From the Ground Up: Perspectives from Human Rights Defenders in Burma

The Leitner Center for International Law and Justice invites you to a gathering of human rights advocates from Burma who will share their perspectives on supporting in-country activism given recent government backsliding on democratic reforms, crackdown on students and activists, and waves of communal violence. These seasoned activists will discuss the need for national governments and the UN to press for accountability from Burma’s government on human rights issues. This is a rare opportunity to hear first-hand from grassroots Burma rights defenders regarding their experiences and views on tackling human rights challenges from the ground up.

U Tikha Nyana is a Buddhist monk who was severely injured when riot police used white phosphorus weapons to attack peaceful protesters at the Letpadaung copper mine. He has since led efforts to seek justice through an a groundbreaking lawsuit against local and national government authorities.

U Aung Thane is a Burma Supreme Court advocate who has represented more than 150 political prisoners, including leaders of the Saffron Revolution and Generation 88. He also established the Legal Performance Aid Center, which focuses on pro bono representation.

U Thein Than Oo is a former student activist and political prisoner, as well as a renowned legal advocate involved in high profile cases across the country. He specializes in defending human rights activists and representing communities who have suffered land grabs and forcible eviction.


Global Justice Center
Justice Trust

Engaging in Digital Human Rights Activism

Panel: Engaging in Digital Human Rights Activism
Sunday, March 22, 11am-12:30pm
Amnesty International USA AGM, Brooklyn NY

Dante Berry, Executive Director of the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
Adrian Shahbaz, Research Analyst on Internet Freedom and Digital Rights at Freedom House
Natalie Green, International Policy Assistant at Public Knowledge

Amnesty International USA member Melanie Penagos contributed to this post.

Crackdown: Independent Media and Civil Society in Azerbaijan and Turkey

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Mark Palmer Conference Room
Freedom House
1850 M Street NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20036

The governments in both Azerbaijan and Turkey face numerous pressures, from the impact of economic and commodity price downturns, to empowered citizens demanding accountability from governing elites, to threats of extremism. Although the two governments differ in many ways, both have traditionally been interested in pursuing a modern, European future for their countries — and have shown a similar commitment to threatening, harassing, and jailing civil society advocates, journalists, and independent media outlets, restricting their ability to freely report on events and hold governments accountable for their actions.

Introductory Remarks:
Dr. Robert Herman
Vice President for Regional Programs
Freedom House

Arzu Geybullayeva
Istanbul-based blogger and freelance journalist
2015 Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellow at RFE/RL

Jeff Goldstein
Senior Policy Analyst for Eurasia
Open Society Institute

Richard Kraemer
Senior Program Officer, Middle East & North Africa Program
National Endowment for Democracy

Nate Schenkkan
Program Officer for Eurasia
Freedom House

Martins Zvaners
Deputy Director of Communications

Cartoons in Times of Authoritarianism

Freedom of expression is under threat in Ecuador and Venezuela. In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa has used restrictive laws, defamation lawsuits, and politicized institutions to silence his media critics and punish those who publish opinions with which he disagrees. In Venezuela, previously independent news outlets have faced government restrictions and been bought up by government cronies, greatly limiting coverage of government repression of street protests and all but eliminating traditional independent media.

In the face of these challenging circumstances, many journalists have continued their work, often at significant personal and professional risk. Ecuadorian cartoonist Bonil has come under attack from the authorities for his satirical depictions of President Rafael Correa and other government leaders, most recently being accused of “socioeconomic discrimination” for a cartoon published in August 2014. Bonil has repeatedly indicated that he has many more cartoons up his sleeve.

Rayma, who published cartoons for the newspaper El Universal for nearly 20 years, was fired in September 2014 for a cartoon satirizing the Venezuelan health care system, which included the signature of the late President Hugo Chavez. She, too, has insisted that she will continue to share her political critiques freely.

Following the Charlie Hebdo assassinations, there is increased attention to cartoonists and freedom of expression. Please join us for a discussion with Bonil and Rayma on their creative methods for challenging growing restrictions on political speech, and using humor to contest power and the status quo.

Click here to register.

Lunch will be provided

After Charlie: What’s Next for Art, Satire, and Censorship?

Thursday, February 19, 6:30pm
FIAF’s Florence Gould Hall, 55 E. 59th St., NYC
$15 | $10 PEN, FIAF, ACLU and NCAC Members
BUY ONLINE or visit the box office

The massacre at Charlie Hebdo brought urgent questions about censorship, satire, offense, and artistic responsibility to the forefront. In response to this, a panel of cartoonists will discuss the future of satire, censorship, and self-censorship, as well as the unique power of images especially when married to language.

This panel will feature Art Spiegelman, best known for his graphic novel Maus; Molly Crabapple, well-known cartoonist and journalist; Françoise Mouly, editor and New Yorker Art Director; and Emmanuel “Manu” Letouzé, “socio-political” cartoonist and economist for the United Nations.

Tickets on sale now.

Presented by PEN American Center, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF).