Posts Tagged ‘violence’

Egyptian human rights defender Gamal Eid assaulted

December 31, 2019

On 30 December 2019 Front Line Defenders and others reported that Egyptian human rights defender Gamal Eid was assaulted outside his home on Sunday, 29 December 2019 by up to a dozen men. They beat him and when neighbors tried to intervene, they were threatened at gunpoint. After, the men dumped paint on Gamal Eid and threatened him to stop his human rights work. The human rights defender recognized one of the men as a “state security officer” who was with the men “giving orders and saying this is that he should be ‘disciplined’.”

Gamal Eid is a renowned lawyer and advocate of freedom of expression in Egypt. He is the founder and director of the Arab Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI), which was established in 2003 to promote freedom of expression, campaign against censorship in the Middle East and North Africa, and provide legal assistance to journalists and internet activists.

According to the ANHRI website, this is the fourth attack on Gamal Eid this year and comes amidst a wider crackdown on Egyptian civil society and human rights defenders. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/09/18/egypt-court-freezes-assets-of-rights-defenders-and-ngos/]

Following the attack, Gamal Eid released a statement: “I think they do not want to repeat the scandal of torturing Julio Regeni to death, so they resorted to attacking me one time after another, to punish me, silence me and stop me from doing human rights work and my frequent criticism of the gruesome human rights violations, but again, silence and collusion are not our choices.”

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/gamal-eid-assaulted-outside-his-home

Egypt: Rights activist Gamal Eid brutally attacked by security forces

Documentary on Discovery series explores ‘Why We Hate’

October 18, 2019

A counter-protester gives a white supremacist the middle finger. The white supremacists responds with a Nazi salute. Charlottesville August 12, 2017.

A counter-protester gives a white supremacist the middle finger. The white supremacists responds with a Nazi salute. Charlottesville August 12, 2017. (Photo: Evan Nesterak)

writes in Citizen Truth of 17 new documentary series titled “Why We Hate” which premiered Sunday on the Discovery Channel and explores “one of humanity’s most primal and destructive emotions – hate.” Directed by Sam Pollard and Geeta Gandbhir and produced by Hollywood veteran Steven Spielberg, the six-part docuseries aims to help people understand their own minds to prevent hatred from spreading.

Pollard made no bones about the subject matter’s relation to America today, telling NPR: “If you think about where we are in the United States with Trump as president, the idea that he demonizes people from other countries, specifically Mexico — that’s another way to sort of separate us from them.” He then went on to compare it to the worst outcomes for such divisiveness: genocide, as with the Holocaust in Germany during World War II, and Cambodia.

The isolation of disadvantaged persons and groups can also lead to extremism, Pollard believes — referencing skinheads and gang members who are seeking a family to belong to. This appeals to the tribal nature of humans, which in turn leads to contempt towards outsiders.

Co-director Gandbhir insists that hate “is something that we all have in common. It is not unique to one society or one group of people.” “Why We Hate” manages to show a wide variety of how hate is manifested, such as: a campaign in Colombia to reunify a bitterly divided country from the decades of war between government forces and FARC guerrillas; a de-radicalized white American man who now works to reform white supremacists; pro- and anti-Trump activists; the Israeli and Palestinian conflict; easily angered soccer hooligans and survivors of the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar….Surely in our culturally and politically divisive times, this is a timely subject to tackle and learn more about.

Timely New Documentary Series Explores ‘Why We Hate’

Zimbabwe: two years Emmerson Mnangagwa have shown little difference from Mugabe

August 26, 2019

Anna Chibamu, writing in the New Zimbabwe of 26 August 2019, summarises the latest report of Amnesty International which shows that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has shown little difference with his predecessor Robert Mugabe and his near-two year reign has been replete with human rights abuses. In a statement, AI deputy director for Southern Africa Muleya Mwanawanda said Mnangagwa’s administration, since taking charge following the removal of Mugabe and the subsequent general elections last year, has been marred by a systematic and brutal crackdown on human rights and a decline in socio-economic conditions. “What we have witnessed in Zimbabwe since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power is a ruthless attack on human rights, with the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association increasingly restricted and criminalised,” said the group.

