Archive for the 'Human Rights Defenders' Category

ECOSOC plenary to finally break deadlock on recognition of NGOs?

December 7, 2022

On 6 December 2022 Louis Charbonneau of Human Rights Watch wrote about the need to unblock the accreditation of NGOs which are stuck in the NGO Committee of ECOSOC. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/02/14/towards-a-fairer-selection-of-ngos-to-participate-in-the-un-human-rights-debate/ These applications have been stuck in limbo due to several countries including China, Russia, and India obstructing the accreditation process.

On December 7, ECOSOC’s 54 members will vote on whether to grant UN consultative status to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Coptic Solidarity, the Arab-European Center of Human Rights and International Law, the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice, the World Union of Cossack Atamans, Man and Law, and World Without Genocide. These nine groups are among hundreds whose applications were on hold due to interminable questioning from some members of the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (the “NGO committee”). UN accreditation gives organizations access to many UN buildings, officials, and agencies – and to formally participate in numerous UN activities.

At its September session, the NGO committee rejected the nine groups’ accreditation applications and deferred action on 319 other organizations’ applications.

India has been instrumental in blocking IDSN, which advocates for the elimination of caste discrimination and other forms of discrimination around the world. According to the International Service for Human Rights, IDSN’s application was deferred for 15 years – a record for blocking an organization. The IDSN says it received over 100 questions from the committee, and despite responding promptly to all of them, was always deferred.

The only way out of this limbo is if individual member countries rescue the applications from the NGO committee and force a vote in an ECOSOC plenary meeting, where civil society groups stand a better chance of success. That is what will happen on December 7.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/06/un-member-countries-should-accredit-blocked-human-rights-groups

Front Line Defenders Award for human rights defenders at risk 2023: call for nominations

December 2, 2022

Front Line Defenders is currently accepting nominations for the 2023 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk:

award banner

For more this annual award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/2E90A0F4-6DFE-497B-8C08-56F4E831B47D

Starting in 2018, Front Line Defenders changed the format of the Award, naming 5 Regional Award Winners, with one chosen as the Global Laureate by a jury comprised of representatives of Ireland’s parliament from a number of political parties. In 2021, Front Line Defenders took the decision to name all 5 regional winners as Global Laureates, in response to the overwhelming positive response to the greater visibility and recognition of the winners of the Award.

For each region of the world (Africa; Americas; Asia-Pacific; Europe & Central Asia; and Middle East & North Africa) there will be one winner selected and Front Line Defenders will recognize all five as the 2023 Front Line Defenders Award Laureates.

The nomination process is open for anyone to submit a nomination of a human rights defender, collective, organisation or community working on any human rights issue and facing significant risk due to their work or operating in an environment that itself is characterised as insecure. The purpose of the Award is to give visibility to HRDs who are not normally acknowledged or recognised at the international level. At the same time, the Award should not bring additional risk for which the HRD is not prepared. In addition to the Award, winners will receive:

  • a modest financial prize;
  • a security grant to improve their security measures;
  • collaboration with Front Line Defenders for media work in recognition of the Award;
  • advocacy by Front Line Defenders related to the Award and the work of the winners;
  • an event co-organized by the HRD, local partners and Front Line Defenders to give visibility to the Award in the winners’ countries (as determined and guided by the winners);
  • the Global Laureates will attend a ceremony in Dublin at a date to be determined;
  • ongoing security consultation with Front Line Defenders

If you would like to nominate a HRD for the 2023 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, please follow this link to the secure online nomination form

2023 Front Line Defenders Award – Nomination Form

As the person, group or organisation making the nomination, you will be consulted by Front Line Defenders to verify the information submitted and possibly for additional information. Please complete all parts of the nomination form to the best of your ability. Please submit nominations via the online form. If there are any problems using the form, or if you have any questions, please contact: award@frontlinedefenders.org

Deadline for nominations: 13 January 2023

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/call-nominations-2023-front-line-defenders-award-human-rights-defenders-risk

2022 Right Livelihood Award Presentation

November 30, 2022

On 30 November 2022, will take place the Right Livelihood Award Presentation See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/09/30/2022-right-livelihood-laureates-announced/. Time: 19:15 – 21:00 CET Venue: Cirkus, Stockholm

You can attend in person [get your tickets] or join digitally [register now Visit social media wall]

Programme

Musical performance

Welcome
Parisa Amiri

A conversation with
Right Livelihood’s Executive Director Ole von Uexkull and 2016 Right Livelihood Laureate Mozn Hassan

Award presenter
Gunilla Hallonsten, Chair of the Board, Right Livelihood

Presentation of the Right Livelihood Award
to Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman, Somalia

Musical performance

Presentation of the Right Livelihood Award
to Oleksandra Matviichuk and the Center for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Musical performance

Presentation of the Right Livelihood Award
to Cecosesola, Venezuela

Musical performance

Presentation of the Right Livelihood Award
to Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), Uganda

Musical performance

MEA laureate AbdulHadi Al-Khawaja facing new charges for protesting injustice in Jau Prison

November 29, 2022

There seems to b no end to the persecution of AbdulHadi AlKhawaja, the 2022 laureate of the Martin Ennals Award [see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/4d45e316-c636-4d02-852d-7bfc2b08b78d]

On Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain strongly denounced new charges brought against this dual Bahraini-Danish citizen, who is serving a life sentence at Jau Prison for his participation in the 2011 pro-democracy demonstrations. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/09/12/bahrain-travails-of-a-family-of-human-rights-defenders/

In November 2022, AlKhawaja informed his family that authorities are bringing four new charges against him for his protests against the harsh conditions which he and other political prisoners have been subjected to in Jau prison.

On 16 November, the Second Lower Criminal Court scheduled a hearing on the first of these new charges for an incident in November 2021 when authorities denied his right to call his daughters. However, the court postponed this hearing until 28 November on the grounds that Al-Khawaja needed to perform a power of attorney, something which he was going to do in-person during the hearing. A lieutenant attempted to pressure and threatened Al-Khawaja into recording a video stating that he was refusing to attend the hearing. Nevertheless, Al-Khawaja  refused and repeatedly stated on camera his desire to attend the hearing. He was then transferred back to his cell.

The second charge against him is for insulting a public servant and criticizing a foreign state (Israel) in March 2022 when Al-Khawaja led a peaceful protest inside the prison. He was chanting his opposition to the normalization of relations between Bahrain and Israel, as well as insulting a public servant, who allegedly tortured one of his cellmates. The hearing for this charge was set for 21 November. Prior to the hearing, authorities denied him the every-other-day calls with his lawyer. This hearing was also postponed and while the judge stated that AlKhawaja refused to attend, has not presented any evidence to AlKhawaja’s attorney to support this claim. AlKhawaja has informed his daughter that he wanted to attend.

The third charge, by far the most serious, is a charge of incitement to overthrow or change the regime, and relates to an incident in July 2022 when AlKhawaja was scheduled to attend a medical appointment for treatment on his back. During this appointment, authorities insisted on shackling his feet and hands during transfer and putting him in a small bus with no ventilation, creating conditions like an oven. In response, AbdulHadi started protesting and chanting “Down with the Interior Minister ” holding him accountable for his mistreatment and torture.

The fourth and final charge relates to the protest against the ill-treatment of a fellow inmate and is expected in the coming days.

In addition to these charges and violations, AlKhawaja was already suffering the unceasing legal and bodily violations of prison authorities since his arrest 12 years ago. In addition to inhumane restrictions and property confiscation, authorities have systematically used medical negligence as a form of reprisal against AlKhawaja’s activism. He has been denied proper medical treatment which has significantly contributed to the deterioration of his health. He suffers from back pain and vision impairment which were exacerbated by the extreme torture he endured during interrogations by security officers, as well as magnesium deficiency and leg spasms. In response to this treatment, AlKhawaja has gone on multiple hunger strikes and protests with his fellow inmates against the dehumanizing and unjust treatment by authorities.

These charges clearly demonstrate how prison authorities are trying to silence all dissent against their systematic repression of pro-democracy Bahrainis. Many organizations and individuals have condemned these charges because they set a dangerous precedent.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/01/27/over-100-ngos-write-to-prime-minister-of-denmark-to-pressure-bahrain-to-release-abdul-hadi-al-khawaja/

Swedish Embassy in The Hague shows Portraits of Human Rights Defenders

November 28, 2022

From 30 November to 15 December 2022, the Swedish Embassy in The Hague and the Swedish Institute, show a series of portraits of Human Rights Defenders. A tribute to those fighting for human rights & women’s rights “In a number of countries, human rights defenders and journalists are subject to arbitrary detentions, kidnappings, disappearances, physical aggressions, judicial harassments, death threats and intimidations. Some have paid the ultimate price for their commitment. I hope that these extraordinary and courageous people will inspire others to create a better, safer and more gender-equal society.” Anette Brolenius, Photographer .

