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NEWSLETTER 60 (September 2019)
Our current work in the fight against impunity: the European Court of Human Rights will hear the Kunduz airstrike case and we wrote an open letter to inform the trade fair organizer Messe Berlin about human rights abuses in Western Sahara. Our upcoming event on Colonial Repercussions with the Akademie der Künste will take place in November in Berlin. Read on to learn more.
ECCHR: FinFisher
Spyware “made in Germany” for the Turkish government?

Based on a criminal complaint filed by ECCHR and partners, the public prosecutor in Munich launched an investigation into German FinFisher companies for allegedly exporting surveillance software to Turkey.

ECCHR: Due diligence law initiative

ECCHR supports German human rights due diligence law initiative

The Initiative Lieferkettengesetz calls for a law to mandate German companies conduct human rights and environmental due diligence in their supply chains.

Support us to help defend human rights around the world.                               
Ten years after the Kunduz bombing: ECtHR Grand Chamber to hear case
In 2009, US fighter jets, acting on German Army Colonel Georg Klein’s orders, bombed a large group of people near the Kunduz River in Afghanistan. More than 100 people were killed or injured. ECCHR supports Abdul Hanan who lost two sons in the attack. Ten years after the bombing, the Grand Court of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hear the case on 22 January 2020 due to its extraordinary significance.

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Empowering survivors to challenge human rights abuses with legal means
ECCHR: Workshop
Mirka Fries (ECCHR, second from left) together with workshop participants in ECCHR’s office in Berlin © Photo: ECCHR
Legally challenging human rights abuses can help further peace processes and prevent conflicts. But often, those affected by abuses lack necessary legal expertise. With support from the Robert Bosch Stiftung, ECCHR therefore organized a strategic litigation workshop with activists and survivors of human rights abuses from Chechnya, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Syria.
German spyware for Turkish authorities? Criminal complaint against German companies
ECCHR: FinFisher
FinSpy: Police using German spyware © FinFisher marketing video
Turkish police can surveil cell phones with a few clicks, thanks to FinSpy software “made in Germany.” This is the claim of the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte, Reporter ohne Grenzen (RSF Germany), the blog netzpolitik.org and ECCHR in their criminal complaints. The public prosecutor’s office in Munich opened an investigation into the case. Our experience shows: when repressive states use surveillance technology, the result is all too often imprisonment and torture. But software companies refuse to take responsibility.

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ECCHR supports German human rights due diligence law initiative
ECCHR: Due diligence law initiative
For fashion without victims, we need a legal framework © Initiative Lieferkettengesetz
Insufficient fire safety standards, contaminated water, child labor – German companies continue to violate basic human rights and damage the environment. For that, they must be held accountable. The German due diligence law initiative Initiative Lieferkettengesetz, supported by ECCHR, calls for a new law mandating German companies conduct human rights and environmental due diligence in their supply chains.

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Western Sahara’s right to self-determination: Open letter to Messe Berlin
Since the 1970s, Morocco has forcibly occupied and controlled Western Sahara. This violates the internationally recognized right to self-determination of the non-self-governing Sahrawi people. Companies infringe this human right when they grow crops like tomatoes and melons in Western Sahara without the Sahrawi people’s consent. In an open letter, ECCHR and GLAN urge the trade fair organizer Messe Berlin to conduct a human rights risk assessment of its suppliers, including French tomato importer Azura, and commit publicly to upholding human rights in Western Sahara.

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Support those affected by human rights in their fight for justice with a donation.
Save the Date: Colonial Repercussions V: The Case of Namibia
ECCHR: Windhoek
Genocide memorial in Windhoek © Photo: ECCHR
29 November 2019, Akademie der Künste, Berlin

The issue of (post-)colonial injustice is more present than ever before in German legal and cultural policy debates. Still, addressing the past has not had much visible impact. At the symposium Colonial Repercussions V: The Case of Namibia, experts from the law, politics and the arts will present perspectives on the effects of colonization. Speakers include Ida Hoffmann (Nama Genocide Technical Committee), John Nakuta (University of Namibia), Joshua Castellino (Middlesex University) and artist Isabel Katjavivi.

