Blogs from the Front Line

Uzbekistan – the Diplomatic Game and the Art of Betrayal

As President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan looks all set to begin his fourth and unconstitutional, term of office a lot of the media attention has focused on the fate of his daughter Gulnara. Is she or isn't she under house arrest? Did she or didn't she pocket $1 billion in bribes from telecommunications companies? But the question we should be asking is, what does the future hold for the people of Uzbekistan?

Jailed, threatened with jail or in hiding - that's the reality for the 5 finalists for this year's Front Line Defenders Award

I noticed with interest the launch of the new #idefend campaign in Geneva, “an initiative of the Delegation of the European Union to the UN in Geneva in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Permanent Missions of Brazil, the Republic of Korea and Tunisia to the UN in Geneva”. The project aims to support and protect the independence of civil society. Since then we have seen a steady procession of the great and the good having their photos taken while holding up statements declaring their support for the work of human rights defenders.

Stopping slavery in Mauritania starts with ending the persecution of those who fight it

There are some practices which however hard people try can never be justified on any basis whatsoever - and slavery is one. The act of one human being selling another for profit cannot be anything other than totally abhorrent. There is a common perception that slavery has been confined to the pages of history, however the sad reality is that today more than 30 million people are affected by slavery, more than at any time in history. After the international drug trade, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world.

Blaming the Victims in Guatemala

Following the publication of my recent Opinion Piece in The Irish Times regarding the humanitarian crisis of undocumented children arriving in the United States from Central America, a reader wrote to me questioning some of the basic facts.

Seeking Justice at the BRICS – Can Brazil Lead?

On 15 July, the 6th BRICS Summit will open in Brazil. The timing, in many ways, could not be more important for each of the 5 countries involved.

Lies and Obfuscation - the legal system in Saudi Arabia

In the space of three days last week two prominent human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia received harsh prison sentences. To any reasonable person it seems incredible that the mere fact of demanding political reform and democratic change or simply monitoring the human rights situation in your country could be construed as taking part in a plot to overthrow the state.

Tiananmen 25: More than a Symbolic Legacy

(Visit the China campaign site for more interviews with Tiananmen student leaders)

Twenty five years ago today, the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) demonstrated the extent to which it would go in order to face down any challenges to its power or legitimacy.

Failure at Launch – Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe

Just when we needed the Council of Europe to stand strong for human rights, Azerbaijan is due to bring its hackneyed brand of authoritarian repression to the role of Chairman.

Argentina and the issue of impunity

As Front Line Defenders launches a new documentary, Memory, Truth & Justice, on the struggle for justice by HRDs and families of the disappeared in Argentina, Mary Lawlor looks at just why these cases are so important to the current struggle for human rights.

As Afghanistan goes to the polls on Saturday what prospect for women's rights

As Afghanistan prepares to go to the polls on Saturday for Presidential and provincial elections, many women are concerned that the progress they have struggled to make over the past number of years may be traded away in the name of reconciliation in the political negotiations prior to the withdrawal of international forces at the end of this year.

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Having just returned from visiting Bogotá, Colombia, with Front Line Defenders, and revisiting my notes from a series of high level political meetings on the case of David Rabelo Crespo, what struck me most forcibly was that this trip wasn't just - Read more ...
Cao Shunli was detained in Beijing in September 2013 as she attempted to travel to Geneva to participate in a training on UN human rights mechanisms. In the 52 weeks which have passed since her death, not one Chinese official has been publicly held - Read more ...
Apparently China's Communist Party apparatchik's are being told to switch their tinted glass Audis for more domestic models. Even the powerful have to look nervously over their shoulders, particularly as Xi Jinping continues his anti-corruption - Read more ...
2014 marked the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square and also witnessed the largest peaceful protests in China – Hong Kong to be precise – since the crackdown in 1989. *Click on the photo to pause slide show. Earlier this year, I met with a number - Read more ...
Yesterday, China celebrated its inaugural National Constitution Day, a day designed to “teach people about the highest law of all,” according to Chinese state media. The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's - Read more ...
Nestled between the northern tip of Lake Tanganyika and mountain ridges of South Kivu province in Eastern Congo, Uvira town is home to several dozens of human rights defenders and their organisations. Many more are active in the wider Uvira-Fizi - Read more ...
I arrived into Bogotá airport on Sunday evening, ready to meet with local and national human rights defenders and organisations to talk about the current situation they are facing in terms of security risks and the measures they have to take in - Read more ...
I've just returned from conducting a workshop with Afghan Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) in Kabul, at which I was truly inspired by these extraordinary women working for the rights of women. Despite working for years in a situation - Read more ...
Prominent young activists are in jail, stigmatization of human rights defenders has increased and further legal measures against human rights groups are expected. One could hardly be expected to believe that this is the same country that inspired - Read more ...
The Indignados movement (or 15M, as it is called in Spain) was born in May 2011, when, in the wake of the economic crisis in the country and major disruptions to social and economic welfare, a demonstration in Plaza de Sol in Madrid developed into a - Read more ...
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