Impact of the work of Special Procedures: Prevention and/or cessation of human rights violations

Egypt releases LGBTIQ+ human rights defender from prison

On 20 March 2019, eight Special Procedures mandate holders issued a joint urgent appeal (EGY 4/2019) concerning the alleged arbitrary arrest and detention of Ms. Malak Al-Kashif, a transgender woman and LGBTIQ human rights defender who had been detained since 6 March 2019 for calling for peaceful protests to denounce how the Ramses Station Accident was handled by the authorities. Following the coordinated solidarity and focused attention in her case from outside Egypt, including by Special Procedures, Ms. Malak Al-Kashif was released on 16 July 2019.

Other Impact: Mechanisms of Redress – Victim Support

Thailand withdraws extradition order and Australia grants citizenship to a refugee

On 7 December 2018, the Special Rapporteur on torture and the Working Group on arbitrary detention issued a joint communication alleging that Mr. Hakeem Ali Mohamed Alaraibi, a refugee and former member of Bahrain's national football team, faced the imminent risk of being deported from Thailand to Bahrain despite the clear possibility of being persecuted and tortured (THA 5/2018). Following that communication, and in agreement with the Government of Bahrain, the Government of Thailand confirmed that the extradition order had been formally withdrawn and that Mr. Alaraibi had been released (Thailand's 14 March 2019 reply). Subsequently, the Prime Minister of Australia also confirmed that Mr. Alaraibi was granted citizenship.

Other Impact: Mechanisms of Redress – Victim Support

Supreme Court in Korea upholds conscientious objection as a valid reason to refuse military service and releases two conscientious objectors from prison

The Working Group on arbitrary detention adopted Opinion No. 40/2018 on 20 August 2018 concerning two individuals who have each been sentenced to terms of imprisonment because of their contentious objection to undertaking military service in the Republic of Korea (A/HRC/WGAD/2018/40). On 30 August 2018, the Working Group's opinion was submitted the Supreme Court of Korea for its consideration. Subsequently, on 1 November 2018, the Supreme Court, drawing upon the jurisprudence of international bodies, ruled that that conscientious objection was a valid reason to refuse military service under the State's domestic legislation (Military Service Act), and the two conscientious objectors were then released. While there was other public advocacy for change in the Republic of Korea, the Working Group's opinion played a part in changing domestic law through its citation in the Supreme Court proceedings.

Other Impact: Contribution to Governmental and/or Judicial Processes and Legislative Reform

European Union suspends project in Kenya resulting in reduced social tensions and preventing forcible evictions

Following several communications by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples (OTH 1/2018; KEN 1/2018; KEN 7/2017; KEN 1/2017; KEN 1/2014), an EU funded project to be implemented by the government of Kenya was suspended, which stopped forcible evictions of the Sengwer indigenous people from their forest lands and a reduction of social tension.

Afghanistan pardons and releases young journalist initially sentenced to death and then to 20 years in prison

After being held for nearly two years, Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, a young journalist who was sentenced to death and then to 20 years in prison in Afghanistan for downloading an article about the rights of women in Islam, was pardoned and released. In the meantime, he has left the country for fear of reprisals. The issue had been raised in a joint urgent communication sent by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, and the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances on 28 January 2008 (AFG 1/2008).

Other Impact: Mechanisms of Redress – Access to Reparation Mechanisms and Victim Support