The Human Rights House concept

May 30, 2020

Human Rights Houses are coalitions of civil society organisations working together to advance human rights at home and abroad.

The Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) works with civil society organisations to establish and support Human Rights Houses as bases for human rights activities. While member organisations are often co-located under one roof, the structure and make-up of House reflects the local needs and local context. This allows Houses to provide relevant benefits to a local human rights community as a whole and enhance the national capacity to uphold and protect human rights and independent civil society.

HRHF connects Human Rights Houses, building an international network for change and freedoms, and today, the network extends across 11 countries with 17 Houses.

Membership in Human Rights House provides solidarity, as well as opportunities for collaboration and networking. Working together, member organisations have greater opportunity to influence the human rights agenda. House members are also able to more effectively pool resources and benefit from reduced administration costs. Finally, in a time of closing space for civil society and attacks against human rights defenders, House membership offers a level of security and protection from increased threats and harassment.

HRHF’s Human Rights House concept is built around the enduring values of solidarity and partnership. It remains as important today as when the first House opened its doors in Oslo in 1989.

While each Human Rights House is unique, all houses are collaborative, independent, relevant, sustainable, effective, and united.

Human Rights Houses: collaborative, independent, relevant, sustainable, united

To find out more:

General enquiries, Human Rights House Foundation info@humanrightshouse.org


Virtual Human Rights Council adopts President’s statement on implications of COVID-19

May 30, 2020

On 29 May 2020 the UN Human Rights Council adopted a decision appealing to States to ensure human rights were at the front and centre of national responses to the pandemic and not side-lined while contending with the multiple ill effects of the virus on their societies.

Today’s decision is a profound reminder of the far-reaching effects of this deadly virus on all aspects of our livelihoods and our rights which we cannot take for granted”, stated Council President Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger. “We are all in this together, and we must act together with a sense of purpose if we are going to achieve our common agenda to promote and protect human rights around the globe”, she added.

The President’s Statement, presented by Ambassador Tichy-Fisslberger, and adopted by the 47 member States of the human rights body by silence procedure, “calls upon States to ensure that all human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled while combatting the pandemic and that their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are in full compliance with their human rights obligations and commitments”.

The adopted statement also calls on High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to produce a report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the enjoyment of human rights around the world, including highlighting good practices and areas of concern, to be presented at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council scheduled to take place in February/March 2021. [One is to hope that it will include a hard look at the fragmentation of Covid-19 relate policy statements, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/05/27/proliferation-of-human-rights-bodies-guidance-on-covid-19/]

States also invited the High Commissioner to present an oral update on the human rights impact of COVID-19 at the 44th session of the Council which is still scheduled to start on 22 June, which is expected to set the tone for similar statements addressing the multiple human rights angles of the virus during the planned three-week meeting. Since suspending its 43rd session on 13 March due to coronavirus restrictions, the Human Rights Council has been conducting its business in a virtual manner holding regular Bureau meetings, with States and NGOs, and three “virtual informal conversations”, including with the High Commissioner and Special Procedures who have issued more than 90 press releases and statements addressing COVID-19.

https://reliefweb.int/report/world/human-rights-council-adopts-president-s-statement-human-rights-implications-covid-19


4 June: Virtual Discussion with Human Rights Defenders During COVID-19

May 29, 2020

Live discussion with 3 human rights defenders from across the globe

This event is part of the ‘Mural of Change’ campaign by Justice and Peace. 

Today, more than ever before, we need to bring awareness to human rights, justice and environmental action. For this reason, we from Justice and Peace Netherlands have brought to you the ‘Mural of Change’ – a vibrant graffiti mural in The Hague representing known and unknown human rights defenders from around the world. The mural created by the graffiti-art duo Karski & Beyond is a visual statement and a call to action, as it comes in the unprecedented times of COVID-19 pandemic.  [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/05/19/mural-of-human-rights-defenders-vitaly-safarov-greta-thunberg-and-berta-caceres-unveiled-at-hague-university/]

As part of our campaign to spread the message of change and action for human rights, we invite you to join our virtual event ‘Standing Side By Side With Human Rights Defenders’. During this event you will have the opportunity to meet three human rights defenders that took part in Shelter City. They will share with you the challenges they have been facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic; how their countries and the countries in their regions have responded to the spread of the virus; and how we can support them in their work. You will also have the chance to get in a conversation with them and ask your own questions.

SPEAKERS:

  • Genesis Davila, Human rights lawyer from Venezuela
  • Shibolo Awali, Lawyer and LGBTI rights defender from Uganda
  • Asha Kowtal, Dalit women’s rights defender from India

This discussion will be moderated by Tessa de Ryck, Security Training Coordinator for HRDs at Justice and Peace. The event will be in English.

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/xd56xkt9/register


Utopia3, the new podcast with filmmakers, HRDs, researchers and writers

May 29, 2020

Discover utopia3, the new podcast in partnership with the FIFDH

Conversations with those who think, make and struggle for Human Rights every day, in their own way.

Activists, filmmakers, researchers and writers meet every year at the FIFDH in Geneva to debate the most pressing human rights issues. utopia3 invites them to express themselves on their background, their motivations and the meaning they give to the human rights of today and tomorrow.

The interviews are conducted by Davide Rodogno, Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and by David Brun-Lambert, cultural journalist.

Episode 1 – Joe Sacco

The legendary cartoonist and reporter Joe Sacco has been criss-crossing the planet for 30 years through his prodigious immersive graphic investigations, interweaving past and present, with a focus on the stigmas of war and its tragic consequences. In this first episode of utopia3, Joe Sacco talks about being rooted and uprooted, the genesis of a good story, the aftermath of colonialism and the recent protests around the globe.

Joe Sacco’s new book, Paying The Land, has just been published .

The next episodes of utopia3

  • 1st June: Perla Joe Maalouli, Lebanese Activist
  • 5th June: Yves Daccord, Former Director of the ICRC
  • 12th June: Burhan Sönmez, Writer
  • 19th June: Alaa Salah, Figure of the Sudanese Revolution
  • 26th June: Ilse and Femke Van Velzen, Filmmakers, and Ruth Hopkins, Investigative Journalist
  • 3rd July: Lauren Anders Brown, Filmmaker, and Ayanda Dlamini, Feminist Activist from Eswatini
  • 10th July: Andy Cohen, Filmmaker

Subscribe to utopia3 on Spotify, Deezer, Apple Podcast or Ausha.

Follow utopia3 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

utopia3 is recorded at The Spot Podcast Factory studio in Geneva, in collaboration with the FIFDH. The series is produced by David Brun-Lambert and Davide Rodogno (editorial directors), Martial Mingam (art director), Julie Noyelle (coordinator) and Julien Babel (artwork).


PCIJ and Luistro receive Filipino human rights defenders award

May 29, 2020

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On 28 May 2020 Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) reported that Amnesty International Philippines has recognized the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and Br. Armin Luistro for exposing inequalities and standing up for the vulnerable sectors of the society.

PCIJ—an independent, non-profit media agency—was named as the Ignite Awards’ most distinguished human rights defender in the group category. It produced investigative reports on President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, election spending of senatorial candidates, the government’s brutal drug war, the country’s congested jails, among others.

Luistro was conferred the most distinguished human rights defender in the individuals category. Aside from PCIJ and Luistro, Lorenzo Miguel Relente and Michael David Tan were the recipients of Young Outstanding Human Rights Defender and Art that Matters for Literature, respectively.

This season’s recipients come from varying rights backgrounds, from press freedom and right to education to gender equality and SOGIESC rights but they share one dedication, that is to the fight for basic rights of Filipinos,” Butch Olano, Amnesty International Philippines section director, said.


Protection International seeks research consultant for Kenya

May 28, 2020

Protection International Kenya (PIK) – a registered a non-governmental organization in Kenya with support from its headquarters in Belgium – seeks a Research Consultant for Protection strategies implemented by grassroots WHRDs Organizations. Closing date for applications 12 June 2020.

The research findings will be used for future capacity building of WHRDs, advocacy on the promotion and protection of WHRDs/HRDs at national, regional and global level and for dissemination purposes. PIK, with the support of Protection International Africa and Protection International Global, will publish the findings and disseminate among its partners, donors, government officials and all other stakeholders.

For more details see: https://reliefweb.int/job/3638457/research-consultant-protection-strategies-implemented-grassroots-whrds


Internet of things (IoT) connectivity for Natalia

May 28, 2020

Swedish operator Tele2 is to provide IoT connectivity to the Civil Rights Defenders’ Natalia Project, allowing those in the program who feel under threat to use a specially issued wearable device to send a distress signal with a GPS location to nearby local contacts, as well as to the Civil Rights Defenders headquarters in Stockholm. [The Internet of things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction]. In the future, Tele2 will provide IoT connectivity to every unit in the Natalia Project, including roaming on more than 450 networks worldwide

https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/04/24/the-natalia-gps-alarm-bracelet-wins-golden-egg-awards-in-stockholm/

The Natalia Bracelet is named in honor of Natalia Estemirova, a human rights activist who was abducted and murdered in Chechnya in 2009.

