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Human Rights - Sat Aug 31, 2019 13:41
The undersigned civil society organizations, representing groups working within and outside Cambodia to advance human rights, rule of law, and democracy, are writing to alert your government to an ongoing human rights crisis in Cambodia and to request your support for a resolution ensuring strengthened scrutiny of the human rights situation in the country at ... Read more
The undersigned civil society organizations, representing groups working within and outside Cambodia to advance human rights, rule of law, and democracy, are writing to alert your government to an ongoing human rights crisis in Cambodia and to request your support for a resolution ensuring strengthened scrutiny of the human rights situation in the country at the upcoming 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (the ?Council?).
National elections in July 2018 were conducted after the Supreme Court, which lacks independence, dissolved the major opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). Many believe that this allowed the ruling Cambodian People?s Party (CPP) under Prime Minister Hun Sen to secure all 125 seats in the National Assembly and effectively establish one-party rule. Since the election, respect for human rights in Cambodia has further declined. Key opposition figures remain either in detention ? such as CNRP leader Kem Sokha, who is under de facto house arrest ? or in self-imposed exile out of fear of being arrested. The CNRP is considered illegal and 111 senior CNRP politicians remain banned from engaging in politics. Many others have continued to flee the country to avoid arbitrary arrest and persecution.
Government authorities have increasingly harassed opposition party members still in the country, with more than 147 former CNRP members summoned to court or police stations. Local authorities have continued to arrest opposition members and activists on spurious charges. The number of prisoners facing politically motivated charges in the country has remained steady since the election. The government has shuttered almost all independent media outlets, and totally controls national TV and radio stations. Repressive laws ? including the amendments to the Law on Political Parties, the Law on Non-Governmental Organizations, and the Law on Trade Unions ? have resulted in severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.
It is expected that a resolution will be presented at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in September to renew the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia for another two years. We strongly urge your delegation to ensure that the resolution reflects the gravity of the situation in the country and requests additional monitoring and reporting by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Mandated OHCHR monitoring of the situation and reporting to the Council, in consultation with the Special Rapporteur, would enable a comprehensive assessment of the human rights situation in Cambodia, identification of concrete actions that the government needs to take to comply with Cambodia?s international human rights obligations, and would allow the Council further opportunities to address the situation.
Read More At: https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/08/30/un-human-rights-council-should-address-hu...
Human Rights - Mon Aug 26, 2019 18:49
Girls and women empowerment is fundamental in achieving equality in all segments of society. Minister for women Mereseini Vuniwaqa says Fiji has made huge strides in the area of women?s development and gender equality. Despite the ongoing empowerment programs in the country, Vuniwaqa highlighted that Fijian women are still faced with great violations of their ... Read more
Girls and women empowerment is fundamental in achieving equality in all segments of society.
Minister for women Mereseini Vuniwaqa says Fiji has made huge strides in the area of women?s development and gender equality.
Despite the ongoing empowerment programs in the country, Vuniwaqa highlighted that Fijian women are still faced with great violations of their human rights.
?Especially in the form of gender-based violence and this will remain an area of priority for Government so that we can fully realize the essence of Women?s Equality Day. This will need the participation and commitment of each and every one of us to break the silence on violence against women so that they can fully enjoy their human rights as they deserve to.?
Vuniwaqa says Fijian women are achieving great levels of educational attainment and breaking barriers informal sector employment, parliamentary representation, and entrepreneurship.
?This day is an important time to reflect on our achievements as a nation but also recognize the challenges and gaps and unite to work towards achieving women?s equality in all spheres.?
She adds the Government has a mechanism in the form of laws, international obligations, local policies, and government-led programs to achieve gender equality and for the empowerment of women.
Original Story: https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/fijian-women-still-face-human-rights-violatio...
Human Rights - Fri Aug 09, 2019 20:41
As millions of Muslims don robes and flock to Mecca for hajj, a small counter movement to boycott the pilgrimage in protest at Saudi Arabia’s politics has won limited support online. Although the numbers are dwarfed by the 1.8 million who have arrived in Mecca for Friday’s hajj, more than 100 Muslims from Australia to ... Read more
As millions of Muslims don robes and flock to Mecca for hajj, a small counter movement to boycott the pilgrimage in protest at Saudi Arabia’s politics has won limited support online.
