Posts Tagged ‘10 December’

OSCE message for Human Rights Day: human rights defenders will lead in 2021

December 15, 2020

(Alex Tait/ Creative Commons 4.0)

On 10 December 2020, Human Rights Day, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) issued a statement “The brave people strengthening human rights in 2020 will lead us out of adversity“. A bit belatedly. I reproduce here OSCE paying “tribute to human rights defenders and many organizations across the OSCE region that have protected our rights throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and will have a key role to play if the global recovery is to put respect for human rights at its core

OSCE states have long recognized the important role played by human rights defenders in ensuring full respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law.  Throughout the pandemic, numerous organizations, initiatives and activists have worked hard to lessen the suffering caused by the health crisis. They have exposed gaps in responses to the health emergency and drawn attention to the undermining of human rights standards and democratic values in the name of public safety.​​

As public emergencies were introduced across the OSCE region and human rights and freedoms of millions of people were restricted, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) as well as civil society organizations were swift to hold accountable those states that were using vaguely defined regulations to bypass human rights obligations and lower standards. In addition to their regular monitoring activities, NHRIs were often quick and resourceful in developing solutions and disseminating key information to the public when it was needed. 

A spirit of dialogue and compromise, the ability to combat systematic inequality and exclusion, and the will to overcome ever-deepening polarization, are hard to imagine without a strong and vibrant civil society. But in many places across the OSCE region, pressure on civic space is increasing. This takes many forms, from legislation restricting the activities of civil society to smear campaigns against human rights defenders and journalists.

Despite their commitment – or because of it – many courageous human rights defenders across the OSCE region have been the brunt of attacks in 2020. They have faced threats and intimidation, frequently initiated by national authorities, as well as funding cuts and risks to their data security and privacy.

Two years ago, ODIHR launched its first ever targeted assessments on the situation of human rights defenders. Early next year, ODIHR will publish trends and recommendations based on an analysis of almost 250 discussions across five OSCE countries. The report will identify gaps and challenges in the protection of human rights defenders, as well as highlighting good practices so countries can learn from each other as they seek to rebuild societies overwhelmed by the challenges of the pandemic. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/12/11/human-rights-day-2014-odihr-director-link-wants-to-move-from-words-to-deeds-for-human-rights-defenders-in-the-osce/]

Today, ODIHR wants to thank all those brave people across the OSCE region who are committed to safeguarding the human rights of us all. The Office will continue to support and work with them towards this ultimate goal.

https://www.osce.org/odihr/473352

Albert Ho wins Baldwin Medal 2020

December 10, 2020

Human Rights First announced today that it will award the 2020 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty to Hong Kong human rights defender Albert Ho. The award will be presented today 10 December in a virtual event that will include a conversation between Ho and Human Rights First Senior Advisor Brian Dooley.

Albert Ho is a veteran Hong Kong lawyer and advocate whose career in human rights and political activism stretches back almost four decades. A leading figure in the pro-democracy movement for many years, he remains prominent in the protest movement that energized Hong Kong in 2019 and 2020.

No dictatorship is too big or too strong to take on,” said Vladimir Vladimir Kara-Murza, Senior Advisor for Human Rights Accountability at Human Rights First and 2020 Baldwin Award jury member. “This decision shows who is right and wrong, and Albert Ho is in the right. There are no lost causes, and the cause of democracy in China is not lost.

Ho is now facing a dozen charges related to those peaceful protests and his law firm continues to represent many others who have protest-related charges.

I’m honored to accept this award,” said Ho, “but I do it on behalf of many colleagues who have shared the case of human rights in Hong Kong with me for so many years.”

Ho is the co-founder and senior partner of Ho, Tse, Wai and Partners (HTW), a Hong Kong law firm renown for advocacy on landmark human rights cases.  Ho and HTW have represented many arrested pro-democracy protestors and challenged many of the Hong Kong government’s dubious actions, such as the banning of face masks under a colonial-era law and the disqualification of numerous pro-democracy lawmakers.

Ho has also done extensive advocacy for human rights lawyers in mainland China. He founded the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group in 2007 to provide humanitarian assistance to detained human rights lawyers and their families, advocate on behalf of detained lawyers, and share knowledge and experience with Chinese lawyers.

