Posts Tagged ‘Mary Lawlor’

Surprise announcement of a Franco-German Human Rights Prize

December 5, 2016

This blog follows with special attention developments in the area of human rights awards. The announcement of a new award on 1 December 2016, the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, came as a surprise. Some aspects remain unclear (is there a monetary component?; what will be the frequency?) but judging from the text of the press release as well as the choice of recipients of the inaugural prize, it is mostly an award for human rights defenders. Read the rest of this entry »

Front Line Defenders announces steady hand Andrew Anderson as new Executive Director

October 8, 2016

Dublin-based NGO Front Line Defenders announced on 6 October 2016 that Andrew Anderson has been appointed as the organisation’s new Executive Director. Andrew has worked for the international protection of human rights defenders for more than twenty years, and has played a key leadership role in building Front Line Defenders into an effective force fighting for those most at risk. He will begin his new role on 1 November 2016.

The Front Line Defenders Board of Trustees selected Andrew due to his extensive management, fundraising and human rights experience. In its announcement, the Board of Trustees noted that it “unanimously agreed that Andrew is the candidate with the experience and skills best placed to lead Front Line Defenders into the next stage of our development.

Andrew Anderson and Mary Lawlor, launch of the 2016 Annual Report

The choice is a good one in my view as Andrew has 27 years experience of working for human rights at the international level and has served as Deputy Director of Front Line Defenders since March 2003. As Deputy Director, he led the development of an international civil society consortium to implement the EU human rights defenders mechanism (www.ProtectDefenders.eu), and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York. Before joining Front Line Defenders, Andrew worked for thirteen years at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International where he served as Director of the Campaigning and Crisis Response Programme and as Director of the Africa Programme. For an earlier video statement by Andrew see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/andrew-anderson-speaks-and-speaks-well-on-the-anniversary-of-un-declaration-on-hrds-youtube/.

“It is an honour and a challenge to take on this role at a time when human rights defenders are facing increasing attacks in all regions of the world,” said Andrew. “We must sustain the drive and energy which made Front Line Defenders so effective under Mary’s inspirational leadership and build on that legacy to deliver rapid and practical support for those who risk their lives to build a better future.”

Andrew will succeed Front Line Defenders’ current Executive Director Mary Lawlor, who founded the organisation in 2001. See: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/mary-lawlor-leaves-as-executive-director-of-front-line-defenders-job-search-for-successor-started/

Source: Front Line Defenders Announces New Executive Director, Andrew Anderson | Front Line Defenders

Role of Human Rights Defenders critical for post-accord justice in Colombia says Mary Lawlor

July 12, 2016

Mary Lawlor has only  just announced her departure (see announcement published yesterday) and already an article on Colombia of 11 July 2016 shows what insights we may miss in the future. The link between the peace process and the role of human rights defenders in Colombia was referred to in earlier posts [e.g. https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/human-rights-defenders-squeezed-by-geo-politics-the-cases-of-colombia-iran-and-cuba/]  Mary Lawlor here welcomes the agreement as historic, offering the Colombian people an opportunity to make a break with the endemic violence of the past. The direct reference to the protection of human rights defenders in the peace agreement is one more reason to celebrate. Here the piece in full:

Human Rights Defenders Critical for Post-Accord Justice in Colombia

Read the rest of this entry »

Mary Lawlor leaves as Executive Director of Front Line Defenders: search for successor started

July 11, 2016

Founding directors do not alway leave in such a well-planned way, but in the case of May Lawlor this is different. Having done a most admirable job in setting up and developing Front Line Defenders into the main ‘hub’ for information Human Rights Defenders over the last 15 years, she has now announced her departure. Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

For the few readers of this blog who need further information, please visit www.frontlinedefenders.org

The Board of Trustees now seeks an Executive Director with significant previous experience of working at a senior level for the protection of human rights defenders or equivalent experience in a human rights based activity or organization in a leadership role. The Executive Director will have strong communication, management and analytical skills. They will have an understanding of the political environment for human rights defenders and have excellent political judgement. This position will be based in Dublin but will involve frequent travel.

For more information, please contact: Claire Cronin, Cronin Partners International Search, 12 Merrion Square  |  claire@croninpartners.com

Application deadline: Friday 29th July, 2016

Source: Executive Director Job with Front Line Defenders

Ana Mirian Romero, environmental activist from Honduras, wins 2016 Front Line Award

June 10, 2016

It comes too late for murdered human rights defender Berta Caceres [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/berta-caceres/] but perhaps her fellow environmental activist in HondurasAna Mirian Romero, will receive the protective publicity she needs by being selected as the winner of the 2016 Front Line Defenders Award. Ana Mirian Romero had her home burned down and was beaten by police for protesting in her native country. Romero has been active in opposing the installation of the Los Encinos hydro-electric dam on indigenous land of the Lenca people in Honduras. She was presented with the award at a ceremony in Dublin’s City Hall this morning, 10 June 2016.

Environmental activist from Honduras wins 2016 Front Line Defenders Award
Ana Mirian Romero at the ceremony in Dublin’s City Hall with Front Line Director May Lawlor on the left  – Image: Sean Defoe

Sources:

Environmental activist from Honduras wins 2016 Front Line…

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/We-Dont-Fear-Honduran-Indigenous-Defender-Wins-Global-Prize-20160610-0002.html

Latin America, Philippines most dangerous places for Human Rights Defenders

January 6, 2016

The latest statistical report released by Front Line Defenders revealed the appalling reality that human rights defenders all over the world are at great risk to be victims of extreme forms of violence. And based on the organization’s annual report, 157 human rights activists were killed or died in detention in 25 countries in 2015. Latin America, Philippines are named as most dangerous places for Human Rights Defenders. Read the rest of this entry »

Front Line Annual Report: over 130 human rights defenders killed in 2014

January 15, 2015

 

On Wednesday 14 January, Front Line Defenders launched its 2015 Annual Report, “Human Rights Defenders, Lives in the Balance” which examines in detail the deteriorating situation for human rights defenders (HRDs) around the world in the period January – December 2014.

The report was launched at a press conference in Dublin with as keynote speaker Mary Akrami, Co-founder and Director of the Afghan Women Skills Development Centre which was the first safe house for women and children in Afghanistan.

Mary Akrami, Andrea Rocca , and Mary Lawlor from Front Line Defenders launch the report.
Mary Akrami, Andrea Rocca, and Mary Lawlor from Front Line Defenders launch the report.

Over the last two years Front Line Defenders has documented a growing global backlash against human rights defenders (HRDs) which has now reached crisis point. Against this backdrop, international human rights institutions as well as governments traditionally supportive of human rights defenders appear to be incapable of forcefully and effectively opposing the shutting down of civil society space.

This is a crucial political moment. If we are to challenge the systematic erosion of human rights standards there needs to be a more consistent and credible political response, which must give the same priority and resources to creating a safe space for HRDs as authoritarian governments give to closing it down” said Front Line Defenders Executive Director, Mary Lawlor. “There can be no human rights progress if those at the forefront of human rights work are not allowed to work”.

The report highlights:

• that over 130 HRDs were killed or died in detention in the first ten months of 2014 as reported to Front Line Defenders
Colombia accounted for 46 of those 130 HRDs killed in 2014
• The Americas overall claimed 101 of the 130 HRDs killed in 2014
• Globally, deprivation of liberty and court proceedings were the most widely used strategies to silence and intimidate HRDs
Repressive laws continued their viral spread across the world with the growth of cut and paste repression as governments replicate legislation
HRDs are exposed to digital attacks.

For more see: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/27916 

France to honour Mary Lawlor of Front Line with Legion d’Honneur

June 28, 2014

Mary Lawlor,Executive Director of Front Line Defenders. Photo: Tom Burke.
(Mary Lawlor. Photo: Tom Burke)

The Irish Independent on 28 June 20143 reports that the founding director of Dublin-based Front Line Defenders will receive the Order of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour at the French embassy on Thursday 3 July. Mary Lawlor established the NGO (one of the 10 NGOs on the MEA Jury) in 2001 with a start-up donation of €2.2 million from businessman Denis O’Brien. “Francophone and francophile Ms Mary Lawlor defends the values of humanity and respect, which are shared by both France and Ireland,” said a spokesman for the embassy.

France to honour Mary Lawlor for human rights stand – Independent.ie.

25 Years Tiananmen ‘celebrated’ with over 100 detentions

June 13, 2014

(A map of all individuals detained in the wake of the Tiananmen anniversary. Some of these persons have already been released. Photo: CHRD)

Yesterday China Human Rights Defenders has released a list of over 100 activists, journalists, lawyers, dissidents and other assorted individuals who are thought to have been detained by the government in the wake of the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. As of June 11, 116 individuals from various parts of China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, Xinjiang and Guangdong are all listed, with an estimated 49 criminal detentions and two confirmed arrests. Many who were not detained were invited by local authorities to “drink tea” – a veiled phrase for questioning – and were warned to avoid participating in any anniversary activities. Chief among the detainees is veteran human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, who was placed in criminal detention on May 6 under charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” after he attended a May 3 Tiananmen commemoration.

(Pu Zhiqiang. Photo: Reuters)

Pu was … a student lawyer in the 1989 protests, [and he] became a prominent human rights lawyer and advocate, taking up some of the most politically sensitive rights-defending cases,” said David Zhao, researcher and representative for CHRD. “He [has made] earlier remarks that he is still ‘deeply emotionally tied to [Tiananmen]’ and has ‘no regrets over his involvements’.”

