Posts Tagged ‘military’

FIDH mission reports on Honduran Elections

December 21, 2013

The mission to Honduras was made up of Baltasar Garzón, a Spanish jurist and human rights defender; Luis Guillermo Pérez Casas, attorney and head of the FIDH mission; Lisa Haugaard of the Latin America Working Group; Annie Bird of Rights Action; Mirna Perla, former magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador; Julieta González from APRODEV-Advocacy Program for Central America in Brussels; Susanna Daag from the Copenhagen Initiative for Central America (CIFCA) in Brussels; Hollman Morris, Colombian journalist and human rights defender; Enrique Santiago of the Foro de Abogados of Spain; Beatriz Gil from the Institute for Political Studies on Latin America and Africa (IEPALA) in Spain; and Pascal Paradis from Lawyers without Borders, Canada. The mission was carried out with the support of CIPRODEH.logo FIDH_seul

The report of 20 December 2013 highlights the following:
  • deep concern over the attacks and threats made against the human rights defenders mentioned in its November 23, 2013 press release, including journalists and those who work to defend women, indigenous and Garifuna territories, natural resources, and the lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual, and intersexual community. The mission had access to two blacklists targeting leaders of social and labor organizations, human rights defenders, journalists, and members of the Libertad y Refundación political party and indicating they would be murdered.
  • concern over the recent and apparently arbitrary transfer of public prosecutors who had been working in the Special Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Prosecutors’ Offices and the impact of these transfers on the work necessary to overcome the high level of impunity in the country.
  • number of irregularities in the election process identified through multiple reports from diverse sectors of Honduran civil society.
  • a lack of transparency around the funding of political campaigns and the sources of political party funding.
  • strong presence of the Armed Forces during the course of the elections.
  • reports that during the course of the last few days, four people linked to the Partido Libertad y Refundación have been murdered. These numbers are over and above the 39 murders that have taken place since May of last year, mostly of members of the same party.

for the full text see: International Mission of FIDH with the Support of CIPRODEH on the Honduran Elections – FIDH.

Philippines nun speaks strongly against arrest of church worker Yadao

September 13, 2013

I remember from my visit to the Philippines in the early 80s that the nuns were extraordinarily active in the area of human rights (that was under Marcos). I was reminded of this when I saw the Bulalat report of 13 September that a long-time lay worker of a Catholic-run organization was arrested by elements of the Philippine Army on 8 September and the fierce reaction by Sister Somogod.

Joel Yadao (in gray shirt) attends an activity of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region in June 2012. (Photo courtesy of RMP-NMR)

(Joel Yadao (in gray shirt) in June 2012. Photo courtesy of RMP-NMR) Read the rest of this entry »

Nigerian official asks Human Rights Defenders to educate Military

June 14, 2013

On 13 june 2013 Nigeria‘s Daily Post contained a nugget of gold for Human Rights Defenders: Apparently the National Orientation Agency, NOA, has invited the NGO, Human Rights Defenders Advocacy Group, to educate the military on the need to respect human rights. The Agency’s Assistant Director of Operations, Mr. Vincent Dung threw the challenge when the group paid a courtesy call to the Agency. According to him, “The soldiers especially those maintaining peace on the Plateau need to be sensitized on the need to respect the rights of civilians. I challenge you therefore, as defenders of those whose rights are violated to educate the military.“ [The military working on the Plateau have allegedly violated the rights of many people, especially at the checkpoints.] Dung advised the military working in crisis prone areas like Plateau to imbibe the culture of civil-military relations in order to avert further crisis. Dung also tasked the group not to restrict the campaign to the military alone, but that the campaign should be extended to other paramilitary establishments in the State. The NGO assured him of their readiness to protect the rights of individuals in the State and said they were willing to take the campaign against human rights violations to the doorsteps of all organizations, whether military or non-military.

via Human rights violation: NOA tasks human right group to educate Military – DailyPost Nigeria – DailyPost Nigeria.

