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Supporting Feminist and Queer Activists Under Growing Threat Worldwide

July 25, 2019
This post first appeared on the Urgent Action Fund Africa site, under a Creative Commons License. Within women human rights activist circles, the recent rape and murder of Viktoria Marinova, journalist covering EU corruption, is all too familiar to circumstances surrounding the killing of Brazil’s Marielle Franco. And similar yet to the murder of Berta Caceres, a well-known environmental and human rights activist killed her
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Meet the artist changing gut reactions to the Philippines ‘war on drugs’

July 5, 2019
Jay Ramirez writes about Carlo Gabuco’s visceral, intimate and poignant depictions of Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines. Some brilliant insights on the power of art that bring the concept of human rights “down to the gut.” In an art fair in Manila in March last year, one installation caught everybody’s eye. A blue single-seater armchair sits in the

Closing Civic Space: Trends, Drivers and what Donors can do about it

February 14, 2019
My reading pile is out of control, but I finally caught up with a useful May 2018 overview from the always excellent International Center for Not-for-Profit Law. Nothing life-changing, but a clear and concise summary of the origins of the problem and possible responses, based on some 50 contributions to a consultation by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Inequality kills: the cold, wet fate of refugee rights in Lebanon

February 7, 2019
Oxfam’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Adviser, Anna Chernova uses her own experiences as a refugee to reflect on how Lebanon can tackle inequality and protect the rights of millions of Syrians. Back in 2015, I remember standing in a damp, soaked tent in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, watching kids run around in the snow in slippers. Their parents looked on in desperation

Legal earthquakes and the struggle against Mining in Mexico

October 19, 2018
Second post from a great visit to Mexico last week to launch the Spanish language edition of How Change Happens. Few things get development folk fired up as much as mining. For many NGOs and grassroots organizations, not much has changed since the Conquistadores: mining is plunder. Given their long history in terms of pollution, community division, and human rights

100 years after women got the vote, why is #StillMarching as central as ever to human progress?

February 6, 2018
Oxfam’s Emily Brown on today’s 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the UK Today marks 100 years since some women in the UK first gained the right to vote. The People’s Representation Act of February 6th 1918 represents both a historic milestone in the post-war opening of public and political spaces to women, but also a move designed to keep

Do you have to be cold to be cool? Canada joins the Nordics as a world leader on rights.

November 21, 2017
I was in Canada last week, having a lot of fun on a speaking tour with Oxfam Canada, followed by a couple of days with Oxfam Quebec in Montreal. One of the striking impressions is how much Canada’s foreign policy rhetoric echoes that of the Nordics in its focus on rights (an even more striking impression was that minus 20

How are different governments performing as global citizens? Time for a new index!

February 23, 2017
Apologies. I get given stuff at meetings, it goes into the reading pile, and often takes months to resurface. So I have just read (and liked) a Country Global Citizenship Report Card handed to me in New York in December. It’s put together by the Global Citizens Initiative, run by Ron Israel. Time to assuage my guilt. The ‘citizens’ in

Four Years On, The World Has Changed on Disability

December 3, 2015
Tim Wainwright, CEO of ADD International (& also chair of BOND), finds much to celebrate today Four years ago I wrote a blog, expressing my concern about how I felt that mainstream development was largely overlooking a large and highly excluded group: persons with disabilities. [Quick note on terminology: we use the term ‘persons with disabilities’ to reflect the UNCRPD terminology,

Why gay rights is a development issue in Africa, and aid agencies should speak up

January 9, 2015
Hannah Stoddart, on secondment as Oxfam’s advocacy manager in Rwanda, calls for aid agencies to take a stand in defence of beleaguered gay rights in Africa (and I ask you to vote on her suggestion) First Gambia, then Chad. Recent months have seen two more countries join the rising tide of State-led homophobia sweeping across the African continent. A bill

What next for human rights organizations like Amnesty?

November 11, 2014
Autumn/fall must be the blue skying season. I ended last week having my remaining brain cells picked in exchange for yet another free meal by Amnesty International’s Savio Carvalho (campaigns and advocacy) and Clare Doube (evaluation and strategy). Going to have to watch my waistline. They are thinking through Amnesty’s global strategy for 2016-2019, and as with many INGOs, want

What are the strengths and weaknesses of a human rights approach to development?

September 5, 2014
Confession time, with a dash of heresy. I have mixed feelings (and a fair amount of confusion) about the whole ‘rights based approach’ to development. First, it has a lot going for it. The human rights framework is: precise: it sets out clearly who has obligations and duties and who has not, and what those obligations and duties are. practical: