Blogs from the Front Line

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.

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.

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Al-Shabab, the Somali rebel group, has banned the use of Internet services on cell phones and through fibre optic connections in Somalia. In a statement to local media on Wednesday, the al-Qaeda affiliated movement announced that they were banning - Read more ...
Traditional values may sound like something harmless and old fashioned, until one realises that they are the opposite of the rights that are the foundation of modern democracy. Maria Chichtchenkova, Protection Coordinator with Front Line Defenders, - Read more ...
In Scotland we have a tradition of coming together to celebrate Hogmanay. It is a time to celebrate friendship, for Auld Lang Syne, and to think of our hopes and resolutions for the New Year. This will be the third New Year that my friend and - Read more ...
The only thing we are asking is that the authorities act: results, nothing more. Until we find Héctor we won´t stop working. To a certain point we thought things would get better when the new President came in, and well, it´s been the opposite: it´s - Read more ...
Nelson Mandela is dead. People in South Africa are expressing their grief by dancing, chanting and singing to celebrate the extra-ordinary life of a freedom-fighter. But why do I feel such a profound sense of loss over the passing of Nelson Mandela - Read more ...
Barely two days before the general elections in Honduras, the Honduran people find themselves in a sea of uncertainties, doubts and fears, that obliterate any hope for change. The aggressive campaign of the candidate of the ruling party, which apart - Read more ...
The second EU Guidelines workshop in 2013 took place in Yangon on 22-23 October. Its aim was to explain to local human rights defenders (HRDs) what they could expect from the EU in terms of practical protection and support. Our hot-off-the-press - Read more ...
The road out of central Bogota heading to the outskirts and La Picota Prison was fairly empty for a Friday morning. Perhaps it was the early hour or just that it was Friday and it is always harder to get out of bed just before the weekend. When - Read more ...
While he was visiting Brussels with a delegation of high-level ministers on 17 September 2013, Kyrgyz President Mr Almazbek Atambaev celebrated his birthday with the signature of an agreement with the European Investment Bank, under which the Bank - Read more ...
In this blog Niamh Ni Bhriain reflects on her time spent with human rights defenders in Colombia while volunteering with Peace Brigades International. It was dusk when I waved goodbye to the rural farming community located in the north-eastern - Read more ...
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