Posts Tagged ‘students’

Essex university uses human rights award to raise awareness among youth

May 15, 2019

Students from Manningtree High School after winning the Human Rights Prize with Emma Berry, gallery manager at Art Exchange and Katya Al Khateeb from the university's Human Rights Centre
Students from Manningtree High School after winning the Human Rights Prize with Emma Berry, gallery manager at Art Exchange and Katya Al Khateeb from the university’s Human Rights Centre

Nothing world shocking but good to see how human rights awards can be used at the national level to inspire students:

The University of Essex’s annual Human Rights Prize is open to secondary schools and sixth form colleges and aims to highlight human rights issues and empower young people to stand up for others. Manningtree High School students spent a day on campus in December as part of the project. They heard bite-size lectures from human rights experts, visited a marketplace in the Hex – staffed by representatives from Amnesty International, Hope Not Hate and Refugee Action Colchester – and brainstormed ideas with visual artist Jane Frederick and poet Luke Wright.

They then split into smaller groups to develop their creative projects over the next ten weeks. The students’ final presentations, delivered to an audience at Essex Business School, showcased the campaigns staged in their own schools, which featured videos, photography, dance and poetry. A spokesman for Manningtree High School said: “As part of their work, the group planned in detail and decided to visit Highfields Primary to work with Year 5’s on human rights.,,On our return to the university, loaded with props and a well-rehearsed presentation, our students excelled.

https://www.harwichandmanningtreestandard.co.uk/news/17638711.manningtree-school-scoops-human-rights-award/

Exceptional response by international NGOs to human rights crisis in Nicaragua

January 18, 2019

April 18, 2018 marked a watershed moment in the recent history of Nicaragua, with the outbreak of a political and social crisis that has seriously impacted the respect for and guarantee of human rights of the Nicaraguan people. A large number of International NGOs responded by establishing an ‘International Observatory of the Human Rights Situation in Nicaragua

Nine months since the start of the human rights crisis, state repression against protesters, leaders, human rights organisations and social movements continues, placing the defence of human rights and social participation difficult to sustain. The government of President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo has also been denying opportunities for international monitoring, which they had initially invited, such as the Follow-up Mechanism for the Situation in Nicaragua (MESENI) of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, (IACHR) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

According to the statement made by the executive secretary of the IACHR, Paulo Abrão, in his last presentation to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), “the characteristics of state violence show that there was a decision by the State to use forces in such a way that involved the commission of multiple criminal acts against demonstrators and political opponents; specifically murder, imprisonment, persecution, rape, torture and, eventually, enforced disappearances.”

According to what has been documented by the IACHR, the escalation of violence has resulted in 325 people killed and more than 2000 people injured; 550 people detained and prosecuted; around 300 health professionals dismissed from their jobs; and the expulsion of at least 144 students from the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN).

With the possibility of international observation terminated, the blocking of spaces for civil society organisations to monitor and follow up human rights violations, the criminalisation of human rights defenders (HRDs) and their organisations, the closure of civil society organisations and the increasing forced migration of thousands of people due to the political violence, the need to establish an international mechanism to observe the situation in the country is extremely urgent.

It is in this context that a group of international and regional human rights organisations have come together to establish the International Observatory of the Human Rights Situation in Nicaragua, including: Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Civicus- World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Urgent Action Fund-Latin America (FAU-AL), Front Line Defenders, Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), EU -LAT Network , JASS – Just Associates, Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IMD), Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World), Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad, Race and Equality, Unidad de protección a defensores y defensoras de Guatemala (UDEFEGUA) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/12/13/nicaraguan-centre-for-human-rights-cenidh-robbed-of-its-legal-status/

Download the Statement

 

Scholars at Risk supports photojournalist Dr. Shahidul Alam in Bangladesh

December 5, 2018

On 5 December 2018 Scholars at Risk expressed concern about the charges against Shahidul Alam, an intellectual and acclaimed photojournalist, who was just released on bail after over one hundred days in prison in apparent retaliation for his public comments on the widespread student protests in Bangladesh.

