Posts Tagged ‘human rights education’

International Human Rights Arts Festival in New York: 3-5 March 2017

March 3, 2017

International Human Rights Arts Festival to Feature HAMILTON Dancer, Bessie Winner and More

2016 Bessie Award-winning choreographer Joya Powell brings her Movement of the People Dance Company to the premiere International Human Rights Art Festival, New York City‘s first arts-advocacy festival of its kind. The Festival, presented by The Institute of Prophetic Activist Art, co-sponsored and housed at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St, NYC), will take place 3-5 March, 2017. As part of the Dance portion of the festival, Jessica Chen of J Chen Dance project is working with three additional dance companies to create human rights-oriented dance. Jacqueline Dugal will also create a piece incorporating human rights texts.

Tickets are $10-25 and are now available online with full schedule and participant information at

Dance can help translate unspoken fears and emotions…” noted Jessica Chen, of the J CHEN PROJECT, “the nuances of a leg held up, a body launched into space, a gesture of yearning is immensely powerful. For this festival, we will use movement and choreography to enhance the conversation about critical human rights issues.”

J CHEN PROJECT Commissions: Jessica Chen of JChen Dance Project comissioned works will be based in and incorporate a specific textual inspiration, ranging from the words of great human rights defenders (such as MLK Jr. or Gandhi) to a bland recitation of statistics on refugees, civilian war deaths, famine due to autocratic governments etc. The four pieces, comprising an hour of dance, will run both Saturday and Sunday, and be previewed at the opening festivities. Saturday, March 4, at 10:00 pm; Sunday, March 5, at 4 pm (see below for full lineup)…


The International Human Rights Art Festival will bring together more than 70 artists producing more than 40 events, all of them oriented toward advocacy. Artistic media will include theatre, performance, dance, spoken word, painting, photography, music, literary arts, workshops, panel discussions, a kidsfest (hands-on activities to introduce children to using art for socially-transformative purpose), film and others. Rigorously curated for quality as well as content, the event includes some of New York’s most passionate rising artist-activists. It will raise social, cultural and political issues, as well as offering gentle, positive responses through thoughtful beauty and political and social thinking.


Producer Tom Block, a 20-year activist painter, author, playwright and arts producer, as well as creator of the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival (MD, 2010) is bringing the concept to NYC, with the 2017 International Human Rights Art Festival. The event is part of the growing number of initiatives of the Institute of Prophetic Activist Art, which Mr. Block founded last year to teach, learn from, and work with New York’s activist artist community.

Civis Mundi lists free on-line Human Rights training courses

December 4, 2016

Civis Mundi published a list of free on-line courses on human rights. I list there the 5 that are (also) in English, without knowing much about the quality: Read the rest of this entry »

Nyan Kyal Sayn brings his animator talent to the human rights of women in Myanmar

November 14, 2016

Animation in Myanmar goes back to about 1920, earlier than in any other Southeast Asian country. The art form did not prosper under the military regime, but it’s on its way back. One of its most popular exponents has been the well-known cartoonist Aw Pi Kyal. Now his son, Naing Kaung Nyan, 22 – known in the trade as Nyan Kyal Say – has produced a prize-winning work of his own. “My Life I Don’t Want” has won 15 international awards from Myanmar, the United Kingdom, Romania, Barcelona, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United States. Based on actual events, it’s about a young Myanmar woman, and promotes awareness of the rights of women and children.

I describe the difficulties she faces, in terms of poverty, poor education, insecurity, sexual abuse, unwanted pregnancy and human trafficking that afflict so many young women,” said Nyal Kyal Say, who works in medicine as a house surgeon when he’s not creating animations. “I hope to draw attention to women’s rights, get support from foreign organisations and penetrate the Myanmar animation market.

The 12-minute short, produced in May, took eight months to make, including story development, production, financial support, and sound. It was first screened at the 2016 Human Rights Film Festival and went on to compete internationally. At the prestigious Amsterdam Animation Festival 2016 “My Life I Don’t Want” won Best Animated Short in the Emerging Animation Nation category last month, its 12th international award.

