This week’s highlights
- Four highly at risk journalists out from Afghanistan
- A win for World Children’s Day: Disabled student in Tunisia receives support to excel at school
- NIGHT FOR RIGHTS 2021: Hear from JHR ambassador Masai Ujiri
- JHR Solutions Journalism program gets a shout out in Broadview Magazine
Four highly at-risk journalists out from Afghanistan
This week Journalists for Human Rights partnered with the International Federation of Journalists to facilitate the safe passage of four highly at risk journalists from Islamabad to North Macedonia. This group of four had been receiving death threats and were in hiding in a basement in Kabul for two and a half months. We were able to evacuate them to Pakistan at the end of October, where the threats continued. It was clear we needed to get them out of the region quickly. Working with a superb local team in Islamabad and support from the governments of Pakistan and North Macedonia we were able to move them to safety on Wednesday. The North Macedonia solution is a temporary one; with this group, the work continues to find them a permanent home.
The total number of journalists, human rights defenders and family members who are safely and legally out of Afghanistan is now up to 279 of our list of 450 people. Of these, 70 have made it on to Canada and an additional 36 have been cleared for Canada. JHR is working to evacuate the remaining 171 on our list and get the 173 in third countries to their permanent homes. We do not have the resources to accept new cases. As such we have prioritized those journalists and human rights defenders with a clear link to Canada.
This work continues with a dedicated network of Canadian and American volunteers and veterans. We have also worked to propose options to the federal government to stand up a clear pathway to help get those Afghans who are outside of Afghanistan and eligible for Canadian asylum a safe passage onwards to Canada.
To support JHR’s work in this regard, please consider a donation to our Evacuate Journalists from Kabul fund.
A Win for World Children’s Day:
Disabled student in Tunisia receives
support to excel at school
Today is Children’s Day, on which the world renews its commitment to improving children’s welfare across the globe. Through COVID, we have witnessed the threat posed by the pandemic to human rights and how the work to protect children’s access to education, healthcare and safety has been ridden with challenges such as high unemployment, vaccine misinformation, and a spike in domestic violence. It is why stories like that of 11-year-old Nour from Jelma, Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia are so important to celebrate.
After a Kashf Media article by JHR-trained journalist Kawther Chebbi brought attention to Nour’s difficulties in attending school due to multiple physical disabilities, the Governor of Sidi Bouzid reached out to Chebbi to inquire about Nour’s case. He promised support to Nour’s parents, who were experiencing severe financial hardship due to COVID-19 layoffs and were unable to provide the support needed by their daughter. Watch KashfMedia’s interview of her family here.
A few days later, Nour’s family was visited by the mayor of Jelma and an official from the Ministry of Social Affairs, who pledged to provide the family with a free medical insurance card and a grant for financially stressed families. They also provided a herd of cattle to the father, so that he may begin stock-raising work.
In a follow-up interview with Kashf Media, Masoud Charfi, a representative of the city government, confirmed that the family is being given these resources and thanked JHR partner KashfMedia for being the first to bring attention to Nour’s plight.
Since July 2020, JHR has been working in Tunisia with the support of Global Affairs Canada to implement the Mobilizing Media to Fight COVID-19 (MMFC) project. In Tunisia alone, JHR’s work to improve people’s access to credible information about their human rights through journalist training and mentorship has touched a readership of more than 21 million people.
Night For Rights 2021:
At this year’s Night For Rights gala, we were fortunate to be joined – even on the eve of the Raptors opener – by long-time JHR ambassador Masai Ujiri!
The Toronto Raptors vice-chairman talked about why JHR’s mission and work mean so much to him. He also talked about the role of sports in uplifting people and Canada’s duty to serve the international community.
“We Canadians are blessed that we live in an unbelievable country, where we put our best foot forward. The imaginative diversity of Canada, or even Toronto, is incredible. We can speak by our actions. We have to. It’s important for us to go help other people.”
Listen to his full remarks here.
JHR Solutions Journalism program
gets a shout out in Broadview Magazine
In an editorial last week, Broadview Magazine editor/publisher Jocelyn Bell talked about her staff’s experience of attending JHR and Solutions Journalism Network’s workshop on a solutions-based approach in journalism. Solutions journalism encourages journalists to not only investigate the problems of the world but also report on those individuals and organizations trying to help solve those issues.
After Broadview completed the workshop with former program trainer Ziya Jones, JHR gave Broadview a $2,500 grant to produce solutions journalism stories.
Bell said that Broadview is working hard to include solutions elements in more of their articles. With five Broadview articles featured in the Solutions Story Tracker (a database for solutions journalism), Bell shared, “I’ve also noticed that Jones’s workshop has shifted our editorial psyche. At meetings where we develop story ideas, we often ask: ‘Who is trying to solve this? What are the solutions?”
Read the full editorial here.