Dr. Alam is a world-renowned photographer and visiting professor at Sunderland University who has established notable photography and media institutions in Bangladesh, including the Drik Gallery, the Pathshala South Asian Media Academy, and Majority World. He is well-known for photographing significant political moments in Bangladesh since the 1980s.

On August 5, 2018, Dr. Alam spoke on Facebook Live and Al Jazeera about the ongoing student protests in Bangladesh that sought safer roads, following an incident in which a speeding bus killed two college students. Earlier that day, Dr. Alam was covering one of the protests when youth league members reportedly attacked him and a group of journalists. Referencing this incident, while speaking with Al Jazeera, Dr. Alam alleged that police hired armed individuals to violently attack student protesters. Hours after the interview, a group of thirty police officers reportedly raided Dr. Alam’s home, took him into custody, and interrogated him. They then charged him under section 57 of the International Communication and Technology Act (ICT Act) for electronically sharing material that “tends to deprave and corrupt” the public and causes “deterioration in law and order.” No evidence has been produced by the police in their investigation of Dr. Alam to support these charges.

On August 6, while police escorted Dr. Alam out of the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s court following a hearing, Dr. Alam told reporters that police had beaten him while in custody. Dr. Alam received treatment at a hospital the following day by request of a court. On August 8, Dr. Alam was returned to jail and held for over one hundred days. On November 20, Dr. Alam was released on bail; however he still faces up to 14 years in prison based on charges under the ICT Act.

SAR asks for emails, letters, and faxes respectfully urging authorities to drop all charges against Dr. Alam that stem from his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression; and, pending this, to ensure immediately his case is addressed in a manner consistent with internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, and detention, in accordance with Bangladesh’s obligations under international law.

On how to join the campaign see: http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/50943/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=25660

New free online course on how to use academic freedom

May 28, 2018

Scholars at Risk, the New-York based international network of institutions for protecting scholars and promoting academic freedom, and the University of Oslo, Norway, have jointly developed a free online course on how to use academic freedom to ask critical questions and contribute to a democratic society.

The course is aimed first at anyone in higher education – leadership, administrators, academic staff and students. Second, the course is aimed at anyone outside the sector who has an opinion about higher education, especially critical opinions.  You can register for the course through this link.

The course, ‘Dangerous questions: Why academic freedom matters’, will begin from 4 June and is available online on FutureLearn. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/06/23/scholars-at-risk-publishes-first-academic-freedom-monitoring-report-free2think/]

Quinn told University World News: “Higher education is undergoing historic transformation, and this adds confusion and puts pressure on academic freedom. The course aims to help members of the higher education sector better understand the values at the centre of higher education, and by doing so, offers a compass and a set of tools for navigating the current environment. “The course argues that higher education has an affirmative social responsibility – that is, the responsibility to use the freedom and autonomy afforded to it by the state and society for the widest public good….But meeting that responsibility can be dangerous or even very dangerous and that means the public also has an affirmative responsibility – to defend higher education leaders, scholars and students when they exercise freedom of inquiry and expression on the public’s behalf.”

Participants will learn how they can contribute to strengthening core higher education values at their home institution and in partnerships, and how to assess and react to incidents relating to the core higher education values.

The course will include videos, graphics, animations and interviews and enable participants from all over the world to talk to each other.

Beyond that, I think people will be surprised – academic freedom isn’t just for a few privileged intellectuals who want to be left alone. Academic freedom is an essential condition for free, open societies,” Quinn said. “If you value the freedom to have your own opinions, to ask questions, to discuss difficult topics honestly without fear, then academic freedom matters enormously to you too.”

