Rosa Borras is a Mexican artist and activist who co-ordinates the group Bordadoras por la paz Puebla - Embroiderers for Peace (Puebla). She recently completed a quilt for the Security of Defenders project which will be displayed as part of the Arts + Activism exhibition we are hosting in January. Whilst she is in York for the exhibition Rosa has offered to run an Embroidery for Peace workshop.
Can doing and thinking like an artist expand the political imagination?
Sometimes human rights activists are so caught up with the everyday, with tactics for resisting injustice, that they forget to talk about what they are campaigning for - what they want the world to look like. But without imagining different possible worlds and ways of doing so, society is left with the dreams of the powerful.
Join Pica Studios for an evening of screenings and conversation with visiting Bangladeshi sculptor Shohrab Jahan, Ugandan director and screenwriter Patience Nitumwesiga, and the researchers behind the Centre for Applied Human Rights' research on creative alternatives and the political imagination.
Shohrab Jahan, Patience Nitumwesiga and Emilie Flower from Pica Studios have all been collaborating artsists in the creative alternatives research at the Centre for Applied Human Rights. Pica Studios are artist led studios in an 18th century printworks housing the workshops of eighteen artists, makers, writers and musicians. Shohrab Jahan is a sculptor and installation artist from Chittagong in Eastern Bangladesh, where he runs the artist led studios, Jog art space, and will be in residency at Pica Studios in January. Patience Nitumwesiga is a screen writer, director and activist based in Kampala, Uganda.
A performance at the Basement, City Screen York, by The Ladies of the Midnight Blue and John Otieno Rapasa.
The Ladies of Midnight Blue are an Afro-Latin percussion & brass duet who have performed all over the world for various festivals, charity benefits, peace rallies, and protest marches. Their music consists of powerful and upbeat combinations of percussion, brass, vocal chants, and mbira arrangements that inspires dancing and calls for audience participation. Today, the duet is comprised of Hannabiell Sanders - Percussion, Bass Trombone, mbira, and voice, and Yilis del Carmen Suriel - Percussion, mbira. In the last 7 years they have been workshop facilitators and guest artists for youth programs, grade schools, universities, and community organizations. Their art and music workshops focus on community building and raising awareness concerning issues of inequality on all levels.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Rapasa is a performing artist, multiinstrumentalist, vocalist, and dancer with roots in traditional music. Specializing in Nyatiti and Adung, Rapasa has studied with Owiny Sigoma and toured internationally. Rapasa loves to transmit his passion as a way to give back to the community.
The HRD Hub is hosting a workshop in York on 25-26 January 2018 on Arts, Activism and Research. The workshop will include presentations from activists, artists and researchers; performances as well as presentations and discussion; and an exhibition of artistic work produced by CAHR staff and partners.
Speaker: Doaa Mostafa Hassan, visiting fellow at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
Doaa Mostafa is a lawyer and Criminal Justice Programme Director at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), an NGO that was established in 2013 and has quickly become one of the leading human rights organisations in the country. ECRF have led the campaign to Stop Enforced Disappearances in Egypt, a human rights violation that has increased dramatically over the past few years.
Doaa will discuss her work defending the rights of protesters, who are often arbitrarily detained by security forces, and many put through unfair trials. She works in a hostile environment where critical, independent NGOs are viewed by the government as enemies of the state, and in a country where gender biases are high. She is currently the only female lawyer working on enforced disappearances in Egypt. She is also involved in trial monitoring and has won cases defending freedom of assembly.
Doaa Mostafa Hassan is currently a visiting fellow at the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR) under the auspices of the Protective Fellowship Scheme for HRDs at Risk. The Learning from HRDs lecture series showcases front line human rights work conducted by CAHR's visiting human rights defenders.
Location: ARC/014, Alcuin Research Resource Centre, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD
Hub members involved in temporary relocation will be joining Martin and Sanna who are leading a 2 day workshop in Geneva to coincide with the UN Special Rapporteur's / Netherlands government side session on TIRIs. The workshop has three goals:
(i) to generate impact and disseminate current research findings on TIRIs;
(ii) to collect data on existing practices of and issues in the management of TIRIs; and,
(iii) to produce a large scale funding proposal for further collaborative research.
