Migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, are vulnerable groups that need assistance. Governments are required to collaborate with human rights defenders and other civil organizations to ensure that migrants can access basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing and health care. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/relevant-links/
However, these vulnerable groups in the society are now exposed to suffering since their service providers, human rights defenders, are under attack by governments across the world. Instead of recognizing and supporting the crucial role that human rights defenders play, governments have continuously demonstrated their failure and unwillingness to support them.
Across the world, different countries are restricting operations of human rights and civil society groups by implementing laws that criminalizes assistance to migrants. This situation forces these groups to operate in a chilled environment, thus offering minimal services while some chose to withdraw their services completely.
According to the information released by OHCHR, human rights advocates and other representatives were barred from contacting their clients during a migrant settlement in Calais, France.
According to UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, groups defending the rights of refugees in Australia are experiencing stigmatization, retaliation and vilification. In their statement to the UN Human Rights Council, ISHR mentioned that civil society groups in Serbia are barred from accessing the buildings accommodating unaccompanied migrant children.
In Hungary, activists accused the government of using excessive force on peaceful migrant demonstrators and journalists. In Mexico, rights defenders are unable to provide assistance to migrants under transit due to danger posed by criminals who, often with full impunity, rape, kill and extort. Read more: Michael Lacey | Facebook
Standing up against immigration practices that violate human rights is not an easy task. Support for groups that work to confront these malpractices should be prioritized internationally.
The High Commissioner’s draft Principles and Practical Guidance on Respecting the Human Rights of Migrants in Vulnerable Situations addresses this need. Principle 18 of the 34th session of the Human Rights Council emphasizes on the need for states to recognize and support the work of human rights defenders.
It also holds the states and other stake holders responsible for any form of violence faced by these groups. In an effort to address the state of policies on migrants, the UN Human Rights Council’s Enhanced Dialogue on Migrants highlighted the important roles played by human rights defenders in society.
About Lacey & Larkin
Lacey & Larkin is a charity foundation established by two renowned journalists, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. The organization, through the Frontera Fund, supports groups that advocate for human, civil, and migrant rights across Arizona.
The Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund also promotes other social justices like freedom of speech and civic participation. The two are the founders of Village Voice Media and Phoenix New Times. Following a court ruling, they were awarded $3.75 million from their arrest by Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Sheriff.
In 2007, Michael and Jim were arrested by the Sheriff for disclosing grand jury proceedings where Maricopa County was demanding for the journalists’ notes about the evil deeds of the Sheriff. The arrest led to a prolonged court battle. They used the money to establish Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey Are Not Standing Down
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey have long been staunch defenders and proponents for the First Amendment and free speech. The long-time friends founded their first newspaper way back in 1970 while still students at Arizona State University. Over the next 40-plus years the pair would continue to defend the Constitution through the use of free speech and freedom of the press.
Larkin and Lacey were both arrested in 2007 by then-Sheriff of Maricopa County (AZ) and unlawfully detained for their exercise of free speech. The reason for the arrest was unconstitutional and deemed so less than 24 hours later. The damage had already been done and so the pair sued the sheriff’s office and won a settlement for $3.75 million.
They decided to use that money to help defend free speech and the First Amendment by starting the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund. The fund distributes money to immigrants living and working in Arizona to help them fight deportation.
They have also recently launched a news website called Front Page Confidential. The media website produces news that is associated with free speech, freedom of the press, and other constitutional news. The site fights for constitutional rights through news stories and investigations of constitutional misdeeds.