“Two of my animations are about human rights, but the environment is also important. If we don’t maintain the environment, there will be no humans to claim their rights. Then there’s health. I graduated from the University of Medicine and I want to create health edutainment animations that deal entertainingly with questions of health. Most residents of rural areas lack health knowledge and can’t find out because of the language barrier,” he said. “To help them overcome all these problems, I want to produce animations that are easy for everyone to understand.”

For my other posts on animation

Source: Award-winning animator joins the fight for women’s rights

Human Rights Awards for Journalists in Moldova

March 29, 2016

The prizes were awarded by the Association for Independent Press in Moldova, with the financial support of Civil Rights Defenders in Sweden.

Radio Free Europe reported proudly on 23 March 2016 that their journalists working with RFE/RL’s Moldova Service were recognized for excellence in audio and video reporting on local community and human rights issues. Reporters Mihaela Gherasim and Eugenia Pogor took first and third place in the television program category, with programs on HIV and LGBTI questions. 

Source: RFERL Moldova Service Reporters Win Accolades

AI looking for a human rights education coordinator for West Africa

February 23, 2016


Amnesty International’s Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal, is looking for an experienced Human Rights Education Coordinator.Amnesty-Internationa

The Coordinator will contribute to the development and implementation of regional plans, strategies and projects, coordinate the implementation of human rights education work online and offline, ensure the alignment with global and regional campaigns,  contribute the human rights education perspective in the region to internal AI policies, approaches, strategies, activism and research.

The successful candidate will have (inter alia):

  • experience of working in human rights education
  • first-hand in-depth knowledge and experience of the socio-political and economic context as well as experience of working with Human Rights Defenders in non-formal educational structures and environments in the region
  • substantial experience in developing and conducting online and offline programmes for human rights education
  • also experience and an understanding of membership organizations, and the capability both to work on your own initiative and as a member of a diverse and partly remote team, often under pressure
  • demonstrated understanding of human rights education methodology, including Education Technology and its implications
  • extensive experience of working in West Africa and with Human Rights Defenders you have a strong network and rich experience of undertaking this kind of work in the field.

FINAL HRE Coordinator Dakar.pdf (156.07 KB)

Source: Amnesty International – International Secretariat Careers – Human Rights Education Coordinator – Dakar (1481)


German Amnesty International Human Rights Award 2016 goes to Henri Tiphagne from India

February 2, 2016

Indian lawyer and human rights defender Henri Tiphagne has been awarded the 8th Human Rights Award by Amnesty International Germany. The award is a recognition of Henri Tiphagne’s exceptional commitment to human rights. “For many decades now, Henri Tiphagne has been tirelessly and bravely standing up for human rights. His organisation’s invaluable work includes campaigning against discrimination and the use of torture in India,” Amnesty International said in a statement on 25 January 2016.Amnesty-Internationa
Henri Tiphagne is the founder of the organisation People’s Watch, one of the most notable human rights organisations in India. People’s Watch has been researching and documenting human rights violations, as well as providing legal representation to those affected, for over 20 years. The organisation also actively supports human rights education: In 1997, Henri Tiphagne founded an institute offering training for teachers as well as mentoring around school human rights education programmes. So far, they have managed to reach out to around 500,000 children in 18 Indian states.
In recent years, many organisations have come under intense pressure by the Indian government, and People’s Watch is no exception. The organisation’s bank accounts have been frozen repeatedly since 2012. This meant that some employees had to be dismissed and many programmes needed to be abandoned. The Delhi government in power at the time used the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act to justify this kind of harassment. A complaint filed by People’s Watch against these government actions is still pending. The same legal framework is being instrumentalised for political ends by the current government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Those targeted by the authorities include non-governmental organisations as well as activists and local protest groups campaigning, for example, against forced evictions to make way for new coal mining projects. []

Henri Tiphagne and his organisation People’s Watch, while fighting to ensure the rights of others, are themselves being harassed and hampered in their work by the authorities. And there are other civil society organisations in India that are in a similar position. The award is therefore meant to send a strong signal of support to the whole of the Indian human rights movement,” adds Selmin Çalışkan, Director of Amnesty International Germany.

Award ceremony to be held on April 25 at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin, Germany. For more information about Henri Tiphagne’s personal background and the situation in India please contact the Press Office of Amnesty Germany.

Soros does it again – this time in Connecticut

January 17, 2016

In 2010 businessman and philanthropist George Soros gave $100 million to Human Rights Watch (if the same sum was matched in private contributions). This time a more modest but still considerable sum goes Connecticut. Georges Soros and Gary Gladstein Read the rest of this entry »

Young human rights defenders in the UK motivated with Youth Awards

December 22, 2015

When looking for ways to engage young people in human rights work, this is an idea: Amnesty International UK has been running for many years a series of media awards. In 2010 it added human rights awards for YOUNG reporters, photographers, reporters, campaigners, fundraisers and poets. Read the rest of this entry »

Eulogy of deceased Indian human rights defender Dr R.M.Pal

October 21, 2015

How broad the human rights movement is nowadays, is demonstrated by this eulogy of Dr R M Pal by Vidya Bhushan Rawat, a social and human rights activist in India. It is a very personal story and I provide the text in toto below. The writer states that at this crucial moment is a great blow to all the right thinking secular forces as Pal was the man who always believed in the idea of a secular inclusive India and spoke regularly against the Hindutva’s communalism.

Dr R.M.Pal: Human Rights of The Most Marginalised Was His Uncompromising Passion

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

20 October, 2015

It was Prof Y.P.Chibbar, the PUCL General Secretary for years, who introduced me to Dr R.M.Pal when I visited him at ARSD College where he was teaching. ‘Dr Pal is the right person for you. He is the editor of PUCL Bulletin and lives in Greater Kailash. You must meet him,’ suggested Prof Chibbar. And after that it was a relationship that grew up every passing day. As a young aspiring boy from a nondescript town of Uttarakhand, I had come to Delhi ‘incidentally’, during the tumultuous years of anti Mandal agitation where most of our ‘intellectuals’ had been exposed. Staying with Dr Mulk Raj Anand, pioneer of English writing in India, there was a period of great personal churning for me and Dr Pal made it clear to me to earn to learn. ‘What are you doing there’, he asked. Jee, I am looking after his work, typing his scripts and accompany him to various places where he moves, I said. My aim is to do social work and it is a great honor to be with a man who calls himself a ‘Gandhian’. For a young person like me who had so many fantasies about Gandhism as perhaps we did not have the opportunity to know and understand ‘others’ and it seemed the only way to fight against oppression particularly untouchability which Gandhi had claimed to be the biggest ‘sin’ of Hinduism. So for me any one who had seen Gandhi or worked with him became a hero and ‘Lokayat’ where Dr Mulk Raj Anand stayed became my ‘sabarmati’. Dr Pal was a no nonsense person who could speak fearlessly without being hypocritical in front of you and he remained unimpressed. ‘Well, I can tell you Mulk Raj Anand will not help you’, he said. ‘ Don’t live under the romance of ‘Gandhian’ fame as it is good to do ‘social work’ but you need to be independent and earn to do things, he suggested. I know you came from Dehradun and may face prejudices here because of your village background. Better you do some evening courses as you plan and earn for your living and hopefully you will be able to contribute to society as you wish. And I can say with firm conviction that after coming to Delhi and staying here as meek and submissive person for over two and half years, Dr Pal gave me the confidence in myself and helped me become independent and rebuild my self respect and confidence.

