Posts Tagged ‘Asma Jahangir’

Laureates of 10th Edition of UN Human Rights Prizes just announced

October 26, 2018

On Friday 26 October 2018 the President of the UN General Assembly announced – in a rather summary and informal tweet:

“Today I announced the 2018 winners of the Human Rights Prize. I am proud to recognise the contributions of individuals & organizations that promote & protect human rights Joênia Wapichana Your work is an inspiration to us all “.

This is the tenth time that these awards were since the prize was established in 1968, coinciding this year with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. For more on this award: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/united-nations-prizes-in-the-field-of-human-rights

It is probably for that reason that one of the winners is the outstanding Ireland based NGO Front Line Defenders (regularly quoted in the blog, see e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/front-line-ngo/). The Director Andrew Anderson promptly replies with: “Profoundly honoured that @FrontLineHRD has been named as one of 4 winners of the UN Human Rights Prize. We dedicate this to the courageous & dedicated human rights defenders we work to support.

Three other winners of the prize are

——–

https://www.newstalk.com/Irish-organisation-wins-United-Nations-Human-Rights-Prize

https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/high-court-tanzania-child-marriage/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joênia_Wapixana

Preview of Human Rights Defenders issues at the 2018 session of the UN Human Rights Council starting Monday

February 24, 2018

Thanks to the International Service for Human Rights I am able to give you a short overview of what issues directly relevant to human rights defenders are coming up in the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council starting on Monday 26 February 2018. For the broader human rights view please follow the link at the end of this post.

Thematic

Protection of human rights defenders working in the context of people on the move

A few days ago I posted https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/02/20/michel-forst-empowering-defenders-on-the-move-is-crucial-to-the-prevention-of-further-tragedy/ which refers to:

– the Global Compact for Migration which States will negotiate (in an open letter sent on 21 February, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid urged States to develop a compact that ‘explicitly recognizes and fully conforms to the existing international human rights framework as the authoritative protection agenda for all migrants’)

–  a thematic report on the situation of defenders of the rights of people on the move by the Special Rapporteur Michel Forst (read  ISHR’s detailed analysis)

– the OHCHR Principles and Practical Guidance for the protection of the Human Rights of Migrants in Vulnerable Situations (Principle 18 which states that States should ‘respect and support the activities of human rights defenders who promote and protect the human rights of migrants’)

– the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s report which is expected to focus on torture and other forms of ill-treatment in the context of migration.

Reprisals

During its last session, the Council adopted a resolution on reprisals. The resolution established a dedicated dialogue to address acts of intimidation and reprisals at each September Council session. Through the resolution, the Council also affirmed the particular responsibilities of its Members, President and Vice-Presidents to investigate and promote accountability for reprisals and intimidation.Reports of cases of reprisals not only continue, but grow in spite of the passage of this resolution, and the appointment of the UN Assistant Secretary General as the Senior Official on addressing Reprisals. As requested by Council Resolution 12/2, the General Debate under Item 5 of the Council is a key moment for States and civil society to raise and follow up cases of reprisals, and to push for accountability for such acts. [one of my favorite topics: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/reprisals/]

Other key thematic report will be the one by the body working on developing a treaty on business and human rights. The open-ended inter-governmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises (known as IGWG), will present its third report to the Council. ISHR is concerned about the limited protection for human rights defenders in the current elements discussed at the last session. Any process towards drafting a business and human rights treaty should effectively prevent and respond to cases of reprisals.

Country-specific developments relating specially to HRDs:

Burundi. During the 36th session, the Council passed two resolutions on Burundi; one led by the European Union extending the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry and a second resolution by the African Group that requested OHCHR to urgently dispatch a team of three experts to engage with the Burundian authorities and all other stakeholders. Read here ISHR’s analysis of the two resolutions. At the 37th session, the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi will present an oral briefing to the Council. In addition, the High Commissioner will give an oral briefing of the Council on the mission of the OHCHR. Furthermore, the Secretary-General’s report on Burundi noted that OHCHR continued to receive allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses, primarily by the State and affiliated actors, including killings, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, more than 1,000 arbitrary arrests and detentions and restrictions on the freedoms of association, expression and movement. Burundi’s vice president criticised the report, suggesting that the Secretary-General has been transformed into an opposition member. ISHR and other NGOs continues to remain highly concerned about the human rights situation in Burundi and its refusal to cooperate with the Council’s mechanisms, which both clearly warrant an invitation to the General Assembly to consider the suspension of Burundi as a member of the Council. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/02/08/what-is-burundi-doing-in-the-un-human-rights-council/] For more information on the situation of human rights defenders in Burundi, check ISHR Briefing Paper for the UPR here.

