In mid-February 2020, as the coronavirus outbreak led to cities and counties across China imposing strict lockdown, a mother surnamed Wang and her two young children, with luggage in tow, walked for almost five hours in an attempt to return to their hometown in a neighbouring county after she was beaten by her abusive ex-husband.
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.
En los próximos días, se decidirá el destino de Pablo López Alavéz, un activista de un pueblito en el sur de México. La decisión de una corte federal podría afectar también el destino de una parte del bosque en las montañas de Oaxaca que él considera su hogar. Algunas personas también esperan que el dictamen siente un precedente para los defensores de la tierra y el medio ambiente en todo México.
“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