Blogs from the Front Line

Jailed, threatened with jail or in hiding - that's the reality for the 5 finalists for this year's Front Line Defenders Award

I noticed with interest the launch of the new #idefend campaign in Geneva, “an initiative of the Delegation of the European Union to the UN in Geneva in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Permanent Missions of Brazil, the Republic of Korea and Tunisia to the UN in Geneva”. The project aims to support and protect the independence of civil society. Since then we have seen a steady procession of the great and the good having their photos taken while holding up statements declaring their support for the work of human rights defenders.

Stopping slavery in Mauritania starts with ending the persecution of those who fight it

There are some practices which however hard people try can never be justified on any basis whatsoever - and slavery is one. The act of one human being selling another for profit cannot be anything other than totally abhorrent. There is a common perception that slavery has been confined to the pages of history, however the sad reality is that today more than 30 million people are affected by slavery, more than at any time in history. After the international drug trade, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world.

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.

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Bahrain seems to have come to an impasse. Brutal repression, torture, killings, unfair trials and media censorship has not been able to silence a mass movement for change as was clear from the huge numbers demonstrating in Manama in the last days - Read more ...
After the “Arab Spring” the struggle for human rights continues. As Front Line Defenders publishes its 2012 annual report Andrew Anderson analyses some of the main threats facing human rights defenders around the world. Twelve months ago the - Read more ...
The start of the new year has seen a dangerous turn for the worse for human rights defenders in the Americas. In the last 2 weeks alone, Front Line Defenders has documented a number of cases of killing, attempted killing, attacks and death threats - Read more ...
On 30 January 2012, Uzbek dictator Karimov, in power since 1990, celebrated his 74th birthday. As is usual under authoritarian regimes, the president's birthday in Uzbekistan is an occasion for the grateful population to demonstrate its loyalty and - Read more ...
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 - Read more ...
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 ...
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