Posts Tagged ‘Human right’

Filippines HRD wins Emilio Mignone award for work against enforced disappearances

December 23, 2013

(Mary Aileen Bacalso receiving the Award in Argentina from foreign Minister Hector Timerman)

Human rights defender Mary Aileen Bacalso from the Philippines received the Emilio F. Mignone International Human Rights Award in Argentina Tuesday last week for her advocacy work in her capacity as the secretary-general of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD). Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman presided over the ceremony, which was conducted at the Argentine Foreign Ministry. It was attended also by representatives from Argentine human rights organizations, and the family of human rights defender Emilio Mignone, after whom the award was named. [Mignone’s daughter Monica disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship]

Bacalso’s own husband was abducted by seven armed men in 1988.  He was released after being tortured and made to admit to the accusations, said Bacalso in a phone interview with InterAksyon.com. In 1998, she co-founded AFAD with two other organizations in India and Sri Lanka as a response to the problem of enforced disappearances in many parts of Asia. In Sri Lanka alone, there were 60,000 cases at the time, according to the AFAD website. From the beginning, they took pointers from and coordinated with human rights groups in Latin America which were formed in the 1980s to take action on enforced disappearances. AFAD now has 11 member-organizations from eight countries, with the main office based in the Philippines. They disseminate information, campaign for the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, research and document cases, and accompany families of victims of enforced disappearances.

Aside from bringing them recognition, Bacalso said she hoped the award would also give them credibility as they try to convince governments in Asia and in the rest of the world to stop enforced disappearances.

In her acceptance speech, she recalled the adversity faced by those who fought for the rights of the victims of enforced disappearances. “AFAD’s own former Chairperson from Indonesia, Munir, who worked tirelessly for the cause of the disappeared, was poisoned by a lethal dose of arsenic in a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore.” “Our colleagues in Kashmir are persecuted in more ways than one, including non-issuance of passports to restrict their movement and block them from forging solidarity with sister organizations in other countries. “Our leaders in Bangladesh were recently arrested, their office raided and files and pieces of equipment stolen in a desperate attempt to silence them. “In Laos, almost a year ago, development worker Sombath Somphone was taken by the police in broad daylight as evidenced from the CCTV camera footage, yet despite the obvious proof, the Laos government denies knowledge of the victim’s whereabouts. His wife has gone from pillar to post and has knocked on doors of national and international bodies yet her husband is nowhere to be found.” “In the Asian region with a huge number of cases and where defenders face the danger of being disappeared themselves, this award, representing the support of the Argentinian government, is a strong protection to our work in our region,” Bacalso said.

for more information on the Mignone award go to the Digest of awards on: www.trueheroesfilms.org 

 

 

Filipina wins internationa™l rights award for advocacy against enforced disappearances – InterAksyon.com.

UN Human Rights Prize Winner Biram Dah Abeid writes to the UN about slavery

December 18, 2013

UN Human Rights Prize laureate, Mr. Biram Dah Abeid, has written a letter to the United Nations on the occasion of the ceremony on 10 December 2013. The letter, reproduced in its entirety, is available below courtesy of UNPO:

Praise the lord and peace be upon Prophet Mohamed, Read the rest of this entry »

“It’s human rights defenders that make human rights a reality”

December 17, 2013

This video clip was published on 5 December 2013 by the International Service for Human RightsHuman Rights experts, Hina Jilani, Mehr Khan Williams, Jean-Daniel Vigny, and Walter Kalin tell us why human rights defenders play a critical role and why supporting them is a good way to support the whole global human rights movement.

Human Rights TV is coming: here one of the first steps in Asia

December 16, 2013

I have often wondered why there is not a proper human rights (digital) TV channel. Technically is should be possible but it would require the true coöperation from the whole human rights movement to create a global channel. Glad to see that the Asian Human Rights Commission has started at least with a weekly programme. Here is episode 9 on Human Rights Day. Bravo!

Who should be the new UN Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders? Ravindran is my choice.

