Posts Tagged ‘defenders at risk’

Call for an EU Visa framework for At-Risk Human Rights Defenders

September 24, 2022

ProtectDefenders.eu and the great many undersigned NGOs are convinced that with political will and clear guidelines, the EU can and should return to its political mandate in favour of human rights and human rights defenders, and lead on the implementation of concrete initiatives, good practises, and policy changes to ensure that at-risk human rights defenders can access European Union visas with guarantees, security, and predictability.

More specifically, they call on the EU stakeholders to:
i) propose a specific facilitated procedure for human rights defenders within the EU Visa Code, setting common criteria and defining the elements of a facilitated procedure;
ii) include instructions in the EU Visa Handbook on granting facilitations to HRDs and their family members,
iii) work towards amending the legal instruments on visas, particularly the Visa Code, and
iv) introduce amendments to the Temporary Protection Directive that allow temporary protection status in the EU to be granted to defenders at risk.


Furthermore, they call on the EU Member States to implement consistent policies and guidelines to recognise the right of human rights defenders to access visas; as well as to promote the exhaustive use of their current prerogatives to urgently guarantee access to visas for those facing severe threats and risks.


ProtectDefenders.eu is the European
Union Human Rights Defenders
mechanism, led by a Consortium of 12
NGOs active in the field of Human Rights:
• Asian Forum for Human Rights and
Development (FORUM-ASIA)
• DefendDefenders – East and Horn of Africa
Human Rights Defenders Project
• Euro-Mediterranean Foundation Of
Support To Human Rights Defenders
(EMHRF)
• ESCR-Net
• Front Line Defenders
• ILGA World
• Peace Brigades International
• Protection International
• Reporters Without Borders
• The International Federation for Human
Rights (FIDH)
• The World Organisation Against Torture
(OMCT)
• Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human
Rights (UAF)
This initiative is supported by:
• AfricanDefenders
• Amnesty International
• Araminta
• Artist Protection Fund
• Artists at Risk (AR)
• Asociación Zehar-Errefuxiatuekin
• Brot für die Welt
• Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
• Center for Applied Human Rights (CAHR),
University of York
• Civil Rights Defenders
• Comissió Catalana d’Ajuda al Refugiat
(CCAR)
• Defenders in Dordrecht (DiD)
• Docip (Indigenous Peoples’ Center for
Documentation, Research and Information)
• European Center for Press and Media
Freedom (ECPMF)
• Fédération internationale des ACAT /
International Federation of ACAT (FIACAT)
• Freedom House
• Free Press Unlimited (FPU)
• Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
• Hamburg Foundation for politically
persecuted persons
• Heinrich-Boell-Stiftung (hbs)
• Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF)
• Human Rights House Tbilisi
• Humanists International
• Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres
Defensoras de Derechos Humanos
• International Arts Rights Advisors (IARA)
• International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN)
• International Partnership for Human
Rights (IPHR)
• International Service for Human Rights
(ISHR)
• Justice & Peace
• Mundubat
• Open Society Foundations (OSF)
• PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC)
• Pen International
• Réseau de Défenseurs des Droits Humains
de l’Afrique Centrale (REDHAC)
• Scholars at Risk
• Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders
Network
• Tbilisi Shelter City
• Un Ponte Per
• Unit for the Protection of Human Rights
Defenders of Guatemala

Shelter City and Artists’ Safe Haven; a call for applications

September 24, 2022

Justice & Peace Netherlands is launching a new call for applications for its initiatives: Shelter City and Artists’ Safe Haven initiative. The deadline for applications for both initiatives is 2 October 2022 at 23:59 CET. Please note that special conditions may apply due to COVID-19.

Shelter City is a global movement of cities, organizations and people who stand side by side with human rights defenders at risk. Shelter City provides temporary safe and inspiring spaces for human rights defenders at risk where they re-energise, receive tailor-made support and engage with allies. The term human rights defender is intended to refer to the broad range of activists, journalists and independent media professionals, scholars, writers, artists, lawyers, civil and political rights defenders, civil society members, and others working to advance human rights and democracy around the world in a peaceful manner. From March 2023 onwards, several cities in the Netherlands will receive human rights defenders for a period of three months. At the end of their stay in the Netherlands, participants are expected to return with new tools and energy to carry out their work at home. For last year see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/04/20/shelter-city-netherlands-call-for-applications-for-september-2022/

Artists’ Safe Haven initiative

Through its Artists’ Safe Haven initiative, Justice & Peace Netherlands aims to contribute to the promotion of freedom of artistic expression globally, including the right to create art, admire it, critique it, challenge it, be provoked by it, and respond to it free of governmental censorship, political interference or the pressures of non-state actors. Through the provision of temporary relocation and tailor-made support for artists at risk, Justice & Peace aims to promote the safety of these artists, and in particular women artists, worldwide so that they can build new strategies and continue their important work for freedom of artistic expression in their country of origin. With support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Justice & Peace will be able to provide three temporary safe spaces in The Hague in March, June or September 2023 for artists or art practitioners at risk.

https://7a2pv.r.a.d.sendibm1.com/mk/mr/K_x49f0_LN6hMWyukmyZin_8nFjvyvxEZ64oBYmy0mcrornzARhZf2MMVMohYTcigMvb7fOgyE8_v0NpVjJ007RkNxvaOwa970jiH0-_rgbyYyAtoTgTtlTVcOhkQ5AFqLqJihg

Ubuntu Hub in Accra will serve as a safe haven for Human Rights Defenders

March 28, 2022

Accra set to house threatened African Human Rights Defenders

An interesting example of what African NGOs can do in their own region for human rights defenders:

The Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED) and African Defenders, a Pan-African Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) Network, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up the 7th Ubuntu Hub in Accra.

