Defenders Around the World
We work primarily on our focus countries, but we also take action when human rights defenders in other countries or regions of the world are targeted as part of a broader crisis or in an egregious way, and if we think we can have some impact. When this happens, we will respond to support the work of these activists. Examples of such situations include:
- The electoral crisis in Kenya beginning in December 2007, in which human rights activists were targeted for attack by political forces.
- The crackdown and harsh sentences meted out to human rights and democracy activists in Burma in late 2008.
- The declaration of martial law and imprisonment of lawyers and judges in Pakistan beginning in late 2007.
Protect Freedom of Association for Gay Rights Activists in TurkeyNext month a prominent regional LGBT rights organization in Turkey may be forced to shut down because the government publicly opposes its work. Take action now to urge the presiding Judge to impartially adjudicate the motion to close the Black Pink Triangle Association of Izmir.
Read HRF Petition1/15/2010
United Nations Passes Important Resolution on Human Rights DefendersOn November 20, 2009, the United Nations General Assembly passed a comprehensive resolution on human rights defenders. As Human Rights First had encouraged, it expresses concern about the precarious situation of activists around the world and calls upon states to adopt strong and effective measures to prevent and eliminate human rights violations against them. Resolution 11/30/2009
Demand Fair Trial for Kazakh Human Rights DefenderLeading Kazakh human rights defender, Yevgeny Zhovtis, is now serving a four year prison term for manslaughter after being convicted in a trial which appears to have fallen short of international fair trial standards. Take action now to urge the Kazakh authorities to set aside his conviction and grant him a fair trial.
Read HRF Petition9/14/2009
Demand Release of Syrian Lawyer and Human Rights ActivistMohanad Al-Hasani, is a leading human rights activist and lawyer in Syria. State Security, one of Syria's intelligence organizations, detained Al-Hasani on July 28 for his activities monitoring the controversial State Security Court.
Read HRF Petition8/6/2009
Russian Human Rights Defender MurderedWell-known Chechen rights activist Natalya Estemirova was kidnapped and brutally murdered on July 15. Take action to demand an investigation.
HRF Statement on Murder7/15/2009
End Government Harassment of Pakistani Champion of Women's RightsMukhtar Mai, a leading Pakistani women's rights activist and gang-rape victim, has faced constant harassment from government officials since her decision to testify in a rape case against her attackers in 2002. Last week, a power company raided her human rights organization, significantly hindering her organization?s ability to carry out its human rights work. Read HRF's Huffington Post article about Mukhtar Mai
Read more about Mukhtar Mai6/19/2009
Drop Charges against Russian Art CuratorsIn Moscow, Yury Samodurov, a human rights activist, and Andrey Erofeev, a museum curator, are facing criminal prosecution for organizing an exhibition entitled "Forbidden Art 2006" at the Andrei Sakharov Museum. The two men could be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment. The Tagansky District Court in Moscow is scheduled to resume hearing the case behind closed doors on June 5, 2009.
Read more about Yury Samodurov and Andrey Erofeev6/3/2009
HRF joins Coalition Protesting Treatment of LGBT Activists in UgandaHRF joined the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition in demanding the Ugandan government take action to protect LGBT activists. See Petition 5/15/2009
Summit is Prime Opportunity for President Obama to Promote Human Rights in the AmericasPresident Barack Obama?s first meeting with all heads of state from the Americas is an opportunity to place respect for human rights at the top of the regional agenda. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will both attend the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago from April 17 to 19.
Listen to Andrew Hudson's radio interview on WBAI about the Summit4/16/2009
Russian Human Rights Defenders at Risk
In the Russian Federation a disturbing pattern of threats and assaults against human rights activists, including those monitoring hate crime, has emerged over the past few years. No perpetrators have been brought to justice as threats against nonviolent government critics of all kinds have escalated.
Fact sheet on attacks against defenders4/10/2009