U.S. Support for Human Rights Defenders: Protecting and supporting human rights defenders is a key priority of U.S. foreign policy. The Department’s objective is to enable human rights defenders to promote and defend human rights without hindrance or undue restriction and free from fear of retribution against them or their families.
Every Human Has Rights: To begin the 60th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), The Elders and partners today launched the Every Human Has Rights campaign to empower global citizens to protect the first-ever comprehensive agreement on human rights among nations. See it here
“A little bit of money makes a real difference” “Welcome to Ferentári. Welcome to a part of the European Union,” says Valeriu Nicolae, a human rights activist and himself a Roma, who in 2009 initiated the only social project in the slum and who is one of the founders of the European Roma Grassroots Organizations. OHCHR Regional Representative for Europe Jan Jařab is urging support for programmes similar to those being run by Valeriu in the Ferentári slum. View the article here
Be Here Now: One of the greatest battles for human rights rages on. There are an estimated 27 million people enslaved at this very moment. Slavery is more prevalent today than at any other time in history. Made In A Free World produced this three part video campaign to galvanize an ever growing number of concerned citizens.
There are numerous ways for you to get involved. Take action and push for a cause that matters to you. Check out the Human Rights Watch traveling film festival and learn the difference that someone with a vision and a camera can make. Sign up for our newsletter – staying informed about human rights issues is the first step towards making change. And see what our supporter committees are doing in 17 cities worldwide.
Human Rights Watch partners with organizations around the world to increase the pressure for change and maximize our impact. Check out our resource guide for local activists. Read about the winners of this year’s Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, including the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Together, we will promote human rights and justice around the world.
Egyptian Human Rights Attorney Ragia Omran Selected for 30th Annual RFK Award
(WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 2, 2013) – Ms. Ragia Omran, a leading Egyptian human rights lawyer and women’s rights activist, has been selected as the honoree for the 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, now in its 30th year. The award recognizes her extraordinary work, and initiates a partnership to support her efforts to advance the women’s rights, the rule of law, and democracy in Egypt through human rights legal advocacy.
“With dedication and courage, Ms. Omran is often the first to arrive on the scene at jails, police stations, court houses, and military and civilian prosecution offices. Hundreds of peaceful activists have her to thank for successfully securing their release and protecting their rights to freedom of speech and association,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center. “She is a beacon of hope for the woman of Egypt and a champion in the global human rights movement. We are proud to honor her with our 30th annual award.”
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) announced the recipients of the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent. The 2013 laureates are: Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, North Korean democracy activist Park Sang Hak, and Cuban civil society group the Ladies in White.
NEW YORK (May 3, 2013) - The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) today announced the recipients of the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent. The 2013 laureates are: Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, North Korean democracy activist Park Sang Hak, and Cuban civil society group the Ladies in White—represented by their leader Berta Soler. They will be honored at a ceremony during the 2013 Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway on May 15.ALI FARZAT PARK SANG HAK LADIES IN WHITE
An initiative of New York-based HRF, the Havel Prize for Creative Dissent was founded with the enthusiastic endorsement of Dagmar Havlová, widow of the late poet, playwright, and statesman Václav Havel. The inaugural laureates were Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Saudi women's rights advocate Manal al-Sharif, and Burmese opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Ali Ferzat is a Syrian political cartoonist known for his satirical caricatures. Ferzat's cartoons became increasingly critical of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the brutality of the regime's crackdown. In 2011, masked gunmen detained Ferzat and broke both of his hands and his fingers, a clear message of intimidation and retaliation for his work. Ferzat recovered from the attack and continues to produce political cartoons.
Park Sang Hak, a North Korean defector and human rights activist, has worked for the democratization of his homeland since a daring escape in 1999. He is the chairman of Fighters for a Free North Korea, an organization that uses helium balloons to transmit human rights and pro-democracy literature, DVDs, USB drives, and transistor radios from South Korea into North Korea.
The Ladies in White ("Las Damas de Blanco") is a Cuban civil society organization founded by the wives, sisters, mothers, and daughters of political prisoners jailed during the Castro regime's "Black Spring" crackdown in 2003. "Las Damas de Blanco" wear white to symbolize their commitment to non-violence. Despite repeated arrests and beatings by Cuban authorities, the group marches every Sunday in Havana to protest the lack of human rights under the Castro dictatorship. Berta Soler has led the group since the death of founder Laura Pollán in 2011. Soler will accept the award on the group's behalf.
Since she was a young girl in Brooklyn, Jodie Geddes has experienced how abuses of power play out in schools and on the streets.
Her community members are stopped and frisked by police officers because of their race. She was excluded from certain relationships in school because the culture there didn’t make space for her multi-national identity. In North Carolina, where she’s now a student at Guilford College, she sees how immigrant communities are marginalized by state policies.
Jodie is not one to disengage in the face of ugliness; instead, she goes where her heart moves her. “As human beings, we have a responsibility to protect our community members,” she says.
This summer has been a time of learning and a reminder of why she does what she does.
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