Freedom of expression

Cambodia, Burma and Vietnam Must End Impunity for Attacks Against Journalists

Bild-480x270-1-300x185-1

The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists should be a wake-up call to end the repression and abuse of independent media workers. With a clampdown on independent journalism throughout the region, Civil Rights Defenders calls on the Governments of Cambodia, Burma, and Vietnam to abolish those laws permitting judicial harassment and creating a climate of impunity for attacks against independent media.

Regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe Focuses on Freedom of Expression

RoL_webb-300x185

The Fourth Regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe organised by Civil Rights Defenders and the Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (AIRE) based in London, is taking place in the Albanian capital Tirana, over the next two days. This year’s Forum focuses on the right to freedom of expression contained within the European Convention on Human Rights, and in particular its relationship with the right to respect for private life and the right to a fair trial.

Vietnam: Free Women Human Rights Defenders and End Persecution of Women Activists

rsz_nnnq1

International Women’s Day (IWD) should be a wake-up call for the Vietnamese authorities to halt the repression and abuse of women who speak out for human rights, social justice and progress, Civil Rights Defenders said ahead of IWD celebrations on 8 March. Vietnam should seize this opportunity to take a first step to demonstrate its commitment to women’s rights by releasing all women human rights defenders, activists and bloggers it arbitrarily detains.

Cambodia: Joint open letter regarding the investigation into the death of Dr. Kem Ley

Courtesy of www.kemley.org

As the trial of the only suspect for the murder of Dr. Kem Ley, a prominent Cambodian activist and political analyst, is scheduled to begin on 1st March 2017, and in light of fresh evidence which has emerged since the original investigation was closed, Civil Rights Defenders and four international NGOs are writing to the Head Prosecutor to demand the re-opening of the investigation and the postponement of the trial until a full, thorough, transparent, independent and impartial investigation has been conducted into Kem Ley’s murder.

Seminar: Turkey – A Landscape of Political Oppression, Persecution and Fear

Speak out!

Civil Rights Defenders invites you to a seminar on the human rights situation in Turkey. Over the past year the human rights situation has greatly deteriorated in Turkey. The Kurdish Peace Process has all but collapsed, media outlets have been shut down and Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has engaged in the purging of all opposition to his rule after a failed coup attempt back in July of 2016.

Justice Demanded for Journalist Tortured in Prison in Azerbaijan

CRD sign 2 size 480x270

Civil Rights Defenders together with 18 International Human Rights Organisations have strongly condemned the abduction and torture of journalist Mehman Huseynov and immediately calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to comprehensively investigate the case and to take action against those responsible. He is one of Azerbaijan’s top political bloggers and Chairman of the local press freedom group, Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS).

Statement: Stop Crackdown on Freedom of Expression in Azerbaijan

admin-ajax

Civil Rights Defenders and several of its partners from the Sport for Rights coalition call upon the Azerbaijani authorities to reverse the alarming trend as it carries out a multi-pronged attack on freedom of expression: including introducing harsh penalties for critical speech online, imprisoning young activists for nothing more than graffiti, blocking access to websites of independent […]

Human Rights Defenders Made Scape Goats in Serbian Media

serbia-162415_640

Freedom of the media in Serbia has seen a significant change in its trajectory since 2010, from being categorised by many watchdog organisations as being on a good path to becoming free and independent to the current situation of instability. There is now an almost total collapse in freedom of expression that has seen media outlets spewing out propaganda targeting human rights defenders regarding trumped up allegations of destabilising the state.

Video: Ten Years After Anna Politkovskaya’s Murder – The Mastermind Still Walks Free

maxresdefault

Anna Politkovskaya worked as a journalist at the investigative paper Novaya Gazeta and was internationally famous for her reports about human rights abuses in warn-torn Chechnya. On 7 October 2006 she was gunned down in the elevator of her house in central Moscow. While the assassins have been sentenced, the investigation however, has never established who ordered this brazen murder.

34 Years Later, Vietnam Needs Larger Freedom

Vietnam flag

On the eve of the 34th anniversary of Vietnam becoming a party to key human rights treaties, the human rights situation in the country continues to be marked by the prosecution and imprisonment of human rights defenders, violence against activists and protesters, use of repressive laws to criminalise expression and assembly, and inadequate guarantees to ensure citizens’ right to participate in public affairs, including in land use and environmental decision-making.

