the
convening of special courts to hear international criminal
cases. Subsequent to FIDH’s advocacy on the matter, the
Committee also criticised the failure to execute judicial
decisions, as well as the fact that indemnities awarded to the

FOCUS ON

victims of sexual crime are not paid. It also denounced threats

The right to justice and remedy for sexual crimes in the

made against persons who defend victims of such crimes.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
In April 2013, as part of the programme on the fight against

The final mission report was presented at a press conference

impunity for sexual crimes in the DRC, FIDH and its member

in Kinshasa, which was attended by numerous press agencies,

organisations – the League of Voters, the Lotus Group,

newspapers, radio and television stations. The report was

the African Association for the Defence of Human Rights

discussed with national authorities who committed to taking

(ASADHO), and their partner organisation, Solidarités féminines

measures to fight impunity for sexual crimes. The Minister

pour la paix et le développement intégral (SOFEPADI) –

for Gender asked FIDH member organisations to work on

organised a fact-finding mission to Kinshasa. This mission

draft legislation that would give the victims of sexual crimes

focused on access to justice and remedies for the victims

free access to justice. During this monitoring mission, FIDH

of sexual crimes in the DRC. Mission delegates met with the

organised a workshop with representatives from SOFEDI and

Minister of Justice, the Minister of Gender, judicial authorities,

their lawyers, to provide training on good practices in how to

and the representatives of the international community and

support victims of sexual crime through judicial proceedings.

civil society. The mission helped to identify obstacles to the
fight against impunity for the perpetrators of sexual crimes.
With a view to improving access to justice for the victims of
sexual crimes, the Congolese authorities and the international
community have focused their efforts on strengthening the
courts, particularly military courts, and on supporting the

Finally, FIDH has continued to encourage the Office of the
Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to strengthen
its policy with respect to the fight against impunity for the
perpetrators of sexual crimes.

opening of investigations and judicial proceedings. Today,
a number of important, although still too few, trials are
underway against alleged perpetrators of sexual crimes,
though sentences are rarely executed and convicted criminals
frequently escape.
After this mission, FIDH organised a joint meeting of

Examples of outcomes
FIDH has enabled or facilitated the following:

organisations representing civil society, lawyers, and victims

Contribute to securing equal rights for women and men

to establish a strategy to fight impunity at the national and

Tunisia

regional levels. These organisations decided to examine

• Recommendations made by the UN Working Group on the

the advancement of symbolic procedures on sexual crimes

issue of discrimination against women in law and practice

in a bid to exhaust all internal avenues for recourse or take

to Tunisian authorities to guarantee sexual equality and non-

cases before the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’
Rights (ACHPR). These actions will be supported by our
organisations in 2014.

discrimination in constitutional reform;
• Provision in the new Constitution that guarantees equality
between the sexes, non-discrimination, and the protection of
women from violence; and
• The freeing of Amina Sboui “Tyler” who was being prosecuted
for writing the word “FEMEN” on a wall

22 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

Iran
• Recommendations made by the UN Committee on Economic,

raped by police officers and the prosecution and sentencing
of the police officers for rape and extortion.

Social and Cultural Rights reflected FIDH concerns relative

to women’s rights

Libya
• Draft legislation that would allow the victims of rape to be

Africa – France

considered as victims of war has been approved by the

• The inclusion of the issues of protecting women’s rights

executive branch and submitted to Congress.

and the participation of women in the peace process in
discussions and in the final declaration made at the Africa-

Egypt

France Summit in December 2013.

• The creation, by the government, of a sexual violence unit
within the Ministry of the Interior

Maghreb – Middle East
• A Council of Europe resolution that refers to 20 measures
to improve equality between the sexes in the region which
were proposed by FIDH and its member and partner
organisations.

Syria
• The documentation of sexual crimes; and

• Bringing to the attention of the members of the United Nations
Security Council acts of sexual violence committed in the
country; the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General

World

for Sexual Violence in Conflict quoted the FIDH report on sexual

• Publication of a joint declaration (FIDH and the CEDAW

violence in Syria in her report before the Security Council.

Chairperson) calling for the withdrawal of reservations to the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination

DRC

against Women

• CEDAW conclusions reflect all concerns expressed by FIDH.

Promoting access to justice for women

Guinea

Tunisia

• The bringing of charges against a Guinean gendarme for

• Charges were dropped against Meriem Ben Mohamed, who
had been accused of indecent behaviour after reporting being

rape committed during the 28 September Massacre, and his
incarceration.

Graffiti on Talaat Harb Street, Egypt. © Julia Schoepp

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

— 23

FIDH interacting with its member and partner organisations
10 international fact-finding,

Strategy seminars:

legal and advocacy missions

Partnerships: Coalition for

Coalition for Equality

Equality without Reservation;

(Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Ivory

without Reservation,

Africa for Women’s Rights:

Coast, Guinea)

Cairo, January and May

Ratify and Respect !;

2013.

International Coalition for the

DRC, Litigation strate-

International Criminal Court;

gies to fight impunity

International Trade Union

Support for advocacy activi-

for the perpetrators of

Conference

ties conducted by activists

sexual crimes, April and

working with IGOs, interna-

December 2013

67 press releases

tional and regional human
rights bodies, and influential
States

FIDH Mission to Mali. © FIDH

24 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

Reports
DRC: Denial of Justice for the
Victims of Sexual Crimes
DRC: Victims of Sexual Crimes
Rarely Obtain Justice and Never
Receive Reparation: Changing the
Situation to Combat Impunity
SYRIA: Violence Against Women in
Syria: Breaking the Silence
IRAN: Rising Poverty, Declining
Labour Rights
MOROCCO: A Fully Independent
Judiciary Must Be Established in
Morocco
EGYPT: Position paper on
Constitutional Reform

Priority 3

Promoting and Protecting
Migrants’ Rights
Context and challenges
Migrants are rendered increasingly vulnerable by the constant
tightening of controls around the movement of persons, as well
as policies that favour economic and security interests over
respect for Human Rights. While the United States continues
to “protect” itself using an imaginary wall, the European Union
(EU) is stepping up border controls through its border security
agency, Frontex. These measures, coupled with a lack of legal
options, have forced migrants to increasingly use dangerous
routes that frequently lead to death, and has gradually converted
the Mediterranean into a huge graveyard. The death of over 300
migrants off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, in 2013, brought
international attention to the impact of EU migration policies.
However, when it came to making any significant changes to
reduce risks, political will remained absent.
EU Member States are increasingly shifting responsibility for
migrant control to departure and transit countries. Among the
means used to do so are Mobility Partnerships signed with
southern Mediterranean countries, which enable certain categories of nationals of the latter to obtain EU visas in exchange for
increased control over migration flows, and the readmission of
irregular migrants to the EU to their territory. In 2013, EU efforts to strengthen migration controls and limit departures were
again focused on Libya, where the situation of migrants and
refugees was worse than ever, and entailed indefinite arbitrary
detention in inhuman and degrading conditions. In light of the
humanitarian crisis in Syria, the number of Syrian refugees in
neighbouring countries reached over 2.3 million people. The
member States of the EU have only taken in about 2 percent
of these refugees.
Migrant workers, especially those without any legal status,
are victims of multiple violations of human rights. They are
frequently exploited by their employers and recruitment agencies. The attraction of emerging economies (Brazil, India, and
China), and of oil producing countries such as Persian Gulf
countries and certain African States, has meant that most migratory flows are towards the South (South-South or North-South).
Migrants to Persian Gulf countries find themselves trapped in
a sponsor system (kafala) that ties them to their employers and

can prevent them from leaving their jobs or even the country. The conditions endured by migrants in Qatar have been
spotlighted as preparations for the 2022 World Cup continue.
Russia remains a major destination for migrant workers from
Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but little is done to address
the discrimination and violence suffered by migrants.
In 2013, respect for the rights of migrants improved in a few
rare cases. In Morocco, 2013 saw a few positive developments
with the announcement of an overhaul of migration policy to
bring it into line with international standards. This move coincided with the country’s examination by the UN Committee
on Migrant Workers.

fidh and its member and partner organisations
in action

Objective 1 > Strengthen national
policies and legislation for the
protection of migrants’ rights
Investigations and alerts on migrants’ rights
After a mission to follow-up on a previous investigation on
the situation of migrants and refugees in Libya in 2012, FIDH
published a paper denouncing the continued violations of the
basic rights of migrants and exiled persons of Sub-Saharan
origin. In its recommendations, FIDH expressed the need for
the then existing practices and policies to be adapted to reflect a
new interpretation of Libyan migration and the challenges that
it represents for the development of the rule of law in Libya,
as well as the establishment of relations between Libya and its
African neighbours, and with the EU and its member States.
As follow-through to its study on the EU Border Surveillance
System, Frontex, FIDH co-organised a mission to the GreekTurkey border, mainly to investigate allegations that the Greek
coastguards forced a boatload of migrants and refugees to return to Turkey. The mission collected testimony and, in its
preliminary conclusions, pointed to the systematic detention
and brutal treatment of migrants.

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 25

FOCUS ON
Investigation of the Kafala systems and violations of the
rights of the Bidun in Kuwait
FIDH and its member organisation Humanline carried out
an investigation in Kuwait into the repeated promises of the
authorities to change the Kafala (sponsorship) system.
The mission obtained testimony from representatives of the
government, the diplomatic corps, civil society organisations,
and migrants. The investigation also focused on the situation
of the thousands of Bidun. Despite having lived many years
in Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government has refused to grant them
full citizenship, leaving them to be a people without a country.
Since the 1980s, the Kuwaiti authorities considered the
more than 100,000 Biduns in the country as illegal residents
and explained that they (the Biduns) wilfully destroyed
their identification papers to obtain the benefits of Kuwaiti
citizenship. The law enforcement services have brutally
repressed peaceful protest demonstrations by Biduns, and
they, as well as activists and lawyers who support them, have
been detained and subjected to arbitrary procedures.
The mission report will be published in 2014. Its
recommendations will be shared with the authorities of the
countries of departure and the Kuwaiti authorities.

Following its 2011 report on the rights of Tajiki migrant workers, FIDH and ADC Memorial, its member organisation in Russia, sent a mission to Dushanbe to review changes made to
institutions and the legislation. Through examining the situation
of female migrant workers and migrants’ wives, the mission
studied challenges facing migrant workers and their families.
The preliminary report, published in June 2013, noted that the
problem of the migrants was on the agenda of the Tajiki authorities and that civil society contributed to the preparation of
draft laws, but that measures taken to protect migrants’ rights
were still insufficient. Migrants still suffer from the illegal
practices of their employers and the intermediaries (passports
confiscated, wages withheld, xenophobic attacks, etc.). Fourteen percent of Tajiki migrant workers in Russia are women,
and many migrants’ wives are left penniless with dependent
children. The final report will be published in 2014.
When the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) examined Russia, FIDH supported
an alternative report produced by ADC Memorial showing that
Russia is still one of the main destinations of migrant workers,
but that it does not provide protection against the most serious
forms of discrimination. Migrant communities are subjected to
serious discrimination at the workplace partly because administrative red-tape makes it difficult to obtain a work permit. The
report gives several examples of violations of migrant workers’
rights which, in some cases, constitute modern slavery.

26 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

Advocacy at the national, regional and international levels
for the protection of migrants’ rights
The missions by FIDH and its partner organisation Arab Women’s Organisation (AWO) in December 2012 and May 2013 to
the refugee camps in Jordan were mainly to investigate violence
against women in the Syrian conflict. FIDH and AWO reported
to the Jordanian authorities information regarding the hardships
inside and outside the refugee camp, and the tension that this
difficult situation could generate. FIDH and AWO spoke with
the Director of Syrian Refugee Camp Affairs at the Ministry
of the Interior about the “rescue” system that enables refugees
to leave the camp if they can prove that they have a guarantee
from a legal Jordanian sponsor. This system leads to exploitation,
especially of women and young girls such as forced marriage,
prostitution, etc. FIDH and AWO spoke strongly to government
representatives about discrimination and stigmatisation in the
camps. FIDH went on to alert other governmental authorities in
the region, in particular the representatives of Egypt, about the
extremely precarious situation the Syrian refugees are facing. It
further called upon the international community to react, protect
their rights, and establish policies to welcome migrants.
FIDH has strongly urged EU bodies and member States to ensure
that their migration policies respect international human rights
laws. The Lampedusa tragedy in October 2013 in which over
300 migrants lost their lives off the coast of this Italian island,
was a grievous opportunity for FIDH to denounce, once again,
the war that Europe is waging against migrants, and to call upon
the European institutions to make major reforms. FIDH urged
the ministries of the interior of EU member States, the European
Commissioner for Internal Affairs, and European Parliamentarians to completely overhaul their migration policies to make sure
that security issues do not override human rights, and further that
their policies give priority to the protection of the migrants’ lives
and human rights rather than to the sealing of Europe’s borders.

FOCUS ON
Lobbying for better protection of migrants in Morocco
In September 2013 FIDH supported the submission of
an alternative report to the United Nations Committee on
Migrant Workers, and the participation of representatives
from the FIDH partner organisation, GADEM in helping
the Committee examine the Moroccan case. Afterwards
the Committee urged Morocco to stop its discriminatory
practices, collective expulsions and other violence, and to
guarantee the rights of migrants and asylum seekers, in
compliance with Morocco’s international commitments. The
Committee’s remarks largely reflected the recommendations
of FIDH and its partners, and the recommendations published
by the Moroccan National Human Rights Council (CNDH).
The Committee stressed, inter alia, the need to amend law
no. 02-03 “on the entry and stay of foreigners in the Kingdom
of Morocco, and on clandestine immigration and emigration”.
This law criminalises all attempts to leave Morocco without

proper papers, and thus violates international law. It also

A complaint was filed in Italy in 2012 by the survivors, and two

imposes prison terms and fines on irregular foreign migrant

of the survivors filed a complaint on 18 June 2013 with the

workers.

Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance and the Audiencia Nacional
in Madrid accusing the French and Spanish armies of failure

The fact that the Committee examined the Moroccan case,

to assist persons in danger. The Groupe d’information et de

and that the CNDH submitted a request to have several

soutien des immigrés (GISTI), FIDH, LDH and Migreurop filed

categories of migrants regularised, contributed to the

as plaintiffs for the victims to compel the courts to open a

decision of the Moroccan ministries of justice, the interior,

criminal investigation. A prior “simple” complaint filed by the

and foreign affairs to announce a series of measures to

same organisations was dropped by the public prosecutor.

improve the management of the increasing number of illegal
migrants. The King of Morocco spoke on the subject and said

On 26 November 2013, three survivors, with support from

he wanted the migration issue “to be approached in a global

FIDH and the Belgian Human Rights League filed a complaint

and humane manner, in keeping with international law”.

with the Brussels Tribunal de Première Instance against
the Belgian army for failure to assist persons in danger.

In December 2013 the Moroccan authorities introduced a

Furthermore, requests for information have been submitted in

regularisation programme. FIDH and its member and partner

the United Kingdom, the United States, and in Canada to obtain

organisations will hold an information workshop in 2014 on

clarifications on actions of the armies of these countries in

the implementation of this programme and on the sharing

the Mediterranean during the period that the events occurred.

of experiences among countries that have taken identical
measures. FIDH will also see to the implication of human

On 6 December 2013, a French judge dismissed the charges.

rights organisations in the evaluation and reform process for

The two victims and the organisations supporting them have

Morocco’s migration laws and policies.

appealed this decision.
FIDH will keep close track of these cases and will refer to the
European Court of Human Rights if there is no further national
recourse.

Objective 2 > Strengthen the
responsibility of stakeholders for the
violations of migrants’ rights
In order to fight against impunity, influence policies, and ensure
the prevention of further violations, FIDH has developed
strategic legal actions for cases of violations of migrants’
rights. Most specifically, FIDH has developed legal actions to
apply to violations of human rights on the Mediterranean sea,
within the context of the migration policies of the EU and its
member States.

FIDH and other partners have advocated for greater
transparency, responsibility, and obligation in the field of
human rights protection by the EU agency Frontex. In so
doing, they have contributed to the report of the Commission
on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons of the Council
of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly which includes many of
the issues and recommendations of our organisations.

Examples of outcomes
FOCUS ON

FIDH has enabled or contributed to:

Legal complaints by victims of the left-to-die boat case
In March 2011, while several countries were on patrol as part

The strengthening of national policies and law for the protec-

of NATO operations against the Gaddafi regime, 72 migrants

tion of migrants’ rights

were fleeing Libya aboard a makeshift boat that was left adrift.

Morocco

Distress calls were sent to the Italian coastguard, NATO, and

• The announcement of the adoption of a new migration policy

all the ships in the area. Helicopters and a military ship saw
the boat but did not rescue the passengers. After 15 days, the
boat landed back on the Libyan coast with 11 survivors, 2 of

based on humanity and dignity;
• Conclusions of the United Nations Committee on Migrant
Workers that denounce the violations of migrants’ rights.

whom died after landing. Because of this lack of assistance, 63
people died, including 20 women and 3 children.

Tajikistan
• Discussion with the Tajik authorities on measures to strengthen
the protection of migrant workers;

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 27

• Increased collaboration between Russia and Tajik civil society to

Strengthening the responsibility of the players in the field of

contribute to increasing the effectiveness of measures to protect

human rights violations

Tajik migrants in Russia.

France, Spain, Belgium
• Complaints filed in the left-to-die boat case

Armenia
• Signature of the Convention on the Protection of All Migrant
Workers and Their Families

European Union
• Report of the Commission on Migration, Refugees and Displaced
Persons of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly

Mozambique

that largely concurs with the concerns and recommendations

• Ratification of the Convention on the Protection of All Migrant

of FIDH with regard to the need for transparency, responsibility,
and obligations related to the protection of human rights by the

Workers and Their Families

EU agency Frontex
Russia
• Conclusions of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination on the report that denounces serious
discrimination against migrants in Russia
European Union
• Raising awareness of international opinion towards the
responsibility of the EU and its member states for the death of
shipwrecked persons in the Mediterranean Sea.

Migrant workers waiting for the Friday solidarity meal, Libya.
© Sara Prestianni

FIDH interacting with its member and partner organisations
4 international fact-finding and advo-

Judicial and quasi-judicial procedures

cacy missions (Greece/Turkey, Kuwait,

initiated and monitored by FIDH:

Tajikistan, Jordan)

- Before the French, Spanish, and Belgian
courts: the left-to-die boat case

36 Press releases
Partnerships: International trade unions
Support for advocacy visits of 15 defend-

conference: Union Network International;

ers before intergovernmental institutions,

Global Campaign for the ratification of

relevant regional and international bodies,

the Convention on the rights of migrants;

and representatives from influential States

Justice Without Borders for Migrants,
Migreurop; Boats 4 People

28 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

Reports
Russia: Discrimination against visual
minorities: Roma, migrants and indigenous peoples
Libya: Urgence pour une révision des politiques migratoires de l’UE et de ses États
membres
Tajikistan: Positive aspects of new migration law require implementation
Greece-Turkey (preliminary conclusions):
Greek/Turkey border: The tragic limits of
European migration policies

Priority 4

Promoting the Administration
of Justice and Combat
Impunity
Context and challenges

The right to effective redress for victims
of international crimes
Combating impunity for serious human rights violations not only
contributes to their prevention, to the prosecution of their perpetrators, and to the increased effectiveness of human rights, but
also ultimately reinforces the Rule of Law. Redress for victims
of international crimes before national courts is the responsibility of the State and its practice must remain a priority. However,
it is not always possible for victims to access the court system
in some countries where it has collapsed, where the courts lack
independence and impartiality, and/or where victims and legal
personnel lack protection. In addition, providing extra-national,
regional, and international redress contributes to the establishment of responsibility, and to the application of the right to justice, truth, and reparation.
In 2013, the judicial system made significant progress in fighting impunity by bringing perpetrators of international crimes
before the national courts in Mali, Guinea and the Ivory Coast.
However, in the national courts of Kenya, Uganda, Central
African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Afghanistan, Algeria, and even
Syria, impunity remains the rule for perpetrators of the most
serious crimes, thus other means of redress must be pursued.

charged with crimes against humanity, ended in October 2013.
The Extraordinary African Chambers of the Senegalese Courts
commenced in January 2013, and in July 2013, Hissène Habré
was charged with crimes of torture and war crimes carried out
while he was President of Chad between 1982 and 1990.
In 2013, the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigated and
prosecuted the main perpetrators of crimes falling within its jurisdiction in eight cases (Uganda, DRC, Darfur-Sudan, CAR,
Kenya, Libya, Ivory Coast, Mali). A third warrant concerning
the situation in Ivory Coast was publicly issued in September
2013 for the arrest of Charles Blé Goudé. Following a referral
from national authorities, the Court launched an investigation in
January 2013 into the Malian situation, and also issued a statement on the serious human rights violations committed in 2013
in CAR and the DRC.
The ICC continues to suffer from a lack of cooperation from certain States Parties, particularly regarding the transfer of people
under arrest warrants (Uganda, DRC, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan).

The extra-territorial jurisdiction laws, which authorise national
courts to investigate and prosecute anyone on their territory suspected of committing international crimes abroad, are reducing
impunity, but in 2013, some countries continued to attack or
restrict these laws.
Legal proceedings held at the Extraordinary Chambers of the
Courts in Cambodia (ECCC) during the first phase of Case 002
against two former high level leaders of the Khmer Rouge

Speech delivered to the ASP by Paulina Vega, Vice President of FIDH. © FIDH

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 29

Furthermore, Kenya launched a significant offensive against the
ICC to try to stop the proceedings against its sitting President
and Vice-President in opposition to the removal of immunity
for the heads of State in office. The government of Kenya has
obtained from the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC Statute
an adjustment to the ICC Rules of Proceedings concerning the
presence of the accused at trials, especially those holding highlevel positions. In addition, the lack of cooperation from Kenyan
authorities with the Office of the Prosecutor and allegations of
threats toward key prosecution witnesses has seriously hampered
the examination, as well as other Kenyan cases, such that the
Office of the Prosecutor decided to withdraw charges against
Francis Kirimi Muthaura, one of the accused, and requested that
the trial of Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta be suspended.
The ICC continues to be criticized for the non-universality of
its action, but it should be noted that other situations, especially
in Georgia, Colombia, Honduras and even in Afghanistan, are
currently at the stage of preliminary examination by the Office
of the Prosecutor. Lastly, victim participation in the proceedings
and their effective legal representation, the protection of intermediaries, the quality of investigations, and the Court’s budget
were significant issues in 2013.

The administration of effective
and equitable justice
In 2013, Bolivia, Latvia and Guinea-Bissau ratified the Second
Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights aimed at abolishing the death penalty. That same year,
Maryland became the 18th state of the USA to abolish capital
punishment, while Pakistan continued its moratorium on its use.
In July, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
announced the process it would adopt for preparing the draft version of the Optional Protocol to the African Charter on Human
and Peoples’ Rights.

