International Federation for Human Rights

Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme - History


-From 1990, Burundi : a member organisation of the FIDH, the Burundese League for Human Rights, Iteka (“Dignity”) is launched in 1990 by the democratic opposition and registered on 6th February 1991. [SORRY. NO FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR TRANSLATION. MORE DETAILS IN THE FRENCH VERSION].
-10th March 1991, Salvador: the FIDH observes the elections meant to mark the end of the military dictatorship and denounces the frauds caused by the army.
-From 1992, United States: at the United Nations, the FIDH contributes to the project of an international convention for the protection of all people against “forced disappearances”. It is aimed at making abductions a “continuous crime” in order to get round the prescription delays of national criminal legislations.
-From 1992, Kenya: a member organisation of the FIDH, the KHRC (Kenya Human Rights Commission) is launched in 1992 and registered in 1994. [SORRY. NO FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR TRANSLATION. MORE DETAILS IN THE FRENCH VERSION].
-1993, Cambodia: a member of the FIDH, ADHOC (Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association) starts an education campaign and train voters for the elections which are organised by the Unitred Nations in May 1993. Threatened by government forces, which raid its office in Sveng Rieng in 1993, ADHOC was founded in 1991 by a prominent political activist, Thun Saray, who was imprisoned for 18 months in 1989-1991 after he tried to launch an opposition party.
-From 1994, Rwanda: after the genocide, the FIDH and Human Rights Watch start collecting testimonies from survivors, published in a book in 1999, and constituting a precious file against those responsible for the massacres. In Kigali, the Federation also supports the LIPRODHOR (Ligue Rwandaise pour la Promotion et la Défense des Droits de l'Homme). Launched in 1991 and a founding member of the LDGL (Ligue des Droits de la Personne dans la Région des Grands Lacs), this organisation opposes the authoritarianism of President Paul Kagame. As the Government fails to infiltrate and silence it, a Rwandan parliamentary commission of inquiry recommends its dissolution in June 2004 despite the protest of the FIDH, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The LIPRODHOR, whose bank accounts are frozen even before a judicial process, is accused of promoting ethnic division. After receiving threatening telephone calls from unidentified people, seven LIPRODHOR workers flee to Kampala while two others seek asylum in Bujumbura.
-1995-2005, France: a barrister for the nationalist movement of Messali Hadj during the independence war in Algeria, Henri Leclerc takes over after Henri Noguères (1975-1984), Yves Jouffa (1984-1991) and Madeleine Rebérioux (1991-1995) as the president of the LDH in 1995. In 2000, he is replaced by another barrister, Michel Tubiana. A Jew, a freemason of Algerian descent and a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth, Michel Tubiana defended Klaus Croissant (the Fraction Red Army’s lawyer in Germany) and Jean-Marie Tjibaou (a key fighter for independence in New Caledonia). At the LDH, he opposes two associations, the MRAP (Movement against racism and for friendship between people) and the CRIF (Representative  Council of Jewish Institutions in France), because they support Israel and condemn anti-Semitism more than discriminations against Arabs. Because of this position, the International League against Racism and anti-Semitism (LICRA) refuses to invite the LDH at a demonstration it leads in Paris on 6 May 2003 against ethnicity in France. Another movement, “SOS-Racisme”, also criticises the LDH for organising in Paris on 7 November 2004 a demonstration against “all discriminations” with “fundamentalist” organisations such as the UOIF (Union of Islamic Organisations in France) and the CMF (French Muslim Congress).
-From 1996, Burma: the FIDH denounces the involvements of the oil company Total with the military junta in power in Rangoon, which conscripts the population to build a pipeline. A lawyer, the founder of Sherpa Association and the FIDH’s general secretary between 1995 and 2000, William Bourdon sues Total in 2002 and obtains compensations for eight Burmese workers who, in exchange, accept to stop their complaint in 2005. Yet the FIDH and the French LDH do not approve an action which absolves Total from its role in human rights violations in Burma.
-July 1997, Switzerland: in partnership with the OMCT (World Organisation against Torture) in Geneva, the FIDH creates a structure to monitor the protection of human rights. Interestingly, its American equivalent, the International League for Human Rights, had already set up in 1982 a Human Rights Defenders Project. En 1997, the FIDH also takes part in launching an NGO coalition for the international criminal court; it closely follows the diplomatic negotiations on that matter. As soon as December 1964, the Federation called on to the creation of an international criminal court, finally complete with the signature of the Rome treaty on the 17th of July 1998.
-November 1998, Congo-Kinshasa: in Paris, the FIDH takes legal action against president Laurent-Désiré Kabila, referring to the 1984 Convention against torture. This action, taken before the public prosecutor, is dismissed because of Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s immunity as a head of state in office.
-December 1998, United States: during the general assembly of the United Nations in New York, the FIDH contributes to the adoption of a declaration on the defenders of human rights. This leads to the implementation of mechanisms aimed at protecting the defenders of human rights better, as they are regularly threatened of reprisals which are precisely monitored in the annual reports of the FIDH and the OMCT.
-June 1999, Mauritania: along with the French LDH, the FIDH lodges a complaint against Ely Ould Dah, a Mauritanian officer training in Montpellier in the 81st French infantry regiment. Referring to the New York Convention against torture, promulgated in 1984 and ratified by France in 1987, Ely Ould Dah is accused of using torture to extract confessions from two colleagues who were suspected of participating in a plot in Nouakchott in 1990, and who have been in France as refugees since. Ely Ould Dah manages to escape thanks to a temporary release in April 2000; however, the FIDH creates a Group of Legal Action (GAJ) in order to keep supporting the complaints from victims of torture against criminals who too often remain unpunished. On July 1 2005 in Nîmes, Ely Ould Dah is eventually condemned in abstentia to ten years of prison.