China. Since Xi Jinping’s assumption of power in 2013, the situation for human rights defenders in China has gone from bad to worse. Five current cases illustrate the sense of impunity with which Chinese authorities trample on the rights of civil society actors. ISHR has discussed many of them in detail, but in short they include:

  • the baseless house arrest since 2010 of Liu Xia, a poet and the widow of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo;
  • the prolonged detention of rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, who has been held incommunicado, and without charge or access to lawyers since July 9, 2015;
  • the seizure and disappearance in January 2018 of bookseller Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen previously forcibly disappeared from Thailand in October 2015;
  • the detention and prosecution for inciting separatism of Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan cultural rights and education advocate; and
  • the punitive disbarment in January 2018 and, later that month, arbitrary detention of Yu Wensheng, a prominent human rights lawyer.

see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/01/10/more-on-residential-surveillance-in-a-designated-location-rsdl-in-china/

Other country situations:

The Council will hear reports on and is expected to consider resolutions addressing a range of country situations, in many instances involving the renewal of the relevant expert mandates and the situation of human rights defenders. They include:

  • The High Commissioner will present his reports on Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia, Afghanistan and give oral updates on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Yemen, Ukraine, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congoand Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
  • OHCHR will present its report on Cyprus and an oral update on Eritrea.
  • The Council will consider the written update of OHCHR on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.
  • The Council will consider the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria and renew its mandate.
  • The Council will consider the report of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan and the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
  • The fact-finding mission on the situation of human rights in Myanmar will present an oral update to the Council and the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar will also present her report to the Council.
  • The Council will consider the interim report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Iran and Cambodia.
  • The Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on the Central African Republic.
  • The Independent Expert on Mali will present his report to the Council, who will also hold an interactive dialogue on the human rights situation in Mali.
  • The Council was intending to consider the report of the Special Rapporteur on Iran, Asma Jahangir, however due to her death, it is currently unclear whether and how the report will be considered. {see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/02/11/asma-jahangir-one-of-the-worlds-most-outstanding-human-rights-defenders-dies-at-age-66/]

The High Commissioner will present his annual report in the last interactive dialogue of his term. Read here ISHR and other regional and international human rights organisations’ open letter to the Secretary General on the selection process of the next High Commissioner. [see also https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/12/22/bound-to-happen-but-still-high-commissioner-zeid-announces-he-will-not-seek-second-term/]

Universal Periodic Review (UPR): States to be reviewed

During this session the Council will adopt the UPR reports which list the recommendations the State under review is expected to implement of the following 14 countries: Czechia, Argentina, Gabon, Ghana, Peru, Guatemala, Benin, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Pakistan, Zambia, Japan, Ukraine and Sri Lanka. ISHR submits briefing papers regarding the situation facing human rights defenders in some States under review and advocates for the UPR to be used as mechanism to support and protect human rights defenders on the ground.

Appointment of mandate holders

The President of the Human Rights Council has proposed candidates for the following a number of vacancies of mandate holders to be filled at this session, including:

  • Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
  • Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence
  • Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali

 

Panel discussions

During each Council session, panel discussions are held to provide member States and NGOs with opportunities to hear from subject-matter experts and raise questions. All panel discussions will be broadcast live and archived on http://webtv.un.org. Seven panel discussions are scheduled for this upcoming session, including:

  • The annual high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming will take place on 26 February 2018 from 16:00 to 18:00. This panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities of the promotion and protection of human rights in the light of the UPR mechanism. The concept note of the panel is available here.
  • High-level panel discussion on the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action will take place on 28 February 2018 at 16:00 to 18:00. The concept note of the panel is available here.
  • Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child will take place on 5 March 2018 from 09:00 to 11:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00. This panel will discuss the protection of the rights of the child in humanitarian situations. The concept note of the panel is available here.
  • Debate on promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination will take place on 16 March 2018 at 09:00 to 11:00. This panel will be held in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The concept note will soon be made available here.