But these advances were marred by an increase in the number
of executions in 2013 compared to 2012, with a majority taking
place in Iraq, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.
In 2013, executions were resumed in the four countries of Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Vietnam. Many death sentences were
also handed down in Bangladesh.
Death sentences were pronounced in 2013 in Belarus, the only
remaining country in Europe to hand down the death penalty,
but none were carried out.
The abolitionist movement continues to face many challenges
due to multifaceted resistance based on security, political, social
and religious arguments. These challenges are exasperated by
the secret conditions in which many executions are still being
carried out, the application of the death penalty to crimes which
do not fit the definition of “the most serious crimes” as defined in
Article 6 of the ICCPR (especially drug trafficking), the absence
of guarantees of fair trials, and the need for stronger advocacy.
The World Congress Against the Death Penalty, which met in
Madrid in June 2013, presented a unique opportunity to review
the status and strategies of the abolitionist movement.
In its efforts to promote the administration of effective and
equitable justice, FIDH, along with its member organizations
and partners, is also focusing on the fight against torture, the
release of political prisoners, and the phenomenon of enforced
disappearances.
In 2013, Morocco, Cambodia, Lesotho and Lithuania joined 42
other States in ratifying the International Convention for the
Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances. The
fight against impunity for perpetrators of torture and enforced
disappearances, as well as the search for the missing remain
huge challenges in many countries. Although these crimes are
widespread, particularly during situations of conflict and crisis,
especially in Syria, documenting them remains complicated, and
legal recourse for victims’ families at the national level is often
made difficult by the lack of access to justice.
Terrorist attacks continued in 2013. The fight against these odious
acts has in some cases been conducted in violation of the rights
guaranteed by international conventions for the protection of human rights. Some States have also continued to use the pretext of
the fight against terrorism to repress peaceful protest movements.

Cover of the FIDH-LDDHI report, Iran: “Death penalty in Iran: A state terror policy.”
© Mehr News Agency

30 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

FIDH and its member and partner organisations
in action

Objective 1 > Reinforce the right
to effective recourse for victims
of international crimes
Legal action
FOCUS ON
FIDH Litigation Activities
FIDH is currently supporting approximately 600 victims in
more than 110 judicial and semi-judicial proceedings to establish the responsibility of the perpetrators of serious human
rights violations committed in about 45 national incidents.
Whereas most of the proceedings are held to establish individual criminal responsibility, mostly before national courts,
FIDH is increasingly involved in proceedings to establish
States’ responsibility before regional bodies or even corporate responsibility.
FIDH’s litigation work is conducted in close collaboration with
its member organizations and partners. It focuses on emblematic cases, whether due to the degree of the violations, their
legal qualifications, or the types of victims and perpetrators,
in order to respond to the victims’ right to justice, as well as to
the objectives of deterrence, reconciliation, and the strengthening of the Rule of Law. The choice of judicial or quasijudicial bodies before which to present the cases responds
to their criteria of admissibility as well as to considerations of
their judicial and political scope.

Establishing responsibility before national courts
In 2013, FIDH supported the fight against impunity and contributed
to the advancement of national justice in several countries in transition. With its Legal Action Group (LAG), a group of lawyers, magistrates, and jurists who do pro bono work, it assisted several hundred
victims of the most serious crimes before the national courts of Ivory
Coast, Guinea, Mali, and Tunisia and lent support to proceedings
underway against Duvalier in Haiti (Priority 6).
In addition, FIDH continued its work on judiciary matters with the
goal of advancing national proceedings in cases in which it is involved by making use of extra-territorial jurisdiction, which is
often the only recourse left for victims of international crimes who
are unable to obtain justice in their own country. FIDH has become
particularly involved in the case of the Relizane militia against
the Mohamed brothers (Algeria), proceeding before the French
courts since 2003, with the goal of establishing responsibility for
the crimes committed in the 1990s by armed militia close to the
Algerian authorities as part of their antiterrorism policies. (See the
following Focus On box).

With regard to the case of the “Disappeared of Brazzaville Beach”
(Republic of Congo), in an effort to establish responsibility for the
massacres, torture and enforced disappearances perpetrated in 1999,
FIDH has continued to work to ensure that those responsible are
brought to court and that the victims obtain justice and reparation
resulting from fair, equitable and independent proceedings. The
LAG lawyers have regularly provided the investigating judge in
Paris, who is specialised in international crimes, with information
about the situation and the main suspects’ identities and presence in
France. The LAG also helped a new victim to launch a civil action
suit and to appear before the investigating magistrates in July 2013,
adding to the investigative file.
FIDH has also been active in the proceedings in France against
those accused of committing crimes of genocide in Rwanda in
1994 and who are on French territory. Following the investigative
judge’s arraignment order in March 2013 and the announcement
in July 2013 of the February 4, 2014, commencement of the first
trial in France of a person accused of committing genocide before
the Criminal Court of Paris, FIDH mobilized to prepare its application as civil party in the trial. It brought together a support team of
lawyers to represent FIDH and LDH, its member organization in
France, both civil parties in this case against former captain Pascal
Simbikangwa, accused of crimes of complicity to genocide and of
crimes against humanity in Rwanda in 1994. This first trial paves
the way for many more in years to come, as 27 investigations of
persons suspected of genocide in Rwanda are now underway in
France. FIDH also filed a complaint in June 2013, together with the
organizations Survie and LDH, against Paul Barril, former captain
of the French gendarmerie for the crime of complicity in genocide,
in particular for having contracted an agreement on May 28, 1994,
with the Prime Minister of the interim Rwanda government to supply arms and ammunition, as well as training and supervision. This
case could contribute not only to establishing Paul Barril’s criminal
responsibility, but also in clarifying the ambiguous role played by
the French authorities during the genocide.
Reinforcing its action in establishing legal corporate responsibility, FIDH continued its work in supporting Libyan victims as civil
parties in the case against Amesys Corporation for its complicity
in torture. This French company and its executives are accused in
a complaint filed in November 2011 by FIDH and LDH of having
sold Mouammar Gaddafi’s dictatorial regime surveillance equipment to better target regime opponents. After the Paris Appeal Court
Investigative Chamber gave the green light to proceed with the investigation in January 2013, FIDH arranged in June and July 2013
to bring the five Libyan civil parties represented by the LAG in this
case to France, in order to testify before the investigative judges.
It also ensured that they were provided with psychological support
during their stay in Paris by representatives of the Association of
Psychologists, TRACES. Additionally, starting in October 2013,
three civil parties received psycho-social support in Tunis from
members of the association DIGNITY, a partner of FIDH.
As part of its fight to condemn attacks against individual liberties
and following revelations made by Edward Snowden, FIDH, along
with LDH, filed a complaint against X in France in July 2013, for

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 31

fraudulent use of the American programme called PRISM (Planning
Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization, and Management)
which enables the NSA and FBI to intercept and collect, without
authorization, private information from any individual, particularly
on French soil. In December 2013, a similar complaint was filed
by FIDH and the Belgian LDH before the Tribunal de première
instance in Brussels, and yet another in Germany with the active
support of FIDH and its Legal Action Group (LAG).

FOCUS ON
The case of the Relizane militia against the Mohamed
brothers (Algeria)
In October 2011, eight years after the filing of the complaint
by FIDH and the French Human Rights League against two
Algerian brothers residing in France, Abdelkader and Hocine,
also known as “Adda” Mohamed, who were suspected of acts
of torture and barbarism while in the militia in the Relizane
region in the 1990s, the judge in charge of the case at Nimes
terminated the investigation.
After repeated referrals from FIDH, the public prosecutor
finally requested in July 2013 that the Mohamed brothers be
arraigned in the Criminal Court of Nimes for acts of torture.
However, on September 26, 2013, FIDH learned that the
judicial review of the Mohamed brothers had been adjourned,
sending a contradictory signal from the French authorities to
the victims. Because of these events, the LAG held a meeting
in Paris in December 2013 with the civil parties and witnesses
in this affair, with the intention of informing them about the
proceeding, its obstacles, ways of overcoming them and how
to be better prepared for the trial, which could begin in 2015.
In this affair FIDH had to cope with many obstacles. Among
them, the application of the 2006 Algerian Charter for National

If this procedure leads to a criminal trial in the Criminal Court
at Nimes, it will be the first chance for Algerian civil war victims
to see independent and impartial justice being applied to those
dark years and in particular, to the crimes perpetrated by the
Algerian militia.

Cases before Mixed or Hybrid Courts
In 2013, FIDH continued to support 10 Cambodian victims living in France who are civil parties in the proceedings of case
no. 002/01 before the ECCC. FIDH facilitated travel for one of
the civil parties to Phnom Penh in late May/early June 2013, accompanied by her lawyer, a member of the LAG (Legal Action
Group), where she was heard by the court during the week of
proceedings devoted to the impact on victims of the crimes perpetrated.
FIDH also contributed, through its lawyers, to the writing of the
submissions and closing arguments of the principal co-lawyers of
the civil parties, as well as to the brief on reparations submitted at
the closure of the case in October 2013.
Moreover, FIDH filed a claim for damages with the ECCC in
the name of the civil parties it is representing, in order to erect
a monument in Paris in memory of the victims of the Khmer
Rouge regime.
Finally, FIDH circulated the report issued in December 2012 in
French and English entitled “Victims’ Rights Before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC): A Mixed
Record for Civil Parties,” which is a unique, in-depth analysis of
the participation of civil parties before a mixed court.

Peace and Reconciliation, which anticipated prosecutions and
prison sentences against anyone, who by their own admission,
“use or take advantage of the wounds of the national tragedy,
to bring shame to the institutions of the Algerian Republic (…),
or tarnish the image of Algeria internationally”1. This is why
Mohamed Smain, a human rights defender and former head
of the Ligue algérienne pour la défense des droits de l’Homme
(LADDH) in Relizane, was often threatened, prosecuted,
condemned and imprisoned by Algerian authorities, who
accused him of “denouncing imaginary crimes” after his
discovery of a mass grave of victims from this period in
Relizane, and calling for truth and justice. Nearly all the civil
parties in this case asked France for asylum, fearing serious

Cases before the International Criminal Court
In order to combat impunity for serious crimes, strengthen the
potential deterrent role of the Court, and make it apply the principle of positive complementarity, FIDH and its member organisations have continued to pass on information to the Office
of the Prosecutor, particularly through advocacy visits in The
Hague by individuals from the countries concerned, regarding
the cases in Mali (February 2013), Ivory Coast (February 2013),
Guinea (May 2013), and other situations of interest for the ICC,
for the purpose of contributing to its analyses and inquiries (See
Priority 6).

risks of physical and psychological harm if they returned to
Algeria after testifying before the French courts. FIDH is also
concerned about the unexplainable slowness of the public
prosecutor’s office in Nimes, emblematic of the reluctance
of the French judicial and political authorities to see these
types of cases go to trial, and the problems arising from the
changes of examining magistrates.

1. Article 46 of Order 01-06, on the implementation of the Charter for national and
reconciliation

32 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

Clarifying the responsibility of States
In 2013, capitalising on its experience of intervening as a third
party, FIDH reviewed the status and evolution of current law concerning LGBTI persons in the Member States of the Council of
Europe, in the light of symbolic cases supported by FIDH before
the ECtHR (See Focus On box below).

FOCUS ON
Protection for the rights of LGBTI persons before the ECtHR
Since 2005, FIDH has intervened as a third party or amicus
curiae, alongside other NGOs such as ILGA-Europe and the
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), in nearly 15 cases in
support of the rights of LGBTI persons and as a contribution
to the gradual development of the Court’s jurisprudence. At the
start of this involvement, a position paper drawn up in 2013 and
entitled “LGBTI Rights before the European Court of Human
Rights: step by step progress” allowed FIDH to revisit certain
ECtHR cases which were symbolic in terms of violations of
LGBTI rights and which occasionally helped influence changes
in the law in effect in the Member States of the Council of
Europe.
Furthermore, in April 2013 FIDH submitted written comments
on the case of M.E. v. Sweden concerning a Libyan whose
request for asylum in Sweden after applying for a residence
permit on the basis of his marriage to a Swedish man was
rejected and as a result of which he was at risk of torture should
he return to Libya. For the first time, this case led the ECtHR to
examine the issue of whether a Member State of the Council
of Europe could deport a man who is married to another man
(or a woman married to another woman) in the event that the
individual risks treatment contrary to Article 3 of the European
Convention on Human Rights by returning to his/her country of
origin if he or she publicly refers to his/her sexual orientation or
his/her marriage with an individual of the same sex.
The same year saw important victories in cases before the
ECtHR against Austria and Greece, in which FIDH intervened
as a third party. Indeed, in the case of X v. Austria, the ECtHR
ruled against Austria in February 2013 for discrimination
against same-sex couples excluded from joint adoption.
Austria subsequently adopted legislation, effective in August
2013, permitting adoption by the second parent of same-sex
couples. In November 2013, the ECtHR decided that Greece
was violating European human rights law by limiting the
“cohabitation agreement” to heterosexual couples.

The litigation before the African Commission and Court for
Human and People’s Rights are referred to in the section relating
to Priority 1 (communications directed against Sudan and Ethiopia put before the Commission), Priority 2 (activities undertaken
and draft communication put before the Commission and directed
against the DRC concerning cases sexual and gender-based violence) and Priority 6 (petition against Libya before the Court and
communication directed against Algeria submitted to the Court). A
decision on the merits in the litigation against Chile brought before
the Inter-American Court of Human Rights by FIDH for that country’s fallacious use of an anti-terrorist law to criminalise protest
by the Mapuche community is expected in 2014 (See Priority 6).

Advocacy activities
Concerning National Courts
FIDH continued its advocacy directed at the concerned authorities, at intergovernmental organisations, and at the ICC in favour
of strong national justice systems with the necessary capacity and
will to successfully combat impunity for the most serious crimes
committed on their territory, particularly in Guinea, Ivory Coast
and Mali (Priority 6).
It also continued advocating in France for the amendment of the
Act dated 9 August 2010, adapting the French criminal code to
the Rome Statute. That act introduced the mechanism of extraterritorial jurisdiction for war crimes, crimes against humanity and
the crime of genocide, but with significant obstacles to its enforcement. In 2013, the FIDH action was brought before the French
Senate, which, in a first reading, examined a proposed amendment.
Plans will have to be made for further action before the French
National Assembly, since the Senate has retained one of the four
flaws of the Act, namely, the fact that an action may only be initiated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, thus barring the victims
of such international crimes from filing complaints together with
a civil action. In effect, this serves to launch public prosecution
by circumventing the inertia of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, as
observed on many occasions by FIDH in this type of case.
When the French Senate examined the French Military Programming bill in December 2013, FIDH also pressed for the Public
Prosecutor’s Office’s monopoly on the prosecution of crimes committed by French soldiers abroad to be left out. It also condemned
the provisions of the bill authorising real-time surveillance of average citizens, in breach of the most basic individual freedoms,
under the cover of the fight against terrorism and other national
security objectives. The bill was being considered in the midst of
the scandal relating to the generalised digital surveillance carried
out by the NSA and FBI.
At the European Union (EU) Member States level, FIDH has
continued advocating for victims of serious violations of human
rights to have access to independent, equitable and effective justice. As part of the joint programme with REDRESS, TRIAL and
ECCHR, FIDH thus took an active part in two meetings with EU
contact points on international crimes in April and October 2013.
It also organised and took part in a seminar for practitioners on
28 October 2013, on the subject of cooperation between national
police and immigration authorities and their communication and
relationship with victims of international crimes. FIDH also conducted missions in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and the
Netherlands to gather information and to advocate for victims’
effective access to justice. Lastly, a newsletter on extraterritorial
jurisdiction in Europe was circulated in July 2013, along with
monthly updates on cases subject to extraterritorial jurisdiction.
Concerning the International Criminal Court
Against a background of political attacks on the ICC, initiated by
the Kenyan government in defence of two individuals accused of

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 33

crimes against humanity before the ICC, and who had been elected
President and Vice President of Kenya, FIDH responded quickly
and comprehensively. This took place in the form of regular meetings with representatives of States Parties, numerous consultations
with Court bodies, and participation in the 12th session of the Assembly of States Parties. FIDH pursued these efforts in order to
uphold the commitment of States Parties to the Statute of the ICC
to fight against impunity for perpetrators of international crimes,
thus enabling the Court to successfully pursue its mandate. FIDH
also took action to ensure the respect for and effective implementation of the rights of victims – often overlooked in such a stormy
diplomatic context – and to avoid such rights’ being viewed solely
from a financial perspective, thereby ensuring that the victims are
seen as truly endowed with rights.
FIDH also organised an advocacy visit at The Hague in September/October 2013 with representatives of NGOs and lawyers
working with victims of international crimes in the Ivory Coast,
Kenya, Mali, CAR, DRC and Sudan, in order to discuss the issues
surrounding respect for the rights of victims before the ICC and
to raise the awareness of the Court and the States regarding the
essential issues to be taken into account when defining the ICC’s
strategies and policies. A report of this advocacy visit, with recommendations for the various stakeholders involved, was published
and circulated in November 2013.
Furthermore, FIDH contributed to the discussions between States
at The Hague within the Working Group on Victims’ Rights, Reparation and Legal Aid, by commenting on the draft resolutions and
policies of the ICC’s Registry on victims’ rights.
During the 12th session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP)
to the Statute of the ICC in November 2013, FIDH distributed a
position paper with recommendations regarding the three principal
themes discussed: the importance and role of victims in proceedings before the ICC, the prosecution of heads of State and government, and the adoption of a budget for 2014 providing the Court
with the capacity to effectively pursue its activities. FIDH, which
had managed to secure a general discussion on the issue of victims’
rights during this session, also succeeded in having certain indicators of the system for revising legal aid, such as consultations in
the field between victims and their representatives, included in the
omnibus resolution on the ICC adopted by the ASP. During the
ASP, FIDH also jointly organised a parallel event on Kenya and
the ICC, as well as on legal aid for victims, and contributed to the
plenary session discussion on victims as well as on prosecuting
heads of State and government. It also took action in order to
ensure that amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence,
put forward by Kenya and other States Parties and discussed during the ASP, will not go against the spirit and letter of the Court’s
founding documents. Even though the amendments to the legal
texts were approved and special provisions were adopted for heads
of State and government in office, Kenyan civil society and FIDH
contributed to the inclusion of principles such as respect for the
interests of justice in those amendments, thus leaving the judges
a certain amount of discretion.

34 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

Concerning the Extraordinary African Chambers of the
Senegalese Courts
FIDH, which has a long-standing involvement in legal action and
advocacy aimed at securing the trial of former Chadian Head of
State Hissène Habré, a refugee in Senegal since 1990, has seen
its efforts repaid with the inauguration in February 2013 of the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegalese Courts for the trial
of Hissène Habré. In July 2013, the indictment of Hissène Habré
and three other top-level officials of the Chadian Department of
Documentation and Security (DDS) for crimes against humanity,
war crimes, and torture was also a historic moment for the victims
of violent acts committed during the Chadian regime from 1982
to 1990. FIDH took part in a strategic meeting between members
of the International Committee for the Fair Trial of Hissène Habré
in Dakar in January 2013 and in July 2013 published a questionand-answer document and chronology of the case. It also relayed
statements to the press from various representatives of member
organisations in Chad and Senegal.
FIDH and its Legal Action Group will continue to advocate before
the International Committee alongside the Chadian victims, in
order to enable the latter to participate fully in the legal process
underway.

Objective 2 > Promoting the
administration of effective and
equitable justice
Advancing towards the universal abolition of the death penalty
FIDH has continued to condemn the enforcement of the death
penalty, particularly in the United States, North Korea, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Japan, Vietnam, Belarus and Nigeria.
In addition to publishing the report of a study carried out in Louisiana and California (see Focus On box), along with its member organisation, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR),
FIDH issued a report on its mission to North Korea, in which
it condemns the widespread use of the death penalty as a key
instrument of the totalitarian regime. Still on the subject of Asia,
the continent with the highest number of retentionist countries,
FIDH and the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran
(LDDHI) produced their report on the death penalty in Iran in
the light of new criminal legislation now in force.
On the basis of these reports, and information and alerts from its
member organisations, FIDH advocated strongly for abolition with
national authorities during its field missions and before regional
and international bodies. In particular, FIDH pursued its advocacy
work for a protocol to the African Charter abolishing the death
penalty. Along with its member organisation, the Human Rights
Commission of Pakistan, FIDH called on the national authorities to renew the moratorium in Pakistan, where 8,000 people are
currently sentenced to death. On the annual World Day Against

the Death Penalty on 10 October 2013, FIDH published an open
letter signed jointly by its president, the president of the World
Coalition Against the Death Penalty, and Robert Badinter, former
French Minister of Justice, calling for the universal abolition of the
death penalty. Translated into English, French, Persian, Russian
and Arabic, this open letter was published in numerous influential
newspapers on several continents. Also in connection with that
event, FIDH signed a joint open letter to the political parties in
Tunisia, requesting that they take action in favour of abolishing
the death penalty, including under the new constitution.
In addition, FIDH contributed (with the participation of 14 of its
member organisations from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Japan,
Pakistan, Taiwan, Thailand, Cuba, the United States, Morocco,
Botswana, Congo, Senegal and Spain) to the organisation of the
World Congress Against the Death Penalty, a major event for
the abolitionist movement that was held from 12 to 15 June 2013
in Madrid, and called for vigorous and coordinated action against
capital punishment.

Rights of its communication condemning Sudan in the case of
three defendants who were tortured.
In addition, FIDH published a report on torture in Moldova and
contributed to the report of its member organisation on the status
of the implementation of the Convention against Torture by the
Uzbek authorities, presented during the examination of the report
on that country by the Committee Against Torture. Furthermore,
on 11 April 2013, FIDH jointly signed an open letter to President
Obama calling for the permanent shutdown of Guantanamo, and
expressing concern at the inmates’ detention without charge and
their lengthy hunger strike.
Combating enforced disappearances
In 2013, FIDH took action to shed light on the case of disappeared
persons, notably in Syria, Laos, Mali, CAR and Guinea.

Promoting independent justice and eliminating torture
FIDH took action to oppose the system of electronic surveillance
set up in numerous States, which also serves to restrict freedom
of expression, going as far as to include the arrest and torture of
government opponents. This is the subject of the complaint lodged
in France against Amesys for complicity in torture in Libya (see
above).

FIDH and its member organisation in Guinea thus referred the
enforced disappearances of several dozen individuals in connection with the massacre of 28 September 2009, to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
FIDH and 63 regional and national organisations demanded that
the Lao government shed light on the enforced disappearance
of the social activist and eminent representative of civil society,
Sombath Somphone. Along with its member organisation, CFDA,
FIDH followed up with law commissioners and legal experts on
a communication submitted by the two organisations to the Algerian Committee for Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights (CADHP)
against Algeria concerning the case of enforced disappearances
during the country’s dark years. Finally, FIDH took action to ensure that France would respond favourably to Argentina’s request
for the extradition of Mario Alfredo Sandoval, who is wanted
there for crimes against humanity committed during the dictatorship years.

FIDH also pursued legal action in Guinea relating to cases of
torture committed in 2010 (see Part 6) and is monitoring the
processing by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’

FIDH has continued to work for the ratification of the International
Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance by a maximum number of States.

FIDH pursued cooperation with the World Coalition Against the
Death Penalty, with the aim of securing the universal abolition
of the death penalty and the establishment of a moratorium in
countries where it is still recognised. Florence Bellivier, who is
also Deputy Secretary General of FIDH, was re-elected in June
to the post of President of the World Coalition.

