Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

Belgian artist launches a Human Rights Pavilion at Venice Bienniale

May 30, 2019

On Mark Westall reports in Fadmagazine that the Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen has launched a Human Rights Pavilion at Venice.

Belgian artist launches worldwide Human Rights Pavilion at Venice

Coinciding with the 58th Venice Bienniale, Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen has launched the evolving artwork Human Rights Pavilion. In 2021, he will present his completed Opus to the Venice Biennial authorities with a request for a recurring, international human rights pavilion. Koen Vanmechelen firmly believes that art has a role to play in the current debate about human rights, a controversial issue highlighted by globalisation. Are human rights culturally relative? Does the human rights project have limits? Is the existing Universal Declaration on Human Rights outdated and Western- centered, as some claim?

To answer these questions, together with international partners Global Campus of Human Rights, Fondazione Berengo and the MOUTH Foundation, the Belgian artist launches the Human Rights Pavilion. This ambitious project was initiated on the island of Murano, in parallel with the 58th Venice Biennial. Over the next two years, the evolving work will gain weight and momentum through the dialogues, travels, correspondence, explorations and creations of Vanmechelen during a world tour. The evolving pavilion-to-be should gain form through contact with people and organizations involved or interested in human rights. The focal point is Vanmechelen’s adage ‘the global only exists through the generosity of the local.

Vanmechelen: ‘Through my longstanding work around children’s and nature rights, I learned that connecting to others is vital. Underlying the philosophy that unifies my work is ‘every organism needs another organism to survive.’ Survival depends on the survival of the other or SoTO. The Human Rights Pavilion comes together in three chapters: SoTO Dialogues, SoTO Environment and SoTO Legacy. Different partners are invited to contribute to both the artistic research and the development of the artwork, aiming to include as many disciplines, perspectives, and cultures in the creation. At the end of 2020, all inputs will be reworked into a unifying OPUS. This collective memory of our moment in time and space, will be presented to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Commission and the President and Curator of the 59th Venice Biennale of Art. It will be accompanied by a call to establish a recurrent supra-national Human Rights Pavilion as part of the structure of the Venice Biennial.More Info: www.humanrightspavilion.com

Human Rights Defenders in Kenya honored with national awards

December 3, 2018

Kenya is one of the few countries with a fully developed system of national awards for human rights defenders. They are organized by the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya and the Working Group on Human Defenders. A ceremony was held on 1 December 2018 at the residence of the Belgium ambassador.

A panel of eminent Kenyans chaired by former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has honoured rights activist Okiya Omtatah with a Lifetime Achivement award. Omtatah also scooped the Popular Vote award in the annual ceremony.

Anastacia Nambo and Is’shaq Abubakar were awarded the 2018 Human Rights Defender of the year award:

Ms Nambo from Mombasa is a mother, a preacher and an avid advocate of environmental rights. She started her human rights work in 2009 when the Metal Refinery was established in the Uhuru Owino slums. The adverse effects of the metal refinery led to active advocacy and lobbying by Nambo and her community. Threats and attacks. Their struggle bore fruit in 2014 when the refinery was closed. She has endured verbal attacks, threats through texts and attempts to break into her home and had to seek refuge in Uganda.

Is’shaq, a public relations manager working with indigenous communities in Lamu, is a human rights defender on environmental rights issues. He co-founded Save Lamu, an umbrella of CBOs established in Lamu in the onset of the Lapsset project. Save Lamu teaches the community on the environmental impact of the Lapset project and seeks legal redress for the locals. His work has earned him threats and police harassment which he has overcome through strategic partnerships with mainstream organisations like the NCHRD, Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR). Receiving his award, he said it will legitimise his work and encourage other human rights advocates in Lamu.

Christine Kandie won the Upcoming Human Rights Defender of the Year award. Kandie fights for the land rights of Endorois women and is the programme’s officer for the Endorois Welfare Council (EWC). She represented her community at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) session in 2011.

