Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights First’

Polish Border NGO Granica receives 2022 Zabel award

May 20, 2022

Human Rights First announced that it will present Grupa Granica with the William D. Zabel Human Rights Award 2022 in recognition of its commitment to human rights at the Poland-Belarus border.

For more about this award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/984CA015-FE02-4992-8AED-4EB1AEC7D0EE

Grupa Granica are front-line human rights defenders working at a flashpoint for human rights and freedom of migration,” said Michael Breen, president and CEO of Human Rights First. “We hope that Human Rights First’s presentation of the William D. Zabel Award provides additional recognition to the importance of their work and helps to stem this humanitarian and geopolitical crisis.

Formed in 2021 in response to the humanitarian crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border, Grupa Granica is an informal network of Polish NGOs, activists, and inhabitants of the border region that provides humanitarian, medical, and legal aid to migrants stranded in the forests there.  They monitor the situation on the ground, provide assistance to people searching for missing family members, document human rights violations and educate Polish society on the situation at the border.

Our network was formed in August last year in response to the humanitarian crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border. It consists of local inhabitants, activists, NGO staff, doctors, lawyers, interpreters, psychologists, public figures and many others working hand in hand to save the lives of migrants stranded at the border,” says Marta Górczyńska of Grupa Granica.  “This prestigious award sends a clear message to the public that despite the recent attempts by the Polish authorities, providing humanitarian aid and defending human rights must never be criminalized. We hope it will also make it more difficult for the international community to turn a blind eye to the violations at the border.”

The 2022 award will be officially presented to Grupa Granica on June 8. 

For last year’s, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/05/27/william-zabel-human-rights-award-2021-to-philippines-ngo-karapatan/

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/human-rights-first-present-poland-s-grupa-granica-2022-william-d-zabel-human-rights

Human Rights Defender Vladimir Kara-Murza arrested in Russia

April 14, 2022

Vladimir Kara-Murza, the Russian democracy activist, historian, twice-poisoned critic of Vladimir Putin’s regime, and a senior advisor to Human Rights First, was reportedly arrested near his Moscow residence on 11 April 2022.  Kara-Murza’s arrest came just days after his return to Russia and shortly after CNN broadcasted an interview with him. He is the winner of 3 human rights awards, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/34e43b60-3236-11ea-b4d5-37ffeeddd006

We are deeply concerned for our friend Vladimir Kara-Murza’s personal safety, and we call on Russian authorities to release him immediately,” said Michael Breen, President and CEO of Human Rights First.  “Putin and his regime have shown themselves to be willing to break any law, domestic or international, to suppress political opposition at home and subjugate neighboring countries like Ukraine.  We call on all of democracy’s allies to oppose criminal behavior like this to protect human rights in Russia, Ukraine, and around the world.

Having been targeted for assassination twice before, Kara-Murza knew his return to Russia put him in danger.  In his recent CNN interview, Kara-Murza said, “The biggest gift we could give…to the Kremlin would be just to give up and run…that’s all they want from us.

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/russian-human-rights-activist-vladimir-kara-murza-arrested-moscow

Call for nominations 2022 Roger Baldwin Medal

March 12, 2022

Today, Human Rights First announced a call for nominations for the 2022 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award. Nominations are due by April 10.

For more than thirty years, the Baldwin Medal of Liberty has provided recognition and support for courageous human rights activists around the world,” said Human Rights First President and CEO Mike Breen. “We are proud to issue this prestigious award, and we encourage supporters of human rights to nominate deserving individuals or organizations.”

For more on the Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/F23B5465-6A15-4463-9A91-14B2977D9FCE

This year’s award will honor an individual or organization outside of the United States that has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to human rights advocacy in areas such as the protection of refugees; human rights accountability; countering extremism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia; or technology and human rights, among other topics. See also: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/F23B5465-6A15-4463-9A91-14B2977D9FCE

A distinguished jury will select this year’s winner, who will receive a $30,000 prize and a trip to the United States to engage in advocacy. An individual or an organization can make nominations. Nominees will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • The nominee’s work is unique or particularly distinctive;
  • The nominee’s work has been effective in advancing human rights in a country other than the United States;
  • The nominee faces risk or insecurity as a result of their work; and
  • The nominee would benefit significantly from receiving the Baldwin Award in the form of enhanced protection or any other way.

