#StandAsMyWitness

 

  • Burundi : quatre journalistes toujours en prison un an après leur arrestation

    • Les autorités burundaises devraient libérer quatre journalistes et abandonner les poursuites engagées contre eux
    • Les journalistes ajoutés à la campagne #StandAsMyWitnessappelant à la libération de tous les défenseurs des droits humains
    • La liberté des médias et les droits civiques en déclin au Burundi

     

  • Burundi: four journalists still in jail one year after they were arrested

    • Burundian authorities should release four journalists and drop charges against them
    • Journalists added to #StandAsMyWitnesscampaign calling for release of all human rights defenders
    • Media freedoms and civic rights declining in Burundi

     

  • En el Día de Nelson Mandela, alrededor de 200 organizaciones de DDHH piden la liberación de activistas como parte de la campaña “Conviértete en mi testigo” #StandAsMyWitness

    • 197 organizaciones de derechos humanos firman una carta para exigir a los Estados que pongan fin al encarcelamiento y al acoso que sufren las personas que defienden los  derechos humanos. 
    • Instamos a los Estados a que pongan fin a los nuevos arrestos y detenciones de defensores que se están produciendo durante la pandemia del COVID-19, con el aumento de riesgo que ello supone
    • Lanzamiento de la campaña "Conviértete en mi testigo" el 18 de julio, Día de Nelson Mandela, con la participación de defensores de los derechos humanos de todo el mundo.

     

  • Honduras: After two years in pre-trial detention, release arbitrarily detained Guapinol human rights defenders

    • Today marks exactly two years since Guapinol human rights defenders were jailed
    • Human rights defenders featured in CIVICUS’s Stand As My Witness Campaign
    • United Nations declared their detention is arbitrary and calls for their release
    • Detention unlawfully extended for further six months in August
    • Honduras one of the most dangerous places for environmental rights defenders

    For two years, eight members of the Committee for the Defence of Common and Public Assets (CMDBCP) have been held in pre-trial detention in Honduras for defending protected water sources and natural resources of communities in danger of mining related contamination. The Guapinol human rights defenders have been advocating against the Guapinol mining project in Tocoa, in the department of Colón in Honduras. They were initially detained on 1 September 2019, and are being kept arbitrarily in pre-trial detention without any legal basis.

    The eight defenders are Ewer Alexander Cedillo Cruz, José Abelino Cedillo Cantarero, José Daniel Márquez Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero Martínez, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Orbin Nahuan Hernández, Arnol Javier Alemán and Jeremías Martínez. They were initially arrested on 26 August 2019, while protesting against the mining activities of the Honduras company Inversiones Los Pinares (ILP), which threatens the safety and livelihood of thousands of people in communities in the department of Colón. ILP was granted mining concessions by the state of Honduras in 2014 and its ongoing mining projects have contaminated water sources. Projects are being implemented without adequate consultations with communities affected.

    “There is absolutely no basis for Honduras to detain the eight human rights defenders and to continue to keep them in pre-trial detention. Despite numerous calls from the international community, including from United Nations bodies for their release, the Honduran authorities continue to disregard the rule of law and have held them for two years now,” said David Kode, Advocacy and Campaigns Lead, CIVICUS.

    The CMDBCP was set up primarily to raise awareness about the impact of the Guapinol project mining activities and to advocate against the actions of mining communities on behalf of the people affected. More than 32 members of CMDBCP have been subjected to judicial persecution and arbitrary detention, 6 have been killed and many more face threats and intimidation. These restrictions are symptomatic of the violence and human rights violations which target environmental and land rights activists, which makes Honduras one of the most dangerous countries for activists working on climate justice and environmental rights in the world.

    On 9 February 2021, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions established that the deprivation of the liberty of the Guapinol human rights defenders is arbitrary and called on Honduras to release them immediately.

    “The continuous detention of the Guapinol human rights defenders violates Honduras’ regional and international human rights violations and exposes the defenders to severe health risks in the context of a global pandemic,” David continued.

    The Guapinol human rights defenders are part of the CIVICUS #StandAsMyWitness campaign - a global campaign that advocates for the rights of human rights defenders and calls for their release.

    CIVICUS calls on the Honduras government to respect the rule of law and immediately release the Guapinol human rights defenders and hold those responsible for human rights violations accountable.

    For more information on civic space violations, visit the Honduras country page on the CIVICUS Monitor

     

  • Honduras: Comienza el juicio a los defensores de Guapinol mientras el Estado sigue ignorando las peticiones de liberación

    • El juicio de los defensores de los derechos humanos de Guapinol comienza hoy, 1 de diciembre, tras dos años de detención ilegal.
    • Forman parte de la campaña Stand As My Witness (Conviértete en mi testigo) de CIVICUS.
    • La Organización de Naciones Unidas ha declarado que su detención es arbitraria y exige su liberación.
    • Honduras ha sido nombrada recientemente por primera vez miembro del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU.
    • Honduras es uno de los lugares más peligrosos para las personas que defienden los derechos medioambientales.

