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On this episode of rights on the line, we talk to Olena Schevchenko, the chairperson of Insight, an NGO that focuses on promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTQI + persons in Ukraine. This year, amidst a crisis of war, pride month was different for LGBTIQ defenders in Ukraine. While Olena and Insight would usually be organising pride events around this time, this year they are providing support and protection to the LGBTQI+ community during the war in Ukraine. Olena shares insights on the situation for HRDs on the ground during the war, how it has affected the LGBTIQ and Human rights community, and how Insight and other lgbtqi + groups have adapted their work to support the current needs of the war crisis.
Abahlali baseMjondolo is a grassroots movement of poor shack dwellers in Durban and other parts of South Africa, advocating for the rights of people living in shacks, including access to decent housing, services and education. Since their inception, leaders of the fast growing movement – with a member base of up to 100,000 – have been targeted and sadly, killed. In the last two weeks, two leaders were again murdered, bringing the number of HRDs killed in the movement to over 20. 30-year old activist Ayanda Ngila was gunned down while tending to a communal garden in Cato Crest. He was a branch chairperson at the time of his murder. Shortly after, Bongumusa Manqele was killed in eNkanini informal settlement during a raid by a large police contingent. We chat to one of Abahlali’s prominent leaders, Sbu Zikode, to hear more about the situation.
Season 4, episode1: Gaps in state-reported data on land and environmental rights defenders negatively and severely impacts the ability to monitor and mitigate situations where human rights defenders are at risk. In 2020, Front Line Defenders reported that 331 human rights defenders were killed, 69% being land and environmental rights defenders. But, Official data on killings remain limited, while there is even less data on physical and other types of lethal attacks on defenders. In this episode, we talk about the gap in data in terms of land rights defenders, touching on the crucial gap report and the data working group. We chat to Carole Excell, Director of Environmental Democracy Practice at the World Resources Institute, and Eva Hershaw, who works on land and monitoring data at the international land coalition.
Topics covered: - How the situation unfolded since the suspicion of an initial hack and breach - How the announcement of the 6 organisations deemed as‘’terrorist’’ linked to the unfolding investigation - Who NSO Group is and what Pegasus is - How the devices were confirmed to be infected, and what happens when spyware is installed on a device - Recommendations on the situation and what the international community can do.
In this episode, we talk about human rights defenders in Africa experiencing challenges in the digital space, on social media platforms and more. Ronald shares his insights as the Digital Protection Coordinator for the Africa region at Front Line Defenders, as well as very NB tips on how HRDs can protect themselves in the Digital space. Abdifatah, and HRD from Digital Shelter in Somalia, talks about a recently released report by Digital Shelter on how HRDs in Somalia and Africa are targeted digitally, as well as how it might be remedied. Alex talks about how LGBTI+ Rights Ghana was challenged when their social media accounts were shut down without warning in relation to their work, and how they went about dealing with that.
Zambias national elections will be held on the 12th of August 2021. This comes against a dangerous background of the country veering towards dangerous authoritarianism. Human rights defenders (HRDs) in Zambia face arrests, violent threats, intimidation tactics, surveillance, and smear campaigns as the government persecutes civil society and challenges the legitimacy of HRDs who speak out against the crack down on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and other core civil and political rights. HRDs worry that elections will not be free and fair, and that the state of authoritarianism will only worsen. Listen to our guests share different insights: MUSIC: TATWASHUPA BY HRD ARTIST PILATO Linda Kasonde: 01m54s Pilato: 15m04s Laura Miti: 32m04s Euegene Mulenga: 44m34s Mbototo: 01h03m04s
Front Line Defenders Rights on the Line podcast, presenting the voices, perspectives and experiences of human rights and human rights defenders (HRDs) across the globe. In this episode, we chat to two HRDs who were a part of the SEA-EYE 4 ship crew, which rescued 408 people from five different refugee boats in distress in May 2021. Sophie Weidenhiller is from the German NGO Sea-Eye, who works for the rescue of fleeing people in the central Mediterranean Sea. Sara Cincurova is a Slovakian HRD journalist who writes on issues ranging from migration, to human rights, humanitarian issues, and women's rights. She has reported from about fifteen different countries, and has been published by BBC and The Guardian, among others. Sara and Sophie will speak on Sea-Eyes most recent heart-wrenching humanitarian mission aboard the Sea Eye 4 ship, as well as their experiences being targeted as human rights defenders for the their sea-rescue efforts and work. Music: Soft Instrumental Hip-hop by jorikbasov
In the last two weeks, unwarranted violence against Palestinians by Israeli authorities has increased. Palestinians on the ground have resisted, and in turn, Israeli forces have since used repeated excessive force on Palestinians. As Airstrikes continue, Israel is cracking down on media with strong censorship of Palestinian content, and the recent targeted bombing of Al-Jazeera and Associated Press building. Israel is using its connections and influence with social media companies to censor content and expression online. Today we speak to 3 Palestinians to shed light on the situation on the ground, what Palestinians need to support their struggle, and what the reality of the struggle is for palestinians. Our guests today include Fayrouz Sharqawi, the director at Grassroots Jerusalem, a platform for Palestinian and international activists and organizations in Jerusalem. Afaf Al-Najjar is in Khan Younis in Gaza, and is a writer with We Are Not Numbers. Lastly, Mona Shtaya is a Communicator, campaigner, Digital/ Human Rights defender and Local Advocacy Manager at Hamlah, the Arab center for social media.
We discuss the challenges faced by human rights defenders working on gender and LGBTI issues, in light of the recent withdrawal of Turkey from the Istanbul Convention. We chat to Aslıhan Tekin, the EU Representative /Alternate Board Member of the European Women's Lobby Coordination for Turkey, as well as Yildiz Tar, Media and Communications Program Coordinator at Kaos GL, an organisation which aims to advance the rights of the LGBTIQ community in Turkey. Our guests will shed light on the pushback against gender issues in Turkey, and how the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention impacts women, and women human rights defenders, and LGBTI rights defenders and the LGBTI community.
In this episode, we discuss the findings of the Front Line Defenders Global Analysis report 2020, focusing on the impact of Covid-19 on the work of human rights defenders, especially in terms of digital security and lockdown regulations. Guests include: Ed O' Donovan, Head of Protection at Front Line Defenders; a HRD from Zambia, an HRD from the Colombian organisation ''Somos Defensores'' speaking on the killings in Colombia, and Bestang Sarah Dekdeken from the Philippines speaking about the impact of Covid-19 on indigenous rights defenders in the Philippines.
This is a special episode, produced by the Coalition for Human Rights in Development. in collaboration with Front Line Defenders. Ahead of the upcoming Finance in Common Summit in Paris, we speak with defenders in Kenya, Guatemala and India, about the human rights impact of projects imposed in the name of development From the 9th to the 12th of November, all public development banks in the world will be together for the first time ever. Over 450 finance institutions and heads of governments will meet to discuss their response to global challenges such as climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the flag of "sustainable development", these banks often present themselves as the world's saviours. But their investments come at a high price. Activities they finance have been linked to thousands of human rights violations. Human rights defenders who oppose harmful projects are being accused of being “anti-development” and they are being threatened, attacked and killed. Indigenous Peoples are seeing their territories being pillaged. Rural communities are being forcibly evicted. Yet, despite growing evidence about these abuses, human rights are not even mentioned in the Finance in Common summit agenda and are glossed over in the proposed joint declaration that all banks will sign at the end of the event. Once again, the voices of human rights defenders and local communities are being completely ignored.
Episodio SP 2 - Defender Derechos En Tiempos De COVID - 19 Una conversación con Sandra Patago, Front Line Defenders; Guillermo Rodríguez García. Oficial de incidencia del programa para México y centroamérica del Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL); Argentina Casanova, codirectora ejecutiva de la RNDDHMX; Waquel Drullard, facilitadore de proyectos en Artículo 19 en la oficina de Mx y Centroamérica y colabora en la facilitación del Espacio OSC en México; María Martín, coordinadora de incidencia de la IM-Defensoras; y Lesly Guerrero, encargada área legal internacional de UDEFEGUA (Guatemala). Además del fuerte impacto que ha tenido la crisis sanitaria generada por la pandemia de COVID-19 en el acceso a derechos y servicios básicos, esta ha resultado también en una profundización de la crisis democrática y de derechos humanos en la región mesoamericana. Como respuesta a la pandemia, algunos Estados de la región han implementado acciones de carácter punitivo, como toques de queda, estados de excepción o la militarización de la seguridad ciudadana, entre otras medidas contrarias a los derechos humanos de la población. En este contexto, la defensa de los derechos humanos enfrenta nuevos obstáculos y, a la vez, se vuelve más urgente que nunca. Estas son algunas de las conclusiones del brief “Defender derechos en tiempos de COVID-19: retos para México y Centroamérica” publicado el día de hoy por el Espacio OSC para la protección de personas defensoras y periodistas (Espacio OSC), Front Line Defenders, la Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras), la Red Nacional de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en México (RNDDHM), el Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL), la Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos, Guatemala (UDEFEGUA), el North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), y Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED).