Location: ATRIUM, The Hague Open for all, free of charge. *

https://www.swedenabroad.se/en/embassies/netherlands-the-hague/current/calendar/exhibition-hr-defenders/

Joint statement NGOs on 77th GA Third Committee

November 23, 2022

14 NGOs that closely follow and engage with the Third Committee have joined together to publish a joint statement on outcomes of this 77th session. The undersigned civil society organisations mark the conclusion of the UN General Assembly’s (GA) 77th Third Committee session with the following observations on some thematic and country-specific resolutions considered at this session. We urge all States to implement the commitments they have made in the resolutions discussed below to their full extent.

  • Joint statements

We welcome the joint statement on the human rights situation in Xinjiang, China delivered by Canada on behalf of a cross-regional group of 50 countries. This statement echoes the UN Human Rights Office’s independent, objective analysis and its findings which the UN’s human rights office determined may amount to crimes against humanity, and urges China to implement that report’s recommendations, in particular on enforced disappearance. There was an increase in State support compared to last year, signalling hope for future initiatives to debate the situation and support victims to secure accountability. Nonetheless, there is more work to ensure support from member states, in the EU and globally, as well as from Muslim-majority countries. 

We welcome the joint statement on reprisals led by Ireland and joined by a cross-regional group of countries, calling on all States and the UN to prevent, respond to, and ensure accountability for cases of intimidation and reprisals against those who engage or seek to engage with the UN. We welcome that 80 States continued to sign on to the statement but urge more States to sign on to future such statements. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/11/30/75-countries-join-statement-on-reprisals-at-the-third-committee-but-more-needed/

We welcome a resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age. The resolution integrates much of the progressive language seen in the most recent Human Rights Council version of the resolution, contending with new and persisting challenges for the right to privacy worldwide, with a particular focus on the impact on human rights defenders and journalists. However, the resolution missed an opportunity to make strong recommendations on the proliferation of private surveillance technologies, including spyware, which global experts are calling to ban or suspend through a moratorium. We call on future resolutions to contain stronger language on biometric technologies, particularly recognising that these technologies should never be used for mass surveillance of public spaces. 

We welcome the adoption of the resolution on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions by a vote which aims to uphold the right to life, liberty and security and acknowledges that impunity is a major contributor to executions. We welcome the new references to freedom of religion or belief, new technologies, institutions as places of custody, as well as strengthened language on the role of civil society and human rights defenders in the protection against arbitrary deprivation of life. We also welcome that the resolution once again highlighted the targeting (including killing) of specific groups of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, indigenous communities, human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists or demonstrators, or because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Critically, we welcome the rejection by a vote of an oral amendment attempting to remove the reference to ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ in that listing.

We welcome support by an overwhelming majority of States for the resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty proposed by Australia and Costa Rica (on behalf of an Inter-Regional Task Force of States). A record number of 126 States voted in favour of the text (including Ghana, Liberia and Myanmar, after abstaining in the GA plenary in 2020), while 37 voted against and 24 abstained. The text reiterates calls made in previous resolutions, including to halt executions with the view to abolishing the death penalty. It also includes additions on the importance of transparency and access to information regarding the use of the death penalty and criminal prosecutions to identify discriminatory practices, the negative impact on the rights of children and youth whose parental caregivers face the death penalty, the need to ensure that trial leading to imposition of the death penalty complies with fair trial and non-discrimination guarantees, ensuring the death penalty is not applied on the basis of laws targeting individuals for exercising their human rights, the need to improve conditions in detention for those on trial for capital crimes or on death row, ensuring respect for their inherent dignity, and complying with international standards, in evaluating, promoting, protecting and improving their physical and mental health.  

We welcome the adoption of the resolution on Inclusive development for and with persons with disabilities, that newly calls for leadership and participation of persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and other climate change policies and programmes, as well as affordable and accessible internet, and continues to emphasize non-discrimination, accessibility and inclusion in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including for women and girls with disabilities. In particular, we welcome the request for the Secretary-General to report on participation of persons with disabilities in COVID-19 response and recovery, and on the implementation of the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy. We regret that despite wide support, language supporting the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of sexual and reproductive health of persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, was not included in the final resolution.

