Here at ISHR we have a custom of starting all staff meetings by sharing our inspirations. The inspiration might be something deeply personal, like the resilience of a loved one recovering from illness, something local, like the renaming of a Geneva street to honour a feminist activist, or something work-related, like the release of a human rights defender from arbitrary detention following a concerted global campaign.
Since 1994, the Martin Ennals Award honours human rights defenders from around the world who show exceptional commitment to promoting fundamental rights, often at the risk of their own lives. For the 2022 edition, the Jury selected three activists who, through their courage, unfailing hope and strategic approaches, inspired others to take up human rights. Their identities will be revealed on 19 January 2022 during an online press conference. The Martin Ennals Award Laureates 2022 will be honoured during a hybrid ceremony co-hosted by the City of Geneva and the Martin Ennals Foundation on 10 February 2022.
The passage of a human rights defender resolution by the Third Committee of the GA by consensus, with 85 co-sponsors, is another important step in ongoing work to strengthen the promotion and protection of those who defend rights.
Futures thinking encourages us to identify small ‘signals of change’ which might help to identify and influence the futures that come to pass. At ISHR we’ve identified and, together with advocates and activists from around the world, helped contribute to a number of small but significant signals of positive human rights change in recent weeks.
Tech tools can provide great opportunities and challenges to document human rights violations, notably in contexts of acute crisis.
The Martin Ennals Foundation has granted Yu Wensheng, a leading Chinese human rights lawyer, the 2021 Martin Ennals Award. Lawyer Yu was among the three finalists to the Award selected by a jury of ten global human rights organisations - among which ISHR -, along with Loujain AlHathloul from Saudi Arabia and Soltan Achilova from Turkmenistan.
It's difficult to encapsulate such a complex year in a word, but "interconnected" is one that comes to mind when reflecting on 2020. We are proud to have remained deeply interconnected with defenders and to have supported, protected and amplified their work at the national, regional and international levels. With them, the "essential workers" of our times, we strive for a 2021 full of freedom, equality, dignity and justice.
The UN Human Rights Council has today adopted a resolution tasking the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other independent human rights experts to investigate and report on systemic racism and police violence globally, specifically including the killing of George Floyd and related incidents.
As we embark on a new decade, the world faces tremendous challenges, from climate change to COVID-19. There are plenty of reasons for anxiety and concern. But we see even more reasons for ambition and hope. We take hope from courageous human rights defenders across the world who continue their vital work to make human rights a reality for all of us. We are proud to serve them, with the solidarity and support of people like you.
Although Chinese lawyer Wang Quanzhang is no longer in prison, ISHR and others worry that the injustice continues. He is still not free.
A number of women human rights defenders from across the world gathered in Geneva last week to bring their voices to the UN Human Rights Council.
ISHR welcomes the dismissal of baseless charges against woman human rights defender Bettina Cruz Velazquez and urges the Mexican government to guarantee due process for all other human rights defenders facing arbitrary charges.