Despite surveillance and threats by Chinese authorities, Ho has maintained his steadfast support for his peers in mainland China in the face of the government’s crackdown on human rights lawyers, the “709 crackdown” known for the day it began – July 9, 2015. Placing the pursuit of justice before his own safety, Ho continues to raise awareness of the plight of human rights lawyers in China to see that the world holds the Chinese Communist Party accountable for human rights abuses.

For more on the Baldwin Medal of Liberty see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/F23B5465-6A15-4463-9A91-14B2977D9FCE.

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/human-rights-first-honors-hong-kong-human-rights-defender-albert-ho-baldwin-medal

Human rights values under threat say European human rights leaders

December 10, 2020

Helena Dalli – the European Union Commissioner for Equality – and Dunja Mijatović – the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights – published a joint opinion piece “Stop the rain on human rights” in Euractive at the occasion of International Human Rights Day 2020 on 10 December:

The current pandemic crisis serves as a magnifying glass of all existing inequalities in Europe – racism, gender and sexual discrimination, treatment of migrants: there is still a long way to go to ensure full and real equality in Europe,

Regrettably, for all the progress of the past seven decades, there is still a long way to go to ensure full and real equality in Europe. Our societies breed divisive levels of inequality, fear and polarisation. Structural discrimination keeps millions of Europeans on the margins of our societies, especially in employment, health, education, housing, and the criminal justice system.

The current pandemic crisis serves as a magnifying glass of all existing inequalities in Europe and exacerbates them. Those who were poor before it became poorer; those who were disadvantaged faced even greater disadvantages. Inequalities affecting women, LGBTIQ people and ethnic minorities illustrate this problem well….

Restrictions to freedom of assembly and association, obstacles to legal gender recognition and lack of adequate protection at public events are evident failures of state authorities to uphold their commitments and legal human rights obligations to ensure equality for LGBTIQ people.

The situation is not much better for people from ethnic minority and immigrant backgrounds. If you are of African descent you are more likely than white people to face discrimination in the job market, in education and housing, and to be stopped by the police without reasonable suspicion.

Hate incidents also continue to scar the lives of Jews, Muslims and Roma, who are among the preferred scapegoats of those who still stigmatise some groups of people on the grounds of their ethnic origin or religion.

The unkept promise of equality betrays a long political, philosophical and judicial tradition which places equality at the centre of European democracies. Both the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights have upheld the principle of equality and non-discrimination since the 1970s.

Yet, more and more governments and parliaments seem to pay little attention to their legal obligations, and to the destabilising consequences that keeping millions of Europeans as second-class citizens is having on our societies. Hard won progress’ longevity is not a given. We must protect and reinforce it every day.

The many challenges that our societies will have to face require that Europe strengthens the place equality occupies in our societies, starting by giving a more central focus to the principle of equality and non-discrimination in relations to all human rights, be they civil, political, economic social or cultural.

We must do better for the rights of the single mother living in poverty and for the disabled child prevented from attending a mainstream school. We must protect the rights of women and girls who have been sexually harassed, of young graduates who face discrimination in the labour market because of how their name sounds.

We also must remain vigilant in the face of worrying attempts to roll back progress towards equality for women and LGBTIQ people.

There is no easy fix, but already taking the decision to address these long-standing problems together is a good start. We firmly believe that the founding principles and values of the Universal Declaration are as relevant today as they were when they emerged from bloodshed, tyranny and war. They require that governments become stronger defenders of human rights.

We are helping them do so by addressing effectively the pervasive discriminations against women in Europe. Ratifying and implementing the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is key to advance gender equality. This Convention has been ratified by 34 European countries, and signed by the EU.

However, the EU is not yet in a position to ratify because unanimity between member states has not been reached. We will join forces to make clear that the Convention protects from violence and nothing else; contrary to the misconceptions, fallacious and uninformed claims that have circulated and sown doubts.

Likewise, we are committed to fight racism and bring about an anti-racist culture. To this end, we believe that one of the priorities is to help member states stamp out ethnic profiling and end impunity for police misconduct.

We will also strengthen our work to counter discrimination against LGBTIQ people. We will continue to raise the visibility of LGBTIQ people in our dialogue with member states, support activists and use all means at our disposal to defend the right of LGBTIQ people to equality.

