Job opportunities at the International Service for Human Rights

October 4, 2017

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) announces two vacancies:

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Defend the Defenders newsletter about African developments

October 2, 2017

One of my sources is the Defend the Defenders network run by the East & Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project. I will continue to follow it for you, but those with special interest in Africa should subscribe themselves:  https://app.getresponse.com/site2/publicsignup?u=Bl16k&webforms_id=1980102. Below the latest newsletter as an example: Read the rest of this entry »


Honduras, already the deadliest country in the world for environmental defenders, to get deadlier

October 2, 2017

 
Demonstrators protest in the wake of the 2009 coup in Honduras that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Source: Creative Commons / Flickr–PBS NewsHour 

The article describes how activists in Honduras could soon face up to 20 years in prison for simply marching in the streets after Congress passed an article of the new Criminal Code last week that opposition lawmakers claim criminalizes social protest as a form of “terrorism.”…..Human rights defenders have raised alarm over the proposed reform, arguing that the sweeping definition of “terrorism” in the bill leaves activists and social leaders vulnerable to harsh criminalization and violence at the hands of military and police forces. As the piece is long and copyrighted, here just the link.

Earlier posts on Honduras, which is one of the most dangerous in the world for human rights defenders, include: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/03/07/exceptional-response-from-ngo-world-on-killing-of-berta-caceres/ .

Source: Honduras, the Deadliest Country in the World for Environmental Defenders, Is About to Get Deadlier – Upside Down World


Ceremony of the 2017 Nansen Medal for Nigerian Zannah Mustapha on-line 2 October

October 1, 2017

The ceremony includes performances by the renowned Afrobeat musician Tony Allen, an acoustic set by Japanese artist Miyavi, a classical violin piece from renowned artist Mariela Shaker and speeches from keynote speaker, Syrian refugee Nujeen Mustafa, as well as from the winner.

The ceremony is organized by UNHCR in cooperation with the Government of Norway and the Norwegian Refugee Council, the State Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the Administrative Council of the City of Geneva and the IKEA Foundation, to celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals, groups and organizations who support those forced to flee.

The event is not open to the general public, but the will be streamed via Facebook Live – giving the on-line audience a unique insight into the back-stage preparations, as well as some of the performances.

For more on the Nansen and other awards: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/09/27/new-how-to-digest-over-175-human-rights-awards-in-a-few-minutes/

Source: UNHCR – The Ceremony


International Nuremberg Human Rights Award for Syrian photographer “Caesar”

October 1, 2017

“’Caesar’ and his colleagues were driven by a desire to ensure that the documented crimes against humanity would not go unpunished. To this end they took great risks upon themselves”, explains the jury statement. “In bestowing the International Nuremberg Human Rights Award on the ‘Caesar’ group, the jury also wishes to highlight the history of Nuremberg as the cradle of modern international criminal law.

When the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, it was “Caesar’s” job to photograph the corpses of Syrian soldiers and opposition forces and to systematically archive the images. He found the work increasingly difficult to bear. “I had never seen anything like it”, he later said in an interview with the French journalist Garance Le Caisne, whose persistence played a major part in ensuring that “Caesar’s” images found their way into the public domain.

“Caesar” decided to act rather than continue documenting in silence: over a period of roughly two years, he secretly copied his photographs onto USB sticks and smuggled them out of the country with the help of friends. His life was constantly at risk as a result.

In January 2014, “Caesar’s” photographs were published on the Internet and found to be “reliable” by an investigative commission of former chief prosecutors of international criminal courts. “Caesar” fled from Syria and by his own account is now living in Europe.

Because his life is still in danger, the photographer was not able to attend the award ceremony at Nuremberg Opera House. Garance Le Caisne accepted the award on his behalf.

Garance Le Caisne
Stadt Nürnberg/Christine Dierenbach

Source: International Nuremberg Human Rights Award for “Caesar”


Anti-Torture NGO REDRESS seeks new director

September 30, 2017

REDRESS is a specialist human rights organisation that works globally to combat torture and support survivors in their quest for justice (see www.redress.org). It does so by: representing survivors’ interests before national and international courts and human rights bodies; advocating on their behalf with governments and other policy makers; working with partner organisations around the globe to increase civil society’s ability to fight against impunity, to prevent torture and to support those who suffer from it; and by raising awareness about the scourge of torture and the plight of survivors to strengthen institutions in their work against torture. Founded 25 years ago, REDRESS is headquartered in London but operates globally. Since 2016, REDRESS Nederland works closely with REDRESS from its office in The Hague. The Director currently oversees the work of both.

Although the deadline officially is 30 September it may be that late applications are accepted.

The role of Director is to lead all aspects of REDRESS, its staff and mission, reporting to the Board of Trustees. It involves:

  defining and implementing its overall strategy;

  recruiting, motivating and managing (directly or indirectly) its staff of up to 20, operating in an open high-performance culture within a strong governance framework;

  ensuring the highest possible standards of representation of clients and output of work from the staff;

  creating law changing legal and PR strategies and opportunities to combat torture in individual matters, including writing publicly on these issues;

  liaising and working with key stakeholders and contacts, including:

  running a fund-raising strategy with REDRESS’s supporters who are a mixture of well- known philanthropic trusts, law firms, individuals and states or para-state entities and ensuring a high level of transparency to them and complete delivery to them on their expectations;

  line management of the organisation and its finances;

  considerable travel; and

  working with the Board of Trustees of REDRESS itself, the board of REDRESS Nederland and the US Board to ensure alignment, support and good governance.