Hafez Omar Interview

Hafez Omar Interview


Interview with Palestinian artist and human rights defender Hafez Omar for Cypher 02:
Episode 9 - Watched & Monitored: Protecting HRDs from Surveillance - FLD Intro: 00:00 - 01:20 - Hussein Radhi, Bahrain: 01:20 - 04:38 - BIll Marczak, The Citizen Lab, Canada: 04:39 - 16:11 - Tahir Imran, Pakistan: 16:12 -30:02 - Zehida Bihorac, Bosnia & Herzegovina: 30:03 - 36:02
Episode 8 - HRDs & Wellbeing: Rest & Respite For Resiliency - FLD Intro: 00:00 - 01:50 - Abdifatah Hassan Ali, Somalia: 01:50 - 13:05 - Anna Sharyhina, Ukraine: 13:05 - 18:41 - Atziri Avila, Mexico: 18:42 -24:50 With the global pandemic continuing to impose social distancing and other changes to our lives, human rights defenders are increasingly dealing with new types of stress, on top of the regular barrage of threats, harassment and smearing, among other risks and threats. In this episode we go a bit behind the scenes with three human rights defenders to discuss how they deal with the impact of the work on their lives and wellbeing. One of the supports that Front Line Defenders offers to HRDs for their wellbeing and stress management is the Rest & Respite Programme. The programme provides an opportunity for HRDs who are exhausted, experiencing burnout or facing temporary safety issues to take some time out from their work and the stressful environment in which they are working. Front Line Defenders has been supporting HRDs on R&R since 2005, and they can be hosted for short stays in Ireland or in another location of their choosing. While the primary objective of the R&R is to take some time to rest, HRDs can also use the period of relocation to develop their personal skills and contacts in order to prepare for their continued activism in their home country and to manage the risks they face. Activities include language classes, security training, networking with other human rights organisations or public speaking about their work. Some defenders just want to spend some time with their families. Others use the time to focus on their health and well-being. Human rights defenders tell us that the time and space to reflect, the opportunity to experience a new culture and the friendships they develop, give them a new perspective and renewed energy to take on the challenges of their work on their return home.
Season 2, Episode 7 - HRDs Defending Digital Space - FLD Intro: 00:00 - 01:18 - Rabah Nouami, Morocco: 01:18 - 09:42 - Larisa Schmillevitch, Brazil: 09:43 - 22:45 - Asan 'AJ', South Sudan,: 22:46 - 29:31 - HRD, Sri Lanka: 29:32 - 39:54 In this episode of the Front Line Defenders podcast Rights on the Line, we’ll hear from human rights defenders in Morocco, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, and Brazil talk about the unique online threats to their work and when the significance of digital protection can mean the difference between life and death. Through the global pandemic, we are all making adaptations to new modes of working. Many of us are now work remotely, in different physical and emotional environments. But for those human rights defenders whose work always posed threats to their wellbeing and safety, the crisis has no doubt been abused to further repress their activities. Defending digital safety has never been more urgent. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, governments around the world have introduced and implemented sweeping restrictions on freedom of movement and freedom of assembly. Defenders cannot access their offices to communicate with one another from safer locations. Risks to the work of HRDs such as hackings, reduced or costly online access, and unprotected communications platforms, make defenders more vulnerable than ever when they depend on these tools. And, as people under lockdown are more focused than ever on their computers and phones as a sole means to communicate, online communities thrive. Hate campaigns spread like wildfire.
