Posts Tagged ‘activism’

Colin Kaepernick receives Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award

April 22, 2018

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 2017 Sportsperson of the Year Show on December 5, 2017 at Barclays Center in New York City.

USA athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick has been honoured with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018. The award was officially presented at a ceremony in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 21 April 2018, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of AI Netherlands.

“The Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick. He is an athlete who is now widely recognised for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. [for more on this and other human rights awards see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/ambassador-of-conscience-award]

[During the 2016 pre-season of the American National Football League, Colin Kaepernick knelt during the US national anthem, as a respectful way of calling for the country to protect and uphold the rights of all its people. The bold move was a response to the disproportionate numbers of black people being killed by police. It sparked a movement that follows a long tradition of non-violent protests that have made history. While the polarised response to the “take-a-knee” protest has ignited a debate about the right to protest and free speech, Colin Kaepernick has remained focused on highlighting the injustices that moved him to act. His charity, the Colin Kaepernick Foundation, works to fight oppression around the world through education and social activism, including through free “Know Your Rights” camps which educate and empower young people.]

I would like to thank Amnesty International for the Ambassador of Conscience Award. But in truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force. …said Colin Kaepernick. “While taking a knee is a physical display that challenges the merits of who is excluded from the notion of freedom, liberty, and justice for all, the protest is also rooted in a convergence of my moralistic beliefs, and my love for the people.
See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/05/07/ais-ambassador-of-conscience-award-2016-shared-by-angelique-kidjo-and-african-youth-groups/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/04/colin-kaepernick-ambassador-of-conscience/

https://thinkprogress.org/colin-kaepernick-receives-humanitarian-prize-a1b3ca0460cc/

Donors should work jointly against the wave of civil society repression

July 10, 2015

The Newsletter of the International Service for Human Rights of 5 June 2015 carried an interesting piece written by two representatives of donors that are very active in the area of protection human rights defenders.  Julie Broome, Director of Programmes with the Sigrid Rausing Trust, and Iva Dobichina, Programme Manager with the Open Society Foundation‘s Human Rights Initiative, wrote jointly about much-needed efforts to “turn the tide against the wave of civil society repression”.  The piece follows in toto below, but some of the key points are: Read the rest of this entry »

Young human rights defenders honored by awards in Bangladesh

January 28, 2015

Recipients of the honorary awards given by Manusher Jonno Foundation, standing behind, with the guests sitting in front, in the capital's Bangla Academy yesterday, at the award giving ceremony marking Human Rights Day. Photo: Star

Recipients of the honorary awards given by Manusher Jonno Foundation, standing behind, with the guests sitting in front, in the capital’s Bangla Academy yesterday, at the award giving ceremony marking Human Rights Day. Photo: Star

A nice little item left-over from Human Rights Day 2014. How human rights awards play at the local level:

Ten human rights defenders from the grassroots level, two eminent social workers with international recognition, and a female football player were given honorary awards by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) yesterday. The works of the activists focused on land rights, prevention of violence against women, child rights, and the rights of the indigenous people. The 10 grassroots activists were Jharna Ray, Madhobilata Chakma, and Nomita Chakma of Khagrachhari, Birendra Sangma of Mymensingh, Shafique Ullah of Noakhali, Kachhim Uddin of Tangail, Kananbala Gupta of Narail, Umme Kulsum Ranjana of Bogra, Kalpana Tirki of Rajshahi, and Rahela of Dinajpur.

Two social workers Jharna Dhara Chowdhury, chief of Noakhali’s Gandhi Ashram, and Angela Gomes, executive director of Bachte Shekha, were also honoured along with Bipasha Mali, a young footballer who was recently called to play on the national women’s football team.

Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said, “They don’t work for recognition. Yet when we value their contributions, it makes us proud and we get inspiration to work.

MJF honours 10 grassroots human rights defenders | Two social workers, a young female footballer also receive the honorary awards.

Treat Human Rights Defenders seeking information better says Indian National Human Rights Commission

December 20, 2013

On 19 December 2013, DHNS reported an excellent action by the Indian National Human Rights Commission [NHRC] which should be an example to national institutions worldwide: Peeved at the way state authorities treat human rights defenders, the NHRC has shot off a letter to all State governments asking them to sensitise their officers while dealing with human rights defenders who are making use of their Right to seek Information (RTI users as they are called in India). In his communication NHRC Secretary General, Parvinder Sohi Behuria, said the activists have been complaining that the States treat them as nuisance and take actions to harass them. “It would be of immense help if state government functionaries are sensitised about the problems being faced by NGOs and Human Rights defenders. They should be treated as partners in bringing about a positive change,” Behuria said.

via Treat RTI users as rights defenders.

