Posts Tagged ‘Finland’

Human rights defenders at Gymnich’ meeting in Helsinki

August 30, 2019

Sometimes small announcement are the most interesting: Foreign Ministers from 28 EU countries continue their ‘Gymnich’ meeting in Helsinki today, 30 Augsut 2019. On the agenda they’ll be discussing the situation in the Middle East, hybrid threats, the Arctic and the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest. Over lunch ministers will get the chance to meet with international human rights defenders to hear their stories. …..

 

Morning headlines: Friday 30th August 2019

One journalist who did NOT get the Women of Courage Award (but almost)

March 12, 2019

First lady Melania Trump honors the International Women of Courage awardees during a ceremony at the State Department in Washington on March 29, 2017. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

A few days ago I referred to the International Women of Courage Awards [see; https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/03/11/international-women-of-courage-awards-2019-given-out-at-the-us-state-department/]. One name you will NOT see listed there is that of Jessikka Aro, a Finnish investigative journalist.   explain why in Foreign Policy of 7 March 2019.

Jessikka Aro was to receive a “Women of Courage” prize. Then officials read her Twitter feed.

“It created a shitstorm of getting her unceremoniously kicked off the list,” said one U.S. diplomatic source familiar with the internal deliberations. “I think it was absolutely the wrong decision on so many levels,” the source said. The decision “had nothing to do with her work.”

The State Department spokesperson said in an email that Aro was “incorrectly notified” that she had been chosen for the award and that it was a mistake that resulted from “a lack of coordination in communications with candidates and our embassies.” “We regret this error. We admire Ms. Aro’s achievements as a journalist, which were the basis of U.S. Embassy Helsinki’s nomination,” the spokesperson said.

Aro received a formal invitation to the award ceremony not from the embassy but from the State Department’s Office of the Chief of Protocol on Feb. 12.

There is no indication that the decision to revoke the award came from the secretary of state or the White House. Officials who spoke to FP have suggested the decision came from lower-level State Department officials wary of the optics of Pompeo granting an award to an outspoken critic of the Trump administration. The department spokesperson did not respond to questions on who made the decision or why.

To U.S. officials who spoke to FP, the incident underscores how skittish some officials—career and political alike—have become over government dealings with vocal critics of a notoriously thin-skinned president. ….In the minds of some diplomats, this has created an atmosphere where lower-level officials self-censor dealings with critics of the administration abroad, even without senior officials weighing in.

Aro said the decision to cancel her award and corresponding trip to the United States caught her completely by surprise. “[When] I was informed about the withdrawal out of the blue, I felt appalled and shocked,” Aro told FP. …

U.S. Cancels Journalist’s Award Over Her Criticism of Trump

KIOS Foundation in Finland publishes video interviews with four human rights defenders from Asia and Africa

January 19, 2017

KIOS is perhaps not the best-known human rights foundation in the world but that is surely mostly due to the fact that it operates from a small base: Finland. KIOS was founded by 11 Finnish human rights and development NGOs. The representatives of the founding NGOs form the Board of KIOS. In Finland, KIOS raises awareness on the significance of human rights and the work of human rights defenders in developing countries. It also advocates for the development of good practices in Finnish foreign and development policy in support ofHRDs. KIOS focuses its external support on 3 countries in East Africa (Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda) and 3 in South Asia (Nepal, Sri Lanka and to Tibetan civil society organizations in exile). Some long-term partner organizations of KIOS are also supported in Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia and Pakistan. Ulla Anttila is the Executive Director.

Ulla Anttila

On 17 December 2016 KIOS published four video links of interviews with human rights defenders from Asia and Africa (video links), available on You Tube:

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On 24 October there is a side event in NY on the implementation of human rights treaty body recommendations

October 18, 2016

The Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, Finland, and Switzerland to the United Nations, together with Amnesty International and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), are organizing a side event in the margins of the General Assembly’s 71st session in New York on 24 October 2016 on the topic of: Implementation of United Nations human rights treaty body recommendations.

The event will take place at 3pm in Conference Room 6 of United Nations HQ in New York.

