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September 29

Degradation of the human rights situation in Guatemala and widespread repression against HRDs in Burundi - Protect Defenders NOW

Over the recent weeks, ProtectDefenders.eu’s partners have voiced their concerns on the situation in Guatemala, the context of repression of human rights defenders in Burundi, or the ongoing judicial harassment of human rights defenders in Tajikistan. The September issue of ProtectDefenders.eu also reports more than 35 new attacks against defenders only in August 2018. 

Click here to read the full digest of alerts and attacks against HRDs. 

 

September 27

We are hiring! ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Head of Secretariat

ProtectDefenders.eu is seeking to recruit an experienced manager to run the Secretariat of the mechanism in Brussels and to ensure coordination of the project implementation and all related financial and narrative reporting. This is an exciting opportunity for a experienced manager with strong communication skills who will play a crucial role in the successful implementation of the project.

Click for more information and find out how to apply!

September 14

We are hiring! ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Grants Officer

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a grants officer, a position based in Brussels. Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter should be sent by email to recruit@ProtectDefenders.eu before October 5th. The successful candidate will be expected to start work in November if possible. Given the project period of the Programme, the initial contract will be one year.

Read the job description here.

September 1

ILGA training on digital security for LGBTI human rights defenders

In July 2018, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) conducted a training around digital security for LGBTI human rights defenders, supported by ProtectDefenders.eu. For three days, 19 participants from twelve countries across Latin America and the Caribbean gathered together in Mexico City to learn how to integrate holistic and digital security into their organisational practices. Now more than ever, it is crucial for human rights defenders to learn how to make informed decisions when communicating online, and safely exercise their rights without falling prey to preventable digital threats. This is all the more true for those defending the rights of communities of sexual, gender and sex minorities: as much as the opening of digital spaces has helped LGBTI individuals break their isolation, it has also made people’s privacy and work to help change public awareness more exposed to attacks.

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August 31

The crackdown against WHRDs in Saudi Arabia, harassment and repression reported in Vietnam, Mauritania & Western Sahara - Protect Defenders NOW

The latest issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu monthly digest of alerts reports on the aggravated crackdown against women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. ProtectDefenders.eu’s partners reiterate the call to put an end to all acts of harassment against human rights defenders in the country. In addition, the Consortium implementing the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism is warning about the systematic persecution and judicial repression of human rights defenders in Vietnam, restrictions to travel faced by human rights defenders in Mauritania, and threats and harassment of human rights defenders in Western Sahara.

Moreover, more than 40 attacks and threats have been reported last month, according to the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of Attacks and Alerts.

 

August 21

Advocacy mission on the security situation of HRDs in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras

From July 17 to 23 of this year, three defenders from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras left their homes and headed to the north of the continent to participate in an advocacy mission organized by PBI, with funding from ProtectDefenders.eu, in Washington DC. The mission organised aimed at making the security situation of human rights defenders visible with key actors that can have an impact on their protection.

This specific mission focused on the vulnerability of defenders of the land, the territory and the environment in the region; on the aggressions that they face because of their work and their protection needs. A key objective of this delegation was to make visible the violence that comes with 'development' in many territories, as well as the damage that results from the participation of military forces involved in acts of repression against communities in resistance. Another objective was to highlight the lack of protection offered by the governments of Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico to those who defend economic, social and cultural rights and ensure commitments by the actors with whom they met to influence their improvement of their security conditions.

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August 15

UN Special Rapporteur's visit to Colombia, with the support of PBI

From July 28 to August 1, the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights defenders, Michel Forst, visited Colombia in the framework of an academic invitation convened by the Institute of Political Studies of the National University of Colombia, IERPI. PBI had an important leadership in the coordination of the visit, under the advocacy programme supported by ProtectDefenders.eu. 

The visit was an important occasion to make visible the delicate situation in which human rights defenders are found in Colombia: since January 1, 2016, more than 300 people, social leaders or defenders were murdered, according to figures from the Ombudsman's Office. After two days of traveling throughout Colombia to meet with defenders of the territory, Michel Forst arrived in Bogotá with a more complete agenda. A space was organized with Colombian civil society organizations to share an analysis of the situation in Colombia, of the Peace Agreements and the progress of their implementation, the attacks on leaders and the progress of the investigations by the Office of the Prosecutor. Many concerns were shared about the persistence of the armed conflict in the territories, where there is no clarity about the different actors and about the fact that the structural causes of the armed conflict have not yet been resolved, the little advance in land restitution and the fact that human rights defenders continue to be the target of stigmatization and attacks for defending their territories against megaprojects, as is the case of Ríos vivos Antioquia fighting against the damages of Hidroituango.

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July 22

THE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS WORLD SUMMIT 2018

ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism, is organising the Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018as part of a coalition of international human rights NGOs, and with the support of the European Union. The HRD World Summit 2018 will be be held in Paris, France on 29, 30, 31 October 2018. 

 

On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018 will constitute an opportunity to review the progress made in the defence of human rights and in the protection of all those that defend these rights in all their diversity since the adoption of the Declaration. By creating a unique platform for the human rights defenders' voices to be heard, this Summit will also call for the international community to reinforce its commitments to protect human rights defenders, celebrate the essential work HRDs carry out in the most difficult environments, and raise awareness about the threats, obstacles and restrictions HRD are constantly confronted with. The Summit intends to shape the upcoming human rights defenders' agenda, showing the way forward to the international community engaged in the protection of human rights defenders and the promotion of a safer and more enabling environment.

July 20

Degradation of the human rights situation in Nicaragua, serious alerts reported in India and judicial repression in Morocco

The ProtectDefenders.eu monthly digest of alerts reports on the degradation of the human rights situation in Nicaragua, serious alerts reported in India & judicial repression in Morocco. Moreover, more than 31 attacks and threats have bee reported, according to the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of Attacks and Alerts.

Click to read the digest, and share!

June 22

June 2018 digest of alerts - Recent killings reported in Guatemala and the situation of HRDs in Saudi Arabia and DRC

At least seven human rights defenders have been murdered in Guatemala in the past few weeks. Also, our monthly digest of alerts and attacks against human rights defenders reports on the crackdown on Saudi civil society and women's rights defenders, and the degradation of the health status of imprisoned defenders in DRC. Check the full document here

June 18

International workshop on the protection of human rights defenders

ProtectionDefenders.eu participated in the international workshop “Protection of Human Rights Defenders: good practices and the role of Italy”, organised by OSCE and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which took place in Rome. The workshop was attended also by representatives of the international civil society, NGOs and European authorities in the field of human rights defenders.

June 11

ProtectDefenders.eu at the Venice School of Human Rights

ProtectDefenders.eu conducted the opening lesson of the cluster on Human Rights Defenders, at the Venice Summer School of Human Rights. Together with the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, the session highlighted the importance and legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders, as well as their need for better protection, reviewing the international instruments available in their support and the current challenges. 

June 6

ProtectDefenders.eu at the European Development Days 2018

On June 5, 2018, ProtectDefenders.eu organised a panel session at the European Development Days 2018, under the title 'Designing protection mechanisms that work for Women Human Rights Defenders'.

The session was moderated by Meerim Ilyas, a senior programme officer at Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, and included the participation and testimonies of Christine-Astrig Mardirossian, Programme Manager at the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (DG DEVCO, European Commission), and human rights defenders Emilie de Wolf (Consorcio Oaxaca - Mexico), Weeam Youssef (Gulf Center for Human Rights - Lebanon/ Syria), and Aigerim Kamidola (Feminita - Kazakhstan).

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June 4

30th anniversary of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

On the 30th anniversary of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, ProtectDefenders.eu participated in a two-day conference organised by the European Parliament. A delegation of human rights defenders accompanied by ProtectDefenders.eu (Emilie de Wolf, Aigerim Kamidola and Lolita Chávez) also joined the conference and shared with the audience the positive impact of the support received, as well as powerful testimonies of the numerous challenges they still face in their daily work.

Antoine Madelin, FIDH International Advocacy Director and current chair of the board of ProtectDefenders.eu highlighted that  "In a context of global deterioration of the situation of human rights defenders ProtectDefenders.eu is meeting our number one challenge: supporting those human rights defenders working on the most difficult issues and in the most difficult countries, As we manage to consolidate the impact of our work over the last two and a half years, we see that ProtectDefenders.eu has been a crucial tool for the security, protection and empowerment for at least 11,200 human rights defenders around the world"

 

June 1

"Human rights defenders are neither enemies of the State nor enemies of development, but champions of change" - Check out our new video

On the occasion of the second annual meeting of ProtectDefenders.eu, held on November, 8th, 2017, human rights defenders and grassroots activists, and representatives of various EU institutions involved in the protection of human rights defenders and current development agenda met in Brussels under the motto "Champions of change - Human rights defenders at the forefront of development and democracy". You can check out here the video of this unique occasion, which highlighted the fundamental role of human rights defenders as drivers of change in their societies, and as key actors in the frontlines of development, rule of law and democracy.

Watch the full version of the video here.

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June 1

PBI warns of increasing attacks on defenders of land and territory in Guatemala

In Guatemala, defending human rights has become the highest risk activity, and the people who carry it out, face threats of all kinds that often end in violent deaths. The murder, in less than a month, of seven peasant leaders who participated in the Peasant Development Committee (CODECA) of Jalapa and Jutiapa and in the Altiplano Peasant Committee of the Altiplano (CCDA) of Alta Verapaz, reveals, without a doubt, a alarming increase in risk, especially for people who defend the land and the territory.

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May 24

EDD2018 - Designing protection mechanisms that work for women human rights defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu at the European Development Days 2018

May 18

In our monthly bulletin of alerts, ProtectDefenders.eu expresses its concern on the recent killings of Human Rights Defenders in Honduras, Peru and Myanmar, as well as the latest incidents related to the ongoing crackdown on civil society in Egypt and obstacles to freedom of reunion, and judicial harassment reported in Armenia

Read the full digest here: https://goo.gl/4VqCii

May 17

#TurnItOff - International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB)

On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), ILGA launched a new campaign raising the voices of LGBTI persons and human rights defenders from around the world. Starting from May 17 and unfolding for a whole week, the #TurnItOff campaign featured six human rights defenders who shared their personal stories and cast a light on how lesbophobia, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and interphobia have an impact on their lives and intersect with their identities.

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May 15

You can consult our updated website privacy policy here

May 15

Colombia - No peace for human rights defenders, no peace without them

Defending human rights remains a high-risk activity in Colombia, making it the deadliest country in the world for human rights defenders. In 2017, between 106 and 126 defenders lost their lives due to the State's inability to protect them. These are the conclusions of the report of the Observatory (OMCT-FIDH), presented in Buenaventura, a place that experiences all the risks faced by defenders in the country.

"It is obvious that defenders are not living in peace in Colombia, but what needs to be made clear to everyone is that there can be no peace without them", said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General. "Colombia is at a historic crossroads as it could leave behind the armed conflict and consolidate the rule of law, in which all human rights would be respected. This can only happen if safeguards are provided so that defenders can carry out their work freely and safely".

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May 9

Capacitación sobre seguridad para defensores y defensoras de derechos LGBTI

Esta capacitación sobre seguridad digital y física es organizada por ILGA y se realiza bajo la iniciativa de ProtectDefenders.eu, instrumento establecido por la Unión Europea para proteger a defensores(as) de derechos humanos que se encuentran en situaciones de alto riesgo y que enfrentan los contextos más difíciles en el mundo. 

El objetivo de la capacitación sobre temas de seguridad para activistas LGBTI es fortalecer a las organizaciones seleccionadas que trabajan por los derechos humanos vinculados a la diversidad sexual, identidades y expresiones de género y características sexuales y que son lideradas por personas LGBTI de la región de América Latina y el Caribe, aportando habilidades y herramientas sobre seguridad física, psicosocial y digital. Se espera que las personas participantes puedan socializar los saberes y los conocimientos obtenidos durante este taller con colegas, personas socias y su propia comunidad en la región.

¿Cuándo y dónde se realizará?

La capacitación tendrá lugar en la Ciudad de México del 10 al 13 de julio de 2018. Las personas participantes llegarán el 9 de julio y partirán el 13 de julio en horas de la tarde. La capacitación se basará en métodos de aprendizaje interactivos y requerirá de un alto nivel de participación de todas las personas participantes. Les activistes seleccionades recibirán tiquetes aéreos, alojamiento, comida, transporte, seguro médico y viáticos para asistir a la capacitación.

¿Quién puede aplicar?

Invitamos a las organizaciones LGBTI de América Latina y el Caribe que tengan trabajo en asuntos de derechos humanos vinculados a la diversidad sexual, identidades y expresiones de género y características sexuales y que son lideradas por personas LGBTI. Las organizaciones solicitantes podrán nominar hasta a dos personas de su personal/voluntaries para que participen en esta capacitación.

El curso será desarrollado íntegramente en español, por lo cual es requisito poder comunicarse y entender este idioma.

Para aplicar no es necesario tener previo conocimiento sobre seguridad personal y/o digital.

¿Cómo es el proceso de aplicación?

La aplicación debe realizarse a través de un formulario electrónico y debe ser completado en todos los campos que se informan como obligatorios.

Haz clic en el link para completar el formulario de aplicación

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/J7MV3RW

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May 7

RSF and ProtectDefenders.eu's training for Lybian journalists in Tunis

From the 2nd of May to the 7th of May, RSF organised in Tunis a training on safety, with a training of trainers approach, to 9 Libyan journalists. The crisis for press freedom in Libya has reached an unprecedented level. Because of the political and security instability of the past four years and the open conflict between two rival governments, journalists have to risk their lives if they want to report, in a climate of complete impunity for press freedom predators, making journalism extremely dangerous. Hence the necessity of this training on safety considered, to provide comprehensive safety measures and awareness and mitigate risks and threats in a hostile environment.

An effort was put into the selection of the participants to reflect as much as possible the diversity, geographically, age-wise and among the profession. Special attention was also paid to form a gender-balanced group, though it may seem difficult when training groups are from war and conflict areas. Yet, 3 out the 9 participants were females. In addition, it was important to select the ones with the highest motivation and the best leadership skills as it was a training with a training of trainer approach, and they will be at some point reproducing the training and transferring the skills they learn. For 5 days, the 9 journalists were trained to better protect themselves, alternating between theory and practical exercises.

May 4

ProtectDefenders.eu at the European Development Days 2018

SAVE THE DATE - ProtectDefenders.eu at the European Development Days 2018

Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 14h00 to 15h15

Venue: Room S3 - Tour et Taxis, Avenue du Port 86, 1000 Brussels

ProtectDefenders.eu is organising a panel session at the European Development Days 2018, under the title 'Designing protection mechanisms that work for Women Human Rights Defenders'.

Through relevant examples from the field and the experience and highlights of ProtectDefenders.eu, this session will discuss how to respond to the specific challenges when supporting the work of women human rights defenders, and how to improve the design of rapid-response programmes and advocacy initiatives that focus their needs and specificities.

This session will be moderated by Meerim Ilyas, a senior programme officer at Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, and includes the participation and testimonies of Christine-Astrig Mardirossian, Programme Manager at the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (DG DEVCO, European Commission), and human rights defenders Emilie de Wolf (Consorcio Oaxaca - Mexico), Weeam Youssef (Gulf Center for Human Rights - Lebanon/ Syria), and Aigerim Kamidola (Feminita - Kazakhstan).

Do not forget to register by Friday, 18 May 2018 by submitting your profile to https://eudevdays.eu/community/profile

A final version of the programme will be available and disseminated in the coming days.

May 3

#WorldPressFreedomDay2018

As we celebrate #WorldPressFreedomDay2018, ProtectDefenders.eu reiterates its sustained commitment to the protection and safety of journalists working in the most difficult environments around the world. However, as shown by the recently launched Reporters Without Borders 2018 Index, press freedom is far from reality in many countries, and the situation for journalists remains extremely dire.

Thanks to ProtectDefenders.eu and its partners, emergency assistance, temporary relocation, core support, and training are within reach for journalists under threat.

Since its launch in October 2015, ProtectDefenders.eu's support to journalists at risk has become a reality through 282 emergency grants, 15 grants to media outlets, 61 relocation programmes, 10 training actions, 17 field monitoring & fact-finding missions and 2 outreach missions to journalists in remote areas, as well as the ongoing advocacy work carried out by ProtectDefenders.eu's partners.

April 13

Launch of the Costa Rica Shelter City programme

With the strong commitment and financial support of ProtectDefenders.eu, Costa Rica was officially launched as a shelter hub for human rights defenders at risk from the Central America region. Human rights defenders from countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia will have the opportunity to temporarily relocate, and access essential tools and training to improve their security. Costa Rica long-standing commitment to the protection of human rights makes it an ideal location for this initiative, in a region which is particularly dangerous for human rights defenders' activities, especially for those individuals working for environmental and indigenous rights.

Click on the image to watch the full presentation. 

ProtectDefenders.eu supports relocation initiatives for defenders at risk around the world. In just two years of activity, more than 850 individuals have accessed this comprehensive protection program.

April 13

Belarus, Niger and Morocco are the countries of concern in the ProtectDefenders.eu's monthly digest of alerts

The crackdown on civil society in Belarus, the judicial harassment of human rights defenders in Morocco and the repression of peacfeul demonstrations in Niger are raising the alarm about the deteriorating environment for human rights defenders in these countries, where numerous alerts have been reported this monthly digest of alerts.

Moreover, only during March 2018, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has already reported 54 new violations against HRDs.

Click here to read the monthly digest, and share it widely. 

March 23

Turkey, at the centre of ProtectDefenders.eu's concerns in the March 2018 digest of alerts

The ever-growing crackdown on civil society, the political repression and the judicial and administrative persecution against defenders and organizations in Turkey get worse every day. Numerous alerts have been reported this month, which add to the continuous crackdown on civil society in the country since the failed coup in July 2016. Moreover, the March 2018 Digest of alerts features the situation in Algeria, as ProtectDefenders.eu's partners have received with great concern recent information on the precarious environment for the exercise of the defence of human rights in the country. Finally, the continuing pattern of violence, harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders in DRC, where recent killings have been reported, is also in the spotlight. 

Moreover, only during February 2018, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has already reported 52 new violations against HRDs.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest, and share it widely.

March 15

Long-term relocation of South Sudanese defender Charles Bangbe

ProtectDefenders.eu's temporary relocation program for human rights defenders in danger is one of the hallmarks of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism. Since its launch more than two years ago, the program has been expanded and consolidated and, to date, more than more than 800 individuals have accessed financial and logistic support to find refuge away from risk, while developing productive and empowering activities during their relocation, which improves their abilities to continue their work as defenders.

That has been the case of Charles Bangbe, a South Sudanese human rights defender currently in exile in Uganda. He used to work for the South Sudan Employees Chamber, a civil society organization that protects the rights of workers. Being a new State, South Sudanese Public Services were ran by former combatants who liberated the country from the old Sudan. In 2015, the County was given authority to handle land disputes. Because of Charles' legal background, he was appointed to represent civil society on the panel charged with sorting out land matters. His firm position against unfair treatment of the victims in the cases handled made his organization and himself a target of land grabbers. The grabbed land was discovered as the commission continued its work but Charles Bangbe was looked at as a thorn to the commission members as he was blocking any unfair resolution upon the matters. As a result of his work, Charles Bangbe started receiving threats, which increased progressively to the point of being shot by an unidentified armed man who then left knowing that his target had died. He was taken urgently to a hospital in Juba, then transferred to Kampala where he has been living with his family since then.

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March 15

Morocco: victims of increasing attacks, human rights associations progressively muzzled

Paris-Geneva, January 25, 2018 - The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a FIDH-OMCT partnership) is publishing a report describing the shrinking workspace for independent civil society in Morocco, which affects a growing number of human rights organizations. Constraints and administrative harassment undermine the constitutional gains of 2011, achieved in the wake of the "February 20" Movement and the "Arab Spring".

READ THE REPORT

In 2011, Morocco adopted a new constitution by referendum which guarantees more freedoms and human rights. It includes the freedoms of opinion and expression; association; gatherings and peaceful demonstrations. The Kingdom is also bound by the legal obligations contained in the many international conventions it has ratified.

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March 1

"Thanks to you, tonight I will sleep peacefully close to my baby"

 Within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, OMCT provided a grant In February 2018 to a Bolivian woman human rights defender, in order to support her temporary relocation within the country. This WHRD, a lawyer and NGO member, committed her life to the defence of women’s rights and in particular of women deprived of their liberty, offering pro bono representation to victims of negligence, mistreatment and corruption.

As a result of her work, two strongly influential local Public Prosecutors were found guilty of mistreatment against women deprived of liberty and subsequently dismissed. Since then, her life drastically changed as she began receiving threats against her own life and her three-year-old son. The threats have been intensifying since the end of 2017, when she started receiving threatening calls daily, was subjected to stalking, and endured an attempt to kidnap her and her son. Her situation became unbearable and she finally decided to resort to temporary relocation in order to protect her son’s life and to be able to continue her work free from threats.

Thanks to the financial support of OMCT in the framework of ProtectDefenders.EU, the WHRD is now living safely in another region of Bolivia with her son, with the hope to be able to resume her human rights activities shortly.

February 28

Four months of intensive training for Papuan human rights defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu has allocated comprehensive grants through PBI Indonesia, for 10 grassroots organizations from West Kalimantan, East Nusa Tengara, Papua, West Papua and Central Sulawesi. This set of grants allows sending human rights defenders to Jakarta, in order to participate in a four-month intensive training on how to improve safety and quality standards in human rights field research. As recently reported, in the first six months of training a wide variety of topics have already been covered, including sessions on digital security, dealing with aggression, nonviolent communication and negotiation, basic human rights theory and law, social analysis, interviewing techniques, writing for human rights reporting, and risk analysis and mitigation. The trainees will also conduct a short field visit with a Javanese farmers' union to sharpen some of these skills before beginning to plan their own research projects,

February 28

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals February 2018

The February 2018 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest warns about the killings and intimidation against human rights defenders in Mexico; the judicial harassment and criminalisation of defenders in Cambodia and attacks against activists in Russia. The EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism's partners are actively raising their voices to alert on the dire situation of defenders in those countries.

Moreover, only during January 2018, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has already reported 82 new violations against HRDs.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter.

February 20

The Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), a non-governmental organization with consultative status with the United Nations, participates in a training on self-protection and digital security thanks to the support of ProtectDefenders.eu

Due to the defence work for the economic, social and cultural rights, the organizations dedicated to the investigation and to the litigation, and in particular the CCJ, have been subjected to attacks promoted by violators of human rights in the press, in the Senate and by any other means. It has been recently discovered that, between 2003 and 2005, human rights organisations were subjected to illegal persecution by the intelligence agency of the Presidency of the Republic - the Administrative Department of Security (DAS) - which constituted a group to harass human rights defenders, magistrates, journalists and political opponents, all of which is subject to investigation by Colombian criminal justice.

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February 13

RSF publishes report on media freedom under attack in Cambodia

Three months to the day after the arbitrary arrest of two journalists in Phnom Penh, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is publishing a report about the tragic decline in the freedom to inform in Cambodia, where the independent media are now in ruins as a result of constant depredation by Prime Minister Hun Sen's regime.

Imprisoned since 14 November on espionage charges, former Radio Free Asia reporters Oun Chhin and Yeang Sothearin are above all the collateral victims of the offensive that Hun Sen has waged against the independent media for the past six months in order to pave the way for general elections in July.

The aim of the report published today is to detail this tragic reversal for the media in Cambodia. It is based on research carried out by Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, during a visit to Cambodia in October 2017 (see attached versions in English, Khmer and French).

Cambodia: Independent Press in ruins (EN)

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February 8

Meeting and training on advocacy for RSF partners in Paris

 On 7, 8 and 9 February 2018, Reporters Without Borders held in Paris a three-day meeting with its 12 partner organizations, from Syria, Morocco, DRC, Turkey, Cambodia, Pakistan, Mexico, Thailand, China, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, all in common sharing the same commitment to freedom of the press and protection of journalists. The objective of this meeting was to train them on advocacy and to define with RSF an action plan for 2018.

The opportunity was also seized to allow them to meet to confront the challenges they can face in their respective and to share ideas and good practices. The meeting started with each of the partners exposing the situation and the global strategy of their organizations vis-à-vis the freedom of the press in their countries. Around the table, questions were jostling and synergies already beginning to emerge. At the coffee break, the Pakistani representative approached the Mexican participant: "If your pilot project works in Mexico, I think that can be replicated in Pakistan." Throughout the session, ideas were coming together and common projects were flourishing.

 

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January 24

ILGA meets... Safir Soeparna, human rights defender

The Senior Campaigns Coordinator of APCOM is one of the 25 LGBTI human rights defenders who joined a training around digital security conducted by ILGA in Bangkok in July 2017 with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu. Our partner ILGA met him to learn more about his work. 

Watch the full interview and read more about his story

January 23

ProtectDefenders.eu presents a report on funding available for Human Rights Defenders

Brussels, 26 February 2018 - With human rights, democracy and the rule of law around the world increasingly under attack, those who stand up to defend them have an ever-more central role to play in sustainable development and conflict resolution. As civil society space closes around them, and governments use repressive tactics to impede their work, human rights defenders (HRDs) often put their lives, liberty, and safety at risk, and require support and protection in order to go on.

In a context where the level of need and demand from HRDs has significantly risen, increased support will be required in the coming years to meet the demands of HRDs operating in the context of a global backlash. The level of funding and support provided by international donor community no longer matches the magnitude of the needs of Human Rights Defenders, as observed in the ProtectDefenders.eu report on funding on support for HRDs, launched last January at a public seminar held in the European Parliament. Human Rights Defenders, in fact, are receiving declining support.

In its conclusion, this report shows the high volatility of the level of funding available for HRDs at risk, as well as worrying indications that public funding for HRDs may be set to decrease in coming years due to loss of support from traditional allies.

