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Field Notes: human rights defenders speak

In conjunction with Human Rights Watch UK

Speakers: Habib Rahiab (Afghanistan); Maitre Honore Musoko (Democratic Republic of Congo); Natalia Zhukova (Russia)
Chair: Dr Margot Salomon, Centre for the Study of Human Rights
November 2005


In this fifth 'Field notes' event, a panel of frontline human rights defenders will discuss the principles of monitoring human rights violations in their countries: their different methods of collecting and evaluating information and the ways in which they develop a strategic advocacy campaign both locally and at an international level.

Habib Rahiab is an exceptional Afghan human rights activist who has worked to uncover violence and insecurity in Afghanistan. He helped Human Rights Watch expose the mistreatment of detainees held by U.S. forces in Afghanistan before the issue dominated the headlines. Habib's heroic and tireless efforts to expose human rights abuses evoked the ire of Afghan warlords, who threatened to kill him, forcing Habib and his family into exile.

Maître Honoré Musoko is a Congolese lawyer and founding member of Justice Plus, a local human rights organization based in Ituri district in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. When documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ituri, Human Rights Watch worked closely with Justice Plus and with Maitre Honore, who demonstrated extraordinary bravery in exposing atrocities in Congo that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Natalia Zhukova works with one of Russia's most extraordinary grassroots human rights organizations, the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers. Working with Human Rights Watch, the Committee has succeeded in making the mistreatment of soldiers a key domestic human rights issue in Russia. Natalia and her colleagues have compelled policy changes and enhanced accountability in the Russian military, an institution known for its insularity.