FOCUS ON
Discrimination, torture and execution: the death penalty in California and Louisiana from a human rights perspective
In May 2013, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) met with stakeholders in California and Louisiana to take stock of the situation according to a legal framework based on human rights law and
practices. In particular, interviews were held with death-row prisoners, exonerees, their family members, attorneys, legal advisors
and non-governmental organisations.
In both states, the mission noted that prisoners often spent decades in solitary confinement, a practice that leads to serious psychological and physical damage. CCR and FIDH also noted marked racial and geographical disparities in charges and rates of sentencing
to the death penalty between the two states, as well as a major overrepresentation of minority groups. In the most populated death
row, in the San Quentin state prison in California, the prisoners wait an average of 17½ years for attorneys to be appointed and for
the courts to examine their appeal after being sentenced to death. More inmates have died from suicides than from execution, and
at present more than half of the 741 inmates on death row do not have attorneys. In both states, the prisoners are often deprived of
adequate medical and mental health care.
On the basis of their observations, CCR and FIDH concluded that the death penalty as enforced in California and Louisiana is arbitrary
and discriminatory and that the conditions on death row constitute a form of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

The report was published on the World Day against the Death Penalty on 10 October at the end of a panel discussion held at the
University of Washington in the presence of Juan Mendez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 35

Examples of outcomes
FIDH achieved or contributed to:

Greece: ECHR ruling on 7 November 2013 against Greece for
violating European human rights laws by limiting civil unions
to heterosexual couples.

Strengthening the right to effective redress for victims of

International Criminal Court

international crimes

• Contribution to the the strategy of the Office of the Prosecutor

In National Courts

• Entering the rights and role of victims in legal proceedings on the

on how to improve its conviction rate;
• Pascal Simbikangwa (Rwanda) Case: Indictment of Pascal

agenda of a plenary debate of the 12th session of the Assembly

Simbikangwa by the Paris Cour d'assises for complicity in geno-

of States Parties (ASP) in November 2013. The public positions

cide and crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda in 1994,

adopted by the vast majority of States Parties spoke out in favour

on 29 March 2013.

of these rights and the importance of their implementation;

• Paul Barril (Rwanda) Case: Opening of an investigation with the

• Inclusion in the omnibus resolution adopted at the 12th ASP of

Paris Tribunal de grande instance just days after FIDH, Survie and

the need to establish, in any and all future reforms of the judi-

LDH filed a complaint, on 29 June 2013.

cial assistance system, the possibility for the victims’ lawyers

• Relizane militia against the Mohamed brothers (Algeria) Case:

to consult them;

Prosecutors presented their case for prosecution of the Mohamed

• Inclusion in the amendments to the Rules of Procedure and

brothers for acts of torture committed in the 1990s in Relizane, in

Evidence on the conditions of attendance at the trials of high

Algeria, on 26 July 2013.

representatives of the State proposed by Kenya, principles such

• “The Disappeared of Brazzaville Beach” (Republic of Congo):
Norbert Dabira was placed under judicial examination and in-

as the respect of the interest of justice, leaving judges a certain
amount of discretion.

dictment on 23 August 2013. That did not however prevent this
former army inspector from the Republic of Congo from leaving

Administration of effective and equitable justice

the French territory. Assisted witness status was granted to: Justin

Pakistan 

Lekoundzou (24 September 2013), Minister of Defence at the

• Moratorium on capital punishment resumed.

time of the events; Patrice Mayouma (19 November 2013), former
colonel in the Congolese army. This marks a true advancement

Africa

of the case, thanks to efforts by FIDH and its LAG.

• Announcement by the African Committee on Human and

• Amesys (Libya) Case: Ruling on 15 January 2013 of the investi-

Peoples’ Rights of the drafting process for an optional protocol

gative chamber of the Paris appeals court permitting the pursuit

to the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights on the

of the investigation initially opened in May 2012. The case targets

abolition of the death penalty.

the French company Amesys for aiding and abetting acts of torture by supplying surveillance equipment to the Ghaddafi regime.

Guinea

The first hearings of the plaintiff were held before the investigating

• Indictment of Aboubacar Sidiki aka “De Gaule”, former head

magistrates of the specialized branch of the Paris court in charge

of the presidential guard, Commander Sékou Resco Camara,

of the case in June and July 2013.

governor of Conakry, and General Nouhou Thiam, former chief

• Impacts regarding FIDH legal activities in Guinea, Ivory Coast

of staff, for acts of torture committed in 2010.

and Mali (see Priority 6).
Uzbekistan
Cases before Mixed Tribunals

• The United Nations Committee Against Torture, in its

• Case no. 002/01 ECCC (Cambodia): one of the victims sup-

October 2013 report, condemned the wide, systematic,

ported by FIDH was one of the dozen or so plaintiffs out of

and government-sanctioned use of torture, thereby echoing

3000 who were heard during the week-long trial on the impact

the concerns expressed by FIDH and its Uzbek member

of crimes committed to the victims.

organization in their alternative report.

• Hissène Habré (Chad) Case: inauguration on 8 February
2013 of the Extraordinary African Chambers of the Senegalese

Moldova

courts; indictment on 3 July 2013 of Hissène Habré and three

• Members of the government, specifically the Ministers of

other suspected perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war

Justice and of Internal Affairs were pleased with the attention

crimes and torture in Chad between 1982 and1990.

that FIDH paid to the human rights situation in their country
and stated that it was keen to take into account some of the

Regional Courts and Commissions

recommendations in the FIDH fact-finding report.

• ECHR: Case X. and others vs. Austria: ECHR ruled on 19 February 2013 against Austria for discrimination based on the exclu-

Guinea

sion of same sex couples from co-parental adoption, followed

• The United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances

by Austria passing a law, that went into force on 1 August 2013,

states that it is within its jurisdiction to investigate the cases

authorizing the second parent in a same sex couple to adopt.

presented by FIDH and OGDH on the disappearances during the

• ECHR: Case V. and M. vs. Greece and C.S. and others vs.

36 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

massacre on 28 September 2009.

FIDH in interaction with its member and partner organiSations
7 international investigative and advo-

ciation (Ordre national des avocats

cacy missions (Ivory Coast, United

de Tunisie), on “Recourse before

States, Mali, DRC, Syria-Jordan)

regional and international human

Fact-finding reports and position papers

rights judicial and quasi-judicial
7 international judicial missions

bodies” in Tunis on 18-19 January

(Cambodia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Libya,

2013

Mali)

FIDH-REDRESS-ECCHR-TRIAL
practitioners’ seminar entitled

188 press releases

“Cooperation of national law
enforcement & immigration author-

Judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings

ities in reaching out to victims of

filed and monitored by FIDH: more than

international crimes” in The Hague

110 cases to support nearly 600 victims

on 28 October 2013

to establish the responsibility of perpetrators of serious violations of human rights

Partnerships: International coalition

in 45 countries.

for the International Criminal Court;
Working group on the rights of victims;

Trainings and strategy seminars:

International committee for the prosecu-

3 country-specific and 1 thematic

tion of Hissène Habré; Association for

advocacy missions to the Hague at

psychological support to victims of seri-

the ICC (Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya,

ous human rights violations, TRACES and

Mali, CAR, DRC, Sudan)

DIGNITY; National coalition for the ICC;

Training and discussion seminar for

World coalition against the death penalty;

Tunisian lawyers organized by FIDH

International coalition against enforced

and the Tunisian national bar asso-

disappearances.

North Korea: The Death Penalty in North Korea
– In the machinery of a totalitarian State
(May)
Ivory Coast: The Fight Against Impunity at a
Crossroads (October)
Ivory Coast: Q&A on the Confirmation of
Charges Hearing in the Case of Laurent
Gbagbo (February)
United States: Discrimination, Torture and
Execution: A Human Rights Analysis of
Death Penalty in California and Louisiana
(November)
Iran: Death Penalty in Iran: A State Terror
Policy (update, October)
DRC: Denial of Justice for the Victims of
Sexual Crimes (December) – French / English
Syria: Violence against Women in Syria (April)
Chad/Hissène Habré case: Q&A on the
Chronology of the Hissène Habré case (July)
ICC: Enhancing Victims’ Rights before the
ICC – A View from Situation Countries on
Victims’ Rights at the International Criminal
Court (November)
ICC: Position Paper – Recommendations
of the Twelfth Session of the Assembly of
States Parties (November)
Newsletter (FIDH-REDRESS-TRIAL-ECCHR):
EU Update on international crimes – 10th
edition (July)

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 37

Priority 5

Strengthening Respect
For Human Rights in the
Context of Globalisation
Context and challenges
Globalisation can bring progress, but it can also exacerbate the
vulnerability of the least powerful and increase inequality. In
the face of trade and investment liberalisation FIDH advocates
that States and businesses should act responsibly at all times and
that economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights) should
be fully recognised. This advocacy saw FIDH welcome the
introduction of an international system to address violations of
economic, social and cultural rights in May 2013, following the
tenth ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
The Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh in April 2013, which saw
the death of over a thousand garment workers, was a shocking
and unprecedented illustration of the failure of voluntary supply
chain inspection mechanisms established by major international
buyers. It highlighted the urgency of the need to devise
effective ways to prevent accidents and allocate responsibility.
Two years after the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on
Businesses and Human Rights and in spite of the progress made
in understanding the responsibilities of various operators, the
human rights record of businesses has improved very little.
The Guiding Principles should now have been implemented,
in particular by states that need to revise their legislation and
policies to include practices carried out by businesses at home
and abroad. Nevertheless, many States, including European
States who are currently drawing up national action plans in
this regard, are still refusing to fully implement the Guiding
Principles.
At the annual UN Forum on Businesses and Human Rights,
FIDH alerted the working group to the increased vulnerability
of land and environmental activists and the continuing lack of

38 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

access to justice for victims of corporate human rights abuse,
calling for the introduction of a legally binding instrument
founded on the in-roads made by the UN Guiding Principles.
Finally, policies adopted by States and international institutions
to tackle the world-wide economic and financial crisis continue
to affect economic, social and cultural rights, as is the case in
many European countries. Free-trade agreements between the
European Union and third countries are being negotiated while
the potential negative effects of these agreements on human
rights have not been properly evaluated.

FIDH and its member and partner organisations
in action

Objective 1 > Strengthen the
accountability of economic actors
Documenting impacts, determining liability
A mission conducted in southern India in 2010 as part of the
partnership with Carrefour revealed practices tantamount
to forced labour in the group’s supply chain. A fact-finding
mission in July 2013 shed light on the situation of the workers
in question, particularly young women living in the factories,
who are victims of the Sumangali scheme (recruitment of young
girls on false promises of decent pay, comfortable lodgings and
a lump sum for a dowry at the end of their three-year contract).
A partnership was set up with a local NGO, in collaboration
with Carrefour, in order to improve working conditions in the
textile sector and eradicate the Sumangali scheme from the
state of Tamil Nadu.

Garment factory workers in Tamil Nadu. © FIDH

FOCUS ON
Workplace rights in the global supply chain: Chinese
example – factory visits
A fact-finding mission to factories in China in late 2012 led to
the publication of a report on workplace rights in May 2013
on the Chinese supply chain. The mission was conducted
in the framework of FIDH’s partnership with retail company
Carrefour. The report, written together with the China Labour
Bulletin, reviewed recent significant legislative and social
changes in China and called on multinationals purchasing
supplies in the country to use their influence to further the
rights of Chinese factory workers.

At the request of its member organisation in the Philippines,
FIDH sent a mission to the country in November in order to
identify the impact on the local population of a large-scale
gold mine operated by an Australian company. FIDH also took
the opportunity to examine the legal and fiscal framework for
mining in the Philippines, and the procedure for consulting
with the communities affected.
Also at the request of its member organisations and partners,
FIDH took part in the public interactive meeting organised by
the Human Rights and Legislative Participation Commission
of the Federal Senate of Brazil, following allegations that
companies had been involved in illegally spying on social
movements and civil society organisations.

The main problems observed in the factories visited were:
subcontracting of polluting or dangerous activities, lack
of freedom of association and collective negotiations in
general, lack of social dialogue in factories, piecework in
many factories with non-payment of overtime when quotas
are missed, irregularities relating to the use of trainees as
unpaid labour.
The report was published in French, English and Chinese
and was sent to the various parties involved, including the
retail companies, especially those that are members of the
Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP), which alone
represent cumulative annual sales of over one billion Euros.
After publishing the report, FIDH entered discussions with
Carrefour on a pilot project to raise workers’ awareness
of their workplace rights and improve relations between
Carrefour and its suppliers. The project will be launched
in 2014.

Judicial levers and redress mechanisms
Despite the failure of a mediation process with George
Forrest International under the auspices of the Belgian OECD
national contact point (NCP) in the case of the demolitions in
the village of Kawama in DRC, FIDH decided to continue to
use these mechanisms with the aim of achieving progress for
victims and consolidating such progress. It was in this spirit
that FIDH joined OECD Watch, an international network
of NGOs responsible for assessing the effectiveness of the
OECD’s guidelines for multinational enterprises. In addition,
following up on a human rights impact study carried out in
Ecuador in 2011, FIDH together with its member organisation
in the country and the Mining Watch association submitted
allegations to the Canadian NCP concerning violations of the
right to consultation, the right to an adequate standard of living
and irregularities affecting legal protection against forced
eviction by Corriente Resources linked to the activities of its
Ecuador-based subsidiary, ECSA.

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 39

FOCUS ON
The Amesys affair
Thanks to a complaint filed in France by FIDH and its
member organisation LDH alleging that Amesys had been
complicit in acts of torture against opposition politicians in
Libya, an investigation was opened and the victims who
joined the case as civil parties were able to give evidence
to a French court. Like the Qosmos affair (FIDH and LDH
filed a complaint against this French company, which was
accused of having supplied a telecoms surveillance system
to the Syrian regime), this case has helped start a debate on
the criminal liability of enterprises and their managers and on
how to deal with new technology. Alluding directly to these
cases, Fleur Pellerin, the then Deputy Minister for the Digital

Denmark adopted labelling directives that enable consumers to
distinguish between products from Israel and products from
the Israeli colonies. In April 2013, the High Representative of
the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,
Catherine Ashton, with the support of 13 European foreign
ministers, expressed her support for European directives on the
labelling of products from the colonies. Work is proceeding on
a proposal at the European level.
When preferential agreements with the EU were restored
for Burma, FIDH conducted advocacy alongside other
organisations and the International Trade Union Confederation,
calling for greater vigilance and transparency on European
companies planning to invest there.

Economy in France, expressed the intention of tightening
regulations on the surveillance technology exported by these
companies. In December 2013, during the review of the list
of categories under the Wassenaar Arrangement, the French

FOCUS ON

government proposed the addition of a new category in the

Greater vigilance on investments in Burma

list of dual-use goods and technologies with the intention of

A mission visited Rangoon and Mawlamyine in the state of

including in the agreement the type of technologies designed

Mon Du between 1 and 10 February. FIDH, together with its

and sold by Amesys. FIDH plans to pursue its advocacy on

member organisation, Altsean-Burma, and Burma Partnership,

this matter in 2014.

invited 60 activists (including 20 women) from various regions
of the country to attend a two-day training seminar on the

Reinforcing the legal framework
Within Europe, FIDH supports the campaign by the European
Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) for the adoption of a
non-financial reporting obligation for European companies,
which would be a first necessary step towards greater
accountability for economic actors. A legislative proposal on
the matter was published in April 2013 and has since been the
subject of negotiation. While lacking in ambition, the proposal
nevertheless represents a partial response to the demands of
the ECCJ, which has played a central role in the negotiation
process. The ECCJ is also involved via its members in attempts
to have the EU member states draw up national action plans to
implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human
Rights, which respond to the challenge of companies’ crossborder activities. FIDH took part in the National Consultative
Commission in France, which produced an opinion on the
subject, and also contributed to discussions in Spain.
At the international level, during the UN Annual Forum on
Business and Human Rights in December, FIDH co-organised
a dialogue session between the UN working group and civil
society. At this event, FIDH submitted a civil society initiative
to launch a process to draw up a legally restrictive instrument,
based on progress achieved under the UN Guiding Principles. By
creating synergies between numerous civil society organisations,
FIDH was able to highlight the question of defenders of rights to
land and the environment. The working group committed itself to
examine this matter as a priority during its mandate.
FIDH, in partnership with other civil society organisations,
has also called on European countries to regulate the import of
products from the Israeli colonies. In 2009 and 2012, the UK and

40 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

subject “business and human rights”. Participants were
able to exchange views on the UN Guiding Principles, the
OECD Guidelines and other initiatives relating to corporate
social responsibility. They learned about existing mechanisms
and discussed strategies that could be adopted by civil
society organisations in order to protect their rights. Several
participants were involved in large-scale campaigns, such as
the development of the Dawei special economic zone by an
Italian/Thai company, the “Shwe Gas” gas project supported
by China and the Letpadaung copper mine. During the mission,
meetings were held with the US, UK and French embassies.
At the end of February, an advocacy note was published to
explain why FIDH believes the conditions in Burma do not yet
allow for foreign investment that respects human rights. The
note highlighted the lack of appropriate legal and institutional
framework, the rampant corruption and impunity that prevail
throughout Burma. FIDH also took part in consultations
undertaken by the EU concerning a trade and investment
agreement that the EU proposes to negotiate with Burma and
issued a series of recommendations. FIDH emphasised: the
need to establish a clear road map with defined milestones
for certain urgent and necessary reforms in the area of human
rights; the importance of repealing several laws in order to
ensure compliance with international human rights standards;
the need to establish a legislative framework to regulate
the activities of European businesses in Burma (including a
reporting obligation and a duty of vigilance on human rights
matters); the prior and ongoing elaboration of impact studies
on human rights and investments under the agreement, and
the importance of including human rights protection clauses
in any investment agreement.

Encouraging businesses to maintain their duty of vigilance
In its cooperation with Carrefour, FIDH has continued to call
on the company to maintain its duty of vigilance in relation to
its supply chain in China. FIDH has also encouraged Carrefour
to adhere to the building safety agreement in Bangladesh in the
wake of the Rana Plaza disaster.
In the meantime, while encouraging European States to spell
out that they expect companies not to trade with or invest in
the Israeli colonies in occupied Palestinian territories, FIDH has
made a direct appeal to businesses (notably French companies)
distributing products sourced in these colonies. FIDH has also
requested that the UN Working Group on Business and Human
Rights take a stand on businesses operating or maintaining
business relations within the illegal colonies.
During the Peoples’ Forum on Business and Human Rights held
in Bangkok in November, FIDH participated in a workshop on
strategies to reinforce the legislative framework, based on FIDH
actions in Europe. FIDH also supported the participation of its
member organisations in a regional consultation organised by the
UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights in Colombia.
At the World Social Forum in Tunis, FIDH, in collaboration
with partner organisations, also participated in the organisation
of a workshop on strategies for corporate responsibility.
Finally, concerning its ethical fund, Libertés et Solidarité, which
invests in equities and government bonds, FIDH worked to
strengthen the selection criteria and engagement with companies.

Objective 2 > Strengthen
the observance of economic, social
and cultural rights by governments
Documenting violations
Alerted by its Israeli member organisations about a plan to
relocate the Negev Bedouin, FIDH sent a fact-finding mission
in June to investigate the economic, social and cultural rights of
this minority. FIDH was able to meet all the parties involved,
including communities opposed to the plan, defenders of the
plan, civil society and the authorities.
Ahead of the examination of the Belarus report by the ESCR
Committee, FIDH set up a mission in July, which investigated
various forced labour practices in that country as well as the
severe restrictions on trade unionism. The mission also enabled
human rights defenders to strengthen their ability to guarantee
social rights.
In the pre-session to the UN Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights, FIDH, together with its Indonesian member
organisation KontraS, drew up an analytical note focusing on
human rights violations perpetrated against defenders of rights

to land and the environment. FIDH also set up a fact-finding
mission on this issue.
Local support
At its Congress in May 2013, FIDH dedicated a session to
discussing economic and social rights in times of crisis, in order
to reinforce the work being done on this issue, particularly by
FIDH’s European member organisations.
In November, FIDH contributed to a workshop on the Optional
Protocol to the ICESCR in the Philippines, aiming to devise a
civil society strategy to achieve ratification of this instrument.
FIDH also helped organise a workshop on the Optional Protocol
to the ICESCR at the World Social Forum in Tunis.
In addition, at a session of the African Commission on Human
and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), FIDH helped to organise a
presentation and discussion of the Maastricht Principles on the
Extraterritorial Obligations of States in ESCR matters, which
attracted interest from several NGO representatives as well as
ACHPR commissioners.
Protecting and strengthening the justiciability of ESCR
In two cases submitted by FIDH and its member organisations,
the European Committee of Social Rights delivered favourable
decisions. In Greece, the Committee noted shortcomings by the
State concerning the severe industrial pollution in the Asopos basin,
which is endangering the health of residents. Concerning Belgium,
in July 2013 the Committee unanimously condemned the country
following a complaint filed by FIDH and its Belgian member
organisation in 2011. The Committee found that the Belgian State
had fallen short in its handling of handicapped adults with complex
dependency needs at its reception and accommodation centres.
In June 2013, ahead of the Universal Periodic Review at the UN
Human Rights Council, FIDH and its member organisations filed a
joint submission highlighting serious violations of social, economic
and cultural rights associated with landgrabbing in Cambodia.
In November 2013, on the occasion of the examination of the
Belarus report by the ESCR Committee, FIDH and its member
organisation CDH Viasna published a report on its international
mission to investigate violations of economic and social rights
in the country. The report highlighted the extent of violations
of the economic and social rights of Belarusian citizens. It
drew attention to the many obstacles to trade union freedoms,
the worrying presence of forced labour in different sectors and
multiple forms, as well as persistent discrimination against
those dependent on alcohol or drugs.
Finally, FIDH, as a member of the steering committee of the
NGO Coalition for the Optional Protocol to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, continued its advocacy
in favour of ratification of this instrument by the governments
in order to enable NGOs and victims of ESCR violations to
refer to the Convention’s supervisory body after all domestic
remedies have been exhausted.

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 41

Examples of outcomes
FIDH has facilitated or contributed to the following:
Strengthen the accountability of economic actors
• At the initiative of FIDH and other participants in the

• The European Committee of Social Rights issued a decision
confirming shortcomings by the Belgian State in its handling
of handicapped adults with complex dependency needs at its
reception and accommodation centres.
• An effort was made to mobilise and raise the awareness of
civil society organisations on the issue of ESCR violations in
Belarus following the publication of FIDH’s report.

Peoples’ Forum on Business and Human Rights, 140 civil

• The UN ESCR committee expressed concern over forced

society organisations signed a petition for the adoption of

labour in Belarus, reiterating the conclusions of the FIDH

an international legally binding instrument on human rights,

report during the section on Belarus.

transnational companies and other businesses. The petition

• In its final observations of May 2013, the UN ESCR committee

was officially presented at the annual UN Forum on Business

included the recommendations formulated by FIDH concerning

and Human Rights.

discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, women’s

• In September, the Office of the Auditor General of Ecuador
published an audit report reiterating the conclusions of a
case study carried out by FIDH and its member organisations
and partners into the socio-environmental impacts of largescale mining projects in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
• The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
acknowledged the urgent need to address the situation of
human rights defenders.
• France hardened its position and argued for stricter
regulation of the surveillance technologies covered by the
Wassenaar Arrangement, proposing the addition of a new
category in the list of dual-use goods and technologies (IP
network surveillance systems) to include the technologies
developed by Amesys and Qosmos.
• FIDH supported Carrefour’s participation in the Agreement
on Fire Safety and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
• A partnership was set up between FIDH, Carrefour and a
local NGO in India aimed at improving working conditions
in the textile sector of Tamil Nadu and preventing violations
stemming from the practice of Sumangali.
Strengthen the observance of economic, social and cultural
rights by governments
• The Optional Protocol to the ICESCR came into force in May
following its tenth ratification.
• The House of Representatives of the Philippines called on
President Benigno Aquino III to ratify the Optional Protocol to
the ICESCR.
• The European Committee of Social Rights issued a decision
confirming shortcomings by the Greek State in dealing with
severe industrial pollution in the Asopos basin.

