- Página principal
- Quiénes somos
- Sobre Front Line Defenders
- ¿Quiénes son los/as defensores/as de los derechos humanos?
- Visión, Misión y Valores fundamentales
- Consejo de Dirección
- Consejo de Administración
- Informes anuales e información financiera
- Plan estratégico 2011 – 2014
- Novedades en Front Line Defenders
- Para los/las defensores/as
- ¿Cómo puedo ayudar?
Blog de jimloughran
Adam Shapiro in Bahrain - "She can’t recall how many times she has breathed in the tear gas of the riot police or hid in a home"
It is Friday night in Bahrain. The interior of the franchise coffee house is the same as it is anywhere in the world, with necessary local flourishes added for flavor. In addition to standard fare cappuccinos and cakes, are added Shish Taouk wraps and other such efforts at appealing to a local palette. But that is where any similarity ends between this coffee house and its sisters in New York, London or Dubai.
At tables scattered throughout the cafe, there are hushed conversations over coffee whilst smartphones and laptops are being held and everyone tries to keep an eye on what is going on outside. Across the street, two riot police SUV are parked in an empty lot off a roundabout adjacent to a Bahraini village with their headlights fixed on the first row of homes. One policeman in full riot gear stands outside the vehicle and stares ahead, monitoring the flow of cars into the village.
Back inside the café, Zainab Al-Khawaja conducts her work as a human rights defender and opposition activist on the front lines.
The drive out to the military court building took us on a main road bypassing villages and eventually newly built apartment buildings.
We were about 20 minutes outside of downtown Manama, and heading to a military base in order to visit with Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, father of Zainab Al Khawaja who was driving fast in the hope of getting to see her father. We were late on the road because Zainab was at the appeal hearing of her husband who was sentenced to a 5-year prison term.
At the military court building, Abdulhadi and his 13 other co-defendants are brought into two rooms where family members are allowed to spend 3 hours with them every two weeks. They are allowed to bring clothes, books, food and other things to the men, most of which is permitted to be taken back to the prison. When Zainab and I arrived, colleagues from other human rights organizations had already tried to get in to see Abdulhadi but had been turned away. I checked in with the military police guards and headed to the door where Zainab was waiting. She opened and I rushed in in front of her, and headed straight for her dad, standing at the front of the room.
Adam Shapiro reports from Bahrain on Day 1 of mission "Perhaps even the torture chambers are on hold this week".
Front Line Defenders reports from Belarus on trial of Ales Bialiatski -Today I was particularly proud of a guy from my country.
The trial started today at 10.00 and lasted till 17.30, the interrogation of Ales by both sides is finished and tomorrow they will interrogate the witnesses.
Ales is doing well, he is smiling and he was really happy to see all his friends in the courtroom.
Kinshasa day 1
We've been in and out of taxis all day – manoeuvering ourselves from one end of Kinshasa to the other for meetings with partners of TIC pour tous ( ICT for everyone), an organisation which provides training in basic IT skills and digital security for human rights defenders throughout DRC.
I'm with Gabriel Bombambo, Director of TIC pour tous, who seems to have star status in Kinshasa. We stop to shake hands with people at every corner and after a while I realise who “Prof Gaby” is, as former students and colleagues ( both from when he taught Maths at the University of Kinshasa and from recent IT trainings with human rights defenders ) wave or call out from passing cars or across the street.
The pending elections are evident in the city already. Days before the official campaign kicks off, vendors in the streets are selling lists of the candidates; TV and newspapers are carrying speeches made by current President Kabila along with questioning by journalists and the challenges made by opposition candidates.
Otherwise Kinshasa continues to its own beat. There is always someone singing – as they go about their work or on the TV or radio.
Last night Paisarn Likhitpreechakul from Thailand received the award as International Gay Rights Activist of the Year at an awards ceremony organised by the National Lesbian and Gay Federation of Ireland. While we celebrate the progress made in Ireland and Thailand we also remember those members of the LGBTI community who paid for their courage in demanding full equality with their lives.
Yesterday evening I went along to meet the first of the human rights defenders arriving for the Dublin Platform - Professor Abdulla Alderazi from Bahrain - he was being interviewed by the Irish Times.
As we chatted after the interview he told me a story - sadly a true story.
During the clampdown one of the people arrested was a young journalist.
He was taken into a room which was set up like a court - where he was "tried" and sentenced to death.
Then they took him into an "execution chamber" and put the noose around his neck.
They asked him what his last words were and he said "Tell my wife I love her" - and then they pushed him over the edge.
It was a sham - the whole thing was a cruel set up - apparently a new torture technique introduced by some of the torturers who previously worked for Saddam Hussein.
Since then this bright intelligent young man - doesn't go out - doesn't talk to people - doesn't want to see anybody. He isn't one of the high profile cases - but he will live with the effects of this torture for years to come.
On 13 September 100 human rights defenders from 85 countries will arrive for the 6th Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders which will run in Dublin Castle from 14 - 16 September 2011
Everything is already in motion but the prospect of trying to get as much media coverage as possible for these brave people, every one of whom has a story to tell of working to defend the rights of other in face of constant threats intimidation and outright danger is, inspiring, daunting and stress inducing.
Their stories cover everything from blood diamonds to environmental protection, to indigenous rights, to the rights of women and the LGBTI community. Every human rights issue represented on the international agenda will be represented at the Dublin Platform.
Every one of the human rights defenders attending the 6th Dublin Platform is at risk to a greater of lesser extent. Every one of them has put the interests of others ahead of their own comfort and in many cases they have paid a high price. We all hope we can do them justice.
For further information contact Jim Loughran Head of Communications at:Tel +353 1 212 37 50 = Mob +353 1 (0)87 9377586
Hectic times in Geneva this week, loads of events/meetings with Human Rights Defenders who are here to try to get action from the international community on their situations and those of their communities. Particularly inspiring is Karmen Ramirez Boscan from the Wayuu indigenous people -a woman human rights defender in Colombia working against exploitation by a multinational open mining company called El Cerrejon and also denouncing the killing of up to 250 young people. She has to move all the time and cannot stay in the same place due to the risk she faces. The office also is targeted - if she goes there, the security system is activated -, not to protect her and her colleagues rather to alert the hostile forces. One week ago the anti narcotic police,who accuse them of being drug pushers, put a bomb in the community which destroyed the tracks for their horses and killed a 2 year old toddler.
At the moment there are many unconfirmed reports of heavy firing in Bahrain as the police open fire on demonstrators near the royal palace. Just last night we received reports of death threats against three prominent human rights defenders,Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Mohammed Al-Maskati and Naji Fateel. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja is a former staff member of Front Line - he was Front line's Protection Coordinator for the Middle East region. It would be a tragedy if the ongoing political negotiations were to end in all out violence.