Posts Tagged ‘international solidarity’

Covid-19 spread leads to reactions and messages of solidarity

March 27, 2020

From the myriad of messages on the spread and impact of the Covid-19 virus, here a few excerpts:

On 27 March 2020, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons said that society has a duty to exercise solidarity and better protect older persons who are bearing the lion’s share of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Reports of abandoned older persons in care homes or of dead corpses found in nursing homes are alarming. This is unacceptable,” said  “We all have the obligation to exercise solidarity and protect older persons from such harm.” Older persons .. are further threatened by COVID-19 due to their care support needs or by living in high-risk environments such as institutions, the expert said. [https://reliefweb.int/report/world/unacceptable-un-expert-urges-better-protection-older-persons-facing-highest-risk-covid]

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Adrien-Claude Zoller, President of the small NGO ‘Geneva for Human Rights – Global Training’ issued a statement of solidiarity ith the marginalised who will suffer most:….As a human rights organisation, Geneva for Human Rights is deeply worried about the situation of the most vulnerable, of the unemployed and homeless, of those in extreme poverty, of people with disabilities, of women already assuming so many tasks, of the elderly, of those arbitrarily detained in overcrowded prisons, of minorities, migrants, internally displaced, refugees, and indigenous peoples. It is a matter of human dignity. Human rights are at stake.
Many Governments first denied, then de-dramatized the spread of the virus, before taking measures to contain it and limit the damage for their economy. Too often in these measures, the social impact of both the health and the economic crises is neglected. We all fully support efforts to eradicate the virus. At the same time, we should not forget the commitment of the international community to eradicate extreme poverty (‘Sustainable Development Goal’, Nr.1). We have to protect the most vulnerable.
….Countrywide lockdowns imply a limitation of human rights. Indeed, complying with these emergency rules, including home confinement, is a moral imperative, a matter of solidarity to slow down the spread of the virus in our communities, and to support those on the frontline, in particular health- and social workers. However, we should recall that measures derogating from human rights obligations in ‘public emergency which threatens the life of the nation’ have to be limited ‘to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation’. They have to be proportionate, limited in time, and in no way discriminatory (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 4, United Nations, 16 December 1966). In many countries, such derogations led to special powers attributed to the Executive branch. Still, the principles of proportionality and non-discrimination have to apply. Parliamentary control and the Rule of Law remain a must, as well as transparency and access to all the information. We are dismayed that in several ‘denying’ countries (e.g. China at the beginning of the pandemic, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey) journalists, physicians, health workers and human rights defenders, are targeted for having exposed the gravity of the situation and the fate of marginalized people…………

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The New Humanitarian looks at the expected impact on aid:  https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2020/03/26/coronavirus-international-aid

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The G20 seems to be aware as shown by a portion of their recent statement: “Enhancing Global CooperationWe will work swiftly and decisively with the front-line international organizations, notably the WHO, IMF, WBG, and multilateral and regional development banks to deploy a robust, coherent, coordinated, and rapid financial package and to address any gaps in their toolkit. We stand ready to strengthen the global financial safety nets. We call upon all these organizations to further step up coordination of their actions, including with the private sector, to support emerging and developing countries facing the health, economic, and social shocksof COVID-19.We are gravely concerned withthe serious risks posed to all countries, particularly developing and least developed countries, and notably in Africaand small island states, where health systems and economies may be less able to cope with thechallenge, as well as the particular risk faced by refugees and displaced persons. We consider that consolidating Africa’s health defense is a key for the resilience of global health. We will strengthen capacity building and technical assistance, especially to at-risk communities. We stand ready to mobilize development and humanitarian financing” [https://g20.org/en/media/Documents/G20_Extraordinary%20G20%20Leaders%e2%80%99%20Summit_Statement_EN%20(3).pdf]

Nominations L4L Award 2017 now welcome until 15 February

January 30, 2017

L4L logoNomination for the 2017 Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) Award can be submitted until 15 February 2017.
The Lawyers for Lawyers Award will be presented for the fourth time in Amsterdam on 19 May 2017. An independent jury, chaired by mrs. Heikelien Verrijn Stuart, will decide which lawyer will receive the award. The prize will consist of a special token as well as a monetary element of € 10.000. This award is presented every two years to a lawyer who promotes the rule of law and human rights in an exceptional way, who has been threatened or obstructed because of his or her work as a lawyer, and who may benefit from the publicity and recognition of the Award.

