Tweets et actualités des Défenseurs des Droits de l'Homme

Fil d'Actualités
November 15

Egypt: Arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of bloggers and journalists

ProtectDefenders.eu is alarmed by recent reports of ill-treatment in detention and persecution of human rights defenders advocating for the freedom of expression in Egypt. Our partners call for ceasing the targeting of all human rights defenders in the country and for guaranteeing in all circumstances that they can carry out their legitimate activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.  Only in recent weeks:

On 10 October 2020, human rights defender and journalist at Daaarb newspaper Khaled Elbalshy was informed that his brother, Kamal Elbalshy, had been placed under preventive detention. These events follow the arrest of Islam El-Kalhy on 9 September 2020, also a journalist at Daaarb newspaper, who was detained while covering a peaceful protest in Giza. Khaled Elbalshy is a human rights defender and prominent journalist. He is the chief editor of the Daaarb online newspaper, which works on documenting human rights violations, and following human rights defenders work in Egypt. Islam El Kalhy is a human rights defender and journalist at Daaarb newspaper where he monitors human rights violations in Egypt. At the time of his arrest, he was covering peaceful demonstrations taking place in Munib, south Giza following the killing of a man at the hands of police.

On 20 September 2020, Khaled Elbalshy’s brother, Kamal Elbalshy, was arrested while walking in the streets of Cairo near his home and was forcibly disappeared for 10 days. On 1 October 2020, he was spotted at the Office of the Public Prosecutor. He is accused of “joining an illegal organisation”, “misuse of social media” and “spreading false information” as part of the recently opened case 880, which is related to peaceful demonstrations that took place in September 2020. The arrest of Kamal Elbalshy is considered an attempt to further discourage his brother from carrying out his human rights work. Kamal Elbalshy’s arrest follows another recent incident involving the targeting of Daaarb staff. On 9 September 2020, Islam El-Kalhy was detained while he was covering demonstrations in Giza against police violence. On 10 September 2020, he was brought before the Public Prosecutor and is accused of “spreading false information”.

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November 10

India: Raids and persecution of human rights defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu partners express serious concern about the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders in India. On 28 and 29 October 2020, the houses and offices of several human rights defenders, human rights groups and journalists in Srinagar and Bandipora (Jammu and Kashmir) as well as in Bengaluru, Karnataka State, and in Delhi were raided by National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials in connection with a case of non-profit groups allegedly using foreign funding for “carrying out secessionist and separatist activities” in Kashmir, in contravention of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), India’s primary anti-terror and foreign funding laws.

These included the houses of Ms. Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and 2017 laureate of the Rafto Prize, Mr. Khurram Parvez, Coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCSS) and Chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), JKCCS members Parvez Ahmad Bukhari,  Parvez Ahmad Matta and Swati Sheshadri, and of Mr. Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairperson of the NGO Charity Alliance; as well as the premises of the NGOs APDP, JKCSS, Athrout, which provides education and medical aid to vulnerable communities, and Charity Alliance; and the daily newspaper Greater Kashmir. Documents and electronic devices, including hard disks containing sensitive information such as victims' personal data and testimonies, were reportedly seized during the raids. The groups affected have been at the forefront of the human rights movement in the country for decades, and this is only seen as the latest attempt to silence them and to cripple their important human rights work.

In another separate report of recent targeting of human rights defenders, on 8 October 2020, human rights defender Stan Swamy was detained by NIA officials in Ranchi, Jharkhand in connection with the “Bhima Koregaon case”. The 84-year-old human rights defender was originally named as a suspect in the case in August 2018, after his home was raided by Pune police and in 2020, has already been summoned multiple times for lengthy interrogation by the NIA. Stan Swamy is a human rights defender and Jesuit priest, based in the State of Jharkand, who defends the rights of Adivasi indigenous people. He is the founder of the Vistapan Virodhi Janvikash Andolan, an all-India platform to secure and protect the land rights of Dalit and Adivasi peoples. Stan Swamy has been a prominent advocate against the forced displacement of Adivasi communities, which typically occurs for development purposes or mining mineral-rich lands. On October 9, 2020 he was transported to Mumbai, Maharashtra State, 1,700 km away from his home and despite the fact that he is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease, therefore putting him at an increased vulnerability of contracting COVID-19, and was remanded in Taloja jail.

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November 5

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Programme Officer (Turkey project)

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is currently recruiting a Programme Officer. This is an exciting opportunity for someone with experience in Human Rights in the Turkey context and/or Grants, with strong communication and administrative skills, who will play a crucial role in the successful implementation of the project Comprehensive support to Human Rights Defenders in Turkey.

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu values diversity and is an equal opportunity employer. Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter should be sent by email to recruit@ProtectDefenders.eu before December 1st.

Read the full job description here and below.

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November 1

Mexico: Attacks, harassment, and repression against defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu partners are concerned by recent attacks and reports of persecution against human rights defenders in Mexico, which are understood as a reprisal for legitimate and peaceful activities. These attacks may be part of a broader strategy to intimidate those who work to defend and promote human rights in the country. In particular, there is growing concern about the use of fabricated crimes as an effective strategy to intimidate defenders, especially those advocating for land and indigenous peoples’ rights. Only in recent weeks:

On 18 October 2020, woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván was detained at a toll booth on the Amozoc highway in the state of Puebla by unidentified police officers. This detention adds to the harassment and criminalisation she has been facing in the past months. The defender has been transferred to prison and is reportedly facing charges of robbery with violence. Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván is the coordinator of Zapata Vive, a peasant movement that defends land rights, collective identity and promotes different forms of peaceful resistance against development models with a neoliberal approach imposed by the Mexican State. She is also a leader of the National Movement for the Freedom of Political Prisoners.

On 15 October 2020,  indigenous defenders José Luis Gutiérrez and César Hernández were arbitrarily detained during a violent police operation aimed at dispersing a peaceful demonstration in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas. José Luis Gutiérrez and César Hernández, from the San Sebastián Bachajón community also in Chilón are Maya Tseltal indigenous defenders and farmers. They have spent most of their lives defending their rights to and use of their ancestral land, particularly against the construction of megaprojects and other large infrastructure projects. Several hours after the arrest, the officials from the Public Security Secretariat seized the vehicle and the mobile phone belonging to José Luis Gutiérrez. Later on 15 October 2020, José Luis Gutiérrez and César Hernández were presented before the Indigenous Justice Prosecutor's Office, where they were accused of “rioting”. Eventually, defenders were transferred to the State Center for Social Reintegration of Sentenced Persons “El Amate”. In prison, José Luis Gutiérrez and César Hernández have reported that they fear being forced to pay a sum of money so that prison officers do not beat them.

ProtectDefenders.eu partners emphasize that these recent attacks are happening in a context of criminalization and increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and social protest and protest in Mexico, especially to dismantle the demands of the indigenous peoples and movements in defense of land and territory.

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October 16

"We Are Not Who They Say We Are"

Have a look at this video about the struggle of trans human rights defenders in Honduras, supported by our partner Peace Brigades International.

October 14

Webinario - Como avançar na proteção das defensoras e defensores ambientais: o apoio dos atores internacionais

Não perca amanhã (15/10, 15h Brasilia) a webinario “Como avançar na proteção das defensoras e defensores ambientais: o apoio dos atores internacionais”.

Inscreva-se: https://defambiental.eco.br

Com o fim de promover a melhoria da proteção das pessoas e dos grupos para que defendam seus direitos ambientais, soluções precisam ser identificadas para mitigar o abuso desses direitos, uma situação que afeta cada vez mais pessoas na América latina. Frente a esse contexto, esse painel abordará os meios de apoiar aos defensores usados pelas organizações internacionais, bem como os doadores através do papel da comunidade internacional na prevenção e proteção dessas pessoas; e o financiamento da proteção dos direitos das defensoras e dos defensores com a experiência dos fundos de resposta rápida.

October 10

Myanmar: Arbitrary detention of an environmental rights defender

ProtectDefenders.eu partners have been informed by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders about the arbitrary detention of Gei Om, a member of the Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA) who works actively on environmental protection and conservation in Chin State. Mr. Gei Om is also a member of the Chin Aung Ta Man (a youth organisation of Chin people), the Chin Civil Society Network, and the Man Eain Working Committee (a community-based organisation).

According to the information received, Gei Om was taken into custody after a local official in Ohn Village Tract sent a letter of complaint to authorities in Mindat Township, Chin State, on July 13, 2020. The complaint alleged that Gei Om had spread false news about possible illicit activities throughout Chin villages, was involved in an illegal land dispute settlement in 2016 and had been collecting taxes from villages. Before his arrest, Mr. Gei Om helped local community leaders to monitor the impact of a project of model farms to harvest oilseed plants designed by the Management Committee of Mindat Township. In August 2020, the Deputy Police Chief charged Gei Om for his participation in the settlement of a land dispute in 2016. The fabricated charge stemmed from his participation as a community negotiator in the resolution of a land dispute under a customary dispute resolution mechanism after the destruction of a village by a landslide in 2015. At the time, the government authorities had authorized the land dispute to be settled according to local customs but they subsequently claimed that the dispute was not settled legally and that Mr. Gei Om should therefore be charged for his involvement in it, which the authorities claimed it amounted to inciting conflict.

After charges were pressed, Mr. Gei Om was offered a conditional release provided that he would not leave Mindat Township and he would report on a bi-monthly basis to the police for six months to one year, which he refused. If found guilty, Mr. Gei Om will be prohibited from leaving his township and, if he does not comply with this measure of restriction, he could be sentenced to one year in prison. He is currently detained in Mindat Township.

Myanmar is ranked 139 in the RSF 2020 World Press Freedom Index: After the National League for Democracy’s first election victory under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership in 2012, Myanmar’s journalists hoped they would never again have to fear arrest or imprisonment for criticizing the government or military. However, media freedom is not one of the priorities of the government led by the “Lady of Yangon,” which has ruled since 2016. Myanmar rose 20 places in the World Press Freedom Index from 2013 to 2017, but now the reverse is taking place.

October 8

Godfrey Mtimba, a journalist and human rights defender from Zimbabwe, has been able to relocate urgently with the support of an emergency grant

In August 2020, the OMCT in the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu allocated a grant to Godfrey Mtimba, a journalist from Masvingo and Vice-President of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), which promotes the access to information, freedom of expression, press freedom and media law reforms. Thanks to the grant allocated by the OMCT, Godfrey Mtimba was able to relocate to a safer place and to receive medical and psychosocial support.

On June 29, 2020, Godfrey Mtimba was arrested after he had taken pictures of police officers chasing opposition youth activists a few days before. Following his arrest, Mr. Mtimba was charged with insulting and undermining the authority of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He was detained at Masvingo police station for around eight hours, during which he was subjected to acts of torture. After his release, Mr. Mtimba continued to be subjected to acts of harassment, threats via anonymous phone calls, and to be under surveillance at his home, which has in turn led to a deterioration of his psychological well-being.

October 6

Internship at the Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu

(Update 13 October: We are no longer accepting applications for this opening. Thank you for your interest in ProtectDefenders.eu!)

ProtectDefenders.eu - The EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism is looking for a Programmes Intern, based at the Secretariat's office in Brussels. This is an exciting opportunity to gain real experience and learning in a multicultural and dynamic team. The intern will  provide support to the Programme and Administrative teams, under the overall supervision of the Head of Secretariat. During your internship, you will have the chance to apply your knowledge and skills to enhance the protection of human rights defenders worldwide.

Do you want to join us? Please send your CV and cover letter (please include information about your availability) by 25 October 2020 by email at recruit@protectdefenders.eu with the subject : 'Programme Internship'. Early applications are encouraged, as the position might be filled before the deadline!

Read here the full internship description.

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October 6

Programme Shelter Initiatives | APPEL À PROPOSITIONS

Le programme «Shelter Initiatives», de ProtectDefenders.eu, lance un appel à propositions pour améliorer les programmes locaux et régionaux de relocalisation temporaire pour les DDH en danger, avec une approche intégrale de la protection, une perspective de genre et une concentration sur les défenseurs particulièrement ciblés. Soumettez votre proposition avant le 21 octobre.

Les entités peuvent demander jusqu'à 60000 EUR pour développer des initiatives visant, au moins, l'un des objectifs suivants:

  - Mettre en œuvre une étude de faisabilité sur la création d'un nouveau PRT au niveau local / régional;

- Établir de nouveaux PRT au niveau local / régional;

- Amplifier la portée des PRT existants au niveau local / régional;

- Renforcer les PRT existants pour garantir une approche holistique de la protection ainsi qu'une perspective de genre mesurable;

- Recherche de conseils et d'expertise, opportunités de réseautage, partage de connaissances entre initiatives.

L'appel à propositions est disponible ici.

Le formulaire de candidature est disponible en téléchargement ici.

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October 5

Bolivia. Arbitrary detention of human rights defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu has been informed about the arbitrary detention and subsequent release of human rights defenders María Cristina Quispe, vice president of the Association of Victims of the Senkata Massacre (AVS) and David Inca Apaza, representative of the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights of El Alt(APDHEA).

According to the information received, on 18 September 2020, in the vicinity of the Government Palace in La Paz, Ms. Quispe and Mr. Inca were arbitrarily arrested by members of the Tactical Unit of Police Operations (UTOP) who, in addition, used excessive force when proceeding to arrest Mr. Inca, including hitting, kicking the lower legs, and insults. Ms. Quispe and Mr. Inca had gone to the headquarters of the executive branch, together with relatives of victims of the Senkata massacre, to peacefully protest the lack of progress in clarifying the events - which occurred in November 2019 - and to request a meeting with Mr. Yerko Núñez, Minister of the Presidency. The aim was to request the fulfillment of the commitments acquired in February 2020 by the Government of Bolivia with the victims of the aforementioned massacre, including humanitarian aid and medical care for the victims. After two hours in detention, both defenders were released without charge.

Likewise, ProtectDefenders.eu partners have expressed the utmost concern over the high levels of impunity that exist around the serious human rights violations committed in the context of the social and political crisis that began in September 2019, including the Senkata massacre. 