Amnesty International said it has documented at least 15 killings by police when nationwide protests erupted mid-January this year and last week, 128 protesters were reportedly arrested with 400 having been convicted in the disturbances that rocked the country early this year. To date, the human rights organisation said 22 people including Evan Mawarire, a well-known local cleric and activist, and trade union leader Peter Mutasa – still face trumped-up subversion charges in connection with the protests. Some of the activists and human rights defenders were arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport in May as they returned from a capacity-building workshop on non-violent protest tactics in the Maldives [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/05/21/four-zimbabwe-human-rights-defenders-detained-at-at-the-mugabe-airport-on-their-return-from-foreign-trip/]

On 24 August the Zimbabwean made similar statements.
That not everyone agrees is obivious and in a long anti-opposition rant in the Sunday Mail of 25 August one can find gems like:
The joint statement by the EU member states and the unashamed US was as condescending as it was patronising. Stripped to its bare essentials, the August 20 statement, without an iota of evidence, accuses Government of “intimidation, harassment and physical attacks” of hooligans disguised as human rights defenders.“…
and :“..they overly concerned with the rights of those who want to demonstrate — purportedly under the guise of freedom of assembly, association and expression, or any such gobbledygook — while ignoring the rights of those still nursing sutured, serrated and weeping wounds from the recent orgies of violence? Have these Excellencies, so besotted with human rights, ever lent an ear or a measly penny to those still counting losses and smarting from the recent violence, which destroyed their businesses and sources of livelihood? Is it not Mr Government who is picking up the tab? Hypocrites! But no sooner had the ink on the statement of these meddlesome Excellencies dried than we began discovering wholesale abductions, all played out to an excitable Twitter audience. Dear reader, it all happens on Twitter.”

For the diplomatic statement see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/08/21/statement-by-western-diplomats-in-zimbabwe-on-human-rights-defenders/

———
https://www.newzimbabwe.com/ai-mnangagwas-horror-first-year-in-office-marked-by-repression/
https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2019/08/violence-in-zimbabwe-is-escalating/
https://www.sundaymail.co.zw/when-excellencies-grace-chitungwiza-shebeen

“Somos Defensores” in Colombia publishes annual report 2018: worst ever

April 26, 2019

On 23 April 2019 the annual report by “Somos Defensores” in Colombia reveals increase in attacks against human rights defenders in 2018

Attacks against HRDs Colombia

Unfortunately, 2018 was the worst year for human rights defenders, as shown by the data. They recorded the highest aggression figures that have been presented since the beginning of the Information System in 2009. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/04/28/2018-latin-america-still-the-graveyard-for-environmental-human-rights-defenders/]

That is, not counting the amount of cases that for different reasons are not included, since we start from accepting the existence of underreporting, which means that the level of violence is much higher than we can imagine…Despite the evident crisis of human rights and the urgent need for intervention to protect the lives of everyone, and in particular, human rights defenders, the current Government of Iván Duque has opted to take opposing positions to its duty to offer guarantees and has left aside the difficult situation that defenders are going through; dedicating his efforts, instead, to putting other issues at the center, such as the orange economy…

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/02/20/human-rights-defenders-in-latin-america-under-constant-attack/

Read the full post here

Violence in the occupied territories keeps HRDs busy

February 13, 2016

Israel has used excessive force against Palestinians, Makarim Wibisono, the outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Gaza and the West Bank said, calling for an investigation. He demanded that all Palestinian prisoners, including children, be charged or released. “The upsurge in violence is a grim reminder of the unsustainable human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the volatile environment it engenders”.  Makarim Wibisono has announced he is resigning in protest at the Israeli government’s response to his concerns (his term would have expired on 31 March). The special investigator quoted statistics by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which say that about 5,680 Palestinians, including children, were detained by Israel as of the end of October 2015. Detaining these people “often under secret evidence, and for up to six-month terms that can be renewed indefinitely, is not consistent with international human rights standards,” Wibisono said, adding that the Israeli government “should promptly charge or release all administrative detainees.” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon branded Wibisono’s report as biased. “The report reflects the one-sidedness of the mandate and its flagrant anti-Israel bias. It is this one-sidedness which has made the rapporteur’s mission impossible to fulfill, hence his resignation,” he said.

Front Line reports that on 3 February 2016, human rights defender Mr Awni Abu Shamsiyya, son of human rights defender Mr Emad Abu Shamsiyya, was arrested alongside youth activist Mr Nizar Silhab Al-tamimi. The arrest took place after a raid on the Shamsiyya family home in Tel-Rumeida, Hebron. Awni Abu Shamsiyya and Nizar Silhab Al-tamimi were accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at Israeli soldiers and of posting inflammatory statements on Facebook. [Awni Abu Shamsiyya is a 16 year old, known for his participation in the Palestinian non-violent popular resistance movement in Hebron. He is also an active member of the Human Rights Defenders Group, a non-partisan group that aims to document and expose violations of international law and injustice against families in areas of conflict under Israeli occupation. His father, Emad Abu Shamsiyya, is a long-standing activist in Palestine and volunteer at B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, where he is involved in documenting the occupation of Tel-Rumeida. He is also a deputy coordinator of the Human Rights Defenders Group.In May 2015, Emad Abu Shamsiyya’s family home was subjected to an attempted arson attack by settlers in the middle of the night. In March 2015, a group of soldiers invaded  his family home, searched the house and confiscated the family’s computer hard disk and a memory card containing footage filmed by  B’Tselem volunteers. Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - croppedhttp://www.btselem.org/hebron/20150402_night_search_and_confiscation]

