Archive for the 'human rights' Category

Human Rights Day 2017 in Asia: MIND THE GAP

December 11, 2017

International Human Rights Day 2017 was celebrated all over the world by governmental and non-governmental entities alike. Here some cases of MIND THE GAP as reported in the media in Asia:

Cambodia:

The government celebrated Human Rights Day under the theme of ‘peace’, but 103 civil society groups spoke out against state ‘attacks’. KT/Mai Vireak

The government yesterday celebrated the 69th anniversary of International Human Rights Day under the theme of peace, while 103 civil society groups called for more protection for human rights defenders. Prime Minister Hun Sen posted on his Facebook page to say how the rights and freedoms of Cambodian people have been restored since the end of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979: “December 10 is International Human Rights Day, which people all over the world celebrate. On January 7, 1979, the rights and freedoms of the Cambodian people were restored and have been until this day.”

Civil society meanwhile marked the day at different locations around Phnom Penh and in other provinces. A group of 103 civil society organisations issued a joint statement calling for justice and respect for human rights from the government. “On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, we, the undersigned members of Cambodian civil society, call for an end to government attacks on human rights defenders and civil society groups and the lifting of unjustifiable restrictions on fundamental freedoms,” the statement said.

Philippines:

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the observance of the International Human Rights Day, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to uplift the lives of Filipinos, especially the poor, marginalized and vulnerable. Noting that the Philippines is an active member of the United Nations Human Rights Council and that respect for human rights is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, Roque assured that the Duterte administration “works hard with the best interest of every Filipino.” ..“That direction is what inspires the government’s compliance with its human rights obligations. As a Nobel Peace Prize winner once said, ‘poverty is the absence of human rights” .

The Philippines has experienced a precipitous drop in basic human rights standards since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power last year, resulting in large, mass mobilizations across the country for the occasion of December 10, Human Rights Day. At least 12 rallies were held across the archipelago on Sunday, with human rights group KARAPATAN and progressive alliance BAYAN taking the lead alongside a range of like-minded groups calling for an end to what they describe as the U.S.-Duterte regime. In addition to over 13,000 small-time drug dealers and addicts killed during Duterte’s “war on drugs,” Karapatan has documented 113 victims of political killings, 81 victims of torture, 54,573 victims of threat, harassment, and intimidation, 364,617 who have suffered due to indiscriminate firing and aerial bombing, and 426,170 internally displaced who were subject to forced evacuation.  

Turkey:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AA
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AA

Respect for human rights based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination of individuals before the law is the irreplaceable nature of the Republic of Turkey,” said Erdogan, according to state-run Anadolu Agency, on the occasion of Human Rights Day on Sunday. Erdogan specifically referenced Turkey’s commitment to “all oppressed people and victims from Palestine to Syria and Asia to Africa.”

Turkey has been cited by several international organizations for human rights violations, namely in its justice system, freedom of speech and Internet communications, treatment of minorities, and political censorship. See inter alia: https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/europe-and-central-asia/turkey/report-turkey/and https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/11/22/celebrities-come-out-to-support-taner-kilic-amnesty-turkeys-chair-on-trial-today/.

Thailand:

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) commissioner and human rights defender Angkhana Neelaphaijit said that despite the government’s claim that it cherished human rights and had made them a priority, in reality it had done nothing to do so.
Angkhana Neelaphaijit
Angkhana Neelaphaijit
Thailand is still far from its goal of valuing human rights since the junta’s policies and actions have eroded rights, while many people do not even understand the principle. Prominent Thai campaigners marked Human Rights Day yesterday to lament that the country was still far from its professed goal of ensuring everyone was accorded the freedoms they deserve. The nation’s most severe human rights violation was the lack of freedom of expression, they said in an appeal to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to restore democracy to truly guarantee human rights for every citizen. They also said Thailand faced many serious human rights crises. For instance, social movements across the country continued to be suppressed by authorities, the justice system was being used against human rights defenders, and many people in society still did not understand human rights and harmed others. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) commissioner and human rights defender Angkhana Neelaphaijit said that despite the government’s claim that it cherished human rights and had made them a priority, in reality it had done nothing to do so. On the contrary, Angkhana said the government was doing the very opposite, enforcing many laws and regulations that violated human rights and curbing the activities of campaigners, both through law enforcement and by force. In effect, the regime was deepening Thailand’s human rights crisis, she said.

Pakistan:

Message by Foreign Minister of Pakistan : ”On behalf of the people and Government of Pakistan, I wish to reiterate our strong commitment to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as needs. Pakistan has demonstrated its resolve by enacting wide ranging legislation, establishing strong institutional machinery and putting in place robust policy measures in the field of human rights. Pakistan’s Constitution serves as an anchor and guarantor of fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Pakistanis.  The Government of Pakistan accords high priority to advancing mutually reinforcing objectives of development, human rights and democracy…This year is also significant for Pakistan in the field of human rights. Pakistan actively engaged with the UN human rights institutions and partners through regular submission of national reports, participation in review processes and implementation of recommendations arising from such mechanisms. Pakistan filed reports and participated in the review mechanism of three international treaty bodies, namely CAT, ICESCR and ICCPR. Pakistan also successfully presented its third national report on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 13 November 2017. This level of engagement, participation and contribution demonstrates Pakistan’s commitment as well as actions to advance the cause of human rights.  Pakistan’s success as the newly elected member of the Human Rights Council (HRC) this year is a testimony to the confidence reposed in Pakistan by the international community as a consensus builder within the international human rights policy framework.

