The implications of COVID-19 on human rights worldwide

Dear readers and members of the International Society for Human Rights,

The pandemic continuous to provide challenges each and every day. It impacts on our daily lives – especially in countries where Freedom of Expression and human rights are treated badly. Some political leaders even try to take advantage of the lockdown prosecuting opposition party members and continue shrinking spaces for civil society.

ISHR is aware about current challenges and all of you, members and readers expect courageous words and clear statements. I am really delighted to be able bearing Marat Zakhidov in remembrance, as the continuous work of the position he has hold goes on. Since the death of Professor Zakhidov, I have followed our constitution and for the time being fulfilled the role of the General Secretary. But it is time to look ahead towards a new General Secretary. He will organize the International Secretariat in Frankfurt and Bonn, which he – according to our constitution – oversees. The corona-virus prevented us to meet as International Council, otherwise you would have met Matthias Boehning from Bonn, whom I wanted to propose as future General Secretary of ISHR.

Matthias Boehning works with a team, which you can identify by the end of the email address @piron.global and they have helped us tremendously in setting up this new design and edition of the ISHR Newsletter in front of you. Their efforts will flow into the work of the international office, which is now to be reached by a new central email address: secretariat@ishr.org.

Matthias Boehning has already been introduced to the Board meeting of our German section in mid-September. He is supported by his staff and you will hear from Ulrich Nitschke as Senior Advisor and main focal point of communication as well as Jessica Blum, who will collect all news from the members. All three are experienced in politics and media work as well as the administration of global networks like ours.

They will ask you all for material for future newsletters and our website which we will be adapting and re-launching in the upcoming weeks. It will highlight your content contributions through a new way of editing and design. This first newsletter in the new format has been issued today and you are all invited to share your feedback on it. Besides the conceptual reorientation, we also want to make our newsletter more accessible and enlarge our audience. Therefore, we will install a landing page on the web to largely expand the list of those who receive the newsletter. All of you can help us then by assuring that it can be received by our board members and members as well as human rights activists, politicians, journalists and others.

Looking forward to your feedback and contributions

Stay healthy and blessed

Prof Thomas Schirrmacher.


Alternative Nobel Prize for Nasrin Sotoudeh

The human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh had been sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes in Iran because she, amongst others, stood up for women’s rights. Now she has been awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize of the Swedish Right Livelihood Foundation. After finishing her hunger strike, her health condition is getting worse progressively. Send her a FREE POSTCARD now as a sign of hope and show her that she is not forgotten. [Read more …]

84 Cuban Civil Rights Activists arrested

Frankfurt am Main/Havana, 14 September 2020: Sunflowers against dictatorship: Peacefully dressed in yellow and with sunflowers in their hands, Cuban civil rights activists protested on 8 September 2020 for human rights and the release of all political prisoners in Cuba. As the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) has learned, a total of 84 people were arrested in the course of the protest, including the well-known leader of the democracy movement UNPACU, José Daniel Ferrer, and the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler. Twenty civil rights activists are still in custody or missing. [Read more …]


3000 Guatemalian Prisoners Educated in Peace Building

This Peace Maker program is conducted by Prison Fellowship and the International Society for Human Rights Guatemala. Prison Fellowship hopes that the Peace Maker program put a hold to violence in Guatemalan prisons. The program teaches people to negotiate peace through arbitration. [Read more …]

Interview of Anastasia Alekseyeva, coordinator of the monitoring group of the ISHR on the right to a fair trial to Hromadske radio (Ukraine)

Why is it important to remember the presumption of innocence and how to deal with the spread of misinformation in the media during trial coverage? As part of our partnership with the Fourth National Forum “Independent Courts and Free Media: Countering Disinformation”, we are talking about a study by the International Society for Human Rights on inciting hatred and misinformation in the media in the judicial sphere. [Read the full interview here …]


ISHR Iraqi section’s adaption to the pandemic: online awareness raising and advocacy for human rights

