Posts Tagged ‘Land issues’

Impunity with Canadian flavor

February 5, 2019

Brent Patterson posted on Rabble.ca on 4 February, 2019 a piece entitled: “Impunity for human rights violations must be challenged from Guatemala to the Wet’suwet’en territories“. It looks at the concept of impunity, especially in the context of indigenous people in Latin America and..Canada. Read the rest of this entry »

Lassana Koné: an environmental human rights defender in the DRC

May 25, 2015

Koné: We want to support forest dependent communities in the protection of their natural resources and put human rights issues at the heart of forest debates’.

Lassana Koné is a lawyer in Kinshasha, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), working for Forest Peoples Programme, an international NGO working to protect the rights of those who live in the world’s forests. The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) did an interview with him on 8 May 2015 in Banjul:

Lassana’s efforts in the DRC are focused on pushing for policy change regarding land reform and forest governance, seeking to secure community land titles.‘It’s a key moment because the Government is in the process of reforming the land tenure act. It is vital that the human rights of communities be enshrined in this process. It gives us an opportunity to ensure that the free prior and informed manner in which communities ought to be consulted according to international law, is finally ensured by national law’.

Lassana works with a number of local communities in advocating for such policies and, in doing so, shines a light on the abuses taking place around communal land and natural resources. He explains that, for the communities raising their voice can be dangerous.

They face a range of opponents to their demands, and these opponents can become threatening. For example many communities are being evicted for conservation projects and can be threatened by national park guards. Others find themselves face to face with powerful proponents of extractive industries. In both cases, foreign companies are usually working together with the government’.

Whist the majority of the organisation’s work in DRC is currently focused on advocacy and dialogue for policy change, they also monitor human rights abuses in forest communities and are litigating a case before the national court regarding the forced eviction of a community to make way for a national park in Kivu region.

We hope to bring a communication before the ACHPR regarding the Sengwer indigenous people of Kenya, who have suffered a massive forced eviction last year from their ancestral lands, when many thousands of families were evicted, with houses and possessions burned, by the Kenyan Government’s Forest Service. There have been some successful complaints with the World Bank and also statements by UN special procedures, but hope for a response at the regional level.’ But Lassana also sees other opportunities for actions from the ACHPR, particularly around the free prior and informed consultations of communities regarding the development and conservation projects. ‘This is something which the ACHPR Working Group on Extractives and the Environment is working on. We hope they will produce guidelines on this issue. But we are also engaging with the regional system in other ways: for this session we produced a shadow report on the situation facing indigenous Batwa people in Uganda, whilst we are also contemplating how to work with the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders regarding the threats towards communities demanding their rights’.

We believe that local initiatives backed up by international support can ensure that forest peoples have their rights protected too’.

Lassana Koné can be contacted at lassana@forestpeoples.org

Cet article existe également en français .

Lassana Koné: Land and environmental rights defender in the DRC | ISHR.

Young human rights defenders honored by awards in Bangladesh

January 28, 2015

Recipients of the honorary awards given by Manusher Jonno Foundation, standing behind, with the guests sitting in front, in the capital's Bangla Academy yesterday, at the award giving ceremony marking Human Rights Day. Photo: Star

Recipients of the honorary awards given by Manusher Jonno Foundation, standing behind, with the guests sitting in front, in the capital’s Bangla Academy yesterday, at the award giving ceremony marking Human Rights Day. Photo: Star

A nice little item left-over from Human Rights Day 2014. How human rights awards play at the local level:

Ten human rights defenders from the grassroots level, two eminent social workers with international recognition, and a female football player were given honorary awards by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) yesterday. The works of the activists focused on land rights, prevention of violence against women, child rights, and the rights of the indigenous people. The 10 grassroots activists were Jharna Ray, Madhobilata Chakma, and Nomita Chakma of Khagrachhari, Birendra Sangma of Mymensingh, Shafique Ullah of Noakhali, Kachhim Uddin of Tangail, Kananbala Gupta of Narail, Umme Kulsum Ranjana of Bogra, Kalpana Tirki of Rajshahi, and Rahela of Dinajpur.

Two social workers Jharna Dhara Chowdhury, chief of Noakhali’s Gandhi Ashram, and Angela Gomes, executive director of Bachte Shekha, were also honoured along with Bipasha Mali, a young footballer who was recently called to play on the national women’s football team.

Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said, “They don’t work for recognition. Yet when we value their contributions, it makes us proud and we get inspiration to work.

MJF honours 10 grassroots human rights defenders | Two social workers, a young female footballer also receive the honorary awards.

