Posts Tagged ‘RFK’

Santiago Canton leaves RFK to become Secretary for Human Rights in Buenos Aires

January 16, 2016

Santiago Canton will be leaving his post as Executive Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights at the end of this week as he has accepted the position of Secretary for Human Rights for Buenos Aires in Argentina. He started in 2012.Santiago Canton
[Santiago Canton is also an Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, the Georgetown University Law Center, and the Universidad de Buenos Aires. In 2013, Mr. Canton served as a member of the World Bank Panel of Experts on Human Rights, part of a process that reviewed the bank’s environmental and social safeguard policies. From 2001 to 2012, Mr. Canton was the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In 1998, he was elected as the first Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in the Inter-American System. From 1994 to 1998, Mr. Canton was Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Mr. Canton was a political assistant to President Carter in democratic development programs in countries in Latin America. In 2005, Mr. Canton was awarded the Chapultepec Grand Prize for freedom of expression throughout the Americas.]

Morocco: military turned HRD sentenced to 6 months, while UN does still not monitor human rights in Western Sahara

April 16, 2015

Easter is over and we resume our human rights defenders coverage with the story of Mbarek Daoudi in Morocco who was sentenced to 6 months. What makes it remarkable is that this human rights defender served loyally for 30 years in the Moroccan army. On 15 April 2015 Frontline posted this update:

On 9 April 2015, Mbarek Daoudi was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment by the Court of Appeal in Agadir. The decision came after the Public Prosecutor appealed the initial court decision [3 months imprisonment] against Mbarek Daoudi, and called for the stricter punishment of the human rights defender.

Since retiring from the Moroccan army in 2008, Mbarek Daoudi has peacefully advocated for the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination. On 21 December 2014, the human rights defender ended a seven-week hunger strike he had began in protest at his conditions of detention and the delays in scheduling his trial.

 

In the meantime the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights came out on the same day with a statement urging the UN to add a human rights monitoring mechanism to the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), the only active peacekeeping mission established after 1978 without a human rights monitoring mechanism! The Security Council must vote to extend the mandate by April 30, 2015.

It is shameful that a small group of countries are denying the people of Western Sahara a basic human rights protection mechanism. The reports of abuses are undeniable, and the United Nation’s Security Council needs to respond by expanding MINURSO’s mandate,” said Kerry Kennedy. “The international community must not turn its back on reports of torture in detention, medical negligence towards ailing prisoners, unmonitored landmine blasts, violent dispersal of peaceful protests, and constraints on entry and travel within the region.

In February 2015, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights released a report tracking reported human rights abuse in Western Sahara.

Update: Morocco – Mbarek Daoudi sentenced to six month’s imprisonment | Front Line Defenders.

Call for nominations for two international awards for human rights defenders: RFK and L4L

January 21, 2015

The 2015 selection process for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award is now open. Deadline: 6 March 2015

For more information regarding the eligibility criteria, please visit the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights website.

L4L logo

 

Also the Lawyers for Lawyers Award (L4L award] is now open for nomination for the L4L Award is open.

Only those nominations submitted via the nomination form on the website will be taken into consideration. Deadline 15 February 2015

The nomination form is available on:  http://www.advocatenvooradvocaten.nl/award/ and other information is available on: http://www.advocatenvooradvocaten.nl/l4l-award/?/.

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For more information on these and other human rights awards, see the Digest of THFhttp://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/ 

 

Most human rights NGOs welcome change in US policy on Cuba but some diehards hold out

December 18, 2014

President Obama’s announcement to normalize relations with Cuba has led to a range of reactions. Most of the world (the UN General Assembly has called for an end to the US embargo for years – in October 2014, 188 of the 192 member countries voted for a resolution condemning the policy) and certainly most of the human rights movement, including in the US itself, has welcomed the long-overdue move:

E.g. Human Rights Watch and RFK Human Rights have come with positive comments:

“It’s been clear for years that US efforts to promote change in Cuba through bans on trade and travel have been a costly and misguided failure. Rather than isolating Cuba, the embargo has isolated the United States, alienating governments that might otherwise speak out about the human rights situation on the island.” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of HRW on 18 December. [the statement of HRW added: Nevertheless, the Cuban government continues to repress individuals and groups who criticize the government or call for basic human rights. Arbitrary arrests and short-term detention have increased dramatically in recent years and routinely prevent human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others from gathering or moving about freely. Detention is often used pre-emptively to prevent people from participating in peaceful marches or meetings to discuss politics. Detainees are often beaten, threatened, and held incommunicado for hours or days.] The embargo has imposed indiscriminate hardship on Cubans, but done nothing to end abuses,” Vivanco said. “The Obama administration should make human rights a focus of its Cuba policy but look for more effective ways – including working with other democracies in the region – to press the Cuban government to respect fundamental rights.