Phyllis Omido, a Kenyan environmental human rights defender who participates in the Natalia Project, said the scheme has freed her from fear as she knows that someone is watching over her, adding that no tangible change can be achieved when one constantly lives in fear of retribution. 

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/tele2-provides-iot-connectivity-for-civil-rights-defenders-security-alarms–1340142


Zimbabwean Human rights defender sets up torture fund

May 28, 2020

On 28 May 2020 Bulawayo News reported that Kwekwe-based human rights defender Nkosilathi Moyo said he was putting together a war chest to assist victims of State-sponsored violence.

Moyo launched his fight for democracy in 2015 when he travelled to the Netherlands and met European Union’s human rights ambassadors lobbying them to support human rights defenders in Zimbabwe. During the visit he also met Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and lobbied her to support efforts to improve democracy back home.

Speaking to Southern Eye on Monday, Moyo said the recent events that saw MDC Alliance’s Harare West MP Joanah Mamombe, youth leaders Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, and Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe gender secretary Moreblessing Nyambara tortured at the hands of suspected State security agents, had motivated him to set up the fund.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, I established the community human rights defenders academy which trained more than 80 defenders in Midlands province, empowering them with skills to enhance human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe.”

Now in light of the upsurge in violations against activists with the height of that madness being abduction of an MP Joanah Mamombe and others, I have been jolted to act. So far I have written to foreign embassies in Harare, international donors and other development partners to solicit for a financial facility that would support victims of human rights violations. We have also started putting together resources with local partners for the same cause,” Moyo said.

In the past, Moyo through his organisation Zimbabwe Youths in Politics, raised awareness on good governance and tenets of democracy mostly among rural dwellers.

[see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2013/02/04/zimbabwe-death-threats-against-human-rights-defenders-nkosilathi-moyo-and-jasper-maposa/]

What we are realising is that autocratic regimes take advantage of poverty among political activists to suppress them and violate their rights at will. But with the kind of funding we are putting together, that will not be the case. Activists need to be supported to meet medical bills, legal representation costs, programming of their activities and compensation to their families in extreme cases. So that is the motivation of our current efforts. We should not wait for the worst to happen, then we start running around to look for resources. A ready fund must be there,” Moyo said.

https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-186130.html


4 June 2020 Webinar on business and human rights in the context of COVID-19

May 27, 2020

Having just posted a report on the prolifiration of intergovernmental responses to the Corona virus pandemic [https://wp.me/pQKto-4ob], it perhaps good to point to the webinar that Business & human rights is organising on 4 June 2020 on Risks and Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

This webinar will have a focus on the risks and protection of HRDs, particularly labour rights and land/environmental defenders and ensuring their participation in the post-pandemic recovery.

Date & Time: 4 June, 4.15 – 5.15 (ICT) / 10.15 – 11.15 (BST)

It will have two parts: a closed and an open session. The closed session – happening on Jitsi – will be a safe space for civil society organisations, human rights defenders, including labour rights and land and environmental defenders, labour unions, and journalists to jointly define practical recommendations on what governments and companies can do to address human rights situation, particularly of labour, land, environmental defenders and civic freedoms, in the context of COVID-19. This part of the webinar is invite-only.

The second part – happening on Zoom – will be an open session, will be an opportunity for civil society, defenders, and journalists to interact with government and business representatives and discuss how companies, governments and civil society can work together to ensure all stakeholders are able to shape recovery efforts, and make sure they are human rights compliant. Anyone is free to join us in the public session by RSVP-ing below.


Proliferation of Human Rights Bodies’ Guidance on COVID-19

May 27, 2020

On 22 May 2020 in “Just Security” [see: https://www.justsecurity.org/about-us/) published a post ” Mapping the Proliferation of Human Rights Bodies’ Guidance on COVID-19 Mitigation “. It is in some ways rather critical of the response by intergovernmental bodies in the human rights area when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. It starts by pointing out that they have collectively put out more than 150 statements on respecting human rights during the pandemic since late February. ..To help those interested in keeping track of the many statements, the International Justice Resource Center (IJRC) has published a webpage – COVID-19 Guidance from Supranational Human Rights Bodies – listing and linking to all relevant press releases and other guidance. This article serves to provide an overview of – and initial response to – the nature, scope, and sources of human rights advice available to States in the context of the pandemic. Having myself contributed with my blog to the proliferation of policy repsonse by NGOs and IGOs, I feel that this piece deserves full citation:

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