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.
In September 2016, the man who had ruled Uzbekistan for 27 years died. As often happens when authoritarians pass on, Islam Karimov’s death after so many years in power left questions as to who would fill the vacuum, and whether the country’s new ruler would ease the repressive practices of the past regime. When Shvakat Mirziyoyev quickly emerged as the successor to Karimov, many in the international community believed that there would be some form of liberalisation.
On 7 March, Wikileaks published a trove of documents showing the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) capabilities to remotely hack devices running Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS X and others. These leaks demonstrate how the CIA and, very likely, other intelligence services, are able to exploit software and operating systems’ vulnerabilities.
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: