UN Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN with a mandate to work on a voluntary basis on a specific topic (e.g. torture, freedom of expression, or the right to water) or on a geographical region (e.g. Iraq, Syria, Myanmar).
ECCHR has appealed to five UN special rapporteurs on behalf of two injured demonstrators who were shot by security forces during the Egyptian protests in spring 2011. ECCHR is calling for adequate support to be given to the men and their families.
ECCHR supported the case of the German victim of a drone strike in Pakistan, Bünyamin E. According to ECCHR’s examinations, the case raises a number of serious doubts as to the application and interpretation of the law and shows insufficient investigations.
Bayer CropScience sells highly toxic pesticides in India. The company fails to ensure that consumers are adequately informed of both the dangers of pesticides and the requisite protective measures.
Rescue at sea
For years, Italy has intimidated, threatened and prosecuted sea rescues that provide vital humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean. To counter this, ECCHR submitted a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders regarding Sea-Watch 3 crew members, in particular Captain Carola Rackete.
Rescue at sea
The NGO ship Iuventa (owned and operated by German organization Jugend Rettet) has been rescuing refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Libyan coast, thereby providing crucial aid to those abandoned by state-administered sea rescue. In August 2017, Italian authorities seized the Iuventa, preventing any further rescue missions. In May 2022, pre-trial proceedings against four crew members began.
Mining projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America often give rise to environmental problems and social conflict. Local communities near the Tintaya Antapaccay mine in Peru have raised concerns about heavy metals polluting the water and associated health problems. The mine is run by a Glencore subsidiary.
Sexual and gender-based violence
On behalf of 28 survivors of sexual slavery during Second World War in the Philippines, ECCHR and CenterLaw submitted a communication to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. They call for the acknowledgement of the crimes and reparations.
The Spanish judiciary brought charges against judge Garzón, who declared his court competent to undertake preliminary investigations into the enforced disappearance, torture and execution during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship. Garzón was acquitted of the charges later-on. It remains doubtful whether Spain is willing to independently adress the past atrocities.
Since the final stage of the Sri Lankan civil war, ECCHR has been working to ensure that high-ranking military personnel and (former) members of the Sri Lankan government and security forces are prosecuted for their role in war crimes, crimes against humanity and sexual violence.
Sri Lanka must comply with its international obligations in the fight against gender-based discrimination. The country should bring its law in line with the UN Convention on Women.
In March 2009, ECCHR partner lawyer Gonzalo Boye filed a criminal complaint against six former US officials of the Bush administration regarding their accountability for violations of international law, including war crimes and torture. The US officials became known as the “Bush Six.”
As a signatory of the Convention against Torture, the US is obliged to prosecute for these crimes. Nevertheless, there is evidence concerning the torture program after 11 September 2001 with a particular focus on the liability of high ranking US officials, including former President Bush.
Between 2004 and 2007, three complaints were filed in Germany and in France against members of the US Government, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and members of the military forces in connection with war crimes, torture and other criminal acts in the military prisons of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib.