The Rudolf Vrba jury awards the prize for the best film in the Right to Know category, and it is composed of important human rights advocates, international exponents of the non-profit sector and donors. The jury is named after the war hero Rudolf Vrba, who escaped from the Auschwitz concentration camp and subsequently fought as a partisan against the Nazis until the end of the Second World War.
The team watched 15 films and made a choice. The Winning Documentary was awarded to “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan” (The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan / Jamie Doran / UK / 2010 / 52 min). A Special Mention award was given to “Love Me, Please” (Lubite menia, pojaluista / Valery Balayan / Russia / 2010 / 75 min).
This was an extraordinary space for human rights activist and filmmakers to meet and discuss serious human rights issues at the global level. Dignity International wishes the One World Film Festival every success in this big effort.
*** Participation at SAPA WG on UNHR Regional Consultation for Joint Action Initiatives, 30-31 March, Bangkok - SAPA (The Solidarity for Asian People's Advocacy Working Group on UN Human Rights Mechanisms) has existed since 2007 and is being coordinated by FORUM-ASIA as its convener. Jerald Joseph, Executive Director of Dignity International was invited to be on the first Panel titled "Twenty-Five Years of the UN Declaration of the Right to Development: Evolution of the Debate and the Practical Relevance to Asian NGOs Human Rights Advocacy".
Jerald Joseph, Executive Director, Dignity International on 1st Panel Discussion
He spoke about the experience of Dignity International's work on economic, social and cultural rights over the last 10 years working with grassroots communities. He focused on the demands from the people on the ground on what 'Development' means for the struggling communities for basic rights such as house, land and water, despite the existence of the UN human rights Convention on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Declaration on the Right to Development. This 25th anniversary by the UN can be a point to demand from governments to fulfill their obligations both nationally as states and internationally as a global international regime.
Group photo of Asian participants
The workshop was well attended by about 40 participants from all over Asia. It worked to come up with a common understanding of recent developments in the UN human rights mechanisms, and then develop a regional joint action initiative for 2011.
*** Visit from an Alumnus - Dignity international was pleased to have Mr Veerawit Tianchainan, Executive Director of the Thai Committee for Refugees (TCR) Thailand, at the DI office on the 28th of March. He is an alumnus of the 9th Annual Global Linking and Learning Programme on Human Rights Based Development in 2010. Mr Veerawit dropped by to pay a courtesy visit and updated us on what's happening in Thailand and the refugee situation over there. It was splendid moment meeting up again.
Mr Veerawit Tianchainan and the Dignity Team
*** First Thailand National Training on ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism - Right after I returned from the 9th Global Leadership Learning Program by Dignity International in Malaysia in December 2010, Sureeporn and I co-facilitated the first Thailand National Training on ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism with the support from FORUM-ASIA. The Training Manual of the National Training was jointly developed by Jerald Joseph, Executive Director of Dignity International and he also co-trained Sureeporn and I, together with other trainers from civil society organizations in ASEAN countries with the support of FORUM-ASIA.
Trainers and participants of the First Thailand National Training
on ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism
The National Training used the Popular-Education (Pop-Ed) approach and it was the first time this approach was introduced to Thai participants in building their capacities on ASEAN Human Rights Mechanisms. The participants were from various civil society organisations in Thailand including those who are disabled. Sureeporn and I benefited from the Training Manual with its vast range of Pop-Ed activities suggested in all the Modules, available for our selection.
The concept of human rights was given a deeper understanding through an activity whereby each participant was required to protect their precious balloon (symbolising the most important aspect of their life) from the other participants. In addition to that, acting out different scenarios in still-photo gave participants a clearer illustration of the violation and protection of human rights.
Participants acting out scenes on the violation and protection
of human rightsto get a clearer illustration
During the training, a mapping out of violations of human rights in Thailand and comparing them with what participants thought could happen in other ASEAN countries have helped participants to understand common issues people in ASEAN are facing and how ASEAN Human Rights Mechanisms are needed to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights. Despite the difficult subject matters, the Pop-Ed activities assisted in making the learning more enjoyable, at the same time to understand the concept of Human Rights, ASEAN and the mechanisms that they could use to seek protection of all human rights in ASEAN region.
This is ground-breaking in capacity building for people and civil society organisations in Thailand in defending all human rights sustainably from the grassroots level. All of these would not have been possible without the dedication and creativity of Dignity International. Thank you, Dignity International Team!!!
Source: Veerawit Tianchainan, Executive Director of Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation (TCR). TCR is the first Thai registered organisation with the mission to promote and protect all human rights of asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons in Thailand and in ASEAN region.
*** Egypt: Human Rights Challenges - Statement at the Conclusion of OHCHR Mission to Egypt 27 March to 4 April 2011 - A delegation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on 5 April that there had been a number of clear human rights achievements in Egypt since 25 January and encouraged the country leadership to translate the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people for change into concrete democratic institutional reforms. It also called for a concerted effort and renewed vigilance in combating human rights violations and impunity and ensuring transparency and inclusive dialogue during the transitional period.
The delegation issued its statement at the end of an eight-day visit to Egypt to interact with main national actors about the current situation and identify how OHCHR can support Egypt’s transition to a democratic and open society governed by the Rule of Law.
The five-member delegation met with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Labour, and officials in the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice, as well as members of the judiciary and of the National Human Rights Council, representatives of political parties and of civil society including lawyers, human rights organisations, youth movements and coalitions. The delegation, led by Anders Kompass, OHCHR’s head of field operations and technical cooperation division, also met with representatives of UN agencies and of the diplomatic community.
"We were encouraged by the commitments expressed by governmental representatives to institutionalise respect for human rights, including through the ratification of several human rights treaties or their optional protocols providing for individual complaints procedures,” the delegation said. It also noted a commitment to increase engagement with the United Nations human rights mechanisms including the independent UN human rights experts known as Special Procedures.
"We were impressed by the clarity of analysis presented by civil society representatives, especially the youth, and their vision for a new Egypt based on the revolution’s slogans of Dignity, Freedom and Social Justice," the delegation said, adding that “the credibility of reform for any society in transition depends on the way past as well as current human rights violations are addressed.” To read more of the report, CLICK HERE>>>
*** Religion, Belief and Women’s Rights - “The courage and determination of women in the Middle East and North Africa should be a source of inspiration for all of us, women and men striving to achieve full respect for human rights in general, and the rights of girls and women in particular,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on 5 April in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
“Wearing jeans, headscarves or the full hijab, with secular or religious views, they were at the forefront of the demonstrations. They claimed public space and public attention. They demanded change. They knew that they were likely to suffer most from a perpetuation of the status quo,” she said.
“We must support these women now, so that the space they have claimed and gained through those protests remains wide open for them and other groups at risk.”
“We must guard against the reassertion of discriminatory practices and intolerance during the period of uncertainty which will be inevitable during the political transition,” Pillay told participants at a forum on “Religion, Belief and Women’s Rights” at the Carter Centre which took place from 5 to 6 April.
She pointed out that “the dignity of all, regardless of sex or background, is fundamental to all faiths and cultures. It is also the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
“Traditions, beliefs and values change over time, and are viewed and interpreted differently within societies. There are traditions of hate, just as there are traditions of tolerance; traditions of repression, just as there are traditions of liberation; and traditions of deprivation and exclusion, just as there are traditions of social justice. These contrasts can be found in the histories of all countries and of many systems of belief.”
“Our task is to be squarely and unequivocally on the side of those in every society who promote and defend human rights, to stand with those who believe in human dignity and equality,” the High Commissioner stressed.
Read the full speech of the High Commissioner
*** OAS Demands a Halt to Belo Monte Dam Project - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), part of the Organisation of American States (OAS), has officially requested the Brazilian Government to immediately suspend the Belo Monte Dam Complex in the Amazonian state of Para, citing the project’s potential harm to the rights of traditional communities living within the Xingu river basin.
According to the IACHR, the Brazilian Government must comply with legal obligations to undertake a consultation process that is "free, prior, informed, of good faith and culturally appropriate" with indigenous peoples threatened by the project before further work can proceed. The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs must inform the OAS within 15 days regarding urgent measures undertaken to comply with the Commission's resolution.
Read the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defence press release on this issue
*** India's untapped potential: Are a billion people losing out because of spectrum? - As one of the world’s fastest growing economies and with over 65 percent of its billion-plus population under 35, India has huge potential. But according to Shyam Ponappa of the Centre for Internet & Society, its spectrum management – the electromagnetic waves that are used from home appliances like microwaves and remote controls, to radios, cell phones, and of course, the internet – could be a huge barrier to the country’s economic and social development.
