Posts Tagged ‘human rights activist’

Wang Meiyu, democracy activist, dies in prison in China

October 2, 2019

The Guardian, Hong Kong, reported on 28 September 2019 that human rights defenders are calling for an investigation into the death of the Chinese democracy activist who was arrested for holding up a placard calling for Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down. Wang Meiyu, 38, was detained in July after he stood outside the Hunan provincial police department holding a sign that called on Xi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to resign and implement universal suffrage in China. He was later charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a vague offense often given to dissidents.

According to Wang’s mother and lawyer, he died on Monday. Wang’s wife, Cao Shuxia, received a call from police notifying her that her husband had died at a military hospital in the city of Hengyang, where he had been held. The police officer on the telephone did not offer any explanation of the cause of death. According to Minsheng Guancha, a Chinese human rights group, Cao was later able to see Wang’s body and saw that he was bleeding from his eyes, mouth, ears and nose, and that there were bruises on his face. According to Radio Free Asia, Cao said police pressured her to accept their statement that Wang’s death had been an accident, but she refused. “The Chinese government must investigate allegations of torture and the death in detention of human rights activist Wang Meiyu and hold the perpetrators of torture and extrajudicial killing criminally accountable,” Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) said in a statement.

Since Monday, Wang’s family has been placed under house arrest, CHRD said. He has two young children. Others connected to his case have also come under pressure. Late on Wednesday, six armed police detained Xie Yang, a rights lawyer, and Chen Yanhui, an activist, who had met at a hotel to discuss Wang’s case. They were released on Thursday. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/12/30/rsdl-chinas-legalization-of-disappearances/

Wang, who began his work as an activist when his home was forcibly demolished, had been detained and claimed to have suffered torture before. After he held up the placard calling for Xi’s resignation, he wrote online of how police stormed into his home, ordering him to write a confession letter and a statement promising he would stop. “These idiots. They can’t understand that even after these years of persecution, including being deprived of water for three days or suffering two hours of electrical needles that caused me to vomit blood, I won’t surrender,” he wrote.

Human rights defender Daniel Bekele now Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission

July 8, 2019

As a further indication of the chances taking place in Ethiopia [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/05/07/ethiopia-a-progress-report-by-defenddefenders-made-public-on-7-may/], the Parliament approved on 2 july 2019 the appointment of former NGO activist, Daniel Bekele, to serve as Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. Daniel served in different organization including as Executive Director of the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch [see e.g.: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2013/11/19/new-laws-are-being-introduced-in-kenya-to-restrict-human-rights-defenders/] and advisor at Amnesty International. Daniel who holds a Master’s Degree in International Law and legal Studies from Oxford university, has also been working as an independent consultant.

(In the 2005 parliamentary elections in Ethiopia, Daniel was actively involved in promoting human rights and independent election monitoring, as well as peace initiatives in the aftermath of the post-election crisis. However, he was arrested by the authorities and spent more than two years in prison. He was recognized as prisoner of conscience and in 2009 received the Alison Des Forges Award)

Ethiopia appoints Amnesty International advisor to lead commission

Reward offered for the capture of Albert Cattouse’s killer in Belize

October 20, 2017

This blog tries to follow as much as possible what happens in the world of human rights awards which honor human rights defenders. Here is a story from Belize where an award (as in reward) is used in a different way: A reward is offered for the capture of Albert Cattouse’s killer!

Around seven-thirty on Thursday night, shots rang out in the vicinity of Dolphin Street near the rear of Roger’s Stadium. A well-known taxi driver and activist had been gunned down in cold blood. Seventy-two-year-old Albert Anthony Cattouse was driving his Lincoln Town Car when he was targeted by a gunman. The bullet caught him in the head and he died instantly inside his taxi, which came to a stop inside the drain. The activism community is up in arms because Cattouse, who was very vocal, recently participated in the high gas price protest last week (News Five’s Duane Moody reports).

The community activist group, Belize Leaders for Social Justice (BLSJ), is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the murder of Albert Cattouse. The BLSJ issued a statement today, condemning Cattouse’s murder, noting that he was a defender of human rights. “The activism community and human rights defenders are concerned that this murder can be related to Mr. Cattouse’s outspoken condemnation for acts of corruption and the injustices levied on our citizens by the government of Belize,” the group said.

Sources:

Reward offered for the capture of Albert Cattouse’s killer

http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/154225

Itai Dzamara’s disappearance worrying for all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe

May 5, 2015

On 4 May 2015 Bridget Mananavire of Nehanda Radio in Zimbabwe marked 54 days since the disappearance of human rights activist and journalist, Itai Dzamara, with law enforcement agents continuing to profess ignorance over his whereabouts.

Abducted political activist Itai Dzamara
Human rights defender Itai Dzamara, abducted on 9 March by yet unidentified men

Rashid Mahiya, Heal Zimbabwe Trust executive director, said the government’s silence raised suspicion: “Itai Dzamara’s disappearance raises a distressing sense of insecurity among many human rights defenders in the country. The government’s silence vindicates speculation that its security agencies are responsible for Itai’s abduction and disappearance”…….”the State has a presence of abducting citizens, active opposition and human rights leaders and activists, some of whom disappeared and were never found while others were later discovered in police custody. Jestina Mukoko was abducted in 2008 and later discovered in police custody after 21 days while persons like Tonderai Ndira, Betha Chokururama were found dead,”.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the truth about Dzamara’s disappearance should be revealed so that the perpetrators face their judgment.

