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COLOMBIA - KILLINGS, ATTEMPTED MURDERS AND ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES

ProtectDefenders.eu's partners report about the overall deteriorating situation for human rights defenders in Colombia, including killings and enforced disappearances. In the last weeks:
 

  • Five Human Rights Defenders were murdered. Jhon Rodrigo Torres, Erley Monroy, Didier Losada Barreto and Rodrigo Cabrera, community leaders and members of Marcha Patriótica, were assassinated. Marcha Patriótica advocates for the negotiated resolution of the armed conflict, reparation for the victims, the agrarian reform and popular sovereignty. This movement confirms the murder of 17 of its leaders in 2016, and of 123 of its members since its foundation. José Antonio Velasco, a member of the Workers' Association of the Caloto Peasant Reservation Area, was killed, allegedly by members of paramilitary groups.
  
  • Hugo Cuellar, the president of Acción Comunal Vereda de la Victoria, and Danilo Bolaños Díaz, a member of Marcha Patriótica, survived attempted murders committed by paramilitary forces in link with their work in defence of land and environmental rights.
 
  • Hannier Hurtado, also a member of Marcha Patriótica, has been missing since October 30, in a case denounced as enforced disappearance. 

Colombia is ranked 134st out of 180 countries in the RSF’s World Press Freedom Index. 

ProtectDefenders.eu supports human rights defenders in Colombia in many ways. During the first year of the EU mechanism, 3 defenders have received emergency grants, two organisations have been granted financial support to develop their activities and 2 individuals have benefited from the temporary relocation program. Furthermore, ProtectDefenders.eu has developed 13 training initiatives in the country and support the ongoing field monitoring and advocacy work carried out by PBI Colombia.

 
 
   
 
 
 

MYANMAR -TWO LAND AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS DEFENDERS KILLED

In recent weeks, two activists working on environmental and land rights have been murdered in Myanmar:
 

  • Soe Moe Tun, a journalist with the Eleven Media Group, known for his investigative work on illegal logging and timber smuggling in several areas of Sagaing Region, was beaten to death and his body was found in Monywa. 
 
  • Chit Pandaing, better known as “Eh Paw Tel”, a 22-year-old Karen woman rights defender working with the Mine Advisory Group (MAG) and a strong advocate against land confiscation and the negative impacts of mining in Dawei and other Townships in Tenasserim Region, was stabbed to death by an unidentified individual in Dawei Town 


Myanmar is ranked 143st out of 180 countries in the RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.

During the first year of implementation, ProtectDefenders.eu has allocated 4 emergency grants to human rights defenders facing threats and harassment and delivered two training initiatives for Burmese defenders.

 

 

 

 

 
   
 
 
 

TURKEY - JUDICIAL ABUSES AND ARBITRARY DETENTIONS

Partners have warned of the continuation of ongoing judicial and police abuses against defenders and activists in Turkey:
 

  • Seher Acay, Fevzi Adsiz, Ziya Baği and Mahmut Bingö, lawyers affiliated to the Association of Jurists of Mesopotamia (MHD) were arrested and have been detained since then in deplorable conditions at the headquarters of the anti-terror police in the city of Mardin. No formal charges have yet been filed against them. However their arrest is presumably linked to their activities as counsels of the city of Mardin, the mayor of which has been detained since November 2016, on accusations of being linked to the PKK. 
 
  • İştar Gözaydın, founder of the Citizenship Association, a human rights organisation that promotes fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law, peace, democracy and pluralism, was arrested at her house in Istanbul. Ms. Gözaydın was sent to jail, charged with membership of an armed terrorist organisation
 

Turkey is ranked 151st out of 180 countries in the RSF’s World Press Freedom Index. 

Turkey has been a country of concern for ProtectDefenders.eu during its first year of activities. The EU HRD mechanism has allocated 5 emergency grants to individuals at risk, funded the activities of a Women's Rights local organisation and temporarily relocated a Turkish human rights defender. Moreover, the project has dispatched two trial monitoring missions to the country.

 

 
   
 
 
 

DECEMBER 2016
EMERGENCY GRANTS

11 emergency grants allocated to human rights defenders at risk.



COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN OF DEFENDERS




FIELDS OF ACTION


 


TYPES OF SUPPORT


 

 
   
 
 
 

2016 FRONT LINE DEFENDERS ANNUAL REPORT


The 2016 Front Line Defenders Annual Report was published, documenting the cases of more than 1000 human rights defenders who were killed, harassed, detained, or subjected to smear campaigns and other violations in 2016.

According to the report, 282 human rights defenders were murdered in 25 countries, 49 percent of whom were defending land, indigenous and environmental rights.

In addition to killings, over half of the cases reported by Front Line Defenders in 2016 concerned criminalisation, a tactic which the organisation calls “the first choice of governments to silence defenders and to dissuade others.” 


 

RSF 2016 ROUND-UP
 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released its annual worldwide round-up on journalists who have been killed

in 2016, reporting that at least 74 professional and non-professional journalists have been murdered in connection with their work in 2016.

Among countries not at war, Mexico was the deadliest for journalists in 2016, with a total of nine killed. 

 




































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