Freedom House congratulates Ales Bialiatski, chairman of the Belarusian human rights organization “Viasna,” for receiving the State Department’s prestigious Human Rights Defenders Award in recognition of his “exceptional valor and leadership” in promoting human rights and democracy. Bialiatski shared the 2011 award with Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law.
After months of debate, a group of 20 politicians, scholars, journalists, and civic leaders gathered in Sarajevo last month to present its thoughts on where Bosnia and Herzegovina will be in 2025. The group, backed by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation, offered five scenarios to pique policymakers—not, it emphasized, to predict the future.
The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (the IPGA), coordinated by ARTICLE 19, has launched its website www.AzerbaijanFreeXpression.org and Facebook and Twitter profiles ahead of this week’s Eurovision Song Competition, which will commence in Baku, Azerbaijan tomorrow, May 22. Looking behind the glitz of Eurovision, the IPGA website examines the alarming freedom of expression situation in Azerbaijan, where journalists and others face blackmail, intimidation, violence, and imprisonment for expressing critical views.
Freedom House welcomes the Chinese government’s decision to allow blind Chinese activist and self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng to travel with his wife and two children to the United States, where he will study law and English through a New York University fellowship. Freedom House calls on the Chinese authorities to cease their harassment of Chen’s family members who remain in China, and release those being held in detention.
Freedom House condemns a decision to sentence a Sudanese girl to death by stoning in Omdurman, Sudan after she was accused of bearing a child out of wedlock. The Sudanese Supreme Court must repeal the sentence and ensure her safety. Furthermore, Freedom House calls on the Government of Sudan to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards by repealing Article 146 of its penal code, permanently abolishing the death penalty, which contravenes international covenants against basic human rights.
Freedom House welcomes the timely visit of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to Zimbabwe, the first ever mission by a U.N. human rights chief to the troubled southern African country, and urges her to use this high-profile mission to call attention to ongoing and escalating human rights