Human Rights Abuses in Laos Must be Tackled Now

Sombeth Somphone has been missing since 15 December 2012

On the eve of the annual ASEAN leaders summit in Vientiane, human rights and advocacy groups called upon the Lao PDR Government to commit to address its widespread violations of human rights, including instances of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, and overall denial of basic civil and political rights. Visiting world leaders have a unique opportunity to publicly raise human rights concerns during the ASEAN summit in Vientiane from September 6-8.

Azerbaijan: Renewed Human Rights Crackdown Ahead of Referendum

admin-ajax

Less than six weeks ahead of a constitutional referendum, the Azerbaijani authorities have unleashed a new wave of repression to silence critical voices. Today, Civil Rights Defenders joins 17 member organisations of the Sports for Rights coalition in a statement to condemn this renewed crackdown. We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to take immediate steps to improve the human rights situation in the country, starting with the release of political prisoners held for their peaceful political activities or exercise of their right to freedom of expression.

Uganda: Weak Cyber Laws Fail to Protect Internet Freedoms and Privacy

Front_uganda

In a new report, Civil Rights Defenders and the Ugandan NGO Unwanted Witness provide a joint analysis on cyber laws in Uganda and their failure to protect online freedoms and the right to privacy. The analysis is an assessment of Ugandan cyber laws from a human rights perspective that reflects on the compatibility of the provisions with Uganda’s own 1995 Constitution and International Human Rights Standards.

Report on Freedom of Expression in Russia

480x270

In this briefing paper, Civil Rights Defenders gives an overview of the state of freedom of expression in Russia. It describes how human rights defenders who rendered support to journalists, bloggers and other civil society actors have become the epicentre of the authorities’ unabated crackdown on human rights. Since Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in May 2012 the human rights situation in Russia has worsened significantly.

International Human Rights Mechanisms Under Threat with New Proposed Russian Bill

Russia

In yet another worrying development the Russian parliament, the Duma, adopted a bill in its first reading allowing the Constitutional Court to deem as unenforceable decisions from the International Courts including the European Court of Human Rights. While the bill will require several more readings before being passed and signed into law by President Putin, recent history has demonstrated that bills opposing human rights and the space in which civil society organisations can operate in are routinely passed with little objection.

End of Sentence for Lawyer a Reminder of On-going Detention of Prisoners of Conscience in Vietnam

Le Quoc Quan, a prominent human rights lawyer and blogger, left An Diem prison in Quang Nam province last Saturday after completing his 30-month sentence. Civil Rights Defenders considers the 2013 “tax evasion” charges against Quan reprisal against his writings on human rights abuses and democratic reforms, topics usually not reported by State-controlled media in Vietnam.

Organisations call on international solidarity with the newspaper Azadliq

On 17 October, just a week after the presidential election, the sale of several daily newspapers including the newspaper Azadliq was banned in metro stations in Baku. Azadliq is one of few remaining opposition news outlets in Azerbaijan. “We urge the country’s judicial and political authorities to stop hounding it and we call on international solidarity with the daily”, said Civil Rights Defenders and several other organisations in a joint statement.

Civil society suffocating under Putin’s rule

Over the past several years, Russia has adopted a series of laws that has impeded the work of NGO’s and severely worsened the overall human rights climate in the country. Freedoms of expression, assembly and association are constantly under threat and the increasing discrimination and aggression towards ethnic minorities, migrants, and the LGBT community is a real and serious on-going problem. Racism, homophobia and xenophobia are widespread among ordinary people and instigated in most cases by the Russian state.

(Svenska) Vill se stöd till vitrysk HBT-rörelse

Skärmdump_Debatt_Sydsvenskan_HBT_BY

(Svenska) Svenska politiker och diplomater har inte engagerat sig för HBT-personers rättigheter i Vitryssland – kanske för att HBT-rörelsen i landet hittills varit svag. Men stödet utifrån är viktigt om homo-, bisexuella och transpersoner i Vitryssland ska våga verka för sina rättigheter. Det skriver Robert Hårdh, chef för Civil Rights Defenders och Alexander Bard, artist, i en debattartikel i Sydsvenskan.