  • The post is full time and involves significant travel.The post is vacant from January 2018.

    Interviews will take place in October 2017. There will be two rounds of interviews. The process would also give final candidates the opportunity to meet the REDRESS team and to gain their own information on the standing of the organisation and the quality and approach of its staff.

    The Trustees would hope to make an appointment in October or early November for the new Director to start in January or as soon thereafter as practicable.

    Applications must include a full resume and a covering letter setting out why you are interested in the role, what you would bring to it, what you would want to achieve as Director and how you meet the criteria above. Applications are invited by 30 September 2017 to Sheilagh@redress.org.


4 activists receive the ′Alternative Nobel Prize′ 2017

September 30, 2017

This year’s Right Livelihood Awards recipients have fought for greater inclusion for those with disabilities, defended human and health rights, as well as sought to expose governmental corruption.

Winnres of the Right Livelihood Awards (Right Livelihood-Award)

The Right Livelihood Award Foundation announced the three recipients of its 2017 prize on Tuesday 26 September in Stockholm: Ethiopian lawyer Yetnebersh Nigussie, Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova and Indian attorney Colin Gonsalves were honored for their work “offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global problems.” US attorney Robert Bilott received an honorary mention.

The four awardees were selected from a pool of 102 nominations from 51 different countries. An award ceremony will take place on December 1.

Niguissie, Ismayilova and Gonsalves will share a prize of 3 million Swedish kronor (around €314,000).

For more on the award see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest.  for earlier post: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/right-livelihood-award/

Source: ′Alternative Nobel Prize′ awarded to 4 global activists | News | DW | 26.09.2017


Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz in Kashmir awarded Rafto Prize 2017

September 30, 2017

Several newspapers (here the Indian Express) referred to the announcement of the RAFTO award 2017. On Thursday the Bergen-based group announced that the award has gone to human rights defenders Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz for their campaign “to expose human rights violations, promote dialogue and seek peaceful solutions to the intractable conflict in Kashmir that has inspired new generations across communities.” The Rafto Foundation noted “Parveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez have long been at the forefront of the struggle against arbitrary abuses of power in a region of India that has borne the brunt of escalating violence, militarisation and international tension.” For more on the Rafto award, see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest

Terming the award an acknowledgement from Europe, Imroz, human rights lawyers and the founder of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) said, “This helps to remind us that the international community has taken note of our struggles and our work.” “The state extends its control over every aspect of this conflict…. Speaking truth to power is not easy in these circumstances. This award is a recognition of the civil society in Kashmir” [see also https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/12/01/human-rights-defender-khurram-parvez-reluctantly-released-in-india/

Source: J&K activist, lawyer awarded Rafto Prize | The Indian Express


Nominations sought for the Alexander Human Rights Law Prize

September 30, 2017

Santa Clara University School of Law is seeking nominations of outstanding lawyers who might be candidates for the Alexander Human Rights Law Prize, given annually by the Law School. Now in its 11th year, the “Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize” is intended to bring recognition to lawyers who have used their legal knowledge and skills to help alleviate injustice and inequity. For more information see the recently made public Digest of Human Rights Awards: www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest.
Nominees must be lawyers who have used their skill, knowledge and abilities in the field of law to correct injustice. Selection criteria may include factors such as the:
  • Innovative nature of the programs or other activities undertaken
  • Courage and self-sacrifice required
  • Sustainability of the programs the nominee has implemented
  • Number of people benefited

Nominations should be submitted here. The deadline is 1 October 1, 2017 (although this came from an article published on 29 September).

Previous laureates are:

► 2008 Award Winner: Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama, where he and his colleagues have helped reduce or overturn death sentences in more than sixty cases.

► 2009 Award Winner: Mario Joseph, one of Haiti’s most influential and respected human rights attorneys and Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), which uses prominent human rights cases and a victim-centered approach to force open the doors of Haiti’s justice system for the country’s poor majority.

► 2010 Award Winner: Shadi Sadr, an Iranian lawyer who has risked her life in her efforts to protect the human rights of women, activists, and journalists, and who launched the “End Stoning Forever” campaign and Raahi, a legal center for women which has been forced to close since Ms. Sadr has been in exile.

► 2011 Award Winner: Paul Van Zyl, former Executive Secretary of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, co‐founder of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), and now the CEO of PeaceVentures.

► 2012 Award Winner: Almudena Bernabeau, formerly of the Center for Justice and Accountability and founder of Guernica37, a new human rights law firm litigating on behalf of victims of human rights abuses.

► 2013 Award Winner: Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese civil rights attorney who, although he is blind and had a broken leg at the time, managed to escape house arrest in China. He was targeted for his human rights campaigns, including against forced abortion while China’s one-child policy was in place.

► 2014 Award Winner: Hossam Bahgat, founder and former Executive Director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, whom I featured here when he was detained again for advocating on behalf of the freedom of speech and assembly in Tahrir Square.

2015 Award Winner: Martina E. Vandenberg, founder and president of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center.

2016 Maria Foscarinis, founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (2016).

2017 Paul Hoffman, partner in Schonbrun Seplow Harris & Hoffman, LLP and ace litigator under the Alien Tort Statute/Torture Victim Protection Act.

Source: Nominations Sought: Alexander Human Rights Prize (Oct. 1 Deadline) | Just Security


Documenting human rights: standards and practice – side event

September 27, 2017

This side event is announced too late, but still good to know and find out more from the organizing NGOs: