Posts Tagged ‘Associated Press’

Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award 2022 to two Ukrainian journalists

May 10, 2022

DW Freedom of Speech Award 2022

Ukrainian visual journalist and novelist Mstyslav Chernov and photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka are this year’s DW Freedom of Speech Award laureates. For more on this and other awards for press freedom, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/b9e2c660-8e41-11ea-b31d-31ce896d8282

Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeniy Maloletka have a way of reporting that is painful to read and watch, but what really hurts is the truth that their reporting conveys: Russia brutally attacking Ukraine, and thereby Ukrainian civilians, under a fabricated pretense. While there are nuances to every story, there is no way facts can be negotiated. This is exactly what the Kremlin is doing: Distorting facts, spreading misinformation,” said DW Director General Peter Limbourg. “

The journalists, who both remain in Ukraine to continue their coverage of the war, welcomed the news about receiving the DW Freedom of Speech Award as an acknowledgment of their work. The award ceremony will be held on June 20 as part of the DW Global Media Forum.

AP journalist and novelist Mstyslav Chernov and freelance photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka are both from eastern Ukraine. Previously, their reports and footage from the conflicts in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have been published in various international media, including BBC, Deutsche Welle, The New York Times, Washington Post, Der Spiegel and others. As a war reporter in several conflict zones such as Iraq or Syria, Chernov has been wounded multiple times. Before the war, Maloletka had also been working on a project about the Hutsul community in western Ukraine, their traditions and daily life, and on the impact of the conflict in the Donbas. Evgeniy Maloletka is a freelance photojournalist based in Kyiv.

The report “20 days in Mariupol: The team that documented city’s agony” offers a unique account of Mariupol under Russian siege, with Chernov and Maloletka being the last journalists in the city before their evacuation. They documented the city’s first deaths at the city hospital of Mariupol and the attack on the maternity ward with pregnant women and children in it, as well as numerous bombings. During this work, the journalists themselves were under constant attack and took great risks only to find a steady connection to upload their footage of the siege, bringing it to the attention of the international community. They were evacuated by Ukrainian soldiers to avoid them falling into the hands of Russians, who had been hunting them down.

AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Julie Pace: “Mstyslav and Evgeniy were the world’s eyes and ears in Mariupol, producing courageous and compelling reporting as the only international journalists inside the besieged city. The harrowing realities of Russia’s war would have remained unseen without their bravery. We are extremely proud of their work.

See also: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/9/pulitzer-prize-board-honours-courage-of-ukrainian-journalists

https://www.dw.com/en/dw-freedom-of-speech-award-2022-goes-to-ukrainian-journalists-mstyslav-chernov-and-evgeniy-maloletka/a-61638608

Lee Ming-che free and back in Taiwan

May 10, 2022

HUIZHONG WU for Associated Press on 10 May 2022 reports that a Taiwanese human rights activist, who served five years in jail in China, said that international pressure and the tireless advocacy by his wife worked to ensure his safe return to Taiwan. “I know that my life’s safety and security was defended by many people, thanks to everyone, I have never felt abandoned or alone,” Lee Ming-che said at a press conference Tuesday in his first public appearance since being released from prison.Lee Ming-che was arrested by Chinese authorities in 2017 and charged with subversion of state power. His arrest was China’s first criminal prosecution of a non-profit worker since Beijing passed a law tightening controls over foreign non-governmental organizations in 2016.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/01/04/china-and-its-willingness-to-detain-anyone-anytime-should-generate-more-reaction/

His arrest marked a turning point as China showed that it would not hesitate to prosecute Taiwanese individuals for political activism, regardless of the harm it would bring to cross-Strait relations.

Lee had given online lectures on Taiwan’s democratization and managed a fund for families of political prisoners in China that some friends had set up.

I did what I could do, using my credit card to buy some books,” he said, which he would send to friends in China. He would also give donations to the families of political prisoners. “This is not to interfere with the country’s internal affairs. All of this was simply a way of humanitarian caring.”Lee is the son of parents who were both born in China and had come to Taiwan with the ruling Nationalist Party. He had always thought of himself as a Chinese person growing up. That changed in high school with a history teacher who taught the students to learn about local history.