Bolivia is ranked 114 in the RSF 2020 World Press Freedom Index: President Evo Morales’s resignation and forced exile as a result of a dispute over the November 2019 presidential election have plunged Bolivia into a period of uncertainty and instability. The elections were marked by many attacks against journalists during street protests and strikes. During Morales’s three consecutive terms as president (2006-2019), the media were often the focus of tension between government supporters and opponents and were under strong pressure to refrain from any negative comments about Morales and his government.

October 1

Uganda. Criminalisation and charging of land rights defenders

On 17 September 2020, land rights defenders Fred Mwawula  Ramu Ndahimana, Samuel Kusiima, Martin Munyansia , Martin Haweka , Amos Wafula , Eliot Talemwa, and Pamela Mulongo were charged with “threatening violence” by Kiryandongo Magistrate Court. If convicted, they could face up to four years of imprisonment. The eight defenders remain in detention at Masindi Prison, with their first hearing scheduled for 15 October. The eight defenders are land rights defenders from Kiryandongo district in Uganda. They mobilise local communities to defend their land rights, particularly when facing forced evictions reportedly perpetrated by private companies including Agilis Partners, Great Season Company Limited and Kiryandongo Sugar Limited, which have been implementing farming projects in the area.

The land rights defenders believe their arrest and the charges brought against them form part of a pattern of reprisals for their work opposing forced evictions perpetrated by Agilis Partners, Great Season Company Limited and Kiryandongo Sugar Limited. Local communities have reported that over 35,000 families in Kiryandongo have been forcibly evicted from their land since 2019. These evictions have taken place without court orders, prior consultation or adequate compensation. Schools, churches and private health centres in Kiryandongo have allegedly been torn down, and community members have been subjected to harassment and intimidation by security agents and employees of the three companies. The affected communities have filed a complaint before the Masindi High Court, and in February 2020, communities’ lawyers filed a certificate of urgency, following an intensification of the violence used by the companies.

Uganda is ranked 125 in the RSF 2020 World Press Freedom Index: Acts of intimidation and violence against reporters are an almost daily occurrence in Uganda. The security services, which are the leading press freedom violators, often target them and detain them arbitrarily, as was the case with several journalists investigating trafficking in fake medicines in 2019. Any criticism of the authorities can result in journalists being beaten, abducted or deprived of their equipment with impunity.

September 30

New ProtectDefenders.eu brochure and video out now


ProtectDefenders.eu is launching a new communication pack, consisting of an updated brochure, developed in consultation with all our parnters. We encourage you to use this publication to dissemination information about our practical resources as widely as possible; in particular in your events, missions, or training plans, as well as in meetings with stakeholders, your campaigning and communication work, or your interactions with other organisations, defenders, and media.

It is available in the five working languages of the project (Arabic, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), as well as Portuguese, Mandarin, and Farsi.

Files in both low and print quality are freely available for download, here.

In addition, you can now watch our most recent ProtectDefenders.eu presentation video, available with subtitles in all the languages previously mentioned, on our YouTube.

September 20

Armenia - Arbitrary arrest of human rights defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu partners are raising their voices to urge the Armenian authorities to put an end to police brutality and to guarantee the right to protest, after recent incidents reported in the country in relation related to the blockade that has been held for the past two years by environmental activists against the construction of a gold mine in Amulsar. According to the information received, on 10 August, nine environmental activists, including women’s rights defender Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, were arrested during a peaceful gathering in front of the Parliament in Yerevan for “not obeying police orders”. Previously, in the afternoon of 6 August, about a dozen of people, including Nina Karapetyants and Ara Karagyozyan, who were participating in a peaceful picket in Yerevan in support of the protests in Amulsar, were arrested by the police. They were all released after administrative proceedings.

According to the information received, on 10 August, nine environmental activists, including women’s rights defender Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, were arrested during a peaceful gathering in front of the Parliament in Yerevan for “not obeying police orders”. Previously, in the afternoon of 6 August, about a dozen of people, including Nina Karapetyants and Ara Karagyozyan, who were participating in a peaceful picket in Yerevan in support of the protests in Amulsar, were arrested by the police. They were all released after administrative proceedings.

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September 16

Psychosocial Well-being for Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines

The well-being of human rights defenders is a critical – but still often neglected – issue. Human rights defenders (HRDs) are particularly exposed to a number of different stressors. Unlike others, HRDs will generally have a higher exposure to stress and trauma, either directly or indirectly. ‘Psychosocial Well-being for Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines’, a publication by ProtectDefenders.eu's partner FORUM-Asia, aims to provide HRDs with the basic knowledge to address their well-being individually, organisationally and as a movement.

The booklet also aims to serve as an advocacy tool to demonstrate the importance of well-being to decision makers – whether it be the heads of their organisations or donors – and call for well-being to be prioritised.

Safeguarding the psychosocial well-being of HRDs is critical for their health, and is essential for ensuring they are able to continue their work in the long term and build their resilience against the threats they face.

This booklet is an output document from the Psychosocial Well-being Workshop for HRDs held in the Philippines in 2019. The event was organised based on the recognition of the mounting threats and harassment HRDs endure and that take a toll on their psychosocial well-being.

September 15

Ferdinand Mensah Ayité, a journalist and human rights defender from Togo, is reinforcing his security and covering legal costs with the support of an emergency grant

In August 2020, OMCT in the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu provided a grant to support the Togolese journalist Ferdinand Mensha Ayité after he was victim of reprisals as a result of his work. The assistance allocated by OMCT aimed at covering the legal defence costs of Mr Ayité, as well as the installation of a security system in his home, in order to guarantee his safety and to ensure the continuation of his human rights work.

Mr. Ferdinand Mensha Ayité is the director of publication of the newspaper l’Alternative, a biweekly news and investigative newspaper engaged in denouncing corruption and documenting human rights violations in Togo.

In its issue published on 9 June 2020, l'Alternative revealed a case of massive embezzlement in the Togolese oil sector. Shortly after, Mr. Ayité started receiving threats, particularly through anonymous phone calls, and became extremely concerned for his safety. A month later, one of the people who was directly named in the embezzlement scandal filed a defamation complaint against Mr. Ayité and requested that all copies of the June 9 issue be destroyed, and that the disputed publication be removed from the website and the newspaper social networks.

September 15

A booklet for defenders: The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and other resources

FORUM-ASIA, a member of ProtectDefenders.eu, recognises the need to address the ongoing trends of violations against human rights defenders (HRDs) in Asia, and their key role in ensuring that everyone’s human rights are protected and fulfilled.

To this end, FORUM-ASIA has produced a booklet explanatory of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom, commonly referred to as the Declaration on human rights defenders. This booklet aims to emphasise the role and rights of human rights defenders as well as the responsibilities of others towards them, and to provide practical information to enhance their security.

Click here for a pdf version of this booklet.

Click here to see the HRD Declaration posters (available in English, Urdu, Burmese, Mongolian and Tagalog)

September 10

Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program

The deadline to apply for the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program has been extended to October 15, 2020. The Reagan-Fascell program is an international exchange program that offers five-month fellowships to leading democracy activists, journalists, civil society leaders, and scholars from around the world to conduct independent projects at the National Endowment for Democracy, a member of the European Union Temporary Relocation Platform. During their time at NED's International Forum for Democratic Studies, in Washington D.C., fellows reflect on their experiences and consider lessons learned; conduct independent research and writing; engage with colleagues and counterparts in the United States; and build ties with a global network of democracy advocates.

Eligibility: The program is intended primarily for practitioners from developing and aspiring democracies, and those from nondemocratic countries. Distinguished scholars from the United States and other established democracies are also eligible to apply. Practitioners include activists, journalists, lawyers, and civil society professionals who have substantial experience in their field. Scholars include professors, researchers, and other writers who have a Ph.D. or academic equivalent at the time of application. A working knowledge of English is required.

Support: Fellows receive monthly payments to cover living expenses, plus basic health insurance, travel reimbursement, and research support.

Fellowship Dates: Fall Session: October 1, 2021–February 28, 2022; Spring Session: March 1–July 31, 2022.

Extended Deadline: Thursday, October 15, 2020

For more information and to apply, visit www.ned.org/fellowships.

September 5

Cambodia - Charging and criminalisation of human rights defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu are deeply concerned by the progressively hostile environment for human rights defenders in Cambodia, following numerous incidents of repression and criminalisation of peaceful human rights activists. The Cambodian authorities have increasingly been targeting and silencing those who criticise them, with labour rights defenders and unions being targeted in particular.

Among them, on 31 July 2020, human rights defender Rong Chhun was arrested at his home in Phnom Penh, which is thought to be in relation to a statement he made on the demarcation of the border between Cambodia and Vietnam that has stripped several farmers of their land. The following day, on 1 August 2020, the Phnom Penh municipal court charged the defender with “incitement to commit a felony”, and he is currently being detained. Rong Chhun is the President of the independent Cambodian Confederation of Unions and a member of the Cambodia Watchdog Council. He was the former president of the Cambodian Independent Teacher's Association (CITA), an organisation that promotes solidarity between the private and public sector teachers, irrespective of colour, race, sex, religion or political belief. He has been a vocal human rights defender and has long raised concerns about the plight of farmer’s and worker’s rights. This is not the first time Rong Chhun has been arrested. The defender has been a target of judicial harassment since 2015 for his activism and work in defence of human rights. 

Furthermore, on 13 August 2020, human rights defender Hun Vannak and woman human rights defender Chhoeun Daravy were arrested for their participation in a peaceful protest in Phnom Penh. The defenders were part of a larger group of protesters who had gathered outside the municipal court to demand the release of Rong Chhun. Hun Vannak and Chhoeun Daravy are currently detained at the Phonom Penh Correctional Center (CC), in CC1 and CC2 respectively. Hun Vannak is an environmental rights defender and a former member of Mother Nature Cambodia, a grass-roots organisation opposing land-grabbing and defending environmental rights. In early 2020, the defender founded the youth group Khmer Thavarak that advocates against social injustices and environment issues. Chhoeun Daravy is a woman human rights defender and a member of Khmer Thavarak. As one of the first members of the organisation, she has been heavily involved in drawing attention to several human rights issues in the region, especially those concerning the environment. She regularly livestreams events and protests organised by Khmer Thavarak and other defenders on social media, reaching large audiences.

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August 31

IRAQ - Killings, threats and harassment of several human rights defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu are expressing their deep concern over recent attacks against defenders in Iraq, which are part of a series of targeted killings in recent weeks against leaders of the protest movement against corruption and in favour of basic rights and dignity for the Iraqi people. In addition, in the last few weeks, numerous Iraqi activists have been receiving daily threats to their life and safety, mostly through text messages or publicly using social media networks.

According to the information received (Click and read more)

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August 30

Israel and Palestine - Detention and judicial harassment of human rights defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu are alarmed by the numerous reports received in recent weeks of attacks, threats and harassment of human rights defenders in Israel and the Palestinian territories:

    • On 30 July 2020, several Israeli soldiers stormed the house of human rights defender Mahmoud Nawajaa and arrested him, subsequently releasing him on 17 August. Mahmoud Nawajaa is a human rights defender, who  advocates for the rights of Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation. He is the general coordinator of the Palestinian National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Committee (BDS). The BDS Movement is an international movement founded in 2005, which has pioneered a non-violent mobilisaton against Israel’s occupation of Palestine through exerting social, economic and political pressure on the State. BDS seeks to hold Israel accountable for human rights abuses and other violations of international law, defends the ‘right of return’ of Palestinian refugees to family properties lost in the 1948 war and engages in advocacy and non-violent campaigning for Palestinian rights.

    • On 28 July, Rania Elias, Director of the Yabous Cultural Centre in Jerusalem, was summoned and interrogated by police following her participation in a peaceful demonstration against the raid of the Centre, as well as on the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, on 22 July. On 22 July 2020 at approximately 9 am, the Israeli Police raided the home of Rania Elias and Suhail Khoury in Jerusalem. Rania Elias is the Director of the Yabous Cultural Centre, her husband Suhail Khoury is the Director of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Jerusalem. The police asked the couple to keep their children in one room whilst they searched the house and confiscated their mobile phones, laptops, and some of their papers and documents. Following this, the police brought Rania Elias to the Cultural Centre, where they proceeded to confiscate the laptops there too, as well as other documents from the centre. Currently Rania Elias and Suhail Khoury are facing charges of ‘money laundering’, ‘tax evasion’ and ‘supporting terrorist activities’.

    • On 22 July, the Ramallah Magistrate Court extended the detention of the anti-corruption human rights defenders Jihad Abdo and Fayez Swaity for an additional 15 days. The two defenders were initially detained on 19 July 2020 whilst peacefully protesting, and have been charged with ‘illegal gathering’ and ‘violating the emergency laws’. Jihad Abdo is a co-founder of the The Coalition of Civilized Demand for Fair Palestinian Telecom Sector (Bekfi ya shrikat alitisalat - Enough Communication Companies), a movement which was established to demand fair competition in the Telecom sector in Palestine and to defend the economic rights of Palestinians. He regularly participates in organising peaceful demonstrations calling for an end to corruption within the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian telecom sector. Fayez Swaity is the founder and director of the Palestinian association ‘Together Against Corruption’. His activities focus on investigating and documenting corruption in the Palestinian Authority.

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August 20

Afghanistan - Killing of human rights defenders, including Independent Human Rights Commission staffs

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, an FIDH-OMCT partnership supported by ProtectDefenders.eu, has been informed about the killing of  Fatima Khalil, Donor Liaison Officer at Afghanistan’s national human rights institution, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), and her driver Jawid Folad, also a staff member of AIHRC.

According to the information received, on 27 June, Fatima Khalil and  Jawid Folad were victims of a bomb attack in Butkhak square in Kabul’s District 12. The two human rights defenders were on their way to the AIHRC office when an improvised explosive device (IED) placed under their car exploded. As of the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, the attack had not been claimed by anyone and the perpetrators had not been identified.

This is not the first time that AIHRC staff have been subjected to targeted killings. In September 2019, Abdul Samad Ameri, the interim Head of the Ghor provincial office of AIHRC, was abducted on the Kabul-Ghor highway in Maidan Wardak Province and shot dead two days later.

Afghan authorities must immediately carry out a thorough, transparent, and impartial investigation into these killings, identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law.

A few days later, on August 1, 2020, Mr. Asmatullah Salaam, who worked on promoting the right to education in the province of Ghazni, was kidnapped by Taliban members while he was driving to Khwzeyo, Andar District, Ghazni Province, to visit his family for Eid celebrations. The kidnappers stopped his car and abducted him. His body was found one day later, on August 2, in Wahghez, with signs of severe torture.

The Observatory urges the Afghan authorities to implement the strategy for the protection of human rights defenders, to which they publicly committed on January 20, 2020, and to put an end to the culture of impunity that prevails in the country. In response to this recent path of deaths, UN experts engaged on a dialogue with Afghan authorities to call on Afghanistan to prevent further killings of human rights defenders.

Read more

August 10

Honduras - Killings and enforced disappearances of human rights defenders

In the past month, we have received with great concern and alarm information about the murders and forced disappearances of human rights defenders in Honduras, in a context of high risk and harassment for the defense of human rights in the country.

Recently, we have been informed by the Association for Participatory Citizenship (ACI Participa) about the murder of Marvin Damián Castro Molina, defender of the environment, president of the Youth Network of the Association of Development Pespirense-Honduras ( ADEPESHN) in the municipality of Pespire, Choluteca, and coordinator of the Youth Secretariat of the Southern Social Environmental Movement for Life (MASS-Vida). Between 12 and 13 July, Castro Molina, who had been missing since the 12th, was assassinated, his body found on the banks of the Sacamil River, in the Agua Tibia Community. We strongly condemn the murder of Castro Molina, as well as the gross negligence committed by the Honduran authorities, who had been alerted by Castro Molina himself about the serious fears for his life and physical integrity the week before his murder. In addition, said murder is framed in a context of deep criminalization and attacks on people and organizations defending the territory and the environment, and human rights in general, in the southern part of the country, where more than 100 attacks have been recorded between January and June 2020. 

ACI Participa has also informed us about the murder of Scarleth Campbell, a transsexual woman, a defender of LGBTIQ + rights and a member of the “Las Muñecas” collective of the Arcoíris Association. According to the information received, on 10 July,  Campbell was killed by two unknown men in the area known as “El Arbolito” in the La Plazuela neighborhood, in Tegucigalpa. According to the same information, the perpetrators of the murder got out of a vehicle without license plates and fired firearms at Campbell, who died while being transferred to the hospital. 

On the other hand, reliable sources report on the forced disappearance of Alberth Sneider Centeno, President of the Board of Trustees of the Garífuna community of El Triunfo de la Cruz, department of Atlántida, and member of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), and Aparicio Mejía García and Joel Martínez Álvarez, belonging to the El Triunfo de la Cruz community and also members of OFRANEH. According to some information, a fourth individual from the community was reported missing. On 18 July, a group of unidentified and heavily armed men wearing bulletproof vests and uniforms with the initials of the Police Investigation Directorate (DPI), broke into the residence of Sneider Rye and kidnapped him. Subsequently, the same group of armed men kidnapped Mejía García, Martínez Álvarez and a fourth unidentified person. The four members of the El Triunfo de la Cruz community were taken aboard three vehicles and are missing. The facts are being investigated by the Investigative Police Directorate and the Tela City Prosecutor's Office. 

Read more

July 20

Kyrgyzstan - Sentencing of a human rights lawyer defending victims of torture

On 29 May 2020, human rights defender Kamil Ruziev was detained outside a courthouse in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan. He was then interrogated and spent two days in detention, before being placed under two months’ house arrest on 31 May, on charges of forgery. Kamil Ruziev is a human rights defender and lawyer, and acting head of the Karakol-based organisation Ventus. He has been working for more than 20 years on combatting torture, violence and arbitrary law enforcement, defending the rights of victims of torture and victims of domestic violence.

Read more

July 15

"Down, but not out". Repression of human rights defenders in Cambodia

In July 2020, the OMCT and FIDH in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders released a new report documenting the severe persecution faced by human rights defenders in Cambodia and the deepening crackdown on civil society and independent media.

The report, titled “DOWN, BUT NOT OUT - Repression of human rights defenders in Cambodia”, shows how human rights defenders operate in a repressive environment that is unprecedented in Cambodia’s recent history. Land and environmental rights defenders, labour leaders, women’s rights defenders, cyber activists and journalists have all faced increased violence, intimidation, detention and judicial harassment from the state, while civic space has in parallel continued to erode. The report also documents how the Cambodian government has used repressive laws and subservient courts to harass and attempt to silence human rights defenders.

Moreover, since March 2020, the Cambodian government has used the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to further crackdown on dissent. The Law on the State of Emergency, promulgated on April 29, if implemented, will lead to further curtailment of civil rights and freedoms, such as the rights to freedom of movement, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and peaceful assembly.

Read the full report here. 

July 15

Sudan- Harassment of two women human rights defenders  

Since 29 May 2020, women human rights defenders Lana Awad and Aida Abdel Qader have been subjected to several harassments following an article they published on 26 May in the South Darfur News, defending the health rights of citizens in Al-Fashir city. In the context of COVID-19, Al-Fashir city has reported an alarming number of deaths, according to research published by Al-Fashir University, the Sudanese Government and the UN. Lana Awad and Aida Abdel Qader are women human rights defenders and journalists. Both women are members of the Darfur Journalists Association and their work focuses primarily on promoting women’s rights and defending health rights in Sudan. Lana Awad had worked for the Ministry of Health and Social Development but was dismissed as a result of the article she wrote with Aida Abdel Qader.

Read more

July 5

Philippines - Sentencing and incommunicado detention of human rights defenders

Philippine Senator Leila de Lima, a human rights lawyer and an elected member of the Philippine Senate, has been denied visitors since 25 April as part of preventive measures against the COVID-19. She was also prevented from communicating with the outside world between 5 May and 27 May. Several requests have been made by Senator de Lima’s staff and by the Senator herself to the Custodial Center administration in order to exempt her from these measures, given her status as a working legislator and the conditions at the PNP Custodial Center, which is not congested and where social distancing measures can be implemented. However, all requests have been rejected.

Read more

June 22

#PrideMonth: ILGA World report 'Curbing deception', a global research into pseudo-scientific and harmful 'conversion' practices

‘Conversion therapy’ is a term describing pseudo-scientific and harmful practices used to attempt altering a person’s gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation. These gruesome ‘techniques’ are still applied in numerous countries, pushing people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions to living self-loathing lives, up to the extreme consequences of committing suicide.

In 2020, ILGA World has released a ground-breaking report on the issue: Curbing Deception is an extensive global research into laws banning these harmful practices both at the national and subnational level,  which also analyses strategies beyond legal reform to restrict them.

Protection from similar ineffective and cruel treatment is as urgent as ever: thanks to the tireless advocacy of activists, survivors and grassroots organisations – States, health professionals and international human rights bodies across the world are speaking up. Download the report in English and in Spanish.

June 21

#PrideMonth: Meet our partner ILGA World

ILGA World – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association -, a member of the ProtectDefenders.eu Consortium, is a worldwide federation of more than 1,600 organisations from over 160 countries and territories campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex human rights. We want a world where the human rights of all are respected and where everyone can live in equality and freedom: a world where global justice and equity are assured and established regardless of people’s sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and sex characteristics.

Established in 1978, ILGA World has ECOSOC consultative status at the United Nations, and their members are based in six regions: Pan Africa ILGA, ILGA Asia, ILGA-Europe, ILGALAC, ILGA North America and ILGA Oceania. Governed by an elected Board of 19 activists representing our global family, ILGA World is queer democracy in action!

June 20

Belarus - Crackdown on human rights defenders ahead of presidential elections

Between late April and early May 2020, several human rights defenders in Belarus have been arbitrarily detained and subjected to judicial harassment for participating in peaceful assemblies and criticising government policies. This wave of prosecution of human rights defenders is taking place against the backdrop of the campaign for the presidential election, due to take place on 9 August 2020. This targeting of human rights defenders is expected to have a chilling effect on civil society and affect the important role of human rights defenders in ensuring independent monitoring during the election campaign and election day. Since early May, approximately 120 people, including several human rights defenders, have been detained, fined or sentenced to up to 25 days detention on charges of violating the procedure for holding a protest. The arrests are related to three protest movements, namely weekly protests against a battery factory in Brest; the Youth Bloc rally in Minsk against the decision to hold the annual Victory Day parade on 9 May in the context of COVID-19; and numerous gatherings in protest against the arrest of well-known YouTube vlogger Syarhei Tikhanovsky.

Several other human rights defenders who criticised the state’s environmental policy or commented on COVID19 have also been targeted and may face criminal charges. Five of the human rights defenders arrested are from the leading human rights organization in Belarus, Human Rights Centre Viasna (HRC Viasna).

- Aliaksandr Burakou is a human rights defender, a member of HRC Viasna and a journalist for mspring.online, a website that covers human rights violations in Belarus. On 8 May 2020, Aliaksandr Burakou was detained in Mogilev in connection with a protest held on 6 May against the detention of Syarhei Tsikhanouski. He was detained for 72 hours, the first seven hours of which he spent in a cold, windowless room no bigger than 2.5m by 2.5m. On 11 May he appeared before the Leninsky District Court where he was sentenced to 10 days’ detention on charges of violating the procedure for organising and holding a protest.

- Aliaksandr Burakou’s nephew, Ales Burakou, is a defender, journalist and also a member of HRC Viasna. On 15 May 2020 Ales Burakou was detained at his apartment and brought to the Leninsky District Department of Internal Affairs in the city of Mogilev. He was sentenced on the same day to 10 days of administrative detention for alleged participation in an unauthorized mass event on 6 May.

- On 10 May 2020, human rights defenders Raman Kisliak, member of For Freedom Movement board, and Uladzimir Vialichkin, member of HRC Viasna, were arbitrarily detained when monitoring a protest against the construction of a battery plant in Brest. The protests, referred to as “Pigeons feeding”, have been taking place in the city on Sundays since March 2018. Upon their detention, the whereabouts of the two human rights defenders remained unknown and their families and colleagues were not able to contact them. It eventually transpired that they had initially been taken to Kobrinsky District Department of Internal Affairs, approximately 40 km from Brest, before being transferred on 12 May to the temporary detention centre of the Leninsky District Department of the Interior of the city of Brest.

- Alena Masliukova is an environmental rights defender and a member of HRC Viasna in Svetlogorsk. She has been particularly engaged in activities against the construction of a pulp bleaching factory in Svetlogorsk on account of its negative environmental impact. On 23 April 2020, Masliukova was questioned as part of an investigation as result of a complaint against her, after a comment she made on social media criticising the President and the authorities for allegedly disseminating false and inaccurate information regarding the factory’s purpose. Her phone and laptop were also seized as part of the investigation.

- Andrei Miadzvedzeu is a journalist and a member of HRC Viasna in Rechytsa. On 7 May 2020, he was questioned in connection with a critical commentary he had written and posted on the social media network Vkontakte, in response to an article published in the local newspaper Dniprovets. Despite the fact that no complaint was made by the editor of the newspaper, which is a legal prerequisite for investigation, Andrei Miadzvedzeu is currently under investigation and may face criminal charges.

Belarus is ranked 153 in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Critical journalists and bloggers are threatened and arrested, leading news sites are blocked, access to information is restricted and media diversity is unknown. The state exercises total control over all TV channels. A few independent media outlets exist but many are forced to base themselves abroad and the authorities continue to harass them. Publications that were previously spared, such as Tut.by and the BelaPAN news agency, are now being targeted by the authorities. Those lucky enough to be tolerated struggle to survive because they are denied both state subsidies and advertising. 

June 18

Morocco - Repression and judicial persecution of defenders

Between late April and early May 2020, several human rights defenders in Morocco have been subjected to preventive detention as a result of their posts on social media, on the issue of human rights and the response by the Moroccan authorities during COVID-19.

- On 5 May 2020, Abdel Fattah Bouchikhi, a member of the National Instance for Human Rights and a blogger focusing primarily on corruption issues, was summoned to Jorf El Melha police station regarding a post he made on social media. In the post he exposed corruption related to the issuing of transport permits, which are necessary for travelling in Morocco during COVID-19. He was interrogated for seven hours without the presence of his lawyer, following which he was placed in preventive detention. He was detained for 48 hours at the police station before being transferred to the public prison, where he remains at the time of writing. In the 48 hours he spent in detention at the police station, he was not given any food. Abdel Fattah Bouchikhi has been charged with defamation and his hearing is scheduled for 21 May 2020.

- On 27 April 2020, Omar Naji, a human rights defender who works on refugee and immigration issues, and is vice-president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (MAHR) in the Nador city branch was summoned to the Cybercrime police section in Nador city, following a complaint submitted by the Nador city governor regarding a social media post he had made. In the post, Omar Naji defended the economic rights of the street hawkers in the city, following the confiscation of their goods by the police due to COVID-19 restrictions. He was placed under preventive detention for almost 24 hours, before being granted release on a bail of 10000 Dirham (approximately 900 Euros).

- On 5 May 2020, several police officers dressed in plain clothes arrested woman human rights defender Siham El Makrini, whose work is focused on the promotion of women’s rights in Morocco, at her home. She was brought to the police station in Nador city, where she was interrogated for almost two hours without the presence of her lawyer, regarding a post she had made on social media which called for improved economic rights for teachers in Morocco. Siham El Makrini has been charged with ‘incitement’ with regard to her social media post, the hearing for which has not yet been scheduled. On 17 May 2020, Siham El Makrini’s home was raided and vandalised by unknown individuals, which she believes to be connected to the charges against her and her human rights activities. The woman human rights defender has been previously harassed by Moroccan authorities. In 2018, Siham El Makrini was physically attacked by a group of police officers, fracturing her arm.

Morocco is ranked 133 in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Morocco’s media continue to be subjected to judicial harassment. In addition to the trials of a number of media figures that have dragged on for several years, several new prosecutions have been initiated and heavy sentences have been passed. Many journalists and citizen-journalists continue to be imprisoned. The elimination of the ministry of communication and the creation of a press council have not helped to make the environment for media and journalists any more peaceful. 

June 17

Peru - Murder of two indigenous rights defenders

In the past month, we have received with concern the news of the killing of two human rights defenders in Peru. In both cases, the defenders carried out their peaceful work in favor of the rights of indigenous peoples and their territories, particularly in the face of advances in illegal and harmful economic activities in their communities.