Over the years our interaction grew and he became fond of me. He would guide me and ask me write in particular way. He suggested diverse topics to me and so much was the trust that many times he would send me to go on fact finding on particular issues and get direct information for him. It was not just he would ask to write but he would call me and discuss with me the issue in detail and point out those particular references which he would wish me to focus. I was fortunate to have met and acquaint with a number of eminent, Human Rights activists, Ambedkarite scholars and writers at young age and all of them respected me and appreciated my courage and enthusiasm but Dr Pal remain the one who mentored me and guided me. He would appreciate a number of my elderly friends but unlike them he would guide me and even point to me the grammatical mistakes in my writings. I knew them very well and the fact was that being a teacher, it was like a student sitting in his class as if he is dictating and then checking our assignment. Many times, he warned me of being neutral in my criticism and asked me to be as ruthless to Muslim fanatics too who try to defame the community but one thing was clear that he made a distinction between minority communalism and majoritarian communalism and cautioned India of the dangers of the Hindu communalism. He was afraid of the fact that India might become victim of the majoritarian communalism and for that all the like-minded parties and people have to join hand. He would often quote that no movement will succeed unless it is preceded by a political philosophy.

I still remember how he guided me to write a paper for a seminar being organized by Indian Social Institute, Delhi, in collaboration with UGC, on Ambedkar and M N Roy’s relationship and Roy’s thought on rationalism and Buddhism. He was determined despite my own feeling that it was a misfit for a seminar on Human Rights education issue yet he felt only I could have done justice to this and he guided me. Yes, that paper took me to various files including that information where Dr Ambedkar had, as a minister in Viceroy’s Council, sanctioned an amount of Rs 13,000 for anti war efforts of M N Roy and on the basis of this information ‘inspired’ Arun Shourie to write ‘Worshipping the False God’, a book based on hard prejudices and lies. I met Justice Tarkunde several time and got those letters where he mentioned that it was he who took the money many time on behalf of the Party and that Roy never took the money himself. Ambedkar was in deep appreciation of MN Roy and his intellectual honesty and that is why there are lots of similarities on their thoughts and philosophy, which need further elaborations. I can say with conviction that if Dr Pal had not guided me in this regard, I would have missed the great opportunity and work of M N Roy related to caste, religion and fascism.

As the editor of PUCL Bulletin he was able to focus a lot on atrocities against Dalits and issue of communalism in India. Both the issue of caste violence against Dalits and communalism were matter of great concern for him and he remained uncompromising in his condemnation of them. At the various national and international forums he always focused on the issue that Human Rights are not just state laws and their steady implementation which of course are important, but what he spoke and emphasized was ‘societal violation of human rights’ which he always felt, got out of the scrutiny of the human rights defenders and the organsations working for the human rights. It was his conviction that Dalits, Muslims and other marginalized people should join Radical Humanist and Human Rights Movement to raise their issues. As he became president of Delhi PUCL, he ensured that these segments are fairly represented and we know personally many of the radical humanists and PUCL ‘leaders’ were not very happy with his ‘casteist’ approach.

For long he listened to many youngsters claiming that ‘human rights’ organisations in India have no space for the Dalits. He always mentioned to me this point that PUCL is a membership based organisations and if the Dalits, Muslims wanted to lead it, they need to become member and increase their numbers. He introduced many eminent persons in the human rights and said that there is no point complaining if you are unable to be member of it. People’s organisations are led by people and need further understanding and working of the organisations and its structures. Merely blaming the organisations for being representative of ‘upper castes’ was not correct according to him though we knew that many activists became members but frankly speaking the functioning of the organisations like PUCL did not change. The dark fact is that he was not liked inside the PUCL as well as in the Radical Humanists circle for his ‘overemphasis on caste and communalism. His unambiguity and openness made many people his enemy who would be jealous of his forthrightness. The man always enjoyed being with young activists, guiding them and providing ideas to write on particular issues. I can vouch with my own experience having met numerous people of eminence how they just use you. The dirty secret of the ‘intellectual’ world is that it does not want to engage in dialogue with people but work on ‘networking’.

