Posts Tagged ‘human rights groups’

Two more organisations registered as ‘foreign agents’ in Russia

September 2, 2014

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped comes with the worrying news that on 29 August 2014, Russia added two more prominent human rights groups, the Institute for Freedom of Information and Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint-Petersburg to the list of ‘foreign agents’, which now includes 13 NGOs operating in the Russia. Both human rights groups were previously inspected by the authorities and received official notices from the Prosecutor of illegal activity, for carrying out “political activities” and receiving foreign funding without being registered as foreign agents. Read the rest of this entry »

How the mighty fall in Uzbekistan: Gulnara Karimova asks human rights protection

August 22, 2014

Gulnara Karimova

Gulnara Karimova (pictured above), the glamorous daughter of Uzbekistan’s president, used to be one of the more powerful people in Central Asia. But now, in secret recordings obtained by the BBC, she says she and her teenaged daughter are being treated “worse than dogs” and need urgent medical help since she has fallen out with her dictator father President Islam Karimov. The BBC news correspondent Natalia Antelava on 21 August reports on this exceptional story.  Natalia Antelava reports that in March 2014, she received and authenticated a handwritten letter from Karimova, in which she said she and her daughter had been placed under house arrest and now the short audio recordings were smuggled out of Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan has a history of human rights violations and Karimova has fully played her role in this sorry state of affairs (see e.g. https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/daughter-of-uzbek-dictator-loses-defamation-case-in-paris/. Stroehlein of Human Rights Watch (which will publish next month a report on wrongfully imprisoned people in the country) is understandably cautious when it comes to Karimova’s recent concern for human rights in Uzbekistan, since it follows a decade-long period when the woman known as “Googoosha” wielded immense power in the country. “She almost certainly had top-level regime access to critical information regarding serious and systematic rights abuses in Uzbekistan, and she has had many opportunities to hand that information over to journalists and human rights groups,” he says . “She hasn’t.” 

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Another human rights defender shot dead in Philippines

March 27, 2014

According to ucanews.com of 26 March 2014, unidentified gunmen shot and killed a human rights defender, whose name had appeared on a military hit list, in the northern Philippine province of Ifugao on Tuesday. Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan identified the victim as William Bugatti of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance. She said that Bugatti’s name had appeared on an army list of targeted persons, obtained from undisclosed sources, which included activists and individuals working with farmers’ organizations. Bugatti was described on the list as the “brains” of the New Peoples Army” the military arm of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines. According to Piya Macliing Malayao of the Alliance of Indigenous People of the Philippines, Bugatti was on his way home from the office when he was gunned down. He sustained three gunshot wounds. Malayao said other members of human rights groups in the Cordillera region have also become targets of the military. “Bugatti’s killing sends a gravely disturbing message to members of peoples organizations and human rights defenders in the region,” she said. Last week, Malayao raised concerns about posters that appeared in Ifugao province, bearing the names of tribal leaders and human rights activists who have been tagged as communist rebels. “We now fear for the lives of the others listed on the military’s target catalog,” she said, adding that the list “proves that there are precision strikes being made on unarmed civilians” under the governments anti-insurgency program. Malayao said that during the first 10 weeks of 2014 alone, four indigenous people were killed by government security forces.

via Another activist shot dead in Philippines ucanews.com.

Angola rights groups denounce rising police violence but it continues

September 29, 2013

On 4 September human rights groups in Angola denounced an escalation in police brutality against civilians since the start of the year in the oil-rich nation. “In recent months we have seen high levels of police violence in Angola against peaceful protests, street vendors, journalists, activists and human rights defenders,” a group of 20 organisations said in a statement. The groups criticised the “inhumane and cruel” treatment of prison inmates, after a video showing police and firemen beating prisoners in the capital Luanda was widely circulated on social networks. The broad coalition of human rights, environmental and development organisations across the country collaborate under an umbrella organisation, the Working Group for the Monitoring of Human Rights in Angola. The country’s interior ministry has condemned the violence and launched an inquiry to find the culprits. Since the end of a civil war a decade ago Angola’s economy has grown fast, and the country is now Africa’s second-largest oil producer after Nigeria. But most of its citizens live in poverty, and civil society groups as well as international organisations regularly complain of police abuse. “Our political governance system was built on violence and the exclusion of the poor or those who are different. That is what we should attack,” said Elias Isaac from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

