Posts Tagged ‘media professionals’

Afghanistan: 65 media workers and rights defenders killed since 2018

February 15, 2021

UNAMA/Freshta DuniaThe Pul-e-Kheshti Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan. (file photo) 15 February 2021Human Rights

On 15 February 2021 the UN reported that 65 journalists, media professionals and human rights defenders were killed in Afghanistan between 1 January 2018 and 31 January 2021, with 11 losing their lives since the start of peace negotiations last September. 

This trend, combined with the absence of claims of responsibility, has generated a climate of fear among the population”, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a news release, announcing the findings from its latest report

The violence, the Mission said, resulted in contraction of the human rights and media space, with many professionals exercising self-censorship in their work, quitting their jobs, and leaving their homes, communities – and even the country – in hope it will improve their safety.  See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/11/26/afghanistan-human-rights-defenders-targeted-but-fearless/. The Digest of Human Rights Laureates lists some 20 defenders: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest

“The killings have had the broader impact across society of also diminishing expectations around efforts towards peace”, UNAMA added. 

The special report Killings of Human Rights Defender and Media Professionals also documented “changing patterns” of attacks.  The most recent wave, that of intentional, premeditated and deliberate targeting of individuals with perpetrators remaining anonymous contrasts to previous years, UNAMA said. In the past, such deaths were mainly as a result of proximity of individuals to attacks by organized armed groups, mainly the Islamic State in the Levant-Khorasan-Province (ISIL-KP), involving the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/06/30/car-bomb-kills-two-human-rights-workers-in-afghanistan/

The report underscored the role of all actors in preventing such killings and intimidation, promoting accountability and preventing impunity. Investigations into killings must be independent, impartial, prompt, thorough, effective, credible and transparent, it urged, adding that the prosecution of suspected perpetrators should strictly follow due process and fair trial standards.   

Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and the head of UNAMA, underscored the importance of media professionals and human rights activists. 

The voices of human rights defenders and the media are critical for any open and decent society. At a time when dialogue and an end to the conflict through talks and political settlement should be the focus, the voices from human rights and the media need to be heard more than ever before, instead they are being silenced”, she said. 

The Afghan people need and deserve a flourishing civic space – a society where people can think, write and voice their views openly, without fear”, Ms. Lyons added  UNAMA reportHuman rights defenders, journalists and media workers killed by incident type

Recommendations 

Among its recommendations, the report called on the Government to put in place an adequate preventive framework, including special protective and proactive security measures for rights defenders, journalists and media workers subject to threats or other types of intimidation.  

It urged the Taliban to adopt, publicize and enforce policies that prohibit the killings of human rights defenders, journalists and media workers, as well as to repeal existing and refrain from new policies that limit civic space. 

The report also called on the international community to continue to engage with rights defenders, journalists and media workers at risk and increase support to programs that provide security, travel, financial, capacity building and other assistance to them.

It also called on non-state actors to stop all killings of human rights defenders, journalists and media workers, in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law. 

Killings of Human Rights Defender and Media Professionals

National level Tulip award in Georgia

December 9, 2020

Interesting example of enhancing international awards at the local level: Several Dutch embassies have started to issue a local version of the Ministry’s international human rights award, the Tulip [see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/award/D749DB0F-1B84-4BE1-938B-0230D4E22144]. Here the case of Georgia where the Ambassador, Maaike van Koldam, has awarded 3 Georgian media activists with a Human Rights Tulip prize

Established in 2008 by the Dutch government, the Human Rights Tulip is an annual award intending to support human rights defenders and help them learn from each other. Photo: The Embassy of Netherlands to Georgia.

The winner is Kamilla Mamedova, the founder of Radio Marneuli. The second prize went to Tsabunia Vartagava, an LGBTI and women’s rights activist from Georgia’s western region of Samegrelo, and Manana Qveliashvili, a journalist working on various human rights issues in the Adjara region.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the award ceremony took place virtually. The Tulip prize will remain with the ambassador for now, until she will be able to hand it over to the winner in person.

https://agenda.ge/en/news/2020/3851

2018 will go down in history as a year of shame for Iran

January 24, 2019

On 23 January 2019 RFE/RL reported that Iranian human rights defender Reza Khandan got a six-tear prison sentence. The next day Amnesty International issued a damning overview of the situation of human rights defenders in that country: Iran arrested more than 7,000 people in a sweeping crackdown against protesters and dissidents in the past year. See more below:

Rez Khandan with his wife, Nasrin Sotoudeh, in Tehran in 2013
Rez Khandan with his wife, Nasrin Sotoudeh, in Tehran in 2013

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Human rights defender Mohammed Bedaiwi killed in Iraq

March 25, 2014

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedreports that on 22 March 2014, human rights defender and director of Radio Free Iraq, Mr Mohammed Bedaiwi, was shot dead, allegedly by an officer of the Presidential Regiment, in Baghdad. Mohamed Bedaiwi was a professor at the University and, for the past two years, the director of the Baghdad office of Radio Free Iraq. The station broadcasts from Prague. Mohammed Bedaiwi was stopped at a checkpoint on his way to work. An argument began between an officer and the human rights defender, and other officers reportedly began to beat Mohammed Bedaiwi. The incident culminated in the killing of the human rights defender. Reports indicate that the officer has been arrested but his identity has not been disclosed, leading to fears that the case may end in impunity. Mohammed Bedaiwi was very well-known and local sources consider it unlikely that the officers did not recognise him. On 23 March 2014 over 40 media institutions, including newspapers, radio stations and satellite TV channels, refrained from publishing or broadcasting in protest at the killing of Mohammed Bedaiwi. There have also been vigils and marches around the Iraqi capital in honour of the human rights defender. The press syndicate has expressed its concern about the killing of a journalist by an armed officer of the Presidential Guard.

[Since 2003 approximately 274 media professionals have been killed in Iraq; in the last four months alone, 11 journalists have been killed]