Season 2, Episode 6 - Hong Kong Moment This episode takes us to Hong Kong, where citizens are facing an unprecedented crisis brought on by China’s announcement that it would introduce new national security legislation to control the territory. Hong Kong saw a massive uprising of protest in 2019 against what was seen as moves by the Chinese government to infringe on the basic freedoms enjoyed in the city-state. It was the second mass movement in the decade, following the Umbrella Movement a few years before. Yet now, with the world focused on dealing with a global health pandemic, Chinese authorities are moving to consolidate power in what is seen as an existential crisis for Hong Kong and its people. Front Line Defenders discussed the situation and what it might mean for the future of human rights in Hong Kong with human rights defenders and journalists. Joining us for this episode are Mabel Au, a long time human rights campaigner, working on labour and gender rights; Lee Cheuk-yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions; Andrew Sham, Co-Founder of Civil Rights Observer; Hang Tung Chow, a lawyer and Vice President of the Hong Kong Alliance; and veteran journalist Yin Pong Lam.
Episodio SP 1 - COVID-19, Respuestas de los Gobiernos & Las Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en América Latina - FLD Intro: 00:00 - 02:52 - Sara García Gross, El Salvador: 02:52 - 07:52 - Manuela Roya, Chile: 07:52 - 15:41 - Miriam Miranda, Honduras: 15:41 - 31:04 - María Ciro: 31:04 - 40:28 Front Line Defenders presenta una edición especial del podcast Rights on the Line, enfocándose en las defensoras de derechos humanos en América Latina con el episodio completo en español. Hasta el momento, la pandemia de la COVID-19 ha afectado a América Latina en menor medida que a otras regiones del mundo, con la notable excepción del Brasil, pero esto no significa que la región esté a salvo, ni que algunas medidas que han tomado los gobiernos se ajusten bien a sus poblaciones, en particular a los grupos más vulnerables, especialmente los pueblos indígenas. El Salvador fue el primer país que aplicó las medidas más estrictas de la región para hacer frente a la crisis, pero éstas no estuvieron exentas de controversia política, ya que se produjeron poco después a un notable enfrentamiento político entre el Presidente y el Parlamento. Sara García Gross explica la situación política de El Salvador y el contexto de la respuesta del gobierno. El movimiento de protesta de Chile inspiró al mundo en 2019, en particular a través de las acciones del movimiento feminista. Entre las causas de las generalizadas protestas sociales en Chile estaban los derechos del pueblo indígena mapuche. La abogada Manuela Royo habla de la respuesta del gobierno a la COVID-19 y de cómo la situación actual podría alimentar las protestas cuando se levante el bloqueo. En Honduras, como parte del encierro obligatorio, el gobierno suspendió las garantías constitucionales, incluyendo la libertad de expresión y de reunión. Las personas defensoras de derechos humanos, periodistas y activistas anticorrupción no pudieron circular libremente para informar sobre la crisis y proteger los derechos de las y los ciudadanos. Miriam Miranda, defensora afro-hondureña de los derechos humanos y lideresa de OFRANEH, explica cómo su comunidad está respondiendo y apoyándose de forma colectiva. Apenas unos días después de que el gobierno colombiano comenzara a aplicar medidas para restringir la circulación, empezaron a circular informes sobre personas defensores de los derechos humanos que fueron asesinadas porque eran fáciles de localizar ahora que tenían que permanecer en un lugar fijo. El mecanismo nacional de protección de personas defensoras de derechos humanos anunció que reduciría las medidas destinadas a las personas defensoras, lo que aumentaba aún más la inseguridad. Maria Ciro de El Comité de Integración Social del Catatumbo - Cisca explica cómo su comunidad está respondiendo y desarrollando medidas de protección colectiva.
Season 2, Episode 5 - The COVID-19 Crisis & Prisons in Iran - FLD Intro: 00:00 - 02:02 - Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Prize Winner & Lawyer: 02:03 - 05:03 - Roya Boroumand, Executive DIrector, AB Center: 05:03 - 20:44 (including testimonies from Iranian prisoners) This episode of Rights on the Line focuses on the prison situation in Iran during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is a collaboration between Front Line Defenders and the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran, a non-governmental non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of human rights and democracy in Iran. In its documentation of human rights defenders cases in Iran, Front Line Defenders has often drawn attention to the poor health conditions in the prisons. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center has also documented these conditions, most recently in its April 2020 report, “COVID-19 Fear in Iran’s Prisons”, available on the Center’s website, The first COVID-19 cases were reported in Iran on February 19th in Qom. A month later, the annual Persian New Year celebrations of Nowruz meant that Iranians traveled extensively throughout the country as the government did not impose social distancing policies. As a result of the government’s response, compounded by sanctions and a faltering economy, Iran today is one of the global epicenters of the pandemic. As of May 11, there are almost 110,000 cases and over 6,500 dead according to official figures. Iran is among the 10 most affected countries both in terms of number of cases and number of deaths per 100,000. The government has released approximately 100,000 prisoners in an effort to improve overcrowding at prisons, but poor conditions remain. And notably, imprisoned human rights defenders have almost entirely been excluded from furlough or release. In fact, in recent weeks, Front Line Defenders has reported on cases of HRDs being summoned to report to prison to start serving prison sentences, including Shapour Ehsanirad, Nahid Khodajo and Soha Mortezaei. Sam Rajabi, who is imprisoned in the notorious Evin Prison, was returned to prison despite having tested positive at a civic hospital while receiving treatment for another serious health condition. And long-term cases, Atena Daemi, Narges Mohammadi and Nasrin Sotoudeh remain imprisoned.
Season 2, Episode 4 - COVID-19, HRDs & Government Response: Focus on India - FLD Intro: 00:00 - 04:22 - Gayatri Khandhadai, Tamil Nadu: 04:22 - 24:48 - Anindya Hajra, West Bengal: 24:48 - 37:25 - Sadam Hanjabam, Manipur: 37:25 - 50:32 - HRD, Kashmir: 50:32 - 1:08:58 India has not been hit as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as other countries, at least not in official statistics. While undercounting might be due to lack of available testing, the steps the Indian government took, including a 21-day lockdown may have proven effective in staving off worst-case scenarios. However, that does not mean the government's response has been welcomed in the country. And the measures the Modi government has taken have been widely seen as fitting into a larger trend characteristic of its Hindu-nationalist policies. From the earliest days of the crisis, the Muslim minority has been blamed for the spread of the virus. While the blaming of minorities or marginalized groups is not unique to India, the fact that this comes so soon after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act in December, which sparked widespread protests and attacks targeting the Muslim community, has left many suspicious of any measures the government takes in addressing the health crisis. Other minority groups have also faced rumours of blame for the spread of the virus, including the LGBT community - and especially transgendered persons. And some of the provisions of assistance for citizens announced by the government notably exclude the Muslim and trans communities due to some of the formalities and paperwork required to receive such help. In Kashmir, a lockdown was already in place when the virus arrived in India, with internet and mobile communications largely cut off since Delhi announced in August 2019 that it would revoke Article 370, which had granted Jammu and Kashmir special status or limited autonomy since 1947. Numerous political figures and human rights defenders were detained and after protests erupted, widespread arrests followed. Just as some restrictions were starting to be lifted, the COVID-19 crisis hit, and many in the territory feared that the public health crisis would be devastating in a place cut off from access to the outside world and information. And rights groups feared that more civil liberties would be curtailed under cover of the health crisis . The northeastern state of Manipur, which has effectively been ruled by martial law since the Armed Forces Special Powers Act was introduced in 1958, is not as isolated as Kashmir, but has been kept on the margins of national development. The state has a large presence of army and security personnel and civil society is under constant monitoring. With the first case of COVID-19 identified at the end of March, the state government put Manipur under lock down. In addition to concerns over civil liberties, more vulnerable and marginalized groups in the state are at great risk of devastating health and economic consequences. Front Line Defenders talked with four human rights defenders to get a picture of their work, the risks they face and the context into which the COVID-19 pandemic and the government response occurs. The last few years in India has seen an increase of attacks against human rights defenders and a deterioration of space for civil society. Now, faced with a potentially devastating health crisis, how can HRDs mobilize in the Modi era? Joining us in this episode are Gayatri Khandhadai, Asia policy regional coordinator at the Association for Progressive Communications; Anindya Hajra from The Pratyay Gender Trust based in Calcutta; Sadam Hanjabam from Ya All, the first LGBT organization in Manipur; and a human rights defender from Kashmir who will remain anonymous out of security concerns.
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