Thursday, February 15, 2018

[RED DEMOCRATICA] DemocracyNews: February 15, 2018


Iconic Pakistani Human Rights Activist Asma Jahangir Dies

The World Movement for Democracy mourns the passing of Asma Jahangir, a fearless human rights lawyer and lifelong advocate for women, children, and minorities in Pakistan. Asma championed the rights of marginalized communities in the face of hostile military regimes and dictatorships. She died on Monday, February 12, 2018 in Lahore at age 66.

During her 40-year career, Asma founded the first free legal-aid center in Pakistan, established the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, formed the Women's Action Forum, served as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan from 2010-2012, and was appointed the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran in 2016. Because of her work, she was beaten, teargassed, and jailed, but she unfailingly put the cause of human rights before her own personal safety.

Asma attended the inaugural World Movement Assembly in 1999.

Featured in This Issue:​
  • Iconic Pakistani Human Rights Activist Asma Jahangir Dies
  • The Political Movements of Nigerian Youth
  • Mapping Human Rights Funding
  • Cameroonians Fight Internet Shutdowns 
  • Hong Kong Youth Activists Freed
  • Call for Applications: Hurford Youth Fellowship Program 

Express Solidarity With Political Prisoners


The Political Movements of Nigerian Youth

Nigerian youth have continued to build upon their successful political inclusion campaigns to become an organized political force ahead of the 2019 elections. As Samson Itodo, executive director of Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), explains in "Nigerian Youth: The Real Third Force," it is the youth, not the "ruling political class," that are the real power behind democratic movements.. With youth making up 52 percent of the registered voters in Nigeria, their support for parties and candidates will be the deciding factor in these elections. As such, they must organize around a common platform and demand measurable actions from politicians who want their support. Read his full article here.


Mapping Human Rights Funding

"Who is funding human rights, and where?" The Human Rights Funders Network and Foundation Center set out to tackle this question during a seven-year research project. The result, an interactive research hub with five years of data, fills in this knowledge gap and shows thematic and regional trends concerning human rights funding from 2011-2015. The research points to an overall increase in the funding with environmental and health issue areas being the primary beneficiaries. However, disability rights and research both received roughly 20 percent drops. Explore their interactive data hub.


Cameroonians Fight Internet Shutdowns

On January 19, 2018, Access Now and Internet Without Borders submitted an amicus brief to the Cameroonian Supreme Court in support of two lawsuits filed by local civil society against the 2017 internet shutdowns in the Anglophone regions. The lawsuits claim the government violated the residents' "constitutional rights to freedom of expression and access to information" and "constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination based on language." The amicus brief cites the international human rights law applicable to these cases, including violations against the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), among others.

The shutdowns followed a strike initiated by civil servants in January 2017 protesting anti-Anglophone bias in government jobs. Businesses, health services, and government functions were heavily disrupted for months, costing the economy USD 1.67 million per day. The coordinated efforts behind the lawsuits are an important test case for pushing back against the larger international trend of using internet shutdowns to stifle citizen mobilization. Read more about the trends in internet shutdowns and join the #KeepItOn campaign.


Hong Kong Youth Activists Freed

The World Movement welcomes the decision by the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal to overturn the prison sentences of Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law. In August 2017, the leaders of the Umbrella Movement were sentenced to 6-8 month prison sentences for organizing over 200,000 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement demonstrators on a 79-day blockade in the business districts of Hong Kong. However, the good news is tempered by the court's statement accompanying the release, which promised a tougher stance for future protest participants. The Umbrella Movement protests mobilized Hong Kong civil society and inspired the world with their commitment to non-violence. In recognition of their courage and impact, US Congressional leaders recently nominated the Umbrella Movement and its leadership for the 2018 Nobel peace prize.

Nathan Law was awarded the Democracy Courage Tribute on behalf of the Umbrella Movement at the World Movement Eight Assembly. Watch his inspiring acceptance speech.


Call for Applications: Hurford Youth Fellowship Program

The Hurford Youth Fellowship Program, facilitated by the World Movement for Democracy, seeks emerging civil society leaders from around the world who are committed to defending and promoting universal democratic principles. Through the Hurford program, two young activists will spend four months at the World Movement Secretariat office in Washington, D..C., where they will expand their global network, learn lessons from activists involved in democracy movements around the world, and contribute to the development of the World Movement for Democracy and the World Youth Movement for Democracy.

The fellowship is open to applicants no older than 30 years of age from any country. Additional information and the Hurford Youth Fellow applications can be found here. Applications will be accepted until 14 March, 2018.

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Posted by: World Movement for Democracy <world@NED.ORG>
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