Posts Tagged ‘Geneva’

BIG question: what to do with long-term detention of Human Rights defenders?

May 21, 2022

Event on 1 June 2022, 12:00-14:00: “Don’t forget about us: Strategies for resisting long-term detention of Human Rights Defenders”. Location: Cassese Room,  Villa Moynier, 120B Rue de Lausanne, Geneva (and online)

Figure of a person in a prison hallway

Logo Ennals

In 2021, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders published a report on cases of long-term detention of activists, which were estimated to number hundreds or thousands worldwide. This report confirms the terrible treatment and conditions many defenders bear in prison. However, while an objective of long-term detention may be to discourage defenders, many cases result in perennial campaigns and increased publicity for the defenders themselves.

How can governments, civil society and international mechanisms work together to keep the pressure on long-term detention cases? What strategies have proven successful in improving respect for defenders’ rights and physical integrity while imprisoned?

This event is co-organized by Geneva Human Rights Platform and the Martin Ennals Awards, which has a long experience with its laureates being detained. This year, two of its three winners are in prison! See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/04/20/save-the-date-and-come-to-the-mea-ceremony-2022-or-watch-online/

Opening

  • Gloria Gaggioli, Director, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Moderation

  • Brian Dooley, Senior advisor on human rights, Human Rights First

Panelists

  • Maryam Al-Khawaja, Human Rights defender and daughter of Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja, detained in Bahrain since 2011
  • Quynh Vi Tran, Journalist and colleague of Pham Doan Trang, detained in Vietnam since 2020
  • Fr. Xavier Soreng SJ, Lecturer, Ranchi Social Sciences Institute, on behalf of Father Stan Swamy (1937-2021), India
  • Gerald Staberock, Secretary-General, World Organisation Against Torture
  • Tor Hodefield, Vuka! Coalition Coordinator, CIVICUS

Registration

This event will take place in a hybrid format:

  • Register here to attend the event at Villa Moynier (places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis) until 26 May 2022
  • Register here to join online via Zoom.

https://www.geneva-academy.ch/event/all-events/detail/336-don-t-forget-about-us-strategies-for-resisting-long-term-detention-of-human-rights-defenders

New “Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award” to Ukrainian and Hungarian press cartoonists

May 10, 2022

Geneva Solutions of 3 May 2022 reported on the first issue of the Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award. This is in fact a merger of two pre-existing awards for cartoonists [for more info, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/f60cb3d4-c79a-43aa-9b5c-351c56c02ae1]

The conflict in Ukraine with all these absurd symbols (Vladimir Kazanevsky for Nebelspalter)

Ukrainian Vladimir Kazanevsky and Hungarian Gabor Papai were announced as the winners of the Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award at a ceremony at the Maison de la Paix in Geneva and presented by the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation. Jury : Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch (president), Sami Kanaan, City of Geneva and cartoonists Ann Telnaes (USA), Kak (France) and Chappatte (Switzerland). The portraits below were done by True Heroes Films (THF)

Vladimir Kazanevsky

Vladimir Kazanevsky, Ukraine’s leading cartoonist, was working in his studio early in the morning of 24 February when he heard loud explosions near the airport in Kyiv. He and his wife fled to western Ukraine, along with a huge wave of families fleeing the bombings. From there they went to Presov, a town in Slovakia with a community of artists.

Deprived of his drawing materials, catalogues and books, which he had to leave behind in Kyiv, Kazanevsky continues to draw relentlessly: Putin in action, on a tank or on the bow of the Titanic. “Autocrats and dictators are afraid of our cartoons, and they are right, because our drawings are powerful weapons,” he says.

Fiercely determined to continue the fight against Russian aggression, the 71-year-old sees his work as an act of resistance. An act of defence of freedom of expression against war propaganda.

Gábor Pápai

For several years, Hungarian cartoonist Gàbor Pàpai and his newspaper Népszava – the only opposition daily still alive in Budapest – have been the subject of attacks and legal proceedings by the authorities – even though Hungary is part of the European Union.

This cartoon, “The Chronicle” by Gábor Pápai, published in Hungary’s daily newspaper Népszava on 28 April shows the Hungarian National Public Health Centre’s chief doctor looking at Jesus on the cross and suggesting that many people who had deceased from the coronavirus had already been likely to die because they had suffered from pre-existing conditions.

It was intended to ridicule Hungary’s chief health figure for having tried to minimise the number of deaths solely attributable to the coronavirus in Hungary and, by extension, to mock the government’s handling of the crisis.