Although the numbers are dwarfed by the 1.8 million who have arrived in Mecca for Friday’s hajj, more than 100 Muslims from Australia to Tanzania are contributing to a Twitter hashtag #boycotthajj in response to Saudi Arabia’s political record.
They cite its role in the war in Yemen, stance on human rights and unequal treatment of women among top concerns.
“#BoycottHajj is an important discussion for Muslims to have. It is about being critical and recognizing the atrocities that the Saudi regime commits against fellow Muslims,” Mariam Parwaiz, a public health doctor in New Zealand, said on Twitter.
For Ella, attending hajj now would be incompatible with Islam’s wider obligations to stand up to injustice.
“It’s Saudi foreign policy and the oppressive nature of Saudi society that’s stopping me,” the 28-year-old British academic told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“It’s not me saying I don’t want to go – I would love to be able to fulfill my religious obligation. But for as long as that would mean being complicit in violence, I won’t do it.”
A Saudi-backed coalition has waged war in Yemen since 2015 and aid workers say some 24 million people – almost 80% of the population – will likely need humanitarian assistance in 2019.
The Gulf kingdom also faces heightened scrutiny over its human rights record after last year’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents.
And women – who have won some high-profile rights – face a barrage of male controls in this socially conservative kingdom.
Riyadh has urged Muslims to focus on worship, not politics.
A Saudi official dismissed the boycott as “unwise” and said its small number of backers stood in sharp contrast to the fact that more pilgrims chose to visit Mecca each year, with countries seeking ever larger hajj quotas.
Human Rights - Mon Apr 15, 2019 19:19
With the official launch of his presidential campaign Sunday, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, is pitching to become the first openly gay US President in history. That prospect — albeit still a long shot — is attracting the growing attention of LGBT communities around the world, including in China where experts and activists ... Read more
With the official launch of his presidential campaign Sunday, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, is pitching to become the first openly gay US President in history.
That prospect — albeit still a long shot — is attracting the growing attention of LGBT communities around the world, including in China where experts and activists say sexual minorities face persistent discrimination as well as periodic government crackdowns.
There has been no coverage of Buttigieg on China’s strictly controlled state media, but some LGBT community leaders are following the Democratic hopeful, whose unexpected rise in the past weeks has dominated US political news, in overseas media.
“I know he’s 37 years old, once the youngest mayor in America, an Afghanistan war veteran and a Harvard graduate,” said Xiaogang Wei, a leading LGBT rights advocate in China who heads the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute.
“Any openly gay world leader is good news in terms of raising LGBT visibility,” he added. “But a gay US President would bring so much global visibility and that would be a very positive development for LGBT communities around the world.”
Original Story: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/15/asia/pete-buttigieg-china-lgbt/index.html
Human Rights - Mon Apr 08, 2019 07:31
The first version of the inaugural Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea has been published by Human Rights at Sea after the initial drafting session was held in Switzerland in March 2019 at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. The principal aim of the Declaration is to raise global awareness of ... Read more
The first version of the inaugural Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea has been published by Human Rights at Sea after the initial drafting session was held in Switzerland in March 2019 at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.
The principal aim of the Declaration is to raise global awareness of the abuse of human rights at sea and to mobilize a concerted international effort to put an end to it.
The concept of human rights at sea rests on four fundamental principles:
The Declaration recognizes established International Human Rights Law and International Maritime Law, highlights the applicable legal assumptions and reflects the emerging development and customary use of the increased cross-over of the two bodies of law.
The Declaration was first announced to students in Malta on April 4 at the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) during the second Human Rights and the Law of the Sea workshop held in co-ordination with the Stockton Centre for International Law; and has now been briefed at the World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden, during the Empowering Women in the Maritime Community conference by the charity?s Iranian researcher, Sayedeh Hajar Hejazi.
