UN finds that Australia breaches right to equality in same-sex divorce

United Nations Human Rights Committee – Views adopted by the Committee under article 5(4) of the Optional Protocol (CCPR/C/119/D/2216/2012)

The UN Human Rights Committee has held that Australia violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by failing to provide access to divorce proceedings for same-sex couples married overseas. The Committee reasoned that the differential treatment of same-sex couples as compared with overseas polygamous and adolescent marriages (between persons aged from 16 to 18 years) constituted discrimination under article 26 of the Covenant.

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ECHR finding that UN sanctions in Switzerland incompatible with international human rights

Case of Al-Dulimi and Montana Management Inc v Switzerland (Application no. 5809/08) (21 June 2016) 

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has delivered another decision in the long line of cases dealing with the relationship between sanctions by the United Nations Security Council (UN Security Council), and international human rights. By 15 votes to 2, the Grand Chamber found that Swiss courts did not provide meaningful judicial review of the applicant’s sanctions listings by the Sanctions Committee of the Security Council (Sanctions Committee). It therefore found a violation of Article 6(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).  In doing so the Grand Chamber upheld the presumption, highlighted in previous cases that Security Council sanctions are to be interpreted on the basis that they are compatible with international human rights.

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UN Human Rights Committee upholds freedom of association in Belarus

UN Human Rights Committee, Korneenko v Belarus, UN Doc CCPR/C/105/D/1226/2003 (29 August 2012) 

Viktor Korneenko resides in Gomel, Belarus, where he was the chairperson of the Gomel regional association of Civil Initiatives. This NGO was involved in election monitoring in Belarus. Civil Initiatives was dissolved by court order after Belarusian authorities fined Korneenko and confiscated the organisation’s computer equipment on the basis that Koreenko had violated a temporary presidential decree banning the use of computer equipment, received as “untied foreign aid”, from being used for political purposes.

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Excessive use of force against protesters by police violated prohibition against torture and ill-treatment

Gamarra v Paraguay, UN Doc CCPR/C/104/D/1829/2008 (30 May 2012)

The UN Human Rights Committee has found that the use of force by the Paraguay police against peaceful demonstrators was disproportionate, constituting a violation of article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Paraguay was also found to have contravened article 2, paragraph 3 of the Covenant by depriving the demonstrators with access to an effective remedy in relation to the human rights violations.

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Government defies UN directive to return deported man to Australia

Australia is flagrantly violating its international human rights obligations and undermining the rule of law by refusing to abide by a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee – the world’s highest expert human rights body. In the landmark decision of Nystrom v Australia issued in September 2011, the Committee held that Australia violated the human rights of a permanent resident, Stefan Nystrom, by deporting him to Sweden.

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Failure to prevent avoidable maternal death violates rights to life, health and non-discrimination

Alyne da Silva Pimentel Teixeira (deceased) v Brazil, CEDAW, UN Doc CEDAW/C/49/D/17/2008 (2011)

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has found that Brazil’s failure to prevent the avoidable maternal death of Alyne da Silva, a 28-year-old Brazilian woman of African descent, violated articles 2 and 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), in conjunction with article 1. The Committee’s landmark decision is the first maternal mortality case decided by a UN treaty body.

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Who is a ‘Victim’ with Standing to Bring a Complaint under the ICCPR?

Fatima Andersen v Denmark, UN Doc CCPR/C/99/D/1868/2009 (26 July 2010)

The UN Human Rights Committee has held that to be a 'victim' under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights requires the identification of specific consequences of the conduct that forms the basis of the complaint, such consequences specifically affecting the alleged victim.

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UN Human Rights Committee Rules on Family Contact with Prisoners

Tornel v Spain, UN Doc CCPR/C/95/D/1473/2006 (24 April 2009)

The UN Human Rights Committee has held that the rights of a prisoner's relatives to protection from arbitrary interference with their family life, protected under art 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, will be infringed if prison authorities adopt a 'passive attitude' to keeping them informed of significant changes in the prisoner's heath.

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