Posts Tagged ‘Kazakhstan’

The Atlantic Council and the Human Rights Foundation at loggerheads over Gabon, Bahrain, Kazakhstan and Eritrea

October 27, 2016

Having reported last month on the Atlantic Council‘s questionable idea of giving an award to Gabon’s leader [https://thoolen.wordGabon’s leaderpress.com/2016/09/20/how-awards-can-get-it-wrong-four-controversial-decisions-in-one-week/], I would be amiss in not referring the big spat that this has developed into between Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation and Frederick Kempe of the Atlantic Council. In opinion page in The Hill of 26 October does not mince words. The final paragraph sets the tone: “It’s fair to wonder how Kempe and his staff can look at themselves in the mirror every morning when they spend their days defending dictators like Eritrea’s Afwerki, Gabon’s Bongo, and Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev. The donations might be juicy, but at some point, Kempe’s colleagues and prestigious board members must stop and realize that they are taking the side of tyrants, betraying the very ideals they set out to promote in the first place.” Some of the juicy excerpts:

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How awards can get it wrong: four controversial decisions in one week!

September 20, 2016

This blog regularly covers human rights awards [e.g. https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/human-rights-awards/]. Most of the awards end up with the right people or – if needed – decisions get corrected [e.g. https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/russian-protest-artist-pavlensky-stripped-of-havel-prize-over-support-for-violent-partisans/]. This week four controversial cases have come to the fore although they ‘fortunately’ concern more political kind of awards given to more political kind of people. Still instructive for those who consider giving awards: Read the rest of this entry »

Tony Blair’s Children’s Award in contrast with his PR work for a dictator

November 27, 2014

This blog has always had keen interest in awards and in celebrities abusing their reputation. The current row over Tony Blair receiving an award from Save the Children USA as described by Katie Nguyen of Reuters on 26 November 2014 is exactly at the crossroads of these two interest.

Quartet Representative to the Middle East and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair attends the International donors conference on financing the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in Cairo October 12, 2014.  REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Files
(former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at International donors conference on October 12, 2014. 
CREDIT: REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/FILES)
Save the Children’s U.S.A chapter gave its annual Global Legacy Award to former British prime minister Tony Blair last week. It stated that it was to recognise Blair’s role in persuading the G8 to agree to debt relief of $40 billion for the poorest nations. Staff working for the charity were furious about the award, the Guardian newspaper reported and more than 100,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Save the Children revoke the award.

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JOINT NGO RECOMMENDATIONS ON ENSURING PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN CENTRAL ASIA

May 21, 2014


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From 20-21 May 2014 there was in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, a Regional Workshop on Implementing the Human Dimension Commitments and Enhancing the role of Civil Society. An important contribution was the joint statement by six NGOs containing recommendations to protect human rights defenders in Central Asia.  The text in its totality follows below:  Read the rest of this entry »

And the Nominees Are……Oscars for Human-Rights !!

February 28, 2014

Regular readers of this blog know that I like the idea of holding  celebrities accountable (most recently: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/star-power-and-human-rights-a-difficult-but-doable-mix/).   The reason is that there is a mutually reinforcing (and for many profitable) interaction between the stars and the media (which in turn feed on the interest of the public). Celebrities’ views on all kind of issues – including human rights –  can hardly be called private. Their social media are virtual industries and influence millions globally. So it seems a good idea to have an annual look at which celebrities have advanced and which have harmed the cause of human rights around the world. Halvorssen and Leigh Hancock ( of the Human Rights Foundation) have done exactly that in the Atlantic on 27 February 2004 and linked it to the upcoming Oscars night on Sunday. 

(Gary Hershorn/Reuters)

The list of celebrities deserving recognition for their accomplishments in the field of human rights or those who should be ashamed for supporting human-rights violators, is long and contains many video links. Like the real Oscars, the list is slanted in terms of geopolitical interest and I think that if all major international human rights organisations would get together to agree on a list if would be more balanced, but that is probably wishful thinking. Still, the Human Rights Foundation deserves credit for this creative initiative. and here is the summary:

The Nominees for Outstanding Work in the Field of Human Rights Read the rest of this entry »

Kazakhstan: Human rights defender Zinaida Mukhortova released from psychiatric confinement

November 4, 2013

On 1 November 2013, human rights defender, Zinaida Mukhortova, was released from Astana Medical Centre for Psychological Health in Kazakhstan. As reported in this blog earlier she had been detained in psychiatric confinement since 9 August 2013 in Balkhash and was transferred to Astana on 30 September 2013 for psychological testing. Since her detention, Zinaida Mukhortova  has been subjected  to forced psychiatric confinement and treated against her will.  Zinaida Mukhortova is a human rights lawyer with more than 10 years’ legal practice. Through her work, she has denounced cases of corruption and interference of political interests in the judiciary.

To find out more about the legal proceedings taken against Zinaida Mukhortova, please see update of 9 October 2013, http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/23924 byFrontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped

 

Kazakhstan: Court upholds psychiatric confinement of human rights lawyer Zinaida Mukhortova

October 1, 2013

On 27 September 2013, Karaganda’s regional court of Karaganda confirmed the decision of the Balkhash Court to approve the forced psychiatric confinement of human rights defender and lawyer Zinaida Mukhortova on which this blog reported earlier.  Read the rest of this entry »

Dictators in Central Asia like music – some musicians like the dictators

September 4, 2013

Jennifer Lopez at ISC Miami.

Kanye West

On 28 May 2012 I congratulated Loreen – the Swedish winner of the Eurovision song festival – as she was the only of the contesting artists who stood up for human rights. During her visit to Baku she visited human rights defenders at risk during a meeting the NGO Civil Rights Defenders arranged. The Government of Azerbaijan tried to downplay the issue by saying that music and human rights have to be separate, but it is shocking that a number of musicians seem to agree with this position.

The New-York based Human Rights Foundation, on 3 September 2013,  reports that the American musician Kanye West performed at the wedding of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s grandson last Saturday night in Kazakhstan. He reportedly received $3 million for the private engagement in the oil-rich former Soviet state, which has been autocratically since 1991. West’s lucrative private performance comes on the heels of a similar concert given by Jennifer Lopez for the dictator of neighboring Turkmenistan earlier this summer, which sparked a worldwide media interest. At the time, Lopez claimed ignorance of Turkmenistan’s notorious human rights abuses. West is not the first global celebrity to be approached to play in Kazakhstan: in 2011, Sting refused to play a private concert there, citing concern over the repression of workers in the country.

Forced psychiatric treatment still alive in parts of Europe

August 13, 2013

For those who think that the phenomenon of forced psychiatric treatment of human rights defenders has disappeared with the end of the cold war, here are two reminders from Front Line that this is unfortunately still continuing:Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped

The first case is in the Ukraine and had at least a ‘happy’ ending: Read the rest of this entry »

Example of Fellowship Programme for HRDs under threat by Front Line: Galym Ageleuov

April 15, 2013

Front Line Defenders hosted human rights defender Galym Ageleuov from Kazakhstan on its Fellowship Programme in Dublin between January and March 2013. Galym is the founder and head of human rights NGO Liberty – based in Almaty and established in 2011 to monitor and document human rights abuses and promote freedom of the internet in Kazakhstan, including through the You Tube project “Open Your Eyes” which broadcasts videos highlighting socio-political life in the country.

Liberty was one of the few organisations that succeeded in reporting from Zhanaozen and disseminating video footage following the massacre in 2011 when a demonstration by striking oil workers was violently suppressed by police, resulting in at least 14 deaths. Efforts to spread the awful truth of what happened there led to a serious defamation campaign against the organisation which included accusations of inciting violence and attempting to overthrow the government.

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