Andrew Anderson steps down as head of Front Line Defenders
Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders
by Hans Thoolen
1w ago
On 27 January 2023, it was announced that Andrew Anderson is stepping down as Executive Director of Front Line Defenders, after two decades of leading the organisation’s work to support and protect human rights defenders at risk. Andrew joined the organisation as Deputy Director in 2003 and has since 2016 served as its second Executive Director. “This February marks my 20th anniversary with Front Line Defenders, an organisation I have been honoured to lead. I think it is a good time for others to take on the leadership of this exceptional organisation,” said Andrew Anderson. “I am confident I ..read more
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Suspicious Death of Investigative Journalist John Williams Ntwali in Rwanda
Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders
by Hans Thoolen
1w ago
John Williams Ntwali. © Private Human Rights Watch and others demand that the Rwandan authorities allow an effective, independent, and transparent investigation into the suspicious death of John Williams Ntwali, a leading investigative journalist and editor of the newspaper The Chronicles. Ntwali was regularly threatened due to his work as a journalist exposing human rights abuses in Rwanda and had expressed concern about his safety to Human Rights Watch and others. “John Williams Ntwali was a lifeline for many victims of human rights violations and often the only journalist who dared report ..read more
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Human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko shot dead in eSwatini
Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders
by Hans Thoolen
1w ago
On 22 January 2023 Freedom Under Law (FUL) said that the news that eSwatini human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko has been gunned down in cold blood comes as no surprise. The eSwatini government said Maseko was brutally shot and killed by unknown criminals at his home in Mbabane on Saturday night. See: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/03464020-c1e6-11ea-a3f7-933e766692a6 “A ceaseless and fearless human rights lawyer, an outspoken critic of the regime in his beloved eSwatini, Thulani had all too long suffered at the hands of a heedless regime. But he lived by the motto: ‘My hea ..read more
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Harvard comes to its senses: rescinds decision on Roth
Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders
by Hans Thoolen
2w ago
Picture January 12, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse Following the shocking decision not to award a fellowship to Kenneth Roth, the former head of Human Rights Watch (HRW), [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2023/01/10/pro-israel-lobby-in-usa-seems-to-control-harvards-human-rights-centre/], the Kennedy School at Harvard University said on 19 January that it has reversed its decision. “In the case of Mr. Roth, I now believe that I made an error in my decision not to appoint him as a Fellow at our Carr Center for Human Rights… We will extend an offer to Mr. Roth to serve as a Fellow. I hope th ..read more
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Mongolian human rights defender Munkhbayar Chuluundorj gets support from over 100 NGOs
Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders
by Hans Thoolen
2w ago
On 12 January 2023, over 100 Groups urged world leaders to jointly press for all charges against Mongolian writer and activist Munkhbayar Chuluundorj to be dropped and for him to be freed. We urge the Mongolian government to immediately release Mr. Munkhbayar Chuluundorj who was arbitrarily arrested in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, by the General Intelligence Agency (GIA) of Mongolia on February 17, 2022. Mr. Munkhbayar Chuluundorj is an award-winning Mongolian journalist, poet, and human rights activist known for defending the linguistic, cultural, and historical identities of Southern Mongoli ..read more
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Meet Volya Vysotskaia, a Belarusian human rights defender
Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders
by Hans Thoolen
3w ago
Meet HRF Freedom Fellow Volya Vysotskaia, a Belarusian human rights activist who exposes repression and torture by state officials.  Vysotskaia is currently part of the 2022 Freedom Fellowship, a programme of the Human Rights Foundation, a one-year program that provides hands-on, expert mentorship across seven critical areas: leadership, movement-building, organizing, fundraising, media, mental health, and digital security. On September 27, the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus announced that five people would be tried in absentia — Vysotskaia is one of them. S ..read more
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Pro-Israel lobby in USA seems to control Harvard’s human rights centre
Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders
by Hans Thoolen
3w ago
Kenneth Roth wrote in the Guardian of 10 January 2023 “I once ran Human Rights Watch. Harvard blocked my fellowship over Israel. I was told that my fellowship at the Kennedy School was vetoed over my and Human Rights Watch’s criticism of Israel”. . ..If any academic institution can afford to abide by principle, to refuse to compromise academic freedom under real or presumed donor pressure, it is Harvard, the world’s richest university. Yet the Kennedy School’s dean, Douglas Elmendorf, vetoed a human rights fellowship that had been offered to me because of my criticism of Israel. As best we ca ..read more
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Sports washing: autocracies can afford more big events
Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders
by Hans Thoolen
3w ago
I have been paying attention to the phenomenon of sports washing on several occasions in the past. See e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/sports-washing/. It pleases me to see that the Economist on 19 November 2022 underpinned this concern by showing that over the last years autocratic regimes have increased their share of the pie. According to data compiled by Adam Scharpf, of the University of Copenhagen, and two colleagues, the share of international sporting events hosted by autocracies fell from 36% in 1945-88 to 15% in 1989-2012. Since then, it has rebounded to 37%. Although the ..read more
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Applications for the 2023 Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP) of the ISHR: deadline 10 January
Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders
by Hans Thoolen
1M ago
The International Service for Human Rights in Geneva (ISHR) calls for applications for a new hybrid version of the Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP). This intensive course will take place remotely between 17 April and 7 June and will be followed by an in-person training from 14 to 24 June 2023 in Geneva. The course equips human rights defenders with the knowledge and skills to integrate the UN human rights system into their existing work at the national level in a strategic manner. It also provides an opportunity for participants to prepare for and engag ..read more
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Nominations for RAFTO prize 2023 now open
Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders
by Hans Thoolen
1M ago
The Rafto Prize encourages everyone with an interest in or knowledge of human rights to make a nomination. Annual deadline is 1 February. For more on this and similar awards, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/A5043D5E-68F5-43DF-B84D-C9EF21976B18 Criteria A candidate should be active in the struggle for the ideals and principles underlying the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A candidate’s struggle for human rights should represent a non-violent perspective. A candidate may be a person or an organization, and two or more candidates may share the prize ..read more
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