The struggle against enforced disappearance was seen in Sindh alone while though there have been cases of missing persons in other provinces but Sindh has dared to raise voice against such violations of human rights.  These views were expressed at a seminar on occasion of Human Rights Day organized here by SAFWCO and Social Change. Noted Human Rights activist and lawyer Faisal Siddiqui said only voice against forced disappearances was being heard from Sindh while voice of Balochistan has been crushed with force. Though many persons were missing in KPK and Punjab but from there no voice is heard.  He said our judiciary has come out of colonization era and was giving right decisions. He said it was he who had filed petition in SHC for IG Sindh A.D.Khwaja. He said he was harassed for being advocate against Baldia Factory burning of 258 persons, Shahzeb Jatoi case and other cases for which he was harassed and could not open his office for many months. He said now powerful forces were active human rights.  The gathering paid tributes to Pubhal Saryo, convener of missing persons forum who was whisked away by agencies and released after more than 2 months. Punhal Saryo said it has become very difficult to work for human rights in situation where human rights defenders were also not safe.
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http://www.khmertimeskh.com/5095119/civil-society-decries-attacks-nation-marks-human-rights-day/

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/multimedia/Human-Rights-Day-Marked-In-Philippines-Amid–All-Out-Repression-Drug-War-Martial-Law-20171210-0021.html & https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/951114/human-rights-day-roque-duterte-palace-poor-marginalized-un-rights-council

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/turkey/101220171

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30333640

http://www.mofa.gov.pk/pr-details.php?mm=NTY5Mw,, and http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/detail.php?hnewsid=6705

Women Human Rights Defenders Day 2017: an anthology

December 7, 2017

When the UN adopted a landmark Resolution on the Protection of the Women Human Rights Defenders in 2013, the international community committed itself to supporting them and recognising the indispensable role they play in society. But instead of being applauded and recognised for their achievements, human rights defenders are increasingly being threatened and attacked, and portrayed as ‘criminals’, ‘terrorists’ or a ‘threat to traditional values’. In the worst cases, they’re imprisoned and killed. Women human rights defenders are attacked because they challenge injustice and break traditional gender norms and stereotypes in their societies.

To mark international Women Human Rights Defenders’ Day on Wednesday 29 November, I already posted AWID’s list of women who have been killed this year [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/12/04/remembering-women-killed-fighting-for-human-rights-in-2017/].

However there is a plethora of other sources on the issue of women human rights defenders issued around this international day and here follows ‘unfortunately’ just a (big) selection:

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Kate AllenDirector of Amnesty International UK, wrote in the Huffington Post (5 December 2017) under the title “Women Human Rights Defenders: Time To Speak Up For The Those On The Frontline Of Human Rights“.

Amnesty International has released a new report that lays bare the shocking threats that activists face around the world. It shines a light on the plight of women who’ve been killed or forcibly disappeared as a result of their campaigning work over the past 20 years….Berta Cáceres, for example, an indigenous and environmental rights defender in Honduras, was murdered in March last year after being threatened for opposing a hydroelectric project. Her daughter, Bertha Zuñiga, survived an armed attack in July this year, just weeks after being named the leader of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras, the organisation her mother previously led. Justice is yet to be served……And what is so utterly frustrating is that most of these attacks could have been prevented if countries had taken their human rights obligations seriously. When crimes are not investigated and punished, a chilling message is sent out, leaving many women human rights defenders fearing for their lives or too scared to stand up for what is right. This is why we need governments to take heed of our report. They must publicly acknowledge the enormous contribution of women activists in the advancement of human rights, and take steps to prevent any further attacks on them by ensuring they’re adequately supported….In the face of rising populism, fundamentalism, inequality, and a backlash against women’s human rights, voices of women human rights defenders and the communities and movements they represent are now more important than ever.

Rohit David, in the Time son India (5 December 2017) wrote “Women who have been tortured for the environment

The year 2017 has been a tough year for women environment activists and environmental defenders, protecting their indigenous land and resources as they face increased crackdowns, violence, threats, intimidation and murder by state and non-state actors. At the UN environment assembly in Nairobi the women’s rights organisations held a tribute ceremony on Monday. They highlighted the important role of women human rights defenders for a pollution-fr ..  Read more at: //economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/61926819.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Pratch Rujivanarom wrote in The Nation of 4 December 2017 about women in Thailand: “Hardships for female rights activists highlighted”

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FEMALE ACTIVISTS from every corner of Thailand have been victims of discrimination, lawsuits and threats to their families, Protection International has revealed.

Being a human rights activist was harder for women, as many of them had to look after their families and make a living while maintaining an active role campaigning for justice and basic human rights, the organisation’s coordinator, Pranom Somwong, said to mark International Day for Women Human Rights Defenders last Wednesday. “From the stories of women human rights activists across the country, we found that they are living in great distress,” Pranom said. “Not only do they have to face danger from their activism, they have to take care of their family. In the meantime they have a duty to go to court, gather evidence for their cases and earn money for litigation. ..“Moreover, we have found that since the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) came to power in 2014, 179 women have been sued for their activities to defend their rights. They were discriminated against and branded as criminals, and it is common for many of them to be a defendant in more than five cases at the same time.”

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At an event titled “Side by Side WHRD (Women Human Rights Defenders) 2018” last Wednesday at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Protection International disclosed the latest statistics on lawsuits against female human rights activists. They showed that most female activists were sued over the forest-encroachment issue and that the Northeastern Region had the highest number of cases against women activists. A land-rights activist from Chaiyaphum in the northeastern region, Oranuch Phonpinyo, said that poor people of every gender and age were most likely to be victims of unfair government policies, so many women also took on the considerable role of campaigning for their basic rights and justice. Oranuch said the statistics showed that the land-rights issue was the most prominent problem. Since the NCPO proclaimed its forest reclamation policy and enforced orders to take back forestland from encroachers, poor people across the country had been affected severely – especially in the Northeast.

Vishal Gulati (in Nairobi at the invitation of United Nations Environment to cover its third annual session) wrote about: “200 environmental women defenders killed in 2017: Activists”.

This year has been the deadliest for environmental women defenders, with 200 assignations reported across the globe, and most of them were killed over land and forest conflicts, rights activists said on Monday. Paying a tribute on the inaugural day of the three-day third UN Environment Assembly here, they highlighted the important role of women human rights defenders for a pollution-free future. “Two hundred environmental and women human rights defenders have been assassinated this year, mostly killed over land and forest conflicts. Only last week, we lost Elisa Badayos from the Philippines. But these conflicts are greatly aggravated by pollution,” Priscilla Achakpa of the Women’s Major Group (WMG) said.

