The American Bar Association’s Adoption of a Resolution Protecting Civil Society Actors

Corinne Lewis, Partner Lex Justi

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of the American Bar Association.  

Around the globe, governments are increasingly seeking to silence or stifle the work of civil society actors (CSAs), that is, human rights advocates, nongovernmental organizations, and other persons and associations that contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights. Governments are using not only more traditional forms of repression, harassment, disappearance, imprisonment, and execution, but also other measures that are in some ways not as apparent to the public and are more insidious and abhorrent.

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Environmental Justice on civilian fronts in Serbia

Tamara Blagojevic

Similar to other reactions around the globe, environmental protests in Serbia started booming around 2019. but really intensified from 2020. Some earlier examples were the protests regarding the protection of the river South Morava. However, forms of civil action in the protection of the environment were initiated long ago, by widespread floods in 2014, but, even many years after, had no appropriate government response or proper and timely damage remediation, although they affected many cities, took numerous victims and deprived families of their homes and basic existential means. However, some of the newer examples have much less to do with environmental disasters, and much more to do with the improper governing, corruption and lack of sufficient or proper funding, and the subsequent poor law implementation, which lead to numerous environmental concerns, and served as a widespread wake up call.

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Hoping for Change in Iran: From Aban 2019 to the Amini 2022 protests

Marilena Stegbauer

On 16 September 2022, Niloofar Hamedi, a journalist at reformist daily newspaper Shargh in Tehran, posted a picture to her Twitter account of a couple hugging while crying in front of their daughter’s hospital room, Mahsa Jina Amini. The 22-year-old died later that day.

The death of Amini sparked the on-going protests in Iran, which are currently in their eighth week. They are the longest and most widespread protests the country had seen since the Islamic revolution in 1979 when Shah Pahlavi was ousted by the first Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), Ayatollah Khomeini.

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Sudden Leap into Darkness: The case of Maasai Exclusion and marginalisation in Ngorongoro, Northern Tanzania

Joseph Moses Oleshangay[1]

Ngorongoro, a World Heritage Site, Man and Biosphere Reserve, Global Geopark by UNESCO, and home for over 80,000 Maasai is under siege. The Maasai, a Nilotic ethnic group, have moved around the Ngorongoro and Serengeti areas while conserving the land and wildlife for approximately 500 years. Over the centuries the Maasai have developed a finely honed symbiotic relationship with the local environment, which has allowed the domestication of livestock and people to coexist in a dryland and therefore a resource-scarce environment. In addition, their local knowledge has allowed the large mammal population as well as ecological diversity to grow under their stewardship. However currently they are being accused by the government, international conservation lobbyists, and wildlife hunting firms, of threatening what they have kept safely over centuries. As history demonstrates, nothing could be further from the truth. As this article will demonstrate, the ongoing pressure against the Maasai is largely influenced by the potential financial gain resting with the land, wildlife, and ecological biodiversity, rather than their own role in threatening nature and wildlife.

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The Aban Tribunal: Targeting Impunity and Supporting Victim-Survivors

Marilena Stegbauer

When the Aban atrocity took place, nobody ever thought that a Tribunal would be held after two years to bring to justice those responsible. You are putting [them] on trial. While they are not accountable, and we have to cover our faces to testify here, I’m sure that one day, they will have to cover their faces, and our positions will change.

Witness before the Aban Tribunal

From the 10th to the 14th of November 2021, the Iran Atrocities Tribunal, also known as “Aban Tribunal,” in reference to the month in which the nationwide protests erupted, convened in London. “Aban” is the month in the Persian calendar, in which the nationwide protests erupted and partially corresponds to November and is the term widely used by victim-survivors to refer to the bloody protests that left thousands of Iranians dead, severely injured, arrested and detained, with a significant number facing torture, inhumane and/ or degrading treatment in prison. The Tribunal is the latest offspring amongst a continuous trend of International People’s Tribunals emerging over the last few years alone. Other notable People’s Tribunals focusing on gross human rights abuses include The Iran Tribunal (2012), The Uyghur Tribunal (2020-2022), The China Tribunal (2018-2020) and the ongoing People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists (2021-2022).

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