“Knowledge is key in the fight for human rights and freedom.”
— Palden Gyatso
The 2013 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent Awarded to Ali Ferzat, Park Sang Hak, and the Ladies in White
NEW YORK (May 3, 2013)- The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) today announced the recipients of the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent. The 2013 laureates are: Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, North Korean democracy activist Park Sang Hak, and Cuban civil society group the Ladies in White—represented by their leader Berta Soler. They will be honored at a ceremony during the 2013 Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway on May 15. [more]
2013 Oslo Freedom Forum: Five Years of Challenging Power
OSLO, Norway (April 12, 2013)—The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) will hold the fifth annual Oslo Freedom Forum on May 13, 14, and 15. Hundreds of the world’s most influential dissidents, innovators, journalists, philanthropists, and policymakers will unite in the Norwegian capital for a three-day summit exploring how best to challenge authoritarianism and promote free and open societies. [more]
Venezuela: HRF Calls for a Peaceful Solution to Post-Electoral Crisis and Condemns Announced Prosecution of Opposition Leaders; Asks OAS to Promote Dialogue
NEW YORK (April 18, 2013) – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) calls on both incumbent and opposition leaders in Venezuela to resolve the current post-electoral political crisis peacefully and through dialogue. HRF also condemns the physical assault on opposition congressmen Julio Borges and William Davila at the National Assembly, as well as statements made by president-elect Nicolás Maduro, Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz, and the president of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, Luisa Estella Morales, in which they held opposition leaders, including Henrique Capriles, responsible for acts of vandalism and political violence that occurred on the night of Monday, April 15. [more]
HRF in The Atlantic: Venezuela's Upcoming Election Won't Be Any Fairer Than the Last One
Chavez established a frightening, repressive form of fake democracy. All signs indicate that his successors will pick up where he left off.
By Thor Halvorssen and Larry Diamond
Venezuela's opposition leader and presidential candidate Henrique Capriles during a campaign rally in Caracas on April 7, 2013. (Reuters)
Venezuela's first post-Chavez presidential election, taking place on April 14, has the unfortunate likelihood of suffering from the same shortcomings of the contest that occurred when Chavez was re-elected this past October: the vote was neither free nor fair but extraordinarily distorted by incumbent advantages and political intimidation. [more]
Venezuela: HRF Calls for Dismissal of Case Against Auto Mechanic Who Wore “Anti-Revolutionary” T-shirt
NEW YORK (April 11, 2013) – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) calls on Venezuelan authorities to dismiss the case against Miguel Hernández, a Venezuelan auto mechanic who has been prosecuted since 2010, for wearing a t-shirt featuring Bart Simpson with the phrase “Hugo: I shit on your revolution” at a baseball game. Today, HRF published a full legal report on his case, which concludes that Venezuela breached Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR). Hernández’s case is the final case documented in HRF’s Caracas Nine campaign (www.CaracasNine.com). [more]
HRF in Americas Quarterly: Timidity and Sub-Standard Election Observation in Venzuela
By Thor Halvorssen and Javier El-Hage
April 9, 2013
Last week, the Human Rights Foundation called on the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, to urge the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela to invite an OAS electoral observation mission to monitor the upcoming April 14 presidential elections. An OAS mission—along the lines of what it used to field in the 1990s and early 2000s—would go a long way toward ensuring that the elections are free and fair and smoothing the tensions and distrust within Venezuela. But so far, Insulza has limited himself to saying that “it would be good for Venezuela to accept an OAS electoral observation mission. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s CNE has already signed an agreement confirming that the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) will “accompany” the upcoming electoral process. [more]
OAS: HRF calls on Secretary General Insulza to Promote an Electoral Observation Mission in Venezuela
NEW YORK (March 15, 2013) – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) calls on the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, to undertake diplomatic initiatives with the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela so that they invite an OAS electoral observation mission to monitor the upcoming April 14 elections, ensuring they are free and fair. [more]
HRF in Foreign Policy: The Inconvenient Diplomat
By Javier El-Hage and Thor Halvorssen
A farewell to the man who spoke out against Latin America’s leading bullies.
