Archive for the 'human rights' Category

Call for Consultancy for Strategic Plan for AfricanDefenders

July 30, 2019

Call for Consultancy to develop a Strategic Plan for AfricanDefenders.

The scope is to develop Strategic Assessment report recommendations and a five years Strategic Framework for AfricanDefenders for the period of 2020 to 2025. The scope and focus of the assignment is to provide technical, strategic and facilitation support to enable the development of AfricanDefenders’ strategic plan. Develop an analysis framework and work plan to guide the assessment.

The Consultant will conduct a thorough but focused assessment of AfricanDefenders’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats, with a view to identifying appropriate strategic options for the 2020 to 2025 operational period. The assessment will include review of relevant documents, in particular the Kampala Plan of Action for Human Rights Defenders+10, the Paris Plan of Action, the Marrakesh Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the Zanzibar 2019 Final Communique. In addition to existing project documents, strategic plans of key partner agencies, donor organizations, and related domestic and international reports.

The consultant will also develop the following:
1. Online/offline survey for AfricanDefenders members and stakeholders and beneficiaries;
2. Conduct individual interviews with key informants; and
3. Facilitate in-depth focus group/facilitated discussions using web-based technologies and/or teleconferencing.

The tasks under this assignment are to be undertaken in a maximum period of 30 working days. A draft as well as final strategy will be presented to the Steering Committee of the AfricanDefenders. The location of the assignment is flexible, but part of the work will be in Kampala, Uganda and most probably the validation in Banjul, The Gambia.

QUALIFICATIONS

The Consultant(s) is expected to:
• Have professional experience of work in the human rights sector in Africa.
• Be Fluent in spoken and written English and French.
• Knowledge in Arabic or Portuguese is a high added advantage.
• Be willing to travel to Kampala and other focal countries and be available to meet with partners.

The Consultant(s) are requested to submit a project proposal (outlining the tools, methods and sampling model to be used) and comprehensive indicative project budget as part of their motivation and application for consideration.

Submitting your application
Please send your application to jobs@defenddefenders.org with the subject line “AfricanDefenders Consultancy” by 30 August 2019. Your application should include your CV and past experience, budget, work-plan and 3 references for similar work undertaken. Do not send copies of certificates or degrees.

Call for Consultancy to develop a Strategic Plan for AfricanDefenders

How Twitter moved from Arab spring to Arab control

July 29, 2019

Social media platforms were essential in the Arab Spring, but governments soon learned how to counter dissent online”, writes
Twitter played an essential role during the Egyptian Revolution and was used to get info to an international audience [File: Steve Crisp/Reuters]
Twitter played an essential role during the Egyptian Revolution and was used to get info to an international audience [File: Steve Crisp/Reuters]

In a series of articles, Al Jazeera examines how Twitter in the Middle East has changed since the Arab Spring. Government talking points are being magnified through thousands of accounts during politically fraught times and silencing people on Twitter is only part of a large-scale effort by governments to stop human rights activists and opponents of the state from being heard. In the next part of this series, Al Jazeera will look at how Twitter bots influenced online conversation during the GCC crisis on both sides of the issue.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/exists-demobilise-opposition-twitter-fails-arabs-190716080010123.html

NHRF seeks a ‘theory of change’ consultant

July 29, 2019

The Norwegian Human Rights Fund (NHRF) recently went through the process of an external evaluation (November 2018) with a focus on the current strategy and its implementation. The findings of the evaluation were positive and we’re currently working on integrating the recommendations into our future work. The NHRF is seeking a consultant who can advise and support us through, to a limited extent, the development of our theory of change. The NHRF will begin a collaborative and holistic process that will include NHRF personnel (NHRF Secretariat and local consultants) and stakeholders (e.g. grantees and board members) to build a conscious theory of change that reflects the work of the Secretariat as a support mechanism and the work of our grantees on the ground.

The primary objective of the overall project is to develop a theory of change for the NHRF with longevity and adaptability in mind. The NHRF has developed an expansive and in-depth M&E framework that was just recently updated. ….The theory of change should be developed with the idea that it will be the core that our M&E framework and all other organizational development can stem from. As stated above, the overall project will be led by the NHRF’s LME officer, but will be advised by the selected consultant.

The consultant will be asked to advise on the following activities:

  • Early stage guidance and preparation for a theory of change retreat with the NHRF Secretariat and engagement via questionnaire and other methods with other stakeholders and NHRF personnel for collecting input and feedback throughout the development process.
  • Co-lead the NHRF Secretariat retreat in Oslo, Norway
  • Advise on the early drafts of the theory of change once all input, data, and feedback has been collected, interpreted, and translated into a draft

The NHRF is primarily seeking to be advised throughout this process, therefore it is expected that the consultancy will be no more than 5 working days of 7.5-8 hours.

Submissions

  • Candidate’s CV
  • Budget with daily rates based on a 7.5-8-hour workday and estimated flight costs for travel to Oslo in November based on consultant’s location
  • Brief (max 500 words) proposal that includes a timeline of the distribution of the 3 working days that will not be used for the NHRF Secretariat theory of change retreat.
  • 1-2 references (name, email, phone)

Deadline: Thursday, 1 August 2019

Send to: sarah.mcmains@nhrf.no and cc: info@nhrf.no Subject line: “Application – NHRF Theory of Change consultancy”

https://nhrf.no/article/2019/consultant-advisor-on-theory-of-change-development

CONSULTANCY VACANCY – Final evaluation of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism

July 25, 2019

 

announced on 23 July 2019 that it is looking for a consultancy team to conduct an external evaluation at the end of the first phase of the Project. This evaluation should focus on documenting the impact that the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism has had on the situation of human rights defenders during 37 months of implementation and whether the Consortium has delivered in accordance with the Project proposal and main objective of the Project. The evaluation should focus in particular on the direct support to human rights defenders under components and should compare this with other programmes and the broader EU support to HRDs. It should also provide recommendations to improve the relevance and effectiveness of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism in its follow-up phase of implementation. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/05/28/the-eu-human-rights-defenders-mechanism-a-short-overview/

The evaluation should concentrate as far as possible on the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism in its entirety. It is not the intention to evaluate the performance of the individual ProtectDefenders.eu Partners, although comparisons of practices can be used when relevant in order to draw lessons learned and contribute to improve overall performance.

The terms of reference of this assignment are available here.

Applicants are requested to send their submissions to recruit@protectdefenders.eu, with the subject “Evaluation consultantby 16 August 2019.

Why Iceland led the UN resolution on the Philippines

July 22, 2019

Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to sever diplomatic ties, Iceland expressed hope the Philippines will cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s investigation into the human rights situation in the country, including the drug war. “Icelandic authorities sincerely hope that the Philippine authorities will engage the UN on this and the resolution,” Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs said in a press statement. The resolution was backed by 18 out of 47 member-countries. [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/07/11/un-council-agrees-action-on-philippines-in-spite-of-vehement-objection/]

President Rodrigo Duterte blasted Iceland for failing to “understand” the Philippines. “Iceland, ano ang problema ng Iceland? Ice lang. (What’s the problem of Iceland? It has only ice.) That’s your problem you have too much ice and there is no clear day or night there,” Duterte said rather unsuitably but then added that – as a country that enjoyed low crime rates – Iceland was unable to comprehend the need for a bloody drug war in the Philippines.

But why did tiny Iceland, of all countries, file the resolution in the first place?’ Sofia Tomacruz in Rappler of 19 July 2019 tried to answer this:

When Iceland led the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council, it did so as a country that puts a high priority on human rights. As one of the most peaceful countries in the world, Iceland also leads by example when it comes to observing human rights. Iceland carried that responsibility when it became a member of the UN rights council last year, taking the place of the United States which left the rights body it called a “cesspool of political bias.” “For a small and peaceful country like Iceland, international law and the multilateral system is our sword, shield and shelter,” Iceland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs said in statement to Rappler.

ICELAND'S FOREIGN MINISTER. Iceland's Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson at the United Nations. Photo from the Government of Iceland website

ICELAND’S FOREIGN MINISTER. Iceland’s Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson at the United Nations. Photo from the Government of Iceland website

In an interview with the Iceland Monitor, Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson said, “We are fortunate enough to enjoy human rights in Iceland, which we take for granted….It is our duty to contribute to the fight for improving the state of human rights affairs in the world.

According to the Fund for Peace’s 2019 Fragile States Index, Iceland was considered among the most stable countries in the world, enjoying stable observance of human rights and the rule of law among other factors. The Philippines, meanwhile, was described as a state with “high warning” over eroding human rights and higher levels of crime and violence. Aside from this, the 2019 Global Peace Index ranked Iceland as the most peaceful country in the world, while the Philippines was 134th out of a total of 163 countries.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX. Iceland is ranked as the most peaceful country in the world according to the 2019 Global Peace Index. Screenshot from Visions of Humanity.org

Iceland is ranked as the most peaceful country in the world according to the 2019 Global Peace Index. Screenshot from Visions of Humanity.org

For Human Rights Watch deputy director of Geneva Laila Matar, Iceland’s actions as a new member of the powerful rights body live up to its reputation as a country that champions human rights. “Iceland is a country that takes the Human Rights Council seriously and that takes their membership in the Human Rights Council seriously. The Human Rights Council is meant to ensure that gross violations of human rights are addressed,” Matar said in an interview with Rappler.

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/235775-why-iceland-led-un-resolution-drug-war-killings-philippines

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/701688/iceland-hopes-phl-will-cooperate-with-un-probe-on-ejks-drug-war/story/

More on Neha Dixit, a winner of the 2019 Press Freedom Award

July 22, 2019

(Rajni George)

The Committee to Protect Journalists on 16 July gave one of its International Press Freedom Awards 2019 to Neha Dixit, an Indian freelance reporter, who has covered politics, gender, and social justice in print, TV, and online media for more than a decade. [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/07/17/international-press-freedom-awards-2019/]

She began her career at Tehelka magazine and then joined the special investigation team at India Today. In 2019, Dixit spent months investigating and reporting stories that shed a light on important issues in the country, including extrajudicial killings by police. She also reported on the illegal detention of citizens under draconian laws that appeared to be motivated by political interests. In January 2019, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights sent a notice to the Indian government to express its concern about the detentions. In 2018, Dixit reported on the damage to the health of poor Indians who were being used as guinea pigs by pharmaceutical companies in illegal drug trials.

In 2016, she wrote a story for Outlook magazine that accused members of a right-wing nationalist group of trafficking more than 31 girls in Assam state to other parts of India in order to inculcate them with a nationalist ideology. After the story was published, members of the ruling party filed a criminal defamation suit against Dixit and Outlook, accusing both of violating Indian law. CPJ condemned the case, which continues today, and provided Dixit with support for its legal fees. CPJ’s research has found that section 153A of India’s colonial-era penal code, under which the suit was filed, has been used to silence journalists, writers, and academics in India. Dixit was also charged with “inciting communal hatred through writing,” for which she could face a five-year prison term.

After Dixit’s exposé on extrajudicial killings by the police, she said high-ranking police officials threatened her family’s safety if she continued to report on the issue. She is frequently harassed online as a result of her reporting, especially from alleged right-wing extremists. She has been threatened with physical attacks, rape, and death, and her personal information has been exposed online. She told CPJ in May 2019 that she faces up to 300 abusive messages a day.

Dixit’s work has been published in international outlets including The New York Times, Al-Jazeera, Caravan, and The Wire. She has received numerous awards, including the European Commission’s Lorenzo Natali Media Prize in 2011, the Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism in 2014, and the 2016 Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Woman Journalist.

https://cpj.org/awards/2019/neha-dixit-india.php

Alarm bells about China’s growing coalition of the ‘unwilling’

July 20, 2019

On 18 July 2019ecturer on Human Rights, School of Law, University of Essex, wrote in The Conversation a piece that sounds alarm bells about “China is building a global coalition of human rights violators to defend its record in Xinjiang – what is its endgame? Worth taking note:

Read the rest of this entry »

CPJ’s 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award to Pakistani journalist Zaffar Abbas

July 19, 2019

The Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award recognizing extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom will be presented to Zaffar Abbas, editor of Pakistan’s daily newspaper Dawn. Abbas, who has decades of experience as a reporter in Pakistan, has led Dawn since 2010. Under his leadership, Dawn and its reporters frequently have come under government pressure. This is the second Ifill award which replaces the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award. For more on this and other awards for journalists: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/gwen-ifill-press-freedom-award

“Zaffar Abbas is the embodiment of journalistic courage, which is why the board is so pleased to honor him with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award,” said Kathleen Carroll, chair of the CPJ board. “Every day he fights to deliver facts to Dawn’s readers in the face of pressure, obstacles, and blockades from the institutions in Pakistan that would much prefer to go about their business without scrutiny from the press or the public.

https://cpj.org/2019/07/cpj-announces-2019-international-press-freedom-awa.php

In Turkey: two journalists and activist acquitted of terrorism charges – there is hope

July 17, 2019

Today, 17 july 2019, a Turkish court has acquitted two journalists and one human rights activist of terrorism charges. The three defendants had been accused of spreading terrorist propaganda for their work with a Kurdish newspaper, which has since been closed down.  Applause erupted in the courtroom as the verdict was read out, the BBC’s Mark Lowen reported from Istanbul.

