September 11, 2021
This week’s highlights:
- Progress and challenges in Afghanistan
- Webinar: Meet the Indigenous Solutions Collaborative!
- We’re hiring: Junior Curriculum Research And Development Associate
- There’s still time to reserve your seats at Night For Rights 2021
Progress and challenges in Afghanistan
It’s been two of the longest and most intense weeks in JHR’s history. Team JHR has worked around the clock to help bring journalists and human rights advocates safely out of Afghanistan. We’ve made lists, segmented lists, liaised with people on the ground, coordinated with their sponsoring organizations, reached out to everyone we know who could even remotely help, fundraised (like crazy). And we’re finally starting to see some traction.
In that time, despite some of the longest odds imaginable, we’ve seen real progress. The total number of journalists, family members and human rights defenders that have gotten out since we started work is now 70, of an initial list of 300, or 23% of the total. An initial land convoy of 14 people, facilitated earlier this week, was a resounding success. And thanks to real leadership from David Walmsley, Philip Crawley, CIBC, Louise Penny, Jane McElhone, Woodbridge, UNIFOR, the Canadian Bankers Association, several anonymous donors, Jim and Margaret Pulfer, we raised over
$772,000 towards our million-dollar target — in a week.
So we’re feeling encouraged. But we know there’s still a long, long way to go. The volume of people reaching out for help is staggering. The scale of the crisis is hard to put into words. Every day brings more stories of desperation. My Whatsapp and Twitter is a gruesome spool of news and photographs of floggings, beatings and worse. One young man was shot at by the Taliban as he tried to get to the airport; he’s now sheltering in place, administering first aid to his wounds, but too afraid to go to a hospital. Another woman journalist was whipped two days ago for covering a women’s demonstration. And tragically Fahim Dashti, the executive director of the Afghanistan Union of Journalists and an outspoken public critic of the Taliban (along with most other forms of authority), was killed Saturday. This came mere days after I warned anyone who would listen that we had to act, and act now, or lives would be lost.
The immigration system to obtain the coveted Special Immigration Measure (SIM) status remains byzantine and complex. Those who don’t qualify for SIM are stuck trying to get out of Afghanistan on their own, a near-impossible task. Borders are technically closed. It’s easy to feel despair.
So where’s the hope? Courageous efforts led by Carol Off, Lisa LaFlamme, Mark MacKinnon, Julian Sher, Michael Petrou, UNIFOR, World Press Freedom Canada, Martin O’Hanlon, CWA the Media Union and JHR, the superb people behind the Veterans Transition Network, PEN Canada and others to advocate for those who deserve access to visas, paired with daring rescues by Globe journalist Mark MacKinnon, AP’s Kathy Gannon and well coordinated movement on the ground gives me cause for grounded optimism. Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Ministers Mendicino and Garneau continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes on this file, as does Bob Rae at the UN and good people in the PMO. American partners are starting to help, exercising their influence both in Qatar to get the air bridge back up and running, and on fundraising. And the heroic efforts of the journalists, veterans, women’s rights advocates and some truly extraordinary Canadian public servants is a daily inspiration.
In short: With goodwill, sufficient funding, and alignment with both governments working to help and other great organizations doing superb work, I do believe we can get all those who wish to leave a safe way out. So join us, help save some lives, and donate to the Help Evacuate Journalists from Kabul fund.
Meet the Indigenous Solutions Collaborative!
Earlier this year, JHR joined hands with Indigenous journalists and media organizations from across the country to form an Indigenous Media Collaborative, focused on producing solutions journalism and human rights stories about land claims, Indigenous sovereignty and #LandBack.
Members of this collaborative currently include freelancers Brandi Morin and Oscar Baker III, as well as journalists from The Eastern Door (Steve Bonspiel, Callie Giaccone, Laurence Dubreuil, Marisela Amador), Cabin Radio (Meaghan Brackenbury) and IndigiNews (Emilee Gilpin).
The series of their solutions journalism stories is set to launch this Fall. In celebration of this launch, collaborative members are getting together for a webinar on Wednesday, September 15 at 1pm EST to discuss ways in which Indigenous peoples are fighting for sovereignty and land reclamation, and of what we can learn from communities’ solutions and successes. They will also discuss the experience of taking part in a collaborative journalism project and how it has impacted their reporting. Join the conversation by registering below.
WORK FOR THE MMFC PROGRAM:
We’re hiring a Junior Curriculum Research And
Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is looking for a Junior Curriculum Development Associate to support the coordination, communication, and administrative work for initiatives relating to the organization, review, update, and improvement of curriculum that are part of its programs overseas and in Canada.
The associate will work under the supervision of the Director of Policy and Project Manager and in collaboration with the international department of JHR to implement its new project ‘Mobilizing Media to Fight COVID-19’ in 12 African and Middle Eastern countries.
LOCATION: Toronto, Head Office
DURATION: 2-3 months (Sept 2021 – Nov 2021)
START DATE: As soon as possible
Have you reserved your seats
at Night For Rights 2021?
JHR is holding its annual Night for Rights gala dinner and party at the Brickworks Pavilion in Toronto on October 20, 2021, from 6pm to 8pm. This year, mindful of potential public health concerns, we’re also offering our supporters the opportunity to join the party online with a fabulous virtual experience in the works!
Thank you to the Fisher family, Delaney family, Shelly Meadows, and our numerous other supporters for purchasing tables and tickets at the early bird rate. Tickets continue to sell fast and are available for purchase at www.night4rights.com at $1000 for a ticket and $8000 for a table of up to 8 seats.
We look forward to seeing you on October 20!
Your support allows us to continue our innovative work around the world!