The nomination form can be found here

For any questions about the award or the nomination process, please contact Human Rights First at BaldwinAward2022@humanrightsfirst.org.

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/human-rights-first-calls-nominations-2022-roger-n-baldwin-medal-liberty-award

Anti-war Human Rights Defenders in Russia

February 27, 2022
People attend an anti-war protest, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
People attend an anti-war protest, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, February 24, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in Ukraine. © 2022 REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

It is of course the worst for the direct victims of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, but the very courageous people who stand up against the autocratic government and nationalistic media in Russia deserve all our attention. On 26 February 2022, Human Rights Watch wrote “Russia: Arbitrary Detentions of Anti-War Protesters“:

Police arbitrarily detained hundreds of peaceful protesters across Russia on February 24, 2022, at rallies in solidarity with Ukraine and against the war, Human Rights Watch said. The authorities also arrested at least two human rights defenders who spoke up against Russia’s full-scale invasion in Ukraine, threatened to block mass media outlets in case their reporting on the war differed from the official narrative, and demanded that foreign social media platforms stop restricting reports from Russian state media.   

For years, Russian authorities have been suppressing free speech and peaceful protests to stifle critical voices,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Now the government is silencing all those who speak out against the war with Ukraine.”  

According to OVD-Info, an independent human rights project working to protect freedom of assembly in Russia, by the evening of February 25, police had detained at least 1,858 people for participation in anti-war protests in 57 cities, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Krasnodar, Ekaterinburg, Saratov, Nizhny Novgorod, and Voronezh. Some of detained protesters stood in single pickets and held posters saying “no to war, do not be silent,” “stop the war,” and other similar slogans.

At around 3 p.m. on February 24, the police detained Marina Litvinovich, a human rights activist, in Moscow after she had made a call over social media to “come out and say we are against war.” She was released several hours later, pending a court hearing and the next day was fined for violating the rules on public gatherings.   https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-litvinovich-fined-ukraine-invasion-protest/31723131.html

In response to calls for peaceful protests, Russia’s Investigative Committee published a news release with a warning that organizing unsanctioned gatherings is a prosecutable offense and threatening “harsh punishment” for organization of “mass riots.”

In the evening of February 24, protesters gathered in different cities across Russia to demonstrate against war. According to OVD-Info, more than 1,000 protesters were arbitrarily detained in Moscow and around 400 in Saint Petersburg where the biggest protests took place.

Human Rights Watch analyzed and verified 27 videos recorded north of the Gostinny Dvor metro station in Saint Petersburg and close to Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow that were published on social media on February 24. The vast majority document brutal arrests of peaceful activists by police officers. In at least four cases, videos show police officers beating protestors, pushing them to the ground, dragging them, grabbing them by the head, and choking them.

Mass media and OVD-Info also reported other cases of excessive use of force by the police, refusal of medical assistance, and denial of access to lawyers. At night, at least six police stations in Moscow, and some stations in Saint Petersburg, Saratov, Voronezh and Ekaterinburg refused access to outside visitors after initiating the “Fortress” protocol, authorized for  a situation of potential attack, which meant lawyers were denied access to their clients for hours. On February 25, OVD-info reported they could not get in touch with three of the detainees on their list.

Russian public figures, journalists, scientists, activists, and average social media users have been publicly expressing their shock and indignation at the full scale Russian military operations in Ukraine and calling for the hostilities to end. Thousands used the hashtag #нетвойне (#notowar).

Lev Ponomarev, a prominent human rights defender and the founder of the Movement for Human Rights, initiated a petition “against war,” calling on the Russian military to withdraw from Ukraine and inviting people to join the peaceful anti-war movement. The police detained Ponomarev on February 24 and charged him with organizing unsanctioned protests in connection with the petition, which had gathered over 550,000 signatures by the evening of February 25.

On February 24, the internet regulator Roskomnadzor published a warning to mass media disseminating “unverified” and “false” information, claiming that only information from official sources can be used when reporting on the “special operation” in Ukraine. The authorities also said that all “false” information would be instantly blocked and warned about fines for disseminating “fake” news.