We welcome the adoption by consensus of the resolution on the Human rights treaty body system. We regret that States were not able to ‘welcome’, but merely ‘take note’ of the biennial report by the UN Secretary-General on the state of the treaty body system and the report of the most recent meeting of treaty body chairpersons. We urge all States to follow through with their reaffirmation in the resolution of the formula contained in General Assembly resolution 68/268, and allocate corresponding financial and human resources in the Fifth Committee that the treaty bodies require to function effectively.

Gender Issues

We welcome the adoption by consensus of the resolution on Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM) presented by Canada and Zambia, and for the first time co-sponsored by 125 States, including several countries with high CEFM prevalence. We welcome new references to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, including in the context of climate change, conflict and poverty. We particularly welcome the call to Member States to address the root causes of gender inequality, gender stereotypes and negative social norms that underlie CEFM and for participatory and adequately funded measures to address the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 including school closures; the digital divide; uninterrupted access and funding for sexual and reproductive health-care services; adolescent-centered services; and redistribution of unpaid care and domestic work. We regret that despite significant support, references to comprehensive sexuality education and intimate partner violence were omitted. 

The resolution on Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, presented by Netherlands and France, was adopted by a vote for the second time. We welcome the text, focused this year on eliminating gender stereotypes and negative social norms. It included commitments to prevent and eliminate violence against all women, including intimate partner violence, femicide, commitments to protect, respect and fulfill all human rights, including sexual reproductive health and reproductive rights; recognize challenges and obstacles to eliminating discriminatory attitudes perpetuating multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination against women and girls; text on migrant and indigenous women and girls, racism, xenophobia, women human rights defenders, promoting young women and adolescents’ participation and leadership in decision making positions as well as full, effective, equal and meaningful participation of all women in all their diversity. Although we are encouraged by the rejection of 9 amendments presented by Guatemala, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, we regret that consensus was not achieved on a number of important commitments, that have been previously agreed, aiming to prevent and eliminate gender stereotypes and negative social norms and take multisectoral, effective and gender-responsive measures to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence. We are also dismayed that a vote was called on the reference to the Generation Equality Forum, an initiative with wide support from diverse stakeholders globally.

We welcome the adoption of the resolution on Intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) presented by Burkina Faso (on behalf of African Group) which has not been fully opened up since 2018. The resolution failed to strengthen the most pertinent and pressing areas for preventing and eliminating FGM, especially in relation to health outcomes for girls, adolescents and women including the lack of inclusion on sexual and reproductive health, comprehensive sexuality education and  multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. Despite this, we welcome language on the cross-border and transnational practice of FGM, an important component of FGM prevention and elimination.

The resolution on Intensifying efforts to end obstetric fistula presented by Senegal (on behalf of African Group) was a  technical rollover (with no substantive changes to the respective 2018 and 2020 texts) and adopted by consensus. Given the devastating impact of Obstetric fistula on women and girls, and the exacerbation of root causes due to climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, we are disappointed about the missed opportunity to outline global, regional and national level efforts to end this tragedy by 2030, an integral component of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

We welcome the adoption of the resolution on Trafficking in women and girls presented by the Philippines, which includes references to access to justice for victims, government commitments to eliminate, prevent and respond to all forms of violence against women and girls including trafficking, and the linkage between climate change and trafficking. While encouraged that the text maintained critical elements from previous years, we regret that it did not include: progressive references to gender transformative, survivor, victim-centred and trauma-informed approaches to anti-trafficking efforts; references to women and girls in all their diversity; comprehensive sexuality education; and recognition of the importance of full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in addressing trafficking. 