42 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

and children’s rights as well as workplace rights.

Prisoners in a detention center in Babruysk (Belarus). © AFP

FIDH interacting with member organisations and partners
4 international fact-finding & judicial

national contact point, closure of mediation

Partnerships: European Coalition for

observation missions (Belarus, India, Israel,

process before the Belgian OECD national

Corporate Justice (ECCJ); ESCR network;

Philippines)

contact point (Kawama affair), Amesys affair

International Trade Union Confederation;

in the French courts.

OECD Watch; NGO Coalition for the Optional

2 international advocacy missions (Brazil,
Peru)

Protocol to the ICESCR.
Strategy/training seminars:
Help with the Peoples’ Forum on Business

35 press releases

Inquiry reports

and Human Rights (Thailand). Workshops
on ESCR and corporate responsibility,

Belarus: Forced labour and widespread viola-

Judicial and quasi-judicial procedures

World Social Forum (Tunisia). Workshop

tion of workers’ rights

initiated and monitored by FIDH: specific

on Optional Protocol to the ICESCR in the

China: Chinese workers winning their rights:

instance before the Canadian OECD

Philippines.

what role for the brands?
Iran: Poverty increasing: workplace rights
declining
Peru: Report on situation in La Oroya – when
investor protection threatens rights

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 43

Priority 6

Conflicts, Closed or
Transition Countries:
Defending Democratic
Principles and Providing
Support For Victims of
the Most Serious Human
Rights Violations
North Africa - Middle East
Context and challenges
The 2011 popular uprisings that shook North Africa and the Middle East have led to different developments in the various countries
involved, although all of them caused major challenges to the
protection of human rights.
In Syria, the conflict has claimed more than 100,000 lives and has
displaced 6 million persons (within Syria and abroad), triggering an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Civil society activists,
in particular human rights defenders, continue to be targeted by
government forces, and are also increasingly attacked by armed
militant groups. They are mainly targeted as punishment for having
exercised their basic rights, and for having provided assistance to
civilians. The conflict in Syria has seriously threatened the entire
region, particularly neighbouring countries, which have absorbed
large numbers of Syrian refugees.
In Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen, transition brings many challenges:
the emergence or reinforcement of political players who sometimes infringe on democratic values, human rights and freedoms

44 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

instead of promoting them; the remains of old regimes; persistent
internal conflict; and rising threats from radical Islamist groups.
In Egypt, the first half of the year was marked by the Muslim
Brotherhood-led regime’s tightening of restrictions on liberties.
General discontent led to violent demonstrations, which resulted
in the military overthrowing the democratically elected regime.
Along with the bloody repression of President Morsi supporters,
repressive measures were increasingly applied to civil society,
including arbitrary arrests and detention. These measures targeted
revolutionary groups, activists, and human rights NGOs, violating their rights to association, assembly, and freedom of speech.
In Libya, the government's authority continues to be challenged.
Local authorities and militia, which have not yet been disarmed,
have shown increasing distrust, resulting in a volatile security
situation and an inability on the part of the central authority to
engage in necessary reforms. In Tunisia, the transition process was
interrupted by two political murders, which led to massive demonstrations and the stalling of political negotiations. At the end of
2013, a political dialogue to re-establish the transition process was
eventually put into place, and led to significant and long-awaited
political developments in early 2014 such as the adoption of the
Constitution and a new transition government.
Other countries in the region, including Algeria, Kuwait, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates, are still experiencing sporadic

Civil society demonstration for the release
of Jabeur (Tunis). © FIDH

waves of protest and calls for reform. Whilst the authorities have
addressed some issues by adopting partial reforms, they have for
the most part ignored civil society and sanctioned those expressing dissent.
While peace negotiations have been resumed by the international
community, Israel’s settlement policy regarding the Occupied Palestinian Territories remains unchanged, and discrimination against
the Arab minority inside the 1947 borders has not been prevented.
In Yemen, despite significant developments around the national
dialogue process, the situation is especially precarious. In addition
to a very difficult security situation marked by ongoing terrorist
threats and attacks, key measures towards an effective transition
have not been taken. A Commission of Inquiry charged with looking into the events of 2011 has still not been set up. Perpetrators
of grave human rights violations have not been held accountable.
Bahrain remains in ongoing crisis, with the situation there deteriorating. Repression continues whilst political negotiations are
stalling. Despite its poor human rights record, Bahrain has managed to escape international monitoring.
This past year saw the political organs of the League of Arab States
(LAS) focus primarily on the situation in Syria. Conflicting stances
among Member States have increased since the fall of the Muslim
Brotherhood in Egypt (with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab
Emirates on one side, and Qatar on the other). Member States have
refused to discuss, or to otherwise react to, the situation in Egypt,
including addressing the grave human rights violations committed since 30 June 2013. In 2014, the LAS will pursue institutional
reform with two key priorities: securing the legal status of civil
society organisations interacting with the LAS, and establishing
an Arab Court of Human Rights.

fidh and its member organisations in action
Establish the facts, send out alerts, make proposals
In 2013, based on information from its member and partner organisations, FIDH published over 250 press releases on human rights
violations across the region in Arabic, English and French, primarily
focused on the situations in Syria, Tunisia and Egypt. The purpose of
these press releases was to alert the authorities concerned, as well as
intergovernmental institutions and international and regional human
rights protection mechanisms. These press releases were extensively
quoted by the international and regional media.
In support of its member and partner organisations, FIDH will
continue documenting serious human rights violations, and verifying facts and responsibility in countries where popular uprisings
occurred. In Egypt, FIDH conducted a study of acts of violence
against women in public places, and the impunity of their perpetrators, especially under the Morsi regime. The FIDH mission report
on this very serious yet little known phenomenon will be published
in 2014. FIDH and its member organisations in Egypt have also
carefully monitored the judicial proceedings against the alleged
culprits of the repression of the many demonstrations under the
Moubarak, Morsi and Al-Sissi regimes to denounce the lack of
determination of these regimes to fight impunity. To understand to
what extent military justice can fulfil the need to fight impunity for
crimes committed during the revolution, and to protect the victims’
rights to truth and reparation in Tunisia, FIDH continued monitoring proceedings against people who commanded the perpetration
of grave violations that took place as part of the repression of the
popular movement. Further, following its fact-finding mission to
refugee camps in Jordan, FIDH published a report focused on
serious violence against women in the Syrian conflict, which is
ill-documented.

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 45

Special attention has also been given to attacks and threats against
freedoms in the name of religion and State security. Work undertaken to document these attacks contributed to an initiative to denounce
the authoritarianism of certain countries and the alarming abuses
observed in certain transition countries. In Tunisia, FIDH and its
member organisations monitored trials and procedures against individuals who had been arbitrarily prosecuted for having expressed
their opinion (see Focus On box). FIDH sent two missions to the
United Arab Emirates (UAE) to observe the trial of 94 activists
prosecuted for having criticised the regime and calling for reforms.
FIDH twice observed the trial of 25 West Saharan activists who
were prosecuted, in violation of international standards, before the
Salé military court. Their trial was postponed for quite some time
following the clashes that occurred when the camp Gdim izik was
dismantled in November 2010.
Lastly, while the Knesset was discussing the adoption of the Prawer
Plan, FIDH commissioned a fact-finding and advocacy mission to
study the expropriation of the Bedouins in the Neguev.
Through its press releases and reports, FIDH has sent recommendations, mainly on the protection of human rights, respect for democratic principles, and the fight against impunity for perpetrators of
the most serious crimes, to specific national authorities and to the
international community.

FOCUS ON
The manipulation of justice to stifle freedom in Tunisia
The Jasmine Revolution was followed by two years of
Ennahda, the Islamist party whose rule was notable for
political violence, and shrinking freedoms, which were
made worse by the instrumentalisation of the judiciary.
FIDH and its member organisations felt it was their duty
to document and issue alerts on all attacks on civil and
political rights.
Therefore in July 2012 FIDH observed the beginning of the
trial – after several weeks of student protests against the
niqab ban – of Habib Kazdaghli, the Dean of the Humanities
Department at Manouba University for having assaulted two
students wearing the niqab (full face veil). FIDH observed
the process and highlighted procedural irregularities, which
contributed to the acquittal of Kazdaghli in May 2013.
FIDH also approached Tunisian organisations concerning
the case of two young men, Jabeur Mejri and Ghazi Beji,
who were convicted for publishing writings and cartoons
considered blasphemous. They were sentenced to 7-1/2
years in prison for “transgressing morality, defamation
and disrupting public order” in March 2012. Alerts on the
judicial process and denunciation of its arbitrary character
contributed to Jabeur Mejri’s receiving a presidential pardon
in February 2014. Ghazi Beji fled from Tunisia and in so doing

46 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

became the first Tunisian political refugee since the fall of
Ben Ali.
FIDH also issued an alert on the arrest and detention of the
young activist Amina Sboui. She was taken to court for having
written the word “FEMEN” on a wall next to a cemetery. Some
of the charges were dropped and she was finally released on
1 August 2013.

Urge the national authorities and the international community
to promote the protection of human rights through tangible
actions
FIDH feels strongly about helping its member organisations advocate at the national level, but also helps at the regional and
international levels.
FIDH and its member organisations have talked to the Tunisian
authorities (President, government, and members of the constitutive assembly) time and time again about the need for the new
Constitution to respect basic freedoms, such as human rights,
with special attention paid to gender equality and freedom of
speech.
During a press conference and a special meeting in Morocco
FIDH, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the EuroMediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), together
with influential actors, urged authorities to ensure that reforms
to Morocco’s judicial system (announced several years prior and
that made some progress in 2013) fully respect the laws on international human rights.
In Libya, FIDH continued to urge national authorities to address
the issue of justice and the fight against impunity. FIDH strongly
advocated to the authorities, especially to the Head of Government and the Minister of Justice, to recognise rape as a war crime
during the 2011 uprising.
FIDH and its partners have continuously appealed to the Egyptian authorities, and to Egypt’s partners such as the European Union (EU) to prevent the adoption of a bill that would jeopardise
freedom of assembly. FIDH also spoke to the regional bodies,
such as the African Union (AU), and international bodies, such
as the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) about human rights
violations and acts of violence by the Morsi government, the
armed forces, the security agencies and the transition government
after the Morsi government fell.
Since the international community stalled on addressing the Syrian crisis, FIDH called on the Security Council and participated
in a public campaign coordinated by Crisis Action to mobilise
the Association of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) on the second anniversary of the Syrian conflict.

The situation in Syria was brought up during bilateral advocacy
before influential third states (Brazil, members of the UNHRC)
and international bodies (High Commissioner for Human Rights,
special envoy to the Security Council, and the LAS).
Because of its strong feelings about the consequences of Israeli
settlements, FIDH continued its activities focusing on the illegality of trade with Israeli settlements and the introduction of regulations at the European level and in bilateral relations (France,
Belgium), together with advocacy before the UN.
FIDH alerts and investigations on Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, United
Arab Emirates, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya were presented at advocacy meetings between the representatives of member organisations, and United Nations bodies, the EU, and the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). The aim was
to stimulate reactions, denounce human rights violations, and
urge national authorities to respect international law.

Finally, in accordance with its action plan, FIDH also urged the
LAS to take action, particularly to the situation in Syria.

FOCUS ON
A League of Arab States that protects human rights
For several years, FIDH has been involved, particularly
through its Cairo office, in encouraging the LAS to contribute
to the protection of human rights in the region. As part of the
reform plans for the LAS initiated by its member States, in
February 2013 FIDH, in cooperation with the Cairo Institute
for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the Egyptian Initiative
for Personal Rights, and the Arab Organisation for Human
Rights (AOHR), convened 50 representatives of national,
regional and international human rights organisations, and
experts from other regional intergovernmental and rights
protection systems, to work out a common position and
recommendations aimed at developing greater interaction
between the LAS and civil society, and to strengthen the
human rights protection mandate of political and treaty
bodies. The final declaration of the seminar was shared

FOCUS ON

with LAS representatives and forwarded by participating

Bahrain back on the agenda of the international com-

organisations to their home authorities. The direct impact of

munity

this initiative was that in June, the LAS invited FIDH, along

After requests to visit Bahrain in 2013 were denied by the

with other NGOs, to a meeting with civil society to discuss

national authorities, FIDH, at the request of its member

the draft reform. Since then, FIDH has been expressing its

and partner organisations, the Bahrain Centre for Human

concerns and recommendations on the draft Statute for the

Rights (BCHR) and the Bahrain Human Rights Observatory

future Arab Court of Human Rights.

(BHRO), advocated before the UN and the EU to prompt
their reaction to violations of human rights in Bahrain, and
more specifically to draw attention to the case of Nabeel
Rajab, BCHR President and FIDH Deputy Secretary General,
who was sentenced to two years in prison for exercising his
right to freedom of association and speech. The attention of
the international community on Bahrain is often coloured by
the country’s strategic position in the region, and because
of its strong ties with influential countries such as the
United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and Saudi
Arabia. FIDH’s repeated encouragement to representatives
of its member and partner organisations to interact with
intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) and the constant
advocacy of the FIDH Geneva and Brussels offices, have
convinced a substantially greater number of countries than in
2012 (including some Bahraini allies) to sign two declarations
on the situation in Bahrain, and contributed to the adoption
of European Parliament resolutions (which reflected
FIDH’s ideas). These appealed to the Bahraini authorities
to implement the recommendations of the Independent
Commission of Inquiry set up after the repression of peaceful
demonstrations against the government, and to immediately
release the prisoners of conscience. FIDH also continued to
appeal to Bahraini authorities through meetings with these
authorities in third countries. These interventions prompted
a further reaction among Bahraini authorities, who have often
authorised representatives of intergovernmental institutions
to meet detained activists, such as Nabeel Rajab.

Litigation
One of the major areas of focus of FIDH’s work in the region
is to encourage national and international judicial authorities to
respect victims’ right to justice, to sanction the perpetrators and
sponsors of the most serious crimes, and to contribute to preventing the repetition of crimes.
Concerning Syria, where there is total impunity, FIDH contributed to a January 2013 Swiss initiative on behalf of 58 countries.
Switzerland filed a letter with the UN Security Council urging
referral of the Syrian situation to the International Criminal Court
(ICC). Switzerland also supported the interregional declaration
by 64 states that made the same request at a session of the Human Rights Council in March. In another action, FIDH and its
member organisation, the Ligue française des droits de l'Homme
(LDH), monitored the judicial procedure that they had launched
in France against the French company Qosmos for having supplied Damascus with electronic surveillance equipment to track
opponents of the Bachar al-Assad regime. FIDH has also monitored the case of Mazen Darwish, the Director of the Syrian
Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, and two of his
colleagues, that it referred to the United Nations Working Group
on Arbitrary Detention.
Concerning Libya, FIDH supplied additional data and evidence
to support the complaint launched by FIDH and submitted by

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 47

the ACHPR to denounce the responsibility of the Gaddafi regime
for the repression of popular demonstrations. Further, a judicial investigation was opened in France in 2013 following the
complaint filed by FIDH and LDH against Amesys for alleged
complicity in acts of torture of political opponents in Libya. The
victims, standing as plaintiffs (partie civile) in this case, with
FIDH support, were able to speak before the court in June and
July. FIDH also enabled them to benefit from a psychological
support programme offered in a third country.

• End of prosecution of Meriem Ben Mohamed, who was raped

FIDH has also supported a young woman who was prosecuted
for indecency when she actually had been raped by Tunisian law
enforcement officers. Tunisian civil society loudly criticised the
legal proceedings against Meriem Ben Mohamed, and charges
were finally dropped. FIDH, at the request of the Association
tunisienne des femmes democrats, then joined the team of Meriem’s lawyers after a complaint had been filed against the officers
for rape and extortion.

• Inclusion of gender equality and the recognition of freedom of

Capacity building
In these times of conflict, crisis and transition, civil society
organisations have a real need to strengthen their capacity to carry
out their activities. In keeping with the objectives set out in its
multi-year action plan, FIDH has contributed to meeting this need.
Thus, in response to the requests from Syrian human rights
defenders, FIDH supported the Fraternity Centre for Democracy
and Civil Society, a human rights centre that has three sections in
cities in the north of the country. FIDH organised several training
sessions to teach the Centre’s members to familiarize the public
and influential people in the region with the concepts of human
rights and the principles of peaceful coexistence.
FIDH also assisted with the organisation of the Tunisian civil
society gathering of more than 300 associations last December
and attended by over 850 people from Tunisia and other countries
who met in groups to discuss issues related to the general
elections scheduled to be held in Tunisia in 2014. At the end of
the meeting, the participants announced the creation of a civil
alliance for the elections whose aim was to coordinate activities
to promote transparent and democratic elections.
Further, discussions with the Tunisia Bar Association about
regional human rights bodies led to the organisation of a
workshop on the ACHPR for young lawyers who may want to
refer to these mechanisms.

Examples of outcomes
FIDH enabled or contributed to:

by police officers and prosecuted for public indecency;
• Presidential pardon for Jabeur Mejri, sentenced to 7-1/2 years
in prison for publishing cartoons considered blasphemous;
• August 2013 release from prison for Amina Sboui, who had
been sentenced for having written “FEMEN” on a wall, and
dismissal of some of the charges against her;
• Tunisian rapper, Weld el 15, released after having been jailed
for “public indecency” because the words of a song were
deemed to be insulting to the police force;
conscience and speech in the draft version of the Constitution;
• Creation of an alliance with civil society to ensure coordination
of various initiatives aimed at the organisation of transparent,
democratic elections.
Morocco
• Several recommendations raised by the Commission of Jurists
(ICJ), FIDH and Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network
(EMHRN) in their Memorandum on the Reform of Judicial
Powers (Mémorandum sur la réforme du pouvoir judiciaire),
particularly on the independence of the judiciary have been
included in the charter for the reform of the judiciary.
Egypt
• The non-adoption of the draft law on associations.
Libya
• The adoption of a decree designating rapes committed during
the 2011-2012 conflict to be a war crime.
Israel
• Announcement by the Israeli government of the withdrawal of
the Prawer Plan on the expropriation of Bedouins in the Negev.
The plan is still on the agenda at the Knesset but the process
has been slowed down. FIDH intends to continue advocating
for the total elimination of the Prawer Plan.
Syria
• The establishment of a human rights sensitisation and training
centre in the north of Syria.
BCHR Award
• The Rafto Foundation gave its award to the Bahrain Centre
for Human Rights for its work in defending human rights in
the Gulf area.
At the regional and international levels
Syria
• The decision of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention to declare the detention of Mazen Darwish, Director
of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression,

At the national level

and of Mohamed Hani Al Zaitani and Hussein Hammad Ghrer,

Tunisia

two of its members, as arbitrary;

• Acquittal of the Dean of the Humanities Department of

• The report to the UN Security Council meeting on Syria by

Manouba University, unjustly accused of violence against a

the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary

veiled student;

General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

48 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

Bahrain

for the armed forces and the security forces to put an end to

• The adoption last September by the European Parliament of

acts of violence and to arbitrary arrests and detention, and

a resolution calling for the immediate end to all acts of re-

calling upon the authorities to fight the impunity of perpetra-

pression, especially judicial harassment, and the immediate

tors of human rights violations.

unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, political
activists, journalists, bloggers, doctors, paramedical person-

League of Arab States (LAS)

nel, human rights defenders, and peaceful demonstrators;

• Recommendations on the LAS reforms, (especially on the im-

• The adoption of two declarations denouncing violations of

provement of human rights protection mechanisms and on

human rights in Bahrain by a unprecedentedly large number

interactions with civil society organisations) accepted by the

of states at UNHRC sessions;

Brahimi Committee and transmitted to the Secretary General,

• The decision of the United Nations Working Group on

and then to the member States;

Arbitrary Detention to declare the detention of Nabeel Ra-

• FIDH was invited to be on the committee for monitoring LAS

jab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and

reforms that was established by the National Human Rights

Deputy Secretary General of FIDH as arbitrary.

Commission of Qatar;
• FIDH contributed to slowing down the fast-track adoption pro-

Egypt

cess for the statutes of the Arab Court of Human Rights by

• The adoption of a resolution at a special session of the ACH-

proposing amendments and recommendations to the experts

PR on the human rights situation in Egypt in August calling

committee in charge of drafting the statutes.

FIDH in interaction with its member and partner organisations
12 international fact-finding missions,

Syria, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Palestine)

Partnerships: REMDH, Crisis Action,

judicial and judicial observation

before IGOs, regional and international

POMED, International Commission of

missions, and advocacy missions (Egypt,

mechanisms, and representatives of influ-

Jurists, Arab Institute for Human Rights

United Arab Emirates, Israel/OPT, Jordan

ential states

(AIHR), Cairo Institute for Human Rights

(on Syria), Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia)

Studies (CIHRS)
Strategy seminars:

274 press releases

• Syria: two training sessions for Syrian
human rights defenders on the basic

Investigative reports

Judicial and quasi-judicial procedures:

principles of human rights, awareness-

- cases before the French courts: Qosmos

building techniques, and NGO manage-

Bahrain: Sentenced to two years in prison

(Syria), Amesys (Libya), Ben Said (Tunisia)

ment principles (50 participants in each

for advocating and exercising the right to

and Rélizane (Algeria)

session);

peaceful assembly

- before the African Commission

• Tunisia: Contribution to civil society

for Human and Peoples’ Rights:

meetings (800 people representing

Dissent

Communication, Algeria

300 local NGOs); training workshop for

United Arab Emirates: Flagrant disregard of fair

- before UN Working Group on Arbitrary

lawyers and for human rights activists

trial guarantees shown at UAE94 trial

Detention: Bahrain, Syria

on regional protection mechanisms (50

Morocco: Memorandum sur la réforme du

- before UN Committee on Enforced

participants);

pouvoir judiciaire au Maroc

Disappearances: Syria

• LAS: Seminar on the League of Arab

United Arab Emirates: Criminalising Political

Syria: Violence against women in Syria:

States and human rights (80 partici-

Breaking the silence

Support for advocacy by 22 human rights

pants, representing regional and national

League of Arab States: The Arab League and

defenders (Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, Libya,

INGOs and NGOs).