    Tras más de dos años en prisión preventiva, ocho miembros del Comité Municipal de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Públicos (CMDBCP) van a ser juzgados este 1 de diciembre de 2021 en Honduras por defender las fuentes de agua protegidas y los recursos naturales de las comunidades en peligro de contaminación relacionada con la minería. Los defensores de los derechos humanos de Guapinol han estado luchando contra el proyecto minero de Guapinol en Tocoa, en el departamento de Colón, Honduras. Fueron detenidos el 1 de septiembre de 2019 y se les mantiene arbitrariamente en prisión preventiva sin ninguna base legal.

    Los ocho defensores son Ewer Alexander Cedillo Cruz, José Abelino Cedillo Cantarero, José Daniel Márquez Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero Martínez, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Orbin Nahuan Hernández, Arnol Javier Alemán y Jeremías Martínez. Fueron detenidos inicialmente el 26 de agosto de 2019, mientras protestaban contra las actividades mineras de la empresa hondureña Inversiones Los Pinares (ILP), que amenazan la seguridad y el sustento de miles de personas en comunidades del departamento de Colón. El Estado de Honduras otorgó a ILP concesiones mineras en 2014 y sus proyectos mineros en curso han contaminado las fuentes de agua. Los proyectos se están llevando a cabo sin consultar adecuadamente a las comunidades afectadas.

    " Las autoridades hondureñas siguen adelante con el juicio, a pesar de que grupos de la sociedad civil de Honduras y miembros de la comunidad internacional han expresado en repetidas ocasiones su preocupación por la prolongada detención y la persecución judicial de los ocho defensores de los derechos humanos. El proceso judicial ha sido irregular hasta ahora, y los defensores de los derechos humanos deben ser puestos en libertad inmediatamente", ha declarado David Kode, director de Trabajo de Incidencia y Campañas de CIVICUS.

    El CMDBCP se creó principalmente para concienciar sobre el impacto de las actividades mineras del proyecto Guapinol y para defender las acciones de las comunidades mineras en nombre de las personas afectadas. Más de 32 miembros del CMDBCP han sido objeto de persecución judicial y detención arbitraria, 6 han sido asesinados y muchos más se enfrentan a amenazas e intimidaciones. Estas restricciones son sintomáticas de la violencia y las violaciones de los derechos humanos que tienen como objetivo a las y los activistas medioambientales y del derecho a la tierra, lo que convierte a Honduras en uno de los países más peligrosos del mundo para quienes trabajan por la justicia climática y los derechos medioambientales.

    El 9 de febrero de 2021, el Grupo de Trabajo de las Naciones Unidas sobre Detenciones Arbitrarias estableció que la privación de libertad de los defensores de los derechos humanos de Guapinol es arbitraria y pidió a Honduras que los liberara inmediatamente. En octubre de 2021, Honduras fue nombrada por primera vez miembro del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU.

    " Honduras sigue ignorando las conclusiones del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Detenciones Arbitrarias de la ONU y transmite un mensaje contradictorio sobre sus compromisos en materia de derechos humanos como miembro del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU", continuó David.

    Los defensores de los derechos humanos de Guapinol forman parte de la campaña #StandAsMyWitness (Conviértete en mi testigo) de CIVICUS, una campaña mundial que reivindica los derechos de las personas que defienden los derechos humanos y lucha por su liberación.

    CIVICUS hace un llamamiento al nuevo gobierno de Honduras para que respete el Estado de derecho, libere inmediatamente a los defensores de Guapinol y haga rendir cuentas a los responsables de las violaciones de derechos humanos.


    Para obtener más información sobre las vulneraciones del espacio cívico, consulta la página del país de Honduras en el CIVICUS Monitor.

     

  • Honduras: Int. Law Experts file an amicus curiae brief requesting the cessation of criminal proceedings against the defenders of the Guapinol River

    On November 17, 2021, eleven international human rights organizations[1] filed an amicus curiae brief before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Honduras, arguing against the unjust, extensive pretrial detention of the human rights activists known as the Guapinol Environmental Defenders. The Defenders have spent over two years in pretrial detention for events related to a peaceful protest to protect water sources in the Carlos Escaleras National Park. The brief argues that the extensive detention prior to their trial has violated the Defenders’ fundamental constitutional and international human rights. Honduran courts repeatedly reject attempts to release the Defenders, most recently from the Sentencing Court in Trujillo on October 27, 2021. The case is set to be heard before the Sentencing Court in La Ceiba starting on December 1, 2021.

     

  • India: Chronology of harassment against human rights defender Sudha Bharadwaj

    SudhaSudha Bharadwaj, aged 59, is a human rights lawyer and activist who has spent her life defending Indigenous people in India and protecting workers’ rights. She has been in pre-trial detention since August 2018, when she was arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on trumped up accusations of having links with Maoist terrorist organisations, based on evidence believed to befabricated. It is alleged that she and 15 other human rights defenders conspired to incite Dalits at a public meeting which led to violence in Bhima Koregaon village in the Pune district of Maharashtra in January 2018. The treatment of Sudha highlights the increasingly repressive measures used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to clamp down on dissent and silence human rights defenders.

     

  • India: Death of priest highlights persecution of human rights defenders under Modi government

    The death of Jesuit priest and human rights defender Father Stan Swamy, today, has deeply shocked and outraged global civil society alliance CIVICUS. Swamy’s death is a result of the persecution he has faced by the Modi government after revealing abuses by the state.

     

  • India: Human rights defender Sudha Bharadwaj spends another birthday in detention

    Human rights defender and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj will be spending her 60th birthday in detention today, more than three years after she was arrested on baseless charges under a draconian anti-terror law. Global civil society alliance CIVICUS calls on the Indian government to halt the ongoing persecution against her and release Bharadwaj immediately and unconditionally. 

    Bharadwaj has been in pre-trial detention since August 2018, when she was arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with Maoist terrorist organisations. She and 15 other human rights defenders were further accused of conspiring to incite members of the marginalised Dalit community in relation to violence which erupted in Bhima Koregaon village in the Pune district of Maharashtra in January 2018.  

    Bharadwaj was initially held under house arrest until October 2018, when she was moved to Byculla Women’s Prison in Mumbai. This is her fourth birthday in prison. 

    “Instead of celebrating her birthday with family and friends, Sudha will be alone in Byculla prison because she chose to speak up for the rights of Indigenous people and workers. Her detention highlights the systematic misuse of security laws by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to clamp down on dissent and silence human rights defenders”, said Josef Benedict, CIVICUS Asia Pacific researcher. 

    Her multiple pleas for bail including for underlying health issues have been opposed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), despite calls by the UN to decongest prisons and release political prisoners during the pandemic. There are  serious concerns about the validity of evidence against her. A report in March 2021 by a U.S. digital forensics firm has raised questions about incriminating letters presented as evidence to implicate Bharadwaj and the other activists. The letters were found on an activist’s laptop which is thought to have been hacked. 

    UN experts have expressed concerns about the terrorism charges laid against Bharadwaj and about the UAPA in general, particularly with regards to its vague definition of ‘unlawful activities’ and ‘membership of terrorist organisations’ which have been routinely used by the government to stifle dissent. 

    “The Indian government must stop using restrictive national security and counter-terrorism laws against human rights defenders and dissenters. The laws are incompatible with India’s international human rights obligations and become tools for judicial harassment” added Benedict 

    Sudha Bharadwaj is one of a group of leading human rights defenders who feature in CIVICUS’ global campaign #StandAsMyWitness. The campaign urges people to call for an end to the imprisonment and harassment of human rights defenders across the world. CIVICUS encourages people to share the defenders’ individual stories on social media using the hashtag #StandAsMyWitness. 

    India’s rating was downgraded by the CIVICUS Monitor from ‘obstructed’ to ‘repressed’ in December 2019.  

     

  • Indian activist Sudha Bharadwaj spends 900 days in detention

    • 13 February 2021 marks Sudha Bharadwaj’s 900th day in pre-trial detention
    • Questions raised about validity of letters used to incriminate Sudha
    • Indian authorities have limited the number of books she can receive

    February 13 marks 900 days since Indian activist Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested and imprisoned. On this day, global civil society organisation CIVICUS calls on the Indian government to immediately release Bharadwaj and drop all charges against her. 

    Since 2018, Sudha and 15 other activists, writers and lawyers have been arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). It is alleged that she and the other human rights defenders conspired to incite Dalits at a public meeting which led to violence in Bhima Koregaon village in the Pune district of Maharashtra in January 2018. 

    Sudha Bharadwaj was initially placed under house arrest in August 2018 but in October 2018 was moved to Byculla Women’s Prison in Mumbai. There are serious concerns about the validity of evidence against her. This week a U.S. digital forensics firm raised questions about incriminating letters used to implicate Sudha and the other activists. The letters were found on an activist’s laptop which is thought to have been hacked. 

    Sudha’s health continues to deteriorate in prison. The 59 year old suffers from diabetes, hypertension and Ischemic heart disease, making her susceptible to COVID-19 in the cramped prison. Despite underlying health issues, Bharadwaj’s pleas for bail have been quashed by the courts as the National Investigation Agency claims her condition is not serious. 

    Sudha, a lawyer and rights defender, has also been denied books and newspapers in prison. A special  National Investigation Agency court finally ruled last month that Sudha can receive five books a month from outside prison. However, the judge has ordered the Superintendent of Byculla prison to “carefully examine” the books for “objectionable content” before handing them over.

    “The fact that my mother, a lawyer, has been denied access to books and newspapers shows the absolute determination of the Modi government to restrict the liberties of human rights defenders. My mother has been unjustly detained for over two years without trial. We are increasingly worried about her health and demand that she be released immediately to rest at home until her case comes to court,” said Maaysha, Sudha Bharadwaj’s daughter.

    Sudha 900 days in detention

    The treatment of Sudha highlights the increasingly repressive measures used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to clamp down on dissent and silence human rights defenders.

    In January,  the UN Human Rights office expressed serious concern about the detention of human rights defenders including those in the Bhima Koregaon case. It urged the Indian authorities to immediately release the detainees, at the very least on bail before their court hearing. While in October last year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, expressed concern over the use of “vaguely defined laws” to silent activists and government critics. 

    “The Modi regime is abusing the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and using it to round-up activists and human rights defenders on trumped-up charges and keep them for long periods in detention. Sudha is a lawyer and activist who has spent her life defending Indigenous people in India and protecting workers’ rights. She should never have been arrested but unfortunately her human rights work has put her directly in the firing line of the government,” said Josef Benedict, Asia-Pacific civic space researcher for CIVICUS.

    Sudha Bharadwaj is one of a group of leading human rights defenders who feature in CIVICUS’s global campaign #StandAsMyWitness. The campaign urges people to call for an end to the imprisonment and harassment of human rights defenders across the world. People are also encouraged to share the defenders’ individual stories on social media using the hashtag #StandAsMyWitness.

    ----Ends---

     

  • KAZAKHSTAN : « La quarantaine est devenue une sorte de prétexte du gouvernement pour persécuter la société civile »

    CIVICUS s’entretient avec Asya Tulesova, une défenseuse des droits civiques et environnementaux du Kazakhstan. Le 8 juin 2020, Asya a été arrêtée et détenue après avoir participé à une manifestation pacifique dans la ville d’Almaty. Elle a été libérée le 12 août 2020, mais en liberté conditionnelle. Le cas d’Asya faisait partie de la campagne de CIVICUS #StandAsMyWitness, lancée le 18 juillet, à l’occasion de la journée de Nelson Mandela, pour demander la libération des défenseurs des droits humains qui sont emprisonnés, persécutés ou harcelés pour avoir défendu la liberté, les droits et la démocratie et exposé la corruption des gouvernements et des sociétés multinationales.

    Asya Tulesova

    Pourriez-vous nous parler un peu de votre histoire et de votre militantisme en faveur de l’environnement ?

    Ces dernières années, j’ai travaillé pour une organisation de la société civile, la Common Sense Civic Foundation, axée sur le développement communautaire. Nous travaillons sur des projets environnementaux et éducatifs visant à améliorer la qualité de vie des communautés locales. En 2015, nous avons lancé notre projet de surveillance de la qualité de l’air à Almaty dans le but de donner à la population l’accès à des informations gratuites et actualisées sur la qualité de l’air dans la ville. Le projet a considérablement amélioré la compréhension des gens sur l’importance de la question.

    Quand je me suis rendu compte que la qualité de l’air était une question politique, j’ai essayé de me présenter au conseil municipal. Toutefois, ma candidature a été rejetée en raison de légères divergences dans mes déclarations d’impôts. Ce même raisonnement a été utilisé pour exclure des centaines de candidats se présentant comme indépendants dans tout le Kazakhstan. Nous avons intenté un procès contre la commission électorale centrale, mais nous n’avons pas réussi à convaincre le tribunal de rétablir ma candidature, même si nous avions toutes les preuves à l’appui de ma demande. Mon cas est actuellement examiné par le Comité des droits de l’homme des Nations unies.

    Nous poursuivons notre activisme environnemental en publiant des articles, en effectuant des recherches sur la pollution de l’air, en participant à des événements publics et en organisant des débats publics sur la question. En avril 2019, mon collègue militant Beibarys Tolymbekov et moi-même avons été arrêtés pour avoir tenu une banderole lors du marathon annuel d’Almaty ; nos amis Aidos Nurbolatov, Aigul Nurbolatova et Suinbike Suleimenova ont été condamnés à une amende pour nous avoir filmés en train de tenir la banderole. En tant que membres d’un mouvement de jeunes militants, nous voulions attirer l’attention des gens sur l’injustice des prochaines élections présidentielles et le manque de candidats indépendants. Beibarys et moi avons été placés en détention administrative pendant 15 jours. Pendant ma détention, j’ai entamé une grève de la faim pour protester contre la décision du tribunal, et à un moment donné, ma codétenue m’a donné un coup de poing dans le ventre car je refusais de me conformer à sa demande de mettre fin à ma grève de la faim. Notre arrestation a donné lieu à une série de manifestations dans tout le pays et à une augmentation de la participation politique des jeunes. Nous avons poursuivi nos efforts avec l’objectif d’attirer davantage de candidatures indépendantes à la compétition électorale.

    Le statut d’activiste au Kazakhstan est associé à un certain degré de pression constante de la part du gouvernement et des autorités chargées de l’application de la loi. De nombreux militants et défenseurs des droits humains, ainsi que des journalistes, vivent sous une surveillance intense et font l’objet d’une surveillance et d’une intimidation constantes de la part des forces de l’ordre ou d’autres personnes agissant en leur nom.

    Que s’est-il passé lors de la manifestation de juin 2020 où vous avez été arrêtée ?

    Lors de la manifestation du 6 juin 2020, j’ai été témoin d’actes de brutalité policière à l’encontre de manifestants pacifiques. Ce n’était pas la première fois ; chaque manifestation pacifique « non autorisée » que nous avons menée jusqu’à présent s’est accompagnée d’un usage excessif de la force par la police. Mais cette fois-ci, j’ai décidé de me tenir devant l’un des fourgons de police remplis de personnes détenues illégalement pour empêcher qu’on ne les emmène. Plusieurs policiers m’ont attaquée, m’ont entraînée loin du fourgon, et quand j’ai essayé de revenir, ils m’ont jetée à terre. Dans cet état d’esprit, j’ai enlevé sa casquette à un policier pour protester contre les actions illégales de la police et la détention de manifestants pacifiques. Il est difficile d’exprimer ce qui me passait par la tête à ce moment-là. J’étais vraiment en état de choc.

