Nominations for RAFTO prize 2023 now open

January 5, 2023
Call for nominations 1 1

The Rafto Prize encourages everyone with an interest in or knowledge of human rights to make a nomination. Annual deadline is 1 February. For more on this and similar awards, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/A5043D5E-68F5-43DF-B84D-C9EF21976B18

Criteria

  • A candidate should be active in the struggle for the ideals and principles underlying the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • A candidate’s struggle for human rights should represent a non-violent perspective.
  • A candidate may be a person or an organization, and two or more candidates may share the prize.

Who can nominate?

Anyone with an interest in and knowledge about human rights is welcome to nominate candidates. Candidates nominated by themselves or by their staff or by honorary officers will not be taken into consideration.

Deadline for nominations: 1 February.
Nominations received after 1 February will be taken into consideration for the Rafto Prize the following year.

Who makes the decision?

Nominations for the Rafto Prize are received and evaluated by the Prize Committee. Recipient(s) is selected by the Board of Directors.

When is the announcement the Rafto Prize?

Each year we announce the recipient of the Rafto Prize in the end of September at a press conference at the Rafto House in Bergen. The announcement is live streamed on our website and on Facebook.

For questions regarding nominations, please contact the Secretary of the Committee, Liv Unni Stuhaug, livunni.stuhaug@rafto.no

Nominate a candidate


2023: it can only get better for human rights

January 3, 2023

It seems bold to be so optimistic, but lets not forget that the assertion starts from a very low base: 2022 was probably one of the worst years with the Ukrainian war, further repression in Russia, death sentences for protesters in Iran and no let up in China.

Also remarkable wss the relatively poor observance of internatioanl Human Rights Day on 10 December 2022. Usually I make selection of events (e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/12/10/human-rights-day-2021/ and https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/12/17/human-rights-day-2019-anthology-part-ii/), but this year there was little to report. Just these:

In an interview with Global Solutions of 9 December the “new” High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, [see also:https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/09/15/new-high-commissioner-for-human-rights-volker-turk-the-man-for-an-impossible-job/] gives an answer to the question: 10 December marks Human Rights Day; With this milestone – and your new role – in mind, what’s your vision for human rights?

I think we have to start with where we are with the world and we are at a very peculiar moment.  We have all lived through these multiple crises. We have seen the geopolitics, the divisions, the fragmentation, and all these things that have preoccupied us at a time when you would hope that the international community would come together and craft something that would respond to the big challenges that we face.

So for me, human rights is the force that comes in and unifies us.  Because it brings us back to human dignity and to what makes us all connected with each other. Let’s not forget that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights emerged out of the ashes of the Second World War.  It provided the inspiration and the motivation that the world needed at that time.  So, I think we need to almost counter intuitively go back to the basics of what this unifying force – this concentration on the human being – was.  We need to regain the universality and the indivisibility of the human rights regime.

Secondly, we also need to look at human rights in the 21st century, for example in the digital transformation that we’re seeing. Take the letter I wrote to Twitter’s Elon Musk, for instance. Social media platforms play a very important role. We know the role Facebook played in Myanmar, for example, when the Rohinga crisis happened, in allowing disinformation and hatred to spread. So, human rights needs to look at the type of issues that we face today.

And the third area that I hope we can achieve next year, is we have to look at the human rights ecosystem as a whole. So, what is the role of the treaty bodies, of the special procedures mandate-holders, of the Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review process, and of my own office too – and how do we strategically deal with different situations?

Freedom House took the occasion to consider that Political prisoners and the victims of human rights abuses have taken a back seat when global summits and events occur. But it is exactly because of those events that we should be giving the victims of such abuses our full attention...

Symbolic dates like International Human Rights Day offer space to reflect on and advocate for the rights of the brave people who have been imprisoned or experienced retaliation for standing up to repressive, authoritarian rule. But political prisoners and others fighting for freedom deserve our attention for more than one day of the year. We cannot allow their plight to be sidelined because it is inconvenient to think about them during an event like the World Cup.

The World Cup is one of several events in recent months that has drawn criticism for the human rights controversies surrounding it. In what was meant to be a historic summit to discuss the imminent threats posed by climate change, the latest United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), held in Egypt in early November, instead became a spotlight on the host country’s abysmal human rights record. The large number of human rights defenders and activists currently detained or imprisoned in Egypt was difficult to ignore, and one case in particular stood out for its perilously high stakes. British-Egyptian democracy activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, imprisoned for his activism, endured a six-month hunger strike, now over, which resulted in the Egyptian authorities denying his family the ability to contact him as the conference took place. They desperately pleaded with the authorities for proof he was alive, and his sister Sanaa took the stage at official summit events to advocate for her brother’s release. She faced threats from Egyptian officials who accused her of calling on foreign entities to intervene in the country’s internal affairs.

Participating governments could have added to this pressure and set the stage for the release of Abdel Fattah and numerous other political prisoners, by conditioning Egypt’s hosting role on freeing political prisoners ahead of COP27. Instead, the conference’s setting appeared hypocritical, as climate justice depends in large part on respect for democracy and human rights.

Similarly, this fall’s G20 summit saw leaders of multiple countries that hold political prisoners convene for strategic discussions. The lives and freedoms of imprisoned human rights defenders, journalists, and prodemocracy activists in Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey, Russia, Mexico, India, and even the host state Indonesia, were superseded by “other priorities.” In Indonesia, human rights defender Victor Yeimo, who has spoken out on the rights abuses occurring in West Papua, was arrested in May 2021, reportedly due to his involvement in antiracism and self-determination protests two years prior. Charged with crimes including treason, he remained in detention while the G20 met. His case and others across the various member states should have been highlighted, as respect for international human rights principles and commitment to strong democracies are key to long-term national and global security and economic stability.

Scott Walker, a Researcher at the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, a and a Research Assistant within the Faculty of Law, Monash University.decided to draw attention to an important case concerning climate justice; On 10 December 2022 the world marks Human Rights Day commemorating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR) in 1948.  This year’s theme is dignity, freedom, and justice for all, in anticipation of the 75thanniversary of the UDHR in 2023. It gives us cause to reflect on the mobilising force that the UDHR has become in the struggle for human rights across the world. Yet, there is always more work to be done to truly achieve a world in which dignity, freedom, and justice is a lived reality for all. To do so we must utilise human rights both as a guidepost for advocacy and a tool for concrete, on the ground change to address some of the most pressing and ongoing challenges facing our world; including the immediate and catastrophic impacts of climate change

Here in Australia, the path to domestic enshrinement of human rights has been a meandering one: only two States (Victoria and Queensland) and one Territory (the Australian Capital Territory) have Human Rights Acts. Yet, the capacity of these Human Rights Acts to achieve real and meaningful change in people’s lives is profound. Increasingly, people on the frontline of the climate crisis are also turning towards human rights to achieve justice. The potential impact of human rights-based climate litigation was recently demonstrated in the decision of the Land Court of Queensland in Warratah Coal Pty Ltd v Youth Verdict Ltd. In this case, the Court recommend against the grant of a mining lease and environmental authority to allow Warratah Coal to mine thermal coal in Queensland’s Gallilee Basin.  This case deserves closer examination to illustrate the way in which human rights enshrined in law can be mobilised in claims for climate justice.  

On 10 December 2022, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF), the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, announced this year’s recipients of 20 Global Innovation Small Grants as a part of the organization’s Global Partnerships Program. The grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are awarded to organizations around the world working to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people in these countries. This announcement coincides with International Human Rights Day, which is celebrated annually around the world, marks the December 10 anniversary of the United Nations adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The declaration was the first of its kind and recognized that “every human being is born free and equal in rights and dignity.” The grants support members of of HRC’s growing global alumni network, which now consists of some 200 LGBTQ+ advocates in close to 100 countries. All of them have participated in one of the HRC Foundation’s global programs, including the flagship annual Innovative Advocacy Summit.


The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, December 9, 2022 Ahead of International Human Rights Day on December 10, CHRD celebrated the courage and bravery of human rights advocates and calls on the Chinese government to stop violating its obligations to protect human rights and free those detained for exercising their human rights. We urge the international community to keep hope alive and continue supporting defenders on the forefront. 

In recent years. Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, has suffocated civil society and space for free expression, jailed COVID whistleblowers, journalists, lawyers, labor organizers and feminists, LGBTQ+ activists and religious practitioners. Yet we are encouraged by the glimmers of hope that have emerged in the recent protests. The protests demanding political changes began with spontaneous gatherings to pay tribute to Uyghur victims in the Urumqi FireThe rapidly spreading protests, led by youth, likely proved to be the last straw in forcing the Chinese Party-State to reverse course on its draconian “zero-COVID” measures. 