Country Situations

We welcome the adoption of the resolution on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, with 50 cosponsors by a vote of 79 (80) votes in favour (Panama voted after votes were locked), 28 against and 68 abstentions. We welcome new references expressing concern on the violent enforcement of the hijab and chastity law by the Iranian morality police, ‘widespread use of force against non-violent protestors’, the proposed bill on the use of firearms during protests, and calls to release persons participating in peaceful protests, to address poor conditions of prisons, and to implement the amendment to the Nationality Law, which gives Iranian women married to foreign nationals the right to request Iranian citizenship for their children under 18. We also welcome calls to end violations of the rights to freedom of expression and opinion including internet disruption practices, and the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief against recognized and unrecognised religious minorities, particularly Baha’is being subject to increased persecution, arrest, destruction and confiscation of property.  See more: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/11/23/un-human-rights-council-holds-special-session-on-iran-on-24-november/

We welcome the resolution on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, cosponsored by 32 Member States. The resolution references the wide range of human rights violations and abuses perpetrated in Syria, many of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. We particularly welcome the decision to take further actions on the issue of missing people in Syria, based on the SG’s recommendation in his report on the matter, and to include survivors and their families throughout the process. We call upon the Member States to implement the SG’s recommendation by establishing an International Mechanism to reveal the fate and whereabouts of the missing persons in Syria without further delay.  

We regret that the resolution on the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar, which was adopted by consensus, does not reiterate key elements of the 2021 UNGA resolution which followed the military coup in February 2021. We regret that it fails to comprehensively address, condemn, and call for an end to ongoing and escalating human rights violations by the military, as described in detail by the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar. However, we acknowledge that language regarding the ongoing commission of rights violations against and protection needs of the Rohingya has been retained, and the expression of solidarity with the Rohingya made by Myanmar’s Permanent Representative.

We welcome the consensus adoption of the resolution on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). We welcome in particular the retention of a call for the UN Security Council to resume discussions on the human rights situation in the DPRK, supplemented with a call for the OHCHR to brief it. The Security Council held formal meetings annually on the human rights situation in the country in December from 2014-2017, however in December 2020 and 2021, the subject was discussed in closed consultations under ‘Any other Business’.

We welcome the adoption of the resolution on Human rights in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine. We welcome in particular the resolution’s condemnation of the ‘unprecedented wave’ of violations that Russian forces have committed in Crimea following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, including  arbitrary detention, forcible transfers and enforced disappearances. We also welcome the call on Russia to cease violations and abuses including those within the framework of so-called filtration procedures and forcible transfers or deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, and to lift discriminatory regulatory barriers prohibiting or limiting the activities of religious groups.

  • Civil society access

While we welcome the action by some States to welcome civil society organisations to join informals as observers this session, it was deeply disappointing that only a few States extended this invitation. This year, civil society again faced additional challenges in even keeping abreast of information regarding informal negotiations as information on informals taking place was once again not shared in the UN journal as it previously was. This year this information was only published on the e-deleGATE platform to which civil society has no access. These critical barriers to civil society access to Third Committee negotiations, deprive the Committee of civil society’s technical expertise and mean that its outcomes fail to leverage the contributions of a crucial stakeholder in promoting the implementation of human rights.

Access Now 

Amnesty International

Association for Progressive Communications 

Center for Reproductive Rights

Fòs Feminista, International Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Global Justice Centre

Human Rights in China

Human Rights Watch

International Disability Alliance

International Service for Human Rights

Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

Outright Action International

Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)

https://ishr.ch/latest-updates/joint-civil-society-statement-on-the-outcomes-of-unga-77-third-committee/

UN Human Rights Council holds special session on Iran on 24 November

November 23, 2022
Iranian demonstrators in the streets of the capital, Tehran.
Iranian demonstrators in the streets of the capital, Tehran, during a September 21, 2022 protest for Mahsa Amini, days after she died in police custody.  © 2022 AFP via Getty Images

Just before the United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session on ongoing human rights violations in Iran on 24 November, Human Rights Watch urge it to establish an independent fact-finding mission to investigate Iran’s deadly crackdown on widespread protests as a first step toward accountability, Human Rights Watch said today.

The demonstrations began on September 16, 2022, following the death of Mahsa (Jina) Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, in the custody of the “morality police.” As of November 22, human rights groups are investigating the deaths of 434 people including 60 children. Human Rights Watch has documented a pattern of Iranian authorities using excessive and unlawful lethal force against protesters in dozens of instances in several cities including Sanandaj, Saghez, Mahabad, Rasht, Amol, Shiraz, Mashhad, and Zahedan.

“Iranian authorities seem determined to unleash brutal force to crush protests and have ignored calls to investigate the mountains of evidence of serious rights violations,” said Tara Sepehri Far, senior Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The UN Human Rights Council should shine a spotlight on the deepening repression and create an independent mechanism to investigate Iranian government abuses and hold those responsible accountable.”

Since mid-November, Iranian authorities have dramatically escalated their crackdown against protests in several Kurdish cities, with at least 39 people killed, according to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network. The group reported that from November 15 to 18, at least 25 Kurdish-Iranian residents were killed in Kurdish cities during three days of protests and strikes to commemorate the victims of the government’s bloody crackdown on protests in November 2019.

The authorities have pressured families of recent victims to bury their loved ones without public gatherings, but several funerals have become the scene of new protests. The group said that at least 14 people were killed in Javanrood, Piranshahr, Sanandaj, Dehgan, and Bookan from November 19 to 21, 2022. Radio Zamaneh said the victims included Ghader Shakri, 16, killed in Piranshahr on November 19, and Bahaedin Veisi, 16, killed in Javanrood on November 20.

A 32-year-old Sanandaj resident told Human Rights Watch that the security forces fatally shot Shaho Bahmani and Aram Rahimi on November 17 and forcibly removed their bodies from the Kowsar Hospital in Sanandaj, and threatened the two men’s families outside the hospital.

Jalal Mahmoudzadeh, a parliament member from Mahabad, told Shargh Daily on November 21 that between October 27 and 29, security forces killed seven protesters in the city Mahabad. Mahmoudzadeh said security forces also damaged people’s houses; one woman was killed in her home outside of the protests. He said that since then, another man had been killed, and three more had been shot and killed during his funeral, bringing the total number killed in Mahabad, since October 27, to 11.

Videos circulated on social media show that authorities have deployed special forces and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps units armed with military assault rifles, vehicle-mounted DShK 12.7mm heavy machine guns, and armored vehicles.

On October 24, Masoud Setayeshi, the judiciary spokesperson, told media that authorities have started prosecuting thousands of protesters. These trials, which are often publicized through state media, fall grossly short of international human rights standards, with courts regularly using coerced confessions and defendants not having access to the lawyer of their choice. As of November 21, trial courts have handed down death sentences to at least six protesters on the charges of corruption on earth and enmity against God. The acts judicial authorities have cited to bring charges against the defendants, including “incineration of a government building” or “using a “cold weapon” to “spread terror among the public.” Amnesty International said that at least 21 people are facing charges in connection to the protests that can carry the death penalty.

Since the protests began in September, the authorities have arrested thousands of people during protests as well as hundreds of students, human rights defenders, journalists, and lawyers outside the protests. Detainees are kept in overcrowded settings and are subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including sexual harassment, Human Rights Watch said.

Two women who were arrested during the first week of protests in Sanandaj told Human Rights Watch that the authorities brutally beat them, sexually harassed them, and threatened them during their arrests and later while they were detained at a police station. One of these women said she had several severe injuries, including internal bleeding and fractures.

Over the past four years, Iran has experienced several waves of widespread protests. Authorities have responded with excessive and unlawful lethal force and the arbitrary arrests of thousands of protesters. In one of the most brutal crackdowns, in November 2019, security forces used unlawful force against massive protests across the country, killing at least 321 people. Iranian authorities have failed to conduct any credible and transparent investigations into the security forces’ serious abuses over the past years.

Iranian authorities have also used partial or total internet shutdowns during widespread protests to restrict access to information and prohibit dissemination of information, in particular videos of the protests, Human Rights Watch said. They have blocked several social media platforms, including WhatsApp messaging application and Instagram, since September 21, 2022, by an order of Iran’s National Security Council.

On November 24, UN Human Rights Council members should vote to establish an independent mechanism to document serious human rights violations in Iran and advance on the path to accountability,” Sepehri Far said.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/11/23/iran-un-rights-council-should-create-fact-finding-mission

https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/09/1128111

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/11/12/iran-pushes-back-against-protests-scrutiny-at-un

Where is Dong Guangping?

November 23, 2022

Disappeared Chinese human rights defender must be allowed to reunite with his family in Canada

After 31 months in hiding in Vietnam, on August 24, 2022 Chinese human rights defender Dong Guangping was arrested by Vietnamese police.  There has been no news of his fate since then. His wife and daughter, who live in Toronto, are fearful that he has been handed over to Chinese authorities. In China he would face a grave risk of once again being jailed for his human rights activism. He has previously served three prison terms there, simply because he believes in human rights and refuses to remain silent in the face of grave violations in the country.