On 17 December, Kerry Kennedy and Santiago A. Canton, on behalf of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, welcomed the announcement saying that the change in policy will lead to an opening of dialogue at all levels between the United States and Cuba, including on the issue of protecting and advancing human rights.

Still, some chose to disagree:

The Washington Times reports that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was one of many Republicans to criticize President Obama’s move on Wednesday to open up diplomatic relations with Cuba, saying the move undermines the “quest for a free and democratic Cuba“…..Mr. Bush, who announced Tuesday he was actively exploring a bid for the presidency in 2016, said he’s “delighted” that American Alan Gross was freed after five years in prison, but said it was “unfortunate” that the United States chose to released three convicted spies as part of the deal. …Earlier this month, Mr. Bush said the U.S. should consider strengthening its embargo against Cuba at the annual luncheon of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC as he pledged support for the group, a strong defender of the policy.

In the Hudson Reporter (Hudson County is home to thousands of Cuban emigrants and refugees) Congressman Albio Sires stated: “What should be a joyous moment to celebrate the overdue homecoming of Alan Gross today has been marred by the actions undertaken by the administration to secure his release”.. “The president’s announcement today detailing plans for a loosening of sanctions and initiating discussions to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba is naïve and disrespectful to the millions of Cubans that have lived under the Castros’ repressive regime; and the thousands of human rights defenders that have fought tirelessly and at times with their lives to bring about democratic change to Cuba.  Moreover, “while I may welcome the release of over 50 political prisoners, little has been said for the countless others that remain inside a Cuban prison or the fact that the same 50 plus prisoners freed today could very well be imprisoned again tomorrow for exercising the same human rights of free speech that unjustly placed them inside prison the first time.”

US/Cuba: Obama’s New Approach to Cuba | Human Rights Watch.

http://rfkcenter.org/robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-welcomes-president-obamas-announcement-of-a-change-in-united-states-policy-towards-cuba 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/17/jeb-bush-obamas-cuba-move-latest-foreign-policy-mi/

http://www.hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/26253357/article-Mixed-reactions-to-news-of-Pres–Obama-s-change-of-policy-on-Cuba?instance=top_story

RFK Training Human Rights Defenders in Social Media

April 10, 2014

You can participate in an on-line conversation on the use of social media in human rights work on 15 April 2014 organised by the John F. Kennedy Centre for Human Rights [RFK]. The speakers are: 
Santiago A. Canton is the Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights. Mr. Canton was the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, after serving as the first Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in the Inter American System. Mr. Canton was also Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), a democratic development institute based in Washington D.C. Mr. Canton was a political assistant to President Carter in democratic development programs in countries in Latin America. In 2005, Mr. Canton was awarded the Chapultepec Grand Prize for his contributions to the promotion, development, strengthening and defense of the principles of freedom of expression throughout the Americas.
Maria Isabel Rivero is a Uruguayan journalist and has been director of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Press and Outreach Office since July 2007. She started working at the Commission in 2006, through a competition for the post of press coordinator for the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. She studied social communications at the Catholic University of Uruguay and has a Master of Latin American Studies degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Before joining the IACHR, she was a journalist for 15 years, working for an international news agency in Santiago (Chile), Asunción (Paraguay), Montevideo (Uruguay), and Washington, D.C. (United States).

Ali Ravi is Senior Consultant – Digital Strategy, Security, Capacity. With advanced degrees in Electrical Engineering and Robotics, Ali Ravi’s work focus has primarily been on information systems design, Digital strategy development and adult-learning methodology. He has spent 15 years in the NGO world as Technology Strategist for smaller NGOs, and Digital Strategy and Security educator/trainer for individuals involved in progressive causes.

Maya Derouaz is the Social Media Manager at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). She has developed the social media presence of OHCHR on various platforms since 2012. Ms Derouaz has also been advising, designing and implementing communications strategies aimed at increasing the visibility of OHCHR on social media. She leads various social media campaigns in order to disseminate key information on the activities of the UN Human Rights Office on the ground. Ms Derouaz took part in the development of a National Agricultural Programme for Eritrea when she worked at the International Fund for Agricultural Development in Rome. Ms Derouaz holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from Sciences Po Paris, a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Business from Paris Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and has a keen interest in new media, global politics and sustainable development.