Anyone can submit a nomination, but a lawyer or group of lawyers cannot nominate themselves. Lawyers from all over the world can be nominated.

Only those nominations submitted via the nomination form on the website will be taken into consideration. The nomination form is available here : Nomination form L4L Award 2017 Lawyers for Lawyers

See for 2015: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/05/15/jorge-molano-from-colombia-laureate-of-2015-lawyers-for-lawyers-award/

 

Conectas tries to balance Brazil’s human rights commitments at home and abroad

January 30, 2015

Under the title “Home and abroad: balancing Brazil’s human rights commitments”, Muriel Asseraf – in Open Democracy of 22 january 2015 – has written an interesting piece highlighting the role of the major NGO Conectas, whose strategy is based on “the conviction that human rights defenders and their organizations in the global south hold the key to an international order more diverse and committed to the respect of human rights”. A good read for the weekend! Read the rest of this entry »

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights writes about Women’s Human Rights Defenders

December 8, 2014

UN HCHR Al Hussein

On 5 December 2014, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, wrote a piece in the Huffington Post in which he eloquently calls on all to ‘Stand in Solidarity With Courageous Women’s Human Rights Defenders’. 

In the article he explains that his Office has decided to launch a campaign to pay tribute to women and men who defy stereotypes and fight for women’s human rights. The campaign runs from Human Rights Day, December 10 this year, to International Women’s Day, March 8, 2015. We encourage everyone to join the ranks of these strong and inspiring advocates, on social media (#reflect2protect) and on the ground. Below the text in full:

 

 

Almost two decades ago, in Beijing, 189 countries made a commitment to achieve equality for women, in practice and in law, so that all women could at last fully enjoy their rights and freedoms as equal human beings.

They adopted a comprehensive and ambitious plan to guarantee women the same rights as men to be educated and develop their potential. The same rights as men to choose their profession. The same rights to lead communities and nations and make choices about their own lives without fear of violence or reprisal. No longer would hundreds of thousands of women die every year in childbirth because of health care policies and systems that neglected their care. No longer would women earn considerably less than men. No longer would discriminatory laws govern marriage, land, property and inheritance.

In the years that followed, the world has witnessed tremendous progress: the number of women in the work force has increased; there is almost gender parity in schooling at the primary level; the maternal mortality ratio declined by almost 50 percent; and more women are in leadership positions. Importantly, governments talk about women’s rights as human rights, and women’s rights and gender equality are acknowledged as legitimate and indispensable goals.

However, the world is still far from the vision articulated in Beijing. Approximately 1 in 3 women throughout the world will experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Less than a quarter of parliamentarians in the world are women. In over 50 countries there is no legal protection for women against domestic violence. Almost 300,000 women and girls died in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Approximately 1 in 3 married women aged 20 to 24 were child brides. In many parts of the world, women and girls cannot make decisions on their most private matters — sexuality, marriage, children. Girls and women who pursue their own life choices are still murdered by their own families in the dishonorable practice of so-called honor killings. All of our societies remain affected by stereotypes based on the inferiority of women, which often denigrate, humiliate and sexualize them.

Today we have the responsibility to protect the progress made in the past 20 years and address the remaining challenges. In doing so, we must recognize the vital role of women who defend human rights, often at great risk to themselves and their families precisely because they are viewed as stepping outside socially prescriptive gender stereotypes. We must recognize the role of all people, women and men, who publicly call for gender equality and often, as a result, find themselves the victim of archaic and patriarchal, but powerful, threats to their reputations, their work and even their lives. These extraordinary individuals — women’s human rights defenders — operate in hostile environments, where arguments of cultural relativism are common and often against the background of the rise of extremist, misogynistic groups, which threaten to dismantle the gains of the past.

Attacks against women who stand up to demand their human rights and individuals who advocate for gender equality are often designed to keep women in their “place.” In some areas of the world, women who participate in public demonstrations are told to go home to take care of their children. Consider the recent example of a newspaper publishing naked photos of a woman, claiming she was a well-known activist — an attack designed to shame this defender into silence. In other places, when women claim their right to affordable modern methods of contraception, they are labelled as prostitutes in smear campaigns seeking to undermine their credibility. Online attacks against those who speak for women’s human rights and gender equality by so-called “trolls” — who threaten heinous crimes — are increasingly reported.

