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Matt Easton
Matt Easton is a writer and independent consultant carrying out research and advocacy focusing on the protection of human rights defenders and on human rights in Southeast Asia. He is a former director of the Human Rights Defenders Program at Human Rights First and has worked and lived in Indonesia, Timor-Leste, India, and Zimbabwe. Matt has a B.A. from Haverford College and an M.A. in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC.

Entries by Matt Easton

The Look of Silence and the End of Fear

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2014 | 4:32 PM

A decade ago, Joshua Oppenheimer filmed two men by an Indonesian riverbank as they recounted their part in a political genocide. The army had seized power in 1965, organizing gangs and Muslim groups to kill up to a million suspected leftists. As Oppenheimer described the scene in an email:

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In Syria, Uncovering the Truth Behind a Number

(0) Comments | Posted September 6, 2014 | 12:02 PM

Three days after video emerged of the execution of journalist James Foley, the top human rights official at the United Nations happened to provide a grim numerical context to his murder. Citing the precise and shocking figure of 191,369 known killings over three years, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi...

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Can a Movie Help a Nation Confront Its Hidden Past?

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2013 | 11:44 AM

For years, millions of Indonesians across the vast archipelago watched the same movie on the last day of September. The Treachery of the September 30 Movement/PKI inculcated in a generation the founding myth of the Suharto regime: that in 1965 the courageous army worked with patriotic civilians to...

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How Do Human Rights Activists Protect Themselves?

(2) Comments | Posted November 26, 2010 | 9:25 AM

If the sun sets and I am at the bus stop, then I am in danger. -Zimbabwean activist

An Indonesian rights lawyer is fatally poisoned on an international flight. State agents abduct a Zimbabwean activist and hold her incommunicado. In Colombia, leaked documents reveal plans to assassinate human rights defenders....

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Cuba's Black Spring and the Ladies in White

(1) Comments | Posted March 31, 2009 | 2:27 PM

In March 2003, in what is now referred to by many Cubans as the Black Spring, 75 human rights activists throughout the country were arrested, summarily tried, and sentenced to as many as 28 years in prison for peacefully demanding fundamental rights. Many of them were organizers for the

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In Kenya, New Threats to Human Rights Defenders

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2009 | 6:11 PM

On the evening of March 5, Oscar Kamau King'ara and John Paul Oulu were driving on a busy Nairobi street. According to reports, vehicles blocked their path; several men in suits then approached their car and shot them at point-blank range. After demonstrations broke out at the university nearby, police...

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In the Dock and Under the Gun in Colombia

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2009 | 1:11 PM

It's been a rough week for law enforcement in Colombia. First, a senior domestic intelligence official was forced to resign following reports that his agency had illegally wiretapped judges, politicians, activists, and journalists - and then sold the information to criminal groups.

On February 24 my...

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In Iran, a Petition Can Mean Prison

(3) Comments | Posted February 13, 2009 | 5:47 PM

On February 12, the New York Times reported on efforts by women in Iran to stand up for their rights. The article briefly mentions the remarkable One Million Signatures Campaign, "a petition calling on authorities to give women more equal footing in the laws on marriage, divorce, adultery and...

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