Roskomnadzor also sent official letters to Facebook (Meta) demanding that it should lift restrictions imposed by the social media platform on official pages of state and government mass media. The authorities said that Facebook had marked them as “untrustworthy” and hid their publications from the platform’s search. Roskomnadzor also called on Russian users to switch to national internet resources and social networks due to “unfounded blockings by foreign platforms.”

On February 25, the Office of the Prosecutor General, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accused Facebook of being “involved in violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms” and imposed restrictions on access to the platform in Russia.

The authorities’ actions to prevent people from participating in peaceful public protests and freely expressing their opinions violate fundamental rights, including those to freedom of expression and assembly and the prohibition on arbitrary detention, guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and Russia’s own Constitution.

The ability to express disagreement in a peaceful way is crucially important in any society that respects human rights and rule of law,” Williamson said. “This abusive crackdown on a peaceful anti-war movement is yet further proof, if more was needed, of the government’s intolerance of independent voices.

On the other hand, in a post of 25 February 2022, Brian Dooley of Human Rights First relates what human rights defenders in Ukraine are telling about the immediate impact on them of the Russian invasion.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/02/26/russia-arbitrary-detentions-anti-war-protesters

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/blog/human-rights-activists-ukraine-call-swift-response

Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders in US Foreign Policy

January 19, 2022

On 13 January 2022 Brian Dooley devoted a blog post for Human Rights First to the US’ State Department’s efforts to draft HRD Guidelines:

Ten years ago, I testified in the US Congress for Human Rights First on why the US government should issue guidelines to its embassies on engaging with human rights defenders.

We then spoke to State Department bureaucrats in many months of negotiations too soporific to recount here, and by March 2013 they finally produced some useful guidelines for US diplomats, modelled largely on those adopted by European countries a decade before.

It’s a great idea – US government officials were offered specific advice on how and why to engage with Human Rights Defenders, and the hope was that the guidelines would set minimum standards for US embassies all over the world. 

Engagement with human rights defenders by US diplomats tends to patchy – some embassies do it well, others hardly do it at all. HRDs in countries which are antagonistic to Washington tend to enjoy relatively easy access to US diplomats who share their criticism of the local government, whereas HRDs in countries ruled by dictators who are allies of the US complain about a lack of support from US embassies.

The guidelines encouraged officials to maintain regular contact with HRDs, or possibly to attend their trials or visit them in detention, and otherwise explore ways to support and protect them. All good in principle, but the State Department failed to adequately encourage its embassies to implement the suggestions. 

So five years ago I was back in the US Congress, testifying that the guidelines “haven’t been properly promoted or widely translated …[and that] protecting HRDs is too important a job to do half-heartedly.”

Those US guidelines were pretty good, but the problem was so few people ever heard about them. When I mentioned them to human rights NGO staff, to officials of other governments, to human rights defenders, to people in the UN, to American ambassadors in the Middle East, even to State Department officials in the Bureau of Democracy, Rights and Labor, I was generally met with a “Huh?”

The good news is that, after more years of advocacy by ourselves, Earthrights, and others, the State Department has now released updated guidelines, complete with an assurance that “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to putting human rights and democratic principles at the center of our foreign policy.” All nice enough, though these commitments to support HRDs should be institutionalized long term and not dependent on a particular administration.

The content is strong, advising sensible courses of action including that US officials “Encourage investigations and prosecution of those who harass and attack human rights defenders,” and that US officials  “seek the consent of human rights defenders before taking any actions on their behalf and take precautions in communicating with them online and offline.”

The guidelines could act a great starting point for US officials at any embassy who want to connect with local civil society and activists. The challenge is to prevent these new standards from getting left on the shelf like the last ones. 

To guard against that, we and others are hoping Congress will pass legislation aimed at keeping the State Department focused on protecting HRDs, including requiring US embassies to post the guidelines on their websites in relevant languages in an invitation to local HRDs to engage with them.

This engagement and support is currently horribly inconsistent. For instance, last week the US embassy in Niger issued a short public statement in support of local HRDs, which is great. But the US embassy in Cairo has for years been mortifyingly silent about the extensive attacks on local HRDs by Egyptian authorities.