Until the global economic downturn that began about two years ago, the economic model for spectrum distribution in India and many developing countries was based on the free market. But Ponappa demonstrates in a new report for APC that spectrum is worth treating as a public utility the way we do roads, electricity and other basic infrastructure, which would allow for people in rural areas to access spectrum-dependant services like mobile phones and wifi and increase quality of services for all.
Currently in India, as in most other countries, spectrum is being treated as a property, where “chunks” of spectrum are sold to the mobile phone and telecommunications operators with the highest bid. Commonly there are 3 – 4 operators in a developed country; however, in India there are up to sixteen. The extreme competition has resulted in the Indian bidders paying outrageous fees that they are never able to recuperate. So while the government makes a profit on the sale, this profit comes at a societal cost.
To read more, CLICK HERE>>>
Source: APC News
*** SOS Appeal from Bahrain - The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Bahrain, appeal for help in face of mass systematic murder against the unarmed people of Bahrain, demanding legitimate rights for democratic system which respects its rights Bahrain has been witnessing mass attacks by the riot police , armed militia, and lately Bahraini Armed forces and Saudi-Gulf Forces, against the protesters and civilian people and areas in the Shia area in the capital Manama, Muhraq , Sitra , Hamad Town most of Northern and Middle Region along Budia Road.
This was culminated with mass attack against Sitra Island on Tue. 15 which left three killed and hundreds were wounded. The dawn of Wed. 16, witnessed sweeping attack against LULU circle (Martyr Sq.), where in addition to riot police, Bahraini and Saudi armed forces participated using fire arms of all kinds, while six Apache copters roamed skies in intimidation.
In both days ambulances from central Salmannia hospital were prevented from taking causalities, and staffs were assaulted. In Sitra, the Local Medical Center was besieged and attacked by the militia. In Lulu Circle, close to Slamanya, ambulances were barred, Salmanya hospital was besieged and then broken through by riot police, in order to arrest the wounded. Electricity was cut off the Lulu Circle, all surrounding area and Salmanya hospital. Mobile service was cut off all northern region of Bahrain till 10am. The attacks against Shia residential areas are continuing by riot police and armed militias.
The Bahraini government along with Saudi and Emirates governments are responsible for these massacres. The Saudi-Emirates forces are occupying forces.
We appeal to The Security Council, The UN, The Arab League, the International Community, to curb the attackers and to end this massacre. States with leverage to Bahrain government, should intervene directly.
Relief agencies such as ICRC, MSF, Arab and International Red Crescent and Cross should intervene to break the siege of hospitals and assaults against medical staff.
The Bahraini Civil Society Organisations, Bahrain 16 March 2011
Source: Choike / Bahraini CSOs
*** Humanitarian Crisis in Ivory Coast – 7 April - Violent attacks and looting have forced thousands to flee Ivory Coast for Liberia over the past 24 hours, Oxfam said today. As battles continue to surround the presidential residence in Abidjan, serious violence against civilians is still reported in the west of the country. Oxfam staff in the coastal town of Harper in Liberia say that more than 4,000 people have arrived there in the past 24 hours alone, fleeing violence centred around Tabou just across the border.
“We are hearing that as many as 7,000 more people are on their way here,” said Shemeles Mekonnen, Oxfam’s Public Health Engineer in Maryland, south-east Liberia. “People have been caught up in violent attacks and are running from their homes with nothing.
“Refugees are speaking of fighting, looting and burning of homes. This crisis is far from over and the needs are immense.” People are fleeing for their lives and are in dire need of clean water, food and shelter. Many are saying they are too scared to return home anytime soon. Refugees will need our help for months to come.
So far more than 100,000 Ivorian refugees have been registered in Liberia, most are living in extremely poor conditions in transit centres or local communities.
Oxfam has launched a $16 million appeal for the Ivory Coast crisis which has forced more than one million people from their homes. The agency is installing water tanks, latrines and showers in Maryland for the influx of refugees coming over the border in addition to providing clean water and sanitation services to thousands of people further north along the Ivory Coast-Liberia border.
Oxfam has flown in supplies for 70,000 people and is sending a team of aid experts in to Ivory Coast in the coming days to evaluate how to respond to the crisis, but the agency warns that any aid operation will be extremely difficult due to ongoing conflict.
Take action and please donate now to support Oxfam's emergency relief work via one of these Oxfam Ivory Coast/Liberia Emergency Appeals:
Otherwise please consider making a donation to the general emergency fund of Oxfam affiliates. Your money will be used to fund our emergency work worldwide.
In the UK, you can also text "DONATE" to 70066 to give £5*
Source: Oxfam International
*** Colombia: 123 Families Return to the Las Pavas Land – On 14 July 2009, 123 families living in the rural area known as Las Pavas, the southern region of Colombia’s Bolivar department, were forcefully evicted by members of the National Police and the mobile riot police squad at the request of a palm oil production company. The community has filed recourses, to no avail, with different legal bodies, along with other respectful and peaceful appeals requesting: the revoke of administrative acts justifying their eviction, the regulation of the possession of land they have occupied since 1997, and the general protection of their rights, including their right to food.
The State's failure to respond effectively to these actions demonstrates the lack of protection that this community suffers, prolongs the illegality of their eviction and their lack of access to adequate means for a dignified subsistence. This situation has led the community to decide to return to the land. We are making a call to action in the light of the community’s leaders having been subject to threats, harassment and a campaign to discredit them, and in view of the lack of food self-sufficiency that plagues this community and forces them into hunger.
To read more and take action CLICK HERE>>>
*** Call for Papers: Asylum and Displacement in the Twenty-First Century - Asylum and Displacement in the Twenty-First Century: Performing Community, Crisis and Belonging 20-21 April 2012, Royal Holloway, University of London.
A two-day conference on performative responses to asylum and displacement. The vast populations of asylum seekers, refugees and other unauthorised or irregular migrants represent the vanguard of some of the most pressing challenges in a globalised world: conflict, crisis, poverty, security, human rights, environmental degradation and climate change. The conference will facilitate scholarly and creative exchange, investigating ways in which performance might witness, respond to and intervene in these challenges. Performance in this context may include professional and amateur theatre, community, youth and applied performance, film, protest and activism, site-specific work, and more broadly, the ‘enactment’ of citizenship and belonging. Supported by the Department of Drama and Theatre, the Centre for International Theatre and Performance Research (CITPR), and the Humanities and Arts Research Centre (HARC) at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Confirmed keynote speakers: Professor James Thompson (University of Manchester) and Assoc. Professor Prem Kumar Rajaram (Central European University).
Researchers, artists and other stakeholders are invited to submit 250-word abstracts for papers or practical presentations in response to any of the following topics:
- Applied, participatory and community performance
- Education and youth theatre
- Verbatim, testimonial or tribunal theatre
- Intercultural and multilingual performance
- Cinematic representations of asylum and displacement
- Protest and activism
- Site-specific performance
- Borders, border-crossings and territoriality
- Biopower, security, incarceration and human rights
- Sovereignty, citizenship and belonging
- Cosmopolitanism, globalisation and the ethics of hospitality
- Ecology, climate change and displacement
- Indigeneity and displacement
Details of additional conference guests and a publication will be announced in due course. Please forward abstracts to the conference organiser by 31 August 2011: Dr Emma Cox, Department of Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway: emma.cox /at/ rhul.ac.uk Conference registration deadline: 16 December 2011
Source: Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies
*** Job Vacancy: COHRE Programme Officer for South Africa - The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) is an international human rights NGO working to promote and protect the human right to adequate housing for everyone, everywhere. COHRE has regional programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The Programme Officer will take a lead role in the development and implementation of COHRE’s programme activities in South Africa. The programme will focus on research and analysis of housing rights challenges and violations – including forced evictions – in South Africa and in the design and implementation of advocacy, capacity building and other activities related to the promotion and protection of the right to adequate housing. The Programme Officer will work under the supervision of the Africa Regional Director and will support COHRE’s regional activities.
Interested candidates should send a brief covering letter and curriculum vitae to Esther Kodhek, Regional Director, COHRE Africa Programme at
with a copy to the email
To read more about this announcement CLICK HERE>>>
*** 4th Annual Training on Monitoring ESC Rights - 9-13 May 2011: Advanced Training Course on Monitoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, The Project on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Geneva, Switzerland. The Project on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights organises annually professional training courses on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Project has extensive experience in organising two types of training aimed at providing professionals with tailored knowledge on the protection of ESC rights according to their level of experience. The “Training Course on Understanding Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” is designed to introduce participants to ESC rights, while the “Advanced Training Course on Monitoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” is aimed at providing more practical tools to advanced professionals in this area.
On this occasion, the Project proudly announces the organisation of the 4th annual Advanced Training Course on Monitoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The course is designed for professionals with advanced experience in working on ESC rights. The course will most benefit representatives from NGOs, national human rights institutions, governmental authorities, academia, international organisations, and United Nations bodies.