Human Rights: Challenges Ahead

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 49

Sub-Saharan Africa
Context and challenges
2013 saw insecurity stoked by conflict, dubious electoral practices, authoritarian tendencies, extremist activities and the
over-exploitation of natural resources in certain parts of Africa.
Threats posed by extremist Islamists were at the centre of
instability in Somalia, Nigeria and in parts of the SaharaoSahelian region. In Mali, African and French troops prevented
groups of Tuareg and Islamists from marching on Bamako
and put an end to serious human rights violations being committed against inhabitants in the north of the country. In the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), fighting between the
Congolese army and the M23 rebel group raged in a war over
territorial and resource control. In Sudan the army continues
to commit violations of international humanitarian law in the
Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions. In the Central
African Republic (CAR), Seleka rebels staged a coup d’état,
going on to perpetrate widespread murder, rape, abduction,
looting and property destruction. The so-called “anti-Balaka”
self-defence militia now prevalent in the country has also been
famed for its widespread perpetration of human rights violations. In Djibouti, the legislative elections were marked by
major irregularities and the severe repression of opposition
party supporters, resulting in the death of many activists, and
the arrest and detention of hundreds of others.
This is the context in which FIDH continues to confront the
challenges of mobilising the international community to protect local populations, producing alerts and supporting African
civil society to document human rights violations and identify
perpetrators.

Meeting between a delegation from Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and victims’ groups
in Guinea. © FIDH

50 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

In some of these countries, and in others that have recently
experienced crisis, conflict and violence (e.g. Guinea, Ivory
Coast, Kenya), the challenge is to support political transition
to bring about security, protection of human rights, justice, and
free and transparent elections. All these elements are essential
to lasting stability and development. In this regard, the position
of certain African Union Member States who seek to challenge
the International Criminal Court’s proceedings in respect of
the situation in Kenya and the trial of Kenya’s current Head of
State, has driven African and international civil society groups
to fight the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of the most serious crimes before international and national courts in order to
overcome barriers to justice and enforce victims’ rights.

fidh and its member and partner organisations in
action
Establish the facts, send out alerts, make proposals
When confronted with sudden or massive crises, local organisations sometimes lack the capacity and security needed to
thoroughly document human rights violations. In supporting its
member organisations, FIDH was able to react to these urgent
situations quickly by sending out alerts, investigating international crimes and identifying perpetrators.
FIDH carried out an international fact-finding mission in the
CAR, providing one of the first assessments of the abuses committed by Séléka rebels against local populations and outlining
their scope and legal qualification. The mission also observed
the risk of inter-community violence and the insufficient capacity of the Central African intervention forces to guarantee
public security.
The FIDH office in Guinea, together with OGDH, continued
compiling testimony and investigating the grave human rights
violations committed between 2007 and 2010, as well as during
the massacre of 28 September 2009. In another effort to contribute to judicial procedures before national courts (see below)
FIDH, LIDHO and MDH rounded out their investigations on
judicial executions in the Nahibly camp in Ivory Coast. In the
DRC, FIDH and its member organisations analysed the barriers to justice and reparation for female victims of sex crimes.
Furthermore, FIDH was one of the few organisations able to
provide reliable, detailed information on the Djiboutian police’s repression of opposition supporters during the country’s
legislative elections.
Finally, FIDH and its member organisation, the African Center
for Justice and Peace Studies, submitted an alternative report
to that of the Sudanese state to the Human Rights Committee,
adding to the list of questions to be addressed in the country’s
2014 review.

FOCUS ON
FIDH and its members as civil society human rights
observers in Mali
As part of an EU-supported programme, FIDH together with
its member organisations in Mali (AMDH - Malian Association
for Human Rights), Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger,
have set up a system to document human rights violations
committed by armed Islamist and Tuareg groups in the Sahel,
and the reactions of the international community.
Representatives of the AMDH branch offices and sub-regional organisations have been trained by FIDH and international
experts in techniques for collecting testimony on certain violations (especially violations of international humanitarian law,
sexual crimes and violations of refugee rights). They have also
been trained in using secure communication and data storage
methods, and have been equipped for this purpose.
In Mali FIDH investigators went to Bamako, Mopti, Sévaré, Gao
and Kidal to support the AMDH group in collecting information,
thereby providing in-the-field training.
FIDH and the AMDH process on a daily basis reliable and documented information of human rights violations committed in
the country. Some of this information is transmitted through
press releases. Our organisations, the first to make public the
commission of human rights violations by Malian forces in
their counter-offensive against armed groups, aroused strong
reactions from national authorities and the international community, which eventually led to a reduction in the number of
violations. Furthermore the information gathered has provided
data for advocacy actions before the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and France, calling for these
entities to commit to protecting human rights in Mali. Some
of the testimony served as a basis for legal actions brought
by our organisations before the national courts (see below). In
2014, FIDH and AMDH will publish two reports on human rights
violations in northern Mali and on progress in fighting impunity.

Mobilise national authorities and the international community to support effective measures to protect human rights
To encourage actions that protect human rights in situations of
conflict, crisis and transition, FIDH and its member organisations
carried out several advocacy campaigns to present the results of its
investigations and encourage the implementation of recommendations set out in their reports, position papers and press releases.
At the national level, advocacy actions targeted the highest state
authorities directly concerned, as well as other States whose political, economic, historical and military weight could influence
the situation. Through its office in Nairobi, FIDH continued to
develop its position and influence and that of its member organisations with the bodies of the African Union, especially with the
Permanent Representatives’ Committee (COREP) and the Peace

and Security Council. FIDH also pursued its activities with the
African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
to build up the capacity of these different organs to respond to the
most serious human rights violations. Advocacy was also directed
at the Security Council to mainstream human rights protections
into the mandates of peace-keeping operations in Africa.
Advocacy in Guinea targeted three focal areas: respect for human
rights during the legislative elections, support for judicial proceedings underway against perpetrators of the most atrocious crimes
and the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission
to operate in accordance with international standards. Numerous advocacy actions have been directed at the President, the
Minister of Justice, the Minister of Human Rights, and the main
representatives of the diplomatic corps in Conakry. FIDH also
arranged for meetings between representatives from OGDH, its
member organisations, AVIPA (an association of victims of the 28
September 2009 massacre), and their Guinean lawyers on the one
hand, and the European Commission, the European Parliament,
the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights and the
French authorities, on the other.
In Ivory Coast, FIDH, LIDHO and MIDH met with the Minister
of Justice, the President of the National Assembly and magistrates
several times in order to promote impartiality in judicial proceedings on the post-electoral violence and, thus, the renewal of the
mandate of the Special Investigation Unit on this issue. This action
formed part of a bid to avoid a victor's justice that fails to contribute
to the rule of law, reconciliation and victims’ rights. FIDH and its
member organisations also requested the United Nations Human
Rights Council, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie
(OIF) and France to give special attention to this situation.
Via the international media, FIDH and AMDH were able to inform
the international community about human rights violations committed by the Malian army at the beginning of its counter-attack
against armed rebels. Our organisations were also able to convene
meetings that enabled communication with the African Union,
the European Union and the Human Rights Council, whom they
urged to call upon the parties to the conflict to respect international
humanitarian law. AMDH representatives were able to convey this
message to the ACHPR, the OIF and the French authorities whilst
likewise emphasising the need to fight impunity for persons who
commit the most serious crimes.
In respect of Sudan, FIDH assisted its member organisation,
ACJPS, to advocate for the renewal of a UN mechanism devoted
to the human rights situation in Sudan and for the establishment
of an ACHPR investigative mission on crimes committed by the
army in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions.
Furthermore, FIDH continued appealing to the UN Security Council to ensure that the protection of defenders in danger be retained
within MONUSCO’s mandate. With its member organisations,
FIDH stressed to the Congolese Minister of Justice, embassies in
Kinshasa and the Human Rights Council the need to restructure
their actions in support of the fight against impunity for sexual

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 51

FIDH Report on Ivory Coast: “Attaque du camp de Nahibly : une occasion manquée de rendre justice.” © DR

crimes, so that the justice system is more readily accessible to
women and that they are able to receive reparation for the prejudice they have suffered.

FOCUS ON
CAR – The international community: from indifference
to action
For many long months, the international community remained
silent about the heinous crimes being committed against civilians by Séléka forces following the coup d’état in March
2013. This relative indifference and complete lack of action
were partly due to ignorance about the deteriorating human
rights situation in the Central African Republic, since very few
countries have diplomatic and economic relations with this
country. Through references to its fact-finding mission, FIDH
joined forces with the international media (securing hundreds
of citations, particularly in The New York Times, Le Monde,
Al Jazeera, and others) to expose the violations taking place,
and has appealed to the international community to denounce
these violations and act very quickly to guarantee the security
of the population. To this effect, FIDH encouraged the African
Union’s Peace and Security Council at a meeting in Addis
Ababa to transform the MICOPAX (regional intervention mission) into an African mission (MISCA) thereby strengthening
its mandate, staff and tools of action. FIDH solicited financial
support from the EU for this new operation. However, aware
that the African mission in its present state would be unable to
restore security, FIDH, relying particularly on France, appealed
to the Security Council to provide immediate UN support to
MISCA and rapidly transform it into a United Nation’s peacekeeping mission. FIDH presented several position papers on
the mandate of this mission and the importance of a strong
human rights component to address the challenges inherent
in political transition, the organisation of elections and the
fight against the impunity for perpetrators of the most serious crimes, especially, sexual crimes. Plans to send a peacekeeping mission was still under consideration in late 2013.

52 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

Act against impunity and for reconciliation
FIDH has continued and launched new judicial and quasi-judicial
actions to support victims’ rights to justice and also to contribute
to consolidating Rule of law needed to settle conflicts and crises,
avoid their repetition and steer transitional politics towards sustainable peace. These actions place the responsibility for judging
perpetrators of the gravest crimes squarely on the shoulders of
national authorities, and strengthen advocacy for the independence and impartiality of the judiciary and legislative reforms.
FIDH and its member organisations in Ivory Coast are civil parties for close to 100 victims in legal proceedings concerning the
2010 post-electoral violence and violations committed in the
Nahibly camp in July 2012. FIDH’s Legal Action Group (LAG),
the FIDH focal point in Ivory Coast, MIDH and LIDHA, carried
out four judicial inquiries in 2013 that led to an evaluation of
the legal procedures (progress, shortcomings, impartiality), and
a request for more results from investigations and follow up
on victims’ hearings. The judicial action offered an especially
favourable opportunity for analysing the state of the fight against
impunity, thus contributing to advocacy campaigns.
In Mali, 2013 saw FIDH and AMDH file as plaintiffs (civil parties) on their own behalf and in support of 15 victims in a case
against Ag Ghali and 28 other people including the most senior
leaders of the Ansar Dine movement. The 15 victims had provided testimonies and given FIDH the mandate to file a case during
FIDH’s fact-finding mission in Gao. Our organisations also filed
as plaintiffs in two Malian cases: the case of the “bérets rouges”
executions involving the killing of soldiers who had attempted
a counter coup d’état in support of Amadou Toumani Touré, the
president overthrown by General Sanogo; and the Kati mutiny
case. The involvement of FIDH and its member organisation
proved essential when the Malian authorities appeared inclined
to grant amnesty to armed groups in the north as part of political
negotiations.

Camara Governor of Conakry; and General Nouhou Thiam,

FOCUS ON
Guinea – The wheels of justice are turning in cases of
serious human rights violations
As part of their specific programme, FIDH and its member

former head of the military headquarters for torture committed in 2010;
• Several dozen victims heard in the case of the repression of
peaceful demonstration in 2007;

organisation, OGDH, continued their judicial involvement in

• Firm and repeated commitments by the Guinean Head of

cases concerning the 28 September 2009 massacre and other

State, the Minister of Justice and the Minister for Human

human rights violations taking place in 2007 and 2010. In ad-

Rights to fight impunity.

dition to daily actions by the FIDH/OGDH local team, including
the collection of victims’ testimonies, the provision of support

Mali

at court hearings (by late 2013, judges had heard 637 victims

• Public declarations by Malian authorities denouncing viola-

on the 28 September 2009 massacre), and the investigation

tions of human rights committed by the military during the

of acts and perpetrators, FIDH led four international missions

counter-offensive against armed groups from the north and

in 2013.This proved to be an especially propitious moment to

sanctions against the perpetrators, thus contributing to the

consolidate the judicial strategy of LAG’s international lawyers

prevention of further violations;

and the Guinean legal team, enabling them to hold informa-

• Contribution to the opening and consolidation of judicial in-

tion meetings with victims, request legal documents and hold

quiries on the grave crimes committed in 2012 and 2013 by

discussions with the investigating judges. This work led to the
indictment of seven persons in the 28 September case and
high level officials in the 2010 case.

all belligerents;
• Indictment of General Sanogo for the case called the “red
berets case” and requalification of the charges against him;
• Daily alerts on the radio by AMDH on the human rights situ-

FIDH, its members and international justice authorities interact
in three areas: (1) the denunciation of international crimes and
emphasis of the jurisdiction of the ICC in certain situations (such
as regarding the DRC and the CAR) to remind the perpetrators
that they can be held accountable before international courts; (2)
actions by the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor to support national
legal procedures concerning crimes that fall under international
law in compliance with the principle of positive complementarity
(Guinea, DRC, Mali); and (3) actions by the ICC when national
judicial systems exhibit an inability or unwillingness to judge the
perpetrators of serious crime (Sudan, Kenya, CAR).
This is what FIDH and its member organisations, especially the
Kenya Human Rights Commission, had in mind in reacting to the
total impunity granted at the national level to those responsible for
the 2008 post-electoral violence by expressing opposition to the
political offensive of the Kenya authorities, who had called upon
the Security Council to suspend the procedure concerning Kenya
before the ICC and attacked the principle of non-immunity for
high level State authorities.

ation, as a result of the strengthening of their capacity for
action.
Ivory Coast
• Renewal of the mandate of the special investigation unit on
post-electoral violence (Cellule spéciale d'enquête sur les
violences post-électorales);
• The arrest of a warlord backing up the New Forces/FRCI,
which were involved in serious human rights violations in the
Duékoué region in March 2011;
• Recognition of the possibility for national and international
NGOs to stand as civil parties before the Ivorian courts.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
• Concerning commitments and measures taken by the Head of
State and the Minister of Justice to fight the impunity of perpetrators of sexual crimes: appointment of a special national
rapporteur on sexual crimes and the submission to Parliament
of a new draft law on specialized mixed chambers to try perpetrators of crimes falling under international law.
Sudan
• Under pressure from the diplomatic community, cancelling

Examples of outcomes
FIDH enabled or contributed to:

President Beshir’s trip to the UN General Assembly.
Kenya
• Under pressure from the diplomatic community, canceling the
intervention by the President of Kenya before the Assembly

At the national level

of State Parties to the Rome Statute.

Guinea
• The indictment of Claude Pivi, Head of the President’s secu-

At the regional and international levels

rity service (raising the number of persons most responsible

Guinea

for the 28 September 2009 massacre to have been indicted

• Appeal for the implementation and acceleration of legal pro-

to seven) and more than 600 victims heard;
• The indictments of Aboubacar Sidiki, called “De Gaule”, former head of the Presidential Guard; Commander Sékou Resco

ceedings opened in Guinea concerning the 2007, 2009 and
2010 cases referred to in the report of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights;

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 53

• Adoption by the ACHPR of a special resolution on Guinea to
encourage the fight against impunity and the holding of a free
and transparent elections.

Ivory Coast
• Maintain the vigilance of international organisations and influential states on the need for impartial justice to be rendered
in the case concerning post-electoral violence.

Central African Republic
• Denunciation by IGOs and influential states (the African Union,

Democratic Republic of Congo

the European Union, the Human Rights Council, the United

• Adoption by the ACHPR of a special resolution on the DRC

States, France, etc.) of grave human rights violations commit-

denouncing serious human rights violations committed by

ted by Séléka rebels against the civilian population;

parties to the conflict in eastern DRC and appealing for the

• Decision by the Peace and Security Council to transform MICOPAX into MISCA to strengthen its mandate, members and
means of action;

eradication of impunity for their perpetrators;
• New mandate for MONUSCO emphasizing cooperation with
national and international justice services to fight impunity for

• Adoption of Security Council resolutions on CAR that strength-

the worst crimes, especially sexual crimes, the urgent need for

en MISCA, authorise the intervention of French troops, con-

genuine security sector reform, and the protection of human

sider the creation of a United Nations PKO to strengthen the

rights defenders in danger;

mandate of the BINUCA, especially with regard to the fight

• Decision, through a resolution taken by a high level panel of

against impunity (also for sexual crimes) and urge the authori-

the Human Rights Council, on the fight against impunity for

ties to respect human rights;

sexual crimes in the DRC, scheduled for March 2014.

• Increasing EU funding for MISCA.
Sudan
Mali
• Opening of an ICC investigation into the situation in Mali;

• Denunciation by international organisations of the State’s repression of peaceful demonstrations.

• Adoption by the ACHPR of a specific resolution on Mali, especially encouraging the fight against impunity for perpetrators

Kenya

of the most serious crimes;

• Vote by the Security Council to oppose a request for the

• Denunciation by IGOs and influential states (the African Union,

suspension of ICC proceedings on the situation in Kenya;

the European Union, the Human Rights Council, the United

• Rejection by ICC States Parties of proposals for the revi-

States, France, etc.) of grave human rights violations commit-

sion of Article 27 of the Rome Statute on the irrelevance of

ted by the Malian army during its counter-offensive against

immunity.

armed groups from the north.

FIDH Mission in Northern Mali. Gao/North Mali section
of AMDH. © FIDH

54 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

FIDH interacting with its member and partner organisations
17 international fact-finding missions,

against the French army (in Opération

Strategy seminars:

judicial missions and judicial observa-

Turquoise in Rwanda in 1994); case against

tion missions (Angola, Ivory Coast, Guinea,

Said Abeid (Comoros); the Baba case

workshops on the documentation of

(Mauritania)

international crimes, storage safety and

Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Senegal)

- Before the African Commission on Human
and Peoples’ Rights: Communications

378 press releases
Judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings:

Mali: Civil Society technical training

data communication.

DRC: : training workshops for NGOS

regarding Sudan (acts of torture) and

and lawyers working on sexual crimes

Ethiopia (freedom of association)


on the fight against impunity

- Before the International Criminal Court:

- B efore the Extraordinary African

supporting Congolese victims to participate

Partnerships: Crisis Action, Coalition for

Chambers in the Senegalese Courts:

in prosecution proceedings, and contribu-

the International Criminal Court, Coalition

participation in proceedings against Hissène

tion to investigations and analyses concern-

for an Effective African Court of Human and

Habré

ing Ivory Coast, Guinea, Kenya, the CAR,

Peoples’ Rights, International Committee for

the DRC and Sudan

the judgement of Hissène Habré

- Before Guinean courts: supporting victims
of 2007 and 2010 violations, and the 28
September 2009 massacre
- Before Ivorian courts: supporting victims

- Before the Working group on Enforced
disappearances (UN): Communications
regarding Chad and Guinea

Reports

of post electoral violence of 2010 and other
Advocacy activities: Supporting the advo-

Ivory Coast: The fight against impunity

- Before Malian courts: supporting victims of

cacy of 40 defenders (from the DRC, Guinea,

at a crossroads

northern armed groups, Green Beret forces

Mali, Ivory Coast, the CAR, Senegal, Kenya,

Ivory Coast: Nahibly camp attack: a missed

and the Kati mutiny of 2013

Sudan, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Uganda)

opportunity to mete out justice

- Before French courts: cases of Brazzaville

aimed at relevant regional and interna-

Ivory Coast: Q&A: confirmation hearing

Beach missing persons; cases against

tional mechanisms and influential State

of charges against Laurent Gbagbo

alleged Rwandan génocideurs; cases

representatives

Kenya: Forthcoming general elections

violations carried out in 2012

in Kenya: the court is key to preventing
the reoccurrence of election violence
Central African Republic: A country in the
hands of Séléka war criminals
DRC : Denial of justice for victims of sexual
crimes

FIDH Mission in Guinea:
Meeting with families of victims
of forced disappearances
© FIDH

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 55

 

The Americas
Context and challenges
Although democratic regimes, with the exception of Cuba, are
today the norm in the Americas, the degree of violence, particularly in Central America, Mexico and Colombia, remains one
of the highest in the world. This phenomenon is maintained by
the impunity of the perpetrators of grave crimes, both past and
present, due to the corrupted judicial systems and the lack of
intervention by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which
has been engaged in several situations on the continent. The
Inter-American system, particularly its mechanisms for human
rights protection, continued in 2013 to be the target of attacks
by some states aiming to weaken it in the name of national
sovereignty.
In Colombia, despite on-going peace negotiations, international
crimes were committed by all the parties. The administration
of an adequate and independent judiciary at the national level
remained a major challenge.
In Mexico, atrocious crimes are committed in the war on drugs
triggered in 2006 by then President Calderon, who resorted to
military force to carry out many operations that are usually the
responsibility of the police. In 2013, a report published by Procuraduria affirmed that 26,000 people have disappeared since
2006; the grave human rights violations have not waned either
during the first year in office of President Peña Nieto.
In Honduras, the murder rate per capita remains the highest in
the world, and a large number of these crimes go unpunished,
particularly those committed during the 2009 coup d’état. The
2013 presidential elections were marred by irregularities.
In Haiti, the setting up of democratic institutions and the rule of
law, and the provision of assistance and protection to displaced
persons remain highly challenging. Another major challenge
for this country resides in the ability of its courts to judge the
perpetrators of the gravest crimes that were committed on its
territory, particularly under the regime of Jean Claude Duvalier
known as “Baby Doc”.
In Guatemala, the significant progress that the sentencing of
Efrain Rios Montt for genocide in May 2013 represented turned
into a serious setback a few days later: the verdict against former
dictator Efrain Rios Montt, convicted for the massacre of more
than 1,7000 indigenous peoples in 1982-1983 was illegally and
arbitrarily overturned by the Constitutional Court.

56 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

fidh and its member and partner organisations
in action
Establish the facts, send out alerts, make proposals
In 2013, FIDH continued to provide support to its member organisations and partners to establish the facts and those responsible
for grave human rights violations.
Since the coup d’état in Honduras in 2009, FIDH and its member
organisations CIPRODEH and COFADEH regularly warn the
international community about the political violence and grave human rights violations in this country. As tensions mounted with the
approach of the presidential elections of November 2103, FIDH
decided to lead a fact-finding mission in this country to examine
the conditions under which the electoral process was unfolding.
Its report published before the elections denounced the killings
of 36 political opponents, the legislation militarising the policing,
and the instrumentalisation of justice. By bringing this context to
light, FIDH was able to warn the international community about
the non-conformity of this process with international standards
on this matter.
Faced with growing concern for certain indigenous communities
in Bolivia regarding the mega construction project of a highway
that would join the two oceans and run through the TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena del Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure - Indigenous
Territory of the Isiboro Secure National Park) reserve, and fears of
security tensions that such an initiative could generate, in December 2012 FIDH and its member organisation, the APDHB, sent a
joint fact-finding mission. The presence of the mission in 36 indigenous communities, often living in very remote areas of the park,
confirmed that the authorities, contrary to their statements, had not
consulted with all the communities and that the consultations that
had taken place could not in any case be considered as informed
and free. The report presented in April 2013 in Bolivia alerted all
the state actors and the international community to this situation.
Following the release of the report, Bolivia’s Plurinational Legislative Assembly announced the suspension of this project until
2015, i.e. after the presidential elections, which will take place in
October 2014.