December 14, 2013

A number of protection mechanisms exist at the international, regional and national levels for the protection of Human Rights Defenders at risk. The Special Rapporteur at UN level is the prime example. We have been very fortunate with the first two mandate holders (Hina Jilani and Margaret Sekaggya) and it is crucial to ensure that the next Rapporteur in April 2014 will be of the same caliber. While in Geneva last week I came across Ravindran Daniel a human rights lawyer from India with whom I worked together in the International Commission of Jurists a long time ago. He told me – with his usual modesty – that he is a candidate for the post of HRD rapporteur. He may not have a big lobby machinery to support him but I think he should be seriously considered. Here a bit more about his impressive background. Please spread the word. Read the rest of this entry »

Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders seeks urgently intern

December 14, 2013

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is currently seeking to recruit a FULL TIME INTERN for the Urgent Campaigns and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. The non-remunerated position should be filled as soon as possible. Duration of the internship: minimum 3 months.OMCT-LOGO

Read the rest of this entry »

Huge number of NGOs call on Laos to investigate Sombath’s disappearance one year on

December 13, 2013

62 regional and international organizations expressed their outrage over the Lao Government’s ongoing failure to shed light on the enforced disappearance of prominent human rights defender Sombath Somphone. Sunday 15 December 2013 will mark the one-year anniversary of Sombath’s disappearance. Sombath was last seen on the evening of December 15, 2012 in Vientiane. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed that police stopped Sombath’s car at a police post. Within minutes after being stopped, unknown individuals forced him into another vehicle and drove away. Analysis of the CCTV footage shows that Sombath was taken away in the presence of police officers. This fact supports a finding of government complicity. Despite the Lao Government’s pledge to “thoroughly and seriously” investigate Sombath’s disappearance, the authorities’ probe has been inadequate and unproductive and there has been no progress in the investigation.

Sombath’s enforced disappearance is not an isolated incident. To this day, the whereabouts of nine people, two women, Kingkeo and Somchit, as well as seven men, SoubinhSouaneSinpasongKhamsoneNou,Somkhit, and Sourigna, arbitrarily detained by Lao security forces in November 2009 in various locations across the country remain unknown. The nine had planned peaceful demonstrations calling for democracy and respect of human rights. Also unknown are the whereabouts of Somphone Khantisouk, the owner of an ecotourism guesthouse and an outspoken critic of Chinese-sponsored agricultural projects that were damaging the environment in the northern province of Luang Namtha. He disappeared after uniformed men abducted him in January 2007. Signed by: Read the rest of this entry »

4 Human Rights Defenders kidnapped in Douma, Syria

December 13, 2013

On 9 December 2013, 4 human rights defenders [Ms Razan Zaitouna, Mr Wael Hamada, Mr Nazem Hamaadi and Ms Samira Khalil] were abducted by masked armed men and taken to unknown whereabouts in Syria. They were kidnapped from the offices of the Center for Documenting Human Rights Violations in Syria, located in Douma. Razan Zaitouna is an award-winning human rights defender who worked on the rights of political prisoners in Syria before the revolution, and continued her activities throughout the peaceful uprising in 2011, founding the ‘local coordination committees’. In 2011, she received the Anna Politkovskaya award “RAW (Reach All Women) in WAR” and in 2013 the International Women of Courage Award. Wael Hamada is an active human rights defender who had been kidnapped by the authorities in 2011 for his legitimate work in the defence of human rights in Syria, and Nazem Hamaadi is a well-known lawyer and poet, respected for his defence of detainees who were arrested in Damascus during the revolution. Samira Khalil is a human rights activist and a member of a peaceful political opposition party in Syria.Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped

72 UN Rapporteurs issue exceptional joint statement calling for more cooperation and less reprisals

December 13, 2013

On the occasion of Human Rights Day, 10 December 2013, the largest ever body of independent experts in the United Nations Human Rights system urged Governments to coöperate with them, and allow human rights organisations and individuals to engage with the UN “without fear of intimidation or reprisals.” The appeal by the 72 special procedures experts stated that: “Over the years more than 160 UN member States have been visited by at least one of our human rights experts, and a total of 106 States have extended an open invitation to special procedures,”  Around 30 States have not yet accepted a visit by any of our experts while others have given only selective access.  “Unfortunately, it has become a reality that a standing invitation cannot necessarily guarantee that a visit will actually take place.” Mr. Chaloka Beyani said on behalf the group. “The work we do relies heavily on our interaction with civil society, national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, other individuals working on the ground and victims of human rights violations,” the expert explained. “It is of utmost concern that some of these become victims of intimidation and reprisals. The protection of these vital partners is of utmost importance,” he said, calling on world Governments “to respond firmly against any act which threatens them and seeks to obstruct human rights work.Reprisals are a critical challenge facing the UN system and its human rights mechanisms. “We call for the designation of a focal point on the issue of intimidation and reprisals as soon as possible,

[The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on human rights issues. Currently, there are 37 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 72 mandate holders. In March 2014, three new mandates will be added.]

via DisplayNews.

 

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.