Posts Tagged ‘HRDs’

Development of Amnesty’s Panic Button App

September 11, 2013

Having last week referred to 3 different (and competing?) techno initiatives to increase the security of HRDs, i would be amiss not to note the post of 11 september  2013 by Tanya O’Caroll on the AI blog concerning  the development of the Panic button. Over the next couple of months, she will be keeping you posted about the Panic Button. If you want to join the community of people working on Panic Button, please leave a comment on the site mentioned below or email

via Inside the development of Amnesty’s new Panic Button App | Amnestys global human rights blog.


Ukrainian Human Rights Defender Dmytro Groisman dies

August 7, 2013

This blog tends to mention HRDs who have died mostly in the context of an attack on them. But sometimes it is important to remember also those who passed away from natural causes and honor their legacy. Dmytro Groisman, Read the rest of this entry »

National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders in Uganda launched

June 14, 2013

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project announced the launch of the new Ugandan National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders on Tuesday 11 June 2013. Six leading human rights organisations (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Human Rights Network Uganda, Human Rights Centre Uganda, Avocats Sans Frontiers, NGO Forum and Foundation for Human Rights Initiative)  took the initiative to bring human rights defenders HRDs in Uganda together under one national coalition to enhance their protection and co-ordination. A 2012 report by Human Rights Centre Uganda, “The Quest for an enabling working environment for human rights defenders in Uganda” prepared the ground. 

via Kampala: Launch of a National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders – East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project.


NEPAL: Asian Legal Resource Centre addresses plight of human rights defenders

May 24, 2013

On 23 May 2013, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) submitted a detailed statement to the UN concerning the increased pressure on HRDs in Nepal. Here are some highlights:

1.      The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes to highlight the continuing need for closer monitoring by the Human Rights Council and the international community of the renewed threats and attacks that human rights defenders working in Nepal have had to face since the beginning of the year. Worries about potential reprisals from the former belligerents have arisen following progress in the investigation and prosecution of cases of human rights violations committed during the conflict. Read the rest of this entry »

Digital security first-aid kit for human rights defenders launched by APC

January 31, 2013

On 29 January 2013 the Association for Progressive Communications(APC) released its new resource “Digital security first-aid kit for human rights defenders.”

It is an interactive website publication available online at

In the face of increased human rights surveillance of ever-growing
online traffic and the multiplication of commercial interest in user
data, APC’s Connect Your Rights! campaign is today putting out tips and
tricks for human rights defenders to circumvent threats to their privacy
and their information.
The kit is meant to help people working to defend human rights to act
quickly to straighten-out situations in which their personal data is
compromised or in which they suspect they have fallen victim to online
wiretapping. Relying on eight different scenarios, information is
presented to users in-need using an accessible format. The digital
security first-aid kit advises on tactics such as how to access blocked
websites and how to encrypt electronic mail.
The Digital security first-aid kit is a living project – New topic areas
will be added to the kit in future.humanrightslogo_Goodies_14_LogoVorlagenWe want to be sure that this toolkit will actually help human rights
activists wherever needed,” Mallory Knodel of APC says. “We are working
through our network of local technology groups in more than 40 countries
to achieve this”.

Connect Your Rights! – an awareness-building and advocacy campaign aimed
at framing internet rights as human rights – has produced issue papers,
infographics and many articles about internet rights violations. It monitors internet rights via its online platform. Please visit

*Digital security First Aid Kit* <>
*Connect Your Rights!* <>

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international
network and non-profit organisation founded in 1990: <>

New blueprint for law on protection of HRDs in the Philippines

December 13, 2012

Two lawmakers are pushing for a law (House Bill 5379), ‘the Human Rights Defenders Act’, which aims to guarantee the rights of human rights defenders. The provisions are:

1 Right to promote and protect human rights

2 Right to information about human rights

3 Right to develop and advocate human rights ideas

4 Right to participate in public affairs

5 Right to access to human rights violations victims and, if necessary, provide legal assistance or facilitate the provision of the same

6 Right to unhindered access to communication with human rights bodies.

7 Right to refuse to violate human rights

8 Right to participate in activities against human rights violations

9 Right to solicit, receive and utilize resources

10 Right to establish a sanctuary to human rights victims

11 Right to file an action involving human rights violations – human rights organizations as complainants and, finally

12 Right to access documents of government units and personnel, paramilitary units and personnel, and military affiliate and government assets.

While some of the language is specifically cut towards the situation in the Philippines, the list is an interesting blueprint for other situations.

This proposal comes in the context of a recent (preliminary) report by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders which concluded: “There is compelling evidence that human rights defenders, in particular those advocating for land and environmental rights, are under serious threat, are constantly vilified, intimidated and ‘terrorized.”

via Passing of law protecting rights defenders urged – Bulatlat.

Are Political Islamists in the UAE Human Rights Defenders?