“The arrests and assaults on peaceful protesters and journalists are a heavy-handed attempt to silence people who have every right to express their views. Angola’s government should swiftly reverse course, free those wrongly jailed, and investigate the police officers responsible.” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director of Human Rights Watch on 23 SeptemberOn September 19, 2013, police arrested 22 protesters who sought to demonstrate near Independence Square in Luanda and hand out leaflets calling for social justice. Two released that day were quoted in local media alleging that they were beaten and otherwise mistreated in custody. On September 20, three journalists who sought to interview some newly freed protesters were themselves arrested, threatened, and beaten by the police….The three journalists told Human Rights Watch that they were conducting the interviews on the street about three hundred meters away from the court when approximately forty heavily armed rapid intervention police officers arrived in five cars with sirens, including two armored vehicles. They arrested the three journalists, seven of the just-released protesters, and a businessman who had being filming the incident from a nearby office building. All were taken to a rapid intervention police command center where they were ill-treated and threatened. The mistreatment of the journalists was a clear attempt to intimidate the media, Human Rights Watch said.

Since 2011, inspired by popular uprisings in the Middle East, a small, peaceful movement of Angolan activist groups has sought to protest corruption, restrictions on free speech and other rights, and rising inequality in the oil-rich country. Angolan police and security agents have repeatedly disrupted peaceful protests organized by different groups, including youths and war veterans. Police regularly use unnecessary or excessive force and arbitrarily detain protesters. The state media have staged a campaign calling any antigovernment protest an attempt to “wage war.” In a country at peace for the first time in the last decade, such campaigns have raised fear among the population. Journalists and other observers who seek to document the protests and the government’s response have been regularly harassed, detained, and sometimes mistreated.

via Angola rights groups denounce rising police violence | GlobalPost and

http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/23/angola-new-crackdown-peaceful-dissent

 

Takeover of human rights NGO: a weapon in the arsenal of Rwanda’s Government

August 22, 2013

Repressive governments are using different and increasingly ‘indirect’ means to silence human rights defenders.  Intimidation, administrative restrictions, fiscal regulations aimed at reducing funding, terminating rental agreements,  judicial harassment, etc.  According to a report by Human Rights Watch of 14 August 2013, Rwanda is practicing a slightly different tactic: wholesale infiltration and ‘take over’ of independent NGOs.HRW_logo

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Starting a Human Rights Association in This Country? Prepare to Face Jail Time

August 20, 2013

Mrinalini  Shinde wrote a post in Polymic of 17 August about the human rights situation in Saoudi Arabia in good polemic style under the title: “Starting a Human Rights Association in This Country? Prepare to Face Jail Time”. She is an undergraduate student of law at National Law School of India University, interested in gender and sustainability issues. .. She has volunteered with the Human Right Law Network, and has conducted research in family laws, and gender justice. see: Mrinalini Shinde

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© Climber1 (Wikimedia Commons)

The article is not news but provides an excellent example of how students in human rights can write up information Read the rest of this entry »

Special Rapporteur ends visit to South Korea and makes recommendations

June 7, 2013

At the end of a 10-day fact-finding mission to South Korea UN special rapporteur on human rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, said Friday that South Korea’s 65-year-old national security act posed a “seriously problematic” challenge to freedom of expression.  It prohibits the printing, distribution and ownership of any material deemed “anti-state” and outlaws any organisation advocating overthrow of the government.Flag of South Korea
I have been acquainted with the national security act which, despite the fact that it has been amended on several occasions, still appears seriously problematic for the exercise of freedom of expression,Sekaggya said.   Read the rest of this entry »