The main conclusions of this report are available on ProtectDefenders.eu website

January 17

OBS report - Condemned to silence: the situation of women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia

(Geneva, Paris) The report being released by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (an FIDH-OMCT partnership) - with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu - is a far cry from the media frenzy that was caused by the announcement of symbolic reforms, such as that set out in the September 2017 Royal Decree (at last) giving Saudi women permission to drive. This report casts a harsh light on the scandalous situation of Saudi women human rights defenders who still have to cope with major restrictions on their rights. As women, they are subjected to a patriarchal regime that is steeped in gender inequality, and they must cope with a context that severely represses all voices of dissent. Women who report domestic violence or stand up as activists are confronted with unrelenting repression. Since they are not allowed to form movements or associations, they take refuge in social networks.

Check out the special webpage created for the report:

http://condemnedtosilence.fidh.org/

January 15

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals December 2017

The January 2018 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest warns about the incessant killings and attacks against human rights defenders in the Philippines; the killings and intimidation against social leaders in South Africa and the pattern of ongoing reprisals against human rights defenders in Bahrain. 

Moreover, only during December 2017, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has reported 35 new violations against HRDs.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter.

January 12

UAF report on the impacts of the

Urgent Action Fund has released a new report on the impacts of the "closing space" on human rights defenders: Rights eroded: A briefing on the effects of closing space on women human rights defenders 

The report, completed with the Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, documents the devastating effects of new restrictions on civil society and their disproportionate impact on women human rights defenders. Yet, the tenacity of defenders remains, as one defender from Russia states "when they shut the door, we come in the window." The perspectives of defenders from Bangladesh, Bahrain, Honduras, Turkey, and Kenya are included among others, including those supported via ProtectDefenders.eu. Among the key findings of this report, four dynamics have been identified:

  • Registration and funding restrictions are layered onto more direct targeting and harassment of defenders, and together create a “rights-deprived” climate in which women and LGBTQI+ activists work;
  • The funding restrictions of closing space additionally burden those groups already facing resource challenges;
  • In order to reduce their exposure to attacks and reprisals by State and non-State actors, activists strategically adapt their work and self-censor, abandon, reduce, or otherwise modify their activities; 
  • Activists are adapting to closing space, but face the social stigma that impacts their work more severely than it does main-stream human rights defenders.

 

The full version of the report is available at ProtectDefenders.eu website. 

January 12

Invitation - "Funding Human Rights, Investing in human rights defenders" - 23/Jan - European Parliament (Brussels)

ProtectDefenders.eu is pleased to invite you to the event "Funding Human Rights, Investing in human rights defenders", at the European Parliament, room ASP 3H1, next Tuesday, 23 January from 11:00-13:00, co-hosted by MEPs Soraya Post, Hilde Vautmans, Barbara Lochbihler. Speakers will include human rights defenders from around the world, and a light lunch will be provided.

To register to attend from outside the Parliament, please email euoffice@frontlinedefenders.org with the title “Registration for HRD Funding event”. Please include your full name, nationality, ID type and number, and date of birth by Wednesday 17 January.

PROGRAMME OUTLINE

Opening: Hilde Vautmans MEP (ALDE, BE) – ALDE Group Deputy Coordinator for the Foreign Affairs Committee and Security and Defence Subcommittee

Panel 1 The Work of Human Rights Defenders – Risks, challenges, and achievements

Moderator: Barbara Lochbihler MEP (Greens, DE) – Green Group Coordinator at the Human Rights Subcommittee

• Ed O’Donovan – Head of Protection at Front Line Defenders

• Faika Deniz Pasha – lawyer and a member of the Platform for Struggle for Women Held in Captivity, an organisation supporting Yazidi women

• Ahmed Samih – Director of Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies in Egypt (AITAS)

Questions and Answers session

Panel 2 Investing in support and protection – Making a difference on the ground

Moderator: Soraya Post MEP (S&D, SE) – S&D Group Coordinator for the Human Rights Subcommittee

• Gerald Staberock, Secretary-General OMCT - ProtectDefenders.eu

• Gustavo Castro – Director of Otros Mundos, an environmental organisation in Chi-apas (Mexico), and the sole witness to the murder of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres

• Anastasia Bondarenko – Ukrainian disability activist from Crimea

Questions and Answers session

Closing remarks: Soraya Post MEP and Barbara Lochbihler MEP

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January 12

Seminar "Funding Human Rights, Investing in human rights defenders" - 23 January 2018, European Parliament (Brussels)

With human rights, democracy and the rule of law around the world increasingly under attack, those who stand up to defend them have an ever-more central role to play in sustainable development and conflict resolution.As civil society space closes around them, and governments use repressive tactics to impede their work, human rights defenders (HRDs) often put their lives, liberty, and safety at risk, and require support and protection in order to go on.

However, HRDs, in fact, are receiving declining support.At a time of increasing backlash, the level of funding and support provided by the EU and its Member States no longer matches the magnitude of the needs of HRDs, as seen in the upcoming ProtectDefenders.eu report on funding on support for HRDs.

It is clear that if the EU is to tackle to tackle the instability in the region and advance the Sustainable Development Goals, it must address the root causes of forced migration, conflict, and radicalisation, and environmental destruction.

Investing more in support for human rights, and human rights defenders must be a key strategic priority for the EU and its Member States in the coming years, as the only way of truly rising up to these challenges. This increase in funding must be reflected in the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights programming 2018, as well as the upcoming Multi-annual Financial Framework, and in the long-term future of human rights funding.

ProtectDefenders.eu is pleased to invite you to an event we are organising in the European Parliament, entitled "Funding Human Rights, Investing in human rights defenders", at ASP 3H1 on Tuesday, 23 January from11:00-13:00 co-hosted by MEPs Soraya Post, Hilde Vautmans, Barbara Lochbihler. Speakers will include human rights defenders from around the world, and a light lunch will be provided.

To register to attend from outside the Parliament, please email euoffice@frontlinedefenders.org with the title “Registration for HRD Funding event”. Please include your full name nationality, ID type and number, and date of birth by Wednesday 17 January.

December 22

ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Grants Officer

Grants Officer: EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism:

ProtectDefenders.eu is the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism, established to protect Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) at high risk and facing the most difficult situations worldwide. The mechanism is implemented by a Consortium of 12 international NGOs with the support of the European Commission. The EU HRD mechanism began its operations on 1st October 2015 for a duration of 36 months.

ProtectDefenders.eu is seeking to recruit a grants officer for the last year of the programme, to ensure coordination grants given out by Consortium partners and to support the allocation of grants for temporary relocation for HRDs. This is an exciting opportunity for someone with some experience in Human Rights and or Grants, with strong communication skills who will play a crucial role in the successful implementation of the project.

The mission of ProtectDefenders.eu is to:

  • operate a permanent and rapid response mechanism to provide emergency support and material assistance to human rights defenders in danger;
  • manage a support programme of temporary relocation for human rights defenders at risk to relocate inside their country, within their region or abroad in case of urgent threat;
  • support and coordinate an exchange platform for organisations and stakeholders working on temporary relocation for human rights defenders including through the EU Temporary Relocation Platform;
  • provide training, support and capacity-building to human rights defenders and local organizations;
  • monitor the situation of human rights defenders and advocate for a protection agenda for Human Rights Defenders at local, regional and international level;
  • promote coordination between organizations dedicated to support for human rights defenders, EU institutions and other relevant actors.

 

The members of the Consortium are: Front Line Defenders, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Network (ESCR-Net), International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA), Urgent Action Fund for Women Human Rights Defenders (UAF), Protection International, Peace Brigades International (PBI), Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF), Forum Asia and East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP). Front Line Defenders, RSF, OMCT and FIDH form the Board of the Consortium. In order to implement the EU HRD mechanism, the Board has formed an independent Secretariat for the project which is managed by the Head of Secretariat and counts with four other staff members.

ProtectDefenders.eu operates 3 grants for Human Rights Defenders and Human Rights Organisations; an emergency grant for human rights defenders, a grant to support human rights organisations and a grant  for temporary relocation of human rights defenders. The temporary relocation grant is fully run by the Brussels secretariat. The two other grants are coordinated by the Brussels secretariat, but administrated and run by the consortium members of ProtectDefenders.eu.

The grants officer will work in close cooperation with the Grants Coordinator and the Head of Secretariat.

Tasks & General Responsibilities of the Grants officer

  • Manages the single-entry points for the emergency grant for human rights defenders, and the grant to support human rights organisations.
  • Keeps a general overview of grants allocated directly by partners as emergency support to HRDs or as support to local HRDs organizations, ensures sharing of good practises and lessons learnt with the partners;
  • Carry out the first assessment of grants applications received, before submitting Consortium partners of ProtectDefenders.eu
  • Follow up on the grants awarded, monitoring the status of progress of grants and liaising with stakeholders to receive intermediate and final narrative and financial reports;
  • Maintain up-to-date information within related folders and database.
  • Support the Grants Coordinator in the administration of the Temporary relocation grants; and prepares them for decision making of the HRD mechanism board, manages the documentation and reporting on the beneficiaries of temporary relocation grants as well as related follow-up at the end of their temporary relocation;
  • Reports issues faced in the grant allocation system to the Grants Coordinator and the Head of Secretariat and suggests pro-actively solutions;
  • Ensures that all grant information is reflected adequately in the database;
  • Ensures that all grants available within the project are advertised and promoted by all partners and on the mechanism website;
  • Is responsible for the reporting related to grant allocation within the project.

 

Experience:

  • Experience in managing grant programs
  • Deep understanding of the needs of human rights defenders at risk
  • Experience in working with people from diverse backgrounds

 

Skills:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent English, (French, Spanish, Russian or Arabic is an asset)
  • Skills in the use of software applications.
  • Database management skills.

 

The HRD Grants Officer will be based in the HRD Mechanism's secretariat in Brussels. The post-holder will receive a gross annual salary of €38 380.

Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter should be sent by email to recruit@ProtectDefenders.eu before January 14th. The successful candidate will be expected to start work by February 2018 if possible. Given the project period of the Programme, the initial contract will be until October 2018 (8 months). However, the consortium aims to extend the project after 2018 for another 3 years, in that case, an extension of the contract would be possible.

For more information, please contact the Head of Secretariat, Guus Van Zwoll gvanzwoll@protectdefenders.eu

December 20

ESCR-Net: Support Ogoni people attacked for defending their territory against oil

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) is calling for international solidarity in the face of recent attacks against its members, as a result of their mobilization to defend the human rights of Ogoni communities in Nigeria.

On 26 October, members of MOSOP carried out a peaceful demonstration against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over moves by the company to establish pipelines across Ogoni communities of the Niger Delta. The company, which is the Nigerian subsidiary of the international oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell, suspended the laying of pipelines in August of this year following protests led by MOSOP. The protest was carried out at the Nonwa pipeline site in Ogoni territory, located in Rivers State, Nigeria, after Shell proceeded to install oil pipelines in the area without conducting an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and obtaining the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the Ogoni people.

 

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December 19

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals December 2017

The December 2017 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest warns about the high risk for freedom of expression advocates in Vietnam, the incommunicado detentions and judicial harassment against human rights lawyers in China and the criminalisation of human rights activists in Niger.

Moreover, only during November 2017, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has reported 29 new violations against HRDs.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter.

December 15

A ProtectDefenders.eu emergency grant was provided by Urgent Action Fund to TajRupt, a human rights group in Tajikistan led by women human rights defenders. TajRupt’s cornerstone program works with young women and men on a curriculum based on the UN’s Voices Against Violence program. Tajrupt also runs HerStory, a program that introduces participants to concepts such as feminism, reproductive health, and rights, female entrepreneurship and employment, the impact of early and forced marriages, preventing violence and harassment against women, and engaging communities in discussions about gender roles and gender equality.

Tajrupt began to receive threats in January 2017 from the associates of the father of one of the young women who had participated in the program. The father was radicalized and estranged from the daughter, but heard about her participation in the program and threatened retaliation. The father and his associates began to show up outside the organization’s office and shout threats at the young people participating in the programs. The group reported the threats to police and asked for assistance, but received no protection from the police. In July, the office was broken into, vandalized, and more serious threats were received. A C1 grant from Urgent Action Fund was requested and immediately enabled the group to add an alarm system and security cameras to its classrooms and offices and to hire a guard. The group also developed a security plan and provided security training to 18 staff and 102 students in its programs.

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December 15

The second year of ProtectDefenders.eu: A story of success in support for human rights defenders at risk

ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism implemented by international civil society, has been consolidated as a solid, successful and indispensable tool for at-risk human rights defenders and a referenced instrument within the international human rights defenders community. In its second year of implementation, ProtectDefenders.eu has stepped up the practical support to HRDs at risk and local human rights NGOs, both quantitatively and qualitatively, in a timely and comprehensive manner, in a context marked by the increasing demand for support and an ever-growing visibility of and referrals to ProtectDefenders.eu among human rights defenders, donors, policymakers and other.

Over this period, the complementarity and the comprehensiveness of the mechanism have made a remarkable difference by linking individual support to defenders at risk, to building resilience among local communities, while successfully addressing emergency situations and broadening the space for civil society through intensive advocacy.  ProtectDefenders.eu has also successfully reinforced the network of support available for human rights defenders at risk by intensifying the collaboration with multiple stakeholders engaged in the defence of human rights defenders, such as local organisations, international NGOs, members of the EUTRP and European institutions such as the European Parliament, and the European External Action Service.