The Corona virus pandemic completely changed society and the pattern and behavior of individuals within it. This includes the pattern of NGOs working way and humanitarian aid. For this reason, the Iraqi section of the IGFM continues to work on raising awareness and advocacy of human rights through the media and participation in online conferences and debates. [Read more …]

Hayley Bolding and Andrew Flint take over the executive positions of ISHR-Australia from Marie Gerrard, leaving president. Annual report 2019–2020 available

At the Annual General Meeting on 12th August, Hayley Bolding and Andrew Flint took over the executive positions of ISHR-A. Marie Gerrard, the past president, wishes them well and is very sure they will carry out their duties very capably. Her President’s Report 2019–2020 gives account of all the activities and achievements of the Australian’s section. [Read more …]

Prayer Request from The Voice Team

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The Voice team is in need of prayers as the Legal team of The Voice comprised of Aneeqa Maria, Lazar Allahrakha, Tahir Gul (Advocates) and Shahid Anthony were threatened during the case hearing of Nouman Asghar a Blasphemy victim in Bahawalpur. While previewing the case details, the judge got furious and not only scolded and abused the defense lawyers, but he also instigated the present lawyers of the Bahawalpur bar about the respect and dignity of the holy prophet. He said, “you Christian lawyers come to defend the blasphemers just for a few pennies and ignore the fact that the Blasphemer has the obligation to be punished either by law or by the people”. There were no chances of peacefully arguing in the case. Although it was hard for the Voice team to leave the court premises, we managed to escape.

We need prayers and more power from the Lord, so that we may defend our brethren against evils spread by radicals. It is appropriate to mention that after the occurrence of the extrajudicial killings by the blasphemy victim of Peshawar, people are more attracted to immediate justice despite the observance of the law. However, in our case it is horrific to hear such harsh, radical and unlawful approach from the mouth of justice in a High Court. Please pray that God may open other ways for us because we all know that there will be no justice for Nouman at least from this court. The case is adjourned for Wednesday. Please pray for our security and safety so that we may be able to leave court premises in peace.

Nouman Asghar is 21 years old, and was held accused of 295 C in 2019. He is confined in Bhawalpur jail.

God bless,

Aid Transport to Lithuania

On August 10th, the aid transport from Wittlich (Germany) by IGFM Wittlich working group arrived in Lithuania/Kupiskis. Above all, this is a great joy for the catholic community, hospitals and altogether 200 families in need. Because of the corona pandemic many of them lost their jobs and their only income.

“Lithuania is not a big and rich country and you can feel that when you drive through the small villages of Lithuania.” said Jurgita Samoškiene, president of the IGFM Section Lithuania.

“In these difficult times, this help is essential for the survival of the many poor but large families, single mothers, homeless and elderly people”.

The commitment was made possible by partners and donors from Germany, the long-term support of Katrin Bornmüller and the whole tireless IGFM Group Wittlich.

In thankful recognition of their work, they received the award of the City of Prijedor for the long-term humanitarian aid to socially vulnerable citizens of Prijedor and institutions dealing with this issue on last year’s Prijedor City Day.


Annual Conference of the NGO Platform for Human Rights Switzerland

9:15 am – 5:15 pm. All people are equal before the law. And the others? Joint conference of the NGO Platform for Human Rights Switzerland and the Swiss Competence Center for Human Rights (SCMR) for strengthening protection against discrimination in Switzerland. [More information …]

International Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948. The event aims to capitalise on the current momentum and spotlight the leadership role of youth in collective movements as a source of inspiration for a better future. [More information …]

National Conference Health & Poverty

09:15 am – 4:30 pm. The 4th National Conference on Health & Poverty focuses on the topic: Renunciation and Deprivation: When people living in poverty do not take advantage of health services. [More information …]

Meeting of the National Platform against Poverty

The conference is aimed both at experts in poverty prevention and poverty reduction and at people affected or at risk of poverty themselves. It will be prepared and conducted together with people affected or at risk of poverty. [More information …]