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20180526061403734

Student dissertation award in the Netherlands goes to Canadian study on Police failures to combat sexual assault

February 14, 2018

This blog has a keen eye for all human rights awards, so I report with pride rather than embarrassment that the 7th Thoolen NJCM Dissertation Prize 2017 goes to Sylvie McCallum Rougerie. Sylvie wrote her dissertation on ‘Police Failures to Combat Sexual Assault: Lessons from International and Regional Human Rights Law for Improving Accountability under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’.

No less than four student dissertations made the final cut this time. They were assessed on the following criteria: originality of the chosen human-rights based theme, development thereof; academic level; degree of innovative insight; and accessibility.  Tied for second place are Jordi Bierens and Danielle Snaathorst. Jordi wrote his dissertation on the growing influence of fundamental rights on European copyright rules. Danielle wrote about ‘The Curious Case of the Legitimate Aim. Understanding the “Legitimate Aim” Test of the European Court of Human Rights in Cases Concerning Freedom of Religion’. The third place goes to Jake Tingen. He wrote his dissertation on the tension between the freedom of information and the Dutch Public Access to Government Information Act.

The prize for winning the Thoolen NJCM Dissertation Prize is the publication of the winning dissertation by NJCM’s publishing house, Stichting NJCM-Boekerij. The award ceremony will take place during NJCM’s seminar on 12 April 2018 in The Hague (from 7.00 to 8.30 pm).

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/03/03/dissertation-on-social-rights-and-austerity-wins-thoolen-njcm-award-2016/

https://njcm.nl/actueel/and-the-thoolen-njcm-dissertation-prize-2017-goes-to/

New: the Scottish Human Rights Defender Fellowship launched

February 12, 2018

The Scottish newspaper the National reports that a human rights fellowship has been launched in Scotland:

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance welcomed the move

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance welcomed the move
 Two international human rights defenders will come to Scotland for three months to study under a new research fellowship. Participants will soon be invited to apply for the scheme which will combine study at the University of Dundee with the opportunity to build relationships and share expertise with Scottish human rights and equality organisations. The Scottish Human Rights Defender Fellowship will be a partnership between the Scottish Government and the University of Dundee, supported by the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and campaign groups Front Line Defenders, Amnesty International, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund and Beyond Borders.

The Scottish Government said it is part of on-going work to promote human rights. Equalities Secretary Angela Constance MSP said: “Across the globe there are people defending basic human rights that everybody should be able to take for granted. From standing against torture, arbitrary detention and discrimination, to campaigning for access to housing, health care, education, food and water. “Often this requires great self-sacrifice in the face of persistent difficulties, abuse and even threats to personal safety. As a country that firmly believes in human rights and equality, we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them and offer practical help where we can. “This fellowship provides a place of safety so participants can carry out research, develop new skills, build networks and return better equipped to continue their work fighting for the fundamental rights we need to demand for each other.”

The initial 2018 fellowship, with two recipients visiting from September, will cost £35,000.

Professor Nick Fyfe, Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Dundee, said: “We are proud to be the host partner for the Human Rights Defenders Fellowship.“With significant expertise in human rights and an interdisciplinary approach championed by our Institute for Social Sciences Research, we are confident that the fellows will find a strong and welcoming community of human rights researchers ready to help them make the most of the three months they will spend working with the Scottish Government, Scottish universities and Scottish civil society organisations.

New Shahnoush Award for women human rights defenders in prison

January 26, 2018

Ayşenur Parıldak, a 27-year-old reporter from Turkey’s now-closed Zaman newspaper who has been behind bars for 13 months, was named the recipient of the first Shahnoush Award by the Oslo-based Vigdis Freedom Foundation (VFF). [for more on this and other awards: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/shahnoush-award]

I was subjected to violence and sexual abuse. I was interrogated day and night for eight days. They [police officers] were questioning me while they were under the influence of alcohol […] I am afraid of being forgotten here,” Parıldak said in a letter to the Cumhuriyet newspaper in October 2016.