The European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe also reminded people that the human rights defender should never be forgotten, calling for his return.

‘Dzamara’s unending abduction worrying’ – Nehanda Radio.

Human rights defender Htin Kyaw in Myanmar keeps walking in spite of 11 convictions

September 16, 2014

Aye Aye Win, of Associated Press, describes in an interesting way the changes in Myanmar (Burma): human rights defender Htin Kyaw is ‘free’ to march and protest in public but in every city where he passes he is being sentenced for disturbing public order. He has now accumulated 11 of such sentences and is slated to spend the next 12 years and four months behind bars, according to his wife, Than Than Maw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

via: 1 march, 11 sentences for Myanmar rights activist :: WRAL.com. (1 September 2014)

Human rights defender Ou Virak: a lonely voice in Cambodia against all discrimination

December 20, 2013

Human rights activist Ou Virak talks to the media outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last year.

(Human rights activist Ou Virak talks to the media outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last year. Vireak Mai)
A vicious backlash on social media (including death threats) has started against human rights activist Ou Virak in reaction to his call for opposition leader Sam Rainsy to stop inciting discrimination against the Vietnamese. Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, has been attacked on his Facebook page in comments ranging from disappointment to outright vulgar abuse. In a statement released on Wednesday, Virak clarified that Rainsy singled out the Vietnamese in speeches, inciting discrimination against them. Virak said the virulent reaction against him reaffirmed his concerns about using anti-Vietnamese sentiment as a campaign platform in the first place. David Boyle in the Phom Penh Post reports on 19 December 2013 more on how thin and important the line is between opposition and human rights defenders.

Read the rest of this entry »

Today Rafto announces that its Award goes to the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights

September 26, 2013

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, whose founder and director are both jailed, wins Norway’s Rafto Prize for rights defenders. The award hopes to “turn the spotlight on systematic violations of human rights in a region where abuse is too often met with silence from Western governments,” the Rafto Foundation said in a statement on 26 September.  The founder of the centre, Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja, is serving a life sentence in jail after he and several other leading opposition figures were convicted of plotting to overthrow the monarchy. They were arrested in April 2011, in the wake of the Sunni-monarchy’s crackdown on a month of Shiite-led protests that demanded political reforms. Meanwhile the centre’s director, Nabeel Rajab, has been in jail for more than 14 months, serving a three-year jail term for taking part in unauthorised protests. The prize jury commended the rights group for its non-violent protests and documentation of human rights violations, despite government attempts to shut it down. The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was, inter alia, also one the Final Nominees for the MEA of 2012 and received the Baldwin Medal

The annual Rafto award was founded in 1986 in memory of Norwegian economic history professor Thorolf Rafto, a longtime human rights activist. The 15,000 Euro prize will be presented on November 3 in Bergen.

via Bahrain rights group wins Norwegian award | GlobalPost.

 

Russian NGO “For Human Rights” forcibly evicted from offices

June 25, 2013

Stockholm-based Civil Rights Defenders condemns the brutal use of force against the Russian NGO ‘’For Human Rights’’ and its chairman Lev Ponomaryov, during the organisation’s forcible eviction Saturday night, 22 June 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Snowden a human rights defender? – Russia seems to think so

June 13, 2013

Human Rights activist, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a national her, anti-fascism New Yorkers said at a rally on June 10
(Getty Images)

Yesterday I referred to the difficulty of defining human rights defenders in relation to a Nigerian politician, and here comes another, maybe more difficult one:

As the United States Justice Department prepare charges against  Edward Snowden, former federal government contractor who revealed the NSA’s secret surveillance program rights violation, as ABC News reportedRussia said Tuesday 11 June that it would consider a request from him for safe haven and The Guardian reported tuesday that Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says any appeal from whistleblower Edward Snowden for asylum will be looked at ‘according to facts,’

Aleksey Pushkov, chair of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, said Snowden is a “human rights activist.” Referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Pushkov said, “In this sense, Snowden — like Assange — is a human-rights activist.”

I’m willing to sacrifice all that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people all around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building,” Snowden himself told The Guardian.

Russia might aid Snowden human rights activist – National Human Rights | Examiner.com.

York University’s Protective Fellowship Scheme for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

April 30, 2013

Professor Paul Gready at York University, with Nagi Musa, a human rights activist from Sudan.  Below: Karak Denyok

(Professor Paul Gready at York University with Nagi Musa, a human rights activist from Sudan)

 Sheena Hastings reports in the Yorkshire Post of 30 April 2013 on the programme offered by York University that lets human rights defenders stay on a fellowship that provides a safe haven and adds to their skills .

In the few months that Nagi Musa has lived in York, he has not lost the learned panicky response to the odd creaking noise in the night, and he does still find himself scanning any group of people in case there’s someone who looks like a threat. He tends to position himself where he can see the nearest exit, too.  Read the rest of this entry »