Erol Onderoglu, the Turkey representative for press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), journalist Ahmet Nesin, and Sebnem Korur Fincanci, chairwoman of Turkey’s Human Rights Foundation, were arrested in June 2016. [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/11/05/turkish-human-rights-defender-and-forensic-doctor-sebnem-korur-fincanci-honoured/ and https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/05/28/eren-keskin-in-turkey-sentenced-to-prison-and-more-to-come/]

RSF’s annual press freedom index ranks Turkey 157th out of 180 countries, in part because Turkey is the world’s largest jailer of journalists. Last year, Turkey imprisoned 68 journalists in total – the highest of any country in the world.

Mr Onderoglu, Mr Nesin and Ms Fincanci guest-edited the Kurdish paper Ozgur Gundem in 2016, which saw them accused by the authorities of making propaganda on behalf of the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). They each faced 14 years in prison. Two months after their arrest, in August that year, the Ozgur Gundem offices were raided and then permanently shut down. In her closing remarks, before the verdict was read out, Ms Fincanci told the court: “The only crime here was a crime against freedom of speech.”

In a statement released in April, Mr Onderoglu said: “I regard this trial as a part of an effort to intimidate journalists and rights defenders in Turkey. It is a heavy burden for anyone who yearns for democracy to be tried based on their professional activities or solidarity.’ “We are not concerned with being pushed around or harassed by the threats of persecution like the Sword of Damocles. Our concern is for the entire society; it is our concern for the erosion of a sense of justice which holds us all together.

RSF responded to the acquittal on Twitter, saying it was “deeply relieved“. The organisation also called for the scrapping of another trial against Mr Onderoglu, which is due to start in November. Christophe Deloire, RSF’s secretary general, tweeted that the verdict was “a great victory for justice and press freedom, both of which are violated on a daily basis in [Turkey]”. “It represents a huge hope for all the journalists who remain arbitrarily detained,” he added.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49017181

Equatorial Guinea to close down a human rights NGO

July 17, 2019

Human rights groups have condemned a decision by the government of Equatorial Guinea to close down a prominent rights NGO, the Center for Studies and Initiatives for the Development of Equatorial Guinea (CEID). The country’s Minister of the Interior and Local Corporations published a decree on 5 July, 2019 revoking official authorisation granted to the CEID, one of the few independent NGOs that expose human rights violations in Equatorial Guinea. The resolution dissolving the civil society organisation (CSO) accuses the organisation of violating its own constitution and engaging in political activities.

The dissolution of the CEID is a new low for human rights in a country that has failed for decades to respect fundamental freedoms,” said Paul Mulindwa, Advocacy and Policy Officer for CIVICUS. “The organisation’s closure is aimed at silencing independent and peaceful voices committed to defending human rights in Equatorial Guinea,”.

The CEID’s closure follows physical assaults, arbitrary arrests and judicial persecution of the organisation’s Vice President Alfredo Okenve. The move is intended to silence independent and peaceful voices committed to defending human rights in Equatorial Guinea, and has a chilling effect on human rights defenders and CSOs in the country. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/03/17/equatorial-guinean-human-rights-defender-alfredo-okenve-gets-house-arrest-instead-of-award-ceremony/

The repressive environment in Equatorial Guinea is fueled by the use of violence against human rights defenders, the militarisation of the state and politics, high levels of impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of human rights violations and the use of restrictive legislation – such as law No 1/1999 on the Regime of NGOs – to restrict CSO operations. The CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks threats to civil society in countries across the globe, rates civic space – the space for civil society – in Equatorial Guinea as closed.

CIVICUS calls on the government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo to publicly rescind the resolution, respect its international human rights obligations including commitments made recently to the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review process and create an enabling environment for civil society organisation and human rights defenders.

https://www.civicus.org/index.php/media-resources/news/3959-government-s-closure-of-prominent-human-rights-ngo-another-blow-for-fundamental-freedoms-in-equatorial-guinea