What has ProtectDefenders.eu done over the past year? Read more to find out.

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December 14

Material assistance and advocacy support in favour of 7 environmental rights defenders in Thailand

In September 2017, OMCT allocated a grant to seven women members of the Khon Rak Ban Kerd Group (KRBKG), a community-based group committed to the defence of the local environment from the negative impacts of an open-pit copper-gold mine, operated by the Tungkum company in Thailand’s Loei Province. This grant is supporting the legal expenses of the seven women human rights defenders - namely Ms. Pornthip Hongchai, Ms. Viron Rujichaiyavat, Ms. Ranong Kongsaen, Ms. Mon Khunna, Ms. Suphat Khunna, Ms. Boonraeng Srithong, and Ms. Lumplearn Ruengrith -, who are currently facing trial under the Public Assembly Act and the Criminal Code in relation to a peaceful demonstration they attended in 2016. The seven WHRDs are each facing up to five years in prison and a 100,000 THB (about 2,586 EUR) fine, or both, and have to report themselves to Loei Provincial Court any time when ordered by the court until the trial is completed.

The grant followed advocacy efforts carried out by OMCT in the framework of the Observatory in order to raise the awareness of and call upon action from relevant stakeholders, including EU and UN institutions, to address the judicial harassment faced by the seven environmental rights defenders as a result of their legitimate human rights activities.

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December 13

Reaching out to LGBTI human rights defenders in Europe and Asia

As 2017 got ready to wave goodbye, The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) introduced ProtectDefenders.eu to almost a thousand LGBTI human rights defenders and allies, as they gathered together in Poland and Cambodia for the conferences of our European and Asian regions. Defenders from all over Europe met in Warsaw for four days in November around the theme ‘CHANGE! Communities Mobilising, Movements Rising’: it was an occasion to reflect on the challenges we all face in advancing human rights in a world that is growing more and more complex, and on how to do that while leaving no one behind in our ever-diverse community.

In the early days of December, then, more than 300 LGBTI human rights defenders from more than 30 countries – from Lebanon to Japan, from Pakistan to Singapore – came together in Phnom Penh under the banner “United for love”, looking back at the struggles faced by our communities in Asia in the past years and strategizing on ways forward.

 

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December 6

Front Line Defenders report: Attacks on LGBT rights defenders escalating in Indonesia

Human rights defenders (HRDs) working on issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) have long operated in a threatening environment in Indonesia. Today they are facing more risks than they have in decades, according to 25 HRDs interviewed by Front Line Defenders in July 2017.

The report, “Attacks on LGBT Rights Defenders Escalating in Indonesia”, includes testimonies from dozens of human rights defenders who report that following a crackdown on LGBT rights in 2016 and amidst ongoing violent raids of LGBT gatherings, threats against community leaders are increasingly frequent, personal, and violent.

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December 6

Fatemeh Ekhtesari, human rights defender relocated with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu

"For me, as an Iranian artist and human rights activist, the experience of relocation is somehow a kind of escape, rather than trying to have better situation and facilities. Escape from prison, torture and daily threats. Although relocation has many difficulties and bitterness that are irrefutable, I can be free, continue writing and try for freedom and peace, at least. The very freedom I have, certainly, is a great blessing which has been achieved through relocation."

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December 5

PBI: Worrying situation for the defense of human rights after elections in Honduras

Civil society organizations and international organizations have observed with extreme concern the situation of violence generated in Honduras after the general elections on November 26. At least 14 people have been killed, as well as dozens of people injured and more than 840 detainees. Likewise, human rights defenders have also reported attacks against them in the electoral context.

The delay in the dissemination of definitive results and the apparent lack of transparency on the part of the TSE led to demonstrations in various parts of the country. Subsequently, on December 1st, the Honduran government decreed a curfew and the suspension of certain constitutional guarantees for 10 days. The Organization of American States (OAS) considered such measure disproportionate and requested its immediate lifting.

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November 24

Bahrain: Fearing for his life, FIDH demands the immediate release of its Deputy Secretary General Nabeel Rajab

The Ambassador of Bahrain to France received on November 24th a delegation of the FIDH International Board, who handed him a letter asking his government to immediately release FIDH Deputy Secretary General, Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. A Bahraini citizen, on 22 November 2017, this iconic human rights defender saw his prison sentence confirmed on appeal. His crime? Stating publicly that journalists and human rights activists were denied entry to the country. As his health rapidly deteriorates, he is facing further judicial proceedings and judicial harassment. Coupled with the degrading treatment he is subjected to in prison, Nabeel Rajab’s life is now at risk.

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November 23

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals November 2017

The November 2017 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest warns about the administrative harassment against human rights organisations in Uganda, the recent killing of journalists in Latin America and the judicial harassment against environmental rights activists in Madagascar.

Moreover, only during October 2017, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has reported 17 new violations against HRDs.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter.

November 22

Training on safety measures in Afghanistan

In response to an increase in armed attacks by the Taliban and Islamic State and a decline in the security situation, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) made a training and advocacy visit to Afghanistan from 11 to 22 November that was aimed at improving the safety of Afghan journalists, with a special emphasis on women journalists. For the first time, RSF held seminars in Mazar-i-Sharif (in the northern province of Balkh), Herat (in the western province of Herat) and Charikar (in the central province of Parwan). RSF conducted a seminar in Kabul specifically for women reporters in conflict zones at the request of the Centre for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists (CPAWJ).

In all, 65 journalists (including 26 women) from 60 independent Afghan media outlets attended the seminars, which were based on the new Pashto and Persian-language versions of the Safety Guide for Journalists, published by RSF. At these seminars, RSF met journalists who are not only threatened by armed non-state groups but are also harassed by local politicians including provincial governors. "Self-censorship is the rule in order to survive," said a journalist from Balkh province who asked not to be identified. "You can talk about a lot of things but not corruption. For example, it's forbidden to talk about the seizure of state land or property by governors or their associates or allies. And 'forbidden' means there's a danger of being killed!" The governors of Balkh and Herat provinces did not respond to requests from the RSF delegation for meetings to discuss journalists' safety.

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November 9

Champions of Change - ProtectDefenders.eu Annual Meetings 2017

On the 8th of November, ProtectDefenders.eu held its second annual meeting, under the motto "Champions of change - Human rights defenders at the forefront of development and democracy". More than 30 human rights defenders at risk from all regions of the world who have benefited from the project gathered in Brussels with representatives of international NGOs and European institutions. This unique meeting has successfully brought together grassroots activists working on the frontlines for change and leading experts on the protection of human rights defenders, universal and regional protection mechanisms, and representatives of various EU institutions implicated in the protection of human rights defenders and current development agenda.

Setting a progressive development and protection agenda

The meeting highlighted the crucial role and impact of human rights defenders around the world as promoters of a sustainable development and engaged development actors in how to integrate the protection of human rights defenders as part of an effective development and protection agenda. The widespread attempts to de-legitimise human rights' discourse and human rights defenders' work worldwide were addressed, by promoting a positive narrative grounded on the universality and indivisibility of human rights and its contribution to more advanced and developed societies. Human rights defenders and high-level speakers shared strategies to enhance the protection of those who strive to defend human rights, and to develop a positive narrative on the human rights' work, legitimising their work at the local level and taking back the human rights discourse to the centre of the international agenda.

To conclude the meeting, the twelve partner organisations of ProtectDefenders.eu have issued a public statement urging all national authorities to "publicly recognise the crucial role played by human rights defenders and protect them in all circumstances from any form of judicial harassment". As stressed by Antoine Madelin, FIDH Director for International Advocacy and Chair of the Board of ProtectDefenders.eu, "Human Rights Defenders are the pillars of democracy and of the rule of law but are too often subjected to unfair criminal prosecution, in an effort to undermine their work in the defence of human rights."

November 8

ACHPR 61 - Written intervention submitted by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Madam Chairperson, Distinguished Commissioners and State Delegates,

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, thank the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) for this opportunity to raise some of the key issues with respect to the situation of human rights defenders in Africa.

While States have the duty to protect human rights defenders and to ensure that they operate in a safe and enabling environment, attacks, threats, judicial harassment, criminalisation, legislative and administrative restrictions, as well as smear campaigns against them continue to perpetuate an environment of hostility towards their activities.

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November 8

بيان مشتركك صادر عن ائتلاف حماية المدافعين أبطال

Read here the joint statement issued on the occasion of the ProtectDefenders.eu Annual Meetings 2017 - Champions of Change.

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October 23

#Callforvolunteers ProtectDefenders.eu Annual Meetings

Would you like to support the organisation of the ProtectDefenders.eu Annual meetings, next 7, 8 and 9 of November in Brussels, and get in contact with a remarkable representation of human rights defenders, Human RIghts international institutions and EU representative from all over the world?

Multilingual, proactive profile required. Paid opportunity.

Write to contact@protectdefenders.eu

October 22

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals October 2017

The October 2017 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest warns about the ongoing pattern of repression against human rights defenders in Egypt, the recent killing of a prominent journalist in India and the harassment against civil rights activists in Singapore.

Moreover, only during September 2017, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has reported 59 new violations against HRDs.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter.

October 19

Register now - ProtectDefenders.eu Annual Meeting 2017:

ProtectDefenders.eu is holding its Annual Meeting next 8 November 2017 in Brussels, under the motto:

Champions of change - Human Rights Defenders at the forefront of Development and Democracy ”

This annual meeting will allow taking stock of the most pressing protection challenges for human rights defenders at risk and operating as leaders of today's human rights and development agenda.

Join us at thie unique EU gathering of defenders working on the frontlines for change and setting a progressive development and protection agenda.

Read more for more information and register now. 

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October 18

Chile: Proceso con irregularidades graves debe impedir condena de Defensora Machi Francisca Linconao y comuneros mapuches

París-Ginebra-Temuco, 18 de octubre de 2017 – El Observatorio para la protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos, programa conjunto de la FIDH y la OMCT, concluye que las graves irregularidades observadas en el proceso Lucksinger-Mackay en contra de la defensora de derechos humanos la Machi Francisca Linconao y de los diez comuneros mapuches, debe impedir su condena. El Observatorio publica una nota con las principales constataciones realizadas luego de la Misión de Observación Judicial, que realizó del 2 al 6 de octubre 2017 en el marco de ProtectDefenders.eu, en la que se concluye que hay una indebida aplicación de la Ley Antiterrorista contra las 11 personas, así como graves irregularidades a lo largo del Proceso penal. Destaca por ejemplo el hecho de que la acusación contra los comuneros mapuches no contiene una descripción clara, detallada y circunstanciada sobre las condiciones de tiempo y lugar de los hechos y las conductas atribuidas a cada uno de ellos. Igualmente, resulta preocupante que la acusación se realizó casi exclusivamente a través de un único testimonio, que, según manifestaciones realizadas en el proceso judicial, habría sido obtenido bajo coacción por parte de miembros de fuerzas de seguridad a una persona, al parecer con algún grado de discapacidad cognitiva. Finalmente, destaca el hecho de que la acusación se dirigió en contra de un grupo de personas que a la fecha de los hechos no se conocían entre sí.

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October 16

Working meeting of Temporary Relocation experts in Tbilisi

On Thursday 12th and Friday 13th of October, ProtectDefenders.eu participated at the working meeting of experts organised by Tbilisi Shelter City programme, in Mtshketa, Georgia.

The meeting was attended by organisations providing temporary relocation programmes for HRDs (including Truth Hounds, Front Line Defenders, FIDH, PIN, Freedom House, among others) to share experiences and discuss challenges and opportunities for further cooperation. During the two-days event, several topics were discussed, such as ethic issues, rehabilitation, security issues, communication between the relocation programmes for endangered HRD, monitoring of Human Rights abuses, and fund-raising opportunities.

October 1

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals September 2017

The September 2017 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest warns the recent killings of human rights defenders, and the pattern of intimidation against them in the Philippines, the many media freedom violations registered in Morocco and the plight of human rights defenders in DRC.

Moreover, only during August 2017, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has reported 113 new violations against HRDs.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter.

September 26

20 eurodéputés parrainent 20 défenseurs congolais

Bruxelles - Une conférence de presse s’est tenue aujourd‘hui au Parlement européen pour lancer une initiative originale : 20 eurodéputés ont accepté de parrainer 20 défenseurs des droits humains congolais en danger afin de leur apporter une meilleure protection dans leur combat pour les droits humains et la démocratie.

Alors que la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) est en proie à de nombreuses tensions dans la perspective de la tenue des élections présidentielle et générale, les activistes de la société civile sont inquiétés pour leur combat en faveur de la démocratie, de l’alternance politique et la défense des droits humains.

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September 25

Fighting the criminalisation of defenders in southern Honduras

On September 20 and 21, PBI Honduras facilitated a security and protection workshop for organizations and human rights defenders in southern Honduras. The workshop focused on the exchange of ideas and good practices for the development of protection strategies against the context of criminalization of defenders of land, territory and the environment. The 25 participants have defended the rights of peasant communities against the lack of prior, free and informed consultation on the implementation of economic projects - such as mining, hydroelectric dams, photovoltaic energy fields or large-scale monocultures - in their territories. During the workshop, a mapping of the criminalization context in the area was made. Participants debated the concept of criminalization, the ways in which it occurs - criminal proceedings, arbitrary detentions, stigmatization, police surveillance - and its effects on the work and security of defenders. Then, they identified protection tools to counteract this reality: documentation, networking, physical and digital security measures, visibility of cases, among others.