On 4 February 2016, Awni Abu Shamsiyya and Nizar Silhab Al-tamimi were interrogated by Israeli police and intelligence services before being brought before the military court of Ofer, where the accusations against the young activists of throwing a Molotov cocktail at Israeli soldiers and posting inflammatory statements on social media were presented, and a fine of appr €460 was requested by the military prosecutor. The court ordered Awni Abu Shamsiyya’s release after holding that the accusations against him had not been proven, however, the trial of Nizar Silhab Al-tamimi was postponed to 7 February 2016 after it was claimed by the military prosecutor that his confession had been obtained.

 

As an illustration of the context in which the violence and arrests occur see the report of Tuesday, 9 February 2016, by the International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team (Hebron), which published graphic pictures of Israeli forces patrolling the Palestinian market in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), harassing and intimidating residents.

Israeli forces ontheir patrol through the Palestinian market

Israeli forces on their patrol through the Palestinian market

Any male adult or youth was stopped on their way to work and forced by the Israeli soldiers to lift up their shirts and trouser-pants, as well as throw their IDs on the ground. After throwing their IDs on the ground Israeli soldiers ordered the men to move back, so they could pick up the IDs from a ‘safe distance’. Most Palestinians were dismissed after this humiliating procedure, whereas some of them were detained for minutes or violently body-searched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also interesting to note here the protest by Palestinian human rights defenders who are condemning the killing by Hamas of one of the resistance organization’s own members in Gaza. On Sunday, the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced it had executed Mahmoud Rushdi Ishteiwi. Qassam said that the slaying of Ishteiwi implemented a death sentence issued by “the military and Sharia judiciaries of Qassam Brigades for behavioral and moral excesses that he confessed.”

Killing Ishteiwi in such a way constitutes an assault on the rule of law and might institutionalize a serious case of extrajudicial execution,” said the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR). “Prosecuting collaborators with the Israeli forces is necessary, and the Palestinian armed groups play an important role in such prosecution,” PCHR stated. “However, only official authorities should open investigations and hold the perpetrators to account.” Following news of Mahmoud Ishteiwi’s execution, Buthaina Ishteiwi told the Wattan news outlet that she believed her brother had been killed due to a dispute with his superiors.

[Under the laws of the Palestinian Authority, death sentences issued by courts can only be carried out after ratification by the PA president. The West Bank-based PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has not ratified any death sentences in a decade. Hamas has however continued the use of the death penalty in Gaza. According to PCHR, a total of 172 death sentences have been issued since the PA was established in 1994, of which 30 were in the West Bank and 142 in Gaza. Eighty-four death sentences were issued since Hamas took over in Gaza in 2007. But however serious the threat from informants, Palestinian human rights defenders have been adamant that even wartime collaboration must be dealt with according to the rule of law. Both PCHR and Al Mezan have moreover long advocated the total abolition of the death penalty in all cases. In a short film entitled “Against the Death Penalty” and released in December, PCHR highlights its campaign to end the practice once and for all.]

https://www.rt.com/news/332245-israel-excessive-force-palestine/

Source: Palestinian human rights defenders condemn execution by Hamas | The Electronic Intifada

http://palsolidarity.org/2016/02/intimidating-military-patrol-of-palestinian-market/

Norbert Fanou-Ako protects children in Benin’s cycle of violence

December 8, 2015

In the series “10 December, 10 Defenders” [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/10-december-10-defenders-profiles-of-human-rights-defenders-against-torture/]the OMCT publishes today the case of “Benin: Meet Norbert: Better protecting children to break Benin’s cycle of violence. “Violence is the first inheritance of a child born within a violent family,” says Norbert Fanou-Ako.  As director of a non-governmental organization called Solidarity for Children in Africa and the World (ESAM) he is trying to break Benin’s vicious cycle of violence. The violence deeply engrained in this country starts at home and in school with commonplace whipping, caning, slapping and other uses of ill-treatment against children and then extends to regular beatings to force confessions out of suspected juvenile delinquents at police stations. Read the rest of this entry »

EU says no impunity for perpetrators of recent violence in Bangladesh

March 2, 2015

On 27 February bdnews24.com in Bangladesh reported that the EU delegation said – at the end of three sub-groups meetings with the government – that victims of violence must get justice. The meetings discussed issues of governance, human rights and migration, trade and development cooperation under the framework of the 2001 Cooperation Agreement.

Victims of violence deserve proper justice,” the EU said, pointing out that human rights’ is the “corner stone” of the EU-Bangladesh relations.

The EU delegation said the discussions between the Dhaka and Brussels were “open and constructive”. They exchanged views on a wide range of issues.

