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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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 - Read more ...
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 - Read more ...
Thursday 14 July, Manama, Bahrain As we visited the Salmaniya Hospital on Thursday morning we were joined by Marian Harkin MEP who was officially representing the ALDE Group from the European Parliament where she has been playing an important role - Read more ...
Wednesday 13 July, Manama, Bahrain It is always good to be back in Bahrain and meet with good friends and fantastic human rights defenders including Nabeel Rajab, Mohammed Al-Maskati and Abdullah Alderazi. We also meet with the distinguished editor - Read more ...
It was inspiring to listen to Thomas Hammarberg in Dublin on Wednesday. The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe was hugely impressive in a question and answer session that ranged from bullying on social networking sites, to the - Read more ...
Let us welcome President Obama's condemnation of repression in Bahrain even if it is long overdue and was qualified by weasel words about legitimate Government concerns and Iranian interference. He rightly said "mass arrests and brute force - Read more ...
It was an honour to speak at the 35th Anniversary Conference of the Moscow Helsinki Group this morning. The courage and determination of those brave individuals who spoke truth to power in the totalitarian context of the Soviet Union in 1976 has - Read more ...
Bahrain seems to be a country in shock. Both human rights defenders and foreign diplomats struggled to find words to capture the scale and systematic nature of the brutal repression that continues remorselessly here. What other country arrests so - Read more ...
I made my way out to the Military Court in Rifaa this morning (21st April) to try and be allowed to be an observer at the process against my friend and former colleague Abdulhadi Alkhawaja. I was allowed into the court building but a Bahrain Defence - Read more ...
Met the wonderful Zeinab Alkhawaja today who is on hunger strike for the release of her husband, brother-in-law and father (my friend Abdulhadi) See Zeinab's testimony at: - Read more ...
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