Reasons for hope: Young people have brought new vitality to the fight for human rights

The scope of this short-lived wave of protests in cities across China was enormous, comparatively speaking. Thus far, there have been at least 68 protests across 31 cities since November 25according to the Australia Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). And it has largely been young people who have led the protests. The Urumqi apartment complex fire, which took the lives of at least ten Uyghur women and children, as rescue was obstructed by barriers thought to be erected for COVID lockdown but likely for  “counter-terror” measures, brought people into the streets to mourn the loss of lives, to assemble and speak out against the devastating zero-COVID control and the political system that made such control possible.   

https://freedomhouse.org/article/imprisoned-not-forgotten-rights-abuses-and-global-events-hide-th

https://genevasolutions.news/human-rights/volker-turk-it-s-my-duty-to-be-the-voice-of-human-rights


Iran out of UN Commission on the Status of Women

January 3, 2023
The United Nations headquarters building is seen from inside the General Assembly hall.

Members of the United Nations voted to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women, a body overseen by the Economic and Social Council. | Pool photo by Eduardo Munoz

On 14 December 2022 Politico reported on another setback for Iran in the diplomatic area: A U.S.-led effort to push Iran off a United Nations panel that promotes women’s rights succeeded on Wednesday, the latest move in a broader Western campaign to punish Iran for its crackdown on widespread protests.

The resolution to oust Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women passed with 29 votes in favor and eight against. Yet of the 54 countries eligible to vote, at least 16 abstained — a sign of the wariness about setting a precedent of the U.S. dictating who’s deserving of U.N. panel memberships. Some countries had also questioned why Iran was singled out when other past and present panel members have spotty records on women’s rights.

Iran received vocal support from coiuntries such as Russia and China, some of which noted that there were no formal procedures to push Iran off the commission. Abstainers included countries such as India, the Solomon Islands and Indonesia. Many did not make public statements during the debate.

The vote was held by the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council, which oversees the women’s rights commission. The commission was established in 1946, and its past activities include laying the groundwork for a landmark treaty that has served as an international bill of rights for women. It also urges countries to update their legal frameworks to provide equal rights for women.

Wednesday’s vote followed a campaign by women’s rights activists, including many in the Iranian diaspora, to get Iran off the commission as it has tried to suppress protests. Hundreds have been killed in the crackdown. Iran also has begun executing protesters as part of its attempt to end the demonstrations, which have often been led by young people and women.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/11/23/un-human-rights-council-holds-special-session-on-iran-on-24-november/

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/12/14/u-n-member-states-vote-to-oust-iran-from-womens-rights-panel-00073886


Now it is the turn of the Moscow Helsinki Group to be liquidated

January 3, 2023

Tanya Lokshina, Associate Director, Europe and Central Asia Division, reported on 21 December 2022 on how the Moscow Helsinki Group MHG), Russia’s oldest Human Rights Group, faces ‘Liquidation’

Moscow Helsinki Group’s logo
Moscow Helsinki Group’s logo.  © 2022 Moscow Helsinki Group

Last week, Russia’s Justice Ministry filed a petition with the Moscow City Court seeking “liquidation” of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG), a leading Russian human rights organization.

On 12 May Tanya Lokshina received one of MHG’s annual awards for contributions to human rights and the Russian human rights movement. She writes: “By then, in the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the authorities had shut down Human Rights Watch’s Moscow office, along with the offices of 14 other foreign nongovernmental organizations. I had already left the country with the rest of our team, and my 9-year-old son received the beautifully framed award on my behalf. I first saw it several weeks later, when he joined me in Tbilisi, Georgia, where I had relocated to continue my work. I generally don’t display awards and diplomas, but receiving one from MHG was so special that it now hangs on my wall.”

MHG was founded in 1976 by Soviet dissidents to expose governmental repression. It lasted nine months before the government jailed or forced practically all its members into exile. After the USSR’s collapse, the group revived in the 1990’s under the leadership of Lyudmilla Alexeeva, a legendary human rights defender, and has been working tirelessly to expose abuses, build up a country-wide human rights movement in Russia, and advocate for the rule of law. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/12/10/russian-human-rights-defender-ludmila-mikhailovna-alexeeva-is-no-longer/]

The liquidation lawsuit is based on the Justice Ministry’s ad hoc inspection of MHG. The liquidation petition cites several supposed violations of Russia’s stifling legislation on nongovernmental organizations, including the group being registered in Moscow but operating elsewhere in Russia, and the group’s charter lacking information on the location of its executive body. These are obviously bureaucratic pretexts that could not justify such a drastic move.

This year, Moscow courts liquidated four other major human rights groups in addition to Memorial, so it’s hard to find optimism for a fair trial for MHG. But it’s not hard to be optimistic about Russia’s human rights movement. It outlasted the Soviet Union; it will outlast today’s oppressors. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/12/12/foreign-agent-law-in-russia-from-bad-to-worse/.

And it goes on, the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, see: 24 January 2023 HRW post: https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/01/24/russia-designates-another-rights-organization-undesirable

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/21/russias-oldest-human-rights-group-faces-liquidation


Relive the 2022 Right Livelihood award ceremony

December 23, 2022

In case you missed the 30 November 2022 ceremony, here the film of the event in Cirkus, Stockholm.

Programme

Musical performance

Welcome
Parisa Amiri

Film about Right Livelihood

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/09/30/2022-right-livelihood-laureates-announced/

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

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

Film about the Award sculpture made of Humanium

Interview
with 2019 Right Livelihood Laureate Greta Thunberg, and Anton Foley, Aurora

Musical performance

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

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

Presentation of the Right Livelihood Award
to Cecosesola, Venezuela

Interview
with 2004 Right Livelihood Laureate Memorial, represented by Alexandra Polivanova

Remembering
Herman Daly and Ela Bhatt, Right Livelihood Laureates who passed away during the year

Musical performance

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


Amnesty International looking for Senior Regional Campaigner for Eastern Europe and Central Asia region

December 19, 2022

The urgent human rights issues in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region are hugely varied and demand creative campaigns that are well-researched, well-planned and well-managed despite the time pressures that surround them.

JOB PURPOSE: To lead the identification, development, implementation and evaluation of Amnesty International’s campaigning and advocacy strategies on human rights violations in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, to deliver impact in relation to agreed priorities, utilizing political judgment and analytical, communication and representational skills.

ABOUT YOU

  • Lead the development and implementation of campaign strategies, ensuring campaigns result in measurable change.
  • Advise on, coordinate and review the contribution to relevant campaigns by regional colleagues and other programmes.
  • Coordinate action planning and ensure consistency with campaigning standards and optimal use of resources.
  • Assess opportunities for action, identifying creative and effective campaigning tactics.
  • Provide advice to sections and structures and external partners on the development and implementation of campaign strategies.
  • Responsible for ensuring there is effective communication between relevant IS teams, sections and structures and partners about projects.
  • Draft, review and advise on campaign materials for internal and external use, ensuring products are coherent within the campaign strategy.
  • Communicate AI’s concerns, positions and messages to external and internal audiences.
  • Contribute to planning, execution and evaluation stages of campaign projects; develop and share campaigning best practice.

SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

  • The ability to adapt to fast-changing political situations in, and related to, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
  • Experience of leading and implementing campaigns at the national & international level and the ability to lead innovation and creative approaches to campaigning.
  • Knowledge of working on, and in, the region and a specialist knowledge in relation to specific countries or other geographical areas in the region.
  • Digitally competent, with experience of digital campaigning and keeping up to date with digital trends and campaigning methodologies.
  • Experience of working with colleagues and partners based around the world.
  • Excellent communications skills in English and Russian in a fluent, clear and concise way. Knowledge of another regional language desirable
  • Experience of leading project teams and the ability to engage and inspire team members.
  • Experience of managing conflicting demands, meeting deadlines and adjusting priorities
  • Ability to undertake research to gather information relevant to the development of campaign strategies.
  • Ability to evaluate campaigns and projects and to report progress against stated objectives; experience of managing budgets and reporting against expenditure.

Amnesty International is committed to creating and sustaining a working environment in which everyone has an equal opportunity to fulfill their potential and we welcome applications from suitably qualified people from all sections of the community. For further information on our benefits, please visit https://www.amnesty.org/en/careers/benefits/

APPLY HERE

https://careers.amnesty.org/vacancy/senior-regional-campaigner-london-3481/3509/description/


Save the date: Martin Ennals Award Ceremony 2023

December 19, 2022

The Martin Ennals Award Ceremony in 2023 will take place on 16 February, 2023 at 18:30 CET. 
The Ceremony will be organized together with the City of Geneva, in a hybrid format.
Please note that entry to the usual venue, the salle communale de Plainpalais in Geneva, is on a
first-come, first-served basis.  