    Cela a été enregistré sur vidéo et j’ai été accusée d’« insulte publique à un représentant des autorités » en vertu de l’article 378, partie 2 du code pénal et d’« atteinte non grave à un représentant des autorités » en vertu de l’article 380, partie 1.

    Comment avez-vous ressenti le fait d’être en prison ? Aviez-vous peur d’attraper la COVID-19 ?

    J’ai été retenue en prison pendant plus de deux mois. Le centre de détention où j’ai été emmenée est situé à l’extrême nord d’Almaty. On m’y a emmené la nuit et on m’a d’abord mis dans une cellule de quarantaine pour les détenus nouvellement arrivés, où j’ai passé plus de dix jours à me familiariser avec le règlement intérieur de l’institution. Après cela, j’ai été transférée dans une autre cellule.

    En raison de la pandémie de la COVID-19, les visites de famille et d’amis ont été interdites. Je ne pouvais parler à ma mère que deux fois par semaine pendant dix minutes par appel vidéo, et je recevais mes avocats toutes les deux semaines. Les conditions dans cet établissement étaient bien meilleures que dans le centre de détention temporaire situé au poste de police où j’avais passé deux jours auparavant La cellule était relativement propre et disposait de deux lits superposés pour quatre personnes, d’un évier et de toilettes. Nous nettoyions la cellule à tour de rôle. Deux de mes compagnons de cellule fumaient dans la salle de bain. Nous étions nourris trois fois par jour, principalement de ragoûts et de soupes. On nous emmenait faire des « promenades » cinq fois par semaine, dans une installation spécialement conçue, qui était en fait une cellule sans fenêtre ni toit. Nos promenades duraient généralement 15 à 20 minutes. J’ai donc dû écrire une plainte aux autorités de l’institution pour me conformer à leur propre règlement intérieur et nous donner une heure complète de marche. Nous prenions une douche une fois par semaine, à raison de 15 minutes par personne.

    Plusieurs fois par semaine, je recevais des colis de ma famille et de mes amis. Leur soutien m’a beaucoup aidé à garder le moral. J’ai reçu une radio envoyée par un autre militant, Marat Turymbetov, dont l’ami Alnur Ilyashev avait été détenu dans le même centre pour avoir critiqué le parti Nur Otan au pouvoir. Nous avons passé beaucoup de temps à écouter la radio en attendant des nouvelles, mais la plupart des nouvelles concernaient la pandémie de la COVID-19. De temps en temps, nous entendions des rumeurs sur des cas de COVID-19 dans l’institution, mais rien n’était certain, donc je n’avais pas trop peur d´attraper le virus. Ma mère, cependant, était très inquiète à ce sujet et m’envoyait des médicaments de temps en temps. La pandémie a été très dure pour notre pays et a fait de nombreuses victimes.

    Cette fois-ci, je n’ai pas personnellement connu de violations majeures pendant ma détention, si ce n’est que le personnel a enfreint certaines règles internes. Je sais que d’autres détenus ont passé des mois dans l’institution sans recevoir des visites de la personne qui enquête sur leur cas, de leur avocat ou des membres de leur famille. J’ai d’abord eu des soupçons lorsque, au centre de détention temporaire, j’ai été placée dans une cellule avec la même femme qu’au centre de détention spécial pour infractions administratives un an plus tôt.

    Je ne peux pas dire que j’ai l’impression d’avoir été détenue pendant longtemps, mais cela a suffi à accroître mon estime et ma compassion pour les militants et autres personnes qui ont passé des mois et des années en prison. Par exemple, le défenseur des droits humains Max Bokayev est en prison depuis plus de quatre ans pour avoir soutenu une manifestation pacifique contre la vente illégale de terrains à des entreprises chinoises. Pendant la quarantaine, de nombreux militants et dirigeants politiques ont été soumis à des fouilles et des arrestations, faisant de la quarantaine une sorte d’excuse du gouvernement pour persécuter la société civile. Parmi les militants détenus figuraient Sanavar Zakirova, qui a été persécutée pour ses tentatives d’enregistrement d’un parti politique, les militants Abay Begimbetov, Askar Ibraev, Serik Idyryshev, Askhat Jeksebaev, Kairat Klyshev et bien d’autres.

    Que pensez-vous de la peine que vous avez reçue ?

    Je ne suis pas d’accord avec ma sentence, c’est pour cette raison que nous allons faire appel. Le tribunal doit tenir compte du degré de danger que représentent pour la société les infractions que j’ai commises, qui ne constituent guère un crime. Cependant, je regrette mon manque de maîtrise de moi-même et l’impolitesse dont j’ai fait preuve. Je crois fermement en la protestation non violente et mon cas est une grande opportunité pour nous et pour le gouvernement de condamner la violence venant des deux côtés.

    De quel soutien les activistes comme vous ont-ils besoin de la part de la communauté internationale ?

    Je suis très reconnaissante que mon cas ait reçu l’attention et le soutien de la communauté internationale. C’était un honneur d’être représentée dans la campagne CIVICUS, #StandAsMyWitness. Je suis également très reconnaissante à ma mère, à mes avocats, à ma famille, à mes amis et à mes supporters au Kazakhstan et dans le monde entier, qui ont trouvé de nombreuses idées créatives pour sensibiliser le public et attirer l’attention nécessaire sur mon cas et sur le problème des brutalités policières au Kazakhstan. Personnellement, j’ai été très inspirée par l’une des initiatives lancées par mes bons amis Kuat Abeshev, Aisha Jandosova, Irina Mednikova et Jeffrey Warren, Protest Körpe, une façon simple et visuellement belle de présenter les demandes de justice et de droits humains de façon agréable et affectueuse. Il est facile de participer. La plupart des messages de Protest Körpe sont universels et concernent de nombreux pays - faisons entendre nos messages ! Je pense que nous pouvons apprendre de Protest Körpe et d’autres initiatives de nouvelles tactiques créatives et les adapter à notre contexte local. Ne serait-ce pas formidable si ces campagnes et ces mouvements pouvaient former un réseau afin que nous puissions tous partager et tirer parti des expériences des autres ?

    L’espace civique au Kazakhstan est considéré comme « obstrué » par leCIVICUS Monitor.

    Contactez Asya surFacebook.

     

  • Lors de la Journée internationale Mandela, environ 200 organisations de défense des droits demandent la libération des militants dans le cadre de la campagne #StandAsMyWitness

    • 197 organisations de défense des droits de l'homme signent une lettre appelant les États à mettre fin à l'emprisonnement et au harcèlement des défenseurs des droits de l'homme
    • Les États sont priés de mettre fin aux nouvelles arrestations et détentions de défenseurs, notant un risque accru lors du COVID-19
    • Lancement de la campagne #StandAsMyWitness le 18 juillet, lors de la journée Nelson Mandela, avec des défenseurs des droits de l'homme du monde entier

     

  • Mandela Day: Nearly 200 rights organisations call for release of activists as part of #StandAsMyWitness campaign

    • 197 human rights organisations sign letter calling on states to end the imprisonment and harassment of human rights defenders
    • States urged to stop new arrests and detentions of defenders, noting heightened risk during COVID-19
    • #StandAsMyWitness campaign launches on Nelson Mandela Day 18 July, featuring human rights defenders from around the world

     

  • Niger: CIVICUS welcomes release of human rights defenders

    Global civil society alliance CIVICUS welcomes the decision by Nigerien authorities to release three human rights defenders after six months in detention. We now call on the Nigerien authorities to drop all charges against them. Moudi Moussa, Halidou Mounkaila and Maïkoul Zodi were among civil society members who gathered peacefully in Niamey, on 15 March 2020, to protest about corruption in the Ministry of Defence.

     

  • Pakistan: UN Working Group concludes Muhammad Ismail was targeted because of his human rights work

    Prof Ismail Oct

    CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, welcomes the conclusions adopted by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that found the arrest and detention of Muhammad Ismail arbitrary and calls on the Pakistan authorities to immediately and unconditionally put an end to all acts of harassment against Muhammad Ismail and his family.

    The UN Working Group, in its opinion adopted in September 2021, concluded that Muhammad Ismail was targeted for his human rights work and that his detention was in contravention of international human rights standards, particularly the Universal Human Rights Declaration (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which Pakistan is a state party.

    Among the key findings of the UN Working Group was that:

    • The arrest and detention of Muhammad Ismail was arbitrary falling within categories I (without sufficient legal basis), II (for exercising his rights guaranteed under the ICCPR), III (being denied of his right to fair trial), and V (for his work as human rights defender and his relation to his daughter, Gulalai Ismail).
    • He was subjected to enforced disappearance in the period between his abduction on 24 October 2019 and his appearance in court on 25 October 2019. The abduction of Muhammad Ismail on 24 October took place completely outside of established legal processes and with no judicial oversight, in violation of the requirement under article 9(1) of the ICCPR.
    • His right to challenge the legality of his detention under article 9(3) and (4) of the ICCPR, as well as his right to an effective remedy under article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 2(3) of the Covenant, were violated.
    • His pre-trial detention for over two months (2 February to 15 April 2021) was not properly constituted and thus had no legal basis. 
    • His conduct falls within the right to freedom of opinion and expression protected under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the ICCPR. 
    • He was detained in relation to both proceedings against him because of the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and expression and to participate in the conduct of public affairs, and in violation of article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 26 of the ICCPR.
    • He has been denied his right to a fair trial without undue delay in both proceedings.
    • He was detained on discriminatory grounds, that is, on the basis of his status as a human rights defender, his political or other opinion, and his birth and family ties, contrary to articles 2 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 2(1) and 26 of the ICCPR.

    “The conclusion by the UN Working Group echoes concerns raised by CIVICUS around the arbitrary detention of Muhammad Ismail and the ongoing persecution against him. Human rights defenders in Pakistan should not be harassed and intimidated for doing their work and exercising their fundamental freedoms. Ismail’s treatment highlights the repressive environment for activists in the country,” said Josef Benedict, Asia Pacific researcher for CIVICUS.

    Muhammad Ismail, a Pakistani human rights defender and the father of women’s rights activist Gulalai Ismail, has been subject to judicial harassment since 2019. He is facing allegations of cybercrime for speaking against government institutions. He has also been accused of trumped-up charges related to sedition and conspiracy, as well as under the Anti-Terrorism Act for allegedly financing terrorism, publishing and disseminating anti-State material and aiding and abetting terrorist offences.

