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Research artwork shown at the UN World Summit for HRDs-October 2018

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Human rights defenders from across all corners of the world gathered in Paris on the 29th-31st October for the Human Rights Defenders World Summit, to develop a plan of action for how to protect and promote the work of activists fighting for rights, 20 years on from the first UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

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There were three days of discussions and strategy development spanning regional and global issues, environmental rights and women human rights defenders and the increasing attacks on human rights defenders everywhere.

The Summit discussed calls on governments, corporations, international financial institutions, donors and others, including the adoption of national governmental action plans, implementation of legislation to legally uphold the UN Declaration, protecting defenders as a priority in foreign policy and prioritizing the protection and work of women human rights defenders, LGBT+, indigenous rights defenders and other marginalized defenders.

Several members of CAHR staff attended the summit and brought a selection of pieces of the artwork produced for the research project-Navigating Risk and Managing Security. The works were seen by many hundreds of summit attendees and we received much praise for the art on display.

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Sharing research results with human rights defenders in Bogota, Colombia

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Sharing research results with Human Rights defenders in Bogota, Colombia.

 Peter presenting the main findings.

Peter presenting the main findings.

Human rights defenders (HRDs) face very high levels of insecurity and violence in Colombia. Examples of human rights violations that have occurred in recent years include extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and the criminalisation of HRDs. Colombia is one of the 5 countries studied in the research project, Navigating Risk, Managing Security and Receiving Support: A study of Human Rights Defenders at risk in Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, Kenya and Indonesia, led by Dr Alice Nah from the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR).

 

CAHR staff member, Patricia Bartley, travelled to Colombia in July 2017 to run a workshop jointly hosted by the University of York and Fellowship for Peace and Reconciliation (FOR) Colombia on 7th July. The workshop brought together participants (HRDs) from the research study, other HRDs from across the country, lawyers, NGO workers, staff from FOR and researchers from CAHR at the University of York.

 

After a general explanation of the project led by Patricia Bartley, Peter Cousins and Emily Schmitz presented the research findings for Colombia. This was followed by questions and a discussion of some of the main issues raised. The defenders were keen to stress that since the government signed the peace accord with FARC in November 2016 they are facing greater levels of violence, abuse and threats.

 

The second part of the workshop was devoted to a discussion of some of the themes raised during the data analysis: stigmatization of HRDs; impunity and lack of justice; the protection of families and loved ones; and the protection of communities and collectives. The workshop participants reported that they very much appreciated the opportunity to hear more about the study and to be consulted on the recommendations

 One of the discussion groups

One of the discussion groups

 

Both the discussion paper with the research findings for Colombia and a series of policy briefs being produced from this study will be available soon on the website:

https://securityofdefendersproject.org/

CAHR hosts workshop on Civil Society Networks of Protection in Kampala, Uganda

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Dr Alice Nah organised a workshop on Civil Society Networks of Protection for Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) in conjunction with DefendDefenders’ (East & Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) in Kampala, Uganda, on 23 February 2017.
About 20 participants from national coalitions, networks and civil society groups working on the protection of HRDs at risk in the East and Horn of Africa region took part in the workshop.
Amongst the issues discussed were: defenders not realising their rights as defenders; the problem of risk transfer (in which protection actors seeking to assist defenders at risk get threatened themselves by perpetrators); the unexpectedness of the immediate protection needs of defenders; the challenges of managing limited protection resources; and the challenges of protecting particular groups of defenders, especially those that continue to face risks over the long-term.
These research findings will be summarised in a Civil Society Guide co-authored with DefendDefenders.

Sharing research results with human rights defenders in Mexico

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Human rights defenders (HRDs) face very high levels of insecurity and violence in Mexico. Examples of human rights violations that have occurred in recent years include extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances. Mexico is one of the 5 countries studied in the research project, Navigating Risk, Managing Security and Receiving Support: A study of Human Rights Defenders at risk in Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, Kenya and Indonesia, led by Dr Alice Nah from the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR).

 UN Special Rapporteur, Michel Forst, University of York staff, PBI staff and some of the participants.

UN Special Rapporteur, Michel Forst, University of York staff, PBI staff and some of the participants.

CAHR staff member, Patricia Bartley, travelled to Mexico in January 2017 to run a workshop jointly hosted by the University of York and Peace Brigade International (PBI) Mexico on 14th January. The workshop brought together participants (HRDs) from the research study, other HRDs from across the country, the UN Special Rapporteur for HRDs, Michel Forst, members of the UN office in Mexico City, staff from PBI and researchers from CAHR at the University of York.

After a general explanation of the project Erick Monterrosas and Paola Pacheco presented the research findings for Mexico. This was followed by questions and a discussion of some of the main issues raised. Women defenders were keen to stress that they regularly face greater levels of violence, abuse and economic hardship than their male counterparts.

The second part of the workshop was devoted to a discussion on the working of the National Protection Mechanism for HRDs and Journalists which started operating in Mexico in 2012.  The UN Special Rapporteur was keen to gather the views and experiences of the participants on this new mechanism in advance of the start of his official visit between 16th and 24th January. The workshop participants reported that they appreciated the opportunity to hear more about the study and to be consulted on the recommendations.

Both the discussion paper with the research findings for Mexico and a series of policy briefs being produced from this study will be available very soon on the website:

 

The Jakarta Post: Government still lacks in protection of rights activists

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The Jakarta Post
Jakarta, Tuesday 25 October 2016

Rights activists have urged the government to increase the protection of rights defenders amid mounting violence against them.

Activists of the Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi), Protection International (PI) and Arus Pelangi said their fellow activists across the country had experienced various abuses when fighting for people’s rights.

“Activists are always abused because they are at the forefront of human rights conflicts, so the opposing side always wants to shut them down,” PI activist Cahyadi told The Jakarta Post, adding the government should protect activists.

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Having Discourse on Human Rights Defenders in Indonesia

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UNAIR NEWS – Human Rights Study Center of Faculty of Law  Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) held another public discussion. The topic was “Scholars and Activists at Risk: Research on Human Rights Defenders in Indonesia”, on Wednesday, September 14 I Building C, FH Study Center.

In the occasion, there were five speakers sharing their perspectives on human rights defenders in Indonesia. They were Dr. Alice M. Nah (Center for Applied Human Right, Universitas York, UK), Dr. Herlambang P. Wiratraman (Center for Human Right Law Studies FH UNAIR), Andy Irfan (KontraS Surabaya), Abd. Wachid Habibullah, M.H (LBH Surabaya), and Dwi Rahayu, M.A. (Human Rights Teacher Association of Indonesia).

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