Speaker: Nodjigoto Charbonnel, visiting fellow at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, Centre de Réhabilitation des Victimes de la Torture (Chad)
Chadian human rights defender Nodjigoto Charbonnel will discuss the current political crisis in his country and the work he does in the field of rehabilitation of torture victims.
Charbonnel is the director of the Centre de Réhabilitation des Victimes de la Torture (AJPNV) in Chad. AJPNV works primarily towards the rehabilitation of torture victims, the abolition of torture, and the education of citizens of Chad on human rights. It provides medical, psychosocial and legal support to victims of torture, IDPs, and female victims of sexual violence.
Nodjigoto Charbonnel is currently a visiting fellow at the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR) under the auspices of the Protective Fellowship Scheme for HRDs at Risk. The Learning from HRDs lecture series showcases front line human rights work conducted by CAHR's visiting human rights defenders.
Location: ARC/014, Alcuin Research Resource Centre, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD
The Human Rights Defender Hub held a public event on 5th October at the King's Manor, University of York. Andrea Rocca from Frontline Defenders introduced the award winning documentary Backlash - the War on Human Rights.
“Violence against human rights defenders is not new, but this documentary looks beyond individual attacks to highlight the alarmingly concerted attack by the powerful on the very idea of human rights. All around the world, Governments are becoming far more malicious, creative and insidious in the way that they suppress critical voices and repress and discredit the work of NGOs and human rights defenders. This is increasingly happening even in countries that profess to support democracy and human rights.”
Unless we act now, our society faces a fundamental challenge as to what type of world we're going to live in…
The film was followed by presentations touching upon issues raised in the film:
Monette Zard, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Memory Bandera, Eastern Horn of Africa Human Rights Defender Project
Angela Kuga Thas, Gender Evaluation Methodology Research and Business Services Coordinator at the Association for Progressive Communications and University of Queensland.
The evening will be chaired by Alice Nah, Lecturer at the Centre for Applied Human Rights - with ample opportunity for questions and discussion.
5 October: Research and collaboration
- To share and discuss a selection of current research projects highlighting some key challenges in research and the impact of the current climate of shrinking space for HRDs and civil society upon our work and HRDs.
- To discuss overcoming challenges to research collaboration – both within the network of academics/practitioners etc. and amongst HRDs and HRDs networks.
6 October: Overcoming challenges: Dissemination and impact
- To examine new ways of dissemination to ensure research findings and methodology reach HRDs and the wider community.
- To develop and discuss in small groups ideas for creating the maximum impact from research – both in terms of creating change on the ground and supporting HRDs.
- To showcase cutting edge research related to funding an effective human rights movement – enabling discussion with authors of research and refinement of potential funding solutions.
The first hub workshop was held in York in February 2016 and was attended by participants from a range of academic institutions and NGOs, as well as funders and HRDs.
Around 50 participants from key academic institutions and international NGOs as well as funders and HRDs came together to discuss and share ongoing research and future plans and challenges. The workshop was designed to start the development of the network through enabling the sharing of ongoing research plans and to identify areas for collaboration. Part of the time was spent in identifying key challenges for research work on HRDs – ranging from very practical issues to more theoretical problems.
On 18 February 2016, the HRD Hub was launched at the Kings Manor, York. The event was attended by over 80 people, including key University of York staff, academics, practitioners and funders.
Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders gave the keynote speech on the situation of human rights defenders and the context and scope of his work. Panelists included Andrew Anderson, the Deputy Director of Frontline Defenders, who spoke about the shrinking space for civil society and the role of academic research in the protection and promotion of human rights defenders worldwide.
Other key panelists included Alice Nah from the Centre of Applied Human Rights (CAHR) and Azza Soliman, an Egyptian human rights defender fellow from CAHR. The panel was chaired by Julie Broome from the Sigrid Rausing Trust.