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September 12

ILGA meets Olya P., human rights defender supported by ProtectDefenders.eu

Olya is an LGBTI and women human rights defender from Russia. In 2015, she reached out for support to ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism. This is her story:

 

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September 1

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals August 2017

The August 2017 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest warns about the ongoing criminalisation of human rights defenders in Turkey, as well as the aggravated situation of defenders in Honduras and the judicial harassment reported in Bahrain.

Moreover, only during July 2017, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has reported 71 new violations against HRDs.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter.

August 31

Annual Meeting 2017 - Champions of change: Human Rights Defenders at the forefront of development and democracy

ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism implemented by International Civil Society, is organising its Annual Meeting 2017, under the motto "Champions of change - Human Rights Defenders at the forefront of Development and Democracy", on November 8th, 2017.

Have a look at the highlights of last year's meeting.

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August 30

Olga Silvia, Colombian human rights defender on advocacy mission in Europe thanks to the support from ProtectDefenders.eu

Due to the persistence of the aggressions against women human rights defenders and the importance of their recognition as peace builders in Colombia, form 17th June to 1st July, PBI organised an advocacy mission in Europe for the Colombian human rights defender Olga Silva, director of Humanidad Vigente – human rights organisation that works in the fight against impunity, with emphasis on the rights of children, women and the defense of territory.  

August 23

Emergency support to WHRD working on domestic violence issues in Russia

Over the past year, Russia has twice moved to roll back legislation that criminalizes domestic violence, including child abuse. Urgent Action Fund has been alarmed not only by the legislative retrenchment, which represents a failure to protect the right to freedom from violence but by the attacks on civil society leaders and human rights defenders who work on issues of domestic violence that have accompanied the legislative changes.

According to UAF, the Russian governments' tacit endorsement of family violence is emboldening ultra-nationalist groups to threaten, harass, and in some cases, commit violence against defenders who work on these issues. Because of ProtectDefenders.eu, Urgent Action Fund has been able to assist defenders impacted by these hate crimes, which are aimed at deterring them from their work, including in the following cases:

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August 23

Comprehensive training for Human Rights Defenders in Indonesia

A cohort of nine grassroots human rights defenders from six different provinces across Indonesia attended a four month training, from mid-February to mid-June 2017, in Jakarta, where they developed skills in safety and protection mechanisms, human rights law, and techniques to monitor and investigate human rights cases in the field. The training, supported by ProtectDefenders.eu, covered the full spectrum of human rights, and developed research projects to look at topics including support for women victims of human rights abuses, environmental and social impacts of large-scale agribusiness, access to education and healthcare in rural areas, and violence against women and children. A highlight of the training was a briefing hosted by the German Embassy, with representatives of 13 different embassies engaging with the HRDs to learn of the threats and challenges they face in their work.

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July 31

In July 2017, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) conducted a training around digital security for LGBTI human rights defenders, supported by ProtectDefenders.eu. For three days, 25 participants from nine countries across Asia gathered together in Bangkok to improve their digital security practices, learn how to make informed decisions when communicating online, and safely exercise their rights without falling prey to preventable digital threats.

Digital space has a crucial role to play in the LGBTI movement: not only it can bring isolated LGBTI individuals together, but it also offers accessible means to help change public awareness on issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics. Unfortunately, there is also another side to the coin: a dramatic growth in the use of online spaces to further activism efforts and for personal use has resulted in more visibility, leaving members of rainbow communities more vulnerable and exposed to threats.

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July 24

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals June 2017

The July 2017 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest warns about the illegal surveillance, criminalisation and killings of human rights defenders in Mexico, as well as physical attacks against defenders in Pakistan and judicial and administrative harrasment reported in Russia. 

Moreover, only during June 2017, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has reported 64 new violations against HRDs.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter.

July 19

From July 11 to 19, 2017, OMCT, in the framework of the Observatory and ProtectDefenders.eu, carried out an international fact-finding mission in different areas of Colombia (Bogotá, Norte de Santander, Antioquia and Valle del Cauca). The work of human rights defenders continues to be a high-risk activity in Colombia, marked by a climate of constant threats and a sharp rise in killings of human rights defenders. The persistence of paramilitary structures, impunity and limitations in the State response are among the main reasons for this reality. Moreover, human rights defenders who are local leaders, particularly those who defend rights related to the land and environment in rural areas, are the group most vulnerable to constant threats.

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July 19

Colombia: Preliminary findings of an international fact-finding mission - No peace for human rights defenders

Geneva-Paris-Bogotá, July 19, 2017 - The lowest murder rate in Colombia for 40 years in the context of the peace process masks a climate of constant threats and a sharp rise in killings of human rights defenders. The persistence of paramilitary structures, impunity and limitations in the State response are among the main reasons for this reality, as reported by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (an OMCT-FIDH partnership) at the close of its mission to the country, carried out in the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism.

The work of human rights defenders continues to be a high-risk activity in Colombia. Depending on the source[1], figures for the number of killings of defenders in 2016 range between 59 and 134. Despite these inconsistencies, the figures are scandalous at either end of the scale, and it is important to highlight that the different national State institutions, international bodies and Colombian civil society organisations which have gathered these statistics all coincide in reporting a significant increase in the number of killings of human rights defenders in comparison with previous years. Moreover, according to the information gathered by the mission, human rights defenders who are local leaders, particularly those who defend rights related to the land and environment in rural areas, are the group most vulnerable to constant threats.

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July 15

In July 2017, OMCT allocated a grant to Honduran human rights defender David Valle, to allow him to receive medical and psychological treatment after suffering an attempted killing on July 10, 2017, as reprisals to his LGBTI rights activities in Honduras, where LGBTI rights defenders are facing a climate of extreme violence. 

 

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July 3

ProtectDefenders.eu participates in the OIAD's assembly

ProtectDefenders.eu participated in a roundtable on protection of threatened lawyers, organised in Madrid by the Observatoire international des avocats en danger (OIAD), gathering individuals and organisations involved in the promotion of human rights. 

During the session, the practical operation of the EU HRD mechanism and its application to lawyers at risk was discussed, as well as other relevant initiatives, such as the presentation of the Index of attacks and alerts, seeking synergies that lead to greater coordination and interrelation between actors involved in the defense of groups of individuals facing threats for defending human rights and / or ensuring access to justice as a fundamental right.

July 3

Integrating a psychosocial perspective in human rights works

Maik Müller 27 June 2017 - Through my work with Peace Brigades International (PBI), I’ve been in contact with diverse members of local and international NGOs working on human rights, but few—if any—of these organisations have integrated a clear approach to counteracting the negative psychosocial impacts of human rights work in repressive contexts.

As an independent consultant, I recently worked with PBI to document and systemize the work done by PBI Mexico over the last 10 years, and our case study indicates that the inclusion of a psychosocial perspective can be an important mechanism to strengthen human rights organisations and their members. In our surveys and interviews, past and current members of the organization gave a variety of examples of how integration of the psychosocial perspective—in addition to specific tools and procedures—led to increased resilience, decreased internal conflicts, and improvements in protection and security work.

Flickr/Jonathan McIntosh (Some rights reserved)
"Paseo de Humanidad" (Parade of Humanity), a painted metal mural, is attached to the Mexican side of the US border wall in the city of Heroica Nogales.

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June 30

Internship at the Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu

ProtectDefenders.eu - The EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism is looking for a 'Programmes and Communication' intern.

Based at the Secretariat's office in Brussels, the intern will work in support to the different file-holders and under the overall supervision of the Head of Secretariat.

He/She will carry out a variety of tasks related to the purposes of the EU HRD Mechanism coordination and implementation, what will provide an opportunity for learning and achieving relevant work experience in the field of human rights at global and EU levels.

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June 29

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals June 2017

The June 2017 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest warns about the crackdonw on civil society in Egypt, as well judicial harassment and repression against human rights defenders in Venezuela and Malaysia. 

Moreover, only during May 2017, the new ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has reported 38 new violations against HRDs.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter.

June 22

ProtectDefenders.eu supported in Brussels a consultation with Human Rights Defenders for the draft of the next report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of HRDs, Michel Forst, on defenders working on business and human rights.

This meeting with representatives of grassroot movements worldwide favored an open discussion on their specific challenges and needs and how to address them. ProtectDefenders reaches out to the most particularly targeted defenders around the world, with immediate protection measures, training, monitoring and advocacy.

June 21

Collective guidance for security and protection for human rights defenders

On 16-17 June 2017, the Advisory Group to ESCR-Net’s System of Solidarity (SOS) held its first, full in-person meeting in Brussels, Belgium. Representatives from Consejo de Pueblos Wuxhtaj, Defend Job Philippines, Forum-ASIA, Front Line Defenders, Green Advocates, Just Associates, Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (ProDESC) and the World Organization Against Torture came together to define ESCR-Net’s particular approach to bolstering security and protection of human rights defenders and to generate guidance for the implementation of that system over the coming five years.

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June 15

Kenya advocacy tour in Geneva

In June 2017, OMCT pursued its efforts in order to raise the awareness of and call upon action from relevant stakeholders, including United Nations (UN) institutions, to address the situation of human rights defenders in Kenya. In that framework, OMCT invited Ms. Teresa Mutua, representative of the International Commission of Jurists - Kenya (ICJ-Kenya), to Geneva, Switzerland, to carry out an international advocacy mission in the margin of the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council. 

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June 11

ProtectDefenders.eu at the Venice School of Human Rights

On 11 June, ProtectDefenders.eu participated in the opening session of the cluster on Human Rights Defenders of the Venice School of Human Rights, sharing information on practical support for defenders at risk and discussing about the challenges and risks faced by human rights defenders throughout the world. 

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June 8

European Development Days 2017 - Protecting defenders as a development strategy

On June 8, ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism, organised a panel session at the European Development Days 2017. Under the title 'Protecting human rights defenders as a development strategy', the session highlighted best cases and success stories of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism for local NGOs promoting human rights in a difficult environment, making sure that promotion of Human Rights was represented at the EDD 2017 as an integral part of the discussions and debates around development.

 

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June 6

ProtectDefenders.eu at the European Development Days 2017

Session: 'Protecting human rights defenders as a development strategy'

Date: 8 June 2017, 10h45 –12h00

Venue: Room Project S2 - EDD 2017, Tour et Taxis, Brussels

ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism, is organising a panel session at the European Development Days 2017.

Under the title 'Protecting human rights defenders as a development strategy', the session will highlight best cases and success stories of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism for local NGOs promoting human rights in a difficult environment, making sure that promotion of Human Rights is represented at the EDD 2017 as an integral part of the discussions and debates around development.

Moderated by Antoine Madelin, International Advocacy director at FIDH, this panel includes the participation of Sarah Rinaldi, Acting Head of Unit Human Rights, Gender, Democratic Governance at DG DEVCO, Liliana De Marco, Executive Director at Protection International, Anne-Sophie Schaeffer, Programme Director at the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders and Sandra Lorena Neira, coordinator of a protection plan project in rural communities in Colombia, funded by ProtectDefenders.eu

Join us at the EDD 2017 to learn more about what the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism is doing to support human rights defenders as actors of change throughout the world.

June 1

In May 2017, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), conducted a trial observation mission on the case of Mr. Levent Pi?kin, a human rights lawyer belonging to the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (Ozgurlukcu Hukukcular Dernegi – OHD), a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Intersexed (LGBTI) rights activist, and a member of the Justice Commission of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

 

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May 31

The Observatory - Bahrain: Harassment of various human rights defenders, including excessive use of force, ill-treatment and torture in custody

Throughout May 2017, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) supported by ProtectDefenders.eu, has raised the voice to warn about several acts of harassment targeting various human rights defenders, including excessive use of force, ill-treatment and torture in custody and other acts of intimidation by Bahraini security forces.

Concurrently to the repression of peaceful protesters, a number of human rights defenders, journalists and online activists have been summoned for interrogation, reportedly ill-treated, threatened and forced to publicly announce their resignation from their human rights activities during interrogation by the Bahraini National Security Agency (NSA).

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May 31

Latin American Meeting on strategies of protection for the defence of the territory

On May 30, 31 and June 1, in Mexico City, the Latin American Meeting "Strategies of protection for the defence of territory" was held. With the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, this event was organised by a group of international and regional organisations that support processes for the protection of human rights defenders, especially those who work in the defence of land and territory, including ProtectDefenders.eu partners PBI, Front Line Defenders and Protection Intrenational.

With the purpose of incorporating local and community perspectives, as well as taking advantage of their knowledge, local organisations from several countries also participated as conveners of this meeting, with the aim of opening a space for exchange and learning about experiences and protection strategies existing in the region that would strengthen the ongoing processes, as well as to foster a space of solidarity and articulation between different movements, organizations and territories.

May 31

Egypt: Mohamed Zaree, Egypt Director of CIHRS, interrogated and charged within the NGO Foreign Funding case

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, has mobilsed the public and media attention on the continued judicial harassment and the restrictions to freedom of association faced by several Egyptian human rights organisations, as well as their staff and members, in the framework of the so-called case No. 173/2011, also known as the “NGO foreign funding case”.

