The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health ::
Holistic Development :: Sustainable Resilience
Week ending 29 November 2014

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortiums and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
Editor &
Founding Managing Director
GE2P2 – Center for Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

pdf verion: The Sentinel_ week ending 29 November 2014

blog edition: comprised of the 35+ entries posted below on 30 November 2014

UNAIDS Executive Director delivers his World AIDS Day 2014 message

UNAIDS Executive Director delivers his World AIDS Day 2014 message
[Full text]
On this World AIDS Day, let us also reflect on the lives lost to Ebola, on the countries and people affected by the outbreak in West Africa.

The Ebola outbreak reminds us of the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. People were hiding and scared. Stigma and discrimination were widespread. There were no medicines and there was little hope.

But today, thanks to global solidarity, social mobilization and civil society activism, we have been able, together, to transform tragedy into opportunity. We have been able to break the conspiracy of silence, to reduce the price of medicines and break the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic. This has saved millions of lives.

We now have to break the epidemic for good. If we don’t, it could spring back and it will be impossible to end.

We have a short five-year window of opportunity to reach the people who are being left behind, people who have been denied their rights—young women and adolescent girls, men who have sex with men, migrants, prisoners, sex workers, people who inject drugs.

To do this we need to ensure that health systems are strengthened to provide the essential services that are needed and civil society has to be supported so it can continue to play its vital role.

On World AIDS Day 2014, it is time to redouble our efforts, to fast-track our actions and close the gap between people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services and people who are being left behind.

By fast-tracking countries, cities and communities we can reach people most affected by HIV. And with Fast-Track Targets like 90–90–90 we can ensure that, by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of people who know their HIV positive status are on treatment and that 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads.

So, let us join together this World AIDS Day to close the gap and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

On World AIDS Day, Secretary-General Calls on World Leaders to Unite in Common Cause to End Epidemic by 2030
26 November 2014
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December.

Secretary-General Expresses ‘Utmost Gratitude’ to Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos Following Her Decision to Step Down

Secretary-General Expresses ‘Utmost Gratitude’ to Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos Following Her Decision to Step Down
26 November 2014
The following statement by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was issued today:

Valerie Amos has informed me of her intention to step down as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. I would like to express my utmost gratitude for her outstanding service to the United Nations, the humanitarian community and people in need.

Ms. Amos has led the humanitarian response of the United Nations and partners, including non-governmental organizations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, national authorities, civil society, the private sector and many others, to devastating natural disasters and conflicts. Her extensive experience, leadership and work in partnership with principals from the humanitarian community has helped find solutions for people who are facing the worst experiences in their lives.

Ms. Amos has tirelessly advocated for people around the world affected by disaster and conflict. For her, people have always come first. She also worked closely with humanitarian workers who often risk their own lives to serve people most in need.

At a time when the humanitarian system is particularly stretched, Ms. Amos also led the preparations for my World Humanitarian Summit to be held in 2016, which will identify new ways to tackle humanitarian needs in our fast-changing world and set a new agenda for global humanitarian action.

Letter to OCHA Staff, Valerie Amos Announces Resignation, 26 November 2014

UNCHR: Zeid urges restraint, and determined effort to root out institutionalized discrimination in wake of U.S. Ferguson verdict

UNCHR: Zeid urges restraint, and determined effort to root out institutionalized discrimination in wake of U.S. Ferguson verdict
The following statement was issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in Geneva on 25 November 2014
The Grand Jury’s decision not to charge a police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has led to violent protests, including looting and arson. I urge all protestors to avoid violence and destruction in the wake of this decision, in accordance with the expressed wishes of Mr. Brown’s parents and with the law. People have the right to express their dismay and their disagreement with the Grand Jury’s verdict, but not to cause harm to others, or to their property, in the process.

Without knowing the details of the evidence laid before the Missouri Grand Jury – which in turn depends on the quality of the investigation into the killing of Michael Brown – I am not, at this point, able to comment on whether or not the verdict conforms with international human rights law.

Nevertheless, I am deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers, as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans in U.S. prisons and the disproportionate number of African Americans on Death Row.

It is clear that, at least among some sectors of the population, there is a deep and festering lack of confidence in the fairness of the justice and law enforcement systems. I urge the US authorities to conduct in-depth examinations into how race-related issues are affecting law enforcement and the administration of justice, both at the federal and state levels.

Concerns about institutionalized discrimination in the US have repeatedly been raised, by respected national bodies and by UN bodies monitoring the implementation of international human rights treaties, ratified by the US. These include, this year alone, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the Human Rights Committee.* In addition, just two weeks ago, Michael Brown’s parents addressed the Committee against Torture** which is currently reviewing the United States’ application of its obligations under the Convention against Torture. That committee will deliver its conclusions on Friday.

Coming just three days after a 12-year-old African-American boy, Tamir Rice, was shot dead by police in Cleveland, Ohio, because he was holding a non-lethal replica gun, the high number of gun-related deaths in the United States is once again in focus. In many countries, where real guns are not so easily available, police tend to view boys playing with replica guns as precisely what they are, rather than as a danger to be neutralized.

Any use of firearms by police must be in accordance with the UN’s Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.Article 9 of the Basic Principles clearly states that ‘Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.’

I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the families of both Michael Brown and Tamir Rice. Mr. Brown’s parents’ tremendous dignity and deep anguish for their lost son profoundly impressed everyone they met when they were here in Geneva, and have once again been demonstrated, despite their evident disappointment, by their call for protests to remain peaceful after last night’s verdict.”

