Daily Archives: 04/11/2021

‘Climate of fear’ prevails for human rights defenders in Afghanistan


In addition to a prolonged drought and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Afghanistan is contending with the upheaval caused by the current political transition.

Human rights defenders in Afghanistan report that they are now enduring a “climate of fear”, threats, and becoming increasingly desperate over conditions in the country, an independent UN expert said on Wednesday.  

Stating that “the threat is very real”, Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, called for an urgent coordinated response from the international community. 

“Defenders tell me of direct threats, including gendered threats against women, of beatings, arrests, enforced disappearances, and of defenders being killed. They describe living in a climate of constant fear”, she said

Those most at risk are people documenting alleged war crimes, women, in particular criminal lawyers, cultural rights defenders, especially those working in banned sectors such as musical performance, and others from minority groups. 

Some told Mrs. Lawlor that they have erased their online data history to evade identification, and that the Taliban are using other ways to find them. One of them, for example, was identified by an injury to his leg. 

Urgent action 

According to her, the Taliban have raided offices of human rights and civil society organisations, searching for names, addresses and contacts.  

“Many defenders are well known in their local communities, in particular in rural areas, and have left for the anonymity of the cities, but even there, they are forced to constantly change locations,” the UN expert said. “Most have also lost their source of income, further limiting their options to find safety.” 

Mrs. Lawlor called for immediate international support, including an urgent plan for the evacuation of those at high risk, along with their families. 











Journalist And Former Lawyer Zhang Zhan On ‘verge Of Death’ In Chinese Prison


37-year-old journalist Zhang Zhan was sentenced to four years in prison in December 2020 after being found guilty of a loosely defined charge.

Zhang Zhan, a jailed Chinese citizen journalist and former lawyer, is on the ‘verge of death’ after months of intermittent hunger strikes in protest of her imprisonment. The 37-year-old Zhang was sentenced to four years in prison in December 2020 after being found guilty of a loosely defined charge often levelled by authorities against individuals, who are critical of the Chinese government, according to a report by Radio Free Asia (RFA). Zhang’s brother Zhang Ju stated that her sister is not going to live much longer. Last month, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed worry over the health of the Chinese journalist and urged the authorities to exonerate and free her without delay. The British Embassy to China also took to Twitter to urge Chinese authorities to release Zhang and all those detained for their reporting.

Zhang Zhan on ‘verge of death’ in Chinese prison

It is significant to mention here that Zhang covered the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan in February 2020, exposing the Chinese authorities’ strategies for controlling the virus’ spread as well as the situation in local hospitals. Following this, she was arrested in May 2020 on charges of distributing false information on social media. Zhang allegedly commented on the COVID pandemic while giving interviews to international news organisations, according to the indictment document. Zhang has been on a hunger strike in protest of the unjust charges levelled against her owing to which her health has severely deteriorated, reported the RFA. 







https://rsf.org/fr/actualites/rsf-appelle-la-liberation-dune-journaliste-chinoise-en-danger-imminent-de-mort (FRANCAIS)