According to the information received, on May 24, 2017, Mr. Mohamed Zaree, Egypt Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) was interrogated by the investigative judge within the framework of the “NGO Foreign Funding case”. At the end of the interrogation session, the investigative judge ordered the release of Mr. Zaree on a LE 30,000 bail (approx. 1,482 Euros).

May 28

ProtectDefenders.eu: A safety network to save lives

Article by Noor Ali, pen name of a WHRD benefiting from the ProtectDefenders.eu temporary relocation programme - For security reasons, information allowing her identification is not disclosed.

As a woman human rights defender, I have been living in constant state of danger for the last six years. A new war erupted in my home country of Sudan following five years of fragile peace. Alarming signs of potential genocide became hard to avoid, so I found myself doing what I can to report about these signs for international human rights organizations. Within few months my house was under surveillance, my phone was tapped and then was cut off by security, because I was making calls into the war zones... 

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May 24

Seven-day seminar on digital security for 7 Libyan journalists

As part of its support for media and journalists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, conducted a seven-day seminar on digital security for 7 Libyan journalists and activists with the aim of training them to be able to train others on digital security in Libya.

The seminar was held in two stages, seven weeks apart. The chosen approach was Training of trainers, in order to train them as well to later train their fellow peers in digital security, hence improving the impact of this training. 

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May 23

The May 2017 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest reports judicial harassment and repression against human rights defenders in Bahrain and Uganda, and recent killings of journalists in Mexico. 

Moreover, only during April 2017, the new ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders has reported 62 new violations against HRDs. 

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter.

May 17

ProtectDefenders.eu joins the roundtable 'Madrid for those who defend human rights'

ProtectDefenders.eu participated in the roundtable 'Madrid for those who defend human rights', co-organised by Mundubat Foundation and Peace Brigades International (PBI), in collaboration with the Madrid City Council. The round table addressed the situation of human rights defenders, communities and organizations, as well as their protection needs and disseminated information about the protection programmes put in place to support defenders at risk, with the purpose of providing the municipal government with contents for the implementation of a municipal program for the protection of human rights organizations and individuals.

May 16

ليس بمقدرونا تحمل كلفة الاصابة بالصدمة: واقع الم%B

Nazik Awad - 16 May 2017 Local human rights defenders—who are fighting to stop global companies from destroying their people's lands, or documenting horrific war crimes against their own communities, or providing aid for displaced families—are not just advocates, they are victims too. For local advocates, the passion to defend their communities' rights is far more personal and very emotional, but most of the time, their commitment to the struggles of their people exceed their limited capacities. They often make the choice to ignore their personal needs in order to ensure the survival of their communities—but this choice can come at a significant cost.

Flickr/UNAMID (Some rights reserved)

Flickr/UNAMID (Some rights reserved)

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May 12

Call for digital security training for organisations working with sexual minorities

ILGA is organising a digital security training within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu. Asian organisations serving and led by LGBTI people can apply for this training opportunity, that will take place in Bangkok, Thailand from July 11-14, 2017.

Digital space has a crucial role to play in the LGBTI movement by bringing together isolated LGBTI individuals and changing public awareness on diverse sexual and gender identities. At the same time, it leaves the LGBTI community vulnerable to threats of violence as they become more visible.

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May 8

Consultancy Vacancy - Research on International Funding Available for Human Rights NGOs and Human Rights Defenders

Terms of Reference for a research on international funding available for Human Rights NGOs and Human Rights Defenders

 

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May 5

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Head of Secretariat

ProtectDefenders.eu is seeking to recruit an experienced manager to run the Secretariat of the mechanism in Brussels and to ensure coordination of the project implementation and all related financial and narrative reporting. This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced manager with strong communication skills who will play a crucial role in the successful implementation of the project.

Read the job description.

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May 3

The Observatory - Kenya 2017 elections: broken promises put human rights defenders at risk

The abduction, torture and killing of renowned Kenyan human rights lawyer Willie Kimani in June 2016 shocked the entire world, provoking a wave of outrage at national and international level. This is only the tip of the iceberg of a widespread pattern of violence and harassment aimed at silencing dissenting voices and perpetuating impunity, as concluded by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT-FIDH partnership) after a fact-finding mission to the country, conducted within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu

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April 28

Risk assessment and protection planning for Human Rights Defenders in Latin America

In late April 2017, Front Line Defenders conducted a four-days training of trainers for Spanish-speaking defenders, supported by ProtectDefenders.eu. The training was aimed at increasing the capacities of participants, while developing local champions on risk assessment, who can work with others to enchance protection planning. The training took place in Costa Rica, in a relatively safe environment for HRDs to access in a manner which does not prove problematic on their return, and benefited 12 Human Rights Defenders, 6 of them WHRD, from Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

April 26

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals April 2017

The April 2017 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest reports alarming cases of repression, criminalisation and judicial harassment against human rights defenders in Belarus, Cameroon and Peru.

Moreover, only during March 2017, the digest reports at least 18 defenders killed in relation to their work of defence of human rights within their communities in the Philippines, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala or Mexico, among other countries.

Click to read the ProtectDefenders.eu digest and share it on Twitter

You can also search the new ProtectDefenders.eu Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders.

April 21

Watch the video of the ProtectDefenders.eu 2016 Annual Meeting - #DefendersNotCriminals

The video of the ProtectDefenders.eu 2016 Annual Beneficiaries' Meeting, held in Brussels on the 29 November 2016 under the motto "Defending Human Rights is not a crime - #DefendersNotCriminals", is now available.

The event gathered human rights defenders, NGO representatives, international and regional protection mechanisms and European insitutions to reflect on the first year of support of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism and raise the awareness about the pressing threat of criminalisation against human rights defenders around the world.

Watch it now on Youtube.

April 20

Financial support to a Brazilian media outlet

Reporters Wthout Borders (RSF), within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, has provided financial support to FalaRN.com, a Brazilian news website launched in December 2014, by two journalists Francisco Costa and Josi Gonçalves, aiming to offer journalistic information, analysis, opinion with credibility and transparency guided by editorial independence.

Fala RN has published a series of stories about embezzlement of public funds, nepotism and election fraud involving local politicians. Since, the two journalists have been victims of judicial harassment, and those local officials have brought a total of 11 defamation suits against the couple – seeking a total of more than 200,000 reais (57,000 euros) in damages­ –. In addition to judicial harassment, Costa and Gonçalves have feared for their safety. They have been victims of persecutions, as well as threats and suspicions of abduction. Increasing legal fees have put the media into a difficult financial position. This case has been denounced by RSF and, combined with public condemnation of this persecution, financial assistance was allocated to help them purchase equipment such as cameras, computer, microphone in order to be able to continue their high quality investigative journalistic work and develop their own production of content.

April 20

ProtectDefenders.eu will participate in the European Development Days 2017 - Protecting human rights defenders as a development strategy

ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism, will organise a panel session in the coming edition of the European Development Days 2017, on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Under the title 'Protecting human rights defenders as a development strategy', this session will highlight best cases and success strories of funding and support of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism for local NGOs promoting human rights in a difficult environment, making sure that promotion of Human Rights is represented at the EDD2017 as an integral part of the discussions and debates around development.

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April 4

Nodjigoto Charbonnel - 'Defenders in Chad are threatened, harassed and brutalized'

Nodjigoto Charbonnel is a Chadian human rights defender supported within the ProtectDefenders.eu Temporary Relocation Programme.

"I am the founder and Executive Director of the Association jeunesse pour la Paix et la Non-violence (AJPNV), in Chad. The organisation works against torture and supports the of victims of torture and ill-treatment, as well as victims of sexual violence against women in the community. We also carry out activities to educate Chadian citizens in the field of human rights.

We provide free of charge medical, psychosocial, legal support to refugees, IDPs, women victims of sexual violence, abandoned children, as well as empower women to fight against inequality, discrimination, poverty and harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM). However, Human rights defenders Chad in general face threats, intimidation, harassment and are always brutalized. 

This fellowship at the York University, supported by ProtectDefenders.eu within its Temporary Relocation Programme, is the opportunity to step back and look to what I am doing and make analysis to improve it. It is a kind of rest. It is also an opportunity to meet with others Human Rights defenders to share experiences, knowledge and learn new skills, which can help me to improve my way of work. Overall the fellowship is very beneficial for me and thanks for those who make it possible."

March 30

Guatemala - Meeting of defenders of the body-earth territory

On March 29 and 30, PBI Guatemala invited 25 women human rights defenders of the territorio cuerpo-tierra, from 15 organizations and groups, from 15 organizations and groups and 9 departments to a meeting to exchange experiences about their realities and the challenges they face in their struggle. 

The precarious situation of security and lack of protection of the defenders in rural areas was made evident during the discussion, since in many cases defenders do not have access to those State institutions in charge of protecting the women at risk. This gathering included a meeting with representatives of the embassies of Germany, Canada, Spain, the United States, United Kingdom and Sweden, as well as the EU Delegation and the OHCHR, where defenders shared their concerns on varied issues, such as the freedom of expression of community communicators and the lack of recognition of their work, the work of women's organizations that accompany women survivors of violence, who are highly exposed and vulnerable, and the lack of adequate responses by state institutions.

March 30

ProtectDefenders.eu launches its Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism implemented by international civil society, launched its Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders, featuring a monitoring of alerts concerning violations perpetrated against individuals promoting Human Rights around the globe. The Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders is available on ProtectDefenders.eu website

 

This Index does not intend to be exhaustive, as many alerts and attacks go unreported and real figures are much higher. Still, with more than 1000 documented alerts reported by ProtectDefenders.eu partners, it aims at becoming a source of updated information that should allow the identification of worrying trends and  encourage the coordination of adequate responses by decision-makers and authorities to counter the violations faced by defenders.

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March 28

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals March 2017

March 28

ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Finance Officer

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is recruiting a Finance Officer to join their team, based in Brussels.

PURPOSE OF THE POSITION

Under the supervision of the Head of Secretariat and with the assistance of the other Secretariat staff, the Finance Officer maintains an effective and accurate financial reporting system or all the HRD mechanism activities. This includes ensuring that all expenditures are in conformity with the relevant EU guidelines, that records of receipts and other relevant documentation of expenditure are maintained and that the financial reporting to the EU and the relevant audit reports are delivered on time and to the highest professional standards.

He/she develops and adapts the necessary tools to successfully administer a consortium budget and provides financial analysis of the project's performance to inform decision-making processes. He/she oversees the coordination of accurate reporting by all organisations participating in the mechanism. Together with the Head of Secretariat, he/she ensures the development and implementation of work and expenditure plans and ensures that programmes are implemented within agreed and approved budgets through undertaking regular budget monitoring of expenditure against budget. He/she ensures that the Head of Secretariat and the Board are provided with accurate financial reports in an ongoing manner. He/she coordinates audit of the project and ensures that continuous monitoring and risk mitigation measures are in place. He/she ensures compliance with relevant legal frameworks in all contractual, financial, labor and taxation matters. He/she provides support on all other administrative and logistical aspects within the Secretariat whenever necessary. 

 

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March 20

Doaa Mostafa Ahmed Hassan: 'NGO and defenders in Egypt are under severe threat'

Doaa Mostafa Ahmed Hassan is a lawyer and the director of the criminal justice programme in the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms. Due to the situation in the country and the threats and criminalisation she faced because of her work, Doaa left Egypt with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, and is currently participating in a fellowship programme with the accompaniment and collaboration of York University.

"I am working in an increasingly restricted space: NGOs and human rights defenders in Egypt are generally coming under severe threat due to an investigation into their funding sources. A number of key human rights defenders and organisations are under threat of closure, and subject to travels bans, asset freezes and heavy prison sentences. My work as a human rights lawyer researching, documenting and defending those whose rights has been disrupted since the moment of my arrest, and I am regarded as a thorn in the side of the regime. 

There have been attempts to silence me on more than one occasion. I have even been detained in the Supreme State Security Prosecution Headquarters, one of the top investigating bodies in the country, where officers took me into a  room to pressure me to cease my work and intimidated me to drop the work I am doing in the defence of human rights..."

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March 14

ProtectDefenders.eu and CCBE Workshop - Practical tools for threatened lawyers worldwide

ProtectDefenders.eu, together with the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), is organising the workshop: "How to improve the protection of threatened lawyers worldwide? Practical tools from the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism", on Thursday 30th March. 

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February 28

Elena Pershakova: A successful example of the Temporary Relocation Programme

Elena Pershakova, a Russian woman human rights defender defending the rights of citizens victims of law enforcement entities' abuses, has recently concluded a successful and fruitful temporary relocation stay in Georgia, funded by ProtectDefenders.eu with the support of the Tbilisi Shelter City programme.

Today, more than 550 human rights defenders at risk and their relatives from all corners of the globe have benefited from a temporary relocation grant from the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism, allowing them to get away from a dangerous context and strengthen their skills and capacities to continue their work. 

