Posts Tagged ‘Santiago A. Canton’

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.