The US government should use its power much more often to protect human rights defenders, not least at a  local level where its embassies can offer much more consistent support to human rights defenders, and not just in countries that are adversaries of the US, but with its allies too.

See e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/06/11/osce-publishes-guidelines-on-the-protection-of-human-rights-defenders/

https://www.government.nl/topics/human-rights/human-rights-worldwide/supporting-human-rights-defenders

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/blog/state-department-s-second-chance-get-hrd-guidelines-right

To Counter Domestic Extremism, Human Rights First Launches Pyrra

December 26, 2021

New enterprise uses machine learning to detect extremism across online platforms

On 7 December 2021, Human Rights First announced a new enterprise, originally conceived in its Innovation Lab as Extremist Explorer, that will help to track online extremism as the threats of domestic terrorism continue to grow.

Human Rights First originally developed Extremist Explorer to monitor and challenge violent domestic actors who threaten all our human rights. To generate the level of investment needed to quickly scale up this tool, the organization launched it as a venture-backed enterprise called Pyrra Technologies.

“There is an extremist epidemic online that leads to radical violence,” said Human Rights First CEO Michael Breen. “In the 21st century, the misuse of technology by extremists is one of the greatest threats to human rights. We set up our Innovation Lab to discover, develop, and deploy new technology to both protect and promote human rights.  Pyrra is the first tool the lab has launched.”

Pyrra’s custom AI sweeps sites to detect potentially dangerous content, extremist language, violent threats, and harmful disinformation across social media sites, chatrooms, and forums.

 “We’re in the early innings of threats and disinformation emerging from a proliferating number of smaller social media platforms with neither the resources nor the will to remove violative content,Welton Chang, founding CEO of Pyrra and former CTO at Human Rights First, said at the launch announcement.  “Pyrra takes the machine learning suite we started building at Human Rights First, greatly expands on its capabilities and combines it with a sophisticated user interface and workflow to make the work of detecting violent threats and hate speech more efficient and effective.”

The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism has been an early user of the technology. 
“To have a real impact, it’s not enough to react after an event happens, it’s not enough to know how extremists operate in online spaces, we must be able to see what’s next, to get ahead of extremism,” said Oren Segal, Vice President, Center on Extremism at the ADL. “That’s why it’s been so exciting for me and my team to see how this tool has evolved over time.  We’ve seen the insights, and how they can lead to real-world impact in the fight against hate.”   

 “It really is about protecting communities and our inclusive democracy,” said Heidi Beirich, PhD, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder, Global Project Against Hate and Extremism.  “The amount of information has exploded, now we’re talking about massive networks and whole ecosystems – and the threats that are embedded in those places. The Holy Grail for people who work against extremism is to have an AI system that’s intuitive, easy to work with, that can help researchers track movements that are hiding out in the dark reaches of the internet. And that’s what Pyrra does.”

Moving forward, Human Rights First will continue to partner with Pyrra to monitor extremism while building more tools to confront human rights abuses. 

Kristofer Goldsmith, Advisor on Veterans Affairs and Extremism, Human Rights First and the CEO of Sparverius, researches extremism. “We have to spend days and days and days of our lives in the worst places on the internet to get extremists’ context.  But we’re at a point now where we cannot monitor all of these platforms at once. The AI powering Pyrra can,” he said.

Pyrra’s users, including human rights defenders, journalists, and pro-democracy organizations can benefit from using the tool as well as additional tools to monitor extremism that are coming from Human Rights First’s Innovation Lab.

“This is a great step for the Innovation Lab,” said Goldsmith. “We’ve got many other projects like Pyrra that we hope to be launching that we expect to have real-world impact in stopping real-world violent extremism.”   

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/counter-domestic-extremism-human-rights-first-launches-pyrra

UK outdoes Pinochet with proposed amnesty

September 13, 2021

On 10 September 2021 Brian Dooley blogged for Human Rights First: “British Government Proposes Amnesty for Killings That’s Worse Than Pinochet’s”:

In a startling move, in July 2021, the British government announced a proposal to end all Troubles-era prosecutions, granting amnesty to its soldiers for any crimes they committed during this time. While the proposal has yet to be introduced as a bill, its mere introduction has already received a strong reaction.

Last week, I visited Belfast and Derry where I met with human rights NGOs and families of those killed during the Troubles. Human Rights First has been active on these issues for decades, with a focus on past abuses and on supporting the human rights lawyers helping families bring prosecutions against those who committed them.

This recently introduced proposal is a significant setback to the families whose loved ones were killed by British forces during those years. Many of which have spent decades looking for the truth about what happened to those who were killed. During my time with them, some of the family members said that this proposal, which would eliminate any potential for accountability, has left them exasperated and angry.

Some of the killings from this period, like those on Bloody Sunday in Derry or Ballymurphy in Belfast, are well known and have received international attention. Others, such as the Springhill-Westrock shootings and many others, have had less attention. Overall, during the Troubles (1969-1998), 3,350 people were killed, including 1,840 civilians, and 47,500 were injured.

In many cases of killings, there was no real investigation done at the time. Local human rights NGO, the Pat Finucane Centre, has recently published declassified documents showing how some soldiers evaded prosecutions. The new proposal would remove any possibility of the families having any possibility for legal recourse or bringing the killers to justice.

The wide scope of the UK government’s proposed amnesty is breathtaking.

Human Rights First has for many years worked with Belfast-based human rights NGO the Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ). This week, with a team of experts from Queen University, Belfast, the CAJ produced an analysis of the proposed amnesty laws, measuring the British government’s proposals “against binding international and domestic human rights law, the Good Friday Agreement and other international experiences of amnesties to deal with past human rights violations.”

This study found that the proposal would create an amnesty more sweeping than that of General Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator who introduced a policy to shield human rights violators from prosecution, which is often regarded as the worst. However, unlike the UK proposal, which excludes no crimes and has no temporal limits, Pinochet’s amnesty excluded certain crimes, such as sexual violence, and applied only to the first five years of the 17-year dictatorship. Additionally, Pinochet’s amnesty excluded criminal cases already before the courts and applied only to criminal prosecutions. The UK proposal on the other hand would close cases already in the system and apply to both civil and criminal cases.

Professor Louise Mallinder, one of the experts on the report and a world-renowned scholar of transitional justice who has examined roughly 300 amnesties relating to various conflicts around the world from 1990 until 2016, says the UK’s proposed amnesty “would offer the broadest form of impunity of all the amnesties surveyed.”

Yes, the British government’s standard for addressing past human rights violations by its soldiers, including murders, appears to be lower than that of General Pinochet’s.

The plan is so bad that all major political parties in Ireland, north and south, have united in rejecting it. Members of the U.S. Congress are reportedly signing a letter objecting to it.

The British government got many things wrong over the course of The Troubles. This proposed amnesty for its former soldiers is another huge mistake and should be rejected immediately.

Instead, a real process of justice should be followed, along the lines of that outlined in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement. Dealing with The Troubles’ past is difficult but not impossible. The families of those killed – and of victims of human rights violations in other post-conflict situations that a new UK precedent might influence – deserve much better than what the British government has proposed.

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/blog/british-government-proposes-amnesty-killings-s-worse-pinochet-s

William Zabel Human Rights Award 2021 to Philippines NGO Karapatan

May 27, 2021

Human Rights First announced that it will present Karapatan, Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, with its annual William D. Zabel Human Rights Award in recognition of its commitment to human rights in the Philippines. For more on this award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/984CA015-FE02-4992-8AED-4EB1AEC7D0EE

Karapatan is a Philippines-based alliance of human rights organizations, programs, committees, and individual advocates that have been at the forefront of the struggle for human rights in the country since 1995. 

Human Rights First has tremendous respect and admiration for Karapatan and the work done by Tinay Palabay,” said Michael Breen, president and CEO of Human Rights First. “They are human rights defenders whom the government of Philippines regularly targets, and we hope this award, and our ongoing partnership, helps shine a bright light on their efforts and shields them from additional threats.”

With more than forty member organizations and sixteen regional chapters across the country, Karapatan addresses extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, political prisoners and militarization all across the Philippines. The Alliance helps organize mass actions that expose human rights violations and challenge State policies and actions that promote the culture of impunity.