US NEWS on 30 November 2017 carried the Reuters story “Killing of Mexican Prosecutor of Crimes Against Women Sparks Outcry”

Wee on 29 November wrote in The MarySue: “5 Women To Remember on International Women Human Rights Defenders Day”

International Women Human Rights Defenders Day was created by the UN as a way of giving thanks and paying tribute to the women who have worked to increase women’s access to education, safety, and general independence around the world. So today at TMS we are going to talk about 5 women (2 historical and 3 modern women) who worked to ensure equality for women.

(1) Tawakkol Karman: the Yemeni journalist who became the face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising. In 2005 she, along with seven other female journalists, formed the human rights group Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC).

(2) Sophia Duleep Singh: Goddaughter to Queen Victoria and exiled Indian royalty, Sophia Duleep Singh could have lived a life filled with royalty and opulence, but instead found herself called to the Suffragette movement in the United Kingdom.

(3) Peris Tobiko: Peris Tobiko was the first female Maasai member of Parliament to be elected in Kenya and was re-elected in 2017.

(4) Aida Kasymalieva: The youngest ever female member of the Kyrgyzstan parliament has made child marriage, domestic violence, and bride kidnapping an issue in her country, even when it causes other male members of parliament to walk out.

(5) Matilda Joslyn Gage: Considered too radical by many other suffragettes at the time, Gage was an unapologetic free thinker who supported not only just women’s right to vote but also provided her home as a stop on the Underground Railroad, supporting Civil Rights for African-Americans and Native peoples.

Indigenous Voices of Asia (IVA) published on 29 November “Philippines: CPA Statement on the Occasion of International Women Human Rights Defenders Day”

Today, in commemoration of the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) pays its highest tribute to all women activists who valiantly fight for women’s human rights against all forms of discrimination, inequality, and economic and political oppression. We especially honor women human rights defenders who work tirelessly and selflessly to promote indigenous peoples’ collective rights to our lands, territories and resources against land grabbing and plunder by the state and private corporations……There is a growing peoples’ resistance on state fascism and tyranny, which was seen in the series of protest caravans during the past three months, including the protest caravan led by indigenous peoples and Moro people in September. In response, President Duterte plans on a crackdown against left-leaning organizations on the basis of their alleged conspiracy with communists, and arresting not only communist rebels but also “all legal fronts aiding the left”. Duterte also issued Proclamation 360 on November 23, which terminated the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Peace has become obscured and human rights have lost meaning and force under the current regime…..

Also in the Philippines the Women’s rights group Tanggol Bayi on Wednesday said women human rights defenders are facing “graver challenge” under the Duterte administration. In a press statement, Tanggol Bayi, in which name translates to Defend Women in English, convenor Gerifel Cerillo said Duterte’s words and actions are inciting state forces to commit further violence against human rights defenders, most of whom are women. “Duterte’s words and actions do not only smack of machismo and sexism. These are words and actions of an avowed fascist, one who flaunts state violence and terror on the poor majority to maintain a status quo that is inimical to the interests of the Filipino women and people,” Cerillo said as their group celebrated the International Women Human Rights Day on Wednesday.

On 29 November, 2017, to mark International Women Human Rights Defenders Day 2017, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre made public a short video about women human rights defenders working on business and human rights – includes statistics from their database

On International Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) Day, marked every year on 29 November, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) calls upon governments and armed groups in the MENA region to free all detained WHRDs.

In Saudi Arabia,  GCHR welcomed this news [re women being allowed to drive] with great enthusiasm, however unfortunately the precedent of arrest is stronger than the precedent of freedom when it comes to issues related to women in Saudi Arabia….It’s not possible for human rights defenders to work freely in Saudi Arabia right now, with almost all of them in jail or ceasing work. Most recently, on 10 November 2017, the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh sentenced woman human rights defender and Internet activist Naima Al-Matrood to six years in jail followed by six years of a travel ban. Al-Matrood was arrested on 13 April 2016 at the Directorate of Public Investigation in Al-Dammam. She was charged with allegedly participating in a number of anti-state demonstrations and rallies, being linked to a media cell, and violating public order by creating two social networking accounts on Twitter and Facebook to demand the release of some detainees. Al-Matrood has actively contributed to the peaceful human rights movement in the Eastern Province. Her health is deteriorating because of anemia, which has caused her vision to weaken.

In Iran, many people who campaign for women’s rights have been jailed and the country treats WHRDs more harshly than others, jailing them for lengthy sentences despite illness and separating them from their families.
Atena Daemi, who has campaigned for women’s rights and against the death penalty, has been imprisoned since November 2016 after being convicted of charges that were based solely on her peaceful human rights activities……..Narges Mohammadi, former Vice-President of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) and President of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Peace in Iran, remains in prison….
Even after their release, WHRDs remain imprisoned in their country, unable to leave due to travel bans. Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh ..continues to be banned from travelling. She was released in September 2013 after having spent over three years in prison. She was given a 20-year travel ban.

In Syria, Razan Zaitouneh and Samira Al-Khalil were kidnapped from the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) offices with two male colleagues by armed, masked gunmen in Douma on 9 December 2013 and have been held ever since. There has been no word of their health or circumstances since they were abducted almost four years ago. …

(see also GCHR’s 2016 report Before It’s Too Late: Tangible Protection Mechanisms for Women Human Rights Defenders in the MENA Region and Beyond).

On 29 November the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called on States to Recognize and Protect the Work of Women Human Rights Defenders

The IACHR observes with great concern that in recent years defending human rights in the Americas has become an extremely dangerous activity. Human rights defenders are regularly victims of criminalization, arbitrary detentions, killings, attacks, and threats, among other acts of violence. The information received by the IACHR demonstrates the seriousness of the situation in the region: in 2016 three quarters of all killings of human rights defenders in the world occurred in the Americas. Women human rights defenders face specific challenges in carrying out their defense of human rights, including the discrimination they are subject to because of gender stereotypes ascribed to their sex.

The IACHR notes that a context of structural violence and discrimination against women continues to exist in the region. In this context and while defying macho stereotypes that disapprove their participation in public life, women human rights defenders face a situation of particular vulnerability. They are exposed to misogynistic attitudes, threats of sexual aggression, gender-based defamation and questioning their “femininity” or sexuality. In this respect, the stigmatization and delegitimization have a different impact on women human rights defenders, given that many of these acts cause harm and violence to their gender condition. Additionally, in several occasions there is an intersection with racial discrimination when women defenders are indigenous or Afrodescendent.

