Lawyers for Lawyers raises the alarm: Filipino lawyers at risk

April 24, 2014

 

Cathy Salucon, Philippines via L4L

Cathy Salucon, Philippines via L4L

On 23 April 2014 Amsterdam-based Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) warn in an open letter to President Aquino of the Philippines for the continued labeling of lawyers as enemies of the state by the military. Since March, Atty. Maria Catherine L. Dannug-Salucon has been the subject of death threats, labeling, surveillance and verbal intimidation by military officers. Mrs Dannug-Salucon is reportedly on the Filipino military’s Watch List of so-called ‘Communist Terrorist’ supporters providing legal services.  She has also been under the surveillance of the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces. The surveillance is particularly worrisome in view of the killing – reportedly by members of the Intelligence Services – on 25 March 2014 of Mr. William Bugatti, a human rights defender who was also working as a paralegal for Atty. Dannug-Salucon.
Read the rest of this entry »


Breaking news: the 2014 MEA Final Nominees are…

April 23, 2014

It was just announced that the following three Human Right Defenders have been selected as the Final Nominees for the Martin Ennals Award 2014: Read the rest of this entry »


HURIDOCS adds interesting new board members to strengthen its technology aspect

April 23, 2014

HURIDOCS General Assembly has recently elected a new board, adopted considerably revised statutes and reflected on five years of growth.

Current Board members Eddie Halpin (Chair) Hannah Forster (Treasurer), Agnethe Olesen and Rosario Narvaez Vargas, will be joined by the following new board members:

Gisella Reina (Italy, Netherlands) is an expert in institutional development. Currently, Gisella is Director Development and Donor Relations at the International Commission of Jurists. Before joining the ICJ in 2007, she was in charge of donor relations and development for ten years for NGOs specialized in emergency aid and food security. Prior to that, Gisella worked as an Economic advisor for various consulting and engineering firms, and as expert in evaluation of development programmes, and development of project planning capabilities. She holds a Master in Agricultural Economics and Planning from Reading University (UK), and has 25 years of work experience in project management and programming in various profit and non-profit organizations. She has lived in Italy, the Netherlands, UK, Pakistan and India and speaks Italian, Dutch, English and French.

Douglas Arellanes (United States of America) is a technology entrepreneur. One of the founders of Sourcefabric, Douglas is an American expatriate who has lived in the Czech Republic since 1992 (though he claims Dakar has the best music anywhere in the world and Cape Town the best scenery). Previous roles have included new media consultant for the Media Development Loan Fund, special projects director at Contactel, (a subsidiary of TeleDanmark) and co-founder of First Tuesday Praha, an organisation devoted to helping internet start-ups. When Doug is not translating some of the Czech Prime Minister’s speeches into English, he’s making households dance as a Saturday morning DJ on Prague’s Radio 1.

Alix Dunn (United States of America) is the co-founder and Creative Lead at The Engine Room where she designs programs and supports advocacy partners to integrate technology into their work. In the past she has acted as a program advisor and consultant for Tactical Technology Collective’s Evidence & Action and Privacy & Expression programs, the lead for trainings and partnerships at the SaferMobile program of MobileActive, and as a digital security trainer. Prior to this, she worked as program development officer at Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies working to incorporate technology strategies into advocacy programs, and as a media studies researcher. She has a master’s degree in media studies from the University of Oslo and a BA from Colorado College.

New board elected, statutes updated and looking back at five years of growth | HURIDOCS.


Sudan Human Rights Defender Osman Hummaida passes away

April 23, 2014

On 21 April 2014, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network announced the loss of its founding member, Osman Hummaida. Mr Hummaida, who died of natural causes on Thursday 17th April 2014, was a leading Sudanese human rights defender and an inspiration to countless activists in the international and African human rights community. He advocated for human rights in Sudan, challenging the impunity of those responsible for atrocities carried out against civilians. Forced to leave Sudan, having been detained and tortured on account of his work, Mr Hummaida founded the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies in exile. The Centre’s success and strength in documenting and reporting ongoing human rights violations in the country and advocating for justice is a living testament to Mr Hummaida’s vision and determination.

via Human Rights Defenders Mourn the Loss of Osman Hummaida – East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project.


