Posts Tagged ‘profiles’

Azadi about migration defenders

June 26, 2018

“Migration is not a crime. Defending the rights of migrant people should not be criminalised,” said Azadi (pseudonym) in her interview with ISHR. Today, more than 68 million people around the world are refugees or internally displaced as a result of conflict or persecution. They seek a safer life and better future. “Migrant rights defenders want to show people on the move that another Europe exists: it’s the Europe of the civil society that tries to welcome them. The Europe of solidarity”, Azadi concluded.

Breaking news: Five Front Line award winners 2018 announced

May 18, 2018

Front Line Defenders today – 18 May 2018 – announced the five winners of its 2018 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, naming Soni Sori (India), Nurcan Baysal (Turkey), the LUCHA movement (Democratic Republic of Congo), La Resistencia Pacífica de la Microregión de Ixquisis (Guatemala), and Hassan Bouras (Algeria) as the Regional Winners. Nurcan Baysal was also named the Global Laureate for 2018, and UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore presented her with the Award during a ceremony at Dublin’s City Hall. 2018 marks an important change in format: instead of one winner Front Line Defenders now recognises defenders from five different countries as Regional Winners. [for 2017: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/05/26/lawyer-wins-front-lines-2017-human-rights-award-for-helping-crimean-tartars/]

The defenders we’re honouring today work in some of the most dangerous areas of the world, sacrificing their own security to peacefully demand justice and human rights for their communities,” said Andrew Anderson, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders, as he announced the winners in Dublin.

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Nurcan Baysal, Turkey – Regional Winner for Europe & Central Asia & Global Laureate

Nurcan is a Kurdish journalist and human rights defender based in Diyarbakir. When the government launched a military offensive in the south-east in 2016, Nurcan spent months visiting Kurdish villages under bombardment, documenting human rights violations, and stopping to help families who’d lost everything in the conflict. Her writings are known for their critical focus on voice women living under the bombardment. When the authorities launched a military operation in Afrin, Nurcan took to social media to demand peace and condemn the violent assault. She was detained for speaking against the violence, and although later released she now faces up to 3 years in jail in a separate case related to her writing. Nurcan, according to authorities’ absurd claims, had “spread propaganda for armed terrorist organizations … and a call for provocative actions.” In addition to her reporting, Nurcan has also co-founded several NGOs, set up a camp to help Yazidi women fleeing the Islamic State, and been a key voice in countless reconciliation programs in the region. [see also: http://bianet.org/english/human-rights/197288-kurdish-journalist-baysal-wins-frontline-defenders-human-rights-prize]

 

Soni Sori, India – Regional Winner for Asia

Soni Sori is an indigenous and women’s rights defender in the militarised Bastar region of Chattisghar, India, where state-backed paramilitary forces are waging a violent campaign against local Adivasi tribes in the name of combating an armed Maoist insurgency. Soni documents and advocates against violence perpetrated by the paramilitary and police forces, which includes razing villages, burning homes, raping local women, and torturing and sexually assaulting tribes people detained without cause. Soni has also defended a number of educational centres from destruction by Maoist groups. In retaliation for her work, security forces detained and tortured Soni, pushing stones inside of her body and assaulting her for hours. Years later, men attacked her with acid and threatened to do the same to her daughter if she did not cease her advocacy on behalf of tribeswomen raped by the security forces. She has refused to stop her work, and continues to travel into the Maoist regions to speak with survivors of the ongoing conflict. [see also: https://feminisminindia.com/2018/05/18/soni-sori-wins-front-line-defenders-award/and https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/02/23/human-rights-defenders-in-india-democracy-is-not-enough/

Peaceful Resistance of the Micro-Region of Ixquisis, Guatemala – Regional Winner for the Americas

La Resistencia Pacífica de la Microregión de Ixquisis formed in response to grave rights violations committed in the name of economic advancement in Guatemala. The government has authorised destructive mining and hydroelectric mega-projects in the region despite the widespread opposite from the 59 villages and 7 communities in the municipality. HRDs in the Peaceful Resistance risk their lives to defend the territory. In 2016 alone, there were more than 75 reported attacks against HRDs in the Peaceful Resistance including killings, shootings, harassment, and defamation campaigns.

 

LUCHA, DRC – Regional Winner for Africa

LUCHA is a non-partisan youth movement formed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that struggles against chronic corruption and impunity in the DRC. Initially focused on

local issues like access to drinking water, electricity, and youth unemployment, in just 6 years the movement has developed into an extensive national-level network of powerful social organisers. Peaceful protests and demonstrations led by LUCHA are routinely attacked by authorities. In October 2017, 5 young protests were killed during a LUCHA-organised demonstration, and many of their members and leaders having been arrested and detained during peaceful assemblies. The Congolese national intelligence agency has detained several members, who have endured physical and psychological abuse in detention.

Hassan Bouras – Regional Winner for the Middle East & North Africa

Hassan Bouras is a journalist, blogger, leading member of the Algerian League of Human Rights, and founding member of the Rejection Front, a coalition against fracking to extract shale gas in Algeria. His reporting on both corruption and torture in Algeria spans more than two decades and because of this work he has been repeatedly targeted by Algerian authorities. He has continued his writing and advocacy despite years of judicial harassment, arbitrary detentions, violent raids on his home, and imprisonment.

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https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/front-line-defenders-award

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