“Its depiction and use of Jesus on a cross sparked an outcry from the representatives of the Christian Democrat Party, an ally of the ruling Fidesz, to the point that the Secretary of State for persecuted Christian communities, Tristan Azbej, accused Gábor Pápai of blasphemy and threatened to sue him or Népszava,” as Reporters Without Borders, who came to the defense of Papai, explains.

The Catholic religion, the fight against Covid or simply Hungarian history are all pretexts for prosecution in a country ranked 92nd in the world press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). This shameful ranking has been deteriorating ever since Viktor Orbán became Prime Minister, putting all independent media in great difficulty. Some, like Népszava, are directly threatened with extinction. Gàbor Pàpai, far from being intimidated, continues to critically observe and draw all political actors in Hungary.

Read more about the 2022 laureates

https://genevasolutions.news/global-news/ukrainian-and-hungarian-press-cartoonists-collect-award-in-geneva-view-a-gallery-of-their-wo

https://www.kofiannanfoundation.org/articles/world-press-freedom-day-2022/

Late alert: Panel on gender rights: 24 March

March 23, 2022

On Thursday 24 March 2022, from 1:30pm – 2:30pm (CET) will take place the panel “Fighting for equality: Working together to combat violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

Over the last two decades, UN human rights bodies and mechanisms have been at the forefront of promoting equality and fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender-diverse and intersex (LGBTI) people.

These contributions have led to considerable progress regarding decriminalisation of same-sex consensual acts and diverse gender identities, enactment of progressive laws and the promotion of international standards on the rights of LGBTI persons.

While these advances have been, and continue to be, integral in the promotion and protection of equal rights for LGBTI persons, the stories of those relentlessly fighting for that progress often remain untold. Indeed, everywhere around the world human rights defenders working on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) play a central role in the fight for equality for LGBTI persons.

This side event aims to shed light on the success stories of human rights defenders working to combat violence and discrimination based on SOGIE, bringing together defenders as well as two UN mandate holders that focus on human rights defenders and on SOGIE. The panel will reflect on opportunities and risks for LGBTI human rights defenders, nation-level developments towards equality for LGBTI persons, progress of the current UN standards on these issues, and what can be done to address challenges.
SPEAKERS: 

Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Independent Expert on violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

Other speakers will be confirmed soon

Welcoming and closing remarks by the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands and the Permanent Mission of Mexico

MODERATOR: Julia Ehrt, ILGA World’s Executive Director 

You are welcome to join this discussion, which will be held in English with simultaneous interpretation in Spanish. Click here to register to the event. 

https://mailchi.mp/ishr/749qlxejj6-33453?e=d1945ebb90

Winners of the 2022 Geneva international film festival

March 16, 2022
Women's rights, ecology and torture scoop top FIFDH 2022 awards

Over ten days, the 20th International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights brought together artists, activists, journalists, and the public in Geneva for film and debate. After two pandemic-enforced digital editions, this year was also a chance for the festival to finally get back to some form of normality by meeting in person and welcoming back live audiences. The Grand Prize for Fiction was awarded to two films – Freda, by Haitian director Gessica Généus, and Vera Dreams of the Sea by Kosovan filmmaker Kaltrina Krasniqi.

Freda” Devastated by earthquakes, Haiti is a country buried under corruption, violence and colonial legacy. Freda lives with her mother and sister in Port-au-Prince and, at the age of 20, she refuses to give up and wants to believe in the future. But how can she stay when everything compels her to leave? Spotted in 2017 with The Sun Will Rise, Gessica Généus directs her debut feature film, shot in Creole and carried by extraordinary actresses. She tells the story of her country with love, sings its courage and celebrates the deep joy that persists despite the heartbreaking reality.

Vera Dreams of the Seatells the tale of a widow, forced to take on a ruthless rural patriarchy to claim an inheritance, for her, and her daughter and granddaughter. The film also won the Festival’s Youth Prize, an award Krasniqi told Euronews has particular significance. “You know, when you make a movie you think about audiences, of course, and then you think that people of a certain generation who resonate with issues but then getting a prize from youth meant quite a lot to me because that means the story resonates with other generations as well.”

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/02/15/fifdh-dedicates-its-20th-edition-to-pham-doan-trang-and-ida-leblanc/

White Torture directed by Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi won the festival’s Grand Reportages category. It focuses on psychological torture and its destructive effect on victims. Mohammadi is currently imprisoned in Iran. Her friend, Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, is the film’s ambassador. Sitting down with Euronews, she said: “In my opinion, this film represents the state’s repression of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners in Iran. But at the same time, it represents resistance, because the repression continues, but the resistance of the people also continues.

https://fifdh.org/en/2022/film/157-freda

https://www.euronews.com/culture/2022/03/15/women-s-rights-ecology-and-torture-scoop-top-fifdh-2022-awards

see also: https://medyanews.net/two-awards-for-the-movie-about-yazidi-genocide-angels-of-sinjar-at-the-20th-genevas-international-film-festival/

Women human rights defenders in conflict and post-conflict situations; side event 8 March

March 2, 2022

Women human rights defenders are crucial agents and leaders of change. However, due to their gender, they face particular obstacles and security risks. What are these gendered obstacles and risks? How can women human rights defenders best be supported and protected by States and other actors?
ISHR, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Permanent Mission of Norway invite you to join a virtual event on the side of the Human Rights Council’s 49th session: 
Supporting women human rights defenders in conflict and post-conflict situations” takes place on Tuesday 8 March 2022 11:30am – 12:30pm (CET)
See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/08/03/roadmap-to-women-peace-and-security-wps-agenda-2020/

Opening statement:  Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Finland

Panellists: 

Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders

Ilwad Elman, Director of Program & Development, Elman Peace & Human Rights Centre [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/09/17/fartuun-adan-and-ilwad-elman-from-somalia-named-2020-aurora-prize-winners/]

Horia Mosadiq, Human rights activist and Executive Director, Conflict Analysis Network (CAN)

Pooja Patel, Programme Director, International Service for Human Rights

Moderation:  Heidi Hautala, Vice-President, Member of Parliament, European Parliament.

Download the flyer here and click here to join the event.

More about the contributions of women human rights defenders to peace and security: ISHR report.

See also: https://www.trueheroesfilms.com/themes/

https://mailchi.mp/ishr/749qlxejj6-33413?e=d1945ebb90

FIFDH dedicates its 20th edition to Pham Doan Trang and Ida Leblanc

February 15, 2022

The Geneva Human Rights Film Festival of 2020 (FIFDH – The Festival) dedicates its 20th edition to human rights defenders Pham Doan Trang and Ida Leblanc

Journalist and blogger Pham Doan Trang has been in detention since October 2020 and was recently sentenced to 9 years in prison for “propaganda against the state”. The 43-year-old was accused by the Hanoi regime of “defaming the Vietnamese government and inventing fake news“. In one of the world’s most repressive countries towards civil society, where freedom of the press is non-existent, Pham Doan Trang – RSF 2019 Prize – has founded numerous independent media and publishing houses – including Nha Xuat Ban Tu Do or Law Magazine – and the NGO Green Trees, making her the target of a government that does not tolerate dissent. Despite intimidation, torture and repeated arrests, Pham Doan Trang is fighting to end systematic abuse of both human rights and freedom of the press in Vietnam. She won several awards including recently the Martin Ennals Award 2022. See: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/fe8bf320-1d78-11e8-aacf-35c4dd34b7ba

Trinidad and Tobago is home to more than 10,000 domestic workers, most of them without any social protection. Ida Leblanc fights daily for them to obtain rights similar to those of all workers, notably as General Secretary of the National Union of Domestic Employees (NUDE), which she founded. In 2011, the International Labour Organisation adopted the Convention on Domestic Workers thanks to Ida Leblanc’s active campaigning. Though the government of Trinidad and Tobago has never implemented the Convention, tireless Ida Leblanc remains undeterred.

She successfully campaigned for the decriminalisation of the Minimum Wage Act, giving unions the right to hear cases of non-compliance with the Act in the Labour Court. She has spearheaded many victories on behalf of low-income workers in cases of unfair dismissal, lay-offs and breaches of the Maternity Protection and Minimum Wage Acts.

She is the winner of this year’s Martine Anstett 2022 Prize, [see https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/696be661-30ac-4c6a-84d1-989aab323b65]

https://fifdh.org/en/the-festival/news/article/the-fifdh-dedicates-its-20th-edition-to-pham-doan-trang-and-ida-leblanc

For this year’s programme see: https://genevasolutions.news/peace-humanitarian/geneva-s-human-rights-film-festival-poised-for-emotional-return-to-the-big-screen
 

Martin Ennals Foundation seeking a part-time Communications Officer

February 14, 2022

On 8 February 2022, the Martin Ennals Foundation published an opening for a communication officer.

