Posts Tagged ‘Agence France-Presse’

Detained Chinese lawyer Wang Yu wins Ludovic Trarieux Prize

June 7, 2016


Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Yu poses during an interview in Hong Kong, March 20, 2014. –  AFP
Radio Free Asia reported on 6 June 2016 that detained (on suspicion of “subversion of state power”) lawyer Wang Yu was awarded the prestigious Ludovic Trarieux Prize in Athens on Saturday. [for more info on award see:]. The jury said it wanted to “hail the courage” of a woman who “decided that she could no longer keep her mouth shut,” founder Bernard Favreau said. “She chose to expose herself to dangers in order to defend the rights of women, children and persecuted minorities,” he told Agence France-Presse.

Wang’s attorney Wen Donghai welcomed the award. “They used a serious of objective criteria, for example, the fact that Wang Yu often gave legal assistance to clients from vulnerable groups,” Wen said. “This has nothing to do with any government, nor with diplomacy.” But he said the award is unlikely to help Wang’s case with the Chinese authorities. “I don’t hold out much hope of that, because our government has a very biased attitude to such prizes, and they see human rights groups as trying to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Wen said. “In reality, rights groups aren’t targeting China, but trying to help victims and vulnerable people around the world.” Wang has unfortunately figured regularly in this blog: 

[The award comes as the families of dozens of rights lawyers detained on similar charges hit out at the government for denying the detainees access to their lawyers, and amid concerns that some detainees may have been tortured or sexually abused in police detention centers.]

On 5 June 2016, in a joint letter Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, China Aid, Freedom House, Human Rights in China, Initiatives for China, International Campaign for Tibet, Reporters without Borders, Uyghur Human Rights Project, and World Uygur Congress – urged the US to:
  • Meet with representatives of civil society in China during or immediately after the meeting;
  • Press Chinese counterparts to repeal or bring into line with international law new national security laws, including the Counterterrorism and the Foreign Non-Governmental Management laws;
  • Publicly call for the release of specific individuals detained for peacefully exercising their rights; and
  • Publicly discuss US concerns about growing restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and religion, among others.

In Hong Kong, protesters marched to Beijing’s Liaison Office in the former British colony on Monday, demanding an inquiry into the 2012 “suicide” death of Chinese labor rights activist Li Wangyang in police custody four years ago. Rights activist Ou Biaofeng said Li’s friends and relatives are under house arrest or close police surveillance on the anniversary of his death. “They are all under surveillance by the state security police, and are cooperating

For the Lucovic-Trarieux prize 2015:

Source: Detained Chinese Lawyer Wins Award Amid Calls For Pressure on Human Rights

Star power and human rights: a difficult but doable mix

February 10, 2014

RED-FACED. Jennifer Lopez performing for the leader of 'one of the world's most repressive regimes,' according to Human Rights Watch. Photo by Agence France-Presse/Igor Sasin

 (Jennifer Lopez performing for the leader Turkmenistan. (c) Agence France-Presse/Igor Sasin)

In quite a few earlier posts in this blog I have drawn attention to stars and celebrities who either support dictators or simply do not care that their actions do. So, I was quite happy to see a thoughtful piece by Jo Biddle of Agence France-Presse on 9 February 2014 analyzing this issue a bit more in-depth, with actress Scarlett Johansson as the “poster girl of Israeli apartheid”, Dennis Rodman in North Korea, and Kim Kardashian expressing her love of Bahrain. I would add, Mariah Carey who thinks nothing of singing for Gaddafi or the Angolan President, while Jennifer Lopez (picture above) did the same in Turkmenistan.

The author rightly states that when celebrities wander into complex foreign policy issues, it can be a minefield, leaving diplomats and human rights campaigners scrambling for damage control. The article mentions exceptions such as Bob Geldof, Bono, George Clooney or Angelina Jolie Read the rest of this entry »

Uganda to ban 38 NGOs for “promotion” of homosexuality

June 21, 2012

As I reported recently the Ugandan Government raided a regional workshop of gay rights NGOs as part of its continuing crusade against homosexuality. It is not surprising that on 20 June the news agency AFP reported that Uganda will ban 38 nongovernmental organisations for spreading homosexuality. According to AFP the minister for ethics and integrity, Simon Lokodo: “I have investigated and established beyond reasonable doubt that these NGOs have been involved in the promotion and recruitment in terms of the [gay] issues”. Lokodo did not specify which organisations would be de-registered but said that the list included international and Ugandan group.

“We will tell them to stop operating and they will not have the legal right to practice here”. Lokodo said he submitted the names of the organisations to the internal affairs ministry and hoped they would be de-listed in the near future. “The sooner we can do this the better,” Lokodo added for good measure.

MEA Laureate Kasha is likely to be in the firing line again.

Human Rights Awards can get it really wrong

July 16, 2011

As chair of a human rights award I report this event mostly because I want to remember to be careful. No glee!

The Werkstatt Deutschland organisation had planned to give Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the private Quadriga Award that recognises “role models for enlightenment, dedication and the public good.” Under immense pressure the Quadriga Panel has now revoked its decision. The Quadriga panel voiced “great regret” that it is was forced to retract the prize, but said “the growing pressure was becoming increasingly unsustainable and risked escalating further”. According to  AFP, former Czech president Vaclav Havel, who received the same award in 2009, welcomed the German panel’s decision: “The award should be given to people like Anna Politkovskaya or Sergei Kovalov or Liu Xiaobo — people who devoted their lives to protection of human rights and freedoms and promoting democracy”.  The prize has been awarded every year since 2003 on October 3, the anniversary of German unification.