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 light of unprecedented attacks on human rights defenders, Andrew Anderson of Front Line Defenders argues for increased direct support to human rights defenders working at the local and national levels, flexibility in funding, and a greater focus on core, multi-year support.
Between 4-5 September the leaders of 19 of the world’s largest economies and representatives from the European Union meet in Hangzhou in eastern China to discuss global financial stability and international economic policy. It is the first time that China is hosting a G20 Summit and it is another opportunity for it to announce its arrival on the world stage. Millions of dollars are being spent to ensure the city is picture-postcard perfect for the arrival of the dignitaries.
For more than five months, she has been demanding the Mexican authorities find her husband Fidencio Gómez Sántiz. She wants him back, and alive. So far, her demands have been met with silence.
Sebastiana Pérez Hernández is a 45-year-old woman and is the mother of two children. She speaks the indigenous language tzeltal and lives in the village of Las Perlas, in the municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas. She is a member of the grassroots organisation Frente Nacional de Lucha por el Socialismo (FNLS).
The announcement of the ceasefire between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP is a historic moment that we hope will mark a turning point in the history of Colombia. It offers the Colombian people an opportunity to make a break with the endemic violence of the past. The direct reference to the protection of human rights defenders (HRDs) in the peace agreement is one more reason to celebrate.
By Renata Oliveira, Former Front Line Defenders Research & Training Fellow for the Americas
At the end of April, my last activity with Front Line Defenders was to accompany Brazilian human rights defender and indigenous leader Tonico Benites to Brussels. Tonico had the chance to meet with several policymakers and diplomats to discuss the challenges faced by indigenous persons in Brazil, particularly his group, the Guarani-Kaiowás. As a Brazilian who comes from a state that has practically decimated its native population, I thought I already knew how bad the situation was.
I returned last week from a visit to Palestine and Israel. Over six days my colleague and I met with brilliant, tenacious, creative and brave human rights defenders who work non-violently on behalf of others in the brutally occupied West Bank or in an increasingly hostile Israel. We were not allowed access to meet with beleaguered human rights defenders in Gaza.
According to the Brazilian Committee of Human Rights Defenders, at least 24 human rights defenders (HRDs) have been killed in the first four months of 2016. This places Brazil at the top of the list of killings of HRDs reported to Front Line Defenders this year.