Side events. States and NGOs are holding a series of events. You can download the list of State events here and NGO events here. I will post on some of these separately.

https://www.ishr.ch/news/hrc37-key-issues-agenda-march-2018-session

Asma Jahangir, one of the world’s most outstanding human rights defenders, dies at age 66

February 11, 2018

 

 

 

Prominent Pakistani human rights defender and lawyer Asma Jahangir has died at the age of 66. She reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital, where she later died.

She was one of the most recognized and honored human rights defenders with over 17 human rights awards, including the Martin Ennals Award in 1995, whose film on her work shows a much younger Asma, fearless in spite of threats on her life:

I met her for the first time in 1993 at the 2nd World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, where she deeply impressed me by standing up and openly criticizing her fellow NGO representatives for having tried to prevent former President Jimmy Carte from speaking at the NGO forum. This principled stand was a hallmark of her life as Pakistani human rights lawyer and as UN Special Rapporteur. In many instances she was able to give sound advice on cases of other human rights defenders in difficulty. For earlier posts on Asma see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/asma-jahangir/

Asma Jahangir’s career in short:

  • Trained as a lawyer and worked in Pakistan’s Supreme Court from age 30
  • A critic of the military establishment
  • Jailed in 1983 for pro-democracy activities
  • Put under house arrest in 2007 for opposing military leader’s removal of Supreme Court chief justice
  • Co-founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and of the first free legal aid centre in Pakistan (together with her sister Hina Jilani)
  • Co-founder of the Women’s Action Forum, set up to oppose law that reduced a woman’s testimony in court to half that of a man’s
  • The first female leader of Pakistan’s Supreme Court bar association
  • Winner of 17 human rights awards and the French Legion of Honour
  • Served twice as UN special rapporteur: on freedom of religion and on later on Human Rights in Iran

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai called Ms Jahangir a “saviour of democracy and human rights”.

A prominent Pakistani lawyer, Salman Akram Raja, tweeted that Ms Jahangir was “the bravest human being I ever knew” and that the world was “less” without her.

A long interview with Asma you can find here: https://asiasociety.org/interview-asma-jahangir,

A 2017 interview can be found on the website of the RLA: https://vimeo.com/225966475

—-

https://www.economist.com/news/obituary/21736994-pakistans-loudest-voice-democracy-and-human-rights-was-66-obituary-asma-jahangir-died

List of grantees for the inaugural ‘Reporting Right Livelihood’ made public

August 3, 2017

grantees

On 3 July 2017 the Right Livelihood Foundation made public the list of Grantees of its 2017 Reporting Right Livelihood journalism programme.  Journalists will receive grants to shine the light on ‘under-reported‘ stories linked to the work of ‘Alternative Nobel’ Laureates. The grantees of the inaugural Reporting Right Livelihood journalism programme were selected from among 93 applicants from 48 countries. The grants, ranging from €200 to €5,000, cover essential travel, subsistence and communication costs to enable reporting on the selected stories over the next six months. The decision was made by a committee comprised of journalists and media experts from Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK.

This year’s grantees are:

  • Ms Aissatou Barry (Guinea), to produce a multimedia report on fighting impunity in Chad, Senegal and Burkina Faso, linked to the work of Laureate Jacqueline Moudeina (€ 4,800)
  • Mr Bikash Bhattacharya (India), to report on Indonesia’s logging sector corruption, an issue constantly raised by late Laureate Munir Said Thalib (€4,500)
  • Ms Fabiola Ortiz (Brazil), to provide a multimedia report on how Brazilian martial art Capoeira became a powerful tool to promote peace among men, women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, linked to the work of Dr Denis Mukwege (€5,000).
  • Ms Mervis Elebe (Nigeria) and Mr Ray Mwareya (Zimbabwe) will share a grant to report on the current situation with maternal health in Nigeria and Zimbabwe, linked to Dr Catherine Hamlin’s work on eliminating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia (€ 2,500 each, €5,000 in total).
  • Mr Philipp Lichterbeck (Germany) to report on the ’slow genocide’ of a little known Guarani-Kaiowa indigenous group in Brazil, linked to Laureate Survival International‘s work (€ 1,500).
  • Mr Roger Anis (Egypt), to produce a photo report on Egypt’s current housing crisis, linked to the legacy of Right Livelihood Award’s inaugural Laureate Hassan Fathy (€4,000).
  • In addition, the selection committee made a discretionary allocation of €200 to Ms Zofeen Ebrahim (Pakistan) who applied for a grant of US $57 to cover fuel costs in order to report on Pakistan’s home-based workers rights, linked to the work of Laureate Asma Jahangir.