This week, after three and a half years of diplomatic service in Washington, D.C., Ambassador Guillermo Cochez (pictured on the right) left his post as Panama's permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS). He was dismissed from his job by President Ricardo Martinelli for critical statements he made about the indefinite postponement of President Chávez's inauguration in Venezuela. Cochez's departure is a loss for the OAS. His voice will be sorely missed by those suffering under Latin American governments that have systematically eroded democracy and human rights. [more]
Human Rights Foundation Calls On Goldman Sachs To Cancel Russia Consulting Deal
NEW YORK (February 6, 2013) - The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) today called on Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. to cease accepting payments from the Russian Federation for attempting to polish the country’s tarnished image among potential investors and international rating agencies. Russian officials last month announced that they will pay the Wall Street firm $500,000 over the next three years to help the Putin regime lure foreign cash. [more]
Venezuela: HRF calls on Venezuelan authorities to release Judge María Lourdes Afiuni, publishes legal report on her case
NEW YORK (January 17, 2013) – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) calls on Venezuelan authorities to immediately release Judge María Lourdes Afiuni both because she is wrongfully imprisoned and because her incarceration and house arrest have jointly exceeded the three-year maximum set forth under Article 230 of the Venezuelan Organic Criminal Procedure Code (VOCPC). HRF’s petition was published with a full legal report on her case, which concludes that Venezuela breached Articles 9, 10, 12, 14, and 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [more]
NEW YORK (January 16, 2013)—Today TV2 will debut a new program called Vårt Lille Land. Hosted by journalists Gerhard Helskog and Tonje Steinsland, the program will air at 21:40 CET, and will feature a segment about the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF). [more]
Best wishes for the New Year!
Just two weeks ago, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei posted this photo on Instagram. It's a picture of the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent, awarded to him by the Human Rights Foundation last spring and later smuggled into China by an HRF intern. In the picture, the sculpture is collecting snow in his garden after a storm in Beijing.[more]
2012 at HRF: A Year of Hard Impact
2012 has been a landmark year for the Human Rights Foundation (HRF). Inspired by our new chairman, Russian democracy advocate Garry Kasparov, we have increased our impact by launching a variety of successful new global initiatives and events.
We would like to take this opportunity to highlight our achievements from the past year, and more importantly, thank you. We would not be able to do what we do without your support.
Rather than summarize with a handful of bullet points we decided to give you a narrative of the year’s highlights. It is several pages long but given your potential investment in our activities—and the scope and impact we have had in 2012—I invite you to take a moment and read the whole post.
Of course, if you do not wish to wait before making a contribution to HRF’s work, don’t let me stop you. Just click here. Given that freedom remains under threat across most of the world, your end of year gift is more vital than ever. [more]One Year After His Passing, HRF Remembers Václav Havel
December 18, 2012
NEW YORK (December 18, 2012)—One year ago, the Human Rights Foundation’s (HRF) chairman Václav Havel passed away in the Czech Republic. The world lost a statesman, a playwright, an artist, a poet, a revolutionary, and a champion of democracy. Today, HRF celebrates Havel’s life and legacy by highlighting his talk from the 2009 Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF).
In Havel’s message to the inaugural OFF, he told us: “There are many dictatorships, quasi-dictatorships, authoritarian regimes, and even totalitarian regimes in the world. While their ideologies vary greatly, they resemble each other in function, and must be confronted constantly.” This statement continues to drive HRF’s efforts to counter tyranny in all of its forms. [more]
Juilliard Composer Announces Requiem for Victims of Kazakhstan Massacre to premiere in 2013
NEW YORK (December 15, 2012)—Award-winning composer, violinist, and conductor David Fulmer, a member of the faculty of the Columbia University Department of Music, has completed a new work for virtuoso cellist Jay Campbell. The composition honors those massacred in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan.
“I first became aware of the oil strike in Kazakhstan when Sting canceled a pop music concert there over human rights concerns and in solidarity with the workers. Weeks later, on December 16, 2011, the government murdered a great number of those striking workers. I became intensely focused on the plight of the widows and orphans left by this brutality and hope this work can bring them some comfort while reminding people in the West that one year out, this horrific killing remains unpunished and the dictatorship there continues to oppress his people,” said Fulmer, the youngest member of the Columbia music faculty. [more]
Kazakhstan: HRF calls on President Nazarbayev to investigate torture, release opposition leader, and cease assault on independent media
NEW YORK (December 14, 2012)—Commemorating the first anniversary of the Zhanaozen killings, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) submitted a letter today to the president of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, requesting that he release opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov and stop the government’s most recent crackdown on the independent media. One year ago, during what is widely referred to as the “Zhanaozen Massacre,” at least 15 oil workers were murdered at the hands of police in a violent ending to a seven-month workers’ strike. [more]
HRF will research and report on human rights abuses with a particular focus on prisoners of conscience and political prisoners. [more]
Individuals in a free society must be accorded equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity to participate in the government of their countries; HRF's ideals likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile, from slavery and torture, and from interference and coercion in matters of conscience. [more]
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