Posts Tagged ‘profiles’

Profile of Yaxue Cao of ChinaChange.org

February 9, 2018

On 9 November 2017 ISHR met Yaxue Cao, the founder and editor of ChinaChange.org, an English-language website devoted to news and commentary related to civil society, rule of law, and human rights activities in China. She works to help the rest of the world understand what people are thinking and doing to effect change in China. Reports and translations on China Change have been cited widely in leading global news outlets and in U.S. Congressional reports. Yaxue Cao grew up in northern China during the Cultural Revolution and studied literature in the US. She lives in Washington, DC.

Egyptian human rights defender, Doaa Hassan, speaks about disappearances

October 31, 2017

On 30 October 2017 the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) published this testimony by Doaa Hassan, the criminal justice programme director at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Justice. Doaa is particularly focusing on enforced disappearances which several members of the organisation have been victims of.

For other post on Egypt see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/egypt/

Video portrait of Johan Galtung, ‘father of peace studies’

May 5, 2017

Short but informative film portrait of Norwegian peace specialist Johan Galtung, winner of the 1987 Right Livelihood Award.

Interview with Natasha Latiff about women’s rights in Afghanistan

April 27, 2017

On 30 October 2016 the ISHR published this video interview with Natasha Latiff who is the founder and executive director of Strategic Advocacy for Human Rights (SAHR). Following an ISHR training for human rights defenders held in Geneva in June, she spoke to ISHR about her organisation’s work on women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Video interview with Cleopatra KAMBUGU from Uganda

April 25, 2017

On 24 April 2017 the ISHR published this interview with Cleopatra KAMBUGU, grants administrator at UHAI EASHRI and transgender activist in Uganda. Cleopatra was featured in “Pearl of Africa“, a movie shown at the Geneva international Film Festival and Human Rights Forum and spoke  about the challenges she faces in her struggle to have transgender rights recognised in her country. More information on UHAI-EASHRI: http://www.uhai-eashri.org

Two remarkable women rights defenders from Mexico: Olga Guzmán and Stephanie Brewer

December 15, 2016

OMCT-LOGOpublishes a series of 10 profiles human rights defenders to commemorate International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2016. Here two women HRDs from Mexico: Olga Guzmán and Stephanie Brewer: Read the rest of this entry »

The Hague Defenders Days from 5 to 10 December 2016

December 2, 2016

Justice and Peace NL with support from the City of the Hague and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is organizing “The Hague Defenders Days” from 5 to 10 December 2016. A wide range of activities (debates, films and even a ball) are planned culminating in the ceremony of the Tulip Award on Human Rights Day 10 December. Most activities are open to the public (but not the Tulip ceremony):

Let’s celebrate the International Human Rights – and Human Rights Defenders Days in the city of peace and justice! Take the opportunity to learn from their experiences and share your own. Meet human rights defenders, debate about your rights, think out of the box and dance at the Human Rights Ball. Discover the defender or rebel in you! Download the flyer.

PROGRAMME


Portraits of Dutch and international human rights defenders by photographers Anette Brolenius and Daniella van Bergen.

5-10 December / Het Nutshuis
11.00 – 16.00 – Admission: free
Click here for more information
 

Watch this documentary and be part of a global one year campaign for respect and equality.

6 December / Het Nutshuis
20.00 – Admission: free
Click here for more information
 

With: Nighat Dad, the Pakistani winner of the Dutch Human Rights Tulip Award 2016. 

7 December / The Hague University
19.30 – Admission: free
Click here for more information
 

What makes a human rights defender? With: Nighat Dad, Hans Jaap Melissen, Saskia Stolz en Hassnae Bouazza.

9 December / B-Unlimited (Library Spui)
20.30 – Tickets €10 / €7: www.b-unlimited.nl

Come and celebrate universal rights with 20 worldwide human rights defenders! With: Dj Socrates, Meet & Greet, Photobooth, live music…

10 December / Nutshuis
20.30 – Tickets €10 / €6: www.justiceandpeace.nl/humanrightsball

 

Source: The Hague Defenders Days

Human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson to receive Michigan’s Wallenberg Medal

November 7, 2016

The University of Michigan’s 2016/17 Wallenberg Medal has been  awarded to civil rights lawyer and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson. He is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization he founded in 1989 that focuses on social justice and human rights in the context of criminal justice reform in the United States. EJI litigates on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged, poor people denied effective representation, and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct. Under Stevenson’s direction, EJI has handled hundreds of cases and spared the lives of 125 death row prisoners. Stevenson’s arguments have convinced the U.S. Supreme Court that juveniles in non-homicide cases may not be sentenced to life without parole. He is creating a memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, to commemorate the more than 4,000 persons who were lynched in 12 southern states between 1871 and 1950.

Stevenson is a professor of law at New York University, where he prepares students to consider the legal needs of those in resource-deprived regions. He has been a visiting professor of law at the U-M Law School. He wrote the prize-winning book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” and has won numerous awards and honors, including Reebok Award (1989), the Gleitsman Award (2000). the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award Prize, the ACLU National Medal of Liberty, the Olaf Palme Prize for international human rights (2000), the Gruber Prize for International Justice (2009) and the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award.