In particular, the need to protect the fundamental democratic rights of the people of Bangladesh was discussed, in view of the recent incidents of violence…The EU delegation also addressed the need to strengthen cooperation on democracy, governance and human rights, in particular, the implementation of the international human rights standards relating to the judiciary and freedom of expression.

Recent developments on rule of law, good governance, transparency, accountability for extrajudicial killings, freedom of the media, freedom of assembly and civil society were some of the issues of “mutual interest and concern” they discussed.

The focus of one sub-group meeting was labour rights, the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, the situation of the Rohingyas, women and children’s rights, the death penalty and migration issues. The EU reiterated the importance of protecting human rights defenders. Bangladesh’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council should be an opportunity to work more closely with the EU on promoting and protecting human rights.

The EU and Bangladesh agreed to continue their dialogue on these issues.

via EU wants troublemakers punished – bdnews24.com.

Zimbabwe human rights award to Zanu politician under fire

December 22, 2014

As a relative specialist on human rights awards [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/my-post-number-1000-human-rights-awards-finally-made-accessible-for-and-by-true-heroes/], I would be amiss not to relate the following ‘problem’ with a human rights award in Zimbabwe. The local NGO ZimRights gave a number of human rights awards and ended up having to defend the People’s Choice Award, which had been attributed to a  ZANU-PF MP Joseph Chinotimba. A number of human rights defenders activists protested as they said it as was wrong to honour a war veteran who is known to have led violent farm invasions which claimed lives and displaced thousands of people.

Buhera-South MP Joseph Chinotimba

ZimRights has responded by saying that the People’s Choice Award is not [really] a Human Rights Defender Award but is an award “linked to the raising of pertinent developmental issues in the nation using platforms that one has access to”. It also explained that the nominees were selected by the people in all ZimRights’ eleven provinces and when votes were tallied Hon Chinotimba emerged as the winner. ZimRights said they take this result as a challenge and lesson on future education and human rights voting. The 3rd Edition of the Community Human Rights Defenders Award was held in Bulawayo last week on Thursday and the controversy may have obscured that the Overall Human Rights Defender of the Year was awarded to Rebecca Chisamba, a television talk show host. The New Zimbabwe report on 21 December added that “It is not clear what has endeared Chinotimba to the people but a few months ago the comical legislator arrived in Victoria Falls where he bought 200 cases of beer for the revellers at a local beer garden. Chinos, as the Buhera South MP is affectionately known, also pledged to pay school fees for over 20 school children at Chinotimba School which he claims is named after his ancestor.”

ZimRights defends Chinotimba’s award.

Another paper, Newsday, on 22 December, reported that the MP in question, perhaps in response to the criticism,  “stunned the more than 200 invited guests that included donor agencies, MPs, civil society leaders, community human rights defenders and commissioners of a variety commissions when he turned down the holiday offer and requested that the money be channelled towards improving infrastructure in his constituency” [The prize was a paid holiday at Victoria Falls with his wife.]

[Chinotimba came into the political limelight in 2000 when he together with the late war veterans’ leader Chenjerai Hunzvi led violent farm invasions and later stormed then High Court judge Justice James Devitte’s chambers in protest against his court rulings on land issues. Since his election into Parliament last year, Chinotimba has generated a lot of controversy through his fearless debates.]

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2014/12/22/will-spend-prize-poor-not-holiday-chinotimba/

Society Without Violence, in Armenia, could do without the violence

May 5, 2014

Via the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC) I received the information that women’s rights organization, Society Without Violence, in Armenia was attacked by extremist groups. The Society Without Violence works on women’s empowerment, peace building, raising public awareness on gender stereotypes and gender based violence, and the protection for women human rights defenders. On 15 April 2014, a roundtable (due to recent threats the event was a closed session) was interrupted by neo-nationalist extremist group members protesting the event. As the extremist groups tried to enter the conference room, some verbally attacked members of Society Without Violence, while others used physical force on human rights defenders and hotel security guards. Members of local and official media who arrived with the extremist protestors filmed the incident, but later falsely claimed that the Society Without Violence initiated the violent attack. This attack seems to be part of an increasing pattern and women human rights defenders in Armenia are targeted with threats and violence for carrying on their human rights works. 

Jimmy Carter’s new book on the rights of woman and how religions have kept them suppressed

April 8, 2014

Former President Jimmy Carter (89 years old!!) has incredible stamina but his latest book – A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power – is remarkable not just because of that high age but because it is incredibly blunt in describing how religions have systematically denigrated women, leading to prejudice, infanticide and horrific violence. The highlights of the interview below with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, about “the human and civil rights struggle of our time”, in too interesting to try and summarize and the same goes for the long excerpt from the book following: Read the rest of this entry »