Election will not be credible unless people can criticise the government

Photo: Aziz Elkhanoglu, Art for Democracy

In a joint call issued on the eve of the Presidential election, 22 human rights organisations and press freedom campaigners warn that the failure of the government of Azerbaijan to respect human rights, including freedom of expression, undermines the democratic legitimacy of the government. Azerbaijan should take immediate action to ensure fundamental rights are protected ahead of the election.

Harassment of investigative journalist must be effectively investigated

Khadija Ismayilova (humanrightshouse.org)

In a letter to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and the Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov, several human rights organisations, including Civil Rights Defenders, express their profound concern regarding the harassment and intimidation of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova. The organisations urge the president to ensure an effective investigation into the threats against her.

(Svenska) Pussy Riot till Sverige

Pussy Riot-medlemmar tillsammans med EU-minister Birgitta Ohlsson och Robert Hårdh, chef för Civil Rights Defenders

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders, 
Folkets Hus och Ebba Lindqvist PR tar den ryska feministiska punkgruppen Pussy Riot till Almedalen, för att värna yttrandefriheten. Pussy Riot har genomfört ett antal intervjuer, träffat svenska politiker och har precis deltagit i Öppna Almedalen. ”En regim som inte tål att granskas och kritiseras är en räddhågsen men också farlig regim. Ingen ska behöva fängslas för sina åsikters skull, varför vi kräver att medlemmarna i Pussy Riot omedelbart friges.”
Robert Hårdh, chef, Civil Rights Defenders.

Future professionals trained in freedom of speech

Photo: Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Theoretical and practical insight into national media legislation and European standards in the field make law students better prepared to handle human rights issues in their future work as legal professionals. That is why Civil Rights Defenders, together with one of its long-term partners, the Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is conducting trainings for law students in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Journalist in exile receives human rights award

Mesfin Negash Photo Ninke Liebert

As recognition for his work promoting free expression in Ethiopia, Mesfin Negash, together with 40 other journalists and writers, has received the Hellman/Hammett award for 2012. The award is administrated by Human Rights Watch and given to writers who are subject to political persecution and human rights abuses. After being threatened by the authorities, Mesfin Negash fled Ethiopia in 2009 and today he continues his work for human rights in exile from Sweden.

Ee Sarom

Ee Sarom Photo Tina Axelsson

About 60.000 people were forcibly evicted in Cambodia in 2011 alone, local human rights group ADHOC reports. Those who refuse to abandon their house or dare to demonstrate face risk of arrest or violence, and human rights defenders working on housing rights are persecuted. In a country where many non-governmental organisations are afraid to support human rights issues, Ee Sarom, and his organisation, stands tall. ”Sometimes I am scared but I have to do my job”, says Ee Sarom.

New report: Long road to press freedom ahead

Cover report Press Freedom Serbia

Only 4 of the European Council’s 27 principles for press freedom have been fully implemented in Serbia, the first comprehensive report on the media situation in the country: Serbian Media Scene VS European Standards, suggests. Free press is a cornerstone for democratic development; in this report the challenges lying ahead of the Serbian media scene become evident. This report is a result of a yearlong cooperation between Civil Rights Defenders and local partners.

Mesfin Negash

Ninke Liebert Photography

Being one of Ethiopia’s very few independent journalists, Mesfin Negash was harrassed by the government to the limit that he had to go into exile. Today he lives in Sweden but continues to spread news about human rights and politics in Ethiopia, trying to make the international community alert on the situation in the country: “If you took a balance sheet you would see that we are equal to Burma”, says Mesfin Negash.

We trained judges in freedom of speech

In December, Civil Rights Defenders organised a workshop on the new freedom of expression law for judges in Moldova. The aim was to improve understanding of how the new legislation should be interpreted and applied by magistrates who work with these types of cases. “Strengthening the legal system is central, because that’s where the rights are protected”, commented Percy Bratt, chairman of Civil Rights Defenders board and one of the trainers, afterwards.