* The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reviewed the US in August 2014 and the Human Rights Committee reviewed the US in March 2014. Both expert committees expressed concerns about a number of issues, including racial profiling by law enforcement officials; gun-related deaths and injuries which disproportionately affect members of racial and ethnic minorities; brutality and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against members of racial and ethnic minorities, including against unarmed individuals; and that members of racial and ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans, continue to be disproportionately arrested, incarcerated and subjected to harsher sentences, including life imprisonment without parole and the death penalty.

The full concluding observations are available at:

** The Committee Against Torture reviewed the US on November 12 and 13. Its concluding observations will be available on Friday at:

CAT – Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 53 Session (03 Nov 2014 – 28 Nov 2014)

CAT – Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
53 Session (03 Nov 2014 – 28 Nov 2014)
The UN Committee against Torture concluded its 53rd session on Friday 28 November in Geneva. The Committee’s session documentation on each State Party below are published here:

The video webcasts of the Session are organized by State Party and available here:

Selected issues discussed during the session are summarized below [full text from announcement with links to session Concluding Observations for each State Party reporting during 53rd Session].

SWEDEN: Restrictions on remand prisoners; excessive length of pre-trial detention; wide use of solitary confinement; no separate juvenile justice system; coercive measures, including physical restraints and isolation in psychiatric institutions and hospitals; detention of asylum seekers and irregular immigrants; race hate crimes; absence of definition of torture as defined in the Convention against Torture.

UKRAINE: Slow investigations, lack of accountability regarding excessive use of force by police in connection with protests since November 2013; reports of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearances, killings in areas under control of armed groups, notably in Donetsk and Lugansk regions; high rate of mortality among prisoners, mainly from tuberculosis; increase in the number of deaths and suicides in custody; high rate of domestic violence.

VENEZUELA: Large number of detentions; allegations of torture and ill-treatment of people detained after demonstrations February-July 2014; military participation in halting demonstrations and attacks allegedly committed by pro-government armed groups; attacks on and intimidation against human rights defenders; independence of the judiciary; the case of judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni.

BURUNDI: Allegations of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials and prison officers; sub-standard conditions of detention; no independent body to monitor places of detention; high numbers in custody and pre-trial detention; political violence; the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

AUSTRALIA: Violence against women; trafficking in persons; indigenous people in the criminal justice system; compliance with non-refoulement obligations under the Convention; mandatory immigration detention for unauthorised arrivals, including children; offshore processing of asylum seekers claims; work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

USA: Extraterritorial application of the Convention; inquiries into allegations of torture overseas; Guantanamo Bay detention facilities, transfer of detainees and reliance on diplomatic assurances; interrogation techniques; solitary confinement; use of death penalty; sexual violence, including rape, in prisons; excessive use of force by police, police brutality; sexual abuse in the US military.

CROATIA: Failure to guarantee access to fundamental legal safeguards against torture for detainees, such as immediate access to a lawyer; insufficient monitoring of places of deprivation of liberty; amnesties for acts of torture; violence against women; situation of people in psychiatric establishments; lack of information regarding application of non-refoulement principle.

KAZAKHSTAN: Torture and ill-treatment to extract “voluntary confessions” to show crimes solved; disregard of complaints about torture in judicial proceedings; forced placement in psychiatric institutions of anti-corruption activists, human rights defenders; high number of deaths in custody, especially of persons infected with HIV/AIDs; high incidence of violence among prisoners; use of internal troops, including masked guards, to maintain security in prison.

CESCR – International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

CESCR – International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
53 Session (10 Nov 2014 – 28 Nov 2014)
28 November 2014

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights this afternoon concluded its fifty-third session after adopting its concluding observations and recommendations on the reports of Viet Nam, Portugal, Finland, Montenegro, Guatemala, Slovenia, Nepal and Romania, which were reviewed during the session.

The concluding observations and recommendations will be available on the Committee’s webpage by the end of the day on Monday, 1 December. The Committee’s fifty-fourth session will be held from 23 February to 6 March 2015, during which it is scheduled to consider the reports of Gambia, Paraguay and Tajikistan on how they implement the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

UNODC: Global report on trafficking in persons 2014

UNODC: Global report on trafficking in persons
November 2014
The UNODC Global Report 2014 is the second of its kind mandated by the General Assembly. It covers 128 countries and provides an overview of patterns and flows of trafficking in persons at global, regional and national levels, based on trafficking cases detected between 2010 and 2012 (or more recent). The Global Report 2014 highlights the role of organized crime in trafficking in persons, and includes an analytical chapter on how traffickers operate. The worldwide response to trafficking in persons is also a focus of this edition of the Global Report.

Trafficking in persons is a truly global phenomenon: between 2010 and 2012, victims from at least 153 countries were detected in 124 countries worldwide. A great majority of the victims detected are females, although men and boys are also trafficked in significant numbers. Women and girls are not only trafficked for sexual exploitation, but also for forced labour and for other purposes. The percentage of children among victims is increasing and children now comprise nearly one third of all detected trafficking victims in the world.
Many countries have recently passed legislation criminalizing trafficking in persons as a specific offence. However, definitions of human trafficking vary, as does the capacity to identify offenders and victims. The overall criminal justice response to trafficking in persons, which has historically been very weak, has not improved.

The Country Profiles of the Global Report present a national level analysis for each of the 128 countries covered by this edition of the report.
Global: Full report (PDF, 5 MB)

Western and Central Europe
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
North America, Central America and the Caribbean
South America
East Asia and the Pacific
South Asia
North Africa and the Middle East
Sub-Saharan Africa