- On 17 May, human rights defender Gonzalo Pío Flores was assassinated in the town of Santa Rosa de Cashingari, located in the Río Tambo district, Satipo province (Junín). Gonzalo Pío Flores, an Asháninka indigenous, defender of indigenous rights and territory, and leader of the Nuevo Amanecer Hawai Community worked for the legal recognition of the communal territories of the Nuevo Amanecer Community, as well as for their protection against the presence of illegal logging activities established in the area. His wife, Maribel Casancho Flores, who was with him at the moment of the attack, was seriously injured. His killing is not an isolated case. It occurs in a context of conflict over land and territory in the district of Puerto Bermúdez characterized by the lack of legal security in the indigenous territories and by the presence of illegal economic activities of deforestation.

- On 12 April, Arbildo Menéndez Grandez, a native of Cacataibo, defender of indigenous rights and of the territory, and head of the Native Community of Unipacuyacu, in the district of Puerto Inca, was killed when hunting with Redy Rabel Ibarra, a resident from outside the community. At first, Mr Ibarra communicated  that Mr Menéndez had shot himself. However, two days later, Mr Ibarra confessed to the police that he had shot Mr Menéndez in confusion. The request for preventive detention was rejected in the first instance by the judge, so he is released. It should be noted that, according to the same information, Mr Ibarra had allegedly been making numerous outings to allegedly coordinate the murder of Mr Menéndez with people from outside the community. Illegal economic activities, such as planting crops for drug trafficking, illegal mining, and the indiscriminate felling of vast extensions of primary forests, have been triggering numerous attacks and threats against the Unipacuyacu Native Community for more than 10 years. Aggression was suffered also by Mrs Zulema Guevara Sandoval – Mr Menendez’s late wife - on 5 March 2020, when a villager attacked the boat in which she was with his two minor children. Her requests for protection have so far been ignored.

Peru currently ranks 90 in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Peru’s journalists risk sometimes very harsh reprisals when they cover social or environmental conflicts, expose cases of corruption, or investigate the infiltration of state entities by drug traffickers. The main threat to media freedom in Peru comes from the defamation laws, which often lead to journalists being threatened, intimidated or prosecuted. Journalists are particularly vulnerable if they cover drug trafficking, illegal logging or other kinds of trafficking in the remoter and more rural parts of the country. 

June 2

Call for applications: RSF Germany Time Out and Research Scholarship

Scholarship for journalists from war zones and conflict areas

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Germany is offering a new scholarship directed at journalists worldwide who are exposed to particular risks and challenges due to their work. RSF Germany invites a journalist from a war zone or crisis area to take some time out from their stressful environment and come to Berlin for six months, where they can rest and work on a new journalistic project. The scholarship will run for six months, from autumn 2020 to spring 2021. In case this will not be possible in autumn 2020 due to the corona pandemic and the associated travel restrictions, the start of the scholarship will be postponed.

Who can apply?

+ Journalists who urgently need some time out. This could be the case for example if they work in a war zone or crisis area, or if they recently reported on a particularly sensitive topic and are now being threatened or harassed, and those who need time to focus on a new journalistic project that they would work on during the scholarship period.

Read more

May 28

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Head of Secretariat (Maternity replacement)

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu - FIDDH is recruiting a Head of Secretariat for a maternity replacement. (Click to read the full description of the vacancy)

As director of the Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu - FIDDH, the Head of Secretariat reports directly to the Chair of the Board of ProtectDefenders.eu. They works under the supervision and management of the Board with the assistance of other Secretariat staff members. They supervises and coordinates effectively all elements of three programmes: the EU Human Rights Defenders Mechanism EIDHR2019/410-910, the EU Emergency grants for Human Rights Defenders at risk EIDHR2019/412-087 and the Comprehensive support to Human Rights Defenders in Turkey IPA2018/403-372. In addition, they provides overall representation of, and coordination between, the Board of ProtectDefenders.eu, the Turkey project Board, the members of the two Consortia; ensures liaison with the EU Commission, EEAS, EP and other external actors; manages the Secretariat and its staff.

Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter should besent by email to recruit@protectdefenders.eu before 10 June 2020. Please indicate as subject of the email: “your surname  - HoS maternity replacement”

The position might be filled before the deadline, early applications are encouraged.

The successful candidate will be expected to start work in June 2020 until February 2021. The Head of Secretariat will be based at ProtectDefenders.eu Secretariat in Brussels and would have the necessary permit to work in the EU.

May 26

Increasing reports of attacks against human rights defenders in India and Guatemala - Protect Defenders NOW!

Over the past month, ProtectDefenders.eu has received a considerable and growing number of reports regarding attacks, threats, and alerts affecting human rights defenders in India. This information alerts to the numerous acts of police and judicial harassment in the repression of legitimate activities in favor of human rights. Among other incidents, police harassment and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders were reported in Manipur State, in relation to statements made to criticise the management of the current COVID-19 pandemic by local authorities.

 

Safoora Zargar, a 27-years old student and woman human rights defender unjustly detained since 10 April, is one of the OMCT's campaign #FacesOfHope

 

Our monthly digest also highlights with great concern the situation of human rights defenders in Guatemala, after numerous alerts reported in the country. Among other, the threats, digital attacks and acts of intimidation against human rights lawyer Esteban Celada, or the acts of stigmatization and defamation against the Peasants’ Committee of the Highlands (CCDA) and against its leader, Ms Lesbia Artola.

Overall, at least 50 new incidents, including physical attacks, threats, and acts of harrament have been recorded in our Index of Attacks over the past month. 

Click here to read the full digest of May 2020.

 

May 15

Manuals, tips, and resources for human rights defenders in times of COVID-19

In these times of restrictions and difficulties in the work of defence of human rights imposed by the containment measures of COVID-19 pandemic, we share a list of practical resources and materials for protection and advocacy work that may be useful for human rights defenders and local organizations. This list is not exhaustive and will be updated regularly with external contributions.

- Front Line Defenders' Physical, emotional and digital protection for HRDs doing home office

- ILGA-World's Covid-19: Remote work and wellbeing resources for LGBTI communities

- OMCT's guidance brief on building a response on COVID-19 and detention and guide for the SOS-Torture network and human rights defenders on investigating and documenting torture remotelront

- Front Line Defenders' guide on Secure Group Chat and Conferencing Tools.

- WHO's tips on how to deal with Confinement, to stay protected from COVID-19 and where to find trustworthy sources regarding COVID-19

Manuals and resources for self-care and wellbeing of WHRDs are being compiled and produced by Fondo de Mujeres Calala

 

- Front Line Defenders' analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on the safety and work of human rights defenders

- FIDH's campaign #ForFreedom, calling for the release of all jailed human rights defenders, call to states to ensure that governments' initiatives attempting to slow the spread of the virus are proportionate and justified and that prioritise human rights and protect the most vulnerable, and report tracking corporate due diligence in times of COVID-19

- OMCT #FacesOfHope campaign, calling for the release of detained human rights defenders in the context of COVID-19 crisis. The campaign is promoting profiles of detained HRDs in the Philippines, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Turkey, Cameroon, and Peru.

- OMCT's call for effective measures to protect public health and safety, including for those most vulnerable. and call for creative solutions to keep up human rights work in times of pandemic

- Protection International's letter of recommendations to Governments in times of COVID19.

- European Commission's Global EU response to  COVID-19

- Amnesty International's call on States to protect human rights defenders in the current crisis and compilation of Amnesty's documents and actions developed in the context of COVID-19

- ISHR's compilation of UN’s current response to COVID-19 and the challenges it poses to human rights, and ISHR-coordinated joint statements delivered at the High Commissioner’s briefing to the Human Rights Council, involving a call upon States, a call for the protection of economic, social, and cultural rights, and a call upon the UN

 

- RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index “Entering a decisive decade for journalism, exacerbated by coronavirus”

- Access Now's report "Fighting misinformation and defending free expression during COVID-19: recommendations for states

- Artists At Risk Connection's Amani: Africa Creative Defence Network, established to help provide rapid responses to artists at risk in Africa

- The Artists At Risk's AR Covid-19 Emergency Fund to support artists who face threats to their freedom or lives and are unable to reach a country of safety during the coronavirus pandemic

May 12

#StaywithDefenders | PI's Global Campaign on the Right to Defend Human Rights in times of COVID19

COVID-19 is a challenge for all across the world. This is also true for women and men human rights defenders (W/HRDs), who are now even more at risk for standing for the Right to Defend Human Rights (RDHR).

"#StayWithDefenders in times of COVID-19" is latest PI's Global Campaign on the Right to Defend Human Rights in these difficult times. With this campaign, Protection International wants to call for international solidarity and recognition to both women and men human rights defenders (W/HRDs), be they individuals or collectives, under such times of crisis and uncertainty.

April 27

Un message de solidarité à la communauté du Sommet mondial des défenseur.e.s des droits humains 2018

Compte tenu des moments extrêmement difficiles et difficiles dus à la pandémie de COVID-19, ProtectDefenders.eu et tous les organisateurs du Sommet mondial des défenseurs des droits de l'homme 2018, envoient un message de solidarité à la communauté des défenseurs des droits de l'homme. Nos organisations restent opérationnelles et actives, et continuent de faire pression sur les gouvernements afin que les droits de l'homme soient au premier plan de toutes les mesures qu'ils prennent pour contenir la pandémie de COVID-19.

Par exemple, ProtectDefenders.eu a pris toutes les mesures nécessaires pour maintenir ses programmes mondiaux de protection afin de fournir un soutien pratique aux défenseurs des droits humains et aux communautés locales en danger. Les programmes de soutien d'urgence de ProtectDefenders.eu - y compris la hotline 24/7, restent disponibles, ainsi que le financement d'organisations et de groupes de défense des droits humains opérant dans des contextes répressifs. En outre, il continuera de recevoir des demandes de réinstallation temporaire pour les défenseurs à risque - et leurs familles lorsque cela est possible, qui seront traitées aussi longtemps que les limitations des mouvements mondiaux le permettront.

Lisez le message complet pour plus d'informations sur les mesures prises par les organisateurs du Sommet mondial des défenseurs des droits de l'homme 2018.

April 23

Call for the release of arbitrarily detained HRDs worldwide, amid the global COVID-19 crisis - Protect Defenders NOW!

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. ProtectDefenders.eu's  partner FIDH and its member-organisations have launched the global campaign #ForFreedom, calling for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. Human rights defenders should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

@FIDH #ForFreedom

In our monthly bulletin we also call on authorities in Egypt, Uganda, and Cuba to put an end to all forms of abuses and attacks against human rights defenders.

Only in the past weeks, ProtectDefenders.eu have received, among other information, worrying reports about the judicial harassment of  Bahey el-Din Hassan, Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), or the arbitrary arrest and subsequent release on bail of four women human rights defenders after they called on the State to take serious steps regarding the spread of the COVID-19 in prisons. Furthermore, many HRDs currently remain arbitrarily detained in Egypt, despite the additional risks derived from the COVID-19 pandemic, including inter alia Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, Haytham Mohamadein, Patrick George Zaki, Zyad El-Elaimy, Mahienour al-Massry, Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, or Mohamed el-Baquer and Alaa Abdel Fattah.

In Uganda, land rights defenders Godfrey Ssebisolo, Erias Wanjala, and Fred Mwawula were arrested by and subjected to severe beatings and other forms of physical abuse by the prison authorities. The land rights defenders believe their arbitrary detention is part of a pattern of reprisals for their work opposing forced evictions perpetrated by the companies Agilis Partners, Great Season Company Limited, and Kiryandongo Sugar Limited.

Finally, on 1 March 2020, Cuban HRD Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara - a visual artist and human rights defender promoting freedom of expression and cultural rights, was arrested when leaving his house to attend a peaceful protest organised by the LGTBIQ community to call for freedom of expression. During the arrest, his girlfriend Claudia Genlui was violently beaten, and both had their phones confiscated. Since the entry into force of Decree 349, artists have been protesting against government control over cultural productions, resulting in a number of arbitrary arrests. 

Only in March 2020, our Index of Alerts has recorded 37 new reports on attacks and threats against human rights defenders

Click to read the monthly bulletin, and share.

April 20

Announcement: Closing Call for Applications for Institutional Support Grants

Due to excessive number of applications received, the project Comprehensive Support to Human Rights Defenders in Turkey decided to close the call for applications for the institutional support grants to human rights defenders in Turkey. ProtectDefenders.eu Secretariat will not accept institutional support grant applications received any later than 4 May 2020, 17:00 o’clock CET.

 

The project received a great interest in its grants program. We are thankful to every human rights defender organisation that reached out to the project seeking support to continue and extend their crucial human rights work in Turkey.

Protection Grants Programme will continue to accept applications as usual until the official end date of the project, 31 January 2022. For requests to improve the security and protection of individual human rights defenders and organisations, please apply directly to Front Line Defenders, who manages the protection grants of the project. For guidelines and secure online grant application form, please visit Front Line Defenders website by clicking here.

April 9

#ForFreedom COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic

In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom , to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human RightsMichelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

Read more

April 9

Turkey: Grant early release from overcrowded prisons without discrimination.

A statement from the OMCT

Brussels-Geneva, March 31, 2020 – While welcoming the current intentions in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on the early release of prisoners due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ProtectDefenders.eu echoes the OMCT Europe call to legislators to not discriminate against any group of inmates on the basis of political opinion, ethnic, racial, religious differences or human rights activism.

A draft bill currently discussed by lawmakers to reduce prison overcrowding in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak could lead to the early release of up to 100,000 prisoners. With a current prison population of 286,000, the penitentiary system of Turkey is designed to host no more than 200,000 inmates. In addition to overcrowding, concerns over detention conditions have repeatedly been raised by both local and international bodies, such as the Council of Europe or the United Nations Committee against Torture, among others. 

Read more

March 27

COVID-19 Crisis: A message from ProtectDefenders.eu

Amidst the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking all the necessary measures to maintain the global protection programmes in support of human rights defenders and local communities at risk.

ProtectDefenders.eu - the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism, remains operational despite the coronavirus crisis. We continue focused on maintaining our support to human rights defenders at risk and taking the necessary measures to safeguard our staff. Some of our activities, however, might be impacted. 

