Blogs from the Front Line

Uzbekistan – the Diplomatic Game and the Art of Betrayal

As President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan looks all set to begin his fourth and unconstitutional, term of office a lot of the media attention has focused on the fate of his daughter Gulnara. Is she or isn't she under house arrest? Did she or didn't she pocket $1 billion in bribes from telecommunications companies? But the question we should be asking is, what does the future hold for the people of Uzbekistan?

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.

View full blog
On the eve of Putin's visit to Brussels for the 32nd EU-Russia summit of 28 January, and ten days before the Sochi Winter Olympics, human rights NGOs gathered in Brussels at Rond-Point Schuman, in front of the Council building, to protest against - Read more ...
Below is an open letter from Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo, a Zimbabwean human rights defender and director of the Zimbabwe Organisation for Youth in Politics, to Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe. Nkosilathi has been subjected to threatening phone - Read more ...
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 ...
View all blogs