Some of the question to be discussed are: How can implementation of human rights treaty bodies’ recommendations be strengthened? What progress has there been in the area of follow-up and implementation since the High Commissioner’s 2012 report on strengthening the United Nations human rights treaty body system and Resolution 68/268? What are the national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up (NMRF) and which models have been the most effective in different States?

The discussion will focus on tools to encourage engagement and compliance with human rights treaty body recommendations in order to improve the promotion and protection human rights for all, including the treaty body follow-up procedures, national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up, and the role of civil society. Speakers will include representatives of treaty bodies, OHCHR, civil society, and government.

For more information, please contact m.sinclair@ishr.ch.

Berta Cáceres death may lead to reconsidering financing of Agua Zarca dam

March 16, 2016

The killing of Honduran human rights defender Berta Cáceres [http://wp.me/pQKto-20p] has resonated widely in the media and may (finally) lead to some real action in the world where the dam is being financed. Peter Bosshard, Interim Executive Director, International Rivers, wrote under the heading “Agua Zarca: A Stain on the Dutch and Finnish Human Rights Record” (15 March 2016) that the Dutch government announced that it will send an ambassador to Honduras “to express concern over the killing of human rights activist Berta Cáceres” and presumably assess the state of the Agua Zarca Project. In response to International Rivers’ online action, FMO (the financial arm of development aid) said that it would decide about continued involvement in the dam project on the basis of this visit. Finn fund says that speculation about an exit from Agua Zarca is “at the moment premature,” but the financier would probably follow if FMO pulled out of the project. 

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Winners of 2013 United Nations human rights prizes announced today

December 5, 2013

On 5 December 2013 the six winners announced of the UN Human Rights Prize were announced: Biram Dah Abeid of Mauritania, a son of freed slaves who works to eradicate the heinous practice; Hiljmnijeta Apuk of Kosovo, a campaigner for the rights of people with disproportional restricted growth short stature; Liisa Kauppinen of Finland, President emeritus of the World Federation of the Deaf; Khadija Ryadi, Former President of the Morocco Association for Human Rights; Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice the Constitutional Court; and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for attending classes and is now a renowned education activist. The award ceremony will take place at UN Headquarters in New York on 10 December 2013, as part of the annual commemoration of Human Rights Day [The Prize, which is bestowed every five years, is an honorary award given to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights.]

via United Nations News Centre – Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai among winners of 2013 UN human rights prize.

Portrait of Stanislav Dmitrievsky prominent Russian human rights defender

January 22, 2013

In the framework of its Sponsorship project ‘Defend the defenders‘, OMCT released in January 2013 a portrait of Stanislav Dmitrievsky, prominent Russian human rights defender and Chairman of the Russian Chechen Friendship Society. Mr. Dmitrievsky, who is sponsored by the Swiss Clown Dimitri, is once again facing judicial harassment. As the court summons him for co-authoring the book “International Tribunal for Chechnya”, it is feared that Stanislav Dmitrievsky will have to face criminal charges if the publication is recognized as “extremist material”. Stanislav Dmitrievsky is sponsored by Swiss clown Dimitri in the framework of the OMCT Project Defend the defenders.

Stanislav is a Russian human rights activist, a writer and an editor. He has devoted his life to actively fight against injustice in Russia and North Caucasus. Former Editor-in-chief of the newspaper Pravozaschita (“Human Rights Defense”), he has then been involved in human rights non-profit organisations. He is also involved in the civil society movement against the reportedly unlawful de-listing and demolition of buildings of cultural significance in Russia. He his currently the chairman of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS), a Finland-based NGO.  The mandate of the RCFS is to monitor the human rights respect in North Caucasus and especially Chechnya. Regrettably, Mr. Dmitrievsky had to move the originally Russia-based RCFS headquarters to Finland when the Court of Justice of Nizhnii Novgorod shut down the NGO in 2006.

Mr. Dmitrievsky is also a consultant for the Nizhny Novgorod Foundation to Support Tolerance, directed by Ms. Oksana Chelysheva. This Foundation has taken over the work of the RCFS after its closure in Russia, and is now one of the three organisations composing the reconstituted RCFS in Finland. Their collaboration led to the publication of “International Tribunal for Chechnya”, the book currently subjected to investigation about its alleged “terrorist” content.