 

(Yu Shiwen (left) and Chen Wei (right). Photo: Screenshot via RFA)

Other persons on CHRD’s list include Wang Xiuying, an 83-year-old activist who had her home searched by Beijing police after signing a Tiananmen commemoration petition, Chen Wei and Yu Shiwen, an activist couple who organised Tiananmen memorial services, and Wu Wei, a former South China Morning Post journalist in Beijing who interviewed Pu Zhiqiang in the past. “The clampdown on commemorative events this year is the most severe of all years and this reflects the [government’s] determination to wipe out the memory of Tiananmen,” Zhao said.

View CHRD’s list in full here.

via http://www.scmp.com/news/china-insider/article/1530899/human-rights-group-releases-list-over-100-people-detained-during

A few days earlier, 6 June, Mary Lawlor of Front Line wrote a thoughtful piece on the same issue stating that it “would be fitting that the 25th anniversary of the  Square massacre be marked by a renewed international effort to provide greater support to Chinese human rights defenders.

China-Tiananmen-Square

Human rights defenders (HRDs) currently working in China are frequently seen as challenging the Party and as such must be prepared to risk everything, including death, to continue their work. Although the Party’s methods may have changed in the past quarter of a century, its intention to crush dissent at any cost has not. On 3/4 June 1989 hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were killed in the approach roads to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, bringing an end to seven weeks of protests which had drawn up to a million people onto the streets. What started off as a student protest in the capital calling for political reform quickly morphed into a mass movement supported by broad cross-sections of society which spread to dozens of other cities throughout the country.

The legacy of these protests and the massacre that followed is still keenly felt by HRDs in today’s China. The events of 1989 remain a key touchstone to many Chinese HRDs and as the CCP works to erase the memory of what happened that June, HRDs are equally determined to keep that memory alive, and honor those who died. They do this not only through yearly commemorations of the dead, but also through their day-to-day work defending the rights for which the 1989 protesters struggled. These HRDs highlight injustice, campaign against discrimination, defend in court those who have been arrested for expressing themselves freely and shine a spotlight on the myriad of abuses, including corruption, carried out by the CCP.

So threatened does the Party feel by the memory of its actions 25 years ago that it criminalizes the very act of remembering. In early May, five HRDs were arrested following a low-key memorial at a private residence in Beijing. They are being held on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” The only “quarrel” these HRDs “picked” was with the CCP’s whitewashed version of history, and the Party’s hysterical overreaction to such a commemoration is as clear an admission of guilt as any signed confession. The author then refers to groups such as the  The Tiananmen Mothers and the New Citizens Movement…

On the surface, the China of today is a much changed place to the China of 1989… Yet beneath the confident exterior lies the reality that the CCP remains a fragile entity, haunted by the possibility that the values of equality, justice and dignity espoused by HRDs in China might threaten its legitimacy, which is based almost solely on an economic growth model…..While various countries trip over each other in a race to secure lucrative trade deals with China, emphasis on human rights gets pushed further and further down the agenda. The CCP knows that no matter how egregious its abuse of rights – as in the recent death of human rights defender Cao Shunli in custody – international reaction will be muted at best. These are the same rights which workers and students died for twenty five years ago and whose deaths were met at the time with a robust international response.

The weakening of such international support for HRDs working today can only be seen as a betrayal of the values espoused in 1989. It would be fitting that the 25th anniversary of the massacre be marked by a renewed international effort to provide greater support to Chinese HRDs as they bravely continue their work in advancing and protecting internationally recognized rights, despite knowing with full certainty that they will be targeted as a result of this work.

Tiananmen 25: More than a Symbolic Legacy | Sharnoffs Global Views.

42 Human Rights Defenders also want to win in World Cup

June 12, 2014

“If just a fraction of the global attention given to football could be given to securing human rights, we would all be celebrating victory.”

Front Line Defenders and Brazilian NGO partners Justiça Global and Terra de Direitos launched today an online and social media campaign to focus attention on the plight of 42 human rights defenders (HRDs) from each of the participating World Cup nations (www.sportshrd.org). The international campaign kicks off  in a few hours just before the first World Cup match between Brazil and Croatia with an event in Dublin.

Front Line Defenders draws attention to these heroes in our societies who work at great personal risk, against seemingly insurmountable odds to secure fundamental rights and freedoms for others,” announced Mary Lawlor, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders.

The campaign site allows visitors to send messages of solidarity, which will be delivered to the HRDs. On Twitter, please use #sportshrd to enlarge the reach of the campaign.

For more information contact adam[at]frontlinedefenders.org 

World Cup Countdown: Front Line Defenders HRD Team | Front Line.