Our Global Fight for Human Rights
In his new book "Law versus Power", Wolfgang Kaleck, founder and General Secretary of ECCHR, discusses what motivated him to begin fighting for human rights through legal means. After a book tour through the US in January (e.g. at UCLA School of Law, Stanford Law School, Human Rights Center at Berkeley Law), Kaleck will present his book in Berlin in February.
The Regional Court in Dortmund will not investigate the facts in the case against textile retailer KiK. In January 2019, the court rejected the lawsuit, which aimed to clarify KiK's joint responsibility for the fire safety deficiencies at a supplier factory in Pakistan, referring to a statutory limitation. KiK had initially agreed to waive a possible statutory limitation, but later insisted that this waiver was void.
Torture, enforced disappearances and executions of political opponents are only some of the crimes committed by the Syrian government. There is little prospect of accountability on an international level. Several European states opened criminal investigations to hold those to account who have committed international crimes. In Sweden, this could be made possible through the principle of universal jurisdiction. On 20 February 2019 in Stockholm, we will discuss the possible legal steps of the Swedish judiciary together with torture survivors and human rights activists from Syria as well as Swedish organization Civil Rights Defenders.
The almost global capacity to conduct airstrikes anytime, anywhere: that is one of the most distinctive features of armed drones – and therefore a new dimension of warfare. The US military bases at Ramstein (Germany) and Sigonella (Italy) play a crucial role in US drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. ECCHR uses legal means to seek an end to unlawful killings by armed drones.
After Germany, Sweden and France, also Austrian authorities are investigating into the Syrian intelligence services for their role in systematic torture. The investigations were after 16 Syrian submitted a criminal complaint in May 2018. "I hope that Austria will issue arrest warrants against senior officials of Assad's torture system," said one of the complainants, who was tortured by the military intelligence service. In June 2018, in Germany similar complaints contributed to an arrest warrant against the head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Service.
War and persecution, exploitation and severe hardship force people to leave their homes and make the life-threatening journey to Europe. But violence and unlawfulness do not end at the borders of Europe. Together with refugees and migrants, ECCHR makes legal interventions against push-backs and fights to enforce applicable human rights. Because everyone has the fundamental right to have rights.