Philippine Military admits that Human Rights Defender Bayles was killed by them

April 23, 2013

Karl Ombion, writing for Bulatlat.com, reports that in a court hearing on 18 April 2013  at RTC Branch 55, in Himamaylan City, Adjutant General Alexis Gopico and Lt. Col Ricardo B Bayhon positively identified the two suspects in the brutal murder of Philippine human rights defender Benjamin Bayles as military enlisted men. Edre Olalia, legal counsel of the victim’s family, and Secretary General of National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), confirmed this report. Bayles was murdered 14 June 2010 by two suspects who claimed to be Roger Bajon and Ronnie Caurino when they were captured by Himamaylan police operatives hours after the incident.  Olalia said “the confirmation, positive identification and specific personal pinpointing of the killers of activist Benjamen Bayles by top army officials as enlisted personnel under their command is a welcome development and a high point in making perpetrators of extra judicial killings accountable.This is ultimately a product of public vigilance and pressure by human rights defenders aided also by conscientious legal work, Olalia stressed, but it remains to be seen if this leads to a deeper investigation, determination of other guilty parties, including possibly, superior officers. The accused who are lowly private first class personnel maybe sacrificial dispensable small fry to stop the investigation and let masterminds escape identification and prosecution.”“As in other cases, like that of Jonas Burgos, extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances and other rights violations, there is no closure until there is full justice for the victims,” Olalia concluded.

via Military admits Bayles killers as their own « Bulatlat.

Human rights defenders in Honduras accused by military of misinformation campaign

February 22, 2013

On 18 February 2013, a number of human rights defenders and civil society organisations were publicly accused of carrying out a “well orchestrated campaign of disinformation” and of publishing defamatory and false material on a military task force in the Aguán region, “damaging the image of the nation”. The allegations were made during a press conference convened by the Commander of the Joint Task Force “Xatruch III” German Antonio Alfaro Escalante.

During the press conference, the Plataforma Agraria Regional del Aguán (Regional Agricultural Platform of Aguán) and human rights defenders Messrs Wilfredo Paz, Vitalino Alvarez, Yoni Rivas and Marvín Palacios were accused of publishing false accusations regarding Xatruch III through online networks and international human rights organisations. The websites Defensoresenlinea.comVoselsoberano.com and Hondurastierralibre.com were each accused of publishing material accusing the Task Force of intimidating, threatening and killing people  Colón. Commander Alfaro Escalante also referred to the human rights organisation Comité para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Honduras Read the rest of this entry »

Mexico and disappearances: special report by Human Rights Watch

February 21, 2013

Mexico’s security forces have participated in widespread enforced disappearances, Human Rights Watch said in a special report released on 20 February 2013.  Virtually none of the victims have been found or those responsible brought to justice, exacerbating the suffering of families of the disappeared, Human Rights Watch found. The 176-page report, “Mexico’s Disappeared: The Enduring Cost of a Crisis Ignored,” documents nearly 250 “disappearances” from December 2006 to December 2012. In 149 of those cases, Human Rights Watch found compelling evidence of enforced disappearances, involving the participation of state agents. HRW_logo

President Peña Nieto has inherited one of worst crises of disappearances in the history of Latin America,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “While his administration has announced some important measures to assist victims, it has yet to take the steps necessary to ensure that those responsible for these horrific crimes are brought to justice.

Human Rights Watch found evidence that members of all branches of the security forces carried out enforced disappearances: the Army, the Navy, and the federal and local police. In some cases, such as a series of more than 20 enforced disappearances by Navy personnel in June and July 2011 in Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, the common modus operandi of the crimes, the scale of the operations, and the inconsistent accounts by the Navy suggest the crimes may have been planned and coordinated. In over 60 cases, Human Rights Watch found evidence that state agents collaborated directly with organized crime groups to “disappear” people and extort payments from their families. For example, evidence indicates that local police in Pesquería, Nuevo León arbitrarily detained 19 construction workers in May 2011 and handed them over to an organized crime group. The men have not been seen since….. Read the rest of this entry »

Pakistan military try to subdue local Human Rights Watch director Ali Dayan Hasan through media campaign

