International Human Rights Defenders Day 2018

Сен 14.2020

On International Human Rights Defenders Day FORUM-ASIA recognises, celebrates and honours all human rights defenders in Asia and beyond.

In 1998, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, commonly abbreviated as the ‘United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders’. It aims to provide support and protection to human rights defenders (HRDs) in the context of their work. It not only addresses States and the human rights defenders community, but outlines that everyone has a role in promoting and protecting the human rights of all.

FORUM-ASIA believes that it is important to raise greater awareness about the declaration. In Asia, there is limited access and visibility of the declaration. The complexity of the language used can be an obstacle for those working at the local and community level to promote and protect human rights. Consequently, some people might not be aware that they are considered a ‘human rights defender’, which entitles them specific rights, as well as accords them certain responsibilities. They may also be unaware that the State has duties and obligations to protect and support defenders, and to create an enabling environment for HRDs to carry out their legitimate work.

2018 marks the 20-year anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. To commemorate this, FORUM-ASIA is raising awareness of the declaration in Asia from the period of July to September 2018. Part of these efforts has been the creation of a range of posters. Each poster will highlight and explain a specific area or part of the declaration. We hope to complement previous efforts made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of HRDs and many other human rights organisations that have previously raised awareness on the declaration. FORUM-ASIA has collaborated with member organisations to translate the posters into four Asian languages: Burmese, Mongolian, Tagalog, and Urdu.

All the posters are be made publically available. We welcome all, particularly HRDs to share and re-purpose them – for advocacy, trainings or otherwise – within their own communities and groups.

To download the different posters in the different languages, click the various links below.

Poster 1, ‘About the Declaration’ – Burmese, English, Mongolian, Tagalog, and Urdu


Poster 2, ‘Who are human rights defenders?’ – Burmese, English, Mongolian, Tagalog, and Urdu


Poster 3, ‘Knowing your rights’ – Burmese, English, Mongolian, Tagalog, and Urdu


Poster 4, ‘Reclaiming your rights’ – Burmese, English, Mongolian, Tagalog, and Urdu


Poster 5, ‘State obligations’ – Burmese, English, Mongolian, Tagalog, and Urdu


Poster 6, ‘Non-Violation of Human Rights’ – Burmese, English, Mongolian, Tagalog, and Urdu


Poster 7, ’20 Years Post-Adoption’ – Burmese, English, Mongolian, Tagalog, and Urdu


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Feedback from our focus groups



Experience should be attached to a law degree

Shakhboz Latipov, 24 y.o., young lawyer: “When I came to BDK for an internship, I had no experience in legal and human rights activities. Together with experienced senior colleagues, I began to attend trials, studied documents. Gradually my supervisor Khusanbai Saliev began to trust me the preparation of documents, carefully checked them and gave practical advice. Experience comes with time and cases you work on. Every day dozens of people who need help come to us, many of them are from socially vulnerable groups: the poor, large families, elderly citizens. A lawyer in a human rights organization sometimes acts as a psychologist, it is important for him to be able to maintain professionalism and show empathy. At the end of 2019, I successfully passed the exam to get the right to start working as attorney and now I work on cases as an attorney. I turn to my colleagues for help on complex issues, they always give me their advice. This is one of the strengths of the organization: there is support and understanding here.”



Organization unites regions

Feruza Amadalieva, social worker, leader, teacher: “TOT from BDK is a great opportunity to get acquainted with participants from different regions, we continue to communicate on social media and when we meet at events, as close friends, we have such warm relations! At the events, I improved my knowledge, systematized it, clarified how to apply it in practice. I really like the training modules and the way the system of training and practice is built: role-playing games, theory, discussions. Each person expresses himself/herself. I have become a leader for other vulnerable women, I try to help them and engage them in such events.” Feruza Amadalieva is a regular participant of many BDK events, she invites the BDK lawyers to provide legal advice to vulnerable women.



I became confident

In summer of 2019, Nuriza Talantbek kyzy took an active part in conducting regional screenings of documentaries, helped with organizational issues during the campaign dedicated to the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, participated in trips, and did the TOT on women's leadership. She used to be a migrant, worked for an NGO in Osh, and now works in Bishkek in the service industry. She calls her participation in the TOT “an invaluable experience”: “I first attended such an event, and received exactly the information that I needed, for which I am sincerely grateful to the facilitators. I experienced very difficult issues in my life, and thanks to that knowledge, I was able to overcome them, I persevered! After the TOT, I became more confident, began to better understand the essence of human rights, and learned to defend my interests.”



The defendant has passed away. The work on his rehabilitation continues.

The case of Shukurullo Kochkarov shows that work on complex cases continues for many years. After the torture he was subjected to in 2010, he became disabled. We managed to get acquittal on one of the charges; the work is ongoing on achieving his rehabilitation and recognition as a victim of torture in order for compensation to be paid. Trials continue without Shukurullo Kochkarov - he died on 2 August 2019. His interests are represented by his father, Saidaziz Kochkarov, who also has a visual disability. “For many years, we have been supported by the employees of BDK, they have been handling the case of my son, they brought him to court because he couldn’t walk on his own, they constantly help our family: my wife and I underwent rehabilitation, they have helped my son by providing him with medicines, they provide all kinds of help”.



Comprehensive support for victims of torture

Resident of the Kara-Suu district, Dilyor Jumabaev, has extensive experience in dealing with law enforcement agencies. In 2010, he was accused of possessing firearms, and thanks to the work of lawyers, he was acquitted. Two years later, his house was first searched in order to find materials of an extremist nature, but nothing was found. In 2014, he was accused of possessing extremist materials. In court, the prosecutor requested 15 years in prison; the court sentenced him to 6 years. A few years later he was released on parole. “I am grateful to the lawyers of BDK for their expert legal assistance. I participated in a rehabilitation program for victims of torture. When I encounter violations, I recommend contacting this organization.”


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