With at least ten rural workers and leaders killed in 2019 and increased violence against human rights defenders, fuelled by hate speech from the highest levels, there seems to be little to celebrate in the State of Para on Human Rights Day 2019. This 9 December, Front Line Defenders Protection Coordinator, Ivi Oliveira, accompanied one of our partners in Brazil at the reception ceremony of the Medal Paulo Frota by the Legislative Assembly of Para (ALEPA), which recognised individuals and organisations for their work in defence of human rights in the state.
My friend Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam is currently chained by hands and feet to a wall in Kober Prison in Khartoum. He has been badly beaten. He started a hunger strike on Sunday in protest at his detention without access to a lawyer since the 7th of December 2016. He was allowed a brief visit from his brothers 10 days ago, but has otherwise been denied access also to his family.
There is growing concern over how democracy and the rule of law have deteriorated in Nicaragua, bearing important consequences for human rights defenders and society at large. As the presidential family has solidified its grip on Parliament, the Army, the Police and the media, civil society space has steadily narrowed.
My friend Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam is in detention again in Khartoum. He was taken by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) from the University of Khartoum on 7th December and is being held without access to his lawyer or his family. He has previously been detained on several occasions, for over a month in 2010 and earlier for a total of 18 months in several spells during 2003-2005.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe's battle for their land has become an international phenomenon. Native Americans and environmental defenders from all over the world have converged on the Dakotas to peacefully protest a massive pipeline project that threatens the lives of indigenous peoples.
“I keep asking: why would they do this?” human rights defender Ladonna Bravebull Allard told Front Line Defenders. She quickly added that the answer is clear:
After leading Front Line Defenders for 15 years, on 6 October 2016 Mary Lawlor announced she was stepping down as Executive Director. In this letter, Mary pays tribute to human rights defenders around the world.
While the current nature of EU foreign policy means it has to be built on a delicate compromise between 28 member states, most observers have felt that it has been excessively – perhaps needlessly? - timid in communicating on issues related to human rights. Human rights, after all, are both a founding value of the EU, so important that they appear in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, and one of the most important objectives of its foreign policy (again, enshrined in the Treaty as the second objective after the eradication of poverty).