The Hub will serve as a safe haven for Human Rights Defenders and in some instances, their families within the continent who are subjected to attacks, threats, violence, and extreme pressure as a consequence of their human rights works.

The MoU would ensure that such victims are given medical, social, educational and psychosocial support in Accra or another African country if they so will, to ensure their wellbeing and development.

Mr Shire said it was prudent for Africa to stay alive and support each other to close the gaps such as threatening, torturing, murmuring, and crying caused as a result of the lack of protection of its people.

A feasibility study conducted by the parties proved that Accra in Ghana was the most suitable host for the initiative as its political, security, and human rights records gave the idea that the city provided an appropriate environment for the relocation of at-risk HRDs, he said.

Why do human rights defenders need to travel to Finland, just to seek a safe haven, why can’t we seek one from another country within our own continent,” he said.

He explained that the cost of relocating African HRDs at risk to another continent was prohibitory expensive, and the HRDS often faced cultural displacement, stigmatization and cultural and language barriers, hence, finding themselves unable to actively continue their human rights activism when relocated outside of the continent.

In 2019, he said the African Defenders, therefore, launched the Ubuntu Hub Cities, with the aim of providing at-risk African HRDs, with options for safe internal and external temporary relocation without having to leave their home continent.

The initiative since its inception has created a Hub in Kampala, Abidjan, Tunis, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.

Through their diverse local partnerships, Mr Dire said relocation also provided an opportunity for HRDs at risk to learn and share experiences, so that, they could have a positive impact on the host community and return home with enhanced capacities to protect and promote human rights.

Under the Ubuntu Hub Cities Initiative, he mentioned HRDs, Journalists, Writers and Scholars, Trade Union Workers, Human Right Lawyers and Artists as some of the groups they supported.

Ms Esther Tawiah, the Executive Director, GenCED, said African leaders had to stay true to the power and give voice to the ordinary citizen who gave them the mandate.

https://www.modernghana.com/news/1147846/accra-set-to-house-threatened-african-human-rights.html

Human Rights Defender Rehana Hashmi Activist in Residence at Carleton

May 12, 2021

On 12 May 2021, Carleton University’s Department of Law and Legal Studies welcomed human rights advocate Rehana Hashmi as the inaugural Activist in Residence (AiR). Hashmi will teach students and provide them with access to her first-hand experience and an international perspective.

I didn’t choose to become an activist,” says Hashmi. “I was forced into activism at age seven when my father went to prison for speaking out against the dictatorship. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/01/14/rehana-hashmi-woman-human-rights-defender-from-pakistan/

“Carleton is one of the first in Canada to start this type of program to help protect human rights defenders. They can come, rest, reflect, recharge and do their work without being silenced.”

Building on the department’s successful participation in the Scholars at Risk initiative, the new AiR program provides a home base for human rights activists within an academic setting, particularly for those at-risk. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to learn from someone with personal, lived experience fighting to protect human rights.

As part of the AiR program, Hashmi is working on a series of video interviews with human rights defenders from around the world. “When they are in exile, there should be mechanisms to protect them,” says Hashmi. “The Activist in Residence program is one way to do this.”

Hashmi also teaches a fourth-year seminar on patriarchy, human rights and informal justice. Students learn how traditional patriarchal attitudes operate towards women and minorities seeking legal justice.

“Students in the course get to learn from many human rights defenders,” says Hashmi. “Through online learning, we have been able to bring in experts from around the world. Recently, mothers from Palestine and Israel presented in a JurisTalk about how they lost their children, but are still doing reconciliation work.

“Activists bring knowledge from the field to help students get a firsthand experience on how advocacy works. This knowledge narrows the gap between the Global North and Global South. Faculty and students benefit from stories from the field, but it also helps activists at-risk.”

After being exiled from her home city for her activist work, Hashmi became even more involved with activism, giving shelter to women who were beaten or had acid thrown on them. Through Sisters Trust Pakistan, Hashmi helped victims of domestic violence and women and girls to break free of religious fundamentalism and forced marriages. This was just one step in her journey to support and protect the vulnerable.

The challenges in Pakistan are more difficult for women like Hashmi who are fighting to defend human rights. Offenders target women’s children and extended families. Women can’t always leave when they are at-risk. They may have many obstacles including limited mobility, family and societal restrictions to consider

https://newsroom.carleton.ca/2021/carleton-welcomes-inaugural-activist-in-residence-rehana-hashmi-human-rights-defender/