The announcement comes with quotes from grantees and selection committee members. Such as:

I was impressed by the variety, the creativity and relevance of proposals which made our decision so challenging and difficult. The projects we chose show a strong commitment to report on under-covered issues addressed by the Right Livelihood Award Laureates through their personal engagement. This shows how important it is to support journalistic coverage of these issues in order to improve the lives of people who suffer because of injustice, poverty, sickness or political pressure,” Adelheid Feilcke, Deutsche Welle, selection committee member

Partout dans le monde des femmes et des hommes courageux se battent contre les injustices. L’engagement des journalistes est indispensable, pour faire echo à ces combats. Ces bourses vont pouvoir faire avancer les causes défendues et honorer les lauréats du Prix Right Livelihood,” Romaine Jean, Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), selection committee member

Fo more information: Xenya Cherny-Scanlon, Director of Communications, mobile: +41 76 690 8798, xenya@rightlivelihood.org,  www.rightlivelihoodaward.org #RightLivelihood #AlternativeNobel

Source: Reporting Right Livelihood 2017 Grantees AnnouncedThe Right Livelihood Award

Letter from legal experts on detained lawyers in China

January 19, 2016

On 18 January 2016 Human Rights Watch published an open Letter from Legal Experts on detained lawyers in China. [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/the-remarkable-crackdown-on-lawyers-in-china-in-july-2015/]. The letter, reproduced below, tries to link the Chinese leaders to their earlier promises that ‘China is a country ruled by law’ and that ‘every individual Party organisation and Party member must abide by the country’s constitution and laws and must not take the Party’s leadership as a privilege to violate them.’ It concludes that the events described appear entirely contrary to those commitments. The list of signatories is impressive.  Read the rest of this entry »

Asma Jahangir speaks on human rights restrictions justified in name of religion

December 9, 2014

From left: Asma Jahangir, Bill McKibben, Alan Rusbridger and Basil Fernando (photo: Wolfgang Schmidt/Right Livelihood Award Foundation)

(The four winners of this year’s Right Livelihood Award (from left): Asma Jahangir, Bill McKibben, Alan Rusbridger and Basil Fernando. US whistle-blower Edward Snowden (not pictured) also received an honorary award)

Qantara.de 2014 on 9 December 2014 published an interesting interview by Roma Rajpal Weiss with Asma Jahangir, a prominent human rights defenders, winner of the Right Livelihood Award of this year and Laureate of the MEA as far back as 1995. The title “Every restriction is justified in the name of religion” is taken from Asma’s statement that most restrictions on the human rights of women in Pakistan are justified by arguments (perhaps rather feelings) based on religious or tradition. Read the rest of this entry »

Meet the Right Livelihood Award laureates in Sweden, Norway, Germany and Switzerland

November 23, 2014

 

On 1 December, the 2014 Laureates – Basil Fernando, Asma Jahangir, Bill McKibben and Alan Rusbridger – will receive the Right Livelihood Awards [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/snowden-and-asma-jahangir-among-recipients-2014-right-livelihood-award/]Edward Snowden, will not be able to participate in person. There may be a live video-link with him during the Award Ceremony streamed live on the homepage at 16.00 (CET).

During the week, the Laureates will participate in several public events in Sweden, Norway, Germany and Switzerland. The detailed programme with more information about registration for the events is available from the website, but I want to  highlight the following:

Human Rights Defenders in Asia:

 

 

 

On Friday, 28 November, Asma Jahangir (MEA Laureate 1995) and Basil Fernando will participate in a seminar on civic organisations’ contributions to Asian societies at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. The seminar will be followed by a screening of the documentary “Unjust”, which is produced by the Basil Fernando’s organisation and features among others the story of murdered RLA Laureate Munir from Indonesia.

In Berlin on 27 November, Fernando will also speak about civil society’s involvement in Asia along with Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Assembly and Association.

 

On 2 December, Asma Jahangir will give the 7th Right Livelihood Award Lecture at the University of Zürich, organized by the Right Livelihood Award Foundation Switzerland.

 

 

 

CITIZENFOUR:

Laura Poitras’ documentary film CITIZENFOUR focuses on the encounters with Edward Snowden as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass surveillance by governments. The film will be screened on Saturday, 29 November at Södra Teatern in Stockholm.

The film is followed by a discussion with Daniel Ellsberg (2006 Laureate), Ewen MacAskill (The Guardian), Sarah Harrison (WikiLeaks), and Wolfgang Kaleck (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights). Tickets are available for sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Democracy and the right to know: The digital world poses opportunities as well as challenges for today’s journalists. On Monday, 1 December, Alan Rusbridgerwill discuss responsible journalism and the public’s right to know with Peter Wolodarski (Dagens Nyheter) at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs in Stockholm.

via: http://rightlivelihood.org/newsl_november14.html

Snowden and Asma Jahangir among recipients 2014 Right Livelihood Award

September 25, 2014

Right Livelihood logoHonorary Awards goes to EDWARD SNOWDEN (USA) “for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights” and  ALAN RUSBRIDGER (UK) for building a global media organisation dedicated to responsible journalism in the public interest, undaunted by the challenges of exposing corporate and government malpractices”.

Three other Laureates will equally share the cash award of SEK 1.5 million:

ASMA JAHANGIR (Pakistan) “for defending, protecting and promoting human rights in Pakistan and more widely, often in very difficult and complex situations and at great personal risk”.

BASIL FERNANDO/ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (Hong Kong) “for his tireless and outstanding work to support and document the implementation of human rights in Asia”.

BILL McKIBBEN (USA) “for mobilising growing popular support in the USA and around the world for strong action to counter the threat of global climate change”.

The Foundation will also fund legal support for Edward Snowden.

Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, said: “This year’s Right Livelihood Laureates are stemming the tide of the most dangerous global trends. With this year’s Awards, we want to send a message of urgent warning that these trends – illegal mass surveillance of ordinary citizens, the violation of human and civil rights, violent manifestations of religious fundamentalism, and the decline of the planet’s life-supporting systems – are very much upon us already. If they are allowed to continue, and reinforce each other, they have the power to undermine the basis of civilised societies. But the Laureates also demonstrate that the choice is entirely in our hands: by courageous acts of civil disobedience in the public interest, through principled and undeterred journalism, by upholding the rule of law and documenting each violation of it, and by building social movements to resist the destruction of our natural environment, we can turn the tide and build our common future on the principles of freedom, justice, and respect for the Earth.

The Awards will be presented at a ceremony in the Swedish Parliament on December 1.

http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards

 

Petition for Asma Jahangir

June 11, 2012

And for those who want to express their concern I have here the link to a global petition calling for the government of Pakistan to investigate the threats, increase security and protect Asma Jahangir.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Protect_Pakistans_leading_human_rights_activist_Asma_Jahangir_from_state_agency_plots_to_assassinate_her/?launch <http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Protect_Pakistans_leading_human_rights_activist_Asma_Jahangir_from_state_agency_plots_to_assassinate_her/?launch>

Please sign the petition and send out to your networks and through social media channels.
Global Human Rights Defence, Laan van Meerdervoort 70, NL – The Hague

Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s outstanding HRD, threatened

June 11, 2012

Asma Jahangir MEA Laureate

The Friday Times of June 8, 2012 carries an interesting article in which Raza Rumi talks to Ali Dayan Hasan, the Pakistan Director at Human Rights Watch. The response to the question: “But critics would argue that Asma Jahangir is a politicised figure and she has offered no proof to substantiate her allegations…” is so good and clear it is worth quoting in full: “Let me be blunt. Asma Jahangir is no ordinary person. She is an activist of 30 years with a demonstrable record of unflinching integrity. Not only is she a figure viewed with admiration in Pakistan, she is seen as an icon by many in the international human rights movement. During these decades, she has been a consistent critic of the military and intelligence agencies but has never made such an allegation. But when she speaks the world hears respectfully and with attention. It is for the government of Pakistan to fully investigate the matter and unearth the truth of the matter. And I want to be absolutely clear: the intelligence apparatus must understand that if any harm comes to Asma Jahangir, the response from the international community will be severe.”. Asma was the second person to win the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 1995!.