FOCUS ON
The protection of human rights at the heart of the reconstruction issue in Haiti
Via the implementation of a specific three-year action programme, FIDH and its member organisations in Haiti were
the first organisations to alert authorities and the international
community to the urgent need to make human rights a cornerstone of the reconstruction effort in Haiti after the earthquake
that ravaged the country in 2010.
In 2013, FIDH published a report on its last fact-finding mission that emphasizes the shortcomings of the Haitian authorities who do not carry out their role in protecting the most
vulnerable populations. Multiple international public and private actors, for their part, contributed solutions without the
participation of key stakeholders in Haiti. In addition, corruption, slow justice and insecurity undermine the rule of law and
democratic principles and thus a peaceful and sustainable
reconstruction. FIDH also produced three films on human
security in this country to inform stakeholders and the public

for their action in favour of the fight against impunity, be criminally
punished. FIDH is thus a civil party to two proceedings in Colombia
and Belgium. Although this year the Colombian justice system still
refused to respond to the letter rogatory that the Belgian justice system issued to it in this case, the Colombian proceedings advanced
regardless: on 27 November 2013, the Supreme Court of Justice
while stating the requirements of the three crimes of which he was
accused, rejected the appeal for annulment of the ex-director of the
DAS, Jorge Noguera. This decision will lead to the beginning of his
prosecution in 2014, notably including on conspiracy charges. The
prosecution of other officials from this entity (Martha Inés Leal Llanos, Jackeline Sandoval Salazar, Jorge Armando Rubiano Jiménez
et Hugo Daney Ortiz García) was carried out throughout the year.
Finally, the trial of Carlos Arzayús (former director of surveillance
at the DAS) led to important revelations about the articulation of
these illegal activities with the Colombian presidency.
Faced with grave human rights violations, FIDH also continued
to utilize the Inter-American system for the protection of human
rights, particularly the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, to
denounce the responsibility of States for abuses (see Focus On box).

of these issues.

Fighting impunity for past and present international crimes 
With the aim of supporting the right of victims to justice, crime prevention and consolidation of the rule of law, FIDH and its member
organisations continued to mobilise in the fight against impunity in
the most severe crimes before national courts , and in cases where
there is a lack of will or capacity to judge the most senior officials,
before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The announcement
by the ICC of its intention to deal with situations in the Americas
and push states to deliver justice at the national level also corresponds to the desire to see a truly universal international justice in
response to criticism from States criticizing the Court for its sole
preoccupation with the African continent.
Determining the existence of international crimes in Mexico within
the jurisdiction of the ICC, FIDH prepared and transmitted a communication, pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statutes, calling on
the Office of the Prosecutor to open a preliminary analysis on this
situation. FIDH also prepared a training seminar on international
criminal law which scheduled to take place at the beginning of 2014
in Mexico in order for civil society to be able to provide assistance
in informing the Court about these crimes.
FIDH has also continued to advocate for the Office of the Prosecutor, which opened preliminary analyses on the situations in Honduras and Colombia, to open preliminary investigations for proceedings all the while requiring relevant authorities to cooperate in the
fight against impunity before national courts.
Elsewhere, FIDH continued to work to ensure that those officials in
the Colombian secret services who carried out surveillance activities
and persecuted actors considered as enemies of the state, particularly

FOCUS ON
The “Mapuche case” against Chile before the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights
In May 2013, FIDH represented five (5) of the eight (8) victims
during the debates which were held before the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights in the Norin Catriman et al v. Chile
case; the Chilean State was being accused of racial discrimination and violating the principle of legality and regulations
of the equitable process through the abusive application of
the anti-terrorist law against ancestral leaders and Mapuche
community leaders. FIDH initiated several appeals to allow the
victims, including those still held in detention, to attend these
proceedings that were being held in Costa Rica. The Mapuche
organised a purification ceremony inside the Inter-American
courthouse a few minutes before the hearings began. Three
of them managed to give evidence to the judges of the Court
on the situation in their community and the violations they had
suffered. The verdict is expected in 2014.

FIDH, pursuant to its multi-year strategic plan, also mobilised to
support its member organisations in the fight against the impunity
for the perpetrators of past serious crimes.
Thus, after an initial decision by the court in January 2012 that
Jean Claude Duvalier could not be prosecuted in Haiti for crimes
against humanity, FIDH and the Center for Justice and Accountability, its member organisation in the USA, filed an amicus curiae
brief with the Court of Appeals to demonstrate that Jean Claude
Duvalier could legally be prosecuted for crimes against humanity in Haiti.

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 57

In addition, FIDH, which in 1982 was one of the first international NGOs to denounce the serious abuses committed under
the presidency of Rios Montt in Guatemala and has continued
fighting against impunity for these crimes and for the recognition
of the genocide against the Mayas, welcomed the opening of
the proceedings against Rios Montt in March 2013. Its member
organisation, CALDH, jointly represents genocide victims alongside other local organisations. FIDH sent several international
observers to different stages of the proceedings to analyse the
conformity of the proceedings with international standards for
the protection of human rights and to support the victims and
their lawyers, who were the objects of an intense campaign of
harassment and stigmatisation. On 10 May 2013, Rios Montt
was sentenced to 80 years in prison for genocide. However, on
20 May 2013, following an appeal by the defence (ocurso de
queja), the Constitutional Court rendered the proceedings invalid. The FIDH report on its observation of the proceedings and
the sentencing decision summarises the evidence contained in
the more than 700 pages of the verdict and shows the serious
irregularities in the subsequent decision to invalidate the trial
and the lack of authority of the Constitutional Court to make
that decision. It also explains the content of hundreds of delaying
tactics employed by the Rios Montt defence team.
Mobilising national governments and the international community for concrete measures in favour of the protection
of human rights
Again this year FIDH led numerous advocacy activities to push
for the implementation of the recommendations included in its reports and commmuniqués, particularly on extrajudicial executions
in Colombia, the human rights situation both in Cuba and Haiti,
the Rios Montt prosecution in Guatemala, and the homicides and
elections in Honduras.
The advocacy activities undertaken with representatives of its
member organisations and partners were carried out particularly
with national governments, the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights and the European Union through dialogue on human rights.
To force the Colombian government to respond to the grave crimes
committed in Colombia and the lack of justice for the victims,
FIDH requested a hearing with the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights based on its report “The War is Measured in
Litres of Blood” which establishes that the extrajudicial executions committed by the military, the number of which exploded
between 2002 and 2008 (3,345 executions were recorded), are
crimes against humanity which remain unpunished. A position note
was also presented by FIDH and representatives from its member
organisations for this hearing, which gave rise to a lively debate
between civil society and senior representatives of the Presidency,
the Fiscalia, and the army.
Although it is often difficult for local organisations to pressure
their national governments to adopt concrete measures in favour
of human rights protection, it is even more so in a failed state like
Haiti. That is why FIDH supported its member organisations and

58 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

partners in the presentation and distribution of the report “Haiti:
Human Security at Risk,” obtaining an important resonance in
the domestic and international press as well as in high level meetings with different ministers (justice, human rights and extreme
poverty). FIDH and its member organisations also initiated a dialogue with authorities on the question of human rights in Haiti
during a public hearing at the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights in March 2013, in the presence of its Executive
Secretary and the Special Rapporteur on Haiti. Given the role of
the international community in the management of the institutional and humanitarian role in Haiti, FIDH also initiated dialogue
with different ambassadors and representatives of UN agencies
on concrete measures that it recommended. It also met with the
diplomatic corps in Geneva during discussions on the renewal of
the Independent Expert’s mandate on the human rights situation
in Haiti. Finally, FIDH met with earthquake victims living in four
camps and two relocation sites to present the observations and
recommendations of its report.
To inform the European Union of irregularities in the proceedings
in the Rios Minott case which led to the invalidation of his sentencing, and in order to use all its political and economic weight to call
on the Guatemalan government to ensure judicial independence,
FIDH invited Juana Sanchez Toma, one of the Mayan women
who dared to testify on the rapes and other sexual abuse suffered
under the former Guatemalan President’s regime, to participate
in advocacy activities.
Finally, based on its report on the crimes committed in Bajo Aguan,
in Honduras, FIDH, along with other organisations, submitted a
complaint to the World Bank regarding its financing of the Dinant
project, as its security services were allegedly responsible for a series
of executions and forced displacements of peasants. Throughout
2013, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman audited this situation.

FOCUS ON
FIDH assisting its Cuban member organisation with
advocacy
In May 2013, Elizardo Sanchez, as president of FIDH’s member organisation in Cuba, was invited by FIDH to its Congress
and was able to secure approval to leave Cuba. This was
the first time in 10 years that Elizardo Sanchez was given
permission to leave Cuba. FIDH had sent several letters to
States with influence over Cuba and to the Cuban government
seeking permission for him to leave Cuba.
FIDH scheduled meetings with European Union governments,
members of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and officials responsible for the region at the UN, giving Elizardo Sanchez the opportunity to inform stakeholders of the human
rights situation in his country and of the double speak of the
Cuban government internationally and domestically. This
message was also relayed to the most important European
media.

Examples of outcomes

At the regional and international level


FIDH led to or contributed to:

• Appeal to the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, by repre-

Honduras
sentatives of the US Congress who mentioned the allegations

At the national level

by FIDH, calling on him to be extremely vigilant on the human

Honduras

rights situation in Honduras, within the context of the electoral

• Creation of a special unit of the Fiscalia on the crimes committed

process before leading into the presidential elections in this

in Bajo Aguan.

country on 24 November 2013;
• Ongoing analysis of the ICC Prosecutor on the situation in

Haiti
• Decision to reopen the proceedings against Jean-Claude
Duvalier for crimes against humanity and an additional investigation;
• Debate in the Haitian and international press on reconstruction
and human rights;
• Dialogue between the RNDDH and very active State repre-

Honduras;
• Mission of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor in Honduras in April
2014 as requested by FIDH in its report from November 2013;
• Audit of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, which in its
findings published in January 2014 mentioned the FIDH reports on this country and acknowledged the weak treatment
of the human rights situation by officials at the World Bank.

sentatives on the question of Haiti (particularly France, Brazil
and the USA)
• Collection of information on the situation of persons living in
the hosting camps and zones.

Chile
• Arguments before the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights in the Norin Catriman et al v Chile case for racial discrimination and violation of the principle of legality and rules

Colombia

of the equitable process through the abusive application of

• Acceptance of the phenomenon of false positives and their

the anti-terrorist law against ancestral leaders and Mapuche

magnitude by governments, particularly during the hearing

community leaders. The verdict is expected in 2014.

initiated by FIDH before the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights;
• Implementation of a framework unit within the Fiscalia;
• National debates on the jurisdiction of military courts and
constitutional reform;

Haiti
• Renewal of the Independent Expert’s mandate on the human
rights situation in Haiti;
• Concerns raised by European parliamentarians during the

• Sentencing on 10 March 2014, to more than 8 eight years in

Human Rights Dialogue with Haiti with regard to the relation-

prison of four senior officials of the DAS (Martha Inés Leal

ship between the humanitarian activities and the EU develop-

Llanos, Jackeline Sandoval Salazar, Jorge Armando Rubiano

ment activities in this country.

Jiménez and Hugo Daney Ortiz García). The decision notes
particularly that “these officials implemented permanent and

Cuba

systematic criminal procedures against defenders of human

• Ongoing vigilance by the international community on the hu-

rights, journalists, politicians and other personalities whose

man rights situation in Cuba.

only point in common was being critical of the government at
that time.” On 20 March 2014 Carlos Arzayus, former director

Guatemala

of surveillance at the DAS was sentenced to 10 years in prison

• International denunciations of the illegality of invalidating the

for the same allegations.

Rios Montt conviction

• Indictment of Maria Pilar Hurtado, DAS Director.
Colombia
Guatemala
• Conviction of Rios Montt.

• Ongoing analysis by the ICC Prosecutor on the situation in
Colombia.

La Oroya metallurgical complex
(Peru) © DR

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 59

Jaime Marileo testifying before the Inter-American Court of
Human Rights in 2012. © FIDH

FIDH interacting with its member and partner organisations
8 international fact-finding and advocacy

- Committee on enforced disappear-

missions (Haiti, Chile, Bolivia, Honduras,

ances (UN): Communication v. Mexico

Fact-finding reports

USA)
Advocacy support for 6 human rights

USA: Discrimination, torture, and execu-

defenders (Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti,

tion: An analysis based on the human

Colombia, Mexico) with intergovernmental

rights of the death penalty in California and

Legal and quasi-legal proceedings

organisations, relevant regional and inter-

Louisiana

initiated and monitored by the FIDH:

national mechanisms and influential State

Guatemala: Genocide in Guatemala: Rios

- Colombia: Proceedings against the DAS

representatives

Montt guilty – English/Spanish

157 press releases

Honduras: Elections in Honduras : militarisation

(Belgium and Colombia)
- Inter-American Human Rights Court:
Mapuche dispute
- ICC: Contribution to the preliminary analyses on Honduras and Colombia

Partnerships:

and serious damage to the judiciary

HRDN; NGO coalition before the Inter-

Peru: Metallurgical Complex of La Oroya:

American system, FIAN, ASF, CIFCA,

When investor protection threatens human

Oidhaco

rights
Bolivia: Audit report on the consultations with
the TIPNIS communities

60 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

Asia
Context and challenges
Despite hopes expressed by the international community after
changes in power and an apparent opening of regimes previously
known for their arbitrariness, real improvement in the human
rights situation in Asia was confined only to a few small steps
in the right direction.
In Iran, Hassan Rohani’s election as president raised the international community’s hopes for a sharp break from the Ahmadinajad period. By the end of 2013 the outlook for human rights
in the country remained bleak, with little more achieved than
the release of a few political prisoners and activists, including
Nasrin Sotoudeh, a member of the Centre for the Defence of
Human Rights.
The end of Burma’s international diplomatic and economic isolation in the wake of its so-called “opening” has gained pace
despite continuing serious human rights violations committed
against ethnic and religious minorities, including Rohingya muslims. Whilst a number of Burmese political prisoners have been
released, dissenting voices in Burma are as severely repressed as
they ever were and human rights defenders continue to be subject
to arbitrary arrest and detention.
In Pakistan, the appointment of Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister
has not led to any real change. Extremist groups continued to sow
the seeds of terror, with over 5,000 victims of attacks targeting
ethnic and religious minorities and suicide attacks. In response,
new laws restricting freedom were promulgated to combat terrorism. Several hundred people have also been killed or wounded
in American drone strikes.
In China, a change of leadership at the end of 2012 had no effect
on the authoritarian nature of the regime; rather, the Chinese
government has increased security in a bid to maintain internal
stability. Repression has continued, in particular against humanrights lawyers, writers and pro-democracy activists, as well as
against ethnic and religious minorities, especially Tibetans.

North Korea has remained completely closed since Kim Jong-un
came to power in 2012.
2014 will be a decisive year for Afghanistan. The prospect of
presidential elections combined with the gradual withdrawal of
international troops against a background of a continuously high
level of insecurity and total impunity is extremely worrying.
Political crises linked to current or previous electoral processes
must also be closely watched by the international community in
2014 (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia).
Within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
repressive regimes such those of Laos and Vietnam have continued to block any regional advances in the field of human rights.
Finally, this region continues to be characterised by the presence
of 'closed countries', which force most local human-rights organisations into exile and keep international human-rights organisations out, thereby preventing violations from being documented
and victims from being supported.

fidh and its member and partner organisations
in action
Establish the facts, send out alerts, make proposals
FIDH has been especially committed to bridging the information gap with its member organisations and partners concerning regional human rights violations in an area known for its
closed countries and repression of defenders. Four international
investigation missions were organised in 2013 (India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines). The seven investigation reports
published this year especially highlighted pre-election violence
in Bangladesh, Chinese repression of Tibetan Buddhism, lack
of justice for the Iranian political prisoner executions of 1988,
the repression of Vietnamese bloggers and cyberdissidents and
the totalitarian structure of the North Korean system (the latter report was presented to the UN Commission of Inquiry into
atrocities committed in this country). FIDH also published more
than 50 communiqués in French, English, Chinese, Persian etc
responding to the human rights situation in over 20 countries in
the region. This information was picked up by the international

Protester brought by soldiers to an unknown
detention site, Phnom Penh, 3 January 2014.
© FIDH

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 61

media, and FIDH’s profile and that of its leagues grew as a result
in the region’s press.

campaign, together with other NGOs, directed at the French
authorities and coinciding with State and parliamentary visits
to China, during which the arbitrary detention of Liu Xiaobo
and his wife Liu Xia was raised.

FOCUS

With its member organisation Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA, FIDH
issued a lobbying appeal to the Afghan government and the
United Nations within the framework of the Human Rights
Council, as the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) was up for renewal for another
year. In July, FIDH invited an Afghan woman activist to Geneva for a series of campaign events while Afghanistan was
being reviewed by the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. In October, FIDH accompanied
Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA to advocacy meetings with the European Union and NATO in Brussels, less than six months before
Afghanistan’s presidential elections. A follow-up letter, with
specific recommendations, was subsequently sent to the EU.

Iran – FIDH denied entry but not the ability to secure
information
While the repression of human rights defenders remains as
intense as ever in Iran and international NGOs are denied
entry, FIDH and its member organisation, the LDDHI, have
managed to develop a specific framework that ensures
a constant flow of reliable and detailed information on the
human rights situation in the country. By having a permanent
link to local sources, FIDH and LDDHI have managed to publish three investigative reports on the impunity surrounding
the executions of prisoners in 1988, violations of economic
and social rights, and the physical state of places where the
death penalty is carried out. In 2013 our organisations likewise
managed to draw up a current list of prisoners of conscience,
and issue 75 press releases and 15 urgent appeals through
the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Persian, English and French. This information was
picked up by the international media and contributed to decisions taken by intergovernmental bodies and human rights
protection mechanisms dealing with the situation in Iran.

Mobilise national authorities and the international community to take concrete measures in favour of human rights
protection
In many authoritarian States in the region, the authorities are
more or less beyond the reach of national and international
NGOs, which limits the latter’s ability to campaign. Therefore,
pressure brought to bear on these authorities by intergovernmental organisations, international human rights protection
mechanisms and diplomacy is of key importance in the drive to
change the existing situation in these countries. In 2013, FIDH
supported many representatives from these member organisations and partners at international lobbying venues dealing with
these 11 countries in Asia.
Together with Human Rights in China (HRIC) and the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), FIDH continued to contribute
to the EU-China dialogue on human rights, as well as a mission
in September to China by the new European Ambassador for
Human Rights. FIDH worked with HRIC, ICT and CLB in the
context of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on China,
most notably organising a parallel event in Geneva in October. During the year, FIDH also mounted an ongoing lobbying

62 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

Based on its investigation report on the repression of bloggers and cyberdissidents, FIDH and its member organisation,
the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR), ran several events in Geneva leading up to the Vietnam UPR slated
for January 2014, with information forwarded to the Special
Rapporteur on Cultural Rights ahead of his visit to Vietnam.
Advocacy meetings were also held with European Union representatives. A public awareness campaign called “We are all
Vietnamese bloggers” was also run via Twitter.

FOCUS ON
Burma’s opening – the real story
During the year, many advocacy meetings were held to alert
the international community to ongoing human rights violations in Burma. Aiming to influence the wording of the UN
General Assembly resolution on Burma, FIDH arranged an
advocacy visit early in the year to the UN in New York by
Burmese activist Ah No from FIDH’s partner Kachin Women’s
Association Thailand to speak about sexual violence against
ethnic minorities being committed by the Burmese armed
forces. FIDH then organized Ah No’s participation in a hearing
of the US Congress on human rights in Burma, where she was
the only person currently working with Burmese communities
in Burma neighbouring countries invited to testify. In October,
ahead of the UN General Assembly, FIDH organized another
advocacy visit to New York and Washington with two activists
from Burmese ethnic minorities, Ms. Wai Wai Nu from the
Rohingya community and Ms. Seng Shadan from the Kachin
community. Briefings held with diplomats in New York and
Washington, as well as advocacy by FIDH and Altsean/Burma
at the European Union and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, resulted in the adoption of a UN resolution on Burma
that included some of the specific concerns and recommendations presented by FIDH and its members and partners.
FIDH and Altsean were likewise active at the Human Rights
Council, together with Forum Asia, organising a parallel event
called Burma: reforms must not be a cover for serious human
rights violations.This contributed to the adoption of a resolution denouncing arbitrary detention, forced displacement,
confiscation of land, rape and other forms of sexual violence,
torture, as well as violations of international humanitarian law;
calling for Burma to fight against impunity for those guilty of
the most serious crimes, and renewing the mandate for the
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation in Burma.
At the European Union, FIDH advocated against the complete
removal of sanctions against Burma, following their suspen-

Ebadi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, to high level meetings
with diplomats and UN representatives in New York, before
the UN General Assembly voted on a resolution on Iran. The
States charged with drafted the resolution were presented with
a position paper with specific recommendation, which were in
turn included in the resolution.
FIDH’s concerns, and those of its member organisation Licadho
and Adhoc, relating to the human rights situation in Cambodia,
were raised with the Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Cambodia, as
well as in Brussels within the framework of the EU’s preferential
agreements with Cambodia. Several advocacy campaigns were
also undertaken, including with French authorities, denouncing restrictions imposed on freedom of expression and peaceful
gatherings following fraudulent elections.
Mobilised in response to growing pre-election political violence
in Bangladesh, FIDH sought a response to this violence from
the European Union and organised an event with its member
organisation Odhikar during the country’s UPR.
The Commonwealth was also the target of advocacy. With its
partner organisations, FIDH called on this body to respond to the
potentially dangerous elections in the Maldives and the impunity
rampant in Sri Lanka ahead of the meeting of Commonwealth
Heads of Government in Colombo on the 15th November.
Lastly, FIDH accompanied its member organisation in Indonesia,
KontraS, to New York for lobbying meetings on the question of
the fight against terrorism. FIDH also organised the participation
of a representative from KontraS to testify at a hearing of the US
Congress and other meetings with American authorities dealing
with the question of the persecution of religious minorities. The
KontraS representative was the only person from Indonesia invited to be a witness at the Congress hearing on human rights in
Indonesia. In July, FIDH and KontraS made a submission to the
UN Committee on Human Rights looking at Indonesia, and organised lobbying meetings with diplomatic missions in Geneva.

sion the previous year, and contributed to the adoption by
the Parliament of an urgent resolution denouncing continuing
human rights violations in the country and insisting on the
importance of involving Burmese civil society in any EUMyanmar partnership.
In addition, pursuant to information from FIDH and other organisations on the situation in the country, the French president
demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners during the visit to France of his Burmese counterpart, Thein Sein.

FIDH further met with a delegation from the European Parliament before their planned December visit to Iran to update them
on the country’s human rights situation and gave them a current
list of imprisoned human rights defenders. FIDH also lobbied
for the renewal of the UN Special Rapporteur’s mandate on
the human rights situation in Iran. FIDH accompanied Shirin

Acting against impunity and for reconciliation
In the face of impediments to the independent exercise of justice
in many countries in the region, FIDH continued to lobby against
impunity for those guilty of the most serious crimes.
Accordingly, FIDH Legal Action Group lawyers continued to
represent victims in Trial No. 2 before the Extraordinary Chambers of the Cambodian courts against two former Khmer Rouge
leaders accused of crimes against humanity, and also submitted
their observations on the issue of reparations.
In addition, at the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against
Humanity in North Korea, FIDH contributed to the establishment of a UN international commission of inquiry into the country. As for Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, FIDH lobbying centred
on gains in terms of the struggle against impunity.

