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Upcoming INTERPOL elections raise human rights concerns

Posted by: Gherson White-Collar Crime

The elections for INTERPOL’s president and executive committee are due to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, this week. The first General assembly meeting since the pandemic began on Tuesday, with police chiefs, ministers and senior law enforcement officials from over 160 countries in attendance.

Election Candidates

INTERPOL has been increasingly scrutinized in recent years, in part due to its membership including governments known for human rights abuses. Much of the most recent controversy has surrounded one of the candidates for the upcoming election, UAE’s Major General Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi. Several human rights groups, activists and European officials have expressed their opposition to Al-Raisi’s candidacy in a joint letter stating that “the UAE is responsible for grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law beyond the country’s borders”. Many fear that Al-Raisi’s election would contradict the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and jeopardise INTERPOL’s international reputation.

Much of INTERPOL’S executive committee, which runs the agency’s day-to-day operations, is also to be replaced in this election. Another controversial candidate, Hu Binchen, a Chinese public security official is running for a seat on this committee. The candidacy has caused concern amongst human rights activists and politicians, particularly in respect of the misuse of INTERPOL’s Red Notice system to track down dissidents. In a report released last week, Safeguard Defenders stated that there had been a tenfold increase in the use of Chinese Red Notices between the 2000 and 2020.

In the lead-up to the elections there have been calls for greater transparency over INTERPOL’s safeguarding mechanisms to avoid abuse of its systems. INTERPOL has introduced various reforms in recent years, for example on the vetting processes for Red Notices. The effectiveness of these reforms, however, remains unclear as INTERPOL does not publish data on its vetting processes and the mechanisms it implements to avoid misuse of its systems.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson have previously written a series of blogs to assist those who fear they might be subject to INTERPOL measures (including Red Notices):

Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with all aspects of INTERPOL and Red Notice challenges. If you would like to speak to us in respect of any of the issues raised in this blog or about your specific circumstances, do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2021

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