Sampling International Human Rights Day 2016: be a human rights defender. .

December 9, 2016

International Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organisations to observe 10 December as Human Rights Day. The theme this year is: Stand up for someone’s rights today, in other words: be a human rights defender. .

There is a lot going on during this period, so I just give a small sample (10!) from different parts of the world: Read the rest of this entry »


Scholarships for the 2017 Legal Training Program of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights

December 9, 2016

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung, a foundation working to secure educational justice, recognize that starting a career in international human rights work can sometimes require more just having the requisite passion, motivation and skills. There can be certain barriers to entry into the profession, i.e. when economic or social considerations prevent potential participants from taking part in our programs. With this in mind, the Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung scholarship for ECCHR’s Legal Training Program offers young people with limited financial means and/or from underrepresented geographic and social backgrounds the chance to gain professional experience in human rights work. Read the rest of this entry »


Re-appearance of Abdul Wahid Baloch in Pakistan after four months!

December 8, 2016

abdul-wahid-balochRe-appearances after a time lapse of 4 months are rare. So this case in Pakistan deserves a mention: Abdul Wahid Baloch is a human rights defender who has called for justice for the Baloch community through the organisation of campaigns, protests and public condemnation of a number of high profile cases. Human rights defenders that have demanded justice for state violations against the Baloch community have been regarded as being anti-state by the Pakistani authorities.  On the morning of 5 December 2015, Abdul Wahid Baloch returned to his house in Karachi, roughly four months after his disappearance on 26 July 2016. Abdul Wahid Baloch thanked human rights groups, media and individuals who campaigned for his release but refused to comment on anything involving his disappearance.

Source: Abdul Wahid Baloch | Front Line Defenders

For another post on repression of the Baloch: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/04/07/intimidation-against-human-rights-defender-nasrullah-baloch-in-pakistan/


Adidas and Human Rights Defenders: no longer run-of-the-mill?

December 8, 2016

In 2012 – in the run up to the London Olympics – the Playfair 2012 Campaign (supported by War on Want and others) highlighted the appalling experiences of workers making Adidas official Olympic and Team GB goods in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. “Around the world 775,000 workers, mainly women, in 1,200 factories across 65 countries make Adidas products. Almost all of the jobs are outsourced to factories in poorer countries, yet through Adidas’ buying practices the company has enormous influence over their working conditions, and ultimately their lives. In the run up the London 2012 Olympics research has exposed the harsh reality of life for these workers.” The campaign demanded Adidas to end worker exploitation. playfair2012.org

In a report of 11 March 2015 on Labor Rights Abuses in Cambodia’s Garment Industry Human Rights Watch noted that brands can do more and said “For example, Adidas wrote to Human Rights Watch that it first started privately disclosing its supplier list to academics and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in 2001 and moved to a public disclosure system in 2007.”

In an article in Open Democracy of 17 June 2015  Mauricio Lazala and Joe Bardwell under the title: “What human rights?” Why some companies speak out while others don’t.state that:More recently, civil society has called on FIFA sponsors to respond to human rights concerns at construction sites for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. So far, Adidas, Coca-Cola and Visa have issued statements supporting workers’ rights in the country

In an article published on 16 November 2015, ISHR Director Phil Lynch explored the role, responsibility and interest of business when it comes to supporting human rights defenders and protecting civil society space. He mentions Adidas in the following context: The fourth and final category of actions, perhaps the most important but also the least common, involves business actively advocating and seeking remedy for human rights defenders and against laws and policies which restrict them. Such action could be private, as I understand to be the predominant approach of Adidas. It could also be public, such as the open letters and press statements issued by Tiffany & Co and others for the release of Angolan defender and journalist Rafael Marques

On 31 December 2015, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre listed in its “KnowTheChain” (a ranking of 20 apparel and footwear companies on efforts to address forced labour in the supply chain) Germany-based Adidas as number one out of 20.

On 21 June 2016 Adidas published its policy on HRDs: “The Adidas Group and Human Rights Defenders“. As there is such a dearth of corporate policies specifically on human rights defenders, here follows the key part in quote:

The threats faced by human rights defenders come in many forms – physical, psychological, economic, and social – and involve the interaction of many factors (poor governance, the absence of the rule of law, intolerance, tensions over development issues, etc.) and can be triggered by different actors, both private and State.

In his report to the General Assembly in 2015, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders recommended that both States and businesses should play an active role in supporting and promoting the role of HRDs working in their sectors. This should include, for example, speaking out when human right defenders are targeted for their corporate accountability work. Businesses must also cease and abstain from supporting any actions, directly or indirectly, which impinge upon defenders’ rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

The adidas Group has a longstanding policy of non-interference with the activities of human rights defenders, including those who actively campaign on issues that may be linked to our business operations. We expect our business partners to follow the same policy; they should not inhibit the lawful actions of a human rights defender or restrict their freedom of expression, freedom of association, or right to peaceful assembly.

