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NEWS

Fair Trials meets with INTERPOL to discuss reforms

admin - July 26, 2019 - INTERPOL

 

Yesterday, Fair Trials met with the INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock, as well as the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (‘CCF’) to discuss the reforms the organisation has introduced in the past five years to better combat the abuse of its systems.

During the meeting, we reported on the positive impact the reforms have had so far, which areas need further improvement, and the remaining challenges that still need to be tackled. We were pleased to learn that INTERPOL and the CCF shared our commitment to ensure the lasting impact of the reforms. Nevertheless, Fair Trials will continue pushing for further reforms.

While INTERPOL is an important crime-fighting tool and most of its Red Notices and Diffusions may be legitimate, the lack of effective safeguards has allowed authoritarian regimes to misuse its systems to target refugees, human rights defenders, and critics abroad.

Since 2012, Fair Trials has been highlighting the misuse of INTERPOL’s systems and we’ve been campaigning for reforms to put an end to the human rights violations, and INTERPOL has listened – its reforms were informed by our recommendations. Yesterday’s meeting suggests INTERPOL wants to continue engaging with us and strengthen its systems against abuse.

Our report from last year shows that INTERPOL is now asserting more control over the data published on its databases, ensuring that alerts are subjected to more detailed scrutiny, and that refugees and asylum-seekers have a much easier route for challenging Red Notices and Diffusions under the ‘Refugee Policy’. Reforms passed in 2017 resulted in a major overhaul of the CCF, INTERPOL’s complaints body, which gave individuals access to a more transparent, effective, and fairer process for challenging Red Notices and Diffusions.

But there is more work to be done. We have been calling for INTERPOL to implement a more effective review process for Diffusions – which, although less formal than Red Notices, can allow countries to share information about wanted persons without proper checks, often with devastating consequences. Also, INTERPOL should make crucial data available, that would help to show that they are able to identify and delete Red Notices and Diffusions that violate their rules. The continuing misuse also indicates that INTERPOL is still struggling with serious capacity issues which need to be addressed.

Fair Trials is committed to continuing to work with INTERPOL to ensure that its systems are better protected from abuse. We look forward to making further positive contributions which we believe will strengthen the organisation.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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