Blogs from the Front Line

We must stop the killing of those who stand up for human rights

is a bit predictable for a human rights organisation to produce a report saying how bad the human rights situation is, but we have reached a turning point that is way beyond business as usual.

Stop the Killings

Introductory remarks of Executive Director, Mary Lawlor, and Deputy Director, Andrew Anderson, at the launch of Front Line Defenders 2016 Annual Report, Dublin 6th January 2016.

While China postures on the international stage, women human rights defenders are routinely targeted

Mary Lawlor is the Executive Director at Front Line Defenders.

On 27 September China will co-host with UN Women a “Global Leader's Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment” in New York. Chinese President Xi Jinping will address the gathering, as will Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon. The event will mark 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and is intended to place 'gender equality, women's rights and women's empowerment at the centre of the global agenda'.

Larger than Laws: In The Backlash Against HRDs, Killings Remain Paramount

Mary Lawlor is the Executive Director at Front Line Defenders.

As I read Harriet Sherwood's recent article on “the global crackdown on human rights groups not seen in a generation" I found myself nodding along with every point she made. Not only is there a global backlash against human rights, and in particular human rights defenders, but we are in effect at a turning point, as the culture of human rights, built up over the last 50 years, is the target of an increasingly virulent ideological challenge.

MEXICO: JUAN CARLOS SOLIS - ELECTIONS AND PROMISES WRITTEN ON THE WIND

Mary Lawlor is the Director at Front Line Defenders. This article was originally published in Spanish in Des Informemonos on Monday, 8 June 2015.

The elections are over and from the media coverage we can see that they have been one of the most controversial in the recent history of Mexico. As Juan Carlos Flores Solís says,

The Rohingya - “A group to be eliminated”

Mary Lawlor is founder and Executive Director of Front Line Defenders. This blog was originally published on Prachatai English.

EUROVISION AND SINGING FOR DEMOCRACY IN AZERBAIJAN WHEN THE SPOTLIGHT MOVES ON

When Azerbaijan hosted the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest human rights defender Rasul Jafarov organised a campaign called Sing for Democracy to highlight the brutal repression in his country. Mary Lawlor looks at the situation now in one of Europe's last great dictatorships when the Eurovision circus moves on.

Remembering Sabeen Mahmud

In May 2013, I went to Pakistan to meet human rights defenders. It was my first time in Pakistan and I found it a very complex country. We were very fortunate though that Sabeen Mahmud allowed us to use her space cafe T2F to meet human rights defenders and hear about the threats that they faced.

Colombia: 19 human rights defenders killed in first quarter of 2015

During her recent visit to Colombia the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri stated “The road to peace is a complex and winding one ... Colombia is a country with a unique opportunity to evolve into a society where everyone enjoys rights equally and without discrimination”.

She explained that civil society representatives, women, indigenous peoples, afro-descendants and peasant organisations have suffered disproportionately in Colombia’s protracted conflict:

“They tell us stories of suffering and abuses they have suffered, not just because of the conflict, but because of a system that has historically discriminated and dispossessed them.”

Unfortunately, the Commissioner's use of the past tense and the media's focus on the peace talks in Havana imply that the fighting is over, that it is now just a matter of tidying up loose ends.

Women Human Rights Defenders in China: Twenty Years After Beijing, What's Changed?

When I arrived at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW) in Beijing, Chinese authorities welcomed hundreds of foreign dignitaries and international rights groups with rainbow coloured scarves. Yet, while China hosted what would come to be known as the pre-eminent gathering on gender equality for the next twenty years, the government was also systematically disempowering Tibetan women through its repressive policies towards the Tibetan Autonomous Region. At the opening of the conference in 1995, in protest against China's silencing of Tibetan women's voices, a delegation of exiled Tibetan women gagged themselves with the silk.

Throughout the conference, Chinese security officers filmed, photographed, and followed the Tibetan women. On the third day, the activists lead a workshop on "Women and Development in Tibet," which so angered the crowd that a counter-protest erupted. My self and colleague Frank Jennings – later known to the Chinese authorities as “Black Hand” for his outspoken work in support of women rights defenders in China – tried to act as human shields while Chinese men shouted and pushed Tibetan women to the floor.

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10/Apr/2014
Abuja, Nigeria, a capital mostly built in the eighties on arid soil, looking unfinished. It's one of the most expensive places in Nigeria, and most inhabitants live in the outskirts. Compared to the former capital, the saturated Lagos, Abuja looks - Read more ...
04/Apr/2014
Within hours of my arrival in Rio de Janeiro, the news broke that the police and military would be entering a local favela near the airport in order to ‘secure’ it. With two months to go until the World Cup, the authorities deemed it necessary to - Read more ...
04/Apr/2014
While most of the recent media coverage of political developments in Egypt has focused on the elections and the prospects for the incoming government, one item in the new constitution largely escaped notice. Egypt's new constitution, which was - Read more ...
25/Mar/2014
A day in a Commission of Verification of human rights violations in Colombia is a non-stop day. From 4.30am to 11.30pm it's car, road, coffee, scrambled eggs with arepa, car, meetings, sancocho, meetings, road, meetings. Finally, at the end of the - Read more ...
20/Mar/2014
Being a human rights defender is a difficult road. Pick a country and you’ll find HRDs being routinely and aggressively repressed by their governments, outdated social norms, big-business, armed militias and communities who just want them to leave - Read more ...
14/Mar/2014
Adam Shapiro is Head of Campaigns at Front Line Defenders I have never met Bassel Khartabil (Al-Safadi) in person. The many times I had been in Syria before February 2011, I was working on various film projects and working on assisting Palestinian - Read more ...
25/Feb/2014
It's been an intense three days meeting human rights defenders in Cajamarca, Bambamarca, Tamba and Celendin, in the Cajamarca region of Peru. Mining concessions here cover 48% of the territory. Mining is presented as bringing development. However, - Read more ...
25/Feb/2014
Two photographs of one man. One of a father, one of a prisoner. One of a content and energetic man, one of a man shrunken by hunger strike and bowing under the weight of a desperate injustice. Le Quoc Quan is a human rights defender from Vietnam who - Read more ...
20/Feb/2014
Maria Chichtchenkova, Front Line Defenders protection coordinator for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, is currently in Kiev, Ukraine, monitoring the situation of human rights defenders during the ongoing violence. This dispatch was sent by Maria - Read more ...
03/Feb/2014
On 28-29 January 2014, two human rights defenders from Vietnam came to Brussels and met with representatives from all EU institutions to discuss the human rights situation in Vietnam. The visit was extraordinary for at least two reasons. Firstly, - Read more ...
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