October 26, 2012
An Arab blogger, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, posted on 25 October a relevant article in AL-Monitor. It poses the always tricky question of the ‘definition’ of a Human Rights Defender, but even more the valid question of human rights policy. Why would the international community put priority or energy into defending those whose human rights credentials are below par? Not speaking Arabic myself, I cannot refute the many examples given by the author. Anybody who can is welcome to enlighten us. In the meantime it is not more than fair to put on record the detailed accusations in the long article, including writings and tweets by Hassan Al Diqqi. Why the author does not give similar examples from other islamists is a good question.  Also there is the weakness that the article does not give examples of those activists in the UAE that the author would consider real human Rights defenders, which makes the article look like a apology for the UAE’s govenrment. I just have to mention the cases of  Ahmed Mansoor, blogger and member of  ANHRI’s (Arab Network for Human Rights Information); Nasser bin Ghaith, an economist, university lecturer and advocate of political reform; and three online activists Fahad Salim Dalk, Ahmed Abdul Khaleq and Hassan Ali al-Khamis, which featured in my blog on 18 July. 

The article itself has some strong language:

For almost two years, the UAE’s political Islamists have been referred to in the West as human rights activists. No doubt, they are indeed activists with an agenda but there is also no doubt that they are not our version of Nelson Mandela, nor is their vision for the country that of the Magna Carta. I have been following their rhetoric — in Arabic — over the past few months on social media with great concern. I have found it to be xenophobic; anti-Semitic; sectarian; exclusionary; racist toward Asians, Africans and other Arabs and overall repugnant.


Nothing exposes the ignorance of non-Arabic-speaking writers than when they comment on the current events in the UAE without taking the time to read what is written. Referring to the political Islamists as “human rights defenders” is an insult to human rights activists all over the world and the equivalent of calling Greece’s Golden Dawn, Holland’s Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders or Hungary’s Jobbik Party as human rights platforms. If outsiders want to champion the UAE’s political Islamists, they should at the very least refer to them as they truly are: right-wing, exclusionary political movements. Vote for Geert Wilders if you like, just don’t call him a human rights defender.

see full piece: UAE Political Islamists Are Not Human Rights Defenders – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East.


Ceremony of the Martin Ennals Award to follow on the internet (2 October, 18h00)

September 27, 2012

Every day all over the world, unsung heroes are risking their lives to call attention to injustice and to fight for human rights. On Tuesday October 2nd, one of them will honored with the Martin Ennals Award. The Martin Ennals Award  is chosen by a Jury of ten leading Human Rights organizations including: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First and others (see Thus, this prize represents the expression of the whole Human Rights movement.

The winner will be selected from three nominees, who personalize wider issues in their home countries and allow these issues to be represented through individual cases:

  1. Venerable Sovath Luon: sometimes referred to as the “Multimedia Monk”. He challenges the widespread eviction of poor people from land they have long held but without title, often due to the destruction of records during the Khmer Rouge period.
  2. Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian Lawyer serving a 6 year prison sentence in Iran for “… the offences of “acting against the national security”, “propaganda against the regime” and “membership of Human Rights Defenders Centre” – an organisation presided over by the Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.
  3. Bahrain Center for Human Rights: Currently high on the world media agenda. Two of the main founders: Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Nabeel Rajab are serving jail sentences. Zainab al-Khawaja was arrested for demonstrating against the government, while other members are regularly arrested and abused.

The ceremony is hosted by the City of Geneva in Victoria Hall. Short films commissioned by the Martin Ennals Foundation. Those who cannot attend in person may want to follow it on the internet ( starting at 18h00 Geneva time.

Iran should Immediately release imprisoned Human Rights Defenders

June 19, 2012

Several human rights organizations, including AI, called on Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Abdolfattaf Soltani, a prominent lawyer and founding member of the Center for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), an organization co-founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi

Abdolfattah Soltani was originally sentenced by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court to 18 years’ imprisonment to be served in the remote city of Borazjan, some 620 miles south-west of Tehran, which will make it hard for his family to visit him. Soltani was also banned from practicing law for 20 years.

His lawyer and family were informed of the initial sentence March 4. On June 4, his family was informed that Branch 54 of the Appeal Court of Tehran had reduced his sentence to 13 years’ imprisonment and overturned the ban on practicing law for 20 years; the court confirmed that his imprisonment sentence is to be served in the city of Borazjan.

Arrested on September 10, 2011 on charges including “spreading propaganda against the system,” “setting up an illegal opposition group [the CHRD],” and “gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security,” Soltani also faced charges of “accepting an illegal prize and illegal earnings” relating to his acceptance of the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award in 2009.

On at least two occasions since his imprisonment, Soltani was pressured to “confess” on camera, including “confessing” that the center had received funding from foreign sources to encourage a “soft revolution” in Iran – which Soltani denies.

Since the CHRD was forcibly closed in December 2008, Iranian authorities carried out a campaign of prosecution and harsh sentencing against anyone with actual or perceived links to the center. Its members have continued to carry out their work in support of human rights but have faced repeated harassment, intimidation, arrest and imprisonment. Several are currently serving prison sentences in Tehran’s Evin Prison, including Narges Mohammadi  (six-year sentence),  Mohammad Seyfzadeh (a two-year prison sentence), Mohammad Ali Dadkhah (nine years’ imprisonment – currently at liberty, though he may be called to serve his sentence at any time) and MEA 2012 nominee Nasrin Sotoudeh (6-year jail term).

Iran: Immediately Release Imprisoned Human Rights Defenders | Amnesty International USA.

HRD Nasrin Sotoudeh Denied Furlough for Iranian New Year

April 7, 2012

This piece by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran speaks for itself. The courageous husband also deserve a lot of praise:

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran – Nasrin Sotoudeh Denied Furlough, Telephone Contact.