The Shahnoush Award will be given every year to a female prisoner of conscience whose courage has not been internationally acknowledged. By doing so, Vigdis brings attention to the suffering of women who languish behind bars for speaking out and whose human rights have been violated. They are not forgotten; they are not alone. Hope is sometimes the difference between life and death. May the [Shahnoush] Award give hope to those who need it most.” said Marina Nemat, a board member of VFF.

Parıldak, also a law student at Ankara University’s faculty of law, was detained while taking exams on Aug. 11, 2016. She was released by the court on May 2, 2017 but was later rearrested by the same court before being freed since a prosecutor objected to the initial ruling. During her trial, she told judges that she had thought of committing suicide several times while in prison. Behind bars since last year, Parıldak faces 15 years in jail under Turkey’s broad anti-terror laws based on her tweets and alleged use of the ByLock mobile app. Turkish authorities believe ByLock indicates links to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the abortive coup last year. The movement denies all involvement.

 

 

https://turkeypurge.com/jailed-journalist-aysenur-parildak-given-courage-award-by-norwegian-rights-group

University of New South Wales adds to its human rights institute

December 8, 2017

UNSW’s new centre of innovation on human rights is taking shape as the world marks Human Rights Day on 10 December.

eleanor_roosevelt.jpg

Former US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Announced by UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs earlier this year, the Australian Human Rights Institute will further the interdisciplinary aims of the University’s 2025 Strategy  UNSW’s investment in the institute of $13 million to 2025 will allow research to be applied to real-world human rights violations, making an impact on communities in Australia and around the world when they are most in need of innovative responses.

Research will be focused on three areas: human rights and business, human rights and health, and gender justice. Australian Human Rights Institute Director Professor Louise Chappell says the new work will build on the strong foundations of the Australian Human Rights Centre, established in the Faculty of Law in 1986 and led for the past 13 years by Professor Andrea Durbach.

A cross-cutting theme emerging for the institute is the rapid advancement in technology, which has some negative human rights implications but also offers interesting new solutions. “It’s really clear that AI could create further frightening aspects of violence such as remotely controlling what’s happening in someone’s house,” Professor Chappell says. “But that same technology could also be turned around by victims of domestic violence, in this case, so that they’re able to protect themselves and link to support networks faster than ever before.”

Another aim of the Institute is to mentor the next cohort of rights defenders, linking emerging scholars with senior experts and UNSW’s deep networks in the human rights field.

The Institute will launch in early 2018 and is planning a program of lectures and other events to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

If you like to get updates about the Australian Human Rights Institute, sign up for emails here.

https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/business-law/new-unsw-institute-takes-shape-world-marks-human-rights-day

New coalition of Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines tries to deal with killings

November 4, 2017

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Daughters for Life Scolarships program 2017 open for applications

September 17, 2017

 The Daughters for Life Foundation is now accepting applications for its 2017 Scholarships Program. The Foundation is looking for outstanding female students, who would like to take their education to the next level.  It is offering up to 10 scholarships for the next academic year for students to follow their dreams at universities in North America, South Asia, and the UK.  The foundation’s goal is to represent the interests of young women of all nationalities, ethnicities, and religious affiliations across the Middle East. So far, more than 30 young scholars have enrolled in universities and colleges across North America, the United Kingdom, and Bangladesh.  Submission deadline: December 16, 2016

Izzeldin Abuelaish started the Daughters for Life organization after his daughters were tragically killed. Since then he’s devoted his life to promoting the higher education of young women in the Middle East and around the world. He has helped nearly 400 girls since 2010 achieve their dreams. He said seeing these remarkable women move to change the world is keeping his daughters memory alive. I reported earlier that even this kind of approach was considered ‘controversial’ by some [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/04/13/human-rights-museum-controversy-izzeldin-abuelaishfor-palestinian-doctor-gallery/]

 

Source: Daughters for Life Scolarships program 2017