The objective of the awards is to honour extraordinary work of human rights defenders who face a myriad of challenges in their calling.  “The award ceremony is a special occasion for these courageous individuals who do excellent work within our community,” said National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Executive Director Kanau Ngugi.

Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001304811/human-rights-guardians-feted-ahead-of-day-of-human-rights-celebrations

Human Rights Accountability of Non-State Actors – lecture in Leuven

February 14, 2018

The Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies is organising the SPRING LECTURE SERIES 2018 under the theme: UNDER SIEGE: HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE RULE OF LAW.

On Monday 26 February 2018 – from 11h00 – 13h00 – (Tiensestraat 41, LeuvenDr. Kasey McCall-Smith will speak about “Human Rights Accountability of Non-State Actors (MNEs, NGOs, …): the Next Frontier”.

[The negative impact on human rights by business activity has been the focus of much academic and public policy debate. In no other field of law has the stubbornness of the public and private international law divide been exposed more starkly and with such devastating effects for individuals. Human rights law discourse has spent the last two decades debating the impact of business activity on human rights and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights was hailed as a great victory. But, as rightly noted by the Special Rapporteur on Business and Human Rights, the UN Framework and Guiding Principles was simply the end of the beginning of the debate. International law has yet to catch up with the realities of business activity and its impact on human rights and the environment. This lecture will look at the key soft law developments of the past decade, the push to ‘harden’ these soft law initiatives, and examine a case study on smartphone supply chain management to elaborate the difficulties of reconciling human rights accountability and abuse by non-state actors. The legal issues raised in respect to multinational enterprises will also be considered in light of increasing pressure to hold other non-state actors to account, such as international organisations and NGOs. Ultimately, the lecture will contribute ideas about how to move forward on the next human rights frontier.]

Dr. McCall-Smith is a lecturer in Public International Law and programme director for the LLM in Human Rights. She is a US qualified lawyer and holds a BA in Architectural Studies (1998) and Juris Doctor (2001) from the University of Arkansas. Dr McCall-Smith was awarded an LLM (2002) and a PhD (2012) for her thesis on ‘Reservations to Human Rights Treaties’ by the University of Edinburgh. She is currently the Chair of AHRI, the Association of Human Rights Institutes. McCall-Smith’s research focuses primarily on treaty law and how treaties are interpreted and implemented at the domestic and supranational levels. Ensuring clarity in the law of treaties, specifically in reference to reservations to human rights treaties, is a major theme that she has pursued. She interested in the role of the UN human rights treaty bodies as generators of law. The increasingly blurred distinction between public and private international law in terms of human rights protection is another of her research interests.

Participation is free, but register by Friday 23 February at the latest

see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/06/07/leuven-centre-for-global-governance-studies-organizes-new-mooc-on-human-rights-as-from-21-june/

https://mailchi.mp/kuleuven/event-414449?e=bf340a3bd5

Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies organizes new MOOC on human rights as from 21 June

June 7, 2016

The Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies is an interdisciplinary research centre of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Leuven, Belgium, led by prof. Jan Wouters. It carries out and supports interdisciplinary research on topics related to globalisation, global governance processes and multilateralism, and has been recognised as a KU Leuven Centre of Excellence [http://ghum.kuleuven.be/ggs/].

It has just announced a new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). The previous edition on ‘EU and Human Rights’ reached more than 8,000 students worldwide. Starting on 21 June 2016 and running for 6 weeks, the MOOC provides a basic course on human rights using FRAME research results, targeting undergraduate students and other people interested in the topic, such as international organizations and NGO staff. It will be offered free of charge and will include a collection of videos of lectures and teaching materials.

See also https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/the-moocs-are-coming-to-human-rights-education-thanks-to-ai-and-edx-partnering/

For more information and enrollment: https://www.edx.org/course/eu-human-rights-kuleuvenx-euhurix-0

Rehana Hashmi, woman human rights defender from Pakistan

January 14, 2015

Still taken from "Notes to our Sons and Daughters" Project © 2015 Alexis Dixon

Still taken from “Notes to our Sons and Daughters” Project © 2015 Alexis Dixon

Last December, Brussels-based Protection International launched a new campaign, ‘The Women Who Defend Human Rights.’ In this series of monthly interviews, figure talks with Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) about their work, challenges and every-day-life.