    In the report, the UN Working Group also noted with concern the charges reportedly brought against Muhammad Ismail’s spouse, as well as actions taken against Gulalai Ismail, his daughter, for her advocacy in support of the Pashtun community. It recommended that the government of Pakistan conduct a full and independent investigation on the arbitrary detention of Muhammad Ismail and to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights. The Working Group also called on the government to provide a remedy without delay. While the Working Group has sent a communication to the government of Pakistan concerning the circumstance, it has received no reply.

    “We urge the Pakistani authorities to comply with the recommendations from the UN Working Group, in particular by immediately ending all acts of harassment against him and his family and ensuring an independent investigation into the abuses against him,” said Benedict.

    “The decision by the UN Working Group shows clearly that my father was arrested for speaking up and supporting my activism. He has suffered tremendously over the last two years for this. I urge the authorities to drop all charges against my parents unconditionally. Speaking out for human rights is not a crime” said Gulalai Ismail.

    Muhammad Ismail is one of the faces of CIVICUS’s international #StandAsMyWitness campaign, calling for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders across the world.

    The CIVICUS Monitor rates civic space in Pakistan as “repressed

     

  • Rights organisation calls for release of activist Sudha Bharadwaj on 2nd anniversary of her arrest

    SudhaBharadwaj

    • CIVICUS urges authorities to drop baseless charges against Sudha Bharadwaj 
    • There are concerns for Bharadwaj’s health in prison during COVID-19 pandemic
    • Bharadwaj is featured in international campaign #StandAsMyWitness calling for release of human rights defenders 

    August 28 2020 marks two years since the arrest and detention of Indian activist and human rights lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj. Ahead of this second anniversary, global civil society organisation CIVICUS calls on the Indian government to immediately release Bharadwaj and drop all charges against her. 

    Bharadwaj has been in pre-trial detention since August 2018, when she was arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with Maoist terrorist organisations. It is also alleged that she and ten other human rights defenders were conspiring to incite Dalits, a marginalised group, at a public meeting which led to violence in Bhima Koregaon village in the Pune district of Maharashtra in January 2018.

    Sudha Bharadwaj was initially held under house arrest until October 2018, when she was then moved to Byculla Women’s Prison in Mumbai. There are concerns that the 59 year old, who suffers from diabetes and hypertension, will be susceptible to COVID-19 in the cramped prison, where an inmate has already tested positive for the virus. A July medical report found that she is also now suffering from Ischemic heart disease.

    Despite her underlying health issues, last week Bharadwaj’s plea for bail to the Bombay High Court was opposed by the National Investigation Agency which claimed her condition is not serious. The treatment of Bharadwaj highlights the increasingly repressive measures used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to clamp down on dissent and silence human rights defenders.

    UN experts have expressed concerns about the terrorism charges laid against Sudha and about the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act’s vague definition of ‘unlawful activities’ and ‘membership of terrorist organisations’ which have been routinely used by the government to stifle dissent:

    “Sudha is a lawyer and activist who has spent her life defending Indigenous people in India and protecting workers’ rights. However, her human rights activities have put her in the firing line of the Modi regime, which is abusing the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and using it to round-up activists and human rights defenders on trumped-up charges,” said Josef Benedict, Asia-Pacific civic space researcher for CIVICUS.

    Sudha Bharadwaj is one of a group of leading human rights defenders who feature in CIVICUS’ global campaign #StandAsMyWitness. The campaign urges people to call for an end to the imprisonment and harassment of human rights defenders across the world. People are also encouraged to share the defenders’ individual stories on social media using the hashtag #StandAsMyWitness.

    ABOUT CIVICUS

    CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organisations dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. CIVICUS has 10,000 members worldwide.

    CIVICUS Monitor is an online platform that tracks the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly, association and expression in countries across the world. India’s civic space rating was downgraded from ‘obstructed’ to ‘repressed’ last year owing to its increased restriction of space for dissent and particularly following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election in May 2019.

    INTERVIEWS

    For interviews with CIVICUS please contact:

    and   Phone/Whatsapp: +6010-4376376 

     

  • Rights organisations call for release of activist Teresita Naul on her first anniversary in detention

    • 15 March marks one year in detention for rights activist Teresita Naul
    • Philippines Human Rights Commission says Teresita was wrongfully ‘red-tagged’
    • Teresita’s daughter fears for her mother’s life in prison

     

  • Rights organisations call for release of Teresita Naul ahead of court case & global campaign launch

     TeresitaNaul2

    • Human rights organisations call for release of Teresita Naul ahead of court case 17 July
    • Naul’s family concerned about her deteriorating health in prison
    • #StandAsMyWitness campaign featuring Naul and calling for release of activists in prison launches on Nelson Mandela Day 18 July

    CIVICUS, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Karapatan and other human rights organisations in the Philippines call for the release of Teresita Naul, a human rights defender from the Philippines, ahead of her court case on 17 July, and the launch of a global campaign featuring Naul and other imprisoned human rights defenders. 

     

  • Saudi rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul spends 1000th day in prison

    Loujain1000 days in detention

    Today,  as Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul spends her 1000th day in prison, global civil society alliance CIVICUS and the Free Saudi Activists coalition call for her immediate and unconditional release. 

