In the context of 10 December, Human Rights Day, Curt Goering of the Centre for Victims of Torture posts in the Huffington Post a piece on the value of information technology to prevent torture. .. Read the rest of this entry »
On 7 December 2013, Satur C. Ocampo wrote in the Philippine Star a remarkable tribute to a Swiss woman, Alba Viotto, who died recently. After a short context of the human rights scene in his country, he then describes the work of a Swiss human rights defender that most of us will never have heard of. Read the rest of this entry »
By Mona Seif, founder of ‘No to Military Trials for Civilians’ and Final Nominee 2013 of the MEA reports in some detail the following:
“Egyptian Activists Arrested in Growing Crackdown - Activist Alaa Abd El Fattah one of at least 27 people currently charged under Egypt’s new anti-protest law
Egypt is facing a growing crackdown on political protest and dissent. This week has seen the arrest of 27 political activists under the cover of a new law designed to effectively ban protest in Egypt. On November 26th the well-known and internationally respected activist group, No to Military Trials for Civilians, called for a demonstration in front of the Shoura Council (the Upper House of the Egyptian parliament) to protest the failure of the current draft constitution to legislate against the military court martials of civilians. The entirely peaceful protest was met with serious force by the police, who attacked demonstrators with a water cannon and tear gas while arresting as many people as they could. At least 51 people were arrested that day. Read the rest of this entry »
On 5 December 2013 the six winners announced of the UN Human Rights Prize were announced: Biram Dah Abeid of Mauritania, a son of freed slaves who works to eradicate the heinous practice; Hiljmnijeta Apuk of Kosovo, a campaigner for the rights of people with disproportional restricted growth short stature; Liisa Kauppinen of Finland, President emeritus of the World Federation of the Deaf; Khadija Ryadi, Former President of the Morocco Association for Human Rights; Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice the Constitutional Court; and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for attending classes and is now a renowned education activist. The award ceremony will take place at UN Headquarters in New York on 10 December 2013, as part of the annual commemoration of Human Rights Day [The Prize, which is bestowed every five years, is an honorary award given to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights.]
Guatemalan Human Rights Defenders Unit gets a Human Rights Award from the Guatemala Human Rights CommissionDecember 5, 2013
The Alice Zachmann Human Rights Defenders Award recognizes an individual, organization or community from Guatemala who has demonstrated a commitment to the defense of human rights through non-violent methods, and for which he/she has been exposed to threats, violence and/or other attacks. The award serves as a means to highlight the struggle of the recipient on an international level and represents a commitment by GHRC to provide ongoing support.
The award giver, the Guatemala Human Rights Commission [GHRC] presented the 2013 Award to the Guatemalan Human Rights Defenders Unit (UDEFEGUA) Read the rest of this entry »
Following a major human rights speech delivered by National Security Advisor Susan Rice, at the Human Rights First Summit, CEO Elisa Massimino issued the following statement: “Today’s speech was a welcome affirmation of the Obama Administration’s commitment to protecting human rights at home and abroad. Ambassador Rice made a compelling case for why this effort is squarely in the national interest, arguing that short term trade-offs cannot alter our foundational values, and that respect for human rights is essential to our security. Detailing not just the ‘easy cases’ but also those where the United States has competing interests, Rice spelled out the ways the administration balances these interests, while seeking to uphold American ideals. She underscored the administration’s commitment to following through on promises to shutter Guantanamo and take the nation off of its current war-footing. We encourage the administration to double down on efforts to more actively and creatively support human rights defenders in places like Egypt, Bahrain, and Russia, priorities that Ambassador Rice touched on today. We look forward to working with the administration to keep human rights at the heart of U.S. foreign policy today, and in the long term.” After her speech Susan Rice met with human rights defenders from Bahrain, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and the international LGBT community.
The Monitor of the ISHR reports that in the Third Committee there was a serious setback in establishing an high-level ‘anti-reprisals focal point’ in the UN. In an unprecedented move, a group of States, led by Gabon and joined by others such as China and Russia, was successful in securing the passage of a resolution in the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly to defer the appointment of such a senior UN official despite Read the rest of this entry »
PC Tech Magazine of 3 December carries a story from the Ugandan Daily Monitor about human rights defenders in the country accusing the government of allegedly recruiting two foreign firms to secretly carry out surveillance on individuals’ private digital equipment such as computers and mobile telephones in a move they say infringes on citizens’ right to privacy. The activists allege that the two firms are doing voice and data surveillance without permission from the telecommunication providers. “We are aware that the surveillance companies operate without permission from the telecommunication providers but have access to do surveillance. This is dangerous because people cannot have quality conversations and yet the government is supposed to protect people’s rights to privacy,” said Mr Geoffrey Ssebaggala, the chief executive officer of the Unwanted Witness- Uganda [UW-U]. He was speaking at the closure of a training workshop for journalists and business operators on the risks involved while using internet in Kampala. Mr Ssebaggala added: “Our preliminary inquiry shows that these companies send surveillance Malware to individual citizens’ computers as long as they have their Internet Protocol address to track peoples’ activities on computer and their telephones,” he said, revealing that UW-U in partnership with the Parliamentary Committee on ICT have started formulating a law to protect privacy. However, the executive director of the Uganda Media Centre, Mr Ofwono Opondo, said he was not aware of the recruitment of the said companies but insisted that whatever is done by the government is within the law. He explained that the move seeks to protect the public from terrorism and other criminal acts such as money laundering.