Posts Tagged ‘human rights def’

Threats against organisers of human rights film festival over documentary on HRD Azimjan Askarov detained in Kyrgyzstan

October 3, 2013

On the morning of 19 September 2013, a group of unidentified women threatened and harassed the organisers of human rights film festival “Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan” (One World Kyrgyzstan) demanding that the documentary about imprisoned human rights defender Azimjan Askarov  – produced by Freedom House –should not be projected. The film festival opened in Bishkek on 18 September 2013. The annual film festival is organised by human rights group Bir-Duino Kyrzystan, led by human rights defender Ms Tolekan Ismailova, the director of Human Rights Centre ‘Citizens Against Corruption’.

Azimjan Askarov is a human rights defender who spent 25 years documenting human rights abuses in Kyrgyzstan until his arrest in 2010. He is currently serving a life sentence after an unfair trial during which he was beaten in detention and denied access to his lawyer. The film festival organisers do not share the opinion of some politicians that he film could provoke inter-ethnic clashesFrontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

[On 28 September 2012, at previous festival edition, the organisers were banned from screening a documentary on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Islamic world, after a complaint was lodged by the Prosecutor’s Office, which considered the film to be “extremist, inciting religious hatred and aimed at dishonouring Muslims”. Following this decision, Tolekan Ismailova was targeted with a defamation campaign in the media and the Human Rights Centre ‘Citizens Against Corruption’ received threats. Front Line Defenders issued an urgent appeal on this case on 19 October 2012 http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/20249, and an update on 4 December 2012 http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/21003%5D

Sri Lankan HRD, Sunila Abeysekera, dies: tribute by A paper bird

September 9, 2013

Today I simply copy the tribute paid by a blogger, A Paper Bird, to Sunila Abeysekera (1952-2013):

Sunila

The last time I saw Sunila Abeysekera was almost three years ago, over breakfast on one of her very occasional visits to New York. Some people, myself included, were trying to talk her into applying for my old job at Human Rights Watch, a post I thought far too small for her. She politely demurred, in different terms: “My life is enough of a problem,” she said, “and the last thing I need in it is a large organization.” She talked about the dangers of having your work commodified and separated from the people it’s about – either by a bureaucracy, or by the kinds of personality cults that thrive around those who get called (as she was: often, unwillingly, and accurately) “heroes.” Both distract from the simple realities of the stories you try to tell, and the stories, she said, were what counted.At the same time, she was at one of those points (they came quite frequently) where her life was in serious danger in Sri Lanka. People were threatened enough by the stories for which she was witness and messenger that they wanted to kill her. Her friends wanted her to get out, and she herself said she wanted a quiet place somewhere, to rest and think. She said that kind of thing much more often than she meant it. The resting part was something of which she was utterly incapable. She never did it, not till the very last.

Sunila died on 9 September, back in Colombo, at 61, after a long battle with cancer. I didn’t know her very well, but I thought of her as a role model as well as friend. She was scholar, activist, intellectual, feminist, and listener. Others will have more and better things to say about her. I’ll just remember this: while always subordinating herself to the stories she had to tell – – horrible stories, many of them, about rape, torture, murder in the long Sri Lankan civil war – her passion for truth and her personal compassion were always part of them. Without being that kind of person, a kind you instantly recognize but can’t possibly describe, she would never have heard them, would never have won trust or become a witness.   A lot of august philosophers these days write and theorize about the role of the witness in contemporary politics and ethics, but the writing was unnecessary as long as she was alive. You could point at Sunila, and understand.

I would say “rest in peace,” but wherever she is, she isn’t resting.

via Sunila Abeysekera, witness: 1952-2013 | a paper bird.

 

Impressive coalition of NGOs urges action for arbitrarily detained human rights lawyer Khalil Ma’touq in Syria

June 5, 2013

Khalil Marouiq Noor

New information obtained by human rights organizations has heightened concerns about the secret detention and failing health of a prominent Syrian human rights lawyer who has not been heard from since his arrest eight months ago! Read the rest of this entry »