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 63

Examples of outcomes
FIDH has enabled or contributed to:

Burma
• Condemnation by the European Parliament of the persecu-

At the national level
Bangladesh

tion and violence targeted at the Rohingya and other religious minorities in Burma in a resolution adopted on 13 June.

• The end of judicial harassment against Adilur Rahman Khan,

• The adoption of a resolution of the UN General Assembly

Secretary of Odhikar, a member organisation of FIDH; the

reflecting the recommendations put forth by FIDH and its

Bangladesh Supreme Court decided to free Adilur while an
Observatory mission was in the country and after it had met
with the State’s highest authorities.

member organisation Altsean/Burma.
• The adoption of a resolution by the Council on Human Rights
denouncing arbitrary detention, forced displacement, land
confiscation, rape and other forms of sexual violence, tor-

Burma

ture, as well as violations of international humanitarian law;

• The freeing of several political prisoners.

calling for the continuation of the struggle against impunity
for those guilty of the most serious crimes; and renewing

Cambodia

the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation

• The release on bail on 22nd November of Ms Yorm Bopha, a

in Burma.

land rights defender in Cambodia, following a decision of the
Supreme Court of Phnom Penh.
• Hearings of the civil parties in Trial No. 2 before the Extraordinary Chambers of the Cambodian courts against two former

North Korea
• The creation in March 2013 of a UN Commission of Inquiry
into the human rights situation in North Korea.

Khmer Rouge leaders accused of crimes against humanity,
with demands for reparations for victims supported by FIDH.

China
• Denunciation of the repression of human rights defenders by

Iran

the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as by

• The freeing on 25th September of Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian

many States during China’s Universal Periodic Review.

human rights lawyer, affiliated with a member organisation of
FIDH, the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights, and well-

Indonesia

known for her defence of minors facing the death penalty and

• Recognition of the concerns held by FIDH and its member

prisoners of conscience.

organisation KontraS, relating to extra-judicial executions,
the use of excessive force by the security forces, torture,

Pakistan

the absence of legal aid, the insecurity of ethnic and reli-

• The announcement, on 11 October, by the Pakistani govern-

gious minorities, and impunity, in the final observations of the

ment that they will continue with the moratorium on the death

Human Rights Committee following the review of the initial

penalty.

report on Indonesia.

Vietnam

Iran

• The freeing of the Vietnamese blogger Le Anh Hung, kidnapped

• Renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran.

on 24 January before being forcibly sent to Social Support

• Adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution reflecting the

Centre No. 2 in Ung Hoa – a psychiatric hospital.

recommendations presented by FIDH and its member organisations.

At the international level

• Condemnation of discrimination against ethnic and religious

Afghanistan

minorities by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural

• The renewal by the UN Security Council of the mandate of

Rights in its final observations following a review of the second

the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) until 19 March 2014.

periodic report of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Bangladesh

Sri Lanka

• Consideration by the European Parliament of FIDH recom-

• The refusal by 25 of the 53 Commonwealth Heads of Gov-

mendations on Bangladesh, leading to a resolution adopted

ernment to move the Malabo summit in light of the country’s

on the 14th of March.

dismal human rights record.

64 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

FIDH interacting with its member and partner organisations
11 international missions of inquiry, judi-

- Working group on companies and

cial observation missions and advocacy

human rights: Communication in respect

missions (Taiwan, Philippines, Cambodia,

of Bangladesh

Fact-finding reports
Bangladesh: Alarming rise in threats against
human rights defenders

India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia)
Advocacy activities: 23 defenders

China: Chinese workers claim their rights:

(from Burma, Vietnam, Iran, Indonesia,

what role for brand name companies?

Afghanistan, China, Thailand, Cambodia,

North Korea: The death penalty in North Korea:

Judicial and quasi-judicial procedures:

Taiwan) before relevant regional and inter-

the inner workings of a totalitarian State

- Before the Extraordinary Chambers of the

national mechanisms and representatives

Iran: Death penalty in Iran: A policy of State

of influential States

terror

90 press releases

Cambodian courts: representing 10 victims

Iran: 25 years after the 1988 prison execu-

living in France as civil parties in Trial No.2
- Before French courts: The Ung case
(Cambodia)
- Working group on arbitrary detention

Strategy seminars:

tions, justice has still not been done

Burma: training workshop of “busi-

Iran: Mounting poverty, decline in workers’

ness and human rights”

rights

(UN): Communications in respect of Iran,

Taiwan: The hidden face of Taiwan: lessons
Partnerships:

learnt from the review process by the HRC

- Working group on forced or involun-

International Coalition to Stop Crimes

and CESCR

tary disappearance: Communications in

Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK);

Tibet: Chinese repression of Tibetan

respect of Sri Lanka

Forum Asia

Buddhism

Vietnam, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia

Vietnam: Bloggers and Netizens behind bars:
Restrictions on internet freedom in Vietnam

 
F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 65

Eastern Europe Central Asia
Context and challenges
The process of transition to democracy that began 20 years ago
in the region has slowed significantly in recent years. Heavyhanded presidential regimes with little tolerance for independent civil society, or openly authoritarian regimes which attack
fundamental freedoms, are in power in many countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Their leaders remain in power for
years, preventing necessary renewal in leadership.
In this context, a number of countries have been seeking increased cooperation with the European Union (EU). However,
in the last few years, Russia, which has reclaimed its position
as a major geopolitical player, has built up a formidable arsenal to keep those countries within its sphere of influence. In
the separatist or annexed territories, sometimes called “frozen
conflict zones”, Russia has reinforced its military presence or
increased economic and political pressure. As a consequence,
the populations of these disputed areas have fallen hostage to
geopolitical games that de facto isolate them from the protections of international law.
The repression of dissenting voices and of all critical voices
intensified in 2013 in Russia in response to protests against vote
rigging in the parliamentary and presidential elections (December 2011 and March 2012). Once re-elected, Vladimir Putin
initiated a plethora of repressive laws, which were adopted by
the Duma. They include the criminalisation of demonstrators
and political opponents, obstruction of the work of NGOs and
human rights defenders, and increased censorship of the Internet and the media. The February 2014 Winter Olympic Games
put Russia in the international spotlight, and international pressure led Putin to adopt an amnesty law. However, whilst this
law saw the release of some prisoners, such as members of
the pop group Pussy Riot, Greenpeace activists, and a small
number of emblematic political prisoners, including Mikhail
Khodorkovsky, it proved to be little more than a publicity stunt
rather than a sign of any real change. The violent repression of
demonstrators, defamation campaigns, and the judicial harassment of NGOs that receive foreign funding, continues. Furthermore, as a consequence of political discourse that has fuelled
nationalism and discrimination, and the adoption of anti-gay
legislation, there was an increase in attacks against homosexuals and ethnic minorities in 2013.

This situation has a direct negative impact on the region. The
political support that Russia has offered repressive regimes in
the region has prevented new countries from engaging in any
lasting democratic reforms.
In Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovych’s announcement
on 21 November 2013 that he would not sign the Association
Agreement previously negotiated with the EU resulted in massive public demonstrations and police violence.
Relations between Belarus and the EU have stalled, and all efforts to reinitiate discussions have been obstructed. Civil and
political rights are constantly being violated. Political prisoners
remain held in extremely alarming conditions, as was FIDH
Vice-President Ales Bialiatksi, who has been detained since
August 2011. Belarus paints itself as the “last European social
paradise”; however, economic and social rights are systematically violated.
In Azerbaijan, the November 2013 elections were preceded by
a wave of repression; likewise for the elections in Tajikistan. In
Uzbekistan, a ferocious power struggle engendered increasing
harassment of all dissident voices and the total impunity of
national security agents.
The high level of impunity in the region is one reason for the
violence and the serious human rights violations in the Northern Caucasus (Russia), and in Central Asia. In Kyrgyzstan,
the political instability and impunity arising out of the 2010
ethnic clashes still prevail. These violations receive very little
public attention and human rights defenders addressing these
issues are the constant target of threats, defamation, and even
physical attacks.
Throughout the region, the administration of justice, which
includes the independence of the judicial authorities and the
conditions of detention, is still a major problem.

Demonstration in front of the Russian parliament in Moscow after the conviction of political
activist, Alexei Navalny, July 2013. © AFP PHOTO / Ivan Novikov

66 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

fidh and its member and partner organisations
in action
Fact-finding and responsibility
FIDH and its member organisations collected information on
human rights violations in the region. In 2013, over 140 press
releases, open and closed letters, and urgent appeals from the
Observatory, denounced the authoritarian shift of numerous
regimes which apply laws and practices that curtail freedoms,
disregard democratic principles, and let perpetrators of the most
serious crimes go unpunished.
FIDH has strived to bring to light the facts and the identity of
those responsible for the repression of peaceful demonstrations
and the criminalisation of all opposition during electoral processes. For instance, FIDH sent a fact-finding mission to Azerbaijan before the presidential elections. It reported an increase
in repression by the regime as election day approached, such
as judicial harassment of independent journalists on the basis
of false accusations, arbitrary arrest of opponents, restricted
funding for opposition parties, and excessive use of force to
break up demonstrations, etc. FIDH also kept close track of
the situation in Tajikistan during the months leading up to the
presidential elections, and supported the publication of a report
written by a coalition of local NGOs that decried violations of
civil and political rights, and which revealed the systematic
harassment of members of the opposition parties and human
rights associations. FIDH also continued its investigations of
authoritarian abuses by the Russian regime since Putin’s reelection as president (see the Focus On box).
A fact-finding mission to Moldova gave FIDH an opportunity
to record the alarming situation of human rights in this country,
including Transnistria, a territory under Russian influence governed by authorities who are neither recognised by Moldova,
nor by the international community. Serious civil and political
rights violations remain unpunished as access to the Moldova
justice system is almost impossible.
FIDH has continued to denounce the prevalence of political
prisoners in the region, and has published a note on the situation
in Belarus in particular. FIDH and its member organisation Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, have kept a running record on the
authoritarian nature of the regime, as shown not only through
violations of civil and political rights, but also of violations
of economic, social and cultural rights. These violations set
out in the conclusions of our in-depth report on this matter.
The conclusions of the report on the FIDH investigation were
presented at a press conference held in Minsk and were widely
quoted by the media and in Belarusian- and Russian-language
social networks.
Lastly, FIDH supported a report by the Uzbek Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law (UBHRRL), an organisation that
decried the banning of opposition parties in Uzbekistan and the
repression of all criticism of the State’s attacks on democratic
principles and the rule of law.

FOCUS ON
Authoritarian abuses of the Putin regime
While Russia buttresses its global political power, in international fora it is stifling criticism of human rights violations in
its country. It is openly heading the countries allied against
“democratic values” at the United Nations (UN). FIDH and
its member organisation ADC Memorial have constantly
highlighted authoritarian abuses of the regime since Putin’s
re-election as president.
A fact-finding mission was sent to Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Nizhny-Novgorod and Voronezh to hear testimony on
the severe repression of opposition party supporters, human
rights defenders and mere citizens who protest against the
irregularities in the legislative and presidential elections, and
against laws and discourse that destroy freedom of association, the right to information, and on lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender (LGBTI) persons’ rights.
Since that mission, FIDH has gone to Russia several times
to obtain additional information for its investigation and
to monitor the proceedings against ADC Memorial, which
has been accused of being “a foreign agent” and has been
threatened with closure for having transmitted a report on
torture by law enforcement officers to the United Nations
Committee Against Torture.
Further, FIDH and other human rights organisations have
established an independent international investigative commission to establish the facts and to identify the parties responsible for the repression of the Bolotnaya demonstration
that led to political trials.
Reports published ahead of the opening of the winter Olympics in Sochi in February 2014 by FIDH and the Investigative
Commission were extensively quoted by the Russian and
international media, and by social networks, thanks to a
campaign launched by FIDH before this major media event.

Mobilise the national authorities and the international community to promote the protection of human rights through
tangible actions
Major FIDH advocacy campaigns were carried out in 2013 to
persuade the governments in the region to adopt measures that
protect human rights.
Although national authorities often hesitate to talk with national
NGOs, who are often seen as political enemies or foreign agents,
FIDH was able to hold constructive talks with the Moldovan authorities during a mission to present the recommendations from its
investigative report. Government representatives recognised that
a poor record of respect for human rights could harm the State

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 67

on the international scene, and emphasised their intention to take
due heed of the recommendations. Very senior representatives of
government bodies also participated in a panel discussion attended
by journalists and civil society representatives to discuss concrete
measures that could be taken to guarantee human rights.
Similarly, the report of the Civil Society Institute (CSI) on the midterm progress of the implementation of the UPR recommendations
on Armenia, whose publication and dissemination were supported
by FIDH, was presented to Armenian authorities.
Concerning Russia, FIDH has engaged with various EU bodies, in
particular by addressing the European Parliament’s Sub-committee
on Human Rights, and has especially relied on UN mechanisms
to urge the authorities to respect human rights. FIDH invited representatives of ADC Memorial to explain their concerns and to
give recommendations to the experts on the Committee for the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) that was examining the State’s report. FIDH organised an open meeting in the
margins of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session that
highlighted the authoritarian abuses of the regime and Russia’s
lack of cooperation with UN bodies. A meeting was held before
the Russian UPR to allow the members of ADC Memorial and
the representatives of partner organisations to meet and interact
with the delegations of the States that were participating in the
UNHRC session.

stance on repression in Belarus. At the beginning of the year,
our organisations shared recommendations in response to a
consultation held by the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development (EBRD) with regard to rethinking its strategy
for Belarus. FIDH then facilitated strategic meetings between
Valentina Stefanovic, Viasna Vice-President, and representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAC), member
States, and the EU Parliament, in order to present a note on
political prisoners and on the human rights situation in Belarus. A position paper on guiding principles for the EU’s human
rights activities was also presented. At a follow-up meeting,
Vladimir Labkovich from Viasna addressed the Sub-Committee on Human Rights of the European Parliament regarding
the human rights situation in Belarus. FIDH also organised a
public demonstration during a visit by the Foreign Minister of
Belarus to call upon the EU to step up its action to help obtain
the unconditional release of political prisoners. This request was
reiterated in a closed letter addressed to various EU institutions.
FIDH also organised a meeting with the UN General Assembly and governmental bodies of the United States to support
the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur. Another advocacy
meeting involved governmental authorities and representatives
of trade unions from The Netherlands, a country whose economic ties to Belarus are the most developed in Europe.

FIDH and its member organisations also intervened on the occasion of the Armenian Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the
Uzbekistan UPR to denounce human rights violations in those
two countries and to make recommendations. FIDH and representatives of the coalition of Tadjik NGOs also presented their
alternative report to the UNHRC.

These strategic exchanges have contributed to the adoption of

At the annual meeting on the Human Dimension of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), FIDH
organised several important activities that focussed on the question
of the administration of justice and the conditions of detention. A
public meeting was organised on this subject and was attended
by FIDH member organisations, who presented the results of
investigations in Moldova, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan.
Furthermore, as a contribution to the work of the OSCE and its
draft guidelines on freedom of assembly and the protection of human rights defenders, FIDH also held a public meeting on these
themes. At that meeting, we presented a note on the situation of
defenders of the rights of sexual minorities in Eastern Europe and
Central Asia to the national delegations.

To inform the international community of, and urge it to react

a report by the Foreign Affairs Committee on the EU’s Action
in Belarus, in which the concerns of FIDH are reflected. Such
exchanges have also contributed to the renewal of the mandate
of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights
situation in Belarus.

to, a little known aspect of the regime’s authoritarian attitude,
FIDH and Viasna presented a report on forced labour in Belarus
to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(CESCR). Many of our organisations’ concerns and recommendations are reflected in the conclusions of the Committee
upon its consideration of the report. This report also made it
possible to get trade unions involved at the international level
on the matter of the use of forced labour in Belarus.
All the information on human rights violations in Belarus was
also presented at an open meeting of the Council of Europe.
Lastly, actions to secure the release of the Vice-President of
FIDH and President of Viasna, Ales Bialiatksi, and in support
of his colleagues and family, have been taken on a daily basis,

FOCUS ON

primarily through the Freeales.fidh.net website. This website

Increasing international pressure on Belarus

has been reformatted and strengthened by sections devoted

In 2013, FIDH and Viasna carried out a programme of advocacy

to the activities of Belarussian civil society which are constantly

in international institutions to encourage them to maintain a firm

being subjected to repression.

68 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

fering from alcohol and drug addiction to forced labour in camps

Examples of outcomes

referred to as “Medical Centres of Work”;

FIDH enabled or contributed to:

• Adoption of a resolution by the European Parliament on the EU
policy relating to Belarus wherein it denounces human rights
violations in that country;

At the national level

• Renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for Human

Moldova

Rights to Belarus.

• Members of the government, namely ministers of justice and of
the interior, welcomed the interest of FIDH in the human rights

Uzbekistan

situation in their country and stated that they wanted to take into

• Conclusions of the United Nations Committee Against Torture

account some of the recommendations of the investigative re-

dated October 2013 condemn the widespread and systematic

port; FIDH organised a round table which brought together high-

use of torture which is approved by the government, thereby

level representatives of governmental bodies, representatives of

reflecting the concerns of FIDH and its member organisation

national and international civil society, and the media to discuss

in Uzbekistan found in their alternative report;

measures to be taken in order to implement the recommendations
in the FIDH report.

• Questions of States during the UPR of the country which take
up FIDH concerns, namely violations of freedom of association.

Russia

Tajikistan

• The collection and circulation of information about laws and prac-

• Conclusions of the Human Rights Committee echoing the concerns

tices that are destroying freedoms contributed to the international

of the report of FIDH member organisations, particularly with regard

pressure that led to the amnesty of the members of the band Pussy

to freedom of expression and Internet, freedom of association, and

Riot, demonstrators arbitrarily detained, and the dissident Khodor-

independence of justice and lawyers.

kovski.
Russia
Belarus

• The report on Russia from the UPR reflects many FIDH concerns

• Support and build the capacity of, civil society in Belarus to

about laws which destroy freedoms and repression of demonstrators;

take action to continue its work of warning of human rights

• CERD conclusions on the Russia report reflect many recom-

violations, despite intense repression by the authorities.

mendations of the FIDH and ADC Memorial alternative report;
• A statement by Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the

At the regional and international levels
Belarus

Union for Foreign Affairs, denouncing the anti-gay law, which is
contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights;

• The conclusions of a CESCR November 2013 report reflect the

• International support for ADC Memorial, which is faced with ac-

concerns of FIDH and Viasna as presented in their investigative

cusations of being a “foreign agent” through widespread media

report; the Committee particularly requests that Belarus put an

coverage on this case and the reactions of the UN Committee

end to punitive measures consisting of sentencing people suf-

against Torture in support of the organisation.

FIDH IN interaction with its member and partner organisations
6 international fact-finding

Support for advocacy by

missions and judicial obser-

25 defenders (Belarus,

vation missions (Moldova,

Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,

Russia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan,

Uzbekistan, Moldova, Azer-

Armenia: Mid-term progress report on the implementation of the UPR

Belarus)

baijan, Armenia) before IGOs,

recommendations

selected regional and interna-

Belarus: Forced Labour and the Pervasive Violation of Workers’ Rights

tional mechanisms and repre-

in Belarus

sentatives of influential States

Belarus: Note on political prisoners in Belarus

142 press releases
Judicial and quasi-judicial

Reports

Moldova: Torture and ill-treatment in Moldova, including in Transnistria:

procedures:

Partnerships: Civil Rights

Impunity Prevails

- Human Rights Committee:

Defenders; Norwegian

Uzbekistan: UBHRRL report on the occasion of the Universal Periodic

Uzbekistan and Belarus

Helsinki Committee; Human

Review of Uzbekistan (with support from FIDH)

Rights House Foundation

Tajikistan: Report on the implementation of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in Tajikistan, submitted with the
support of FIDH
Russia: Implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by the Russian Federation

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 69

70 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

The 2013 Congress was a milestone in the growth of FIDH membership, with 19 new member associations, notably from Europe and MENA
countries. FIDH is present in 6 new key countries (South Africa, Angola, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kuwait). Five associations that no
longer adhere to FIDH rules and principles either resigned or were excluded.
Half of the IB members are serving their first term on the Board. There are now 10 women and 12 men representing 21 countries, for the most
part from the South.
The willingness to strengthen international representation within the IB is laid out in the revised statutes with the number of vice-presidents of the
same nationality now being limited to two.

- Reinforce international representation of governing
bodies, and FIDH member and partner organisations

To this end, a videoconference system was installed to allow all EB members to participate in EB and other strategic meetings.
In addition, the intranet system for member organisations has been adapted to facilitate its use.

- Increase the participation of the three entities of FIDH To meet this objective, FIDH has:
in communications activities carried out by FIDH and - revised and developed its contacts with the heads of communications of member organisations;
its member organisations
- prepared a communication manual, listing methods and actions to be taken by FIDH and its members to increase interaction and visibility of
the movement;
- established a working group on FIDH communication within the IB, to increase the participation of IB members on this issue.
Regarding operations, member organisations were invited to participate in a dozen joint actions (such as on the detention of Ales Bialatski and
Nabeel Rajab, or on the situation in Turkey in the aftermath of the May demonstration in Taksim Place).

- Improve communication and the flow of information
among the different entities of FIDH

B. Institutional Communication:

- Increase opportunities for strategic discussion among In this regard, organising the FIDH Congress and its Forum on “Human Rights and Political Transition” that brought together more than 400
member organisations and within FIDH governing participants from all over the world was a major event in 2013.
bodies
Similarly, and in keeping with the Strategic Plan, 14 seminars were held (such as: a multi-country training activity on victim participation in
International Criminal Court proceedings; a training session for a Syrian NGO on the techniques of promoting human rights in the presence of
members from Afghanistan, the Sudan and Burma).
The post-Congress IB meeting was an opportunity to adapt FIDH’s methods for promoting strategic discussion and the sharing of experiences
between regions. This same IB meeting spent its first session on discussing the foreign policy of emerging countries.
Since the Congress, the organisation of the EB has changed. Every EB member present is responsible for preparing a written and/or oral report.

To follow-up on “FIDH + 10” discussions, the FIDH Congress in May 2013 voted to reform the statutes. Included in this reform is a clarification of
the role of senior level management (President, IB, Executive Board [EB] and Congress), and methods of interaction between FIDH and member
organisations. FIDH’s identity as a “world-wide movement that federates national human rights organisations” was unanimously adopted by its
member organisations.
Several tools were also developed and validated by the IBs in 2013 to meet this objective:
- internal standards for the role and duties of IB members;
- validation process for documents at the IS by the president and IB members;
- completion of organisational chart of IB members (indicating regions and/or themes);
- creation of a leaflet “Being a member of” for FIDH member organisations.
The post-Congress IB meeting enabled the newly elected members of the Board to take up their respective roles. The meeting was extended to
allow new IB members a day of training on the internal operations, processes, and the respective role of each of the entities.

- Clarify and formalize the role of the three entities
(Member Organisations-International Board [IB]International Secretariat [IS]) and the interaction
between these entities

A. Governance:

I. Reinforce interaction between member
organisations-international board-secretariat

OVERALL OBJECTIVES
AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

FIDH Organisational Challenges

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 71

A positive evaluation of the Guinea programme concluded that: “We thought that Guinean experience and the work done by the FIDH and
their local partner concerning the HR abuses from 2007+10 and the massacre of Sept 2009 was one of the most telling and an effective
example of an EU support to transitional justice.”