The course aims to enhance the work of professionals by training them on specific aspects related to monitoring ESC rights. The course will also instruct participants on how advocacy tools, including, for example, human rights indicators, budget analysis or litigation activities can be effectively used to build monitoring policies that would be addressed not only to domestic institutions, but also to international mechanisms mandated to protect and promote ESC rights.
For more information about the course, please see the flyer and application form. You can also visit the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights or email them at escrtraining(at)adh-geneve.ch.
*** OHCHR Meetings and Events–
International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions (ICC) / 24th session
From : 17-05-2011 To : 19-05-2011
(ICC) Workshop on role of prevention in the promotion & protection of HR / 1st session
From : 20-05-2011 To : 20-05-2011
WG on Situations / 8th session
From : 20-06-2011 To : 24-06-2011
PW 1st floor
Pre-sessional WG on Communications - HR Committee / 102nd session
From : 04-07-2011 To : 08-07-2011
PW Grd Floor
CEDAW - WG Communications / 20th session
From : 04-07-2011 To : 08-07-2011
*** Civil Society Document on FAO Land Guidelines - The document Civil Society Organisations´ Proposals to the FAO Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Land and Natural Resources Tenure is one contribution is one contribution of CSO to the process towards the adoption of "Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land and other Natural Resources". This document was independently produced to inform the FAO drafting process with the views of civil society organisations and is now available. Since 2005, the FAO has been working on raising awareness of the importance of good governance of land and natural resource tenure. In 2009 the FAO launched an initiative to adopt Voluntary Guidelines for the Governance of Land and other Natural Resources Tenure (VG), which are expected to become a broad agreement jointly shared by governments, civil society and international organisations and approved by FAO member nations and other interested parties. The process leading up to the adoption of these guidelines comprises different steps. An important phase just finished, included 10 Regional Consultations and 5 separate consultations with civil society (4) and private sector (1) between 2009- 2010. The purpose of the consultations was to identify key issues in the regions they were held and identify good practices and possible solutions.
Based on the four reports the international facilitating team prepared the first draft for wide online consultation between September – November 2010. The second draft including the feedback was prepared in December 2010, then discussed and validated in regional meetings facilitated by the members of the International Facilitating Team.
The final version, containing the Proposals of CSO formulated in thirteen Guidelines addressing Overarching Principles, Specific Policy Issues and Accountability can be found here: LINK
Working Group on Agrarian Reform and Territory
IPC for Food Sovereignty
See the document Civil Society Organisations´ Proposals to the FAO Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Land and Natural Resources Tenure
See the Annex of the document Civil Society Organisations´ Proposals to the FAO Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Land and Natural Resources Tenure
Source: FAO / FIAN
*** ESCR-Net Toolkit - Toolkit for Action for the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. You can find the new Toolkit for Action for the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the below link provided by ESCR-Net. The toolkit has been created for NGOs and other civil society groups as well as States, in order to facilitate international and national advocacy work for the ratification of the Protocol and the national implementation of economic, social and cultural rights. The Toolkit includes four Booklets.
For the Toolkit in English CLICK HERE>>>
*** Can Mobile Technologies Make a Revolution? - SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa - SMS Uprising provides a unique insight into how activists and social change advocates are addressing Africa's many challenges from within, and how they are using mobile telephone technologies to facilitate these changes. To read more and purchase this publication CLICK HERE>>>
Source: Pambazuka News
*** Progress with Women's and Children's Rights in Africa - New book: The work to promote human rights in Africa is giving positive results. This is what a number of African jurists and experts report in a new French/English book on women and children’s rights in Africa. In spite of improvement there is yet a long way to go.
The 384-pages anthology takes the pulse of current women and children’s rights issues in Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Niger, Malawi and Uganda. The authors describe improvements that have already occurred and identify areas in which work to promote the rights of women and children is still needed.
One of the main conclusions of the book is that, although there is still a long way to go to secure equality, democratic participation, to combat violence against women and improve the rights of African children, work and efforts to secure human rights create positive results.
This is the assessment made by Stéphanie Lagoutte, senior researcher at the Institute for Human Rights (IMR), who together with Nina Svaneberg, has edited the book.
To learn more about this book please CLICK HERE>>>
Source: Danish Institute for Human Rights
This is a monthly electronic news bulletin of 'Dignity International: All Human Rights for All'. Dignity International does not accredit, validate or substantiate any information posted by members to this news bulletin. The validity and accuracy of any information is the responsibility of the originator.
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