Posts Tagged ‘Santiago Canton’

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.]

New report on Guatemala’s failure to protect Human Rights Defenders

November 23, 2013

A report issued on 18 November 18, 2013 by the American Bar Association, Georgetown Human Rights Institute, and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, entitled “Tilted Scales: Social Conflict and Criminal Justice in Guatemala” describes how human rights defenders, civil society organizations, and indigenous community groups in Guatemala operate in a dangerous environment where they live under constant threat.  “The Guatemalan judicial system is being utilized to harass and intimidate human rights defenders, especially in the context of disputes between businesses and indigenous communities over property rights and land use” said Santiago A. Canton, Director of Partners for Human Rights at the RFK Center. “Human rights defenders and indigenous leaders are targeted with threats and violence, and find themselves faced with false criminal charges, while their perpetrators go unpunished.

Attorneys and civil society leaders reported that disputes between indigenous communities and extractive companies resulted from the governments failure to hold culturally appropriate, prior consultations in good faith as required under international law. The report also questions the compliance of multilateral banks and multinational corporations with international standards.  RFK Center President Kerry Kennedy added that “Many defenders report that ex-military officers who committed abuses during the internal armed conflict are now intimidating locals and committing crimes with impunity in the communities where they work.” The authors explain that defenders must contend with widely published derogatory and inflammatory statements against them, in addition to the possibility of being physically attacked or falsely accused of a crime. “Peaceful human rights activists have been labeled as terrorists by prominent commentators, including leaders affiliated with business interests” said Katharine Valencia co-author of the report. The report emphasizes the Guatemalan governments obligations under the American Convention on Human Rights to protect the physical integrity of citizens; guarantee the independence of judicial authorities; thoroughly and impartially investigate allegations of criminal activity; and protect against arbitrary detention and prolonged, unjustified pretrial detention. The report also stresses that prior to the development of projects in indigenous territories, the state must engage in good-faith, culturally appropriate, and fully informed consultations with affected communities. Finally, the report calls upon extractive industries and financial institutions to justly compensate communities that have been displaced or otherwise adversely impacted by business activity, and urges compliance with reparations agreements related to the internal armed conflict.

via New Report: Guatemala Must Immediately Protect Human Rights Defenders – The Paramus Post – Greater Paramus News and Lifestyle Webzine.

ZimRights Director Okay Machisa arrested in Harare

January 17, 2013

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK) Center denounced the arrest of Okay Machisa, director of the human rights group ZimRights and the most recent target in a series of arrests against Zimbabwean civil society activists in the lead up to the nations 2013 election. Since August of last year, nearly a dozen organizations – including Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Counseling Services Unit, and the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe – have experienced harassment in the form of office raids, multiple arrests, and physical abuse at the hands of police. Mr. Machisas arrest, on the grounds of conspiring to “commit voter registration fraud and publishing or communicating falsehoods”occurred just one month after the arrest of his deputy at ZimRights, Leo Chamahwinya.

The increasingly brazen steps that Zimbabwean authorities have taken to block civic activism are an unsettling reminder of the violence and intimidation that has marred past elections,” said Santiago Canton, Director of Partners for Human Rights at the RFK Center. “In December, President Mugabe resolved to deregister so-called errant civic groups that deviate from their mandate during his annual political party conference in December. The international community, and in particular, leaders from the Southern African Development Community, must urge the government of Zimbabwe to immediately end all forms of harassment and intimidation against civil society organizations and human rights activists.”

Yesterday, January 16, Mr. Machisa was denied bail by a Harare Magistrate and remanded in custody until January 30 on dubious grounds.

via RFK Center Denounces Arrest of ZimRights Director

http://nehandaradio.com/2013/01/17/persecution-of-human-rights-defenders-unacceptable/