February 6, 2013

In a long but interesting blog post in the Huffington News of 4 February 2013 Malik Siraj Akbar, takes issue with Pakistan’s reaction to criticism on it human rights record by organisations such as Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW). “A pack of lies” is Pakistan army’s favorite defensive phrase whenever it is blamed for committing human rights abuses or covertly sponsoring Islamic extremist organizations. On December 13, 2012, the Pakistan army described an Amnesty International report, The Hands of Cruelty, as “a pack of lies”.  On February 2nd, the Pakistan army once again used its favorite ‘a pack of lies” phrase to reject the Human Right Watch World Report 2013. The army says the report is “propaganda driven and totally biased” which is “yet another attempt to malign Pakistan and its institutions through fabricated and unverified reports, completely favouring an anti-Pakistan agenda.”

The author then goes on to explain the powerful position of the army and why it reacts so vehemently. The part that is of special interest for the protection of human rights defenders follows:

English: Human Rights Watch logo Русский: Лого...ThePakistan military does not solely suffice with rebuttals. It oftentimes turns unimaginably nasty against those who question its authority. In this case, the H.R.W.’s Pakistan Director Ali Dayan Hasan, a widely respected human rights defender, has become the focus of a malicious and misleading campaign in the national media. The military has unleashed a media trial of Mr. Hasan with the help of Pakistan’s largest media group, the Jang, questioning his integrity and even patriotism to the extent that it now raises genuine concerns about his personal safety and that of his family.

The News International, an English language newspaper published by the Jang media group, has become a tool in the hands of the military in the extremely dangerous campaign against Mr. Hasan. Last year, the newspaper bullied the human rights activist so much that it even published his U.S., Pakistan and London U.K. telephone numbers. This was a clear violation of journalistic standards but the newspaper apparently did so in order to encourage Islamic fundamentalists to directly threaten him on the phone numbers printed in the newspaper.

Ahmed Noorani, a young, angry and highly opinionated journalist, has been bullying Mr. Hasan and his organization for more than one year in his dispatches which, whenever attacking the H.R.W., hardly undergo the routine process of fact-checking, language correction and copy editing which is essential to sift opinion from reporting.

On February 24, 2014, the Citizens for Free and Responsible Media, a group of professional Pakistani journalists, sent a letter to the publisher and top editors of the News International, to express “our dismay at the unethical and false reporting in your paper … that is not only inaccurate and based on lies, but also endangers the life and safety of a Pakistani citizen.” One year later, the newspaper still continues to publish unsubstantiated personal attacks against Mr. Hasan which seem to be caused by the reporter’s personal dislike for the H.R.W.’s Pakistan head.

The Pakistani military and sections of the media must stop harassing Mr. Hasan. Such childish and unprofessional behavior does not help Pakistan’s democracy. Reports issued by H.R.W. and other international think-tanks and human rights groups are professional analyses of different countries. It is absolutely irresponsible and unethical to respond to such criticism with personal attacks on individual professionals affiliated with these organizations. It amounts to shooting the messenger. In a countries like Pakistan Mr. Hasan is a rare breed of bravery and hope for millions of citizens who want their rights to be respected and protected by their government. Human rights activists and journalists in Pakistan risk their lives on a daily basis to speak up for the citizens’ democratic rights and Pakistan’s largest media outlet should appreciate courageous Pakistan rights activists, such as Mr. Hasan, instead of endangering their lives.

from:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/malik-siraj-akbar/pakistan-human-rights-watch_b_2612306.html

Female protesters systematically targeted in Egypt say local NGOs

December 19, 2011

On Sunday 18 December 2011, five local human rights groups accused the Egyptian military of systematically targeting female political activists.

The 5 NGOs (Nazra for Feminist Studies, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, the Hisham Mubarak Law Center and the Women and Memory Association) accuse in a joint statement the military rulers of exercising “unprecedented violence against protesters, with the targeting of female activists being a distinctive feature of the proceedings to disperse sit-ins, as depicted in pictures and video clips showing protesters being arrested, beaten, dragged and stripped of their clothes.”

Female protesters systematically targeted, say rights watchdogs | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Todays News from Egypt.