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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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 ...
Almost every week now there is an expensively produced supplement in one of the national papers in Guatemala denouncing the activities of environmental campaigners. This well funded PR campaign claims that human rights defenders and environmental - Read more ...
Pokpong Lawansari pays tribute to Sri Lankan human rights defender Sunila Abeysekera who died on 9 September 2013 aged 61. I first met Sunila Abeysekera in 2006 at a human rights conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Bangkok is a hub for conferences and - Read more ...
We had to be subtle as we searched for the location of the fisherfolk in Magé, a town on the northern shore of Guanabara Bay. Our very presence, we had been warned, could possibly lead to retaliatory attacks against the fishing community. We walked - Read more ...
When we think of cities in the United States we often think of a fast paced life, with lots of people, traffic, noise etc. Not so for NOLA, or New Orleans, Louisiana. The Big Easy comes with a laid back attitude and a quietness that I wasn't - Read more ...
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