For this to happen, however, our voices alone will not suffice. There is the need for a renewed commitment by national authorities to uphold the founding values and legal obligations set out by the European Union and the Council of Europe. And here we get to the heart of the problem.

At best, many politicians in our member states remain indifferent about discrimination. At worst, they instigate violence and hostility. Politicians must be champions of equality, not obstacles to it. International organisations and the human rights community too have their bit to do.

We must become more inclusive in the way we defend human rights. We deliver a public service in the interest of society, but we do not own that service. We talk about, for and sometimes with people who have suffered human rights violations.

But we rarely empower them to speak for themselves. They should take part in decision-making processes as much as possible. We should learn to listen more and they must have the space to tell their stories and shape the policies and laws that concern them.

When states adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights on 10 December 1948, they pledged themselves to achieve equality. Giving practical effect to that vision is still possible – but only if we choose to strengthen freedoms, promote participation and empower all people.

EURACTIV’s editorial content is independent from the views of our sponsors.

The launch of the Freedom of Thought Report 2020

December 9, 2020

On 10 December 2020 Humanist International launches its annual Freedom of Thought Report. Time: 3pm UTC. Location: Facebook or YouTube
Speakers:

● Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

● Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, Mauritanian blogger, activist and former prisoner of conscience

● Debbie Goddard, Vice President ofAmerican Atheists and Board Member of Humanists International

● Rev. Frederick Davie, Commissioner of The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

● Andrew Copson, President of Humanists International

● Emma Wadsworth-Jones, Casework & Campaigns Manager at Humanists International

Since 2012 Humanists International has published the Freedom of Thought Report to monitor the rights and treatment of humanists, atheists and non-religious people in every country in the world.

This year, the thematic focus of the Report is COVID-19, and its impact on the non-religious people globally.

In particular the focus is on restrictions on:
● Women’s rights

● Media freedom, protest and access to information

● Individuals at risk.

10 December Human Rights Day: Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice

December 9, 2020

With a special release on Youtube on the Playing for Change channel on Thursday, December 10th at 12 pm PST / 3 pm EST, Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice will feature artists and public figures like Aloe Blacc, Angélique Kidjo, Becky G, Brandi Carlile with Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana, Gabi Melim, Gary Clark Jr., Jack Johnson, Mavis Staples, Peter Gabriel, Rhiannon Giddens, Ringo Starr, Robbie Robertson, Run The Jewels with Josh Homme, Sheila E., Skip and Cedella Marley, The War and Treaty, Yo-Yo Ma and more. Billie Eilish, Killer Mike, Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, Norman Lear and Sara Bareilles among others are scheduled to make special appearances.

The event, a collaboration between Playing For Change, an organization that aims to connect the world through music, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), presented by Corning® Gorilla® Glass and co-produced by Blackbird Presents, calls for equality, the recognition of human rights and an end to racism and discrimination. 

The things in life that divide us disappear when the music plays,” says Mark Johnson, PFC Co-Founder, “and that’s something we hope you see and feel during this event.”

https://www.unfpa.org/peace-through-music

Human Rights Day 2020 in the Philippines with ‘CinemaLeila’ film screening

December 9, 2020

image

On 9 December 2020 Rappler announced that supporters of embattled Senator Leila de Lima will mark Human Rights Day on Thursday, December 10, with an online film screening titled “CinemaLeila 2020.

The screenings will include films and documentaries about human rights issues in the Philippines Spearheaded by the Free Leila de Lima Movement, the screening will feature select short films and documentaries about human rights issues in the Philippines.

The line up includes the following titles:

  • Bad Elements
  • Miss You ‘Nay
  • Hayop
  • I Believe
  • Marapat Lang
  • Counter Terror
  • Paranoia of the Guilty
  • Dakilang Pagbabago 2020
  • Sober
  • Titser Gennie
  • Selda
  • Sino si Reina Mae Nasino?
  • PKNP (Pambili ng Karapatang Pantao)
  • Pawns
  • Ili Ili, Tulog Anay

These and other films and documentaries will be streamed on the Facebook page of the Free Leila de Lima Movement and, on De Lima’s official Facebook page.