Open Democracy of 29 November carries AWID’s “This is why we fight: Interview with Isabel Flota Ayala

AWID spoke with Isabel Flota Ayala, an indigenous activist from the International Indigenous Women’s Fund (IIWF) about people who fought bravely for her communities.

Isabel Flota Ayala, indigenous activist from the International Indigenous Women’s Fund (IIWF). Photo: AWID.

AWID spoke with Isabel Flota Ayala, an indigenous activist from the International Indigenous Women’s Fund (IIWF). She spoke lovingly about people who fought bravely for her communities, including Griselda Tirado Evangelio, a human rights lawyer and part of Oganización Independiente Totonaca (OIT) a group that was defending the land rights of indigenous people in Mexico, and Alberta “Bety” Cariño Trujillo, who was a human rights defender and director of CACTUS (Centro de Apoyo Comunitario Trabajando Unidos), a community organization in Oaxaca, Mexico, through which she fought for the right to resources and autonomy of indigenous people in her community. Griselda was assassinated just outside her family home in 2003. Bety was killed by gunfire during a peaceful solidarity caravan, in a case that still remains “unsolved.”

The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) focused on Bahrain: “Interrogation, travel bans, arrest, and torture are but some of the challenges routinely faced by women humanrights defenders in Bahrain. On the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day we reiterate the call fortheir protection.

Just days ago, Nedal al-Salman was advised that a travel ban prevented her leaving Bahrain. Al-Salman is the Head of International Relations and Women & Children’s Rights Advocacy at Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, and is active in the promotion of women’s rights in Bahrain…This is the second travel ban al-Salman has received in two years; a restriction imposed simply due to her legitimate work in defence of human rights….Zainab Al-Khamees – a woman human rights defender and member of the Bahrain Human Rights Society – was prevented from traveling and summoned to Court in October this year …Jalila al-Salman – a teacher and the former vice president of the (now dissolved) Bahraini teachers’ association– also faces a travel ban. She was previously arrested and detained and tortured for her alleged role in coordinating a teachers’ strike following protests calling for government reform. Jalila al-Salman and her colleagues faced charges of ‘calling for and inciting the overthrow and hatred of the ruling system, possessing anti-political system pamphlets, spreading malicious and fabricated news and taking part in illegal gatherings.’ Nazeeha Saeed – correspondent for Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya and France24 – has been charged with ‘unlawfully working for international media.’ Saeed has previously been detained, and subjected to torture, ill-treatment, and humiliation by police. She as well is banned from travel. These women human rights defenders are subject to reprehensible treatment in response to their activism and commitment to human rights issues.

IPS has a special series of articles that cover the 16 days activism that start on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.   “Women Activists are Targets of Gender-Biased Violence”

Fanny Kaekat, indigenous leader of the Shuar Arutam people, has spent her life defending the territories of indigenous communities in southeastern Ecuador from the threat of mining. She poses at the 14th Latin American Feminist Meeting, in Montevideo, in front of a poster that reads: "my body, my territory", a slogan of women human rights defenders. Credit: Mariela Jara / IPS

Fanny Kaekat, indigenous leader of the Shuar Arutam people, poses at the 14th Latin American Feminist Meeting, in Montevideo, in front of a poster that reads: “my body, my territory”, a slogan of women human rights defenders. Credit: Mariela Jara / IPS

Veiled and direct threats, defamation, criminalisation of activism, attacks on their private lives, destruction of property and assets needed to support their families, and even murder are some forms of gender violence that extend throughout Latin America against women defenders of rights. They want to throw us off our land, they do not leave us alone. The helicopters fly at midnight, there are rumours that they are going to attack us,” Fanny Kaekat, an indigenous leader of the Shuar Arutam people in Ecuador, who for decades have been resisting the harassment of mining companies interested in the gold in their territories in the southeast of the country.

The violence against women rights activists was one of the main topics discussed at Eflac, which brought together some 2,000 feminists between Nov. 23 and 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which marks the start of 16 days of activism to eradicate a problem that is growing rather than declining in the region. This is shown by the report “Commitment to Action: Public Policies to Eradicate Violence against Women in Latin America and the Caribbean”, launched on Nov. 22 by UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which stresses that the region has the highest rates of gender violence not perpetrated by a partner and the second highest committed by an intimate partner……

The local newspaper of Krugersdorp in South Africa (24 November 2017) must be representative of a host of articles on this topic: “#Count me in: together moving a non-violent SA forward”

The white ribbon is the symbol of support for the 16 Days of Activism campaign. It symbolises peace, and the commitment to never commit or condone violence against women and children. Photo: bigissue.org.

…In 1998, South Africa nominated the 16 Days of Activism campaign as the blue-print for curbing violence in the country, and uses it as a time to educate communities about abuse, which includes rape, murder, assault, financial abuse, starvation, emotional abuse, physical abuse, abduction, sexual harassment, human trafficking, incest, child labour and any act of doing something against the other person’s will. The 16 Days of Activism campaign also tells people how to get help when you or someone you know has been abused. The campaign has seen various governmental departments involved in acting against abuse, as well as initiatives, themes, talks, organisations and activities helping to eradicate abuse by providing information. As one of the strategic ways of fighting abuse and inequality, the government went so far as to establish a ministerial portfolio, the Department for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities in May 2009, to put emphasis on not only equality but also the access to development opportunities for vulnerable groups in South African society. The Department aimed to steer the equity, equality and empowerment agenda of the government with regard to groups of people who are treated as insignificant, and previously disadvantaged communities in each of the three sectors.