We value the input and views of all stakeholders and we are willing, and open, to engage on any issue, be this related to our own operations or our supply chain. Often, our engagement with human rights defenders is constructive, especially where we identify areas of shared concern. For example, with respect to transparency and fair play in sports, or environmental sustainability, or the protection of worker rights in our global supply chain. In these instances, we may actively support the work of the HRD and derive shared value from our joint endeavours in, say, improving working conditions, safety, or the environment.

Read the rest of this entry »


Video profile of Surendra Pratap, labour rights defender from India

December 7, 2016

Surendra Pratap works for the Centre for Workers’ Education in India. He talked to ISHR about his activities promoting workers’ rights and trade unions. This video clip was published in the ISHR Monitor of December 2016.


Farewell to Jacobus Witbooi, LGBTI defender from Namibia

December 7, 2016

Sad news. Jacobus Witbooi who was profiled in this blog in August [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/profile-of-jacobus-witbooi-lgbti-human-rights-defender-from-namibia/] has died from malaria.

Jacobus was a human rights defender from Namibia who proudly defended and promoted the rights of of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people via Pan Africa ILGA. ISHR reported this in their ISHR Monitor of December 2016.

Source: Farewell to Jacobus Witbooi | ISHR


#BringBackOurGirls gets Argentinian Emilio Mignone award

December 6, 2016

The Government of Argentina has awarded the Nigeria#BringBackOurGirls movement the International Human Rights Prize ‘Emilio F. Mignone’ for work in advocacy towards respect for human rights worldwide. A statement on Monday 5 December in Abuja by the BBOG spokesman, Sesugh Akume, said the award ceremony would take place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Buenos Aires. It added that the coalition would be represented at the event by two members of the Movement, Aisha Yesufu, who is the Chairperson of the  Strategic Team, and Dr. Chinwe Madubuike.
The group stated “While in Argentina, they will as part of the award ceremonies, meet with the human rights group– Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo … …It is made up of grandmothers, mothers and other citizens who have since 1977 been advocating for the return of an estimated 500 children abducted or born in detention during the military era and illegally adopted, with their identities hidden.

The statement noted that like the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, which has advocated weekly in the last 39 years, the Chinwe Madubuike has been on a daily campaign since April 30, 2014 for the rescue of now 196 out of the 219 ChibokGirls abducted from their school on 14 April 2014 by Boko Haram.

Source: BBOG wins Argentine rights award – Punch Newspapers


Surprise announcement of a Franco-German Human Rights Prize

December 5, 2016

This blog follows with special attention developments in the area of human rights awards. The announcement of a new award on 1 December 2016, the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, came as a surprise. Some aspects remain unclear (is there a monetary component?; what will be the frequency?) but judging from the text of the press release as well as the choice of recipients of the inaugural prize, it is mostly an award for human rights defenders. Read the rest of this entry »


Civis Mundi lists free on-line Human Rights training courses

December 4, 2016

Civis Mundi published a list of free on-line courses on human rights. I list there the 5 that are (also) in English, without knowing much about the quality: Read the rest of this entry »


The Hague Defenders Days from 5 to 10 December 2016

December 2, 2016

Justice and Peace NL with support from the City of the Hague and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is organizing “The Hague Defenders Days” from 5 to 10 December 2016. A wide range of activities (debates, films and even a ball) are planned culminating in the ceremony of the Tulip Award on Human Rights Day 10 December. Most activities are open to the public (but not the Tulip ceremony):

Let’s celebrate the International Human Rights – and Human Rights Defenders Days in the city of peace and justice! Take the opportunity to learn from their experiences and share your own. Meet human rights defenders, debate about your rights, think out of the box and dance at the Human Rights Ball. Discover the defender or rebel in you! Download the flyer.

PROGRAMME


Portraits of Dutch and international human rights defenders by photographers Anette Brolenius and Daniella van Bergen.

5-10 December / Het Nutshuis
11.00 – 16.00 – Admission: free
Click here for more information
 

Watch this documentary and be part of a global one year campaign for respect and equality.

6 December / Het Nutshuis
20.00 – Admission: free
Click here for more information
 

With: Nighat Dad, the Pakistani winner of the Dutch Human Rights Tulip Award 2016. 

7 December / The Hague University
19.30 – Admission: free
Click here for more information
 

What makes a human rights defender? With: Nighat Dad, Hans Jaap Melissen, Saskia Stolz en Hassnae Bouazza.

9 December / B-Unlimited (Library Spui)
20.30 – Tickets €10 / €7: www.b-unlimited.nl

Come and celebrate universal rights with 20 worldwide human rights defenders! With: Dj Socrates, Meet & Greet, Photobooth, live music…

10 December / Nutshuis
20.30 – Tickets €10 / €6: www.justiceandpeace.nl/humanrightsball

 

Source: The Hague Defenders Days