Blogs from the Front Line

We must stop the killing of those who stand up for human rights

is a bit predictable for a human rights organisation to produce a report saying how bad the human rights situation is, but we have reached a turning point that is way beyond business as usual.

Stop the Killings

Introductory remarks of Executive Director, Mary Lawlor, and Deputy Director, Andrew Anderson, at the launch of Front Line Defenders 2016 Annual Report, Dublin 6th January 2016.

While China postures on the international stage, women human rights defenders are routinely targeted

Mary Lawlor is the Executive Director at Front Line Defenders.

On 27 September China will co-host with UN Women a “Global Leader's Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment” in New York. Chinese President Xi Jinping will address the gathering, as will Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon. The event will mark 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and is intended to place 'gender equality, women's rights and women's empowerment at the centre of the global agenda'.

Larger than Laws: In The Backlash Against HRDs, Killings Remain Paramount

Mary Lawlor is the Executive Director at Front Line Defenders.

As I read Harriet Sherwood's recent article on “the global crackdown on human rights groups not seen in a generation" I found myself nodding along with every point she made. Not only is there a global backlash against human rights, and in particular human rights defenders, but we are in effect at a turning point, as the culture of human rights, built up over the last 50 years, is the target of an increasingly virulent ideological challenge.

MEXICO: JUAN CARLOS SOLIS - ELECTIONS AND PROMISES WRITTEN ON THE WIND

Mary Lawlor is the Director at Front Line Defenders. This article was originally published in Spanish in Des Informemonos on Monday, 8 June 2015.

The elections are over and from the media coverage we can see that they have been one of the most controversial in the recent history of Mexico. As Juan Carlos Flores Solís says,

The Rohingya - “A group to be eliminated”

Mary Lawlor is founder and Executive Director of Front Line Defenders. This blog was originally published on Prachatai English.

EUROVISION AND SINGING FOR DEMOCRACY IN AZERBAIJAN WHEN THE SPOTLIGHT MOVES ON

When Azerbaijan hosted the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest human rights defender Rasul Jafarov organised a campaign called Sing for Democracy to highlight the brutal repression in his country. Mary Lawlor looks at the situation now in one of Europe's last great dictatorships when the Eurovision circus moves on.

Remembering Sabeen Mahmud

In May 2013, I went to Pakistan to meet human rights defenders. It was my first time in Pakistan and I found it a very complex country. We were very fortunate though that Sabeen Mahmud allowed us to use her space cafe T2F to meet human rights defenders and hear about the threats that they faced.

Colombia: 19 human rights defenders killed in first quarter of 2015

During her recent visit to Colombia the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri stated “The road to peace is a complex and winding one ... Colombia is a country with a unique opportunity to evolve into a society where everyone enjoys rights equally and without discrimination”.

She explained that civil society representatives, women, indigenous peoples, afro-descendants and peasant organisations have suffered disproportionately in Colombia’s protracted conflict:

“They tell us stories of suffering and abuses they have suffered, not just because of the conflict, but because of a system that has historically discriminated and dispossessed them.”

Unfortunately, the Commissioner's use of the past tense and the media's focus on the peace talks in Havana imply that the fighting is over, that it is now just a matter of tidying up loose ends.

Women Human Rights Defenders in China: Twenty Years After Beijing, What's Changed?

When I arrived at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW) in Beijing, Chinese authorities welcomed hundreds of foreign dignitaries and international rights groups with rainbow coloured scarves. Yet, while China hosted what would come to be known as the pre-eminent gathering on gender equality for the next twenty years, the government was also systematically disempowering Tibetan women through its repressive policies towards the Tibetan Autonomous Region. At the opening of the conference in 1995, in protest against China's silencing of Tibetan women's voices, a delegation of exiled Tibetan women gagged themselves with the silk.

Throughout the conference, Chinese security officers filmed, photographed, and followed the Tibetan women. On the third day, the activists lead a workshop on "Women and Development in Tibet," which so angered the crowd that a counter-protest erupted. My self and colleague Frank Jennings – later known to the Chinese authorities as “Black Hand” for his outspoken work in support of women rights defenders in China – tried to act as human shields while Chinese men shouted and pushed Tibetan women to the floor.

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09/Feb/2016
Singer, teacher, and former Front Line Defenders Frank Jennings Intern Dónal Kearney remembers human rights defender Rebecca Masika. I met Rebecca Masika in my very first week of work in Front Line Defenders (FLD). Two moments stand out in - Read more ...
28/Aug/2015
The titans of international finance have decreed that China's economic bubble was bound to burst because of unrealistic inflation of share values and property prices coupled with declining exports. Let's see if global gurus can also decipher that it - Read more ...
26/Aug/2015
Sayeed Ahmad is the Protection Coordinator for Asia at Front Line Defenders. This blog was originally published on The Malaysia Insider. Politicians are dangerous when they feel that their power is being threatened. In Malaysia, the country's - Read more ...
03/Jul/2015
Front Line Defenders Deputy Director Andrew Anderson analyses the implications of UK Government spying on Amnesty International. The revelation that the UK Government has been systematically spying on the electronic communications of Amnesty - Read more ...
08/Jun/2015
Andrew Anderson is the Deputy Director at Front Line Defenders. This blog was originally published in The Irish Times on Sunday, 7 June 2015. The Chinese leadership emphasises the importance of the rule of law while simultaneously subjecting those - Read more ...
05/Jun/2015
Sayeed Ahmad is the Protection Coordinator for Asia at Front Line Defenders. This blog was originally published on Prachatai English. The brutal crackdown on a student led protest against the provisions of the new National Education Law was just the - Read more ...
22/May/2015
Aloys Habimana is the Protection Coordinator for Africa at Front Line Defenders. At a time when one would expect the Kenyan authorities to be focused on protecting civilians, it seems that they are more intent on silencing their critics. Following - Read more ...
13/May/2015
Sayeed Ahmad is the Protection Coordinator for Asia at Front Line Defenders. This blog was originally published on Prachatai English. In May 2014 Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha stated that he wanted “to create an enabling environment that would facilitate - Read more ...
13/Apr/2015
When is a war not a war? When, despite high levels of casualties, devastating fighting, the destruction of cities and the displacement of a million people both Russia and Ukraine refuse to acknowledge that the war exists. The government of Ukraine - Read more ...
10/Apr/2015
Analysis by Mathew Jacob, Director of Programs of People's Watch based in Delhi. The Constitution of India through Article 19 ensures fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression, peaceful assembly, forming associations and unions, moving - Read more ...
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