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Debbie Stothard

Debbie Stothard

HRD & Secretary General
International Federation for Human Rights

Debbie Stothard is the Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights and Coordinator of the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma. She is a pro-democracy human rights defender who has been organising advocacy meetings and campaigns on human rights in Burma and other ASEAN countries for over 30 years. Debbie Stothard has worked as a journalist, community educator and trainer in Malaysia, Thailand and Australia.

Vietnamese authorities treat human rights defenders as “enemies of the State”. HRDs are subjected to intimidation, threats, interrogation, harassment, arrest and routine beatings. Many defenders are victims of arbitrary detention and criminalisation. Most often, they are not informed of the reasons for their arrest or why their request for bail is denied. When put on trial, they are very often sentenced to heavy jail terms and mistreated in prison. Detained HRDs also do not have access to lawyers and families and can be denied medical care. They can be intentionally transferred to remote locations, thus making it more difficult for their families to visit them. Human rights lawyers are often abused and disbarred from their respective bar association.