Our emergency support programmes - including the 24/7 hotline, remain available, as well as our funding for human rights organisations and groups operating in repressive contexts. We will continue to receive requests for temporary relocation for at-risk defenders - and their families when possible, in partnership with host institutions worldwide, and we will process them as long as movement limitations in place in part of the world allow.

For more information, get in touch!

March 26

Ideas & tips from Front Line Defenders for HRDs in times of COVID-19

Read the full Front Line Defenders' article "Physical, emotional and digital protection while using home as office in times of COVID-19" to get some practical ideas to better cope with your work in defense of human rights and the security, physical, and emotional implications related to the limitations and restrictions imposed by the coronavirus outbreak.

"A global pandemic is a new situation for all of us. Most of us already are or soon may be forced to start working remotely. Many will use their home as an office. In some places, there is no doubt this crisis will be abused to further repress human rights defenders (HRDs) and human rights organisations (HROs) like many other crisis situations have been used in the past. Physical and emotional environments are also very different for each of us..."

March 23

Unabated persecution and harassment of human rights defenders in Turkey

Every day, the persecution and criminalisation of the defense of human rights in Turkey provide new information and reports about human rights defenders facing harassment and harsh retaliation because of their peaceful work. Check out our monthly digest of alerts to learn more about the most recent information on attacks and threats against HRDs in the country.

Read more

March 23

Ongoing attacks amidst a context of impunity in Colombia

Colombia remains one of the most dangerous countries for human rights defenders in the world, and the country in Latin America where more human rights defenders are killed. Threats against HRDs have reportedly skyrocketed, in a context of high rates of impunity and sustained policy of institutional misuse to try to silence the defense of human rights. These trends and concerns have been documented not only in a recent report launched by ProtectDefenders.eu’s member OMCT on the criminalisation of HRDs, but also are aligned with the conclusions of the country visit of the UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst, on the situation of human rights defenders in Colombia, presented on 4 March 2020 in Geneva. The risk faced by defenders has reportedly increased since the signing of the peace agreement. 

Read more

March 15

RSF grants within ProtectDefenders.eu, enabling media outlets at risk throughout the world

RSF direct grants funded within ProtectDefenders.eu are contributing to support both media in need and RSF's partner organisations throughout the world.

In particular, during the past three months, RSF financial support allowed its partner organisation in Pakistan Freedom Network to start producing short video contents for social media. In one of those, released at the end of February, the journalist Asma Shirazi, winner of the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism, spoke to FreedomNetwork about draft journalists' safety bill which the federal cabinet took up on 25 February 2020.

The video had more than 300 views and was a first big step towards raising awareness among the general public about press freedom issues in the country.

March 6

Consultancy Vacancy: Workshop on psychological and emotional well-being for staff

ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for an experienced consultant to organise a training workshop for its staff to incorporate psychological and emotional health education in their daily work, promote well being and encourage supportive workplace relationships. The terms of reference for this assignment are available here.

Applicants with the relevant academic and professional background are requested to send their submissions by 15 March 2020.

March 5

Check out the video: UNSR report on Human Rights Defenders in conflict areas

Check out the video by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, launched on the occasion of his last report, addressing the situation of human rights defenders operating in conflict areas"Each day, defenders take great risks to ensure that human rights are respected in war zone countries. It is time to acknowledge their contribution to international peace."

In this report, the last one before concluding his six-year mandate and presented to the Human Rights Council on 4 March 2020, Forst called on States and non-State actors to implement and strengthen protection mechanisms for defenders in conflict and post-conflict situations. “Defenders in conflict settings are courageous men and women who provide emergency relief, ensure access to civilians and document civilian casualties and violations of international law. In too many cases their contributions go unnoticed, while they face multiple threats to their safety due to conflict related insecurity or the very nature of their work, for example when they denounce violations committed by warring parties. Women defenders are particularly exposed to gender based violence, including sexual violence” Forst said.

Read more

February 20

Training and capacity-building for a group of environmental rights defenders in Sumatra

At the request of a grassroots group of human rights defenders from North Sumatra (Indonesia), Peace Brigades International and the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) organised a safety and protection training in February 2020, funded by ProtectDefenders.eu.

For four days, twenty environmental rights lawyers and other defenders built on their existing security practices to strengthen their security as individuals and within their organizations. The participants, coming from nine different organisations, also used the opportunity to consolidate efforts on how to push for a full investigation into the killing of Golfrid Siregar, a lawyer with WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia). Golfrid was killed in mysterious circumstances in October 2019, and his murder is believed to be associated with his work defending local communities and their forests against megaprojects.

Read more

February 19

Incommunicado detention of human rights defenders in China - Protect Defenders Now!

As of the end of January 2020, four Chinese human rights defenders have been held in incommunicado detention for a month, as reported in the ProtectDefenders.eu digest of alerts. In December 2019, police from Shandong province arrested human rights defenders Dai Zhenya in Xiamen, Fujian, Ding Jiaxi in Beijing, Li Yingjun in Zhangzhou, Fujian, and Zhang Zhongshun in Yantai, Shandong. Their arrests were part of a year-end crackdown in December 2019 affecting more than 20 human rights defenders across China.

Also, in Iran, ProtectDefenders.eu received information about the ill-treatment of imprisoned women human rights defenders Narges Mohammadi and Atena Daemi in Evin prison, following their participation in a peaceful sit-in protest. Atena Daemi was put in solitary confinement, where she was physically abused and denied medical assistance. Narges Mohammadi was physically abused by security agents and transferred to the Zanjan prison located over 300 km from Tehran. In DRC, ProtectDefenders.eu’s partners were informed about the arbitrary detention and the judicial harassment against human rights defenders Jean-Claude Malitano, coordinator of the NGO Action for Rural Promotion (APRu), which runs a legal clinic on human rights issues in Faradje, and Etienne Tandele, president of the New Civil Society of Faradje, in the province of Haut-Uélé, in the northeast of the country.

Only in January 2020, at least 20 new attacks against HRDs have been reported in the ProtectDefenders.eu's Index of alerts.

January 28

Internship at the Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu

ProtectDefenders.eu - The EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism is looking for an 'Administration Intern. This is an exciting opportunity for a graduate to gain real experience and learning in a multicultural and dynamic team. During your internship, you will have the chance to apply your knowledge and skills to enhance the protection of human rights defenders worldwide.

Do you want to join us? Please send your CV and cover letter (please include information about your availability) before 12 February 2020 by email at recruit@protectdefenders.eu with the subject : 'Admnistration Internship'. Early applications are encouraged!

Read here the full internship description

January 27

Land and indigenous rights defenders at risk in Brazil - Protect Defenders Now!

The ProtectDefenders.eu digest of alerts reports two recent killings of HRDs in Anapu, which elevates concerns about the lack of effective protection and access to justice for land rights defenders in the Brazilian state of Pará. Pará has one of the highest numbers of killings of environmental defenders in the country. Considered as a priority country for ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union mechanism mobilizes comprehensive support for Brazilian defenders at risk through the material and emergency support, financing, training, and advocacy.

Also, in Thailand, reliable sources have informed ProtectDefenders.eu’s partners about recent cases of judicial harassment and intimidation against human rights defenders. Zambia is also featured in this issue of the monthly digest. 

Only in December 2019, at least 35 new attacks against HRDs have been reported. 

January 21

On 21 January 2020, ProtectDefenders.eu organised the conference "Women human rights defenders, at the forefront of environmental preservation", co-hosted by MEP and vice-chair of DROI Subcommittee Ms. Hannah Neumann and MEP and member of FEMM and ENVI Committees Ms. Soraya Rodríguez. This conference featured the testimonies of Cristina Palabay and Milena Florez, two environmental WHRD from the Philippines and Colombia, and high-level speakers from the European Commission, and it was chaired by Liliana De Marco, executive director of Protection International - a member of the Consortium of ProtectDefenders.eu.

Milena Florez and Cristina Palabay shared their testimony of resilience and their strategies to overcome the particular struggles they face as women defending rights in very oppressive contexts. "In Colombia, when megaprojects arrive in our territories, they find us there as women who are leading the struggle. Our goal is to defend life, and it concerns us all", Florez said.

As explained by MEP Hannah Neumann in her keynote, "the number of environmental defenders killed and under attack is ever-growing, but things get even worse when you are a woman and dare to speak up. We need to walk the extra mile to protect women human rights defenders". MEP Soraya Rodríguez noted that ·silence is the greatest accomplice of violence. That is why we need to give voice and power to women who defend human rights, also here in the European Parliament, and doing so with a gender perspective is essential."

January 8

SAVE THE DATE. CONFERENCE AT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Women human rights defenders, at the forefront of environmental preservation

Women human rights defenders (WHRDs) safeguarding environmental rights are a fundamental pillar in the protection of their communities and in the protection of the environment and natural resources for future generations. However, they are confronted with an unprecedented scale of persecution and repression. It is time to strengthen the visibility on the situation and challenges faced by WHRDs and to act to offer better protection and create a more favorable environment for their work in the years to come.

ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism implemented by international civil society, is pleased to invite you to the conference "Women human rights defenders, at the forefront of environmental preservation", co-hosted by the vice-chair of DROI Subcommittee Ms Hannah NEUMANN and the member of FEMM and ENVI Ms. Soraya RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS. This conference will feature the testimonies of two renowned environmental WHRD from the Philippines and Colombia, a representative of the ProtectDefenders.eu’s Consortium and high-level speakers from the European Commission.

Interpretation Spanish/ English will be provided.

Please, confirm your participation by 15 January. If you need an accreditation to access the European Parliament in Brussels, kindly provide your ID information as soon as possible.

December 31

Killings of HRDs in Mexico and ongoing harassment of defenders in Crimea and Western Sahara

Throughout 2019, the situation of defenders in Mexico has remained particularly critical. ProtectDefenders.eu partners have regularly monitored and denounced the pattern of systematic attacks against HRDs in the country - one of the most dangerous places for the defense of human rights in the world. On 20 November 2019, the body of human rights defender Arnulfo Cerón Soriano was found buried under several tons of soil in the "El Aguaje" colony in Tlapa, Guerrero. Arnulfo Cerón Soriano was a lawyer and human rights defender belonging to the Naua people of the region of La Montaña, Guerrero. In recent months, Casa del Migrante de Saltillo (CMS) has reported a series of increasingly worrying threats and attacks, with a spike in intensity and frequency starting at the end of November. The judicial persecution and criminalization of the defense of rights continues to be reported in the country.

Also, the monthly issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest reports the sentencing of human rights defender Emir-usein Kuku to twelve years in a strict-regime correctional colony in Crimea, and the arbitrary detention of woman human rights defender Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire.

In 2019, ProtectDefenders.eu has documented more than 350 attacks against defenders. Since the launch of the index in 2016, more than 3,000  attacks have been reported. Real figures are likely much higher, as many alerts still go unreported.

December 9

Escucha los reportajes sobre ProtectDefenders.eu en la radio nacional de España

Conoce más acerca de ProtectDefenders.eu a través de dos reportajes realizados en los programas Solidaridad y Europa Abierta, de Radio Nacional de España.

En el programa Solidaridad, que puedes escuchar aquí, podrás descubrir cómo ProtectDefenders.eu ha acompañado a más de 30.000 personas defensoras en todo el mundo. Conoce también a Yésica Sánchez Maya, abogada feminista defensora de los derechos humanos e integrante del Consejo Directo del Consorcio Oaxaca en México. Con la participación de Javier Roura, responsable de comunicación del secretariado de ProtectDefenders.eu y Miguel Martín Zumalacárregui Director de la Oficina en Bruselas de la Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura y responsable para las Américas del Programa de Protección a Personas Defensoras.

En el programa Europa Abierta podrás conocer más acerca de nuestros programas de subvenciones de urgencia para personas defensoras en peligro o saber más sobre cómo, en ocasiones, la visibilidad de quienes defienden derechos humanos es un elemento de protección. 

Haz clic en la imagen para escuchar los reportajes.

December 5

Applications now open for the ECPMF's Journalists-in-Residence Programme

ECPMF’s Journalists-in-Residence Programme provides a safe haven for media professionals from Turkey, Central Eastern Europe or the European part of Eurasia who need to take a break away from a hostile working environment. For a period of up to six months between February 2020 and August 2020 the programme provides temporary shelter, an opportunity to rest and recover, and if the fellow wishes, to continue one’s work.) The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) offers practical solidarity to journalists resident in Turkey, Central Eastern Europe and European part of Eurasia. The Centre extends its Journalists-in-Residence programme to up to three more media professionals and is now accepting applications (Deadline: 31 December 2019).

This invitation is for media professionals holding a valid passport and who are currently based in Turkey, Central Eastern Europe or in the European Part of Eurasia. Timeslots are available for stays up to six months, during the period from February to September 2020.

Participants are provided with a rent-free, furnished apartment in Leipzig, Germany, a monthly stipend of 1,000 euros, and free health insurance. ECPMF also covers travel costs to and from Leipzig, as well as, visa fees. The selected journalists are offered access to the Centre’s wide-ranging network of contacts, as well as, optional training sessions in useful skills such as, secure digital communication and data safety.

More information and how to apply.

November 29

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Grants Officer for the EU Emergency Fund

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is recruiting a Grants Officer for the EU Emergency Fund for Human Rights Defenders at risk. This programme aims to support human rights defenders (HRDs) in situations where they are most at risk through the operation and implementation of a rapid and efficient EU Emergency Fund.

This is an exciting opportunity for someone with experience in Human Rights and Grants, with strong communication skills, who will play a crucial role in the successful implementation of the project.

Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter should be sent by email to recruit@protectdefenders.eu by 10 December. Please write in the subject of the email: Your surname - Grant officer application”. The position might be filled before the deadline, early applications are encouraged. The successful candidate will be expected to start work in January 2020. 

The Grant Officer will be based in ProtectDefenders.eu Secretariat in Brussels and needs to have the necessary permit to work in the EU.

November 29

International Women Human Rights Defenders Day

Every year, ProtectDefenders.eu supports more than 5,000 women human rights defenders in the most vulnerable countries, through direct and gender-sensitive protection grants, funding to local women rights' organisations, comprehensive relocation programmes, training and capacity-building, accompaniment in the field, advocacy and specific outreach programs.