Dong Guangping had been recognized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and accepted for resettlement to Canada as a refugee in 2015. He was in Thailand with his wife and daughter at that time. However, Thai police unlawfully handed him over to Chinese authorities before he was able to travel to Canada.  See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/12/08/thailand-returns-recognized-refugees-to-china-and-falsely-claims-they-did-not-know-about-their-status/

He was sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison in China. After he was released in 2019, Dong Guangping wanted to reunite with his wife and daughter in Canada. However, as China refused to issue him a passport, he was not allowed to leave the country through official channels. He first tried unsuccessfully to reach safety by swimming to a nearby Taiwanese island. In January 2020, he clandestinely crossed the border into Vietnam.

With backing from the Canadian government, Dong Guangping and his family had been hopeful that he would soon be allowed by Vietnamese officials to leave the country and travel to Canada. His arrest was unexpected and his subsequent disappearance has come as a crushing blow.

You can express Your Concern to the Embassies Please write, phone or send an email to Vietnam’s and China’s Ambassadors to Canada:

  • expressing your concern about Dong Guangping’s arrest in Vietnam on August 24, 2022 and the fact that there has been no news of his whereabouts or wellbeing since then;
  • asking them to immediately disclose where Dong Guangping is at this time and that Canadian officials be granted access to him; and
  • requesting that Dong Guangping be allowed to travel to Canada without any further delay, to join his wife and daughter.

His Excellency Cong Peiwu
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Canada

515 St. Patrick Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 5H3

Tel: 613-789-3434

Email: chineseembassy.ca@gmail.com

His Excellency Pham Cao Phong
Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in Canada

55 Mackay Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1M 2B2

30 November: film screening; women human rights defenders in Latin America

November 23, 2022

The illusion of abundance: Film screening and discussion

In their film, Erika Gonzalez Ramirez and Matthieu Lietaert introduce us to Berta Cáceres, Carolina de Moura and Maxima Acuña, three women from Latin America defending their communities, land and livelihood against transnational corporations. b Fo rmore on Carceres, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/caceres/ as well as https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/2AD0CEE4-80CB-3234-04B4-F2ED7ACBE6C5

Their quest for corporate accountability brought the activists to Geneva, where ISHR accompanied them during the negotiations at the United Nations Palais des Nations on the elaboration of an international legally binding treaty that seeks to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations. 

  • Wednesday 30 November 2022, 1:20pm-2:40pm
     
  • Room XVIII, Palais des Nations, Geneva
     
  • Languages: movie in original version with English subtitles; discussion in English

https://www.theillusionofabundance.earth/

Dua Lipa and other artists do the right thing by not going to Qatar

November 14, 2022
Flags of the countries participating in the World Cup on display in Doha, Qatar, this week.

According to the Guardian of 14 November 2022, singer says she will not be playing at 2022 opening ceremony. The chart-topping 27-year-old singer, born in London to parents from Kosovo, said she would only play in the country if it improves its record on human rights.

Controversy has surrounded the upcoming football tournament with Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and criminalisation of same-sex relationships under the spotlight. See also my recent: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/11/11/geneva-the-base-from-where-qatar-pursued-its-world-cup-bid/

BTS star Jung Kook is the only official act confirmed for the opening ceremony, which will be held at Al Bayt stadium on 20 November. US rapper Diplo, DJ Calvin Harris and Jamaican singer Sean Paul will also be performing at the Fifa Fan festival, which will run over the 29 days of the tournament.

Lipa is not the first musician to make a point of avoiding playing concerts in Qatar. On Sunday, Sir Rod Stewart revealed he turned down more than US$1m to play in the country last year.

After reports linking her to the event, Lipa shared a statement on Instagram, writing: “There is currently a lot of speculation that I will be performing at the opening ceremony of the world cup in Qatar. I will not be performing and nor have I ever been involved in any negotiation to perform.

“I will be cheering England on from afar and I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup.” He told the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper: “I turned it down. It’s not right to go. And the Iranians should be out too for supplying arms [to Russia].”

Also on Sunday, comedian Joe Lycett told David Beckham he would shred £10,000 if the sportsman didn’t pull out of his Qatar World Cup deal. The footballer is reportedly being paid £10m to be an ambassador for the event, and has been heavily criticised for accepting the money, given that he has previously been viewed as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community..

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/nov/14/dua-lipa-denies-shes-performing-at-the-qatar-world-cup