These attacks have a common thread — they rely on gender stereotypes and deeply entrenched discriminatory social norms in an attempt to silence those who challenge the age-old system of gender inequality. However, these defenders will not be silenced, and we must stand in solidarity with them against these cowardly attacks.

This is why my Office has decided to launch a campaign to pay tribute to women and men who defy stereotypes and fight for women’s human rights. The campaign runs from Human Rights Day, December 10 this year, to International Women’s Day, March 8, 2015. We encourage everyone to join the ranks of these strong and inspiring advocates, on social media and on the ground.

As we approach the 20-year anniversary of Beijing, discrimination and violence against women, and the stereotypes that confine them into narrowly fixed roles must end. Women have the right to make their own decisions about their lives and their bodies. Guaranteeing and implementing these rights are non-negotiable obligations of all States. Women human rights defenders were instrumental in securing the ambitious program laid out in Beijing. Their work, their activism and their courage deserve our recognition, our support and our respect.”

Stand in Solidarity With Courageous Womens Human Rights Defenders | UN Women.

IM-Defensoras: women human rights defenders in Central America support each other

February 25, 2014

MDG : Women activists in Latin America  : protest against violence in Mexico

(A woman protesting against violence (c) Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

An excellent piece in the Guardian of 25 February by Jo Tuckman describes the impact of the Mesoamerican Human Rights Defenders’ Initiative [IM-Defensoras] which through solidarity tries to protect woman human rights defenders. The Honduran Berta Cáceres – who has been under threat for years because of her campaign against extractive industries – says that without solidarity from her peers, it could all be over. “The solidarity is why I am alive and why I am here,” she told a recent meeting of the IM-Defensoras in the Mexican capital. “And, of course, we are committed to continue.” (https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/berta-caceres/)

IM-Defensoras is a three-year-old effort to provide women rights defenders in the Central American region with protection mechanisms that are gender-sensitive and adapted to different contexts, and that go beyond traditional options. The organisers of IM-Defensoras say activists in Central America are increasingly being targeted and governmental protection is rarely effective and difficult to trust. The initiative documented 414 attacks on women activists between 2010 and 2012, a period in which it says 38 women were killed, with the vast majority of their deaths blamed on the state.

The initiative is built around the creation of national networks of activists. So far, these have been set up in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, with about 360 members. The plan is to expand these networks and set up new ones in Costa Rica and Panama. The importance of the networks stems partly from the recognition that women activists are usually less able to rely on family and organisational support than men. For example, a female leader in danger is much likelier to face pressure from her family, or even from male colleagues, to withdraw from activism. “The gender perspective means recognising that women defenders have already broken the rules“.

The networks are the basis of most of the work of IM-Defensoras. In times of emergency, the networks may draw attention to a credible death threat or organise temporary exile, for example. They devise strategies that take into account complications such as whether an activist also has children.

The Guardian article also draws attention to an often overlooked aspect of support networks: fighting stress. The initiative also encourages activists to pay attention to the stress they accumulate from sustained threats, attacks, sexual harassment and smear campaigns. The risk of burnout is increased further by the fact that most women activists receive no salary and so also undertake paid work, at the same time as spending several hours a day on domestic chores. After getting supportive messages, Lolita Chávez, a Guatemalan K´iche’ (Mayan language) human rights defender is quoted as saying:  “I said to myself: ‘Maybe others think I am a terrorist but there are sisters telling me I am a defender of human rights’,”… “It was a counterbalance.” Chávez also spent three weeks in Mexico at a workshop to help her look after her own mental and physical health, which, like most women activists, she had neglected for years. “The initiative has filled me with life, but there are many sisters out there who are still waiting for this kind of support,” Chávez told the Mexico City meeting. “It is possible to do what we do and not be a martyr.” (see also: http://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/lolita-chavez-about-land-and-life-in-peril-in-guatemala/)

 

Central American women put their lives on the line for human rights | Global development | theguardian.com.

Afghan women human rights defenders in the picture today

February 11, 2014

Human rights of women in Afghanistan were at the forefront of the international agenda after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Thirteen years later, nine Afghan women human rights defenders working at the front line reflect on the progress that has been made over the last years, as well as on the risks they have faced because of their work. Today, new challenges arise, as the lack of commitment at national and international level endangers past achievements and the continuation of progress in the near future. Dublin-based Frontline Defenders published the following video in 2 parts:Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped

part 1:

part 2: