Posts Tagged ‘children’

Amnesty’s Write for Rights Campaign 2019 – launched today – focuses on youth activists

November 18, 2019

Amnesty International launched its Write for Rights campaign which this year champions children’s rights and youth activists. “This year Write for Rights, Amnesty’s flagship human rights campaign, champions youth activists who are taking on the world’s biggest crises,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “From those campaigning for climate and environmental justice, to those challenging inequality, poverty, discrimination and political repression, young people have emerged as a powerful force for change who deserve the world’s support.”

Every December people around the world write millions of letters, emails, tweets, Facebook posts and postcards for those whose human rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights event.  Amnesty International is hoping to break last year’s Write for Rights record of nearly six million messages of support for activists and individuals from 10 countries whose human rights are under attack. [for last year’s campaign see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/11/24/amnesty-starts-again-its-write-for-rights-campaign/]

Write for Rights 2019 features youth human rights defenders and individuals from in Belarus, Canada, China, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines and South Sudan.

Launching two days ahead of Universal Children’s Day on 20 November, a day to promote children’s rights, several of the featured activists had their rights violated as children.

They include José Adrián, who was 14 when he was brutally beaten by police on his way home from school in Mexico. He is now demanding reparations for his treatment and for the police to stop arbitrary detentions in the state of Yucatán. Among the other cases are:

  • Grassy Narrows Youth, a group of youth activists from an Indigenous community in north-western Ontario who have suffered one of Canada’s worst health crises. Their community has been devastated by 50 years of mercury contamination of their fish and river system. The Grassy Narrows youth are urging the government to address the mercury crisis once and for all, including by providing specialized health care and compensation for all;
  • Sarah Mardini and Seán Binder, two volunteer rescue workers from in Lesvos, Greece, who face up to 25 years in prison for their humanitarian work helping spot refugee boats in distress;
  • Yasaman Aryani, who defied her country’s discriminatory forced veiling laws and now must serve 10 years behind bars. Amnesty is campaigning for her immediate release;
  • Marinel Ubaldo, a youth activist from the Philippines who is urging her government to declare a climate emergency and protect future generations from the devastating impacts of climate change after her home was destroyed by typhoon Haiyan.

“The Write for Rights campaign epitomizes the ideals that Amnesty International was founded on – it’s about individuals helping other individuals. We are urging people to get behind these incredible young people who are campaigning for justice, equality and freedom,” said Kumi Naidoo.

“As we know from our work over the past five decades, writing letters works. Not only can it help free prisoners of conscience, but it makes a huge emotional difference to the people we support and to their loved ones.”

Monica Benício, the partner of Marielle Franco, a local politician in Brazil who was killed last year and was featured as part of the last Write for Rights, said of the campaign: “It helps me to get up in the morning and see some meaning, knowing that there is this big global network of affection.  All these demonstrations of love and affection are helping us to mobilize, to demand justice, to pressure for investigation and above all to fight so that there will be no more Marielles.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/11/write-for-rights-2019-puts-youth-activism-in-the-spotlight/

“The Boy At The Back Of The Class” gets upgraded

March 24, 2019

The founder of a London human rights organisation (Making Herstory) has won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019 for her story about a Syrian child refugee. Onjali Q. Raúf won the award for her The Boy At The Back Of The Class, which tells the story of Ahmet, a nine-year-old Syrian boy who moves to a new school after fleeing his war-torn homeland, won best story.

The Boy At The Back Of The Class was inspired by the children she met while working in refugee camps. The story follows the arrival of Ahmet, separated from his family, in a strange new world. When none of the grown-ups seem to be able to help him, Ahmet’s new school friends “come up with a daring plan, embarking on a seemingly madcap adventure”. The Waterstones prize judges said: “Told with heart and humour, it’s a child’s perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn’t always make sense”.  James Daunt, Waterstones Managing Director, said: “It is, notwithstanding its urgent contemporary relevance, a book that is funny, generous and vivid. It is a joy to read, and we recommend it unreservedly.”

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/culture/arts/syrian-child-refugee-story-wins-waterstones-childrens-book-prize-2019/

Children as Human Rights Defenders: UN Committee has discussion

September 29, 2018

On 28 September the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child held a Day of General Discussion on the topic “Children as Human Rights Defenders”. United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore, gave the opening speech; here some excerpts:

….It is my great pleasure to join in welcoming you all to this Day of General Discussion on Children Human Rights Defenders..I am most excited of course to be welcoming the members of the Child Advisory Team. You make this such a very special moment for us all – for us personally who work here and for the human rights work we try to do here. This year is the 20th birthday of the UN Human Rights Defenders Declaration and the 70th birthday of the UDHR. ….

Today, we will talk with you, about you. We will listen to you, …….

….We older people have failed you – have failed children. In so many places, in so many ways – older people are still failing children…….

Yet, the strange thing about this, is that it was older people – even older people – including some working 70 years ago – who made those laws and standards that recognise you have those rights, and yet it is older people who are breaking those promises.

……………If young age is no barrier to experiencing the worst consequences of older people’s decisions, then why use young age as an excuse to leave you out, to lock you out, from the places where those decisions could be changed. As human rights defenders, you know far better than I do why it is so important that we rethink the power relationship between older and young people.  If we would just change how we older people relate to children, make more room for you, listen to you more respectfully, value your experiences more, keep our promises to you then maybe we too would grow up and with you, just get on with changing the world for better.

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23654&LangID=E

 

Reprisals against children of Human Rights Defenders in UAE

October 11, 2015

The second case concerning children of human rights defenders is a more general category as described by Rebecca Sheff in a blog on Human Rights First: “Reprisals Against Children of Human Rights Defenders in UAE“.

She reports that on 8 October 2015, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child released a report expressing “concern” about the United Arab Emirates’ treatment of human rights defenders and their families. It noted that the government has been persecuting the children of defenders, restricting their “rights to education, identity documents, to freedom of movement and to keep contact with their detained parents.” The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires the UAE to protect children against discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of their parents. The UAE’s acts of intimidation violate children’s fundamental rights and inhibit the work of defenders. Dozens of political prisoners in the UAE are serving long prison sentences after being convicted in a mass unfair trial in 2013.  ….The Committee on the Rights of the Child also expressed concern “about the reported continuous harassment of human rights defenders in the State party, which greatly undermines the emergence of a vibrant civil society as well as the protection and promotion of children’s rights.” The lack of a robust civil society in the UAE means that children’s rights issues are neglected and violations go unaddressed. Ahmed Mansoor, a prominent human rights defender in the UAE, recently received the 2015 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.

Indeed one of the most moving scenes in the film on the work of MEA Laureate Mansoor was when he told how his own child did not recognize him after a stay in detention: (minutes 5.20)

 

Source: Reprisals Against Children of Human Rights Defenders in UAE | Human Rights First

Tony Blair’s Children’s Award in contrast with his PR work for a dictator

November 27, 2014

This blog has always had keen interest in awards and in celebrities abusing their reputation. The current row over Tony Blair receiving an award from Save the Children USA as described by Katie Nguyen of Reuters on 26 November 2014 is exactly at the crossroads of these two interest.

Quartet Representative to the Middle East and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair attends the International donors conference on financing the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in Cairo October 12, 2014.  REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Files
(former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at International donors conference on October 12, 2014. 
CREDIT: REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/FILES)
Save the Children’s U.S.A chapter gave its annual Global Legacy Award to former British prime minister Tony Blair last week. It stated that it was to recognise Blair’s role in persuading the G8 to agree to debt relief of $40 billion for the poorest nations. Staff working for the charity were furious about the award, the Guardian newspaper reported and more than 100,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Save the Children revoke the award.

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Optional Protocol Children’s Rights comes into effect in April

January 15, 2014

Photo: ILO

With Costa Rica as the tenth country to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children or their representatives will have the possibility to file an individual complaint as from  April 2014,when the Protocol comes formally into effect, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) announcement on 14 January.