Example of how local and international pressure interact (Assam, India)

November 10, 2013

The Assam Tribune Online of 9 November provides us with an interesting illustration of how a combination of: (a) local activism, (b) introduction by an international NGO, and (c) invitation to an EU meeting can have result: Read the rest of this entry »

Mexican Rocío Mesino, an emblematic human rights defender, murdered like so many others

October 26, 2013

logo completo

On Saturday, the 19th of  October  2013 , around 1:00 pm, Rocío Mesino Mesino, leader of the Peasant Organization of the Southern Sierra (OCSS ), was killed in the town of Mexcaltepec, municipality of Atoyac de Alvarez, in the state of Guerrero, Mexcio. Read the rest of this entry »

Burma: 56 political prisoners freed, but Section 18 law stays in place and new arrests continue

October 17, 2013

In a move praised by local and international rights groups, Burma’s government, led by ex-general Thein Sein, has released 56 political prisoners. However, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners [AAPP] noted in a statement to the media that 133 political prisoners were still languishing in the country’s prisons. Read the rest of this entry »

Risks for Women HRDs: “To be a human rights defender is to make a choice…”

October 15, 2013

photo 29 350x350 To be a human rights defender is to make a choice...

From 8 – 11 October 2013 took place the 7th Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders organised by Front Line Defenders. I share the impression as posted by Executive Director, Deon Haywood, of Women With A Vision [WWAV’s] who joined 145 activists from 95 different countries for the meeting.  “This is a vital international forum for human rights defenders at risk, as many cannot speak freely in their own country.  Through plenary presentations and working group discussions, defenders shared experiences, learned from each other and came up with new and more effective strategies for their security and protection. This year’s Dublin Platform also included a specific focus on the risks faced by women human rights defenders.”

When addressing this global community of activists during the Dublin Platform opening, Deon Haywood spoke of a choice that rang true for so many attendees: To be a human rights defender is to make a choice between standing up for what is right and defending the rights of others, or passively accepting that there is no other way. Being here with 145 other human rights defenders from every corner of the globe, all of whom face very similar risks, reminds me of the rightness of our cause. When you see the energy and the commitment of the people in this room, then there is a real cause for optimism for the future.

via “To be a human rights defender is to make a choice…”.

Join on-line Conversation on the power of narrative for HRDs as from today

October 14, 2013

You can Join the Center for Story-based Strategy CSS and the New Tactics community for an online conversation on Change the Story: Harnessing the power of narrative for social change from October 14 to 18.

People and communities use stories to understand the world and our place in it. These stories are embedded with power – the power to explain and justify the status quo as well as the power to make change imaginable and urgent. …This conversation is an opportunity for human rights defenders to learn more about story-based strategy and how to integrate it into campaign planning. This is also an opportunity for those practitioners using story-based strategy to share their experiences, questions, and ideas with each other. Practitioners to lead this conversation are:

Danielle Coates-Connor, Conversation Facilitator of the Center for Story-based Strategy

Nathan Schneider of Waging Nonviolence

Soriano of Lionswrite Communications

Kathleen Pequeño of the Progressive Communicators Network

Nadia Khastaqir of the Design Action Collective

Kristi Rendahl of the Center for Victims of Torture

Lama Sangye and Justin Von Bujdoss of the New York Tsurphu Goshir Dharma Center

Chris Cavanagh of the Catalyst Centre

Dr. Cara Lisa Berg Powers of Press Pass TV

Laura Revels, Digital Storytelling Trainer

Shreya Atrey, practitioner.

September’s Conversation on Media Tactics for Social Change now has a summary posted and in November there will be a Conversation on Visualizing Information for Advocacy, in partnership with Tactical Technology Collective.

via Join our conversation on the power of narrative, this week!.

Bahrain Court Sentences 50 Shia Muslims to Total 430 Years Imprisonment

September 30, 2013

The Ahlul Bayt News Agency reports today that a court in Bahrain sentenced today political detainees, including activists and human rights defenders, to total of more than 400 years’ imprisonment and upheld the sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment against two children. All of the sentences were delivered under the internationally criticized and vague terrorism law. The court also reduced the sentences of two police officers who tortured a detainee to death from 10 years’, to 2 years’ imprisonment. On  29 of September 2013, the court held the ruling session in the case known as “February 14th Coalition”, in which 50 individuals were tried under the terrorism law, including human rights defender Naji Fateel, political activist Hisham Al-Sabbag and activist Rihanna Al-Mosawi. In first session when defendants spoke about the torture they were subjected to, but were ignored by the court. On the 5th of September, the legal defense team submitted a letter requesting a change of court due to the conflict of interest, and requested a medical committee to investigate the torture allegations from the defendants. The defense team then withdrew from the session based on Article 211 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Bahrain, which stated that the defense team can refuse the judges ruling in the cases mentioned in the previous article and in other cases which are prescribed by the law. Moreover, the defendants issued a statement boycotting the trial stating that the lack of an independent judiciary as one of the reasons. On the 29 September 2013, the court continued the trial and sentenced the 50 defendants in the case to a total of 430 years in prison: 16 defendants were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment including Naji Fateel and political activist Hisham Al-Sabbag, 4 were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 30 to 5 years. The BCHRs Acting President Maryam Al-Khawaja stated: “There was no due process in the entirety of this case which is why the defendants and their lawyers decided to boycott. From the time that the defendants were abducted, tortured and then sentences, nothing was done according to international standards of a fair trial. If these fifty people were really guilty of a crime, why was the only evidence presented confessions extracted under torture? This was a sham trial with a political verdict, they should be released immediately”.

via Bahrain Court Sentences 50 Shia Muslims to Total 430 Years Imprisonment / Names.