“If you drive 40 miles inland from Recife you go back in time 150 years.” Those were the words of a human rights defender from the Pastoral Land Commission in Pernambuco, Brazil, as he tried to explain the lawless brutality with which landowners managed their sugar cane plantations. The reach of the state is weak and the level of corruption and abuse of power is high.
Guatemala draws a wide variety of visitors; backpackers, eco-tourists, chocolate and coffee aficionados and even Star Wars fans exploring the Mayan temple featured in the very first movie.
If you Google “Livingston, Guatemala”, your computer screen will fill with stunning pictures of pristine beaches, river and waterfalls landscapes and a colourful town that blends African and indigenous cultures, offering a unique Central American experience.
Santiago Maldonado desapareció el 1 de agosto del 2017, mientras protestaba por el derecho a la tierra. No por el suyo, dado que había nacido en el seno de una familia próspera de la provincia de Buenos Aires. El día en que desapareció protestaba por el derecho del pueblo indígena Mapuche a un pedazo de la Patagonia argentina.
Sitting in Minsk following a few days of meetings with human rights defenders and others in Belarus led me to reflect on where Europe stands with Eastern Europe. Recent criticism of Tánaiste Simon Coveney promoting trade with Russia in spite of sanctions is only one symptom of a broader weakness and lack of strategy at EU level.
Over the past 11 years I’ve led workshops for human rights defenders at risk in Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East, and East and Central Europe. Many of the HRDs trained at those workshops on Risk Analysis and Protection Planning reported stigmatisation, online abuse, threats and attacks. But earlier this year I received a call for help from a much closer source.
Brutal and corrupt dictatorships trying to use sport to improve their image is nothing new, as TheGuardiannoted in February when it compared club ownership and the Champions League to Mussolini and the 1934 World Cup.
Andrew Anderson recently met with human rights defenders and protesters demanding reform on the streets of Sudan.
“It is a coup, done by the security committee which is NISS, the army, RSF and police. They have suspended the constitution, which means suspending the bill of rights, declared a state of emergency and a curfew. They are going to meet the angry protesters with brutality.”
- Human rights defender, Khartoum 11th April 2018
En octubre del año pasado tuve el privilegio de conocer a Damian Gallardo por primera vez. Había escuchado su nombre muchas veces desde 2013, cuando fue arrestado en medio de la noche en su casa en Oaxaca; desde entonces, Front Line Defenders, junto con muchos otros, dieron apoyo a él y a su familia y lucharon por conseguir su liberación. Lo conocí en lo que había sido su hogar durante cinco años, una prisión de alta seguridad a las afueras de Guadalajara, en el estado de Jalisco.
Last week I attended the court hearings on case of Oyub Titiev, the head of the Human Rights Center Memorial branch in Grozny who was absurdly charged with drug possession. I first met Oyub Titiev in 2009 after our common beloved colleague Natalya Estemirova had been abducted and assassinated.