Posts Tagged ‘Final Nominee MEA 2015’

Ongoing harassment of Odhikar and Adilur in Bangladesh

June 1, 2016

 

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedreports that on 25 May 2016, the Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh (ACC) questioned human rights defender Mr Adilur Rahman Khan over an allegation of involvement of the human rights organisation Odhikar in money laundering. Similarly the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the OMCT and FIDH called on 26 May for urgent intervention to step up campaigns in his support.

Adilur Rahman Khan [https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/adilur-rahman-khan]  is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, and founder and Secretary of Odhikar. The human rights organisation was established in 1994 with the aim to advance the civil, political, social and economic rights of the citizens of Bangladesh, and to create a wider monitoring and awareness-raising system on the abuse of these rights. Odhikar also carries out advocacy to address the current human rights situation in the country, provides trainings for human rights defenders and conducts fact-finding missions in rural areas of Bangladesh. Adilur was a Final Nominee for the MEA in 2015.

As the links below show it is clearly a case of administrative and judicial harassment against the human rights organisation Odhikar and its Secretary in a further attempt to sanction and silence their human rights activities.

[On 25 May 2016, the ACC’s Deputy Director Mr Jalal Uddin Ahmed questioned Adilur Rahman Khan over Odhikar’s alleged involvement in money laundering as a part of an investigation opened in 2013. The Deputy Director informed the human rights defender that the inquiry into the allegation related to the the sum of € 97 000 that the ACC supposed had been deposited to the Standard Chartered Bank account of Odhikar, as part of money laundering activities. Adilur Rahman Khan denied all accusations made against Odhikar. He explained that the sum of €97 501,07  available on the organisation’s bank account was part of a contribution made by the European Union (EU) to help Odhikar implement a three-year project titled ‘Education on the Convention against Torture (CAT) and Official Protocol to the CAT Awareness Program in Bangladesh’, from 2012 to 2014.]
BANGLADESH: Families demand return of their disappeared dear-ones within the month of Ramadan

Also on 27 May the Asian Human Rights Commission published a press release about the members of families of 19 disappeared victims who once again took to the street 26 May 2016. They formed a “human chain” in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka to demand the return of their loved ones within the month of Ramadan. Prominent human rights defenders, members of the civil society, and academic scholars joined the families to express solidarity.

 

 

 

 

http://odhikar.org/human-rights-monitoring-report-may-2016/

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/bangladesh/2016/05/d23782/

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/press-releases/AHRC-PRL-013-2016

for other posts on Odhikar see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/odhikar/

The three human rights defenders in the MEA ceremony tonight

October 6, 2015

This one minute trailer by THF is a good introduction to tonight’s MEA ceremony. Starts shortly after 18h00 Geneva time and can be followed on www.martinennalsaward.org.

Fly Emirates? If the Emir lets you!

September 15, 2015

The Emirates proudly sponsor major clubs such as AC Milan, Real Madrid, Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal, but when it comes to flying out of the country there is a problem for those who do not toe the line. A case in point is Ahmed Mansoor, one of 3 finalist for the 2015 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.

Today – 15 September 2015 – the 10 international NGOs on the Jury of the MEA (see list below) came out with an exceptional joint statement calling on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities to lift the travel ban imposed on Ahmed Mansoor and to issue him a passport before the ceremony on 6 October in Geneva (in which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights participates).

Widely respected as one of the few voices within the UAE to provide a credible independent assessment of human rights developments, Ahmed Mansoor regularly raises concerns regarding arbitrary detention, torture or degrading treatment, and failure to meet international standards of fair trial. He also draws attention to other human rights abuses, including against migrant workers. As a result, Ahmed Mansoor has faced repeated intimidation, harassment, and death threats from the UAE authorities or their supporters, including arrest and imprisonment in 2011 following an unfair trial. He and four other activists who called for democratic rights in the UAE were jailed in 2011 on the charge of “insulting officials”. Although pardoned and released later that year, Ahmed Mansoor has been banned from travel and had his passport confiscated.

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

The Martin Ennals Award Jury today said: “Ahmed Mansoor’s absence at the ceremony would mark a very disappointing position for the UAE, which is a country that prides itself as one of the hubs of international business and tourism in the Middle East, as well a safe haven in the region. As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, which is running for a second term, we expect the UAE authorities to honour their obligations to uphold human rights and protect human rights defenders. The UAE government must match its rhetoric on the international stage with meaningful actions at home, starting with immediately lifting the travel ban on Ahmed Mansoor, to returning and renewing his passport, and allowing him to travel to Geneva for the ceremony.

see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/the-emirates-not-a-paradise-for-human-rights-defenders/

 

 Jury:
–    Amnesty International,
–    Human Rights Watch,
–    Human Rights First,
–    Int’l Federation for Human Rights – (FIDH)
–    World Organisation Against Torture – (OMCT)
–    Front Line Defenders,
–    International Commission of Jurists,
–    EWDE Germany,
–    International Service for Human Rights,
–    HURIDOCS.

for the full text of the statement see: www.martinennalsaward.org or those of the NGOs on the Jury.

Martin Ennals 2015 ceremony will be held on 6 October in Geneva

June 22, 2015

MEA 2015 nominees: Robert Aung, Ahmed Mansoor, Asmaou Diallo

MEA 2015 nominees: Robert Aung, Ahmed Mansoor, Asmaou Diallo

A very early “save the date’ announcement: those who need to travel from far away may want to note that the 2015 Martin Ennals Award Ceremony will take place on 6 October, at 18h30 at Uni-Dufour, Geneva. It is the event that opens Human Rights Week hosted by the University of Geneva from 6 – 9 October.


The laureate will be selected from among the three 2015 finalists, shown in the picture above: Read the rest of this entry »

The Emirates: not a Paradise for Human Rights Defenders

April 29, 2015

y, Director of the Human Rights Defenders Program at Human Rights First, wrote a good peace in the Huffington Post about the Emirates which he recently visited : “Trouble in Paradise: How U.S. Ally UAE Crushes Dissent” (28 April 2015). Here some excerpts:
PRINCE SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN
Backed by an impressively lavish lobbying and PR machine — more expensive than any other middle eastern country — the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is eager to show that it’s a safe and stable business environment, and a dependable U.S. military ally….Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Defense Secretary Carter in Washington last Monday to discuss, according to him, “new steps to enhance the already deep security between the U.S. and the UAE.”

Sheikh Mohammed ..is also head of the feared state security system and in recent months, the attacks on dissidents have intensified. In November 2014 the UAE cabinet announced a list of 83 “terrorist organizations.” (these included two American NGOs: the Council on Islamic-American Relations and the Muslim American Society.}

Previously tolerated local civil society organizations have been disbanded, including the Association of Teachers and the Association of Jurists, whose former head, Dr. Mohammed al Roken, is now in prison after being convicted in a mass unfair trial in 2013. Only a tiny handful of dissidents are currently in the country and out of jail including Ahmed Mansoor, just announced as a Final Nominee for the Martin Ennals Human Rights Defender Award 2015. Nearly all peaceful dissent in the UAE is silenced, both on and offline. Abuse of migrant workers’ rights persists, and no labor union is allowed to exist to protect them.

Meeting me in secret this week in the UAE, human rights activists told me there is now a zero tolerance policy for peaceful criticism of the Emirati regime. “It’s got so much worse in the last few years,” said one. “Ten years ago arrests without warrants or disappearances happened but they were rare. Now they’re common.” Even relatives of political prisoners have been targeted in recent months, some hit with arbitrary travel bans that prevent them from leaving the country.

They blame Sheikh Mohammed’s state security for tampering with official government files holding their ID and other information. They said that dates of birth have been changed so that adults are officially registered as children, or other details modified, making it impossible for them to get drivers licenses and other essential documents. This administrative harassment has sent people into an endless bureaucratic loop, preventing them from getting or renewing passports, applying for school, opening bank accounts, and generally operating normal lives. The denial of a security clearance amounts to a denial of a job. Many activists are unable to support themselves financially, some are sleeping rough.

It’s a soft repression but very effective,” one activist told me. “State security basically runs the country, no matter who the official government is. It’s unaccountable, omnipotent, and scares everyone.

Three sisters who were summoned to a police station in Abu Dhabi in mid-February have not been heard from since. The three women are sisters of Issa Khalifa al-Suwaidi, a political prisoner who is serving 10 years in jail. …Crushing dissent in the UAE is typically done in the name of anti-terrorism.

When they meet next month, President Obama should look beyond UAE’s fancy PR campaign and ask Sheikh Mohammed why peaceful critics are in jail, why their lawyers are intimidated from representing them and their witnesses harassed, and why the UAE thinks the best way to fight terrorism is with repression.

Trouble in Paradise: How U.S. Ally UAE Crushes Dissent | Brian Dooley.

Student human rights defenders under pressure in Myanmar/Burma

April 27, 2015

Since November 2014, student organizations including the All Burma Federation of Student Union (ABFSU) have been protesting against the National Education Bill, which student activists claim restricts academic freedom. Enacted by Parliament on 30 September 2014, the National Education Law was intended to reform the country’s education system, but the ABFSU claim the government did not seek adequate student input in its formation. The new restrictions outlaw independent student and teacher unions, and erase ethnic languages, cultures and literatures from university syllabi.

Students opposed to the National Education Law staged a peaceful protest in Letpadan on 10 March 2015. Police responded violently to the movement. They arrested approximately 126 students, including student leaders Po Po, Nanda Sitt Aung and Phyo Phyo Aung. Three others, Myat Thu Aung, Kyaw Ko Ko (the Chairman) and Ye Yint Kyaw (spokesperson), managed to escape in March, but today they face criminal charges of unlawful assembly, rioting, incitement, and causing harm to a public servant. The charges carry penalties of up to three years in prison. Robert San Aung, who leads the Myanmar Lawyers’ Network team and is one the 3 Final Nominees of the MEA this year, said he believes the Court would not begin hearing the charges against those students currently detained, until police had apprehended those still in hiding.

The ABFSU is a student union with a long tradition and as far back as 2001 it won the Norwegian Student Peace Prize.

Myanmar/Burma – Student human rights defenders Myat Thu Aung, Kyaw Ko Ko and Ye Yint Kyaw facing charges | Front Line Defenders.