Tag Archives: activists

Italy News | African Migrants & Refugees

Protests follow denial of docking for ship carrying migrants, murder of migrant activist in Italy
  • More than 600 migrants and refugees have been stuck abroad the Aquarius and two other Italian ships after the government refused to let them dock in Italy, with Spain having finally agreed to accept them.
  • Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right League party, has pledged to expel undocumented immigrants, vowed to crackdown on immigration, and shared anti-immigrant memes on social media.
  • Following his decision as well as the murder of migrant labor activist Soumayla Sacko, thousands of demonstrators mobilized in Rome to protest in solidarity with migrants.
Read

Italian official warns migrant ships not to dock as migrant supporters rally in Rome” (CNN | June 2018)

Aboard the Rescue Ship Where Migrants Have Been Stuck for a Week” (The New York Times | June 2018)

Italians march in solidarity with migrant workers” (euronews | June 2018)

Israel News | African Asylum-seekers

Israel announces deportation plan for tens of thousands of African asylum-seekers
  • Some 40,000 African asylum-seekers—many activists and other dissidents from Sudan and Eritrea—are facing expulsion or imprisonment in Israel, with fewer than 1% of applicants having been granted refugee status.
  • The Israeli government announced that asylum-seekers will have 90 days to accept $3,500 and a plane ticket to a classified third country (speculated to be Rwanda or Uganda) or face incarceration.
  • In response, a network of more than a hundred rabbis called the Anne Frank Home Sanctuary Movement has formed and pledged to protect asylum-seekers from deportation.
Read

Israel to tell African migrants: leave or face indefinite imprisonment” (The Guardian | January 2018)

Mass expulsion under way as Israel begins deporting 40,000 Africans” (Middle East Eye | January 2018)

Inspired by Anne Frank, Rabbis in Israel Plan to Hide African Asylum Seekers Facing Deportation” (Haaretz | January 2018)

Read More

Inside Israel’s Secret Program to Get Rid of African Refugees” (Foreign Policy | June 2017)

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The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants

Egypt News | Activists & Dissidents

New NGO law severely curtails capabilities of rights organizations and charities in Egypt
  • President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a law limiting NGO work to developmental and social work activities and subjecting them to government regulation, with violators facing to up to five years of jail time.
  • NGOs will have one year to come into compliance with the law or be dissolved.
  • Human rights organizations accused the government of attempting to quell dissent, with officials long having accused NGOs of taking foreign money to destabilize national security.
Read

Egypt issues controversial NGO law, cracking down on dissent” (Reuters | May 2017)

The Latest: Egypt’s president ratifies law restricting NGOs” (The Associated Press via ABC News | May 2017)

Egypt’s NGO law aims to ‘erase civil society’” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)

(Image Credit: via Reuters)

China News | Activist Women

Chinese feminist group’s social media accounts suspended
  • The Weibo account for prominent feminist group Feminist Voices was recently suspended, with the group’s social media editor suspecting posts about anti-Trump demonstrations in the U.S. having spurred the gag.
  • Weibo administrators indicated the group will be unable to post through the account for 30 days for “violating national laws.”
  • Beyond the suspension, activists reported broadening crackdowns on feminist activity, including social media attacks by commentators paid by the government to support the Chinese Communist Party on social media.
Read

Chinese Feminist Group’s Social Media Account Suspended” (The New York Times | February 2017)

Chinese Feminists Protest Gag Order on Social Media Account” (Radio Free Asia | February 2017)

Women In China Are Protesting After A Feminist Account Was Shut Down For Posting About The Women’s March” (BuzzFeed News | February 2017)

(Image Credit: Feminist Voices, via The New York Times)

Egypt News | Critics, Advocates & Journalists

Travel bans trap Egyptian activists in “giant prison”
  • Two prominent human rights advocates—Aida Seif al-Dawla and Azza Soliman—recently discovered they were barred from traveling in and out of Egypt as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi continues targeting civil society and human rights organizations.
  • Human rights monitors report that 217 people have been subject to travel bans between 2014 and 2016, 115 of whom are critics of the Sisi-led government.
  • Activists and journalists reported being met with deferral or radio silence when inquiring about the cause or origin of their bans, with the government denying a crackdown.

Read more:
Egypt is giant prison, activists banned from travel say” (Reuters)
Egypt imposes travel bans on human rights activists” (The Financial Times)
A Top Egyptian Human Rights Activist Banned From Travel” (AP via The New York Times)

U.S. News | Native Americans

Tensions escalate in North Dakota as protesters and police clash in Dakota Access Pipeline protests
  • Protesters reported police wielding tear gas and water cannons in the 23-degree weather after claiming the protests had dissolved into a “riot,” heightening already pronounced concerns about hypothermia in the below-freezing conditions.
  • Reports indicated that more than 150 were injured and at least seven hospitalized as a result of the confrontation.
  • More than 400 activists have been arrested since the standoff began over the ongoing dispute over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Read more:
Standing Rock protest: hundreds clash with police over Dakota Access Pipeline” (The Guardian)
Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Soaked by Water Cannons in Clash With Police” (The New York Times)
Police, Protesters Clash Near Dakota Access Pipeline Route” (NPR)

(Image Credit: Stephanie Keith/Reuters, via The New York Times)

Turkey News | Advocates & Critics

Turkey halts activities of 370 NGOs as “purge” continues
  • Following the failed coup attempt of July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has banned the activities of hundreds of organizations, including human rights and children’s organizations, arrested opposition lawmakers, and shuttered more than 100 media organizations on charges of collusion with terrorists.
  • Of the suspended, 153 were allegedly connected to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen (whom Erdogan has accused of masterminding the coup), 190 with Kurdish militant group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), 19 to far-left militant group DHKP-C, and 8 to the Islamic State.
  • More than 100,000 in the military, police, political administration, journalism, and academia have lost their jobs and tens of thousands have been arrested, prompting condemnation from human rights monitors and warnings from foreign governments.

Read more:
Turkey halts activities of 370 groups as purge widens” (Reuters)
Erdogan Renews Putsch Purge With Targets in Media, Academia” (Bloomberg)
Erdogan’s ‘One-Man Regime’ Sacks 10,000, Closes Kurdish Media” (teleSUR English)

China News | Pro-Democracy Politicians

Clashes erupt as newly elected pro-democracy officials in Hong Kong ousted by Beijing
  • As many as 10 newly elected members to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council may lose their seats as the Chinese government has declared that improperly declared oaths of office disqualify them from office.
  • The Chinese parliament passed a resolution removing two newly elected Hong Kong  officials for inserting a slur against China and a pledge to the “Hong Kong nation” in their oaths.
  • Thousands of protesters (including a large contingent of lawyers) took to the street, in demonstration against the government’s stance, clashing with police and denouncing increased intervention from Beijing into semi-autonomous Hong Kong’s affairs.

Read more:
8 More Pro-Democracy Lawmakers in Hong Kong May Lose Seats” (The New York Times)
Clashes, Pepper Spray in Hong Kong Amid Angry Protests Over China’s Intervention” (Radio Free Asia)
China moves to bar Hong Kong activists as fears grow over intervention” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Vincent Yu/Associated Press, via The New York Times)

Global News | Uyghur Muslims

Uyghur activist wins prestigious human rights award
  • Chinese scholar Ilham Tohti, famed as a moderate bridge between Uyghur and Han Chinese cultures, was awarded the Martin Ennals Award, a human rights prize awarded by a jury including representatives from organizations such as Amnesty International.
  • Tohti is a prominent advocate for Uyghur rights and visibility, including drawing attention to the oppression of Uyghurs by the Chinese government in Xinjiang.
  • The Chinese government sentenced Tohti to life in prison in 2014, accusing him of ties to terrorism and promoting dissidence in the country.

Read more:
Ilham Tohti 2016 Martin Ennals Award Laureate for Human Rights Defenders (Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders)
Ilham Tohti, Uighur imprisoned for life by China, wins major human rights prize” (The Guardian)
Chinese Uighur wins prestigious rights award” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Andy Wong/AP, via The Guardian)

ClimateWatch | Turkey

ClimateWatch
Turkey’s “Purge”

The recent attempted coup by a faction within Turkey’s military has left the country in the throes of uncertainty, further increasing citizens’ and human rights watchdogs’ already pronounced concerns about the future of civil liberties in Turkey. Ground zero for the attempted overthrow of the government were Ankara and Istanbul, home to journalists overrun on the air by military forces and ordinary citizens called into the streets by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan via FaceTime.

Daylight illuminated the deaths of nearly 300, the wounds of the 1,400 injured, and the beginning of a so-called “purge” that has further endangered groups already vulnerable under Erdogan’s regime: political critics, journalists, and intellectuals. Women, too, found themselves targeted amidst the instability, and Turkish Kurds worry that the aftermath will further heighten anti-Kurd sentiment.

But the coup attempt and retaliation are only the latest in Turkey’s security woes. Terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Ankara, conflict with Kurdish militants and pro-Kurd advocates, ongoing intimidation and blackouts of journalists and political dissidents, and a regional refugee crisis have upended the tenuous stability in the country secured through a 2013 ceasefire with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). While the restoration of Erdogan’s government was seen as a victory for democracy, Turks and observers alike fear what measures Erdogan, already intolerant of dissent, will take in its wake.

Here is a look at coverage of the destabilizing security situation for at-risk communities in Turkey: Continue reading ClimateWatch | Turkey

Egypt News | Political Critics

Egyptian government limiting movement rights of critics
  • Nearly 500 journalists, activists, and advocates have been deported from Egypt since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s inauguration in 2013 for having criticized the government, according to one civil rights group.
  • Critics of Sisi, the judiciary, and other government powers have been subjected to travel restrictions, limiting their movement in and out of the country.
  • Those subject to travel bans often don’t find out about their status until at airports, with the requirement of a judicial order only infrequently being met.

Read more:
Egypt’s Latest Tactic Against Critics: Block Their Movements, or Deport Them” (The New York Times)
Human rights lawyer Amin barred from traveling to Beirut” (Daily News Egypt)
Egypt: Travel Ban on Women’s Rights Leader” (Human Rights Watch, June 2016)

Vietnam News | Political Dissidents

Political activists muzzled in Vietnam during visit by President Obama
  • Several activists reported having been detained or otherwise barred from meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama during his visit to Hanoi.
  • President Obama met with a group of civil society leaders and spoke to ongoing concerns over the suppression of free expression and assembly in the country.
  • International human rights groups estimate more than 100 political prisoners languish in Vietnamese prisons, while most of the more than 100 who attempted to run as independents in recent elections were excluded from the ballot.

Read more:
As Obama Presses Vietnam on Rights, Activists Are Barred From Meeting” (The New York Times)
Obama prods Vietnam on rights after activists stopped from meeting him” (Reuters)
In shadow of Obama’s visit, Vietnam cracked down on protests over dead fish” (The Washington Post)

(Image Credit: Kham/Reuters, via The Washington Post)

Myanmar News | Labor Activists

More than 70 arrested in Myanmar after labor demonstration
  • Police reportedly detained 71 protesters and charged 51 after they attempted to march from their wood-processing factory in Sagaing State to Naypyitaw, the capital.
  • Protesters organized to call for organizing rights and the re-hiring of terminated factory workers.
  • Myanmar’s government has come under fire from rights groups for a proposal to retain junta-era restrictions on assembly and free speech, including the exclusion of non-citizens (including the Rohingya minority) from demonstration rights.

Read more:
More than 50 people charged in Myanmar after protest: police” (Reuters)
New Myanmar government proposes keeping some junta curbs on protests” (Reuters)
Protest law changes fail international standards: Amnesty” (Frontier Myanmar)

Kyrgyzstan News | Foreign NGOs

Kyrgyzstan Parliament blocks bill targeting foreign NGOs for increased government oversight
  • The controversial bill, modeled after Russia’s, originally sought to have foreign-funded organizations labeled “foreign agents” and increase bureaucratic oversight of international NGOs, deterring their operation in the country.
  • International or internationally funded NGOs in the country support public health and human rights development—particularly for vulnerable minorities—and serve as monitors of government corruption.
  • The bill had been revised to excise the “foreign agent” label and decrease financial reporting requirements, but the persistence of other large bureaucratic burdens led to the bill’s defeat as legislators worried over the bill’s impact on Kyrgyzstan’s international reputation.

Read more:
Kyrgyzstan: Foreign Agent Bill Nixed, NGOs Rejoice” (EurasiaNet)
Kyrgyzstan scraps bill to bring NGOs under tighter control” (Reuters)
NGOs Avert Russian-Inspired Restrictions in Central Asia’s Only Democracy” (Foreign Policy)

(Image Credit: Igor Kovalenko/EPA, via Foreign Policy)

Myanmar News | Youth Activists

New Myanmar government pardons almost 200 imprisoned activists

  • Among the 113 released so far were 69 student activists, many of whom had been charged and convicted following major student protests in March 2015.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, who led the National League for Democracy (NLD) party to victory, had herself been under house arrest for 15 years of the military’s rule.
  • Of the remaining 345 facing political charges, 298 are on bail and 47 on remand in jail.

Read more:
New Myanmar government frees scores of jailed activists” (Reuters)
Myanmar Court Drops Charges Against Student Detainees” (Radio Free Asia)
Myanmar drops charges against nearly 200 political activists” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)