Finally, although technically not issued in the context of the Women Human Rights Defenders Day, I refer to the piece by Aynslee Darmon in ET Canada of 6 December 2017 entitled  Angelina Jolie Is Fighting For Female Empowerment Through Art: ‘Help Them Tell Their Stories’

At The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Women in Entertainment breakfast on Wednesday, Angelina Jolie delivered a powerful speech calling for female empowerment. Calling it an international battle, Jolie is encouraging female empowerment through art…“We don’t have to keep our heads down, we don’t have to think that the film we make or our comment on politics, or a joke we tell on stage could land us in prison where we might be tortured or punished,” Jolie, 42, added. “We don’t have the censorship. We don’t have to worry what acting in a play or singing on television will bring violence or dishonour to our families. We don’t have to tailor our clothes or our opinions to when it’s acceptable to religious authorities or violent extremist groups. We are not shunned and considered immoral because we dare to speak our mind about why we consider to be wrong as a society. We have the right to think thoroughly and to speak freely and to put forward our ideas on equal terms. There are women across the world who face serious danger and get hurt just trying to have a voice and an opinion.”


sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/women-human-rights-defenders_uk_5a2692dce4b087120d865f21

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/environment/developmental-issues/women-who-have-been-tortured-for-the-environment/articleshow/61926819.cms

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/200-environmental-women-defenders-killed-in-2017-activists-117120401285_1.html

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30333107

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-11-30/killing-of-mexican-prosecutor-of-crimes-against-women-sparks-outcry

https://www.themarysue.com/5-women-to-remember/

https://iva.aippnet.org/philippines-cpa-statement-on-the-occasion-of-international-women-human-rights-defenders-day/

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/29/1763688/women-human-rights-defenders-say-they-face-graver-challenge-under

https://ifex.org/middle_east_north_africa/2017/11/29/women-rights-defenders/

https://reliefweb.int/report/world/iachr-calls-states-recognize-and-protect-work-women-human-rights-defenders

https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/isabel-flota-ayala-awid/this-is-why-we-fight-interview-with-isabel-flota-ayala

http://www.ishr.ch/news/bahrain-women-human-rights-defenders-must-be-protected

https://www.awid.org/whrd-tribute

http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/11/women-activists-targets-gender-biased-violence/

https://krugersdorpnews.co.za/340928/count-me-in-together-moving-a-non-violent-sa-forward/

Angelina Jolie Is Fighting For Female Empowerment Through Art: ‘Help Them Tell Their Stories’

 

Commercial spyware out of control and becoming threat to human rights defenders

December 6, 2017

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Why does MP Tulip Siddiq not want to speak out on Bangladesh?

December 5, 2017

Michael Polak, a human rights lawyer in the UK , wrote in the Guardian of 4 December 2017 “Why will Tulip Siddiq not speak out on Bangladesh’s ‘disappeared’ innocents?”. Behind this title is a serious matter. Ahmad bin Quasem is among the hundreds abducted by state forces in Bangladesh, the country of which this British MP’s  aunt happens to be the prime minister. The author points out that the excuse that the MP has “no sway over Bangladeshi politics” is far from convincing as:.. “And yet earlier this week the Bangladeshi cabinet adopted a resolution “greeting” the Hampstead and Kilburn MP for winning an award in Westminster. Siddiq accompanied the Bangladeshi prime minister during bilateral talks between Russia and Bangladesh in January 2013. Her paternal uncle is Tarique Ahmed Siddique, security adviser to the prime minister. Her mother and brother are both on the ruling party’s council and it is said that her brother is being groomed to be a future leader of Bangladesh. It is clear that Tulip Siddiq has a close relationship with various government figures in Bangladesh, including the prime minister.

Why this MP feels so reluctant to use her influence and to speak out on this and other cases is a mystery. The details of the case of Mir Ahmad bin Quasem, or Arman as he is known to friends and family, a British-trained Bangladeshi lawyer who was abducted in August 2016 by state security forces, follows below.
tulip siddiq
Tulip Siddiq. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty

Last year the family of one such victim approached me to press their case. Mir Ahmad bin Quasem, or Arman as he is known to friends and family, is a British-trained Bangladeshi lawyer who was abducted in August 2016 by state security forces. They knocked on his door and, in front of his wife and young children, dragged him away. This abduction followed the exact modus operandi of other abductions by the security forces in Bangladesh. Since this incident there has been no confirmation of his whereabouts, but we believe that he is still alive.

Mir Ahmad was on the defence team for his father, Quasem Ali, who was prosecuted by Bangladesh’s self-styled “international crimes tribunal”, set up by the ruling party in Bangladesh to try crimes committed during the country’s war of liberation against Pakistan.

The tribunal has been widely criticised internationally, including by groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as the United Nations high commissioner for human rights and eminent British lawyers. Along these lines, Mir Ahmad decided to join his father’s defence team but was abducted a month before his father’s execution, while the appeal procedure was still under way.

Mir Ahmad has not been charged with any offence and his abduction and continued detention by the Bangladeshi government is contrary to the Bangladeshi constitution and the country’s obligations under international law. Forced disappearances are common in Bangladesh under the current government: more than 320 people have been disappeared since 2009.

Mir Ahmad is one of three sons of former politicians who were abducted at around the same time, one of whom has been released. In a secret recordingobtained by Swedish radio, it is claimed by a high-ranking government security officer that the fate of those seized is decided by those “high up”. Astonishingly, as reported in these pages, Sheikh Hasina recently claimed that such forced disappearances also occur in Britain and the US, saying “275,000 British citizens disappeared” in the UK each year.

Last week Channel 4 News raised the issue and put the matter to Siddiq. The interaction now has become a matter of public record. Siddiq complained that Mir Ahmad was not her constituent, that she had no sway over Bangladeshi politics and that in any case she was a British MP focusing on Britain…..Even if we are to take Siddiq at her word that she has no sway over Bangladeshi politics, what is preventing her from at least speaking out? My client may not be Siddiq’s constituent, but nor is he the constituent of Shabana Mahmood MP, who raised an official parliamentary question on the matter earlier this year.

Before and since the Channel 4 News report was aired, the family of Mir Ahmad bin Quasem have been visited by state security forces who have reportedly warned them that “if there is any such news, come next time we will not be good like this time and you will not get to see our face like today”.