This month, the interview is with Rehana Hashmi from Pakistan. Rehana has been a defender of human rights since a young age. She is also the founder of two national networks that support women and helps them to take charge of their rights. Due to her work, she has received threats to the point that she has had to flee her native Pakistan. You can now read her full story on PI’s website: http://protectioninternational.org/2015/01/14/the-women-who-defend-human-rights-rehana-hashmi/

Friends wouldn’t pick up their phone when I would call..

Vacancy at Protection International in Brussels: Accountant / Administration

December 18, 2013

Protection International (PI) – website:www.protectioninternational.org – has a vacancy for an  Accountant/Administration based in Brussels, Belgium. Target starting date is mid-January 2014 and the deadline for applications is 5 January 2014.  Interviews will take place from 6 to 9 January.Protection Int'I_logo_final_vertical_72dpi

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New Commissioner for Human Rights in Europe speaks harshly about HRDs labelled as “traitors”

December 20, 2012

The ‘new’ Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe (who took office on on 24 January 2012) Nils Muižnieks stated in his end of the year message some hard truths about the position of human rights defenders in Europe.

Defamation, threats, verbal and physical attacks, sanctions and judicial harassment are used to deter human rights activists from working with migrants.” Nils Muižnieks states that in several Council of Europe countries, the rise of xenophobic and anti-migrant discourse has “negatively impacted” on the work of human rights defenders who protect and promote the rights of migrants.“Human rights defenders are even increasingly labelled as traitors who are threatening national identity and security,” he adds. “They are often exposed to intimidation and abuse.

The situation in Greece is particularly worrisome as migrants have become targets of unacceptable, extreme violence notably by members, including MPs, of the far right political party of Golden Dawn.“Human rights defenders defending migrants are under threat. There have been several instances of lawyers being threatened and physically attacked in Athens as they were assisting migrants in the course of asylum and other legal procedures.

In some Council of Europe countries the work of defenders working with migrants and their rights is being criminalised. In France, legal provisions corresponding to the so-called délit de solidarité the offence of solidarity concretely result in law enforcement bodies pressuring and punishing human rights defenders providing assistance to irregular migrants. Persons standing up for the rights of migrants have been detained, prosecuted and/or fined.“ “In Belgium, similar tendencies have been identified and persons who have been demonstrating in favour of the rights of migrants have been arrested.”

via Nils Muižnieks: “Human rights defenders are increasingly labelled as traitors” | HUMANERIGHTSEUROPE.

The Belgium Parliament adopts a resolution on the place of HRDs in foreign policy

February 20, 2012

On 13 February 2012, the Belgium parliamentarians adopted by unanimity a resolution strengthening its earlier resolutions of 2003 et 2005, in which they urge the Belgium Government to be more active with regard to the protection of human rights defenders. This kind of action by parliaments is rare but extremely important as I believe it helps to focus policy within the broad – and often vague – human rights language and gives long-term stability

The parliamentarians ask for example that the Government meets with HRDs during official visits, that diplomats maintain regular contact with HRDs in prior consultation with local and national human rights NGOs.  They also want to see stronger support for HRDs in the context of conflict prevention, diplomatic dialogues and development aid. Other recommendations relate to the EU and the UN.

Protection International, the Brussels-based international NGO, has rightly welcomed the resolution which is in line with with the best practices it has collected over the years. It now calls on the Government to put the policy into practice.

The Parliament’s Resolution – in French and Dutch – is available at: http://www.lachambre.be/FLWB/PDF/53/1887/53K1887008.pdf

The comments by Protection International (in French) at: http://protectionline.org/PI-se-rejouit-de-l-adoption-d-une.html