Interpol must change its practices to protect human rights

Civil society organisations, elected representatives and other prominent public figures are calling on Interpol to take steps to prevent the abuse of international policing databases and alert systems by authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. A resolution sent to the policing organisation a week before its 89th General Assembly calls for the protection of human rights by the full implementation of recommendations made by the Council of Europe and European Parliament. Statewatch is one of the signatories of the resolution.


The full resolution is available here: Civil Society Resolution on the Forthcoming 89th General Assembly of INTERPOL that will take place in İstanbul on 23-25 November 2021 (pdf) and the text of a press release issued by the Italian Federation for Human Rights and The Arrested Lawyers is available below.

The Italian Federation for Human Rights, The Arrested Lawyers and Norweigan Helsinki Committee have also issued a separate statement calling for Interpol to introduce in its constitution requirements for those taking on leadership positions to have "high moral character, impartiality, and integrity".

The statement is specifically concerned with the possible appointment of Major General Ahmed Naser Ahmed Alrais of the United Arab Emirates as next President of Interpol, a matter which will be decided at the General Assembly next week.

It notes that Alrais:

"...has been charged with responsibility for torture and inhuman treatment conducted by UAE security services. Criminal complaints by two British citizens that experienced such abuse in 2018 and 2019 have been submitted in the UK, France, Sweden, and Norway. A coalition of 19 human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, wrote an open letter to Interpol advising against his appointment."

See: Statement on integrity issues of INTERPOL’s leaders (pdf)

Press release on the Civil Society Resolution on the 89th INTERPOL’s General Assembly + Final Version of the Resolution

On the eve of the 89th General Assembly of the INTERPOL, 64 civil society organisations and individuals including renowned human rights activists, MPs and MEPs called for further reform to ensure that the INTERPOL complies with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The document titled ‘Civil Society Resolution on the Forthcoming 89th General Assembly of INTERPOL’ and endorsed by NGOs, lawyers and award winning human rights activists, expresses concerns about the ongoing abuse of the INTERPOL mechanisms including Red Notices and Stolen and Lost Travel Document database and calls for the full implementation of recommendations put forward by Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament have not been fully implemented yet.

Specifically, the Resolution calls on the General Assembly and the General Secretariat of the Organisation to:

  • further improve transparency on INTERPOL procedures;
  • further strengthen the appeals procedure before the Commission for the Control of Files (CCF) by making it speedier, more interactive and more transparent;
  • set up an independent appeals body against the decisions of the CCF;
  • set up a compensation fund for victims of unjustified Red Notices and wanted person diffusions as well as for victims of abuse of SLTD database;
  • further improve preventive and subsequent scrutiny of requests submitted by abusive states;
  • ensure more effective control over the information which flows through its communication system and SLTD database.

NGOs and activists are calling their governments to:

  • support Interpol by providing the Organisation with the necessary resources to improve the quality and timeliness of both preventive compliance checks and the subsequent review by the CCF;
  • set up a caucus of democratic states to push reforms for (i) ensuring the human rights and freedoms of both victims and subject persons, (ii) naming and shaming abuser countries, inter alia People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, Belarus, Turkey, Kazakhstan;
  • adopt a risk assessment guideline to be more vigilant about the requests and data submitted by National Central Bureaus (NCBs) of abuser countries;
  • duly probe all instances of misuse of Interpol, extraditions and other forms of interstate legal assistance by the requesting states for political or corrupt purposes;
  • be vigilant about any attempt of member countries to leave a permanent effect on Interpol’s mechanisms and leadership structure that would make the organization susceptible to abuse of its mechanisms.

The Resolution has been submitted by the Italian Federation for Human Rights & the Arrested Lawyers Initiative and signed by:

  1. FIDU - Italian Federation for Human Rights
  2. The Arrested Lawyers Initiative
  3. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
  4. Freedom House
  5. Human Rights Foundation
  6. Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada
  7. Statewatch
  8. Defend Democracy
  9. International Association of People's Lawyers
  10. Open Dialogue Foundation
  11. Fundación Internacional de Derechos Humanos
  12. Platforma Pro Derechos y Libertades
  13. The Good Lobby Profs
  14. Center for Human Rights in Iran
  15. Human Rights Institute of the World Jurist Association
  16. Human Rights Defenders e.V.
  17. Hong Kong Watch
  18. European Lawyers for Democracy & Human Rights
  19. Lawyers for Uyghur Rights
  20. World Uyghur Congress
  21. Yet Again UK
  22. Foundation Day of the Endangered Lawyer
  23. Journalists and Writers Foundation
  24. The Justice Abroad
  25. London Advocacy
  26. TASC- Think-tank for Action on Social Change
  27. Peace & Justice EU
  28. Safeguard Defenders
  29. Supolka Italia | Associazione bielorussi in Italia
  30. Aktion für Flüchtlingshilfe e.V
  31. Saleh Institute
  32. The Association Solidarité Chine
  33. International Campaign for Tibet
  34. Istituto Sindacale per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo
  35. Foundation for Entrepreneurship, Culture and Education
  36. OTHERS AISBL
  37. YC Epirus
  38. International Association for Human Rights Advocacy in Geneva
  39. Universal Rights Association
  40. Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong
  41. Movements For Freedom
  42. Center for Civil Liberties
  43. International Collegium of Lawyers
  44. Freedom Kazakhstan Foundation
  45. Freedom for Eurasia

And:

  1. Maria Arena, Member of the European Parliament, the Chair of Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament
  2. Emma Bonino, Senator of Italy; ECFR co-chair, Former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
  3. Roberto Rampi, Senator of Italy, the member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Inter-Parliamentary
  4. Lord Hylton MA ARICS, House of Lords of the UK
  5. William Browder, Head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign and CEO of Hermitage Capital
  6. Lorent Enrique Gómez Saleh, human rights activist, the European Parliament 2017 Sakharov Prize Laureate
  7. Bill Bowring, Professor of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London; Barrister, Bar of England and Wales
  8. Cesare P.R. Romano, Professor of Law; Director, International Human Rights Center of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
  9. Jared Genser, Adjunct professor of law, Georgetown University Law Center
  10. Elena Gaju, The member of Paris & Barcelona Bars
  11. Brian Samuels Q.C., British Columbia & Colorado Bars
  12. Matilde Arrigucci, International law attorney
  13. Enes Güngören, International law attorney
  14. Ana Ursachi, Lawyer
  15. Dmytro Morhun, Lawyer
  16. Raj Daya, Lawyer
  17. Yavuz Aydin, Former Turkish judge - Justice for Rule of Law ASBL
  18. Aigul Pavel, Human rights activist
  19. Gianni Alioti, International Secretary of FIM-CISL

Image: Fred Romero, CC BY 2.0

 

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