Remember all brave individuals on Human Rights Day

Today, on Human Rights Day, we think about all those people who risk their lives every day standing up for the marginalised, the vulnerable and the voiceless. They fight, they campaign and they die in their efforts to bring to the world’s attention the plight of people who suffer oppression and degradation in societies where human, civil and political rights are an alien concept.

Human Rights Day, 10 December, marks the day that they should be remembered, their achievements applauded and those who have perished in the fight for justice be hailed as heroes. Brave souls like human rights defender Natalia Estimerova who fought against torture and disappearances in Chechnya and was brutally murdered because of her work. Or Yorm Bhopa, a housing rights activist in Cambodia, who has served time in prison because she could not turn a blind eye to the authorities forcibly evicting her neighbours and friends from their homes.

In Cambodia, marches, petitions and commemoration characterizes the International Day for Human Rights. This year it is marked by ten days of activism in Cambodia, under the motto “Justice brings Peace “, starting December 1. The organizers behind the celebration call themselves Friends of December 10 and consists of a mix of civil society actors; such as human rights organizations, trade unions and grass despite activists. This year, peaceful marches, in Phnom Penh and in the provinces, were held to mark the most pressing human rights problems right now: land rights, free and fair elections, fair job conditions and legal certainty. Petitions will be submitted to the two main political parties in the country, senior Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

The main issues related to the parliamentary elections held in July this year, when several irregularities during the election was reported, which led to several demonstrations and petitions in protest. International Human Rights Day brings together the stronger civil society in Cambodia and also hopes to involve large sections of the population to fight for their rights. Friends of December 10 has organized activity ether in conjunction with Human Rights Day since 2004. Civil Rights Defenders supports the event by one of the main organizers, LICADHO. LICADHO will have a live stream on their website, allowing a wider audience the opportunity to follow the celebration here.

Siarhei Androsenka is the president of the organisation Gay Belarus. The organisation work to strengthen lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peoples rights in Belarus. Because of his fight for human rights, Siarhei Androsenka has faced a variety of problems, resulting in him temporarily leaving the country in June this year. This week, the organisation arranges the ninth Minsk Pride Festival.

Ales Bialiatski (Photo: Euroradio)

Ales Bialiatski (Photo: Euroradio).

The most famous Belarusian human rights defender, Ales Bialiatski, has today been imprisoned for 859 days. Ales Bialiatski is the president of the Belarusian human rights organisation Viasna and vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). In November 2011, he was sentenced to 4,5 years in prison for tax-evasion in a politically motivated trial. Ales Bialiatski has dedicated the past twenty years to the defense of human rights not only in Belarus but also internationally.

To highlight Serbia’s reality and problems connected to human rights issues Civil Rights Defenders is hosting an exhibition of one of Serbia’s most prominent caricature artist Predrag Koraksic-Corax. The exhibition opens 10 December and focuses on human rights issues but especially the violence against LGBTIQ people and Belgrade Pride.

“His work is timeless, due to the fact that Serbia keeps making the same mistakes. His view is always clear and without compromise”, says Goran Miletic, Programme Director at Civil Rights Defenders for the Western Balkans.

Corax has been portraying the political reality in Serbia for more than a decade. He has always remained critical in his work, both during Milosevic era and the transition period. His work has brought political awareness tGoga Zikao many Serbs by highlighting important issues and problems.

The exhibition opens 17:00 on UK Parobrod (Kapetan Misina 6a) and is a part of the project “Strengthening visibility of the most discriminated groups in Serbia”. The project is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy and can be seen until 13 December.

Our support is needed
Human rights defenders need and deserve our support. Civil Rights Defenders has made significant efforts to increase their security. The Natalia Project is a personal assault alarm for human rights defenders at risk and a vital component in a complex security system. When under attack the human rights defender triggers the alarm, which immediately sends exact GPS coordinates to Civil Rights Defenders headquarters in Stockholm and to 4-5 colleagues in the persons close proximity. The alarm is connected to social media, which enables us within minutes to engage hundreds of thousands of Natalia Project followers from all over the world.

Please remember them all on Human Rights Day!

Categories: News.
Tags: Ales Bialiatski, Gay Belarus, Human rights day, and LICADHO.
Regions: All regions.