Environment deadly for human rights defenders says Global Witness

April 16, 2014

The Wisconsin Gazette of 15 April 2014 carries a good summary of a major report by Global Witness that shows that killings of human rights defenders  protecting environmental and land rights increased sharply in the last decade due to the intensification of  competition for natural resources. The report  “Deadly Environment” highlights a severe shortage of information or monitoring of the problem.

It has never been more important to protect the environment, and it has never been more deadly,” said Oliver Courtney of Global Witness. “There can be few starker or more obvious symptoms of the global environmental crisis than a dramatic upturn in killings of ordinary people defending rights to their land or environment. Yet this rapidly worsening problem is going largely unnoticed, and those responsible almost always get away with it. We hope our findings will act as the wake-up call that national governments and the international community clearly need.”

Key findings in “Deadly Environment”:

• At least 908 people were killed in 35 countries protecting rights to land and the environment between 2002 and 2013, with the death rate rising in the last four years to an average of two activists a week. Read the rest of this entry »


The work of the International Service for Human Rights in the limelight

April 16, 2014

There are many international NGOs doing excellent work for human rights defenders, but I want to highlight one here in particular: the International Service for Human Rights. It has a clear mandate and niche, based in Geneva for 30 years (with a small office in New York) is the main advocate for human rights defenders in the UN. The Director, Phil Lynch, sent out an overview in April 2014 of its activities covering the recent months, especially the latest session of the UN Human Rights Council. Please read the statement in full and – if you want regular updates – subscribe to the ISHR Newsletter: Read the rest of this entry »


Take a minute to make this social media campaign a success!

April 15, 2014

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has started a most interesting campaign using social media to free human rights defenders. I strongly advise readers of this blog to take action by subscribing to the idea and retweeting or reblogging it on their own platforms. Let us see what can be achieved by 27 April when the campaign finishes!

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9969-forfreedom

logo FIDH_seul

 


AI animation to galvanise support for human rights defenders

April 15, 2014

We have a tendency to take for granted that there is a worldwide human rights movement to support all the actions and campaigns in favor of human rights defenders. But, this movement needs to be created and galvanised. One tool is the use of animated images with a simple message: that a loud voice can save lives. The example above (animated by Cesare Davolio) is a “commercial’ commissioned by Amnesty Netherlands for the “Use your power” campaign, explaining what the Amnesty urgent action network can accomplish. This short film – published on You Tube on 8 April – explains how the Urgent Action Network works, from receiving news of a human rights defender being arrested to news being sent out to AI activists and members all over the world via text messages (SMS), email etc to individuals taking action. Shows how effective these individual acts can be when coördinated to produce a ‘louder voice’.

 

 


Espionage on Human Rights Defenders reaches further than Governments

April 13, 2014

In a very interesting post in Dissident Voice of 12 April, Binoy Kampmark picks up on the item I referred to on 9 April (http://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/snowden-alleges-spy-agencies-have-targeted-human-rights-defenders/) about Snowden’s allegation that human rights defenders were also the subject of surveillance. He not only shows the discrepancy between the (rather positive) Guidelines on HRDs by the State Department and what NSA is actually doing, but also provides a link to a November 2013 report by Centre for Corporate Policy, a Washington, D.C. thinktank, titled “Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage Against Nonprofit Organizations,” which shows that aversion to dissent is endemic, and attracts birds of a feather in both government and corporate circles. According to the report, the precondition for such espionage is that the non-profit organisation in question “impairs or at least threatens a company’s assets or image sufficiently.” The targets are varied, including “environmental, antiwar, public interest, consumer, food safety, pesticide reform, nursing home reform, gun control, social justice, animal rights and arms control groups.

Irresistible: Espionage, Dissent, and NGOs | Dissident Voice.


20 years ago: the Toonen watershed case from Tasmania

April 13, 2014

On 12 April Dan Harrison, in the Australian newspaper ‘Daily Life”, recalls how the famous Toonen case – decided 20 years ago – had a tremendous impact: “The fax arrived from Geneva on a Saturday almost exactly 20 years ago. The message on United Nations letterhead that landed on the fax machine at the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Groups office in Hobart’s Battery Point would change the lives of millions. It carried the UN Human Rights Committees finding that Tasmanian laws, which made consenting sex between adult men in private a criminal offence punishable by up to 21 years jail, were in violation of Australia’s international obligations.” Read the rest of this entry »


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