Lely Djuhari is Communication Specialist at UNICEF, working on social media. She has also worked in other humanitarian and development agencies in Indonesia, Southeast Asian countries, Central and Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation, Turkey, South Caucasus and Central Asia. She managed wide ranging multi-country advocacy campaigns on inclusion of children with disabilities, ethnic minorities such as the Roma; disaster risk reduction into mainstream education; child-friendly schools during post-tsunami reconstruction, the roll out of journalism education and child rights in 30 universities in Europe and Central Asia; groundbreaking research and advocacy for maximizing safer online access for boys and girls. As a correspondent for The Associated Press and Kyodo News English Service during 2004-1998, she covered social and political issues in Indonesia, East Timor`s path to nationhood and the Indian Ocean Tsunami.  While on a Chevening scholarship at London`s City University, UK, she explored new media and new competencies needed by journalists in an increasingly connected world.

Human Rights Affairs: Social Media & HR | RFK – Training Institute.

RFK Center Expands Human Rights Video Contest to Students from the whole USA

October 12, 2013

On Thursday 3 October the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights [RFK Center] launched its third annual “Speak Truth to Power Student Video Contest“. This year, the contest is for the first time open to student filmmakers from all of the USA in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers, the New York State United Teachers and the Tribeca Film Institute. The video competition, originally launched in New York State in 2011, invites students to create a 3-6 minute video examining a human rights issue or violation and profiling the defenders who are fighting to restore justice.

Last year’s prize went to students of the Young Women’s Leadership School of Brooklyn, who made a film about the work of sexual slavery and trafficking activist Juliana Dogbadzi of Ghana.

Additional details can be found at http://www.speaktruthvideo.com

via Teachers, RFK Center Expand Annual Human Rights Video Contest to Students and Schools across America – The Paramus Post – Greater Paramus News and Lifestyle Webzine.

NGO Forum Highlights Recent Pattern of Suppression in Zimbabwe

April 15, 2013

Having two days ago referred to the scathing attack on human rights defenders in Zimbabwe by two academics, it is perhaps fitting to give some attention to the a NGO forum recently held in Banjul where over 50 of Africa’s top human rights advocates discussed the current shrinking space for civil society in Zimbabwe. The event, held on the sidelines of the NGO Forum in advance of this week’s session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights ACHPR, convened a expert panel that included Dzimbabwe Chimbga (ZLHR), Susan Mutambasere (NGO Forum), Mabassa Fall (International Federation for Human Rights), FIDH, Hassan Shire (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network), and Wade McMullen (RFK Center). “Zimbabwe’s troubles from 2008-9 have returned,” noted Chimbga, “Over 400 human rights defenders have been targeted by the government in various ways in recent months.” The panel found systemic repression of civil society in violation of Zimbabwe’s international obligations. Several key issues were brought to the fore in the ensuing discussion, including the need for solidarity across the African continent and international community in advance of the impending elections in Zimbabwe. In response, pledges of solidarity, information sharing, and technical support came from across the region, including from human rights advocates in Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, and Uganda. In particular, the discussion highlighted the need of SADC to both monitor and ensure that Zimbabwe’s electoral environment is free and fair in the months leading up to the vote.  As a result of the side event, a resolution was passed by the entire NGO Forum, requesting that the African Commission more effectively engage on the issue of Zimbabwe.

via RFK Center, ZLHR and NGO Forum Highlight Recent Pattern of Suppression in Zim | The Zimbabwean.

Western Sahara in the limelight – mission report

September 12, 2012

In this 3 September report on Western Sahara (one of the few in recent years on this part of the world) the dire situation of Human Rights Defenders is described. The problems the delegation had on the ground are also worth noting as the human rights situation in Morocco itself has in fact considerably improved over the years.

http://rfkcenter.org/images/attachments/article/1703/Final091012.pdf

Exhibit by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Eddie Adams features human rights defenders

March 19, 2012

On March 14, 2012 the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) opened its “Speak Truth To Power” photography exhibition at Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport . “Speak Truth To Power” is a collection of  powerful photographs by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Eddie Adams. The images document courage by featuring human rights defenders around the globe. The photography exhibit is an important component of the RFK Speak Truth To Power program, which has traveled to more than 20 cities around the world.

STTPBWI03

 

 

 

Students in New York invited to compete with videos on Human Rights Defenders

October 6, 2011

With my predilection for the use of images in the protection of human rights I can only applaud the initiative of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and New York State United Teachers, who on 5 October   launched a student video contest based on the Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum.  The contest invites New York State students to create a 3-6 minute video about a human rights violation and the defender(s) fighting to stop it. The project is aimed at demonstrating the capacity of each individual to create change.  “This video contest will engage students in what it means to be a defender against human rights violations.” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi

Prior film-making experience or expertise is not required.  Details about the contest can be found at http://www.speaktruthvideo.com.  All winning videos will be featured on the Speak Truth to Power web site, http://www.rfkcenter.org/sttp. The grand prize video will be shown at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. The deadline for entries is January 31, 2012.