Blogs from the Front Line

Blaming the Victims in Guatemala

Following the publication of my recent Opinion Piece in The Irish Times regarding the humanitarian crisis of undocumented children arriving in the United States from Central America, a reader wrote to me questioning some of the basic facts.

Seeking Justice at the BRICS – Can Brazil Lead?

On 15 July, the 6th BRICS Summit will open in Brazil. The timing, in many ways, could not be more important for each of the 5 countries involved.

Lies and Obfuscation - the legal system in Saudi Arabia

In the space of three days last week two prominent human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia received harsh prison sentences. To any reasonable person it seems incredible that the mere fact of demanding political reform and democratic change or simply monitoring the human rights situation in your country could be construed as taking part in a plot to overthrow the state.

Tiananmen 25: More than a Symbolic Legacy

(Visit the China campaign site for more interviews with Tiananmen student leaders)

Twenty five years ago today, the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) demonstrated the extent to which it would go in order to face down any challenges to its power or legitimacy.

Failure at Launch – Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe

Just when we needed the Council of Europe to stand strong for human rights, Azerbaijan is due to bring its hackneyed brand of authoritarian repression to the role of Chairman.

Argentina and the issue of impunity

As Front Line Defenders launches a new documentary, Memory, Truth & Justice, on the struggle for justice by HRDs and families of the disappeared in Argentina, Mary Lawlor looks at just why these cases are so important to the current struggle for human rights.

As Afghanistan goes to the polls on Saturday what prospect for women's rights

As Afghanistan prepares to go to the polls on Saturday for Presidential and provincial elections, many women are concerned that the progress they have struggled to make over the past number of years may be traded away in the name of reconciliation in the political negotiations prior to the withdrawal of international forces at the end of this year.

Uganda - Betrayal of Trust


Someone to lead, inspire and guide us. Someone whose focus is on the greater good of all, yet who will at the same time strive to protect the rights and the interests of even the poorest and most marginalised among us.

Slim victory for LGBT rights in Uganda

President Museveni may be congratulating himself on the basis that having refused to sign the Anti Homosexuality Bill into law he can somehow position himself as a champion of human rights in Uganda. At the same time we in the international human rights community may be feeling that we have scored some kind of victory.

“I believe we were put here to improve civilisation” Seamus Heaney RIP

I am so very sad to hear of the death of Seamus Heaney. This giant of a man had a profound understanding of how human rights were enmeshed in and inseparable from daily living.

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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 - Read more ...
Walking around in Manama, Bahrain, things seem to be normal. I had been here before and I don’t know that I would necessarily be able to tell the difference, except that in general things seemed quiet. There is a breeze from the Gulf and the - Read more ...
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 - Read more ...
Goma I'm sitting by Lake Kivu in Goma. The water lapping peacefully against the shore is in stark contrast to the horrific stories of sexual violence told by a group of 18 women human rights defenders this morning. They were contributing to a - Read more ...
Uvira day 2 Awoke at 4am to the calls for prayer from the nearby mosque - a little early yet for our individual meetings at 9am with women human rights defenders who had received support from Front Line Defenders or who wanted to formally introduce - Read more ...
Uvira day 1 Arriving in Uvira, the air and space of the Congolese countryside provided a welcome change to the crowds and traffic jams of Kinshasa. Uvira is a long narrow village situated between the mountainous Haut Plateau and Lake Tanganyika. - Read more ...
Kinshasa day 2 This afternoon we met with members of Les Amis de Nelson Mandela pour la Défense des Droits Humains – ANMDH (Friends of Nelson Mandela for Human Rights) an organisation which provides assistance to the victims of human rights - Read more ...
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 - Read more ...
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 - Read more ...
Today I attended Abdulhadi Al Khawaja's trial. Seeing our friend and ex-colleague in the dock, in prison uniform, was such an aberration of everything he stands for : - the deep and peaceful personal committment to human rights. Abdulhadi is what I - Read more ...
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