I would like to help today and donate

Next
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Next
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
CLOSE
NEWS

Report from DROI Committee calls for further INTERPOL reforms

admin - February 22, 2019 - INTERPOL

 

A new report shows how despite INTERPOL’s recent reforms, the abuse of Red Notices and Diffusions against refugees, human rights defenders, and critical journalists continues. The report Misuse of Interpol’s Red Notices and impact on human rights – recent developments’ – requested by the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), calls for better implementation, more transparency, and further reforms. The study draws heavily on Fair Trials’ own report, ‘Dismantling the Tools of Oppression’.  

Recent INTERPOL reforms, particularly around review processes and its new refugee policy, have had a significant impact on safeguarding individuals. Nevertheless, some states have continued to misuse INTERPOL’s alert systems, as the recent case of footballer Hakeem al-Araibi illustrates. Hakeem, a recognised refugee, was nevertheless arrested and held for weeks in a Thailand prison because of an INTERPOL alert. A lack of established rules and procedures to govern the processes as well as a lack of transparency continues to hinder INTERPOL’s ability to work effectively and build trust among its Member States and other organisations.

The number of Red Notices and Diffusions has increased notably during the past few years, but this has not been met with a corresponding increase in resources and legal management systems to review the alerts. There are also significant challenges in updating information about alerts: sometimes they remain in effect in national databases despite having been updated and removed from INTERPOL’s own systems.  
 
The report underlines the challenges with transparency as well, both at the individual and organisational level. There remains no information available on the countries making requests, the number of requests accepted and refused, the grounds for refusal, and the development of these practices over time. It’s also impossible to evaluate the quality of the reviewing process, the work of the National Central Bureaus, or the countries submitting requests.

Fair Trials has been vocal for a number of years about the heavy toll that abusive alerts have on the lives of victims. Through cases such as Petr Silaev, Benny Wenda and Vicdan Özerdem, Fair Trials has advocated for reform of INTERPOL’s system – and INTERPOL has listened: the reforms introduced in March 2017 were informed by our recommendations. The DROI Committee report refers extensively to our 2018 report which gives credit to INTERPOL for the reforms while stressing that the work isn’t done yet:  especially with regards to the implementation of a more effective review process for Diffusions and better recording and collation of data.  

The study recommends taking further steps to ensure full implementation of the recent reforms, a fully transparent system, and consistent legal and procedural safeguards for individuals in INTERPOL’s systems. The report encourages the European Parliament to lobby the EU and its Member States to make sure INTERPOL improves its transparency and control over data, further implements its refugee policy, and implements the European data protection policies in its practices. The report also encourages the EU to engage in dialogue with third party states that might misuse INTERPOL’s system and urges Member States to share best practices amongst themselves on how to deal with Red Notices. One recommendation asks the EU to consider funding projects that aim to improve the processing of notices in order to avoid human rights violations.

The study is a positive sign of an increased recognition over the abuse of INTERPOL’s systems, and the need for further reform.  

 

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.

Keep up to date

Receive updates on our work and news about Fair Trials globally

Activities in the following sections on this website are supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union: Legal Experts Advisory Panel, Defence Rights Map, Case Law Database, Advice Guides and Latest News. More information about our financial supporters is available here.