Women human rights defenders (WHRDs) are key actors for sustainable development, social justice, peacebuilding in post-conflict areas, and the rule of law in the most vulnerable and fragile communities. However, WHRDs are particularly targeted, and their resilience very often confronted with specific threats that demand gender-focused tools and strategies for ensuring their safety. In this context, the development of protection mechanisms, capacity-building programmes and tailored advocacy initiatives that address WHRDs' particularities is an increasing demand to the international civil society and donors' community.

 

From the outset, ProtectDefenders.eu has committed to provide gender-sensitive assistance and WHRDs are a high priority target for the EU HRD mechanism. Today, WHRD represent 48% of the overall number of beneficiaries, and these figures are consistently increasing in time.

November 24

Human rights defenders targeted amidst protests in Iraq and Chile - Protect Defenders Now

Since anti-corruption demonstrations in Iraq began in early October 2019, human rights defenders have been targeted by the Iraqi authorities and other unknown militant groups. The demonstrations are calling for increased respect for civil and political rights in the country, and an end to corruption and chronic unemployment. According to Front Line Defenders, the Iraqi authorities and other militant groups have been using excessive force against protesters, resulting in mass killings, arrests, and the disappearance of participants. Human rights defenders, in particular, have been targeted and several have been forcibly disappeared, detained or killed.

 

The November 2019 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu digest also raises concern over intimidation and judicial harassment of human rights defenders in Chile, and over the abduction of Muhammad Ismail, father of WHRD Gulalai Ismail, in Pakistan.

Only in October 2019, ProtectDefenders.eu reported at least 32 new attacks against human rights defenders. 

Click here to read the full digest of alerts

October 31

PBI accompanies Mexican lawyer and defender Maricela Vazquez on advocacy tour in Europe

With the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, Peace Brigades International (PBI) invited Maricela Vázquez, a lawyer from the Paso del Norte Center for Human Rights (PDN), to an advocacy tour in Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, from 16 September 2019 to 4 October 2019.

in Brussels, and before members of the European Parliament, Maricela Vázquez - together with a delegation of defenders, spoke about the human rights situation in Mexico, focusing on disappearances, torture, femicide, the situation of vulnerable groups such as defenders or migrants and the criminalisation of the defence of land and territory.

Read more

October 31

One year anniversary of the HRD World Summit and The Action Plan - Spread the message!

On the occasion of the Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018’s first anniversary, ProtectDefenders.eu and the Summit's convening group are publishing a summary of the Summit and relaunching the Action Plan, a key document that was adopted by hundreds of HRDs and organizations attending the Paris Summit, with a series of recommendations that need to be put into practice urgently.

As human rights defenders continue to be discriminated, intimidated, harassed, criminalized and killed on an alarming scale and those suffering intersecting forms of discrimination are at an even higher risk, action to tackle this scourge needs to be taken urgently. This Action Plan is a powerful tool to address those with power: States, businesses, financial institutions, donors and intergovernmental organizations. Since the action plan was adopted, this document has already been presented to the United Nations General Assembly and has been regularly referred to in advocacy work at the national level and in our work as international civil society organizations.

This document constitute a key tool to be used in our everyday activism and ensure that the right to defend human rights is upheld. 

You can consult and download this material, available at the moment in English, French, and Spanish.

You can also relive the highlights of the HRD World Summit

October 29

Serious concerns over relentless repression of HRDs in Egypt

ProtectDefenders.eu has received with utmost concern recent reports on the aggravation of the repression against human rights defenders in Egypt, in a new wave of harassment, attacks, and threats reported in recent weeks, such as the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Amr Imam, human rights lawyer at the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)..

Moreover, the October 2019 digest of alerts rings the alerm their deepest concern over the sentencing of four women’s rights defenders in Iran, who have been targeted by the authorities for their defence of women’s rights and their support of the protests against mandatory hijab laws. Also, recent information reporting judicial harassment and police abuses against human rights defenders in Russia is featured this month.

Only in October 2019, ProtectDefenders. eu documented and reported at least 18 new attacks against human rights defenders and has provided emergency support to 25 human rights defenders facing high risk.

Click to read the full digest.

October 20

New Funding Opportunity for Human Rights Defenders in Turkey

In consideration of the latest developments in Turkey creating an ever less enabling environment for human rights defenders, with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu Secretariat, five international organizations working in the human rights field established a new grant-making program to provide support to human rights defenders in Turkey. The Comprehensive Support to Human Rights Defenders in Turkey program is funded by the European Union.

The project aims to protect human rights defenders at risk, support human rights defender organizations in continuing to carry out their work while strengthening their domestic and international networks and increase their capacities in documenting human rights abuses, access to justice mechanisms and advocating for a more enabling environment for their work in Turkey.

Read more

October 16

Seminar "Well-being and psychosocial support of human rights defenders enrolled in relocation programmes", 22 October 2019 Barcelona

ProtectDefenders.eu, with the support of Agència Catalana de Cooperació al Desenvolupament and Comissió Catalana d'Ajuda al Refugiat,is organising the seminar "Well-being and psychosocial support of human rights defenders enrolled in relocation programmes", next Tuesday, 22 October 2019 in Barcelona. 

Human rights defenders, experts in psychosocial aspects of temporary relocation, as well as members of the EUTRP and other local entities will exchange and share their views on how to best address the well-being and psychosocial challenges during the cycle of temporary relocation of human rights defenders. Interpretation available English/ Spanish. Limited places available, registration required by 17 October 2019

October 14

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Coordinator of the EU Temporary Relocation Platform

The Fondation Internationale pour les Défenseurs des Droits de L’Homme (FIDDH), Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is recruiting a Coordinator of the EU Temporary Relocation Platform

Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter should be sent by email to recruit@protectdefenders.eu by 25 October. Please write in the subject of the email the position you are applying for + your surname: “EUTRP Coordinator – Applicant’s surname”. Early applications are welcome since the successful candidate is expected to start work in November, if possible.

Read more

September 30

Killings and repression of human rights defenders in Honduras - Protect Defenders NOW!

In the monthly digest of alerts, ProtectDefenders.eu’s partners alert about the killing and repression of human rights defenders in the context of the Guapinol case, in Honduras. After the murder of defender Roberto Antonio Argueta Tejada and the ongoing criminalisation process against seven human rights defenders claiming for their water rights, ProtectDefenders.eu reiterates its condemnation of the improper use of the criminal law to control, neutralize and punish people who exercise the right to resistance in defense of land and territory.

Moreover, ProtectDefenders.eu has received with great concern recent information on the ongoing threats and harassment against human rights defenders in the Maldives, and is raising awareness about the escalating online threats against human rights defenders and journalist Mbolatiana Raveloarimsa, in Madagascar.

Only in September 2019, ProtectDefenders. eu reported at least 23 new attacks against human rights defenders and has provided emergency support to 16 human rights defenders facing high risk.

Click to read the full digest.

September 20

ProtectDefenders.eu, new ACLED's partner data on attacks against HRDs

ProtectDefenders.eu is partnering with the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) to improve ACLED’s coverage of attacks on human rights defenders around the world. Nearly 300 new events were added to the ACLED dataset from ProtectDefenders.eu's Index of Alerts, which includes over 3,000 alerts against HRDs of all kinds. 

While information from ProtectDefenders.eu spans six years and are recorded across all regions covered by ACLED, only a subset of these fall within the mandate of ACLED, a real-time data and analysis source on political violence and protest around the world. 

September 15

Addressing the serious deterioration of the human rights situation in Guatemala

The months of June, July and August 2019 have been particularly critical for human rights defenders in Guatemala. In the first six months of the year, UDEFEGUA has registered that 12 human rights defenders have been murdered. In addition, at least 361 attacks and 259 acts of criminalization against human rights defenders have been recorded. Before this alarming deterioration in the spaces where defenders carry out their work, PBI Guatemala keeps accompanying human rights defenders under threat and works to maintain the already shrunk space available in the country for the legitimate defense of human rights. With the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, PBI Guatemala has carried out different activities to address the critical situation in the country:

Read more

September 15

Palestinian journalist, Reham Owda, temporarily relocated to Berlin with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu

Through the Rest and Refuge Scholarship run by Reporters Without Borders Germany and the Taz Panter Foundation, Palestinian journalist Reham Owda was granted a three-month relocation to Berlin from March until May 2019, with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu Temporary Relocation Programme. During that time, she benefited from psychological support in a peaceful environment, wrote an article for Taz newspaper and participated to their workshop about the political context in Palestine.

After being blocked in Gaza for six years due to the closing of the Rafah Crossing Point, Reham Owda’s relocation to Berlin allowed her to taste “the freedom of movement within European Union countries”, as well as “the democratic life in Germany and the freedom of the press”, she said. She was able to travel across Europe and visit different countries, therefore broadening her cultural, social and political knowledge. She believes that this experience will help her expand her network with other journalists and understand better the safety of journalists in conflict zones.

Read more

September 15

Building the capacitites of Haven of Artist in Lebanon

With support from ProtectDefenders.eu, Urgent Action Fund supported Haven of Artists in Lebanon, an organization that aims to endorse, encourage and expose the modern underground art scene of Lebanon and the Middle East. Their grant request was to support an artist/activist collective to secure its building and operations as well as organize a staff retreat to address collective security and burnout issues following an increased crackdown against LGBTQI groups by Lebanese General Security. A retreat for a team that has worked for over 8 years without compensation has assisted their collective mental health, and they were also able to install and repaint new doors, locks, security cameras, blankets, permits, and outstanding lawyer fees. "Now we are able to focus all of our energies on capacity building for our target audiences without the looming debt and fear of not making rent due to them."

September 12

Internship at the secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu

ProtectDefenders.eu - The EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism is looking for a 'Programmes' intern. This is an exciting opportunity for a graduate to gain real experience and learning in a multicultural and dynamic team. During your internship, you will have the chance to apply your knowledge and skills to enhance the protection of human rights defenders worldwide.

Do you want to join us? Please send your CV and cover letter (please include information about your availability) before the 26 September 2019 by email at recruit@protectdefenders.eu with the subject : 'Internship'. Early applications are encouraged, the position might be filled before the deadline.

Read here the full intership description

September 9

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Finance Officer (Turkey project)

The Fondation Internationale pour les Défenseurs des Droits de L’Homme (FIDDH) - Secretariat of  ProtectDefenders.eu is currently recruiting a Finance Officer.This is an exciting opportunity for someone with some experience in EU funded projects and/or Grants, who will play a crucial role in the successful implementation of the project to support human rights defenders in Turkey.

The Finance Officer will be based in FIDDH in Brussels, the Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu, and would have the necessary permit to work in the EU.

FIDDH values diversity and is an equal opportunity employer. Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter (please mention your availability) should be sent by email to recruit@ProtectDefenders.eu before 22 September 2019. Early applications are encouraged.

Read the full job description here and below.

Read more

September 2

Serious deterioration of the situation of human rights defenders in Guatemala - Protect Defenders Now!

In the monthly digest of alerts, ProtectDefenders.eu’s partners alert about the deep worsening of the situation of human rights defenders in Guatemala. In a crucial period marked by the end of the CICIG mandate, civil society organizations denounce an escalation of attacks and threats against defenders and organizations, including recent murders of land rights defenders.

Moreover, ProtectDefenders.eu has received with great concern the ruling by the Chuy Regional Court of Kyrgyzstan to uphold the life sentence of Mr. Azimjan Askarov, the Director of the human rights organisation “Vozdukh” (Air). The monthly digest also denounces the judicial harassment faced by two human rights defenders in Malawi.

Only in August 2019, ProtectDefenders. eu reported at least 26 new attacks against human rights defenders and has provided emergency support to nine human rights defenders facing high risk.

Click to read the full digest.

September 2

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for an administration officer

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for an experienced administration officer to join our dynamic and energetic team in Brussels.

Under the supervision of the Head of Secretariat, the Administration Officer supports the team of the Secretariat facilitating a smooth implementation of the programme and ensuring an efficient working environment.

Read the full job description here, and submit your application by 11 September 2019.

August 30

Holistic security workshop in South Korea

In August 2019, 18 LGBTI human rights defenders from 13 countries across Asia gathered together in Seoul, South Korea to attend a workshop around holistic security, organised by ILGA World - The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and supported by ProtectDefenders.eu.

For four days, human rights defenders from India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam shared a safe space to discuss the impact that engaging in the LGBTI movement has on them, talk about burnout prevention, and address threats and needs regarding mental and physical health both from a personal and an organisational perspective.

Read more

August 15

Support for LGTBI defenders and organizations in Honduras

PBI Honduras, within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, is providing protective support to LGTBI defenders and organizations in the country. In August, PBI accompanied the Arcoiris Association in San Pedro Sula, where a cultural night and an LGTBI pride march were held. Also, after the murder of Bessy Ferrera - a transgender woman and a member of Arcoiris, PBI Honduras launched a public alert expressing concern over continuous attacks on trans women, in a context where 95% of attacks against them go unpunished.

July 28

ProtectDefenders.eu supports the Asturian temporary relocation programme for Human Rights Defenders

For more than two years, ProtectDefenders.eu has been providing sustained financial and technical support to the oldest temporary relocation program for human rights defenders in Spain, located in the Principality of Asturias, an autonomous region in the north of the country. Since 2001, the Asturian Program for Assistance to Victims of Violence in Colombia (Programa Asturiano de Atención a Víctimas de la Violencia en Colombia - PAV-DDHH) has been hosting trade unionists and human rights defenders from Colombia for a period of six months. In addition, every year since 2005, the Program conducts a mission to the country, which aims to verify the state of human rights in Colombia and to verify the situation of former beneficiaries of the program after their return. 

During their stay in Asturias, the human rights defenders participate in 'citizen diplomacy' and advocacy activities for peace before the Asturian and European institutions; and carry out continuous actions for denouncing, raising awareness and promoting human rights within the Spanish society.