We had lots of disagreement particularly on the issue of Gandhi and Ambedkar. He knew it well that I have no liking for Gandhian philosophy, which I called humbug and absolutely patronizing as far as Dalits are concern. He would always say that though Gandhi made eradication of untouchability and fight against communalism pivot of his philosophy, he failed in both count yet he felt that Gandhi’s intention were not wrong but lots of discussions and debate on the issue actually saw his opinion changing. He said any one who read ‘annihilation of caste’, will only find Gandhi on the wrong side and Ambedkar fighting for the rights of the people. He felt Ambedkar was wronged.

His personal association with M N Roy and later working on the human rights issues had broadened his horizon much bigger than many of his contemporaries who remained very narrow in their personal lives. There are very few who would spare time for you and guide you whatever possible ways and feel good at your achievements. He loved speaking Bangla and always followed the incidents happening in East Bengal or what we call today Bangladesh. The pain of division and migration was always with him and that is why he was always warm to people like me who left home in search of a new identity and to fulfill their commitments. He would always warn me like a teacher of what to do and what not to do. There are so many things to remember where he asked me to write on and suggested me to attend particular programmes.

The last togetherness of mine with him was at a seminar that he has been trying to organize for years in Mumbai on Dr Ram Manohar Lohia but always felt lacking supporting hands there as he would have them in Delhi as it was the city he always missed and left after he had paralytic stroke that confined him on wheelchair and external help. Many of my friends actually spoke to me after visiting him and felt pained to see a vibrant man depended on people for help, a man who was always active doing things at his own. But it was his strong willpower that despite being confined to bed he could do a lot of work, which is highly impossible for many of us to do. I never saw him complaining about himself whenever I spoke to him on phone as it was work work and work. He would ask for certain book or speak to certain person or provide the phone numbers of some friends. He complained that being in Mumbai has curtailed his freedom as he always enjoyed his friendship circle in Delhi and felt that he has got isolated in Mumbai.

The seminar on Ram Manohar Lohia in Mumbai reflected how he wanted to do things so fast. Academics saw him speaking passionately on Lohia-Ambedkar relationship where he quoted Lohia saying that he wanted Dr Ambedkar to lead the entire Indians and not confined to the leadership of the Dalits even when people like me questioned Lohia suggesting his vision ended at Gandhsim, Dr Pal remain open to new ideas which supported freethinking and secular democratic traditions in India.

There are so many fond memories of him. I can only say that he was the one on whom I could count for guidance and support. He never failed and once promised would go to any extent to finish the task. I grew up admiring him for his courage and forthrightness as whenever he spoke he was to the point and blunt. At a seminar, a leading human right academic, who happened to be a Muslim, actually supported practice of Sati as cultural practice and therefore outside the purview of human rights laws in the name of ‘personal laws’ of Hindus. I got up and objected saying whether he feel that veil and Burqa should be put beyond the limit of human rights laws. It became heated and Dr Pal came for my rescue saying that he always wanted human rights defenders and organisations to speak against societal violation of human rights as human rights in South Asia are not just violated by the state but majority of violation happen because of cultural practices and we need to come out in open against such rigid and inhuman practices such as caste system and untouchability.

The demise of Dr R M Pal at this crucial moment is a great blow to all the right thinking secular forces as we would often go to him and seek his advice on many issues confronting us. He was the man who always believed in the idea of a secular inclusive India and spoke regularly against the Hindutva’s communalism. Though he is no longer with us, his writings will always inspire us to work for a secular democratic India. We promise to carry on his legacy for our better future.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at twitter @freetohumanity Email:

Source: Dr R.M.Pal: Human Rights of The Most Marginalised Was His Uncompromising Passion By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The MOOCs are coming to human rights education (thanks to AI and edX partnering)

June 19, 2015

Yesterday (18 June 2015) Amnesty International announced something that is (rather will be) something new in human rights education: a series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Who knows, the horrible acronym may one day be as normal as HRDs or AI itself. For this to come about Amnesty International is partnering with edX, a global leader in online education founded by Harvard University and MIT.  The first MOOCs will be available later this year. The free online courses will be designed by human rights and education experts from across Amnesty International.

Read the rest of this entry »