Cambodian MEA Laureate 2012 Luon Sovath charged with incitement

November 5, 2014

 
cambodia-luon-sovath-award-oct-2012.jpg

(Luon Sovath after receiving the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in Geneva on 2 October 2012; left myself.  AFP)
 On 4 November Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports that two outspoken critics of Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen are called to court this month on vague charges of “incitement to commit a crime,” but the defendants say they have done nothing illegal. It concerns the human rights defender and monk Luon Sovath (MEA Laureate 2012) and dissident Sourn Serey Ratha (based in the USA). They received summons dated 22 October (!) signed by Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Meas Chanpeseth accusing then of “incitement to commit crimes in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and abroad” in 2011, under Penal Code article 495, but the summonses, which ordered the two men to appear in court together in the capital on 25 November, do not specify what crimes they had incited or how their cases were linked.

[Under the Penal Code, incitement is vaguely defined in article 495 as directly provoking the commission of a crime or an act that creates “serious turmoil in society” through public speech, writings or drawings, or audio-visual telecommunication. Luon Sovath faces up to five years in prison if convicted, while Sourn Serey Ratha faces a total maximum punishment of 15 years.]

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Side Event: “Human Rights Defenders in Cambodia: A Call For Support”

September 22, 2014

Chris Kelly‘s film on Cambodia [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/documentary-the-rights-of-others-shows-human-rights-defenders-in-cambodia-against-evictions/], was also shown at a side event: “Human Rights Defenders in Cambodia: A Call For Support”​ which took place in the Palais des Nations, Geneva today. In 2014, human rights defenders in Cambodia continue to be the target of intimidation, arbitrary arrests and spurious criminal charges, particularly when their activism relates to land and labour rights. This side event will present the perspective and outlook of human rights defenders with a view to explore ways for the international community to support the protection of human rights defenders in Cambodia. The screening of the documentary was followed by  a panel – moderated by OMCT’s Anne-Laurence Lacroix – with:

  • Surya Prasad Subedi UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia
  • Am Sam Ath Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, LICADHO,
  • Chan Puthisak Boeung Kak Lake community
  • Chhay Chhunly Cambodian Center for Human Rights

via Cambodia: Side Event: “Human Rights Defenders in Cambodia: A Call For Support” / September 22, 2014 / Events / Human rights defenders / OMCT.

Business and Human Rights Defenders in Side Event on Friday 13 June

May 27, 2014

Under the title “From threats to opportunities: Business and Human Rights Defenders” the International Service for Human Rights [ISHR] organises a side event on Friday 13 June 2014, 12h15 – 13h45 in Room IX of Palais des Nations, Geneva. Note that it will be the first public appearance of the new Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Michael Forst. (https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/finally-it-is-final-michel-forst-the-new-rapporteur-on-human-rights-defenders/). For those unable to attend, a live webcast will be available at www.ishr.ch/webcast. You may also follow the event on Twitter @ISHRGlobal, using the hashtag #HRDs.ISHR-logo-colour-high

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EU asked to press Laos on human rights in today dialogue

May 19, 2014

Interesting to note that this piece found its way into the Tourism Section of the Thai newspaper Phuket Wan [“This is the first site on the island dedicated especially to tourism, property, restaurants and nightlife, and jobs”of 19 May 2014. “The European Union EU must make the strengthening of bilateral relations with Laos contingent upon the Lao governments ability to make tangible progress in addressing key human rights issues, FIDH and it member organisation, the Lao Movement for Human Rights, said .” The paper then summarizes the briefing paper titled ‘Laos: The government’s failure to reform and address serious human rights issues call for EU action‘, released ahead of the 5th Laos-EU Working Group on Human Rights and Governance, held in Brussels today. [Foremost issues: rampant land grabbing and restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly, association, and religion as well as a credible investigation re human rights defender Sombath Somphone.

via EU Asked to Push for Improved Human Rights in Laos – Phuket Wan

UN High Commissioner condemns disappearance of Billy in context of retaliation against environmentalist in South East Asia

May 6, 2014

The disappearance of Karen activist “Billy” has prompted the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights UNHCHR to condemn the “pattern of killings and forced disappearances of environmental activists in Southeast Asia” and to urge authorities to conduct thorough and independent investigations. “We are concerned about the lack of progress with an investigation into the disappearance of a prominent human rights defender in Thailand,” UNHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville said in a statement released on Friday 2 May. Read the rest of this entry »

UN expert body urges action to prevent violation of indigenous rights due to business

October 30, 2013


(Indigenous people in Totonicapán, Guatemala. Photo: OHCHR/Rolando Alfaro)

Yesterday’s post about the G.A. report of UN Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders pointing to the pressure on environmental HRDs, is followed immediately by another on a similar topic: on 28 October 2013 the ‘UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises‘ made its report to the General Assembly and concludes that States and corporations need to do more to prevent the violation of indigenous peoples’ rights as a result of business-related activities.

Human rights defenders working on development issues are increasingly stigmatized, UN Rapporteur tells General Assembly

October 29, 2013

 

Human rights defenders working on behalf of communities affected by large-scale development projects are increasingly being branded ‘anti-government’, ‘against development’ or even ‘enemies of the State’, the Special Rapporteur for human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, has warned. Read the rest of this entry »