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July 23

CONSULTANCY VACANCY - Final evaluation of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism, ProtectDefenders.eu

ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a consultancy team to conduct an external evaluation at the end of the first phase of the Project. This evaluation should focus on documenting the impact that the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism has had on the situation of human rights defenders during 37 months of implementation and whether the Consortium has delivered in accordance with the Project proposal and main objective of the Project. The evaluation should focus in particular on the direct support to human rights defenders under components and should compare this with other programmes and the broader EU support to HRDs. It should also provide recommendations to improve the relevance and effectiveness of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism in its follow-up phase of implementation.

The evaluation should concentrate as far as possible on the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism in its entirety. It is not the intention to evaluate the performance of the individual ProtectDefenders.eu Partners, although comparisons of practices can be used when relevant in order to draw lessons learned and contribute to improve overall performance.

The terms of reference of this assignment are available here

Applicants are requested to send their submissions to recruit@protectdefenders.eu, with the subject "Evaluation consultant" by 16 August 2019.

July 16

Enforced disappearance of HRDs in Egypt. Attacks and repression in India and Zimbabwe - Protect Defenders Now!

ProtectDefenders.eu’s partners express their utmost concern over the recent reports on attacks and repression against human rights defenders in Egypt, since reliable sources informed about the enforced disappearance of Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, a researcher on the right to housing at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF).

Moreover, the July 2019 issue of the ProtectDefenders.eu's digest reports on the harassment and repression of human rights defenders in India, which is believed to be directly related to their peaceful and legitimate human rights work. Finally, this digest also warns about the situation of seven human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, who are facing judicial harassment after attending an advocacy training.

Only in June 2019, ProtectDefenders. eu reported at least 36 new attacks against human rights defenders and has provided emergency support to nine human rights defenders facing high risk.

Click to read the full digest of alerts

July 15

Publication of a report on the shrinking civil society space in Tajikistan

In July 2019, OMCT in the framework of the Observatory published a mission report on the shrinking civil society space in Takijistan, ahead of Tajikistan’s review by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

The report, titled Their last stand? How human rights defenders are being squeezed out in Tajikistan, highlights how the regime of President Rahmon gradually eroded the freedom of association and expression of its critics, including human rights defenders. In particular, it outlines how the authorities have increasingly restricted the legal space for human rights organisations and independent lawyers to provide assistance to victims of human rights violations, including torture.

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June 27

"We are not opposing development, we just want to be treated with equality and respect" - European Development Days 2019

On 18 June 2019, ProtectDefenders.eu, in partnership with the European Union External Action Service and the International Land Coalition, organised a panel at the European Development Days 2019, under the title 'The guardians of the territory - Strengthening international solidarity and support to indigenous peoples and environmental human rights defenders'.

In this session - which is available in this podcast, participants debated new strategies to defend and increase solidarity to those risking their lives to protect the planet's most precious heritage. As stated by WHRD and Champion of Earth Joan Carling, indigenous communities must be able to fight for their rights without being intimidated or killed, and partnerships with indigenous people are necessary to protect their rights and deliver equitable benefits - “We need political will from States to implement the rights of indigenous peoples and human rights due diligence for the business sector. We are not opposing development, we just want to be treated with equality and respect and to engage into partnerships”

Environmental degradation driven by political and economic interests aggravates inequality and impacts on communities, which are denied basic rights and face repression. Indigenous peoples and environmental human rights defenders are at the forefront of defending their territories against projects that exploit natural resources and they are under threat – 207 environmental human rights defenders were killed in 2017. Stella Matutina, a courageous WHRD from Mindanao warned about the "ethnocide of indigenous peoples, through erosion of our culture and our right to self-determination. Indigenous peoples undoubtedly are left behind in our unequal world". Also Ariane Assemat, of Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan in Mexico alerted of the impunity of perpetrators of attacks and killings of land rights defenders "This is a global trend: the world is today deadlier than ever for those defending land rights".

Click to read more about the European Development Days 2019

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June 26

Attacks and criminalisation of defenders in Philippines, the USA, and Bangladesh - Protect Defenders Now!

In the June digest of alerts, ProtectDefenders.eu partners reiterate their utmost concern over ongoing killings and attacks against human rights defenders in the Philippines and call upon the authorities to adopt effective measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in the country. Moreover, ProtectDefenders.eu partners express their concern about the systematic efforts by the authorities in the United States to criminalise migrant rights defenders, in a context of a migration crisis exacerbated by the border enforcement policy of “prevention through deterrence.” Recent information on criminalisation and intimidation of human rights defenders in Bangladesh is also reported in this issue of the digest.

 

Only in May 2019, the ProtectDefenders.eu Index of Attacks and Alerts has reported 25 new incidents and attacks against human rights defenders. 

Click to read the digest of alerts, and share!

June 15

UNSR consultation on impunity issues in the MENA region

In early June 2019, ProtectDefenders.eu, in partnership with the Gulf Center for Human Rights, supported the organisation of the UNSR regional consultation with MENA human rights defenders, which took place in Tunis. More than 40 defenders from all across the MENA region and Turkey joined this gathering to provide their inputs from the field and substantial contributions to the upcoming Michel Forst's report on impunity, which will be presented in October 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly.

In the region, governments and authorities remain the main perpetrators of violations against human rights defenders, which aggravates impunity. Also, lack of independence of the judiciary and the use of judicial and criminal processes to hinder the work of defenders are seen as common patterns across all the countries. According to participants, international institutions, and in particular the special procedures of the United Nations, can play a key role in addressing this impunity.

June 12

The Human Rights Defenders World Summit at RightsCon Tunis 2019

On 12 June, ProtectDefenders.eu participated at the RightsCon Tunis 2019 panel on the Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018. A delegation of human rights defenders presented their experience of taking action to defend human rights and the consequences they had to face because of these actions. They have also mentioned the significance of the Summit 2018 had for them and what states, businesses and donors must do to ensure their fundamental role is protected and recognised in the digital sphere and beyond.  In relation to this, they have called on the Tech community to join them in the struggle for human rights.

At the end of the HRD World Summit 2018 in Paris, all defenders agreed on a landmark Action Plan, which was presented to the UN General Assembly in December 2018. As participants to the Paris Summit continue to spread this message around the world, this panel was an opportunity to remind the world of the essential work they do and the need to create a safe and enabling environment for all those who actively defend human rights. 

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June 6

RSF Germany Rest and Refuge Scholarship

Rest and Refuge Scholarship is a project run by Reporters Without Borders Germany and taz Panter Foundation, a non-profit organization linked to „die tageszeitung“ (taz), a daily newspaper from Berlin. Both the ZEIT Foundation Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) support the scholarship financially.

Reporters Without Borders Germany and taz Panter Foundation invite three journalists from countries in crisis or war to stay in Berlin. They offer them a time of refuge and rest for three months. The first journalist will be invited from September to November 2019, the second from March to May 2020 and the third from April to June 2020.

© Nick Jaussi

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May 31

On the side of more than 30,000 human rights defenders worldwide

Over the past three years, ProtectDefenders.eu - the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism implemented by a Consortium of international civil society organisations, has emerged as a solid, successful and crucial tool for at-risk human rights defenders, and as an increasingly referenced instrument within the international human rights defenders community. As per the three-years report, ProtectDefenders.eu has stepped up the practical support available to HRDs at risk and local human rights NGOs, and mobilised resources in favour of at least 30,018 defenders in a timely and comprehensive manner.

In a context marked by the increasing demand for support from human rights defenders operating in the most difficult contexts, ProtectDefenders.eu...

Read on to learn more about the key highlights of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism

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May 30

A commitment to coordination and efficiency for the success of a flagship mechanism

ProtectDefenders.eu has offered life-saving support to hundreds of defenders and enabled several thousands of them to continue their human rights work with more security. It has contributed to addressing emergency needs of HRDs and the pushback against shrinking space for local organisations supported via the different programmes, and to build an enabling environment conducive to better human rights protection and democratic development.  Human rights defenders have been better equipped to navigate their work in the face of repression and threats and to pursue their activities for the respect and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the local level.

The unique combination of several strategic interventions including immediate support, financial assistance, capacity-building, strategic communications and advocacy, and outreach has together amplified one another and presents a strong, consolidated and comprehensive approach to supporting human rights defenders. 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.

Read on to learn more

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May 29

A crucial instrument to counter the global backlash against human rights defenders

The situation of human rights defenders supported through the EU HRD mechanism has improved as a result of accessing grants, support, and multi-faceted assistance. This has prompted communities and defenders to continue advocating for human rights, mobilising for action, and forming or joining social movements. However, in every region of the world, human rights defenders have continued to face reprisals, harassment, and attacks because of their non-violent work and in response to their demands for basic rights.

Smear campaigns, judicial harassment, criminalisation, and stigmatisation are widely employed by both state and non-state actors to try to intimidate HRDs. Defenders working in a context of conflict, crisis or political transition zones attempting to document atrocities are also subjected to appalling violations. Moreover, the rise of ISIS, religious fundamentalism, and other non-state actors, as well as populism and authoritarianism, continues to impact directly on the work of HRDs. More than 2,600 attacks and severe cases of targeting have been documented by ProtectDefenders.eu partners in the 37 months of implementation, and killings of human rights defenders continued to rise - 281 killings reported in 2016, 312 in 2017, and 321 in 2018, with a striking increase in the number of defenders killed in specific countries, such as Colombia, Brazil, Philippines, or Guatemala. Many of the attacks and threats continue to go unreported, and a vast majority of perpetrators are still not held accountable.

Read on to learn more

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May 28

Building the resilience of defenders operating in the most repressive contexts

ProtectDefenders.eu has provided targeted  emergency responses to certain crises affecting human rights defenders, as in the case of Syria, Egypt, Burundi, Bangladesh, Turkey, or Nicaragua, as well as responding to the backlash reported against defenders of land and environmental rights or defenders advocating for the freedom of expression -including journalists and bloggers -, or LGBTI rights defenders. Moreover, a particular effort was made to support and reach out to particularly vulnerable HRDs and those working in the most difficult contexts.

Thanks to ProtectDefenders.eu support, organisations working in these hostile contexts and facing difficulties were able to maintain their core activities, increase their own capacity in security and protection and therefore improve their capability to continue their work in this repressive context, to find and access funding and to set up new initiatives to strengthen their advocacy capacities and structures. A number of organisations in particularly critical situations avoided closure as a result of that support. Many organisations were supported in creating bigger coalitions and networks in order to work together to overcome common obstacles and achieve better results, including as a measure of protection. In other situations where return to the country proved impossible. the mechanism could provide the seed funds for the creation of new human rights structures to continue addressing the protection of human rights defenders and crucial victim support.

Read on to learn more

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May 23

The guardians of the territory - ProtectDefenders.eu at the European Development Days 2019

On Tuesday, 18 June 2019 at 15:15, ProtectDefenders.eu, in partnership with the European Union External Action Service and the International Land Coalition, will organise a panel at the European Development Days 2019, under the title 'The guardians of the territory - Strengthening international solidarity and support to indigenous peoples and environmental human rights defenders'.

This lab-debate session will be moderated by Luisa Ragher, Head of the Human Rights Division at the EEAS, and will include the participation of Sabine Pallas - Partnerships officer at the ILC- and the testimonies and experience of WHRDs Joan Carling -an indigenous rights activist and environmental defender from the Philippines, Luz Stella Matutina - known for her anti-mining advocacy and work for the rights of the native population in the Philippines, and Ariane Assemat - of Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan in Mexico.

Register today to the European Development Days 2019

https://eudevdays.eu/community/profile

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May 22

Killings of human rights defenders in Peru, and ongoing harassment and criminalisation reported in Algeria and Turkey

As reported in our May 2019 digest of alerts, In the first months of 2019, Peru has seen an increase in the number of killings of human rights defenders, and at least four HRDs have been murdered since the beginning of the year. At the time of the killings, Peru had no specific laws or policies on the protection of human rights defenders, and the work of civil society organisations was being obstructed by political actors linked to the extractive industries.

The ProtectDefenders.eu monthly digest also denounces the pattern of ongoing retaliation against human rights defenders, journalists, student activists, trade unionists and lawyers in Algeria, which has intensified since the start of massive protests in the country. In addition, ProtectDefenders.eu partners condemn the relentless persecution and criminalisation of human rights defenders in Turkey. The country is considered today the biggest jailer of professional journalists.

Only in April 2019, ProtectDefenders.eu reported at least 51 new attacks and threats against human rights defenders.

Click to read the digest of alerts, and share!

May 9

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Programme Officer (Turkey project)

The Fondation Internationale pour les Défenseurs des Droits de L’Homme (FIDDH) - Secretariat of  ProtectDefenders.eu is currently recruiting a Programme Officer. This is an exciting opportunity for someone with experience in Human Rights in the Turkey context and/or Grants, with strong communication and administrative skills, who will play a crucial role in the successful implementation of the project Comprehensive support to Human Rights Defenders in Turkey.

Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter (please mention your availability) should be sent by email to recruit@ProtectDefenders.eu by 12 May 2019 (extended deadline).

Read the full job description here and below.

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May 9

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a Finance Officer (Turkey project)

The Fondation Internationale pour les Défenseurs des Droits de L’Homme (FIDDH), Secretariat of  ProtectDefenders.eu is currently recruiting a Finance Officer. This is an exciting opportunity for someone with some experience in EU funded projects and/or Grants,  who will play a crucial role in the successful implementation of the project Comprehensive Support to Human Rights Defenders in Turkey.

Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter (please mention your availability) should be sent by email to recruit@ProtectDefenders.eu by 12 May 2019 (extended deadline).

Read the full job description here and below. 

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May 1

Intensification of attacks against HRDs in Honduras, killings reported in Pakistan, and the sentencing of Oyub Titiev

The ProtectDefenders.eu monthly digest of alerts reports on the intensification of attacks against HRDs in Honduras, in a series of events seen as part of a systematic campaign of public, verbal and physical attacks against human rights defenders and journalists in the country.

The digest also reports on the killings of human rights defender Afzal Kohistani in Pakistan. Kohistani shot dead for seeking justice for 'honour killings' in the country.

Moreover, on 18 March, following a more than 9-hour court session in the context of an unfair trial, Oyub Titiev was found guilty of false charges of drug possession and sentenced to 4 years in a prison colony settlement.

Only in March 2019, ProtectDefenders.eu reported at least 29 new attacks and threats against human rights defenders.

Click to read the digest of alerts, and share!

April 17

Internship at the Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu

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

Apply today and join a motivated and skilled team in Brussels!

Please send your CV and cover letter (please include information about your availability) before the 9 May 2019 by email at recruit@protectdefenders.eu with the subject: 'Internship'.

Read the full description of this opening here.

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April 14

Shahindha Ismail, Maldivian human rights activist, new fellow of the City of Hamburg in 2019 with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu

The Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People, with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu temporary relocation programme, has granted Maldivian human rights defenders Shahindha Ismail a one-year fellowship in the metropolitan city at the river Elbe. During this time, the South-Asian activist wants to meet and network with German and European representatives in politics and civil society. At public appearances, she also wants to educate her audience on her home country’s state of affairs.

Since its launch, ProtectDefenders.eu's temporary relocation programme for human rights defenders at risk has supported more than 330 relocation initiatives, benefiting at least 475 individuals worldwide.

Click to learn more about Shahindha Ismail.

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March 20

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a finance officer

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for an experienced finance officer to join our dynamic and energetic team in Brussels. 

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 for all the HRD mechanism activities. This includes ensuring that all expenditures are in conformity with the relevant EU guidelines and that the financial reporting to the EU and the relevant audit reports are delivered on time and to the highest professional standards. Together with the Head of Secretariat, the Finance Officer ensures the development and implementation of expenditure plans and ensures that programmes are implemented within agreed and approved budgets through undertaking regular budget monitoring of expenditure against budget. The Finance Officer coordinates audits of the project and ensures that continuous monitoring and risk mitigation measures are in place.

Read the full job description here, and submit your application by 3 April 2019.

March 19

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for an administration officer (part time)

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for an experienced administration officer (part time) to join our dynamic and energetic team in Brussels.

Under the supervision of the Head of Secretariat, the Administration Officer supports th team of the Secretariat facilitating a smooth implementation of the programme and ensuring an efficient working environment.

Read the full job description here, and submit your application by 3 April 2019.

March 18

The ProtectDefenders.eu monthly digest of alerts reports on the constant aggravation of the situation of human rights defenders in Mexico. A few months after ProtectDefenders.eu warned about the pattern of assassinations of defenders, the country is this month, once again the main source of reports of violations and attacks against human rights defenders worldwide.

Moreover, ProtectDefenders.eu partners are expressing serious concern at the ongoing harassment of the human rights defenders in Western Sahara, which is seen as a direct consequence of their peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights. The judicial harassment of human rights defenders in Belarus, in the context of the repression of an environmental protest, is also featured in this digest of alerts. 

Only in February 2019, ProtectDefenders.eu has reported at least 64 new attacks and threats against human rights defenders. Click to read the digest of alerts, and share!

February 28

Duterte's war on human rights defenders in the Philippines

Human rights defenders in the Philippines have been increasingly subjected to killings, attacks, threats, and other forms of harassment under President Rodrigo Duterte, according to the new report released by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint FIDH-OMCT programme.

The 40-page report, produced in the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu and titled “ I’ll kill you along with drug addicts - President Duterte’s war on human rights defenders in the Philippines,” documents the dramatic deterioration of the situation for human rights defenders in the Philippines as a direct result of Duterte’s policies, actions, and words.

Click to learn more about the Observatory's report.

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February 15

Wave of killings of human rights defenders in Colombia, and crackdown on HRDs in Sudan and China - Protect Defenders NOW

The ProtectDefenders.eu monthly digest of alerts reports on the increasing numbers of killings of human rights defenders in Colombia. The epidemic has already reached extremely worrying heights during the first weeks of 2019, and at least six human rights defenders were killed in violent attacks, making the country the deadliest place in the world for HRDs. As demonstrated in a mission report published under ProtectDefenders.eu two years on the Peace Process with the FARC-EP, the State has failed to implement most of its obligations, including establishing an integrated presence in rural regions. This has led to a number of illegal armed groups fighting for control of the areas previously occupied by FARC-EP, which puts human rights defenders at an increased risk.

Moreover, ProtectDefenders.eu partners are alerting on the recent wave of arrests targeting human rights defenders in Sudan, in reprisal for the continuing protests. Over the last month, dozens of human rights defenders including women human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, and academics have been arbitrarily arrested. The digest also features the ongoing pattern of repression and judicial harassment faced by human rights activists in China.

Have a look at the digest of alerts, and share it on Twitter.

January 23

Increasing attacks against land rights defenders in Brazil, and judicial harassment in Kazakhstan and Thailand - Protect Defenders NOW

The ProtectDefenders.eu monthly digest of alerts sounds an alarm bell about the pattern of increasing attacks against land rights defenders in Brazil. The recent killings of two members of the Movement of Rural Landless Workers (MST), together with the climate of stigmatization against people who defend land rights show the intensification of the crisis of the right to defend human rights in the country.

Moreover, ProtectDefenders.eu partners are calling on the Thai authorities to ensure that no person is prosecuted or held criminally liable for defamation for activities protected under international law, in the context of recent complaints brought against human rights defenders. Finally, the digest shares recent reports of acts of harassment and interrogation of human rights defenders in Kazakhstan. which are believed to be part of the tactic applied by the Kazakh authorities in order to intimidate human rights defenders and activists and, consequently, prevent participants from taking part in peaceful protests.

Have a look at the digest of alerts, and share on Twitter.

January 21

Webinar: Rapid-response mechanisms and resources for frontline human rights defenders: ProtectDefenders.eu

Organised on 7 February 2019 in collaboration with the International Civil Society Center, this webinar focused on the different tools and resources that ProtectDefenders.eu has available for activists at risk working in the frontline. ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism, provides emergency assistance and support to activists in many ways: from advocacy and capacity-building to material support, including temporary relocation, tailored to the specific needs of each individual, community or organization. The recording of the webinar is available here.

January 9

Human rights crisis in Nicaragua, recent killings in Syria and Philippines, and wave of repression in Iran - Protect Defenders NOW

The first ProtectDefenders.eu digest of alerts of 2019 reports on the deepening human rights crisis in Nicaragua, recent killings in Syria and Philippines, and the ongoing wave of repression in Iran.

ProtectDefenders.eu is deeply alarmed by recent reports of acts of intimidation and attacks against representatives of civil society in Nicaragua, where social protests are strongly repressed by the authorities, causing a serious human rights crisis. Moreover, ProtectDefenders.eu partners condemn in the strongest terms the killings of human rights defenders Benjamin Ramos, a founding member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), in the Philippines, and human rights defender Raed Fares - the founder of the Kafranbel Media Centre- , who was shot dead by unknown assailants in Kafranbel, a town close to Idlib in northwestern Syria. Finally, the digest shares alarming information from Iran on the deterioration of the human rights situation and the new wave of harassment faced by defenders, in particular human rights lawyers, since September 2018.

Have a look at the digest of alerts here, and share on Twitter

December 21

Have a look at the gallery of pictures of the Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018

 

 

 

December 18

Watch the presentation of the World Summit's plan of action to the United Nations General Assembly

On December 18th, 2018, the World Summit's plan of action for how to protect and promote the work of human rights defenders was presented to the UN General Assembly following the major international summit held at the end of October. On behalf of hundreds of human rights defenders and organisations, Alice Mogwe delivered a powerful speech and called for States to ensure protection of human rights defenders worldwide. Do you want to watch the presentation of the Action Plan at the UNGA? Click on play.

December 18

Watch the highlights of the Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018

Click on play and watch the powerful video that summarizes The Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018 and the highlights of this historic event in Paris. Change the world. Protect human rights defenders!

December 18

Global action plan calls for States at the UN General Assembly to ensure protection of human rights defenders worldwide

The World Summit's plan of action for how to protect and promote the work of human rights defenders was presented to the UN General Assembly following the major international summit held at the end of October. This effort to move the international community at the highest level on the need to ensure the effective safety and security of human rights defenders around the world comes at a time when their role is constantly challenged and undermined in blatant contradiction with international obligations and commitments. The meeting took place on 18 December 2018, twenty years on from when the first UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders was created A representative from the recent Human Rights Defenders World Summit presented the outcomes at the UN General Assembly, shining a spotlight on the increasing levels of danger facing activists worldwide. 

 

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December 14

«It is only our collective voice that can win»

Meet the HRD World Summit's defenders, inspiring and courageous individuals and representatives of communities that advance and protect human rights, every day, in the most difficult places around the world.

December 10

The HRD World Summit participants release an action plan for the protection and the promotion of their work in the years to come

On the occasion of the Human Rights Day - 20 years on from the first UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and on the 70th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights -, the participants of the Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018 are releasing an action plan for the protection and the promotion of the work of human rights defenders in the years to come.

This action plan proposes a concrete set of measures and calls for a lasting commitment from States to act to protect human rights defenders and to take concrete actions to offer better protection and create a more favourable environment for their work.

This action plan is available to download (in five languages) on the Summit's website.

December 1

Meet Francisco Rodríguez Cruz, human rights defender from Cuba!

In July 2018, Francisco was one of the LGBTI human rights defenders who gathered together in Mexico City from across Latin America and the Caribbean to attend a training on digital security, organised by ILGA with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu.

Watch the video below to learn more about his story, the LGBTI human rights situation in Cuba and the importance of digital security for our communities!

November 26

Killings of Human Rights Defenders in Mexico, criminalisation and judicial harassment in Algeria and Singapore - Protect Defenders NOW

Over the recent weeks, ProtectDefenders.eu’s partners have voiced their concerns on the situation in Mexico, where recent killigs and violent attacks have been reported. The context of judicial harassment of human rights defenders in Algeria, or the ongoing judicial harassment of human rights defenders in Singapore are also featured in the October issue of ProtectDefenders.eu digest of alerts, which reports more than 28 new attacks against defenders, only in October 2018.

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

November 13

ProtectDefenders.eu at the Paris Peace Forum: an essential tool for the protection and empowerment of more than 11,000 human rights defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu has been the featured project during the Paris Peace Forum's conversation on the United Nations declarations on Human Rights and Human Rights Defenders. Andrew Anderson, Front Line Defenders' executive director and member of the Board of ProtectDefenders.eu, highlighted that "over the last three years, we have been able to provide emergency support to more than 11,000 human rights defenders worldwide. This is not only statistics: it is immediate and practical assistance to people defending human rights when they are most at risk". 

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November 9

We are hiring - The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for a finance officer

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is looking for an experienced financer officer.

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 for all the HRD mechanism activities. Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter should be sent by email to recruit@protectdefenders.eu by November 26. Interview will take place on November 29 (in person or by Skype). The successful candidate will be expected to start working in December if possible. The initial contract will be up to End of January 2020. The position is expected to be full-time, although a contract at 80% can be discussed.

Read the full job description here.

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November 8

PBI brings Human Rights Defenders together in Brussels to reflect on the UN Declaration

On the 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, PBI brought together HRDs from Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Kenya, Indonesia and Nepal to reflect on the importance of the Declaration as well as the support and international solidarity provided by organizations such as PBI. During three days, 13 human rights defenders from Indonesia, Latin America, Kenya and Nepal; as well as PBI representatives and partner organisations, came together in Brussels to exchange experiences and knowledge about holistic protection. This meeting allowed them to analyse the global tendencies that impact their risk as well as identify their common needs as a collective of human rights defenders. The sessions allowed to construct a common narrative and key messages and recommendations to political actors in the European Union and its member states.Watch the video below to find out more.

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November 1

The HRD World Summit brings surge of new commitments to protect human rights defenders

On 29, 30, 31 October, 2018, human rights defenders from across all corners of the world gathered in Paris for the Human Rights Defenders World Summit, to develop a plan of action for how to protect and promote the work of activists fighting for rights, 20 years on from the first UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. After three days of discussions and strategy development spanning regional and global issues, environmental rights and women human rights defenders and the increasing attacks on human rights defenders everywhere, the momentum culminated in the presentation of a landmark action plan which will be presented to the UN in December.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who spoke at the opening ceremony said: "What human rights defenders teach us is that all of us can stand up for our rights and for the rights of others, in our neighborhoods, in our countries and all over the world. We can change the world.”

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October 31

Join the global call to protect human rights defenders everywhere

October 29

Harassment and attacks against HRDs in Israel/ OPT, Bangladesh and Russia - Protect Defenders NOW

Over the recent weeks, ProtectDefenders.eu’s partners have voiced their concerns on the situation of harassment and attacks against human rights activists in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and ongoing criminalisation procedures against HRDs in Bangladesh or the Russian Federation. The October issue of ProtectDefenders.eu also reports more than 25 new attacks against defenders only over last month.

Clik and read the ProtectDefenders.eu's digest of alerts

 

October 26

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.

October 15

Supporting a feminist community radio in Mexico City

Thanks to ProtectDefenders.eu, RSF was able to support CIMAC (Comunicación e Información de la Mujer), a Mexican civil society organisation funded by women journalists, in purchasing the necessary equipment they needed to start running adequately, mainly transmitter and antenna. It helped as well to provide the necessary professional and administrative support, personnel services and any other resources required for a successful implementation of the project and to ensure that administration capacity and internal control systems of project resources were adequate.

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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 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

DÉCLARATION COMMUNE DE PROTECTDEFENDERS.EU - Champions du changement Les défenseur-seuse-s des droits humains, au coeur de la démocratie et du développement

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

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."

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

Les défenseurs des droits humains ne sont pas des criminels - PROTECTDEFENDERS.EU JOINT STATEMENT

Bruxelles, 29 Novembre 2016 - Les défenseurs des droits humains du monde entier sont régulièrement harcelés et soumis à de fausses accusations criminelles visant à paralyser, intimider et délégitimer leurs activités de protection des droits humains. Ils sont confrontés à des difficultés dans la réalisation de leur travail, dans à des contextes législatifs et administratifs de plus en plus restrictifs qui refusent le droit à la liberté d’association, d’expression et de réunion pacifique. Les licences des ONG de défense des droits humains ont été régulièrement annulées, leurs comptes bancaires saisis et leur droit d’accès à des financements étrangers violé. De plus en plus d’États ont aussi développé un modèle systématique d’obstacles à la liberté de mouvement des défenseurs des droits (en particulier en leur interdisant de voyager) dans le but, de toute évidence, de les isoler.

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.

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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.

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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.

ET PLUS…

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