Raoul Wallenberg was a 1935 graduate of U-M’s College of Architecture. As a Swedish diplomat Wallenberg saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews near the end of World War II.

NOTE: There are at least two other awards with Wallenberg in the title:

  • Raoul Wallenberg Prize (Council of Europe )
  • Raoul Wallenberg and Civic Courage Awards (USA), and there is
  • the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (Lund, Sweden)

The ceremony for Stevenson will take place on 7 March, 2017; after the medal presentation, Stevenson will give the 25th Wallenberg Lecture.

Source: Lawyer, activist Bryan Stevenson to receive Wallenberg Medal | The University Record

Iftikhar Mubarik, discusses his work addressing child exploitation in Pakistan

September 26, 2016

 

Human right defender, Iftikhar Mubarik, discusses his work addressing child exploitation in Pakistan and how he seeks to utilise the UN Human Rights system.

 

https://www.ishr.ch/news/human-rights-defender-profile-iftikhar-mubarik-pakistan

Profile of Jacobus Witbooi, LGBTI human rights defender from Namibia

August 31, 2016

Profile of Jacobus Witbooi, human rights defender from Namibia, working at the Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (PAI).

In June 2016 he completed ISHR’s Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme and The Monitor of 27 June contained the following piece:
Jacobus Witbooi knows himself to be an ‘innate activist’ and says that his passion for human rights ‘comes from the inside.’ It has always been a strong part of who he is, taking up the challenge to advocate for those without a voice at a very early age. When still attending school, he recalls campaigning for education on safe sex and sexual health information and advice before it was even considered by national school policy makers.

‘Everyone knew that there were young people having unprotected sex, but they also didn’t have access to condoms, let alone information or advice from community health services about sexual health and safety, especially if they contracted a STI…They felt judged, couldn’t take steps to protect themselves or get help they needed.’

As he matured as a young professional he continued to pursue the issue and played a key role in eventually getting sex education on the national school curriculum in Namibia. He also helped to create a platform for young people to have a say in the design and evaluation of sexual and reproductive health programs, as well as assist health services to provide a caring and sympathetic environment for young people, enhancing accessibility.

Creating a network to drive change

Jacobus’ human rights advocacy journey has brought him to Pan Africa ILGA, a recently formed and rapidly expanding membership-based network for activists working to advance sexual orientation and gender identity rights. He delivers a continent-wide outreach strategy to small, grassroots LGBTI  activists and defenders, helping to develop their skills and confidence to engage with both the UN human rights mechanisms and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), and grow their ability to achieve meaningful and lasting human rights change.

The issue is close to his heart. He remembers coming out at a time in Namibia when it was unsafe, denied and denounced by all corners of the community.

‘I didn’t feel welcome in my own country, and was told I should leave.’

Whilst Pan Africa ILGA is rapidly expanding – it now has over 100 members – Jacobus is aware of the limitations his service can provide, and the needs of local LGBTI community organisations.

‘There’s a gap between the amount of work we can do to support local human rights activists, and how far we can teach them to carry forward UN outcomes and recommendations into their country.’

But he adds that he refuses to accept that it is a gap that cannot be closed. In May, Jacobus had a key part in delivering the third PAI regional LGBTI conference in South Africa. Bringing together 184 African delegates from over 34 African States, coming together to convene and share strategies, visions and fostering opportunities to collaborate. More encouraging, was the attendance of Government representatives and members of the African Commission, as well as National Human Rights Institutions.

Highlighting this significant social and political development, Jacobus points out that there is a growing support for sexual orientation and gender identity rights on the African continent, and is optimistic for the future of the LGBTI community. However,  he knows there is a lot more work to be done.

‘I think this space we created was critical as a continent – sharing the success stories. But, how do we move this forward, and deal with the intersectionality of sexual orientation and gender identity issues?’

Expanding his human rights advocacy potential

He identified that one way forward for him was to better harness the UN international human rights mechanisms and expand his human rights advocacy potential and successfully applied to participate in the ISHR Human Rights Advocacy Programme.

‘It’s helped me a lot. I’ve broadened my understanding of available UN-mechanisms beyond the Universal Periodic Review alone. I’ve learnt that there is a wide range of approaches to doing human rights advocacy through the UN. This awareness combined with the confidence I’ve now gained will be vital for me on the ground back home.’

He has also noticed his own approach to engaging in human rights advocacy has transformed.

‘I’ve become more strategic now. Because I have a deeper understanding of the UN system, it means that I can use multiple mechanisms to get outcomes, such as the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures.’

Contributing to the first UN Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

With his training coinciding with the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council, Jacobus became heavily involved in contributing to the Working Group advocating and lobbying for a strong resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity. He describes this as,

‘My first real hands on experience advocacy at the Council, working with states delegations and diplomats, trying to bring across an argument that is sensitive and difficult to move on, and coming from a region where it is very difficult to even talk about. It has given me a better understanding of how these things work, what components come into play when these decisions are made.’

Contact: jacobus@panafricailga.org or follow him on Twitter @jacobuswitbooi

Source: Defender profile: Jacobus Witbooi, human rights defender from Namibia | ISHR