Posts Tagged ‘democratic principles’

75 human rights defenders in India will monitor violence against Dalits during India elections

April 18, 2019

Caste violence, dalit

Representational Image. (File | EPS)
Ritwika Mitra  reports on 18 April that seventy-five ‘human rights defenders’ will be monitoring elections during elections in identified ‘sensitive’ constituencies across 20 states to monitor any form of violence against Dalits during the voting process, which takes place over the period 11 April to 19 May 2019.

The National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) — a coalition of Dalit rights organisations — is coordinating with volunteers the move. “If the volunteers notice any violence during the voting, they will immediately inform the electoral officer and the police. These defenders are trained and to spot any form of atrocity against Dalits…” said V A Ramesh Nathan, general secretary, NDMJ.

The focus would be on Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Gujarat. The list, however, is not comprehensive. The coalition recently monitored the situation in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar during the first phase of the polling season. In Andhra Pradesh, there were cases where Dalits were not being allowed to vote, which were taken up by the volunteers and the issue was resolved, said Kamalchand Kispott, policy and advocacy officer, NDMJ.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2019/apr/18/lok-sabha-elections-2019-75-human-rights-defenders-to-monitor-violence-against-dalits-across-states-1965667.html

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, 21 years old, deserves to be supported

May 11, 2015

Some NGOs of a regional character do not always get the international recognition they deserve. One example is the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies [CIHRS]  which celebrated its 21st anniversary in Tunisia on 23 may in Tunis.

It had a remarkably high level attendance including the Minister of Justice Mohammed Saleh Bin Eissa, the Moroccan ambassador, and diplomats and representatives of the embassies of the US, EU, UK, France, Belgium, Japan, Finland as well as the director of the Tunis bureau of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dimiter Chalev. Also present were many representatives of international and local civil society, among them Idris al-Yazmi, the head of the National Council for Human Rights in Morocco; al-Mukhtar al-Tarifi, the representative of the International Federation for Human Rights in Tunisia, and Bushra Belhaj, the chair of the rights and liberties committee in the Tunisian parliament.

The occasion was inaugurated with a one-minute silence in tribute to the victims of human rights abuses and terrorism in the Arab region. This was, followed by a note sent by the High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Bin Raad al-Husseini, who was unable to attend. In the note, he said that the Arab world was currently facing two related challenges: the transition to more stable democratic societies and the alarming increase in violence in the context of the rise of ISIS and other extremist takfiri groups. This lends even greater importance to rights organizations in the region that can analyze these difficulties, spread a culture of tolerance, promote respect for human rights, and engage in a constructive dialogue on cultures and global human rights standards. For more than two decades, Raad said, the CIHRS has been engaged in these missions, becoming a strong advocate and defender of human rights that has won international recognition and several awards. It also enjoys credibility in the region, having given a voice to those who are afraid to speak and stood up against religious bigotry and hate speech.

Tunisian Minister of Defense Farhat Horchani also sent a note of congratulations to the CIHRS, expressing his regret for being unable to attend. This may be the first time a rights group has received such a missive from a defense minister in the region. Horchani, who has no military background, was the dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science in Tunis, the chair of the Tunisian Association for Constitutional Law, and a member of several other civic associations. A UN expert, he was also a member of the High Body for the Realization of the Objectives of the Revolution in Tunisia. The Ministry of Women apologized for not attending, but also sent its congratulations and wished the CIHRS the best for its new start in Tunisia.

During the celebration, special tribute was paid to Minister of Constitutional Bodies and Civil Society Kamal Jendoubi, the chair of the CIHRS board of directors.

CIHRS director Bahey eldin Hassan expressed his gratitude to all those who supported CIHRS in its long journey on the regional and international levels, and noted that this is an historic moment for the Arab region, with increased concern for the respect for human rights. It is no coincidence, Hassan added, that the collapsed states (Syria, Libya, and Iraq) in which terrorist chose to settle, were ruled by the worst of the dictatorships for more three decades.

[Founded as a regional organization in 1994 in Cairo, the CIHRS developed its perspective on change and its priorities and strategies based on its vision of the nature of the human rights problem in the Arab world. It began to expand with the goal of strengthening its capacities to defend human rights, establishing an office in Geneva to promote coordination and ties between rights organizations in the Arab world and the OHCHR and the UN Human Rights Council. In 2014, it opened a regional branch office in Tunis and appointed a permanent representative in Brussels; it intends to soon open a branch office in another country.]

CIHRS celebrates its 21st anniversary in Tunisia and honors chair Kamal Jendoubi » Press releases » News – StarAfrica.com – News – StarAfrica.com.

Whistle-blowers and HRDs serve democratic principles says U.N. expert

September 19, 2013

On 11  September, 2013 UPI in Geneva carried an interesting but surprisingly-little-noticed item under the title “U.N. expert says whistle-blowers serve democratic principles“:  Human rights defenders and whistle-blowers need protection in order to ensure democratic and international order, a rights envoy said from Geneva. Alfred de Zayas, U.N. special envoy in equitable order, told the U.N. Human Rights Council access to “truthful and reliable” information from diverse sources is essential for people to play an effective role in public affairs. German protesters gathered last weekend for an event dubbed “Freedom Not Fear.” Tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out in Berlin to rally against the U.S. National Security Agency and Britains signals intelligence program gathering of databases of peoples email, online chat and Internet browsing histories without prior court authorization. “I am dismayed that notwithstanding lip service to democracy, too many governments seem to forget that in a democracy, it is the people who are sovereign,” de Zayas said in his prepared remarks Wednesday. NSA contractor Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Moscow. He faces charges in the United States, including two espionage-related counts, for leaking information about a surveillance program dubbed Prism. De Zayas said human rights defenders and whistle-blowers deserve “specific protection” from prosecution. [They] have in some contexts been accused of being unpatriotic, whereas they perform, in reality, a democratic service to their countries and to the enjoyment of human rights of their compatriots,” he said.

via U.N. expert says whistle-blowers serve democratic principles – UPI.com.

As asked in another blog : Are whistle blowers heroes or villains? : “Private Chelsea nee Bradley Manning,  Julian Assange.  Edward Snowden.  They have all claimed that their actions are for the public good.  The Establishment says that they are all a risk to national security.  That brings up the thorny issue of Free speech v security. Were lives put at risk because of the leaks?  If so, is that a price worth paying?  Are they moral crusaders?  Or are they recklessly endangering national security? Should we even conflate whistle blowing with security?  Was national security ever really at risk?  Or is that a cop-out from our leaders because they are embarrassed about what is being leaked?  Then we have to ask the question – is there a difference between a corporate whistle-blower and one that works for the government?  If so, why?  Whistle blowers.  Good or Bad?  Heroes or Villains?”