The Martin Ennals Foundation is a small organization run by a highly motivated staff, Board and Jury. At different points in the year, its work will be fast-paced, intense and challenging. The Communications Officer and Programme Officer work closely together. An entry-level position to support both communications and programmatic activities will be opened in 2022. Several interns complete the team. The Communications Officer reports to the Director of the Foundation. The Communications Officer will also have frequent contact with members of the Board, with colleagues of the Jury organisations, and with MEA winners themselves. The Communications Officer will oversee service providers to the Foundation.

JOB DESCRIPTION: The Communications Officer is responsible for formulating and leading the MEF communications strategy in support of the organisation’s mission, which includes corporate communication elements and the delivery of a high-quality outreach campaign for the annual MEA ceremony. The Communications Officer provide supervision to the Programs and Communications Associate and interns. The Communications Officer’s tasks include:

  • Designing and delivering MEA’s corporate communications, regularly adapting social media activity, our website and newsletter to Foundation activities and current events.
  • Designing and delivering an outreach strategy for the annual MEA ceremony:
    • Overseeing the production of bespoke films about MEA winners
    • Collaborating with the City of Geneva in the production of marketing material for the MEA campaign (posters, flags, banners, etc.
    • Overseeing the production and dissemination of digital social media assets (both visual and editorial content)
    • Organizing a press conference to announce the winners of the Award
    • Producing and disseminating press material and other written and audio-visual products on our website and social media channels
  • Enhancing the impact of MEF’s advocacy activities with targeted communications strategies.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the performance of the Foundation’s communication strategy and its contributions to our annual objectives.

Requirements:

  • 7-10 years of relevant work experience in a communication function;
  • Familiarity with traditional media, media monitoring and media relations;
  • Strong background in digital communications (professional knowledge with WordPress, Mailchimp, Hootsuite, Canva, Tweedeck and Google analytics an asset);
  • Fluency or professional proficiency in both English and French;
  • A degree or work experience in journalism, communications, political science, international relations, law, or relevant subject;
  • Ability to work across organizations and collaborate easily with colleagues;
  • Ability to multi-task and coordinate the delivery of tasks by junior colleagues, service providers, or peers;
  • Ability to cope with pressure and challenging work periods. Self-starters, entrepreneurs, determined and creative types are welcome to apply.

Conditions of the position

  • Indefinite term contract at 40%
  • A competitive salary
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • 25 days’ vacation pro-rata
  • Preferred start date: mid-March

To apply, please send your CV, a cover letter, and an example of your work to info@martinennalsaward.org by end of day, Sunday March 6th 2022.

Isabelle Gattiker to leave Geneva Human Rights Film Festival

January 27, 2022
©Miguel Bueno / FIFDH

The soon coming 20th edition of the FIFDH will be the last one of General and Artistic Director, Isabelle Gattiker. After eight years at the head of the Festival she will leave her position at the end of April, to take up her new responsibilities as General Director of the Cantonal Office for Culture and Sport (OCCS) on 1 May 2022.
 

« I am leaving to take up an exciting professional challenge, but these years with the FIFDH will always hold a special place in my heart. It is an honour to have contributed to such an important Festival, and I did so with tremendous enthusiasm and passion. The Festival is in good hands, and I would like to thank the Board, my co-directors, our partners and the outstanding teams who have accompanied me every day along the way and made this adventure possible. The future of this unique event in the world can only be exceptional.» – Isabelle Gattiker


Isabelle Gattiker joined the FIFDH in 2013 as deputy director before taking over as director in 2015. Under her leadership, the Festival has grown considerably and developed a vast network of 170 partners in Switzerland and abroad. In eight years, the FIFDH has seen its attendance double; it has organised events in 85 venues in the Geneva region and has toured the world in 60 countries.


Isabelle Gattiker and the Festival team are currently working on the 20th edition of the FIFDH, which will take place from 4 to 13 March 2022, an anniversary edition that will celebrate the commitment of human rights activists and filmmakers. The full programme will be revealed on 15 February, 2022.

«We are proud and grateful for the tremendous work accomplished by Isabelle Gattiker as head of the Festival team. She was able to develop the Festival not only in size and presence but also in depth and legitimacy, transforming it into an international platform for the defence of human rights, yet firmly rooted in Geneva. We regret her departure but look forward to working with her in the interest of Geneva’s culture and its influence.» – Bruno Giussani, President of the FIFDH Foundation Board.

The FIFDH unveils the poster for its 20th edition!

https://fifdh.org/en/the-festival/news/article/isabelle-gattiker-directrice-generale-quittera-le-fifdh-apres-la-20e-edition

Breaking News: 3 laureates of the Martin Ennals Award 2022 announced today

January 19, 2022

This morning, 19 January 2022, at a virtual press conference in Geneva three driving forces of the human rights movement were announced as the Laureates of the 2022 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. For more on the Martin Ennals Award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/043F9D13-640A-412C-90E8-99952CA56DCE

Pham Doan Trang is a leading journalist, editor and democracy advocate in Vietnam, where
the Communist Party has left little room for opposition voices to flourish. She directed several
independent media outlets to raise awareness amongst Vietnam’s citizens of their fundamental
rights galvanising many other journalists and human rights defenders to speak up. She was one
of the most hunted activists in her country before being arrested in October 2020. On 14
December 2021, Pham Doan Trang was sentenced to nine years in prison for “conducting
propaganda against the state”. There are growing concerns about her health. [see also: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/fe8bf320-1d78-11e8-aacf-35c4dd34b7ba]

Dr. Daouda Diallo is a trained pharmacist-turned-human rights activist in Burkina Faso. The
founder of the civil society coalition CISC, he dedicatedly documents human rights violations in
a country rocked by violent crossfires between government forces, local paramilitary groups
and Islamist factions. He carries the torch for justice and accountability to victims of the violence
and their families. Dr. Diallo’s message of unity amongst different ethnic groups and faiths.

Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja is a charismatic architect of Bahrain’s human rights movement and
a leader of the 2011 protests calling for democracy and greater freedom in the Gulf region. Al-
Khawaja is not only an activist, but also a social entrepreneur who founded some of the first
human rights research and defence organizations in the region, which still exist today. He
inspires future generations in Bahrain to continue to fight despite his now decade-long
imprisonment. See also: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/4d45e316-c636-4d02-852d-7bfc2b08b78d

You can relive the conference here: https://youtu.be/UgvIli5X-T8

It was also announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Award Ceremony is postponed until 2 June 2022. “As a city of human rights, Geneva is committed to supporting international cooperation
on critical issues. Throughout the pandemic, many organizations have persisted in their human rights
missions, demonstrating tremendous resilience. In this spirit, we are proud to co-organise another
edition of the Martin Ennals Award
”, said Member of the City Executive Alfonso Gomez. (https://www.martinennalsaward.org/committed-to-a-better-world/)

AS Chair of the Martin Ennals Award Jury, I mentioned that the Jury had selected “three galvanizers of the human rights movement and that courage is the connecting dot between them ”.

https://www.martinennalsaward.org/and-the-martin-ennals-laureates-2022-are/

Venerable Luon Sovath gives Master class on 23 November in Geneva

November 8, 2021

As part of the Human Rights Week at the University of Geneva, the Venerable Luon Sovath, the 2012 Martin Ennals Award winner, gives a master class on November 23, 2021, from 12:30 – 14:00. [see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/3F3F580C-3E8F-01C3-92CC-E6B02940BCD4]

Venerable Sovath is a Buddhist monk and human rights activist from Siem Reap, Cambodia. In March 2009 he witnessed the forced eviction of his family and fellow villagers from their homes, without reason and in most cases without compensation. This unfortunate event pushed him towards human rights activism.

Venerable Sovath was compelled to flee his native Cambodia in May of 2020, after fake videos and accusations appearing on Facebook served as the bases for a decision to ‘de-frock’ him of his monk’s robes. In retaliation for his advocacy against land grabbing and in favour of human rights, Venerable Sovath and his loved ones have suffered years of threats and reprisals by the authorities of Cambodia. Finally, the prospect of losing his religious freedom convinced Venerable Sovath that his position in Cambodia was untenable and he sought a temporary safe haven in Switzerland.

Because the fake evidence used against Venerable Sovath circulated on Facebook, the case also has critical lessons for the role of social media in upholding human rights. During his segment, he will discuss the story of how he became a human rights activist, and how social media can be a double-edged sword in the fight for human rights; as it gives visibility to the defenders but also puts them at risk. He will focus on social media as a tool of liberation and repression; and also discuss how a lack of accountability by these social media companies can play a role in the repression of human rights defenders. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/11/02/bbc-podcast-on-the-framing-of-video-monk-luon-sovath/

This master class is hosted by the Martin Ennals Foundation and the Geneva Center for Business and Human Rights.

Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Time: 12:30 – 14:00
Location: UniMail, MS 150

Registration for this master class will open on November 11 with limited places available. COVID certificate is required.

Venerable Luon Sovath with a camera in his hands

https://gcbhr.org/insights/2021/11/master-class