     

  • Urgent call to release Abdul-Hadi al-Khawaja on his 60th Birthday &10th anniversary of his detention

    To: United Nations Secretary General and diplomatic Missions

    United Nations Special Rapporteurs/Targeted Governments (to be amended based on recipient)

    Re: Urgent call to release Abdul-Hadi al-Khawaja on his sixtieth Birthday and Tenth anniversary of his detention

    Your Excellencies,

    We the undersigned, representing civil society organisations from around the world, write to bring to your urgent attention the continued detention of human rights defender Abdul-Hadi Abdulla Hubail al-Khawaja. As you may be aware, al-Khawaja, who is a dual Bahraini-Danish citizen, is currently serving a life sentence for his peaceful human rights activities.  As he marks his 10th year in prison and commemorates his 60th birthday on 5 April 2021, we urge the United Nations through its Secretary General, governments around the world and representatives of the diplomatic community to urgently call on  Bahraini authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally. 

    Al-Khawaja’s active campaigning for human rights began when he was 16 years old. Spanning decades of activism, he is the co-founder of both the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) for which he was also President. Until early 2011, al-Khawaja worked as MENA Protection Coordinator for human rights group Frontline Defenders. He also previously took part in a fact-finding mission to Iraq in 2003 with Amnesty International and is a member of the International Advisory Network of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. He is a peaceful advocate of human rights and the recipient of several human rights awards, including the “World without Torture” Award which he received in October 2013 in recognition of his struggle for human rights.  

    He was arrested on 9 April 2011 for his role in organising peaceful protests to defend the realisation of human rights of Bahrainis and for political reform during the popular ‘Arab Spring’ movements which began in Bahrain in February 2011.  He was violently detained by security forces as detailed in a report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) published in November 2011 at the request of the King of Bahrain.  He is serving a life prison sentence in Jau prison following unfair trials in courts that did not comply with Bahraini criminal law or international fair trial standards.

    At its 63rd session in April/May 2012, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considered that al-Khawaja’s arrest was arbitrary as it resulted from his exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

    On 17 March 2021, GCHR in co-operation with its human rights partners Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (AHRDB), BCHR, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), released a reportdetailing some of the ill-treatment and torture al-Khawaja has faced during his arrest and subsequent arbitrary detention. This has included severe physical, psychological and sexual torture.

    During his early detention, al-Khawaja suffered multiple fractures to his jaw and has undergone multiple surgeries but still suffers from chronic pain and requires additional intervention as he has not healed properly. His facial bone structure is permanently damaged. In January 2021, over 100 NGOs appealed to the Danish government to help free al-Khawaja so he could travel to Denmark for treatment.

    In a January 2021 phone call, al-Khawaja listed four concerns including that prison authorities placed restrictions on his phone calls with the family (that have replaced their in-person visits) and confiscated hundreds of his books and other materials.  He also stated that prison authorities arbitrarily deny him adequate healthcare and refuse to refer him to specialists for the urgent surgeries he requires.  Denying a prisoner needed medical care violates the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, known as the Nelson Mandela Rules. 

    Al-Khawaja continues to protest the arbitrary detention to which he is subjected.  Since his arrest, he has undertaken six-hunger strikes, one lasting 110 days in 2012 to protest conditions in Jau Prison and his unjust imprisonment. 

    In March 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bahrain released 1,486 prisoners, 901 of whom received royal pardons on “humanitarian grounds.” However, al-Khawaja and other prominent human rights defenders - many of whom are older or suffer from underlying medical conditions - were not among those released. 

    On 11 March 2021, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in a plenary session to adopt an urgent resolution condemning human rights abuses in Bahrain, including the persecution of human rights defenders, lawyers and other civil society figures, while calling on Bahrain’s government to enact reforms. The resolution calls for the release of al-Khawaja and others “who have been detained and sentenced for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

    On al-Khawaja’s 60th birthday and the 10th anniversary of his arrest we appeal to you to personally hold talks with the government of Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release him.

    The undersigned,

    1. Activista Moviment
    2. African National Congress Youth League
    3. Amnesty International
    4. Association El Ghad pour les droits de l’homme
    5. Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
    6. Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
    7. Brothers Keeper NPO
    8. Bytes For All, Pakistan
    9. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    10. Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
    11. CIVICUS
    12. Community Transformation Foundation Network (COTFONE)
    13. Danish PEN
    14. FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
    15. Front Line Defenders
    16. Globe International Center, Mongolia
    17. Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
    18. Human Rights Sentinel
    19. IFEX
    20. International Media Support
    21. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)              
    22. Intersection Association for Rights and Freedoms
    23. Iraqi Journalism Rights Defence Association
    24. Kuza Livelihood Improvement Projects
    25. Maharat Foundation
    26. Media Institute of Southern Africa
    27. OMCT (World Organisation Against Torture), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
    28. Pacific Islands News Association (PINA)
    29. Protection Adolescent Organization
    30. South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
    31. Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)
    32. The Community Human Rights Defenders Network - ACPDH
    33. Universidade do Minho
    34. Vigilance for Démocracy and Civic state
    35. Vigilance for Democracy and the Civic State
    36. منظمة الفيصل لمناهضة الاعتقال والتعذيب والإخفاء القسري (Al-Faisal Organization Against Detention, Torture and Enforced Disappearance)