Since it has come to this, I earnestly hope that Siddiq can speak out to try to help ensure that Mir Ahmad’s mother, sister, wife and two young daughters are not intimidated by the Bangladeshi security services or face enforced disappearance themselves. This is an urgent matter and I ask Tulip Siddiq, as I have done many times before, to speak to me so it can be resolved.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/04/tulip-siddiq-bangladesh-disappeared-abducted-prime-minister

 

Remembering women killed fighting for human rights in 2017

December 4, 2017

Source: Remembering women killed fighting for human rights in 2017 | AWID

Write for Rights again in December 2017

December 4, 2017

Every December, Amnesty International supporters across the globe write millions of letters and take actions for people whose human rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights campaign. Last year at least 4.6 million actions were taken. “For 15 years Write for Rights has given people hope in their darkest moments. Imagine being ill in jail and receiving thousands of letters of support and solidarity; or finding out that people all over the world are behind you in your quest for justice for a murdered relative. Writing letters really can change lives,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. For last year’s see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/11/04/time-for-the-annual-write-for-rights-campaign/

This year Amnesty International is writing to, among others:

  • The Bangladeshi Home Minister, calling on him to bring the killers of Xulhaz Mannan to justice, without recourse to the death penalty. Xulhaz, a founder of Bangladesh’s only LGBTI magazine, was in his apartment with a colleague when men wielding machetes burst in and hacked them to death in April 2016. Despite ample evidence, the killers have yet to be charged.
  • The Prime Minister of Jamaica, telling him to protect Shackelia Jackson, who has been fighting for justice for her brother Nakiea since he was killed by police in 2014, and has refused to be silenced by police intimidation.  In the past decade around 2,000 men, usually young and poor, have been killed by police in Jamaica.
  • The Prime Minister of Israel, telling him to drop all charges against Farid al Atrash and Issa Amro, Palestinian human rights defenders, who want an end to illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. They brave constant attacks by soldiers and settlers, and are facing ludicrous charges after they joined a peaceful protest march.

 

This year, these 10 people and groups urgently need your support:

Xulhaz Mannan

Xulhaz was a founder of Bangladesh’s only LGBTI magazine, a daring venture in a country where same-sex relations are illegal. He was in his apartment with a colleague when men wielding machetes burst in and hacked them to death. Despite ample evidence, including CCTV footage and eyewitness testimony, one year on the killers have yet to be charged for this brutal murder.

Mahadine

Tadjadine Mahamat Babouri, commonly known as Mahadine, is an online activist from Chad. In September 2016 he posted videos on Facebook criticizing the Chadian government. Within days, he was snatched off the streets, and beaten and chained up for several weeks. He faces a life sentence and is also gravely ill, having caught tuberculosis in prison.

Ni Yulan

A former lawyer, Ni Yulan has supported scores of people forced from their homes by lucrative construction projects. She has braved almost 20 years of violent harassment for defending housing rights, and has been monitored, arrested and repeatedly evicted by the authorities. She was once beaten so badly in detention that she now uses a wheelchair. Ni Yulan continues to help people stand up for their rights

Hanan Badr el-Din

Hanan Badr el Din’s life changed forever when her husband disappeared in July 2013. She last saw him on television, wounded and at a hospital after attending a protest. Hanan’s relentless search for him led her to others whose loved ones were taken by the Egyptian security forces. Now a leading voice exposing Egypt’s hundreds of disappeared, her latest search for information about her husband has seen her arrested on false charges which could result in five years in prison.

Sakris Kupila

Sakris Kupila, a 21-year-old medical student from Finland, has never identified as a woman. Yet he has to endure daily discrimination because his identity documents say he is female – the gender he was assigned at birth. To legally reassign your gender in Finland, you must be diagnosed with a “mental disorder” and sterilised. Sakris opposes this humiliating treatment. And despite threats and open hostility, he continues to demand a change to the law.

MILPAH Indigenous Movement

For the Indigenous Lenca people in Honduras, the land is their life. But huge hydroelectric, mining and other interests are out to exploit that land. MILPAH, the Independent Lenca Indigenous Movement of La Paz, is at the forefront of the struggle against them. They brave smear campaigns, death threats and physical assault to protect their environment, yet their attackers are rarely brought to justice.

Farid and Issa

Farid al-Atrash and Issa Amro are two Palestinian activists who demand an end to Israeli settlements – a war crime stemming from Israel’s 50-year occupation of Palestinian land. Dedicated to non-violence, the two activists brave constant threats and attacks by soldiers and settlers. In February 2016, Issa and Farid marched peacefully against settlements and the Israeli occupation. As a result, they face ludicrous charges apparently designed to obstruct their human rights work.

Shackelia Jackson

Shackelia Jackson will not give up. When her brother, Nakiea, was gunned down by police, she took on Jamaica’s sluggish court system to lead a bold fight for justice for his murder. In doing so, she rallied dozens of families whose loved ones were similarly killed. In response, the police have repeatedly raided and harassed her community. But Shackelia will not be silenced.

Clovis Razafimalala

Clovis is doing everything he can to protect Madagascar’s vanishing rainforest. Its rosewood trees are a precious resource under threat from a network of smugglers, bent on selling them off in what has become a billion dollar illegal trade. Clovis’ efforts to save this rare ruby-coloured tree have brought him unwanted attention. He has been convicted on false charges and could be jailed at any moment

Turkey

Right now, 11 people who have dedicated their lives to defending the human rights of journalists, activists and other dissenting voices in Turkey are themselves in danger. Among them are Amnesty International’s Director, İdil Eser, and its chair, Taner Kılıç, who remains in prison after five months. All are on trial for ‘terrorism’-related crimes, an absurd charge and face a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Amnesty International’s Brave campaign calls on governments around the world to protect human rights defenders.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/11/amnesty-launches-worlds-biggest-human-rights-campaign/

In memoriam: Corinne Dufka remembers Peter Takirambudde

December 1, 2017

On 1 December 2017 Corinne Dufka of Human Rights Watch wrote a column aboutPeter Takirambudde who passed away on 16 November in his native Uganda. He was head of HRW’s Africa division from 1996 to 2008 during multiple crises, including in Sudan, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. After leaving Human Rights Watch, Peter founded and directed the Botswana-based African Human Rights Consortium, which helped train members of civil society from across the continent in human rights investigation and advocacy. Peter was also a lawyer and a well-respected law professor, including at the University of Botswana-Gaborone, where he served as head of social sciences, and at the University of Lund in Sweden. He received a bachelor’s degree from Makerere University in Uganda and a doctoral degree from Yale University.

As noted by Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch’s executive director, “We remember him fondly for his deep intellectual engagement with African human rights issues, his always-incisive analysis, and his principled and passionate defense of the rights of people throughout the continent. He made a very important mark establishing Human Rights Watch in Africa, and we remain deeply indebted to him.

The full text below:

Read the rest of this entry »

Side event on human rights defenders working on Business and Human Rights issues

November 23, 2017

This side event will take place during the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. The event will bring together multiple stakeholders to discuss how to remedy, redress and prevent attacks against human rights defenders working on business and human rights.

Human rights defenders in Zimbabwe rejoice but realize still long away to go

November 23, 2017

With Mugabe’s departure there is light at the end of the tunnel but there is a lot of cleaning up to do. Two recent opinion pieces make the point:

'Mugabe’s departure offers Zimbabwe an opportunity to make a break from its past,' writes Deprose Muchena (Zinyange Auntony, AFP)
‘Mugabe’s departure offers Zimbabwe an opportunity to make a break from its past,’ (Zinyange Auntony, AFP)

Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s regional director for Southern Africa, wrote a piece in the Mail & Guardian of 23 November 2017 under title From reconciliation to repression: Mugabe’s painful legacy“.

Muchena traces first Robert Mugabe’s political career that saw early successes ultimately wiped out by a litany of human rights abuses.

Mugabe started well in his early years as leader of Zimbabwe following the transition from British colonial rule. He oversaw heavy investment in Zimbabwe’s social services. Areas including health and education saw dramatic improvements, with the country still enjoying one of the highest literacy rates in Africa. The results of this significant investment in education are there for everyone to see. But Mugabe later undermined his own legacy. During his 37 years in power, he presided over the brutal repression of political opponents, established a culture of impunity for himself and his cronies, and his government implemented a series of policies that have had disastrous consequences for Zimbabweans…Mugabe began his political life fighting against injustice. Imprisoned, and later exiled for his political activities, he was one of more than 900 prisoners of conscience in Zimbabwe adopted by Amnesty International between 1965 and 1979.

After independence political opponents, (repression of Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe Africa People’s Union, military crackdown across Matabeleland and Midlands provinces) ……With nobody held accountable for the killings, a dangerous precedent of impunity was set early on in Mugabe’s reign. It was one he went on to exploit time and again.

Throughout his presidency, general elections were characterised by spikes of serious human rights violations and abuses by state security agents and Zanu-PF activists. Opposition supporters suffered torture, harassment, intimidation and death…A wave of violence unleashed by the army against those suspected of voting for the MDC ensured that Mugabe won by a comfortable margin after the second round of votes was counted.

An increasing reliance on security services to suppress dissenting voices in and outside his party became a hallmark of Mugabe’s rule. Human rights defenders, journalists, those with dissenting views and opposition party activists were locked up on politically motivated charges or under draconian laws. Some were tortured or “disappeared”. Much early progress made on economic, social and cultural rights was wiped out by a series of disastrous government policy decisions. Carried out in 2005, Operation Murambatsvina — a Shona word for “drive out trash” — was one of the most devastating forced evictions in Zimbabwean history…

Although land reform was clearly needed and resulted in some legitimate large-scale redistribution, it was also used as a system of patronage. It rewarded Mugabe’s supporters with land but denied it to those considered supporters of opposition parties. Escaping repression and a shrinking economy, three million Zimbabweans have left the country since 2000…

 

Mugabe’s departure offers Zimbabwe an opportunity to make a break from its past. Zimbabwe’s future lies in renouncing impunity, addressing the human rights violations of the past, ensuring reparations for the victims and respecting the rule of law. The next generation of leaders must commit to upholding the Constitution and live up to Zimbabwe’s international and regional human rights obligations.

———————–

Supporters of Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa await his arrival in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 22, 2017. PHILIMON BULAWAYO/ REUTERS

Mandipa Ndlovu says that “during Mugabe’s reign, over one-third of the population (4-million people) was forced to relocate to abroad to seek better opportunities for them and their families, as well as escape the iron-fisted rule of the former president. The end of an era marked the beginning of a newfound hope that released dormant life in the Zimbabwean community both in the country and around the world.

That long-time Mugabe ally, Emmerson Mnangagwa, will become the new president.. has been welcomed in regards to change for the southern African country, but must be engaged with from a nuanced position regarding the sustainability of human rights and good governance in the country…Zimbabweans are past bitterness and anger, we just want recognition and acknowledgement of past wrongs. This is the only way the country can move forward.

The fact is that Britain’s and the West’s policy was that of turning a blind eye to the black Zimbabwean persecutions of 1980 to 1987 and only reacted with economic sanctions when white-occupied farms were invaded in 2000. Moreover, the legacy of colonialism up until this point had remained one which the Zimbabwean people now realise was exploitative. This, for many Zimbabweans, highlights the interests of which demographic of the Zimbabwean population they seek to strengthen. This lack of historical recognition remains a sticking point to the black population of Zimbabwe, who have both lived through and experienced the effect of economic sanctions placed on the country as a result of Mugabe’s rule. One which needs to be rectified…

It would therefore be a disservice to the future of human rights to disregard the need to address this. Zimbabweans need to have these fears allayed through the initiation of both restorative and distributive justice in order to legitimise real change. In this, however, it is imperative to note that Zimbabweans are past bitterness and anger, we just want recognition and acknowledgement of past wrongs. This is the only way the country can move forward.

.. We have not forgotten people such as Itai Dzamara, whose whereabouts still need to be accounted for. It is not enough to remove the face of fear and violence when the potential for the re-engagement with the system still exists under untainted structures of governance. It is imperative that the narrative of ‘Operation Restore Legacy’ under the new regime does not gloss over the grief of loss (material, physical and in time) as linked to trauma and its subsequent memory..

In the new Zimbabwe, there should not be room to romanticise about the past and its legacies. The culture that tip-toes around the acceptability of violence within the public sphere for the perpetuation of political gain must be thwarted. This can be particularly translated to the politics of grief in reconciling the “violence” narrative…Regardless of what reforms are dormant in Mnangagwa’s hat as he ascends to the presidency, the sentiments of cooperation and the respect of human rights expressed in his press statement on November 21 will go a long way in legitimising bodies. These are the ideals to which the Zimbabwean people must continue to hold him and his administration to account.

For some of my earlier posts on Zimbabwe: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/zimbabwe/

Sources:

https://mg.co.za/article/2017-11-23-from-reconciliation-to-repression-mugabes-painful-legacy

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/mandipha-ndlovu/is-there-a-future-of-sustainable-peace-and-human-rights-for-zimbabwe_a_23286098/

Celebrities come out to support Taner Kılıç, Amnesty Turkey’s chair, on trial today

November 22, 2017

Taner Kılıç, Amnesty Turkey’s Chair, has been behind bars for nearly six months
As the trial of ‘Istanbul 10’ and the Chair of Amnesty Turkey resumes today 22 November 2017, more than 70 persons signed an open letter calling for the case against the 11 human rights activists to be dropped. As quite a few celebrities make missteps in the human rights area [see recently: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/11/10/helen-hunt-joins-list-of-celebrities-that-show-insensitivity-on-human-rights/ ], it is heartening to see names such as Ai Weiwei, Edward Snowden, Anish Kapoor, Catherine Deneuve, Angélique Kidjo, Indira Varma, Tim Farron, Bianca Jagger, Canon Mark Oakley, Hilary Benn, Juliet Stevenson, and Sting among the signatories.In the AI UK letter (see full text and list of signatories below), the group say they’re “proud” to add their voices to “the global demand to end this gross injustice”.

[Amnesty’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç, was arrested on 6 June, jail three days later and remains in detention. Meanwhile, ten other activists, including İdil Eser, the Director of Amnesty Turkey, were detained a month later. Seven of them were remanded in Turkey’s high-security Silivri Prison for almost four months, with one remanded in Ankara’s Sincan Prison. The eight were held for almost four months and released last month at their first hearing. They are all accused of “membership of a terrorist organisation”.] See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/10/12/many-birthday-parties-for-jailed-human-rights-defender-in-turkey/ 

OPEN LETTER AHEAD OF TRIAL OF TANER KILIC AND ISTANBUL 10

On Wednesday the trial of 11 human rights defenders including including Taner Kılıç, and İdil Eser the chair and director of Amnesty International Turkey, will resume in Istanbul. 

The 11 face outlandish “terrorism” charges in what can only be described as a politically-motivated prosecution aimed at silencing critical voices within the country. If convicted they could face jail terms of up to 15 years. This sends a chilling message not just to people in Turkey but around the world. 

With many people unfairly imprisoned as part of the crackdown following the bloody coup attempt in Turkey – including journalists, lawyers and civil society leaders – some may ask: why focus on these 11 people? The answer is simple: when human rights defenders are silenced, all our rights are put at risk. They are the ones that stand up for us. Now we must stand up for them.

We are proud to add our voices to the global demand to end this gross injustice and to immediately and unconditionally release Taner Kılıç from jail.

The Turkish authorities must know that the eyes of the world will be on Istanbul’s central court for this trial. We will not stay silent. Defending human rights is not a crime. 

Signed:

Edward Snowden, human rights activist
Catherine Deneuve, actor 
Ai Weiwei, artist
Angélique Kidjo, musician
Anish Kapoor, artist
Peter Gabriel, musician
Francois Morel, actor 
Elif Shafak, author
Bianca Jagger, human rights activist
Juliet Stevenson, actor
Indira Varma, actor 
Mogens Lykketoft MP, ex-President of the UN General Assembly
Nacho Sanchez Amor, OSCE Human Rights Committee Chair
Mirosław Wyrzykowski, Constitutional judge, Poland
Dr. Shashi Tharoor MP (former UN Under-Secretary General)
Ryan Gage, actor
Pasha Bocarie, actor 
Nazanin Boniadi, actor 
HK, musician
Sting, musician
Anti-Flag, musicians
C 215, artist 
Lucas Belvaux, film maker 
Laurent Gaudé, writer 
El Moustach/Hicham Gaoua, artist  
Said Salhi, Vice president of LADDH (Algeria)
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General
Ken Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch
Claude Rolin MP (Belgium)
Tanita Tikaram, musician
Mohamed Fahmy, journalist
Peter Greste, journalist
Mark Oakley, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral
Peter Tatchell, human rights defender
Natacha Régnier, actor  
Franck Pavloff, writer 
Emily Loizeau, musician 
Romain Goupil, film director 
Nicolas Lambert, comedian 
Clotilde Courau, comedian 
David Lammy MP
Caroline Lucas MP
Stephen McCabe MP
Tom Brake MP
Catherine West MP
Carol Monaghan MP
Joan Ryan MP
Christopher Stephens MP
Clive Lewis MP
Jo Stevens MP
Kerry McCarthy MP
Richard Burden MP
Kevin Brennan MP
Jim Cunningham MP
Rosie Cooper MP
Eleanor Smith MP
Wes Streeting MP
Stephen Doughty MP
Daniel Zeichner MP
Stephen Kinnock MP
Geraint Davies MP
Marie Rimmer MP
Grahame Morris MP
Antoinette Sandbach MP
Madeleine Moon MP
Tonia Antoniazzi MP
Preet Gill MP
Phillipa Whitford MP
Sarah Wollaston MP
Gareth Thomas MP
Emma Dent Coad MP
Hilary Benn MP
Tommy Sheppard MP
Olivier Py, France 
Paul Rondin, France
Monika Płatek, President of the Polish Association for Legal Education
Adam Bodnar, former board of United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture
Mikołaj Pietrzak, former Chair of the Human Rights Council of the Polish Bar Council
Krzysztof Śmiszek, co-founder of Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/ai-weiwei-catherine-deneuve-bianca-jagger-and-peter-greste-among-those-calling-end