The Ceremony will also be livestreamed from Geneva to worldwide locations on our website and Facebook page.
Detailed information on the Ceremony will follow shortly. See more on this award: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/043F9D13-640A-412C-90E8-99952CA56DCE

On January 19th, 2023 at 12:00 CET the MEA will announce the Laureates 2023.


Belarusian Human Rights defender Aleh Hulak dies

December 18, 2022
Aleh Hulak
Aleh Hulak © 2022 Belarusian Helsinki Committee

On 16 December, 2022 Human Rights Watch published “In Memory of Aleh Hulak“, chair of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC) and a long-time leader of the Belarus human rights movement. Hulak, 55, led the Helsinki Committee with courage and unwavering commitment, including through the country’s recent, vicious crackdown on rights and the entrenchment of President Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s autocracy.

The BHC, one of the country’s oldest human rights groups, has a broad mandate to advance civil and political, and social and economic rights. Hulak was a strong voice for free speech and the release of political prisoners and also for fair work conditions, and upholding human rights in business, trade union operations and health care.  

The Belarusian government liquidated the BHC in 2021, along with hundreds of other independent groups. Hulak for years had pursued, against all odds, the group’s accreditation at the United Nations Economic and Social Council. In a bittersweet victory, his efforts succeeded less than two months ago.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/16/belarus-memory-aleh-hulak


Foreign Agent law in Russia from bad to worse

December 12, 2022

A new law entered into force in Russia that drastically expands the country’s oppressive and vast “foreign agents” legislation, Human Rights Watch said on 1 December 2022. The law is yet another attack on free expression and legitimate civic activism in Russia, and should be repealed:

Adopted in July 2022, the law’s entry into force was delayed until December 1. The law expands the definition of foreign agent to a point at which almost any person or entity, regardless of nationality or location, who engages in civic activism or even expresses opinions about Russian policies or officials’ conduct could be designated a foreign agent, so long as the authorities claim they are under “foreign influence.” It also excludes “foreign agents” from key aspects of civic life. 

“For more than a decade, Russian authorities have used ‘foreign agents’ laws to smear and punish independent voices,” said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “This new tool in the government’s already crowded toolbox makes it even easier to threaten critics, impose harsh restrictions on their legitimate activities and even ban them. It makes thoughtful public discussion about Russia’s past, present, and future simply impossible.” See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/05/21/kasparov-and-khodorkovsky-are-now-also-foreign-agents/

In Russia, the term “foreign agent” is tantamount “spy” or “traitor.” The foreign agent designation remains extra-judicial, with no possibility to contest it in court before the designation is made. Those designated must comply with all requirements the day after the authorities add them to the registry, even if they challenge the designation in court.

When the first foreign agent law was adopted in 2012, only registered organizations could be designated “foreign agents.” Successive amendments gradually expanded the application from registered organizations, to media, to other categories of individuals, and to associations without legal entities.

The July law, On Control Over Activities of Entities/Persons Under Foreign Influence, replaces these with a consolidated, simplified, but endlessly broad definition to cover any person – Russian, foreign or stateless; any legal entity, domestic or international; or any group without official registration, if they are considered to have received foreign support and/or are considered to be “under foreign influence” and engaged in activities that Russian authorities would deem to be “political.” It also covers anyone who gathers information about Russia’s military activities or military capabilities, or creates or publicly disseminates information or funds such activities.

The law defines “foreign influence” as “support” from foreign sources that includes funding, technical assistance, or other undefined kinds of assistance and/or open-ended “impact” that constitutes coercion, persuasion, and/or “other means.”

Under this definition, any interaction with a foreign element can potentially be construed as “foreign influence,” Human Rights Watch said. There is also no requirement for any causal link between “foreign influence” and the “political” or other activities for the designation to be applicable.

Foreign sources include not only foreign states or foreign entities, but also international organizations, presumably including such multilateral organizations as the United Nations. The law considers Russian nationals or organizations “foreign sources” if they are respectively considered by the Russian authorities to be under “foreign influence” or to be beneficiaries of “foreign funding.”

To avoid the “foreign agent” label, an organization needs to ensure that no source of any donation was at any stage “tainted” by “foreign influence,” including indirectly.

In defining what constitutes “political” activities of a foreign agent, the law consolidates provisions of earlier iterations of “foreign agent” amendments to include “opinions about public authorities’ decisions or policies.” For example, a journalist who publishes a commentary about urban development plans could fall under the definition of foreign agent activity.

The new law also excludes “foreign agents” from key aspects of public life. These include bans on joining the civil service, participating in electoral commissions, acting in an advisory or expert capacity in official or public environmental impact assessments, in independent anti-corruption expertise of draft laws and by-laws, or electoral campaigns or even donating to such campaigns or to political parties.

Foreign agents are also banned from teaching or engaging in other education activities for minors or producing informational materials for them. They cannot participate in organizing public assemblies or support them through donations and are barred from a number of other activities.

The law expands the notion of a person or entity affiliated with a “foreign agent,” which was first introduced in 2021 in relation to electoral candidates. A person remains “affiliated” up to two years after they sever ties with the foreign agent, even if the “affiliation” started before the law entered into force, and even if the “affiliation” started before the entity was designated a foreign agent.

Since the adoption of the first “foreign agents” law, hundreds of civic groups and activists, including those that work on human rights, the environment, election monitoring, and anti-corruption, have been designated “foreign agents.” A large number of organizations had to close down because they either sought to avoid the toxic label or were unable to bear the hefty fines imposed for not complying with the law’s burdensome, arbitrary labelling and reporting requirements. The authorities used the “foreign agents” law as a legal pretext to close down other groups, such as the human rights group Memorial, one of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureates. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/12/29/russias-supreme-court-orders-closure-emblematic-memorial/

This new ‘foreign agents’ law is an unrestrained attack on Russian civil society aimed at gagging any public criticism of state policies,” Denber said. “It should be scrapped.”

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/01/russia-new-restrictions-foreign-agents


HURIDOCS – who will continue Friedhelm Weinberg’s excellent leadership?

December 12, 2022

After more than 10 years, Friedhelm Weinberg will be leaving HURIDOCS in early 2023. Having worked with him in person on many occasions, I can testify that his leadership has been most impressive, for the NGO itself [see e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/category/organisations/huridocs/] and the in the area of networking with others, such as the MEA and THF [see e.g. his: https://youtu.be/zDxPbd9St9Y]. In his own announcement, he modestly refers to all his colleagues:

It has been an incredible decade with HURIDOCS, working with amazing colleagues and partners at the intersection of human rights and technology. Together, we have drastically increased support to activists to leverage technology for documentation, litigation and advocacy work. We have pioneered flexible, reliable and robust software tools such as Uwazi, while responsibly sunsetting the past generation of open source software.

None of this would have been possible without the team we have built, and that was collaborating remotely across the globe well before 2020. It’s a committed, humorous and professional bunch, and I have learned so much with every single one of them, as we made things happen and as we hit walls and then picked each other up. I am also grateful to our board that brings together wisdom from leading NGOs, technology companies, the financial sector, but, more importantly, people that were generous with guidance, encouragement and critique.

It has also been a decade of many heartbreaks. From partners whose offices have been raided, that have been declared foreign agents, threatened, attacked. From wars and conflicts breaking out, affecting people we work with. From the difficulties of all we’re doing sometimes not being enough. From worrying how to raise the money to sustain and grow a team that can rise to these challenges.

It is a bittersweet departure, because it has been life-affirming – and yet it is for a perspective that fills me with warmth and excitement. For a while, I will be with our children, with the second one due to arrive in early 2023. 

As I have made the decision to leave HURIDOCS, I also have felt really down and much of the stress built up over a decade manifested physically. Seeking treatment, I have been diagnosed with burnout and depression, and have been recovering with the support from specialists, friends and family. This is neither a badge of honor nor something I want to be shy about, it’s just the reason you haven’t seen much of me recently in professional circles. It’s getting better and I am grateful to have the time and space for healing.

Currently, Nancy Yu is leading HURIDOCS as Interim Executive Director, as Lisa Reinsberg as the Board Chair holds the space and directs the succession process. I am grateful to both of them to step up and step in, as well as the team, our partners and funders for a decade of working together to advance human rights.

As the search for his successor has started, please have a look at the recruitment announcement and consider applying or sharing it with suitable candidates: https://lnkd.in/e7Y7smqT

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7005479545189322752/