There will be screenings on Wednesday, December 9 – Human Rights Defenders Day – from 7:30 pm to 9 pm, and on Thursday, December 10, also from 7:30 pm to 9 pm:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=314&href=https%3A%2F

De Lima has been detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, since early 2017, for illegal drug cases filed against her by the Duterte government. She insists that she is innocent of those charges. Many local and international groups have called for De Lima’s release, saying her cases are a form of political persecution for her investigation of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and extrajudicial killings.  See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/07/30/senator-de-lima-in-detention-in-philippines-receives-her-award/

and

https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/10/11/de-lima-fears-weak-un-hrc-resolution-provides-for-impunity/

https://www.rappler.com/nation/de-lima-supporters-mark-human-rights-day-2020-cinemaleila-film-screening

Max Richter’s ‘VOICES’ to be broadcast for Human Rights Day by 34 countries

December 9, 2020

A unique global broadcasting event, to coincide with UN Human Rights Day on 10 December, will promote a message of unity through music with the first-ever radio broadcast of Max Richter’s VOICES, incorporating text from the historic 1948 Declaration of Human Rights.

This special performance, produced by BBC Radio 3 and co-conceived by Richter and his creative partner Yulia Mahr, will be broadcast by 37 EBU radio channels from 34 countries, the EBU announced on 7 December 2020.

VOICES is inspired by the opening statement from the Declaration: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” A decade in the making, the piece premiered in London in February 2020, weeks before the pandemic brought unprecedented changes to the lives of citizens worldwide. With months of uncertainty still on the horizon, the recording’s uplifting messages of community and hope have particular resonance. 

Max Richter and Yulia Mahr said, “Thinking back now to the premiere of VOICES in February feels like visiting another world. In these strange and anxious times, it is a great privilege to be able to mark Human Rights Day by presenting the work again, despite the pandemic. We are thrilled about the partnership with the UN Human Rights office and the collaboration with BBC Radio 3 and the EBU, which have made it possible to perform our work once more. In this challenging time in human history, the text of the Declaration is more important than ever.”

Víctor Fernández, Chief, Communications Section, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said, “Collaborating with Max Richter, BBC Radio 3 and the EBU on Human Rights Day was a natural way for the United Nations Human Rights Office to promote the global human rights message through high quality music. 

“VOICES is a musical interpretation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and music, like human rights, is universal. Both have the power to unite, to inspire and to promote peace and understanding. This concert on BBC Radio 3, broadcast via the EBU, helps ensure that the principles enshrined in the Declaration reach a wide audience.”

This is the second time that the EBU has collaborated with Richter. During Easter 2020, as the world was closing down, EBU radio channels across Europe presented the composer’s eight-hour work – Sleep – to audiences in 20 countries as a moment of hope in unprecedented times. VOICES will continue that tradition.  

The BBC Radio 3 broadcast of VOICES will be presented by Elizabeth Alker and features soprano Grace Davidson; violinist Viktoria Mullova as soloist; British actor Sheila Atim as the narrator; the Tenebrae choir; the Max Richter ensemble – with Richter himself on keyboards and electronics; and conductor Robert Ziegler.

https://www.ebu.ch/news/2020/12/37-ebu-radio-stations-to-broadcast-max-richters-voices-for-un-human-rights-day

Selection of what happened at the local level on Human Rights Day 2015

December 13, 2015

International human rights day is an occasion for a multitude of local activities, some denouncing violations others quietly remembering, some (trying to) march in the streets, others issuing statements. This anthology of 10 such events is far from complete but gives an idea of the variety, from human rights defenders speaking out to governmental institutions ‘celebrating’ …. Read the rest of this entry »

Human Rights Day 2015: human rights defenders are main topic

December 10, 2015

International Human Rights Day is an occasion for many organizations to publish statements on human rights. For those who have not enough time to go through all of them, here a selection of four main statements that focus on human rights defenders:  Read the rest of this entry »

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights writes about Women’s Human Rights Defenders

December 8, 2014

UN HCHR Al Hussein

On 5 December 2014, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, wrote a piece in the Huffington Post in which he eloquently calls on all to ‘Stand in Solidarity With Courageous Women’s Human Rights Defenders’. 

In the article he explains that his Office has decided to launch a campaign to pay tribute to women and men who defy stereotypes and fight for women’s human rights. The campaign runs from Human Rights Day, December 10 this year, to International Women’s Day, March 8, 2015. We encourage everyone to join the ranks of these strong and inspiring advocates, on social media (#reflect2protect) and on the ground. Below the text in full:

 

 

Almost two decades ago, in Beijing, 189 countries made a commitment to achieve equality for women, in practice and in law, so that all women could at last fully enjoy their rights and freedoms as equal human beings.

They adopted a comprehensive and ambitious plan to guarantee women the same rights as men to be educated and develop their potential. The same rights as men to choose their profession. The same rights to lead communities and nations and make choices about their own lives without fear of violence or reprisal. No longer would hundreds of thousands of women die every year in childbirth because of health care policies and systems that neglected their care. No longer would women earn considerably less than men. No longer would discriminatory laws govern marriage, land, property and inheritance.

In the years that followed, the world has witnessed tremendous progress: the number of women in the work force has increased; there is almost gender parity in schooling at the primary level; the maternal mortality ratio declined by almost 50 percent; and more women are in leadership positions. Importantly, governments talk about women’s rights as human rights, and women’s rights and gender equality are acknowledged as legitimate and indispensable goals.

However, the world is still far from the vision articulated in Beijing. Approximately 1 in 3 women throughout the world will experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Less than a quarter of parliamentarians in the world are women. In over 50 countries there is no legal protection for women against domestic violence. Almost 300,000 women and girls died in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Approximately 1 in 3 married women aged 20 to 24 were child brides. In many parts of the world, women and girls cannot make decisions on their most private matters — sexuality, marriage, children. Girls and women who pursue their own life choices are still murdered by their own families in the dishonorable practice of so-called honor killings. All of our societies remain affected by stereotypes based on the inferiority of women, which often denigrate, humiliate and sexualize them.

Today we have the responsibility to protect the progress made in the past 20 years and address the remaining challenges. In doing so, we must recognize the vital role of women who defend human rights, often at great risk to themselves and their families precisely because they are viewed as stepping outside socially prescriptive gender stereotypes. We must recognize the role of all people, women and men, who publicly call for gender equality and often, as a result, find themselves the victim of archaic and patriarchal, but powerful, threats to their reputations, their work and even their lives. These extraordinary individuals — women’s human rights defenders — operate in hostile environments, where arguments of cultural relativism are common and often against the background of the rise of extremist, misogynistic groups, which threaten to dismantle the gains of the past.

Attacks against women who stand up to demand their human rights and individuals who advocate for gender equality are often designed to keep women in their “place.” In some areas of the world, women who participate in public demonstrations are told to go home to take care of their children. Consider the recent example of a newspaper publishing naked photos of a woman, claiming she was a well-known activist — an attack designed to shame this defender into silence. In other places, when women claim their right to affordable modern methods of contraception, they are labelled as prostitutes in smear campaigns seeking to undermine their credibility. Online attacks against those who speak for women’s human rights and gender equality by so-called “trolls” — who threaten heinous crimes — are increasingly reported.

These attacks have a common thread — they rely on gender stereotypes and deeply entrenched discriminatory social norms in an attempt to silence those who challenge the age-old system of gender inequality. However, these defenders will not be silenced, and we must stand in solidarity with them against these cowardly attacks.

This is why my Office has decided to launch a campaign to pay tribute to women and men who defy stereotypes and fight for women’s human rights. The campaign runs from Human Rights Day, December 10 this year, to International Women’s Day, March 8, 2015. We encourage everyone to join the ranks of these strong and inspiring advocates, on social media and on the ground.

As we approach the 20-year anniversary of Beijing, discrimination and violence against women, and the stereotypes that confine them into narrowly fixed roles must end. Women have the right to make their own decisions about their lives and their bodies. Guaranteeing and implementing these rights are non-negotiable obligations of all States. Women human rights defenders were instrumental in securing the ambitious program laid out in Beijing. Their work, their activism and their courage deserve our recognition, our support and our respect.”

Stand in Solidarity With Courageous Womens Human Rights Defenders | UN Women.