Karapatan documents human rights violations through fact-finding missions; files cases through courts, even quasi-judicial bodies like the Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations, and other international human rights bodies. It also refers victims to medical professionals and groups for psycho-social and additional assistance; and organizes victims of human rights violations and their families.

It also monitors peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the nation’s adherence to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and other agreements.

Fifteen human rights workers of Karapatan have been killed in the past five years, nearly 70 since 2001, and many more are imprisoned or are facing judicial harassment and threats because of their work in defending human rights,” said Tinay Palabay of Karapatan. “This recognition is an homage to their memory and legacy of selflessness, compassion and service to the poor and oppressed and we continue to honor them every day as we do the best that we can in advocacy, documentation, direct services and movement-building in the Philippines.”

Human Rights First and Karapatan are currently working on a pilot project testing “Digital Shield,” an application that tracks threats of violence and harassment made against the organization and its members online. 

For last year’s award: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/10/07/human-rights-first-to-present-saudi-organization-alqst-with-william-d-zabel-human-rights-award/

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/human-rights-first-present-philippines-organization-karapatan-william-d-zabel-human

Albert Ho wins Baldwin Medal 2020

December 10, 2020

Human Rights First announced today that it will award the 2020 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty to Hong Kong human rights defender Albert Ho. The award will be presented today 10 December in a virtual event that will include a conversation between Ho and Human Rights First Senior Advisor Brian Dooley.

Albert Ho is a veteran Hong Kong lawyer and advocate whose career in human rights and political activism stretches back almost four decades. A leading figure in the pro-democracy movement for many years, he remains prominent in the protest movement that energized Hong Kong in 2019 and 2020.

No dictatorship is too big or too strong to take on,” said Vladimir Vladimir Kara-Murza, Senior Advisor for Human Rights Accountability at Human Rights First and 2020 Baldwin Award jury member. “This decision shows who is right and wrong, and Albert Ho is in the right. There are no lost causes, and the cause of democracy in China is not lost.

Ho is now facing a dozen charges related to those peaceful protests and his law firm continues to represent many others who have protest-related charges.

I’m honored to accept this award,” said Ho, “but I do it on behalf of many colleagues who have shared the case of human rights in Hong Kong with me for so many years.”

Ho is the co-founder and senior partner of Ho, Tse, Wai and Partners (HTW), a Hong Kong law firm renown for advocacy on landmark human rights cases.  Ho and HTW have represented many arrested pro-democracy protestors and challenged many of the Hong Kong government’s dubious actions, such as the banning of face masks under a colonial-era law and the disqualification of numerous pro-democracy lawmakers.

Ho has also done extensive advocacy for human rights lawyers in mainland China. He founded the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group in 2007 to provide humanitarian assistance to detained human rights lawyers and their families, advocate on behalf of detained lawyers, and share knowledge and experience with Chinese lawyers.

Despite surveillance and threats by Chinese authorities, Ho has maintained his steadfast support for his peers in mainland China in the face of the government’s crackdown on human rights lawyers, the “709 crackdown” known for the day it began – July 9, 2015. Placing the pursuit of justice before his own safety, Ho continues to raise awareness of the plight of human rights lawyers in China to see that the world holds the Chinese Communist Party accountable for human rights abuses.

For more on the Baldwin Medal of Liberty see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/F23B5465-6A15-4463-9A91-14B2977D9FCE.

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/human-rights-first-honors-hong-kong-human-rights-defender-albert-ho-baldwin-medal

Calls for Nominations for Roger Baldwin Award

May 19, 2020

The winner will be selected by a distinguished jury, and will receive a trip to the United States to engage in advocacy, subject to Covid-19-related travel restrictions, as well as a $30,000 prize. Nominations can be made by an individual or an organization. Nominees will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • The nominee’s work is unique or particularly distinctive;
  • The nominee’s work has been effective in advancing human rights in a country other than the United States;
  • The nominee faces risk or insecurity as a result of their work; and
  • The nominee would benefit significantly from receiving the Baldwin Award, in the form of enhanced protection, or in any other way.

For further information about the award or the nomination process, please contact Emilee Cutright at CutrightE@humanrightsfirst.org or (202) 370-3307.

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/baldwin-award