‘Red Notices’, international wanted person alerts published by INTERPOL at national authorities’ request, come with considerable human impact: arrest, detention, frozen freedom of movement, employment problems, and reputational and financial harm. These interferences with basic rights can, of course, be justified when INTERPOL acts to combat international crime.
However, our casework suggests that countries are, in fact, using INTERPOL’s systems against exiled political opponents, usually refugees, and based on corrupt criminal proceedings, pointing to a structural problem. We have identified two key areas for reform. First, INTERPOL’s protections against abuse are ineffective. It assumes that Red Notices are requested in good faith and appears not to review these requests rigorously enough. Its interpretation of its cardinal rule on the exclusion of political matters is unclear, but appears to be out of step with international asylum and extradition law. General Secretariat review also happens only after national authorities have disseminated Red Notices in temporary form across the globe using INTERPOL’s ‘i-link’ system, creating a permanent risk to individuals even if the General Secretariat refuses the Red Notice. Some published Red Notices also stay in place despite extradition and asylum decisions recognising the political nature of the case.
Excerpt from the Executive Summary of “Strengthening respect for human rights, strengthening INTERPOL” published by Fair Trials International, an NGO
Full Report, Nov. 2013