 

Click to Read More to learn about Elena's experience

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February 26

With the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, PBI raises concerns on the situation of defenders in Sierra Tarahumara before the UN Human Rights Council

With the support of a grant provided through ProtectDefenders.eu and as part of an advocacy speaking tour organized by PBI, the director of Alianza Sierra Madre, Isela González attended the 34th Human Rights Council session in Geneva, where the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, presented his annual report, highlighting the grave human rights situation that environmental defenders face. 

In the interactive dialogue with SR Michel Forst, PBI expressed concerns on the worsening situation of human rights defenders in the Latin American region and specifically the murders of the environmental defenders, members of the raramuri community, Isidro Baldenegro and Juan Ontiveros, which happened within two weeks of each other in the Sierra Tarahumara, Mexico.

 

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February 24

Participation in the EHAHRDP General Assembly Meeting in Kampala

ProtectDefenders.eu attended the East And Horn Of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD-Net) General Assembly Meeting, which took place in Kampala, Uganda, on the 21st and 22nd of February 2017. 

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February 21

Advocacy, outreach and solidarity mission in Mexico

In February 2017, ProtectDefenders.eu supported an international advocacy, outreach and solidarity mission in Mexico, carried out by OMCT in the framework of the Observatory. The mission was conducted in order to seek the release of human rights defenders Damián Gallardo Martínez, Enrique Guerrero Aviña and Librado Baños Rodríguez, who have been victims of arbitrary detention, criminalization, torture and ill-treatment for three years and a half, despite UN recommendations.

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February 20

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent appeals February 2017

The February 2017 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest reports alarming cases of judicial abuses, repression and harassment against human rights defenders in India, Saudi Arabia and Cameroon.

Moreover, only during the first month of the year, at least 17 defenders were killed in relation to their work of defence of human rights within their communities. Colombia, with 9 killings, has reportedly been the world's deadliest country for human rights defenders.

Click to read all the alerts from ProtectDefenders.eu and share it on Twitter.

February 18

Training HRDs from remote areas in Mexico

In February 2017, OMCT, within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu and jointly with the Mexican NGO “Consorcio Oaxaca”, carried out a two-days training to 37 human rights defenders mainly from remote areas in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico, focusing on international mechanisms for the protection of human rights defenders and for the advancement of their causes.

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February 18

ProtectDefenders.eu supports a RSF training for Syrian journalists

On the 18th and 19th February, RSF organised in Istanbul a training in Istanbul on the basics of journalism for 5 Syrian journalists, four of them exiled in Turkey and working for Syrian media, the fifth one still in Syria working as freelance reporter covering the war. This training, conducted within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, responded to their needs to be trained on the essential rudiments and principles of journalism, as well as on security, as they all learnt the profession by doing and never had the opportunity to be trained as such.

The training was led by a French journalist, Sophie Nivelle Cardinale, who is working with several French information media, and who has documented the war in Syria on several occasions. The RSF Head of Middle-East desk also followed the training and met with the participants.

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February 16

Trial monitoring mission - Kyrgyzstan’s retrial of human rights defender Azimjan Askarov a mockery unworthy of closer EU ties, Observatory reports

Publication of an international judicial observation report, after the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a FIDH-OMCT partnership) mission, carried out in the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu

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February 14

Nur Nobi Dulal, blogger from Bangladesh, relocated in Hamburg with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu and the Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People

On February 1st, the Hamburger Stiftung für politisch Ver­folgte welcomed their new guest Nur Nobi Dulal (46) from Bangladesh in the safety of Hamburg. Nur Nobi Dulal will be relocated away from danger for the next twelve months, as part of a relocation programme funded by ProtectDefenders.eu and supported by Amnesty International and PEN International.

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February 9

Conclusiones de misión internacional del Observatorio (FIDH-OMCT) en México, con el apoyo de ProtectDefenders.eu -

Fuente: El Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos (OMCT-FIDH)

Ginebra, Paris, Oaxaca, 8 de febrero de 2017 – Damián Gallardo Martínez, Enrique Guerrero Aviña y Librado Baños Rodríguez siguen siendo desde hace tres años y medio víctimas de detención arbitraria, criminalización, tortura y malos tratos, a pesar de las recomendaciones emitidas por la ONU. Su único delito es su trabajo como defensores de los derechos humanos, según denunciaron hoy el Observatorio para la Protección de Defensores de Derechos Humanos (OMCT-FIDH) y el Consorcio Oaxaca. Además de abordar el patrón de detención arbitraria de personas defensoras en México, la misión conjunta -apoyada por el mecanismo de la UE para los defensores de Derechos Humanos, ProtectDefenders.eu- pudo constatar la falta de garantías para la labor de defensa de derechos humanos en el Estado de Oaxaca.

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February 2

Publication of RSF's report 'Veracruz: journalists and the state of fear'

With the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published a report in Spanish, French and English about the plight of journalists in Mexico’s eastern state of Veracruz, one of Latin America’s most dangerous places for the media.

Entitled “Veracruz: journalists and the state of fear,” the report is the fruit of a visit carried out by RSF to Mexico in June 2016 -within the framework of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism- during which it met with local journalists, representatives of NGOs and representatives of federal and state-level institutions involved in protecting media freedom in Mexico.

The report examines the appalling environment for journalists in Veracruz. Caught between ultra-violent criminal cartels and corrupt politicians, journalists who take too close an interest in sensitive stories or in organized crime are liable to be admonished, threatened and even gunned down in cold blood.

From 2000 to 2016 in Mexico, 99 journalists were the victims of murders that were clearly or probably linked to their work, and 20% of these murders took place in Veracruz alone. Cases of physical attacks and disappearances are also legion, and the shocking level of impunity shows the ineffectiveness of the many mechanisms created for protecting journalists.

READ THE REPORT

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January 26

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent Appeals January 2017

ProtectDefenders.eu partners are concerned about recent killings, attempted murders and enforced disappearances in Colombia, the killing of land rights defenders in Myanmar and the ongoing repression against human rights defenders and lawyers in Turkey. 

Click to read all the alerts from ProtectDefenders.eu in the December 2016 issue of the monthly digest and share it on Twitter.

January 15

Protecting the security of a LGBTI organisation in Cameroon

In January 2017, OMCT, within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, allocated a grant to the NGO “Avenir Jeunes de l’Ouest”, an NGO defending and protecting human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) people in Cameroon, a country where homosexuality is criminalised. 

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December 27

Landmark UNWGAD decision following intense advocacy work seeking for the release of 5 HRD in Cambodia

In December 2016, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (an OMCT-FIDH partnership supported by the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism) jointly with several Cambodian organisations, welcomed the recent Opinion No. 45/2016 adopted by the UNWGAD that recognise the arbitrary nature of the ongoing detention of human rights defenders Ny Chakrya,  Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, and Lim Mony in Cambodia.

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December 22

Building the capacities of Zimbabwean Human Rights Defenders

In December 2016, ProtectDefenders.eu supported  a three-days training for 25 human rights defenders from the Midlands Province in Zimbabwe conducted by the OMCT, jointly with the Zimbabwe Organisation for the Youth in Politics (ZOYP). The main objectives were to strengthen the advocacy work of the participants as well as to sensitize them on security issues in their work, especially ahead of the 2018 elections.

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December 21

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent Appeals December 2016

ProtectDefenders.eu partners are concerned about recent killings and overall degradation of the situation of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala, and arbitrary detentions and judicial harassment against defenders in Kenya and Malaysia.

Click to read all the alerts from ProtectDefenders.eu in the December 2016 issue of the monthly digest and share it on Twitter.

December 17

Protection International launches its Protection Support Fund within ProtectDefenders.eu - CALL FOR PROPOSAL

Protection International, partner in the implementation of ProtectDefenders.eu, launches a call for proposals for local human rights organisations. 

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December 15

Funding the advocacy tour of Honduran Association of Judges for Democracy

In December 2016, Adan Guillermo López Lone, a member of the Association of Judges for Democracy (AJD, Asociación de Jueces para la Democracia), visited the UK, France, Switzerland and Belgium to meet international actors. The tour was sponsored by PBI Honduras within ProtectDefenders.eu.

The main purpose of the tour was to raise awareness about the Honduras’ government failure to implement the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) sentence on the López Lone and others vs. Honduras case.

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December 2

Strengthening capacity building for LGBTI human rights defenders

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December 2

Honduras: Los defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos entre la espada y la pared

Ciudad de Panamá-Ginebra-Paris-Tegucigalpa, 1 de diciembre de 2016 - "Asesinatos, amenazas y criminalización es la realidad cotidiana para las personas defensoras de derechos humanos en Honduras. Las autoridades hondureñas deben mostrar una real voluntad política para hacer frente a esta crisis", según denunciaron hoy el Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos (OMCT-FIDH), CEHPRODEC, CIPRODEH, COFADEH y la Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad en el informe de la misión de investigación realizada por el Observatorio en el marco de ProtectDefenders.eu. El lanzamiento de este informe se realizó durante la audiencia ante la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos sobre la situación de los defensores de derechos humanos en Honduras, celebrada en la Ciudad de Panamá.

December 1

JOINT STATEMENT - Human Rights Defenders are not criminals

On the occasion of the 1st Beneficiaries' Meeting, the twelve partner organisations of ProtectDefenders.eu have issued a public statement urging all national authorities to "publicly recognise the crucial role played by human rights defenders and protect them in all circumstances from any form of judicial harassment". As stressed by Antoine Madelin, FIDH Director for International Advocacy and Chair of the Board of ProtectDefenders.eu, "Human Rights Defenders are the pillars of democracy and of the rule of law but are too often subjected to unfair criminal prosecution, in an effort to undermine their work in the defence of human rights."

#DefendersNotCriminals

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December 1

Honduras: Human Rights Defenders between a rock and a hard place

"Everyday in Honduras, human rights defenders face killings, threats and criminalisation. The Honduran authorities must show genuine political willingness to confront this crisis" urged the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (an OMCT - FIDH partnership), on the occasion of the publication of the report on the international fact-finding mission carried out in the country within ProtectDefenders.eu, launched on December 1st in Panama City, before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

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November 30

PRESS RELEASE: Human Rights Defenders are not criminals

Brussels, November 29, 2016.- ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism implemented by International Civil Society, has just concluded its first annual meeting of beneficiaries: human rights defenders at risk from all regions of the world who have benefited from the project gathered today in Brussels. The meeting aimed at reflecting on this first year of coordinated work to support defenders worldwide and at highlighting the worrying global phenomenon of criminalisation of human rights defenders.

To conclude the meeting, the twelve partner organisations of ProtectDefenders.eu have issued a public statement urging all national authorities to "publicly recognise the crucial role played by human rights defenders and protect them in all circumstances from any form of judicial harassment". As stressed by Antoine Madelin, FIDH Director for International Advocacy and Chair of the Board of ProtectDefenders.eu, "Human Rights Defenders are the pillars of democracy and of the rule of law but are too often subjected to unfair criminal prosecution, in an effort to undermine their work in the defence of human rights."

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November 29

ProtectDefenders.eu 1st Beneficiaries' Meeting

On the 29th of November, ProtectDefenders.eu held its first annual meeting of beneficiaries under the motto "Defenders are not criminals". More than 30 human rights defenders at risk from all regions of the world who have benefited from the project gathered in Brussels with representatives of NGOs, European institutions and International and Regional Protection Mechanisms, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst. The meeting reflected on this first year of coordinated work to support defenders worldwide and highlighted the worrying global phenomenon of criminalisation of human rights defenders.

#HRDsnotcriminals

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November 29

بيان مشترك صادر عن ائتلاف حماية المدافعين - المداف

بروكسل، 29 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2016

يتعرض المدافعون عن حقوق الإنسان في أنحاء العالم بانتظام إلى المضايقات وتوجّه إليهم التهّم الجنائية، وذلك بهدف ترهيبهم وشلّ أنشطتهم في مجال حقوق الإنسان ونزع الشرعية عنها. إذ يواجه المدافعون صعوبات شتى أثناء عملهم في بيئات تشريعية وإدارية تزداد قيودها وتنكر الحق في حرية تكوين الجمعيات وحرية التعبير والتجمّع السلمي. فتُلغى التراخيص الممنوحة للمنظمات غير الحكومية المعنية بحقوق الإنسان، وتُجمّد حساباتها المصرفية، ويُنتهك حقها في الحصول على المال من الخارج. كذلك طوّر عدد متزايد من الدول نمطًا منهجّيًا من العقبات التي تعترض حرية المدافعين عن حقوق الإنسان في التنقل (لا سيما اللجوء إلى تدبير المنع من السفر) في محاولة واضحة لعزلهم.

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November 28

Read the testimony of Zerihun Mulugueta, Ethiopian journalist relocated with the support of PEN American center, Justice and Peace and Protectdefenders.eu

“I have been in Nairobi for 26 months..."

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November 25

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent Appeals November 2016

ProtectDefenders.eu partners are concerned about recent killings and overall degradation of the situation of Human Rights Defenders in Honduras, and severe threats and judicial abuses against defenders in Kazakhstan and DRC.

Click to read all the alerts from ProtectDefenders.eu in the November 2016 issue of the monthly digest and share it on Twitter.

November 19

Training for HRDs on the occasion of the ESCR-Net Global Strategy Meeting

On November 19, ESCR-Net’s System of Solidarity Advisory Group, through Front Line Defenders and Just Associates and with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, facilitated a security training for 35 human rights defenders, half of whom were women, during the ESCR-Net Global Strategy Meeting in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

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November 15

ProtectDefenders.eu Annual Meeting: 'Defenders are not criminals'

ProtectDefenders.eu is holding its first beneficiaries' meeting next Tuesday, 29th November 2016, in Brussels, under the theme Defenders are not criminals - Countering Criminalisation of Human Rights Defenders.

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November 11

Accompanying the advocacy tour of a Zimbabwean defender in Brussels

ProtectDefenders.eu has supported the advocacy tour of Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo, a Zimbabwean human rights defender and democracy activist, carried out from 7-10 of November, in Brussels. During his stay, Nkosilathi met with MEPs, human rights NGOs, scholars and EU representatives to raise awareness about the hazardous situation of civil society and human rights defenders in Zimbabwe. Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo has been particularly threatened after accusing President Robert Mugabe for crimes against humanity, and has been forced to flee to South Africa.

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November 11

On 10 and 11 November 2016, Reporters Without Borders organised a training in physical security for 19 Afghan journalists in Kabul with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu. The training gathered journalists, majority of them working as war reporters for local and national media and among them 4 women, from 13 provinces of Afghanistan.

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November 7

7th Asian Regional Human Rights Defenders Forum in Colombo, Sri Lanka

In November 14-16 2016, ProtectDefenders.eu participated in the 7th Asian Regional Human Rights Defenders Forum, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, presenting the EU Human Rights Defenders. The forum was organised by FORUM-ASIA together with their members in Sri Lanka: Inform Human Rights Documentation Centre (INFORM) and Law and Society Trust (LST).

November 1

Set up of a relocation hub for human rights defenders in Tbilisi

ProtectDefenders.eu, through the European Union Temporary Relocation Platform (EUTRP), has supported the set-up of a new relocation programme 'Tbilisi Shelter City' in Tbilisi, Georgia, together with two local NGOs (Truth Hounds and Analytical Center for Interethnic Cooperation). This new shelter initiative is expected to host up to 20 human rights defenders. The first group of defenders in need of relocation will arrive in December 2016.

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November 1

ProtectDefenders.eu is supporting the monitoring of the trial against human rights defenders Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayan in Atyrau (Kazakhstan), carried out by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT-FIDH partnership) and several local and national and international human rights organisations.

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October 28

Fact-finding mission in Kenya: Looking at the 2017 elections, is civil society beyond the brink?

From October 24, the Observatory for the Protection of HRDs, a partnership of OMCT and FIDH, conducted a four-days fact-finding mission on the situation of HRDs in Kenya within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu.

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October 24

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent Appeals October 2016

ProtectDefenders.eu partners are concerned about reported judicial abuses, harassment and attacks against Human Rights Defenders in Russia, Colombia and Vietnam.

Check to read the October 2016 ProtectDefenders.eu Digest and share it on Twitter

October 19

Internship at the Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu

ProtectDefenders.eu - The EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism is looking for a 'Programmes and Communication' intern.

 

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October 18

DRAFT

Con el apoyo del Mecanismo de la UE para los Defensores y Defensoras de los Derechos Humanos - ProtectDefenders.eu, Protection International en Guatemala y Colombia ha estado impulsando en America Latina procesos de protección y fortalecimiento de la labor de las mujeres defensoras de los derechos humanos, particularmente los derechos territoriales y ambientales.

Como parte de este trabajo, del 2 al 8 de octubre se celebró el primer intercambio de mujeres defensoras de derechos humanos, en el cual participaron mujeres de las organizaciones sociales y comunidades acompanadas por los equipos de PDGuatemala, ADES-organización socia de PI en El Salvador, y PDColombia en alianza con Pensamiento y Acción Social – PAS.

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October 11

Monitoring the trial against defenders of freedom of assembly in Kazakhstan

ProtectDefenders.eu is supporting the monitoring of the trial against human rights defenders Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayan in Atyrau (Kazakhstan), carried out by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT-FIDH partnership) and several local and national and international human rights organisations.

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October 8

Mutual learning experiences for WHRD and land rights defenders in Latin America

From October 2 to 8, Protection International, with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, organised a sharing experience for women human rights defenders and land rights defenders in Guatemala, the first of a set of initiatives and processes promoted to protect and strengthen the work of women human rights defenders, particularly working in land and environmental rights, through mutual learning.

September 29

Outreach mission to North-West Tunisia

On 26-27 September 2016, the EMHRF Maghreb team conducted a field visit to Tunisia’ most impoverished and remote areas, as an outreach initiative towards less connected human rights defenders and organisations carried out within ProtectDefenders.eu.

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September 24

Threatened Iranian poet Arash Chakeri, relocated in Brussels with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu

Chakeri has been increasingly critical towards his country's government, also calling for freedom and democracy as an activist. During the last years he has been regularly attacked, arrested and threatened. He decided to leave his country and he is currently relocated in Brussels with the accompaniment of Passaporta - International house of Literature as host organisation, with the financial support of ProtectDefenders.eu.

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September 23

Alerting on repression against human rights defenders in Cuba

ProtectDefenders.eu has supported the publication of a briefing on the situation of repression against human rights defenders in Cuba, drafted by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of implementing partners FIDH and OMCT, and released on August 29. In a context of diplomatic and economic opening in the island, legitimate activities in defence of human rights carried out by civil society are still subject to prohibitions and prosecution.

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September 22

Conclusions of the judicial observation mission of the Bajo Aguan case

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, has just issued its report on judicial observation mission of the Bajo Aguán case. Four years later, 25 defenders and peasants acquitted but the murder of lawyer Trejo go unpunished.

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September 22

Material assistance to arbitrarily imprisoned defender Damian Gallardo

The World Organisation against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, has allocated an emergency grant to Damián Gallardo Martínez, defender of indigenous people and education rights from the Mixe region in the state of Oaxaca (Mexico). 

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September 21

Fact-finding mission in Veracruz

In June 2016, Reporters Without Borders carried out a 7 days observatory mission in Mexico, in the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu. The objective of this mission was to gather comprehensive information on the insecure situation, constant threats and attacks against the journalists in the region, in order to raise awareness and alert international community and propose recommendations.

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September 20

Advocating for the rights of communities affected by World Bank project in Nepal

On August 10, ProtectDefenders.eu partner ESCR-Net sent a letter to the Government of Nepal to express concern regarding the reported and threatened human rights violations in connection with the World Bank-funded Khimti-Dhalkebar 220 kV Transmission Line Project (Project), in the Sindhuli District, which is operating on the lands of indigenous peoples.

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September 19

Release of Ildefonso Zamora following 9 months of arbitrary detention in Mexico

On August 12, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, welcomed the release of Mexican defender Ildefonso Zamora, after the intense work done to raise awareness about his case both nationally and internationally. Mr. Ildefonso Zamora was released after 9 months of arbitrary detention in reprisal for his work in defence of the environment, natural resources and the territory of the tlahuica community.

September 18

Workshop on criminalisation of social protest in Guatemala

On 29 and 30 June 2016, PBI Guatemala, in collaboration with various local organisations and with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, conducted a workshop on "Preventing and reacting to practices of defamation and criminalisation of social protest", held in Guatemala City.

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September 17

Training for Trainers on Digital Security in Mexico

Together with four other organisations and with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, PBI Mexico convened and facilitated a Training for Trainers on Digital Security for 10 human rights defenders from four different Mexican states, held from 29 June to 1 july in Mexico City.

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September 15

Participation at the 2016 AWID Forum

In September 2016, Urgent Action Fund participated in the Association for Women's Rights in Development AWID Forum in Bahia (Brazil), meeting with WHRDs from around the world and sharing information about support available for them from ProtectDefenders.eu.

September 15

PROTECT DEFENDERS NOW - Urgent Appeals September 2016

ProtectDefenders.eu partners are concerned about the plight of harassment and criminalisation against Human Rights Defenders in China, Cambodia and Bahrain.

Check here to read the September 2016 ProtectDefenders.eu Digest and share it on Twitter

September 15

Justice for the killing of Willie Kimani, a Kenyan human rights defender, and his associates, Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri

ESCR-Net, within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, sent a petition to the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, to express grave concern regarding the recent abduction and killing of human rights defender and lawyer, Willie Kimani, his client, Josphat Mwenda, and driver, Joseph Muiruri and calling for a prompt and effective investigation into and accountability for these acts.

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September 15

Trial observation mission of the process against seven defenders in Guatemala

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, carried out in July a mission of judicial observation of the process against human rights defenders Juan Francisco Pedro, Adalberto Villatoro, Arturo Juan Pablo, Hermit Lopez, Mynor Lopez, Domingo Baltazar and Rigoberto Juarezm held in Guatemala City.

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September 15

Supporting a comprehensive protection of human rights defenders and institutional dialogue in Colombia

The Colombian Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (CPDH), with the funding and support provided by FIDH and ProtectDefenders.eu, is advocating before the Colombian and international institutions for the effective implementation of protection measures for human rights defenders and organisations in the country. 

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June 24

Channelling the Voice of Youths in Moroccan Public Policies

The Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF), one of the twelve partners of ProtectDefenders.eu, is supporting a set of innovative initiatives launched by the Prometheus Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (IPDDH), a local organisation consisting of young defenders working to achieve human rights education and to spread a democratic culture in Morocco.

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June 24

Trial monitoring on crimes against humanity and enforced disappearances in Guatemala

Peace Brigades International (PBI), with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, has participated in the monitoring of the CREOMPAZ case, against 14 retired military accused of enforced disappearances and crimes against humanity as the result of their participation in several massacres committed against non-combatant civilians in Guatemala. This key trial shall elucidate the responsibilities for the disappearance of at least 535 people who were taken by the Guatemalan army between 1981 and 1988, then killed and buried in a clandestine cemetery.

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June 24

Preventing the extradition of a russian journalist

Reporters without Borders (RSF), within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, has provided financial support and raised the voice to prevent the extradition of a young Russian opposition journalist arrested at Larnaca airport, Cyprus, at Russia’s behest. This journalist, whose identity remains confidential, was facing a possible 15-year jail sentence if extradited to his home country.

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June 24

43 active temporary relocation programmes

Since the launch of the Temporary Relocation Programme last February 2016, ProtectDefenders.eu has approved and secured funding for 43 human rights defenders at risk -and their families' members when needed- to temporary relocate them away from danger. Thanks to this programme, more than 90 individuals at risk are now receiving shelter, support and permanent accompaniment .

Relocated defenders and their families -whose identities are preserved during the whole relocation process for security reasons-, faced risks, attacks or constant threats because of their work in defence of human rights, ranging from women's rights, civil rights or freedom of information and journalism to environmental rights and even artist and writers.

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June 24

From April 11 to 15, OMCT, in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, carried out a fact-finding mission in Honduras, aimed at analysing the situation of human rights defenders in the Central American country, with a special emphasis on land rights defenders and defenders of the LGBTI community.

اقرأ المزيد

June 24

ProtectDefenders.eu and Urgent Action Fund are supporting a Woman Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) from Armenia, currently facing false charges created to hinder her work on an anti-corruption campaign. An emergency grant has guaranteed her access to legal aid, reinforced the security of her office and helped her prepare an application to the European Court of Human Rights.

اقرأ المزيد

June 24

Securing a domestic violence shelter in Montenegro

ProtectDefenders.eu and UAF have assisted a domestic violence shelter in Montenegro to secure its premises after staff members were violently attacked due to their work. With the funds provided, the shelter has increased its protection measures and installed surveillance cameras to reinforce the security at their facilities. To this day, up to 11 grants have been allocated to reinforce office security.

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June 24

Denouncing smear campaign against Mexican human rights organisations

The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, has denounced the recent smear campaign being waged by the Mexican media against organizations and individuals working to defend human rights in Mexico. In recent months, several Mexican media sources have launched an intense campaign to defame various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and human rights defenders active in Mexico – deriding and devaluing efforts to defend and promote social justice and human rights.

This campaign has also targeted international institutions and mechanisms, including various United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteurs, the UN Human Rights Council and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

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June 24

Campaigning for the return of Gustavo Castro to Mexico

ProtectDefenders.eu, through several of its partners, as OMCT, FIDH, ESCR-Net, FLD and PBI, has supported a set of initiatives to facilitate the return of the human rights defender Gustavo Castro Soto, to his home country, Mexico.

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June 24

Presentation at the Defenders' Days Stockholm

The Head of Secretariat was invited to present ProtectDefenders.eu at a panel during the Defenders' Days organised by Civil Rights Defenders in Stockholm. The presentation was focused on opportunities for temporary relocation for human rights defenders at risk.

June 24

Presentation at the EU Delegation in Tunis

ProtectDefenders.eu was presented at the EU Delegation in Tunis, in a meeting with local human rights defenders, organisations and embassies held in the framework of the 25 th anniversary of EU presence in the country and the campaign #Eu4HumanRights.

June 24

Launch of social media

At the end of May, ProtectDefenders.eu launched its social media accounts in Facebook and Twitter, aimed at contributing to the dissemination of resources for available for human rights defenders and organisations, as well as information about partners' activities within the Project.

AND MORE…

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