Tag Archives: advocates/allies/associates

Hungary News | Asylum-Seekers, Undocumented Migrants & Advocates

Hungary passes laws criminalizing support of asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants
  • The Hungarian parliament passed legislation criminalizing the “organization of illegal immigration,” prohibiting individuals and organizations from providing aid to undocumented immigrants including support in asylum petitioning.
  • Framed as retaliation against the pro-immigrant efforts of billionaire Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, the laws could subject those found guilty of providing support to asylum-seekers to imprisonment for up to a year.
  • The passage comes amidst a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the country, spearheaded by recently reelected Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Read

Hungary passes anti-immigrant ‘Stop Soros’ laws” (The Guardian | June 2018)

Hungary to criminalise migrant helpers in crackdown” (BBC News | June 2018)

Hungary aims to criminalize aiding illegal migration in ‘Stop Soros’ bill” (Reuters | May 2018)

U.S. News | Racial & Religious Minorities and Allies

Attackers connected to white supremacist groups kill 3, wound another in Oregon and Maryland
  • In College Park, MD, black college senior Richard Collins III was stabbed and killed in an unprovoked attack by a 22-year-old white man on the University of Maryland-College Park campus.
  • In Portland, OR, two white men were killed and another injured after intervening as a neo-Nazi white supremacist yelled anti-Muslim rhetoric at two Muslim women on a train.
  • The attacks follow a number of high-profile incidents and an uptick in reported identity-based terrorism following the election of President Donald Trump, whose campaign was marked by anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric and a willingness to court and promote white-supremacist supporters.
Read

University of Maryland Fatal Stabbing Investigated by FBI as Possible Hate Crime” (NBC News | May 2017)

Man shouting ‘anti-Muslim slurs’ fatally stabs two men in Portland” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Spread of Hate Crimes Has Lawmakers Seeking Harsher Penalties” (The New York Times | April 2017)

(Image Credit: via The Baltimore Sun)

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)

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)

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)

Turkey News | Press Advocates

Three press rights advocates arrested in Turkey
  • Erol Onderoglu (Reporters Without Borders), Sebnem Korur Fincanci (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey), and Ahmet Nesin (author) were charged with spreading terrorist propaganda.
  • Now held in pre-trial detention, the three guest-edited an edition of Ozgur Kundem, a pro-Kurdish rights newspaper subjected to multiple investigations and lawsuits as part of the government’s crackdown on Kurdish separatist groups and their supporters.
  • President Tayyip Erdogan has come under international fire for his campaign against critical journalism in Turkey, which has seen journalists imprisoned, television stations taken off the air, and publications seized and shuttered.

Read more:
Turkey arrests raise further concerns over press freedom” (AP via The Guardian)
Reporters Without Borders representative, two others jailed in Turkey” (Committee to Protect Journalists)
Turkey arrests three prominent press-freedom campaigners” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

China News | Advocates

Chinese police accuse human rights lawyer of “endangering state security”
  • The accusations of “inciting subversion” have paved the way for formal charges to be brought against Wang Yu, a lawyer whose firm’s clients include Uyghur dissident Ilham Tohti.
  • The development comes following the mass-scale detention of human rights advocates and activists in July that saw more than 50 arrested.
  • CCTV released footage of Wang calling officials “thugs” in what activists consider to be a smear campaign.

“I said ‘this is all nonsense.’ … The authorities put out the video of her saying that: ‘You all are thugs.’ Why not release the full video? And even if what she said was extreme, is that considered a crime?”

Read the full story at Reuters.

Russia News | Advocates

MacArthur Foundation closes shop in Russia following placement on government watchlist
  • The US-based NGO supporting academic freedom and human rights has operated in Russia since 1992, but a new
  • The organization’s departure comes amidst an ongoing crackdown on “foreign agents” by the Russian government, which has seen academics fined and deported and human rights groups’ operation permits revoked.
  • The anti-NGO law passed in May claims to target international organizations operating against the sovereignty and national security of Russia.

“The recent passage and implementation of several laws in Russia make it all but impossible for international foundations to operate effectively and support worthy civil society organisations in that country.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

China News | Advocates

China detains more than 50 human rights lawyers and staffers in extensive crackdown
  • The coordinated government effort saw lawyers and firm staff members brought in for questioning by police and national security authorities.
  • While most were released with warnings, others were sentenced to house arrest and still others remained out of contact in the largest roundup since 2011.
  • Unlike other recent crackdowns, these detentions wwere a geographically extensive effort, covering as many as 15 provinces.

“The detentions come only two weeks after the end of the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue and set an ugly tone for President Xi’s (Jinping) U.S. visit in September.”

Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.

Iran News | LGBT & Allies

Iranian actor apologies after summoning by authorities following LGBT-supportive tweet
  • Bahram Radan tweeted in support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of nationwide same-sex marriage, leading to his summoning by Iran’s ministry of culture and Islamic guidance.
  • The reaction to the U.S. ruling highlights the division in Iranian society and the diaspora over LGBT rights, seeing online debate stirred after many added Facebook’s rainbow filter to their profile pictures in solidarity with the decision and many others condemned the action.
  • Iran’s hardline conservative authorities have relaxed some punishments against homosexual acts, but they are still criminalized and treated as manifestations of mental illness.

“They’re afraid that people in Iran are beginning to talk about homosexuality as a sexual minority, not an illness, and they don’t want that to be normalised.”

Read the full story at the Guardian.

(Image Credit: Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua Press/Corbis, via The Guardian)

Turkey News | Chinese & Associates

Istanbul Chinese restaurant attacked during demonstrations against China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims
  • Despite being owned by a Turkish man and employing a Uyghur cook, Happy China became a target of protesters’ anger.
  • The owner said that he will be closing the restaurant, which he opened after saving money for 25 years as a tour guide.

“Our customers are Indonesian Muslims in general. We work with Far East Asian people. Only a tiny portion of our customers are made up of Chinese customers. We do not serve alcoholic drinks. Although we work with Muslims, an attack like this has occurred.”

Read the full story at the Hurriyet Daily News.

(Image Credit: DHA photo, via the Hurriyet Daily News)

Cambodia News | Advocates

Demonstrators protest proposed NGO law outside Cambodian parliament
  • Around 100 protesters rallied in solidarity against a draft law requiring NGOs to report their activities and finances to the government.
  • NGOs could face disbandment in the country if the government deems their activities “jeopardize peace, stability and public order or harm the national security, national unity, culture, and traditions of Cambodian society.”
  • Around 5,000 NGOs have registered in Cambodia since 1993, and human rights monitors worry the new legislation–currently awaiting parliamentary approval–would dissolve the strategic barrier between government and civil society and curtail the ability of organizations to defend rights and provide services.
“The draft… appears designed to restrict the legitimate activities of civil society and human rights defenders in violation of the right to freedom of association.”
Read the full AFP story at the Jakarta Post.