In 2013, FIDH implemented two new programmes, one in Libya (concerning the Amesys case) and another in Syria (to provide support to the
Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights, the Fraternity Center for Democracy and Civil Society). Further bilateral programmes for Burma and
Iran are being considered.

FIDH was responsible for creating bilateral action programmes (FIDH – member organisations) in Haiti, Guinea, Mali, DRC, Ivory Coast, and Belarus.
These programmes are designed to develop tools and strategies that are flexible and varied to increase cooperation with member organisations
and the effectiveness of actions (sharing office space, recruitment of local staff or consultants to implement joint actions, material support for
targeted member organisations).

Assigning responsibilities to IB/EB:
- presentation of the programming, report and activities evaluation kit; at the first post-Congress IB;
- reporting from EB members on the priorities of the upcoming month at monthly EB meetings.

- Reinforce the planning and evaluation process To meet this objective, FIDH has worked on two fronts:
to improve the flow, efficiency and prioritising to
increase the impact of activities
Improvements to existing tools:
- the format of the FIDH Annual Action Plan has been revised
- the FIDH Mission Manual has been revised, to include revision of the ToR des missions;
- the monitoring tables are now available and can be worked on via a single, shared platform.

A. Prioritisation and evaluation:

II. Strengthen the role of the international
secretariat

- Continue to provide support to member organisations For example, 53 international missions were carried out together with member organisations, 60 defenders and NGOs received material support,
and local partners in situations of risk
239 urgent appeals from the Observatory for the Protection of Defenders were produced and 20 joint interventions were made before the ACHPR
and the AU.

- Increase opportunities for operational partnering
with member organisations, similar to the joint
programmes conducted in Haiti and Guinea in the
past several years, and increase collaboration with
the regional networks

Several actions conducted in 2013 illustrate this priority:
100 advocacy activities with member organisations were held with the U.N., E.U., A.U., ACHPR, ICHR, LAS and the ICC with FIDH delegations.
14 seminars involving FIDH geographical or thematic teams, delegations and member organisations (such as a seminar on the reform of the League
of Arab States regarding the mandates and method of other regional mechanisms and institutions, held in Cairo in the presence of more than
50 representatives of national, regional and international organisations, as well as experts from different regional systems) were also conducted.

- Increase interactions among the regional desks and FIDH Development:
delegations and concerned member organisations
In 2013, FIDH counted on 4 delegations (to the U.N. in Geneva and New York; the E.U. in Brussels and to the ICC in The Hague) and 4 regional
offices in Bangkok, Nairobi, Cairo, and Tunis. FIDH is also working on opening an office in Lima where a communication consultant will be based
from early 2014. Finally, after establishing a joint FIDH-OGDH office in Conakry, a similar office was opened in 2013 in Bamako in the AMDH
premises, and in early 2014, an office will be opened in Abidjan at MIDH and LIDHO.

C. Operations:

OVERALL OBJECTIVES
AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

72 — F I D H R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3

Developments of the framework:
The report from the other working group comparing wages with other NGO remunerations led to a revision of the salary scale which was to become
effective in January 2014. Salary scales have been broadened to allow for further horizontal progression.

- Continue improvements to remuneration

- Continue to improve working conditions

FIDH’s team grew as a result of recruitment over a 12 to 18 month period by:
- an assistant for the Women and Migrants’ Rights Desk;
- a programme officer for the Western Europe zone;
- a computer technician;
- an accounting assistant.
In 2012, FIDH acquired an IMS (Integrated Management System). This is a tool for accounts, analyses and budgetary management. The system has
been in operation since January 1, 2013 and necessitated organisational changes in the finance section, several training sessions, and mobilisation of
the whole finance team. An external evaluation mandated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland concluded in early 2014, that “the implementing
of this new system has improved the reliability and transparency of the financial reporting.” Optimising the use of this tool and the development of its
budget management component will be priorities for 2014.
Finally, updating of Human Resources procedures began at the end of 2013, and will be completed in the Spring of 2014.

This year, as part of its staff support and recognition policy, FIDH developed its internal mobility and promotion policy. In application of this policy, the
FIDH team in New York will be expanded in 2014.
The format for the staff annual meeting that is meant to provide a more informal method for broaching questions and issues related to work organisation,
to human resources administration and management was redesigned to make it easier for a greater number of staff to speak and to develop interaction
between staff members.

- Continue to explore other forms of financial and non- Fourteen staff members received training (in management skills, public speaking and how to write press releases).
financial compensation for the IS
To implement this priority, and to respond to requests from staff at annual evaluation meetings, as well as to meet the needs for FIDH development,
an ambitious 2-year training plan will be developed for 2014-2015, to include 3 objectives:
- Train teams in budgetary and financial management and administration;
- Reinforce the use and uptake of information and communication technology (ICT) tools;
- Develop language skills.
These training sessions will be held outside of FIDH, but also internally in order to share the staff’s technical knowledge.

Salary progression:
Based on the above, and the status of FIDH finances, the policy of salary improvements continued in 2013.

The working group created in 2012 to define responsibilities has completed its mandate.
Following efforts by staff representatives and the steering committee, the following documents were finalised and adopted:
- Description of duties and positions for all staff members to permit the outlining of missions and responsibilities for each position and to capitalise
the different skills at the IS;
- Classification criteria, contributing to the evaluation of the level of responsibilities and taking into account the level of complexity for each position;
- A new classification grid of positions and duties (effective January 2014);
- Improvements to individual performance evaluation methodology, including to enhance follow-up measures.
Two directors participated in a management training programme in 2013.

- Clarify the roles and responsibilities at the IS

B. Improvement of working conditions and work
completion:

OVERALL OBJECTIVES
AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

F I DH R A P P O R T A N N U E L 2 0 1 3 — 73

- Diversity in the composition of missions, panels, and meetings
- The preferred use of the term “human rights” in FIDH publications (as opposed to “droits de l’Homme” in French);
- Advocacy to member organisations to encourage them to respect parity in their governing bodies.

The post-Congress International Board adopted a series of proposals, presented by the President in his Activities Report, aimed at reinforcing the role
of women in FIDH actions. The 3 main goals are:

On December 31, the IS was composed of 68% women and 32% men.

FIDH has identified a focal point, at the IS, to implement the “Alumni” programme to support the emergence of a new generation of defenders and to
ensure that youth are included in FIDH activities.

FIDH accepted more than 40 interns in 2013 at 5 sites.

FIDH consolidated its network of volunteer interpreters and translators (which includes more than 200 people) that support a wide range of FIDH’s
activities, from providing the interpretation for all FIDH’s International Board and Congress meetings to translating FIDH’s publications.

At the Congress, over 15 interviews were organised with presidents of member organisations that presenting the results and victories obtained together
with FIDH as well as the importance for these organisations to be members of the FIDH Movement. The interviews can be seen on the FIDH site, You
Tube and the social networks.

The FIDH Annual Report in cartoon form was published this year in English, French and Spanish and was broadly distributed and presented in the
social networks. Reactions were very positive and it has become an annual event to make FIDH actions better known and understood by a wider
public audience.

A digest of these impacts is presented periodically in the Newsletter and at the beginning of the year in cartoon form in the Annual Report: six Impacts
Newsletters (out of a total of 12 sent out) in English and in French have been sent to subscribers, member organisations, donors and Desk contacts.

- Build upon FIDH results and the impacts of its actions The impacts of FIDH actions are systematically presented in a special column on the English, French and Spanish versions of FIDH's website. Media
impacts are hi-lighted in a section called ‘Medias’.

A. Strengthen institutional communication:

III. Strengthen capacity to engage the public

C. External specialisations and recruitment

FIDH has developed its use of pro bono services with law firms with the development of its USA office (Proskauer firm) as well as with its Legal Action
Group (LAG) to meet the needs of legal analyses and amicus curiae in connection with legal actions to support victims of serious human rights violations.

FIDH continues to use the services of a chartered accountant and of lawyers specialised in labour law.

FIDH continued to rely on external expertise in the area of communication (especially audio and digital) and for data security. FIDH increases uses
consultants to support its research activities in the so-called “closed” countries, for example, and for victims.

- Increase diversity in the nationalities represented The team was composed of 15 nationalities.
among staff

- Develop staff training and apply the gender equality
policy

OVERALL OBJECTIVES
AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

74 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

- Develop FIDH presence in the media, especially
English-language and Arab-language media

In 2013 FIDH was cited in the media over 20,000 times, 72% more than in 2012. 611 press releases were sent to the media, compared with 571 in 2012.
The press strategy this year was guided by the aim of increasing the presence of FIDH in English-language and Arab-language media. Contacts with
these media were developed and a mission was sent to Toronto, Canada (meetings with Canadian Broadcasting Corp, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star,
etc.). From 2012 to 2013 the FIDH citation rate rose 56% in the English-language media (from 4008 to 6242 times) and 222% in the Arab-language
media (from 438 to 1414 times).
FIDH’s aim for 2014 is to enhance relations with the media in the Americas. A communications consultant based in Lima will be recruited to tackle
this challenge.
The Press Service also relied increasingly in 2013 on the FIDH member organisations and the decentralised offices to promote certain activities. Media
coverage of the report entitled “Bloggers and Netizens Behind Bars: Restriction on Internet Freedom in Vietnam” produced together with the FIDH
Vietnamese member organisation, Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) was excellent. Articles on the report were published in Le Monde
(France), the Los Angeles Times (USA), and The Guardian (UK).
The decentralised offices also organised media events. The Cairo office, for instance, organised a press conference when the Annual Report of the
Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders was published. Considering their spillover effect, the involvement of the decentralised
offices in press activities should be further developed.
More generally, in order to satisfy journalists’ preferences concerning formatting of our communications and their media scheduling, training was
provided to nearly all FIDH staff working with the international media represented in France (France 24, TV5 Monde, and Libération).

Finally, the 2013 Congress was a unique opportunity to underscore for our member organizations their essential role when it comes to FIDH’s visibility
and the value of their belonging to the movement. The FIDH logo appears on around 30 of our member organizations’ websites, and the logo “FIDH
member” on about 15 of their websites. Increased interaction between FIDH Communications Bureau and our member organizations should contribute
to improving this visibility in 2014.

- Increase the visibility and name recognition of FIDH, Based on the Communications Master Plan 2011, the use of the standalone acronym FIDH was progressively integrated into the internal work of the
particularly through a review and analysis of its name SI and BI. FIDH will continue its efforts to streamline FIDH’s public image, particularly among journalists, through the use of its logo.
and tagline
The tagline “Worldwide human rights movement,” adopted at the end 2013, began to be used on FIDH’s public communications, to establish the
identity of the movement. In 2014, the tagline will be especially integrated into our #ForFreedom campaign in support of human rights defenders.

B. Strengthen media communications

Examples of actions (mobilisation and operations) carried out together with the member organisations:
- About 15 calls for action were sent out in 2013 to FIDH's 178 members. Members’ reactions were uneven and depended on their proximity to the
country or the theme involved. The message that generated the most reactions from member organisations was the open letter to the Turkish authorities
following the events in Gezi just a few days after the FIDH Congress in Istanbul, co-signed by some 30 member organisations.
- Support for the Vietnamese bloggers: FIDH, launched a campaign with VCHR to support the Vietnamese bloggers, a Thunderclap, and a Twitter
and email campaign that created the awareness and stimulated the participation of close to 500,000 people on the ill-known situation of the bloggers
who were jailed in Vietnam.
- Fight for human rights: an exhibit of 25 photos of human rights defenders was organised together with the FIDH member organisation in Indonesia,
KontraS, in Djakarta last September to pay tribute to the daily commitment and activities of these defenders. The exhibit was well attended although,
unfortunately, there were no government representatives. The exhibit reached its goal of presenting the international dimension of the defenders’ actions.

- Develop tools on FIDH and its activities that can Continue and finalise the tools:
easily be used by member organisations
- Dissemination, during the Congress, of the handbook on the resources and tools available to the members to optimise their FIDH membership and
hence give greater visibility to the Movement;
- identification and management of a communications services network for the member organisations.

OVERALL OBJECTIVES
AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 75

During this same period, an action plan that included the recruitment of a digital communications officer was prepared. For 2014 the main goal will be
to increase and stimulate the communities on the social networks.

By expanding and professionalising the production of video interviews, and the production/use of photos, and by making the cartoon version of the
Annual Report and through FIDH infographics, FIDH has developed tools that were, in particular, used on the FIDH site and on the social networks,
and also contributed to increasing the number of fans on Facebook from 13,435 at end 2012 to 18,188 by end 2013.
Special operations were carried out on the social networks, e.g. the Twitter and Tumblr campaign last February to obtain the release of Nabeel Rajab.

- Optimise the use of this output on the web and
on social networks and through partnerships with
selected media

All the videos have been published on YouTube and social networks but FIDH aims to further optimise and professionalise the utilisation of these
videos on social networks in 2014 by making our posts better adapted to them, more interactive, with proposals for action by users, as was the case
with the video on Belarus made during the World Ice Hockey Championship.

- Continue to professionalise FIDH audiovisual output In 2013 videos were made of 25 testimonies and interviews of defenders and experts.
And two full-length films were produced, one on the prisons in Haiti which was broadcast on Arte, the Franco-German channel and the second on the
fight against impunity and the support for Guinean victims. It was completed at end 2013 and broadcast on a Senegalese channel. It will be used in
Guinea in 2014 for lobbying and educational purposes.

D. Develop and optimise audiovisual productions

Here again, recruting a digital communications officer in 2014 has made it possible to improve the strategy, especially in terms of interaction with the
followers and the users and to create and manage office accounts.

-
S trengthen communication on Twitter in the Twitter has become an essential tool for influence and has been incorporated into FIDH's strategy. In 2013 FIDH’s Twitter strategy was mainly to make
various working languages of FIDH and its member the staff aware of the use of Twitter – in order to prioritise information from the field, including reactions and analysis of developments – to be better
organisations
connected to current events and to interact more with the member organisations. This method contributed to enriching the contents of the FIDH
accounts, and to increasing the number of followers by twice.

On the whole, site visits are increasing for all languages: the number of hits rose from 2012 to 2013 as follows: +163.08% in Farsi, +37.84% in English,
+22.53% in Arabic, +42.57% in Russian, +24.69% in Spanish and +14.34% in French. The number of pages per session went down (-9.53%) and so
did the duration of the visits (-6.18%), but this may be caused by the links, videos, that often encourage the visitor to leave the site to follow the links.

Multiligualism has been systematised for the front page publications (Carousel). Accordingly; 683 articles were published on line in English, 491 in
French, 198 in Spanish, 82 in Arabic, 75 in Russian, and 53 in Farsi, and a Turkish section was created for the Istanbul Congress period.
Further use was made of photos, videos and web tools to illustrate the articles on the site.

- Professionalise the Internet site by strengthening The editorial strategy has been strengthened a several levels:
the editorial strategy and adapting the strategy on In order to better reflect our Movement, our member organisations’ RSS flows are systematically relayed, when they exist, and the positions and
multilingualism
actions of the member organisations on important subjects or current events are published on the FIDH site.

- Optimise the presence of the social networks on the
web by adopting special tools: web applications,
blogs, site, wiki, and by training staff fo use these
tools

OVERALL OBJECTIVES
AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

76 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

The fundraising department was strengthened with the fixed term position of a fundraising officer being developed into a permanent position.

This subject was discussed at the FIDH Congress. The Congress adopted the proposal from the International Board to reformulate the goals of
membership fees, and how they contribute to FIDH, by stipulating that “membership fees contribute to the functioning and development of FIDH”. A
new method for monitoring and informing members was introduced to improve the system of obtaining membership fees.

Besides being of relevance to the local actors, these programmes have enabled FIDH to build up new partnerships with key donors.

On the basis of experience garnered through programmes on Guinea, Conakry and Belarus, among others, further bilateral programmes were developed
with member and partner organisations on the situation in Syria and Libya in 2013.

- Develop communication tools that optimise FIDH To this end, FIDH continued to develop attractive communication tools to present FIDH's impacts, such as newsletters, comic strip annual report and
impacts in order to inform and retain donors and to numerous videos. Furthermore, all of the tools developed in the framework of the strategy targeting social media are shared with donors.
attract prospective donors

- Create special events to identify and establish In 2013, FIDH’s efforts focussed on the annual gala dinner that brought together close to 300 people at the Paris City Hall. The President of the Support
contact with large donors and to increase this source Commitee oversees the follow up on the participants.
of funding

- Enhance our human resources to enhance interaction
with these donors

B. Increase efforts to mobilise resources focusing
primarily on large private and institutional
donors, and increase fund raising activities at the
international level

- Revise membership fees to keep them in line with the
capacity of member organisations to pay

- Support the development of bilateral programmes
with member organisations

A. Increase interaction with the member
organisations:

IV. Develop financial resources

OVERALL OBJECTIVES
AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 77

In 2013, the yield from the SICAV ethical fund created by FIDH, called Libertés & Solidarité, increased significantly. This fund is both an advocacy tool
D. Explore the role of FIDH as a service provider
and a source of funding, and has been identified as having a strong potential for development. With this in mind, in 2014 FIDH will work to broaden
and other new, innovative sources of funding
the investment universe for the fund.

-
O rganise an annual meeting of donors on an A donor meeting was held at the FIDH 38th International Congress bringing together representatives from 10 of FIDH's key funders and FIDH
experimental basis using the new multi-year strategic International Board members and staff. It provided an opportunity to discuss FIDH's strategic vision and interaction with its partners. Feedback received
plan
from the participants was very positive and plans were made to organise another meeting of this kind.

The top ten donors contributed 77% of funds in 2013. Core funding represents 40 % of total funds.

- Develop and ensure the permanency of partnerships In 2013, FIDH’s significant efforts over the past few years to consolidate its resources and diversify sources of funding, including strengthening its
with donors interested in engaging or intensifying fundraising team, have borne fruit. For the first time, FIDH's budget topped the 7M mark.
long-lasting, high-quality relations with FIDH
(multi-year support, operational funding or funding FIDH's total resources for 2013 amounted to 6,766,970 Euros, an increase of 14.50 % when compared with 2012.
connected to the institutional development of FIDH)
FIDH succeeded in building partnerships with new funders, including the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BMZ), Danish Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and the Arab Group for Development and National Empowerment. In 2013, the Ford Foundation chose FIDH among the seven leading international
human rights organizations that it considers will strengthen and diversify the global human rights movement and enable it to confront the abuses that
violate the dignity and lives of the most vulnerable, stating, “FIDH is today recognized among the most vibrant and dynamic human rights organizations”.

C. Strengthen partnerships with selected
strategic donors

OVERALL OBJECTIVES
AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

Financial Report 2013
EXpenses

En euro

10,3%

11,3%

3,1%
0,7%
4,1%

5,3%
5,6%

667 848

3,1 % Promoting women’s rights

197 776

0,7 % Promoting migrants’ rights

44 963

4,1 % Promoting effective justice systems that respect human rights

3,1%

26,1%

10,3 % Supporting human rights defenders

3,1 % Strenghtening respect for human rights in the context of globalisation 201 803

30,4%

30,4 % Defending democratic principles and supporting victims
of the most serious violations in situations of conflict,
closed countries or States in transition

1 966 456

26,1 % To reinforce FIDH network

1 690 998

5,6 % To reinforce external mobilisation capacity

363 192

5,3 % Logistic costs for actions

344 526

11,3 % Fundraising and administrative costs (incl. 1,6 % provisions)

INCOME

6,0%

0,3%

264 737

725 171

Total Expenses* : 6 467 470

3,3% 

En euro 

3,3 % Membership fees and contributions

60,7%
29,7%

221 661

60,7 % Earmarked grants and donations

4 104 875

29,7 % Non-earmarked grants and donations

2 011 248

6,0 % Reversal of provisions and other income
0,3 % Financial and extraordinary income

410 394
18 792
Total Income* : 6 766 970



FINANCIal RePORT 2012
EXpenses
17,0%

En euro

4,2% 2,3%
0,7%

4,2 % Supporting human rights defenders

222 760

2,3 % Promoting women’s rights

122 810

0,7 % Promoting migrants’ rights

11,8%

35 756

11,8 % Promoting the rule of law and fight against impunity

2,3%

6,1 % Strenghtening respect for human rights in the context of globalisation 329 367

7,0%

9,7 % Strenghtening international and regional instruments & mechanisms
of protection
522 657

6,1%

17,7 % Supporting respect for human rights & the rule of law in times
of conflict, emergency or political transition
21,2 % To reinforce FIDH network

9,7%
21,2%
17,7%

INCOME

634 619

7,8%

0,6%

7,0 % To reinforce external mobilisation capacity

376 883

2,3 % Logistic costs for actions

123 515

17,0 % Fundraising and administrative costs (incl. 5,6 % provisions)

4,8%

910 847

Total Expenses* : 5 362 265

En euro 

4,8 % Membership fees and contributions
52,9%
33,9%

264 421

52,9 % Earmarked grants and donations

2 901 101

33,9 % Non-earmarked grants and donations

1 855 918

7,8 % Reversal of provisions and other income
0,6 % Financial and extraordinary income

429 560
29 310
Total Income* : 5 480 310

* excluding dedicated funds
NB: The audited annual accounts are available and can be consulted on FIDH's website : www.fidh.org
78 — F I D H A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3

948 029
1 135 022

Acknowledgements
FIDH would like to thank the institutions, foundations and corporations that support its actions, in particular:

International and national
institutions

Foundations, associations and
other institutions

Corporations

Conseil national des droits de l'Homme
du Maroc, European Commission, German Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development, International Organisation of La Francophonie,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France,
Irish Aid, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
the Netherlands, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Swedish International
Development Cooperation Agency, Unesco, United Nations Voluntary Fund for
Victims of Torture.

Arab Group for Development and National Empowerment, Bread for the
World, Fondation de France, Fondation
Un Monde par Tous, Ford Foundation,
Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Humanity
United, Infans, Mairie de Paris, Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust,
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation, OAK Fondation.

BCRH & Associés, Caisse des dépôts
et consignations, Carrefour solidarités, Curiouser, Dailymotion, Domplus,
Fondation Orange, France Médias
Monde, France télévisions, Europe 1,
Gandi, Google France, Havas, Kyodo,
La Banque postale, LBPAM, La Poste,
Le Guide du Routard, Ligne de Front,
Limite, Macif, Publicis, Ricol Lasteyrie,
SNCF, TV5 Monde, Unibail Rodamco,
Vivendi, Voyageurs du Monde.

FIDH would like to thank also the Support Committee, chaired by Denis Olivennes, as well as all the individuals, national and
international non-governmental organisations and intergovermental organisations who responded to its requests for support.
Finally, FIDH extends its sincere gratitude to the members of the Legal Action Group (GAJ), its mission representatives, and to
the 200 professional translators and interpreters who volunteer their time to support FIDH’s work.

F I DH A N N U a L R e P O R T 2 0 1 3 — 79

FIDH
represents 178

human rights organisations
on
5 continents

FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights
17, passage de la Main-d’Or - 75011 Paris - France
CCP Paris: 76 76 Z
Tel: (33-1) 43 55 25 18 / Fax: (33-1) 43 55 18 80
www.fidh.org