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Podcast with Judith Hackmack (ECCHR), Hessischer Rundfunk: Tschuldigung! Namibia wartet. Deutschland zögert. 3 September 2019 (in German)

Bertha Justice Fellowships: Antonia Klein and Matija Vlatković join ECCHR
Antonia Klein studied law and philosophy with a focus on international law and human rights. She is a lawyer and worked previously at the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Klein first joined ECCHR as a legal advisor and has been a Bertha Justice Fellow in International Crimes and Accountability since September 2019.

Matija Vlatković studied politics, philosophy, economics and human rights law. He worked at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and for the organization INQUEST. Vlatković was a Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung Fellow at ECCHR and has been a Bertha Justice Fellow in ECCHR’s Migration team since September 2019.
ECCHR’ s Office Management: Hannah Müssemann supports team
Hannah Müssemann studied German, Portuguese, theater studies and Latin American studies. She worked at Freie Universität’s Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science, in the fundraising department of Ärzte ohne Grenzen (Médecins Sans Frontières Germany), and in event management. She joined ECCHR’s office management in June 2019.
Tackling impunity as a transnational issue: Insights from Syria, Turkey, Chechnya and Sri Lanka
17 September 2019, 6:00 pm
ECCHR, Zossener Str. 55-58 (staircase A, front house, 4th floor), 10961 Berlin

Survivors, affected communities and civil society play a crucial role in the fight against impunity for human rights violations. They can contribute to peace processes and prevent conflicts. As the needs and fight for justice of those affected are often ignored or suppressed, the fight becomes a transnational issue.

Speakers will report on the current human rights situation in Syria, Turkey, Chechnya and Sri Lanka. They will also discuss how legal action can contribute to addressing past injustices.

The event will be held in English.

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Exhibition Opening: Up in Arms
ECCHR: Up in Arms
Vanessa Gravenor: This Weapon Drags Like a Boomerang, 2018
27 September 2019, 7:00 pm
Kunstraum Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin

Up in Arms is an exhibition and research project focusing on the structures of the local and international arms industry. In collaboration with activists and NGOs, including ECCHR, the project seeks to create a platform for the critical discussion about the arms industry’s political and societal position.

The exhibition runs from 28 September – 15 December 2019

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Fighting double standards before the ICC: Torture by UK forces in Iraq
Detainees at UK Battle Group Main Headquarters, Basra, August 2003 © Photo: Baha Mousa Public Inquiry (Crown copyright protection)
1 October 2019 at 6:30 pm at The Hague Humanity Hub, Fluwelen Burgwal 58, 2511 CJ, The Hague

Hundreds of Iraqis who were detained by UK forces during the Iraq War have described abuse and torture. Since the UK has not investigated the systemic causes of the abuses, ECCHR is calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a formal investigation. The panel discussion in The Hague will address the importance of the case for the ICC as an institution, the domestic British debate and views from the MENA region.

Speakers include: William Schabas (Middlesex University), Carla Ferstman (Essex University), Nadim Houry (Arab Reform Initiative) and Wolfgang Kaleck (ECCHR)

The event will be held in English.

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Dr Miriam Saage-Maaß
“Menschenrechte mit rechtlichen Mitteln durchsetzen: Jurist*innen in NGOs”, in: Beck’scher Studienführer Jura 2019/2020, p. 51

Dr Miriam Saage-Maaß / Dr Carolijn Terwindt / Michael Bader
Strategic Litigation against the Misconduct of Multinational Enterprises: An anatomy of Jabir and Others v KiK”, in: Verfassung und Recht in Übersee 52, 2019, pp. 156-71

Simon Rau / Sarah Schneider
Bayer, Glyphosat und die Folgen”, in: Frankfurter Rundschau, 1 September 2019

Dr Carolijn Terwindt / Tara van Ho
“Assessing the Duty of Care for Social Auditors”, in: European Review of Private Law 2/19, pp. 379-401
Corina Ajder / Sarah Saadoun
Arsenic and Lead in Tap Water: What Trump’s Deregulation Crusade Really Means for Mining Communities”, in: Newsweek, 16 September 2019
Donations help us to remain financially and politically independent. With your donation you support our independence and our fight for a world free from torture, repression and exploitation.  
If you are based in the US you can support ECCHR through a tax-deductible gift via the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute (a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit) here.
European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights e.V. (ECCHR)
Zossener Str. 55-58, Staircase D
D-10961 BERLIN

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