Daily Archives: Friday, December 12, 2014

Human Rights Day 2014: ODIHR Director Link wants to move from words to deeds for human rights defenders in the OSCE

Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders

On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), called on all OSCE participating States to do more to protect human rights defenders in the OSCE region: “It is time for all OSCE participating States to move from words to deeds and to provide more effective protection to those who strive to promote and safeguard human rights in our countries.

The words must refer to the Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders which OSCE adopted this year: see: http://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/osce-publishes-guidelines-on-the-protection-of-human-rights-defenders/

Unfortunately, in 2014 we have witnessed numerous attacks and threats against human rights defenders,” the ODIHR Director said. “This includes human rights defenders with whom ODIHR has worked, and I am particularly disturbed that those standing up for human rights in the OSCE region may be being targeted for activities they carry out in partnership…

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Women Who Defend Human Rights – a series by Protection International

Hans Thoolen on Human Rights Defenders

Protection Int'I_logo_final_vertical_72dpiTo shine a light on the courageous work of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) worldwide, the NGO Protection International announces the launch of a series of interviews with women who defend human rights across the globe, from December and continuing in 2015, each month will see a new portrait of a WHRD.


This month’s conversation is with Alejandra Ancheita, a leading human rights defender from Mexico and winner of the 2014 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. Alejandra is the founder and executive director of The Project of Economic, Cultural, and Social Rights. To read the interview and watch the (Vimeo) video that goes with it go to Protection International’s website (see link below).
Other outstanding women lined up in the months to come include Rehana Hashmi (Pakistan), Eva Bande (Indonesia), María Martín (Spain), Porntip Honchai (Thailand).
Rehana Hashimi 

Eva Bande

María Martín 


Porntip Honchai

The Women Who Defend Human Rights – Alejandra AncheitaProtection International

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Calls for papers: The Undocumented, the Non-legitimate, and Their Welfare – Taking stock of social and health services vis-à-vis “unexpected migrants” across European societies (IMISCOE annual conference)


To a research panel at the IMISCOE annual conference in Geneva on 25-27 June 2015 (more information about the conference www.imiscoe.org)

The Undocumented, the Non-legitimate, and Their Welfare – Taking stock of social and health services vis-à-vis “unexpected migrants” across European societies

Conveners: ERICA RIGHARD (Malmö Univesristy), PAOLO BOCCAGNI (Trento University), and CLAUDIO BOLZMAN (University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland)

Social and health care work with undocumented migrants has always been a source of challenges and dilemmas for practitioners and their organizations. This session aims to collect reflections, research findings and practice experiences about social and health care provision with this specific kind of users/clients. Undocumented migrants – including “illegal”, overstayers, rejected applicants for asylum, non-registered EU-migrants, or formerly “regular” migrants – are typically marginal to the rights and service provision of receiving societies, although with strong variations across and within them. Their claims and needs are often addressed, if at all, by grassroots civil society initiative and through their informal ethnic networks, rather than via institutional welfare provision. Their very existence may be a source of major ethical and substantive dilemmas to welfare practitioners and their agencies, against a background of generally hostile public opinions. While a number of studies have been done on the topic, there is a strong need for more comparative and interdisciplinary analysis, also in the light of several recent developments: the effects of the persisting recession in some European countries, the growing pressures of refugees from the Global South and of the increasing visibility of “return” programmes, to mention but a few.

Our session, which is expected to form part of the IMISCOE 2015 conference in Geneva, aims to advance knowledge and the public debate on the position, entitlements and protection of undocumented migrants, vis-à-vis all sort of social and health care agencies of receiving societies. We encourage paper proposals on several aspects of undocumented migrants inclusion/exclusion from welfare services, including the following:

–  Migrants’ access to everyday social and health care provision as an everyday process of boundary- making and of predominant exclusion;
–  The interaction between undocumented migrants’ marginality towards “formal” services, and the constellation of informal arrangements of social welfare and protection (including NGOs, social movements and ethnic networks/associations);
– Social and health work with asylum seekers and follow-up of failed applicants;
– Social and health work with “non-legitimate” residents as deontological dilemma for welfare professions, as well as for research and training in social work;
– Undocumented migrants’ rights as a field of advocacy and claims-making for welfare professions; – Social care and health agencies/practitioners vis-à-vis “voluntary return” programmes.

Abstract (250 words) of paper proposals are due by January 9, 2015. Please send your proposals to paolo.boccagni@unitn.it and erica.righard@mah.se. The abstract should include a title and specify the main research question, method and findings, as well as name and affiliation of author(s). Based on a selected number of the papers received, we expect to advance a joint publication project in the field of migration and social work. More information about the IMISCOE conference: www.imiscoe.org