While Lee was able to come home, another prisoner, Lee Meng-chu, remains trapped in China. Lee Meng-chu has been accused of being a spy by Chinese authorities and is now serving the two years as part of his sentence which deprived him of “political rights.” Meng-chu had been in Hong Kong in 2019, during the massive anti-government protests that rocked the city, according to the semi-official Central News Agency. He disappeared after crossing the border into Shenzhen.

It’s uncertain how many Taiwanese are being held in Chinese prisons, as many families have chosen to remain quiet in the hopes of getting their loved ones’ release. This stands in contrast with Lee, the human rights activist’s case. In the last five years, Lee’s wife, Ching-yu worked with local nonprofit organizations to raise awareness about her husband’s case. .. That continued effort, both said, paid off. “International support can truly have a concrete change on the treatment of a political prisoner in China,” said Lee Ching-yu.

https://buffalonews.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/taiwan-activist-released-from-china-says-global-help-worked/article_159bb09e-b8f7-53fb-a959-2f96714c4e24.html

Two Italians don’t want a French Legion d’Honneur if el-Sissi has one

December 15, 2020

PAOLO SANTALUCIA and NICOLE WINFIELD – based on an Associated Press item of 14 December 2020 – report that two prominent Italians announced they were returning their Legion of Honor awards to France to protest that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was given the prize despite his government’s human rights abuses.

Corrado Augias, a long-time journalist for La Repubblica daily and one-time European Parliamentarian for Italy’s center-left, returned his prize to the French Embassy on Monday. Giovanna Melandri, a former Italian culture minister and the president of Rome’s Maxxi contemporary art museum, announced she would follow suit.

Both cited Egypt’s role in the 2016 kidnapping, torture and killing of an Italian doctoral research student in Cairo, as well as the regime’s other human rights violations.

French President Emmanuel Macron last week awarded the Egyptian President the highest French honor during a closed-door ceremony Sept. 7 that only became public after the Egyptian presidency published photos of it.

Also last week, Rome prosecutors formally placed four high-ranking members of Egypt’s security forces under investigation over the death of Giulio Regeni, whose 2016 killing strained relations between Rome and Cairo and galvanized Italy’s human rights community. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/04/25/monday-25-april-what-will-happen-in-egypt/]

Speaking outside the French Embassy, Augias said he returned his 2007 prize out of “a sense of indignation,” given that the award was bestowed on el-Sissi at the same time that Rome prosecutors were detailing the torture that Regeni suffered to a parliamentary committee. “The two things together were too strong,” he told reporters. “I couldn’t refrain from reacting.

Melandri said in a Facebook post Monday that she too would return the honor she received in 2003, saying it was sad but necessary to make clear that “honor” should mean something.

I hope that this gesture can help open a frank and friendly confrontation in our two countries on which values ​​should be that we want to defend, strengthen and continue to ‘honor’ in a democratic Europe and a globalized world,” she wrote.

El-Sissi’s state visit had sparked protests by human rights activists incensed that France was welcoming el-Sissi despite the heaviest crackdown on dissent in Egypt’s modern history. At the time, it wasn’t known that Macron had awarded el-Sissi the highest distinction of the Legion of Honor order of merit, the Grand-Croix, or Grand-Cross. The award ceremony was held without the press before dinner at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris. The event was not listed on Macron’s official agenda. The French presidency said such a ceremony is usually part of the protocol during state visits.

The French ambassador to Italy, Christian Masset, said he respected Augias and defended the government’s human rights record.

France is on the front lines for human rights and makes no compromises,” he tweeted after Augias returned his prize. “Many cases were discussed during President el-Sissi’s visit to Paris, in the most appropriate and efficient way.

The Legion of Honor has been given to French war heroes, writers, artists and businessmen. But it has also been given to leaders with questionable human rights records, including Syrian President Bashar Assad (though he returned it in 2018) and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

France has on occasion also stripped people of the honor, including Harvey Weinstein in 2017, in the wake of the #MeToo sexual misconduct accusations against him.

https://www.startribune.com/italians-return-french-legion-awards-after-el-sissi-gets-one/600001488/

Human rights defender Htin Kyaw in Myanmar keeps walking in spite of 11 convictions

September 16, 2014

Aye Aye Win, of Associated Press, describes in an interesting way the changes in Myanmar (Burma): human rights defender Htin Kyaw is ‘free’ to march and protest in public but in every city where he passes he is being sentenced for disturbing public order. He has now accumulated 11 of such sentences and is slated to spend the next 12 years and four months behind bars, according to his wife, Than Than Maw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

via: 1 march, 11 sentences for Myanmar rights activist :: WRAL.com. (1 September 2014)

Honduras does not protect human rights defenders and ends up in public hearing of the IACHR

November 4, 2013

The State of Honduras fails to comply with the implementation of protection measures for human rights defenders (HRD) at risk. For this reason, last Monday 28th October, state representatives appeared in a public hearing before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in Washington D.C.

This hearing was requested by the Centre for Human Rights Research and Promotion (CIPRODEH), the Committee of the Families of Detained and Disappeared Persons in Honduras (COFADEH), the Team for the Reflection, Research and Communication of the Society of Jesus in Honduras (ERIC-SJ), Protection International (PI) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).

The participating organisations denounced the ineffectiveness of the interim and precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Court and the Commission of Human Rights, after finding many shortcomings faced by the beneficiaries, who continue to be threatened. Likewise, punctual observations were made encompassing the various limitations and loopholes under the draft law named “Law on Protection for Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Justice Operators”, pending approval by the National Congress since august 2013. Finally some cases were highlighted, illustrating the risks that human rights defenders continue to face to the date in Honduras. Among others, special mention was made of the recent murder of Manuel de Jesús Varela Murillo, who was receiving protection measures.

The organisations called on national authorities to submit the above-mentioned draft law to a wide dialogue, in a participative and transparent way, for the purpose of establishing a mechanism to protect effectively human rights defenders. Finally, the CIDH was requested to visit Honduras to verify the reported risk situation, in order to provide appropriate recommendations.

via Honduras does not protect human rights defenders | | Protection InternationalProtection International.

Haiti HRD Mario Joseph uses his appearance in the MEA ceremony well

October 14, 2013

Mario Joseph Final Nominee MEA 2013

Mario Joseph, Haiti – Final Nominee MEA 2013

An unintended consequence of the MEA ceremony on 8 October was that Mario Joseph – one of the 3 Final Nominees for this award – used his speech to make clear how disturbed he was by the UN’s refusal to assume its responsibility for the cholera epidemic caused by UN troops in Haiti. Mrs Pillay – the UN High commissioner for human rights – in her speech replied to the challenge by repeating an earlier position that had mostly gone unnoticed: “I have used my voice both inside the United Nations and outside to call for the right — for an investigation by the United Nations, by the country concerned, and I still stand by the call that victims of — of those who suffered as a result of that cholera be provided with compensation”. Associated Press reported this on 8 October but left out the context by just stating: ‘Pillay said at an awards ceremony for human rights activists in Geneva… streamed live on the Internet.’  So, now you know!

via UN human rights official urges compensation for Haiti cholera victims – Washington Post.

Courageous Chinese HRDs visit Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo, captured on video

January 23, 2013

 

Liu Xia, the wife of Liu Xiaobo has been illegally held under house arrest for over 26 months. She has not been able to communicate with others or leave her apartment freely.

On the 28 December 2012 a group of activists attracted Liu Xia’s attention outside her apartment beneath her window. They discussed how to get around the security guards through the side door. Liu Xia welcomed them with hugs and tears.

The meeting was brief, just three minutes as they wanted to avoid conflict with the security guards whose backup team would rush in soon. Some friends kept talking with Liu Xia through the windows and Liu Xia threw out some chocolates to them to express her thanks. Some were arguing with the security guards, explaining that they were just Liu Xia’s friends to celebrate Liu Xiaobo’s birthday with Liu Xia.

Eventually, all the friends managed to return home safely. Amnesty International has translated the video about their visit into English. The original can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJumioueaAo

High Commissioner for Human Rights, Pillay, extended for 2 years

May 16, 2012

High Commissioner for Human Rights Pillay Spea...

High Commissioner for Human Rights Pillay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the South African Mrs Navanethem Pillay, is coming to the end of her 4-year term in December of this year. Credit should go to the normally timid Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who has asked the General Assembly to approve a two-year extension for one of the best and most outspoken High Commissioners to date. On Monday it was announced by the SG that Navi Pillay had agreed to stay on for two more years. This is excellent news for the human rights movement.