The core drafting team comprises: Professor Anna Petrig, LL.M. (Harvard), University of Basel, Switzerland, Professor Irini Papanicolopulu, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, Professor Steven Haines, Greenwich University, United Kingdom and David Hammond Esq. BSc (Hons), PgDL, Human Rights at Sea, United Kingdom. It is supported by Elisabeth Mavropoulou LL.M. (Westminster), Sayedeh Hajar Hejazi LL.M. (Symbiosis India).
The first drafting round was supported with input and observers from multiple U.N. agencies, leading human rights lawyers, international and civil society organizations.
The second drafting session will be held in Geneva in May.
Human Rights - Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:44
A free speech watchdog says it has no problem with the banning of the alleged Christchurch gunman’s manifesto. The Chief Censor at the weekend declared the 74-page document ‘objectionable’, meaning it’s now an offence to possess or share it. The maximum penalty for doing so is 14 years in jail. “Every time we classify a ... Read more
A free speech watchdog says it has no problem with the banning of the alleged Christchurch gunman’s manifesto.
The Chief Censor at the weekend declared the 74-page document ‘objectionable’, meaning it’s now an offence to possess or share it. The maximum penalty for doing so is 14 years in jail.
“Every time we classify a document as objectionable, that is a limit of free speech – and we take that very seriously,” Chief Censor David Shanks told The AM Show on Monday morning.
“We’ve applied exactly the same framework that we would apply to an [Islamic State] promotional pamphlet or another terrorist document.”
The decision, which came a few days after video of the attack shot by the killer and broadcast live on the internet was also deemed objectionable, has outraged free speech activists.
“This is a completely improper use of the censorship powers,” Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Stephen Franks said. “Most New Zealanders will have no interest in reading the rants of an evil person. But there is a major debate going on right now on the causes of extremism. Kiwis should not be wrapped in cotton wool with their news and information censored.”
But another free speech group, the NZ Council for Civil Liberties, says the Chief Censor’s decision falls “right in the middle” of what the law calls for.
“It’s not an extreme ruling or a novel interpretation of the law,” chairperson Thomas Beagle told Magic Talk on Monday.
“I think it’s important that people in New Zealand do know the basis for what has happened. I’m not sure whether they need the interpretations from the media, or go read it themselves. We believe that freedom of expression is important, but we also believe there should be limits to it, as is justifiable in a free and democratic society. And I can’t see this particular ban as being a serious impediment to that.”
Beagle said it wasn’t a “gross invasion” of free speech, and even if the document wasn’t banned, sharing it could contravene other laws – such as the Human Rights Act, which outlaws inciting racial disharmony. The manifesto details the gunman’s white supremacist and anti-migrant views.
Beagle said the Chief Censor’s ruling is more symbolic than practical. “It’s well out there by now. If you want a copy of it, you can get it on the internet. There’s no question about that.” And just possessing the document is unlikely to see anyone jailed for the full 14 years, he added.
“I think if someone actually got 14 years in jail it would be draconian. But the law allows for a lot more range. One consideration you might want to take into account is, how would you feel if someone printed off 10,000 copies of it and started handing it out, outside mosques? That would possibly be a case where you might want to look at the higher end of it.”
He said the law – the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993 – is the same one used to outlaw child pornography and other terrorist material – including that produced by Islamic State.
Other causes the NZ Council for Civil Liberties has taken up include backing David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill and the removal of New Zealand’s blasphemy laws, and fighting against spy agencies having greater access to Kiwis’ data.
The Free Speech Coalition said it wasn’t right to ban the manifesto while still allowing genocidal Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s work Mein Kampf to grace bookshelves.
The Chief Censor said the difference between the two is the alleged gunman’s document contained specific threats, while Mein Kampf was a “reflection of evil ideas”.
“It’s a fine line, but we have that line prescribed in law,” said Shanks.
Beagle echoed that view, saying the manifesto was “more than just a political tract”.
“The Censor noted it essentially promotes and encourages criminal acts of terrorism, and it contains actual particular calls for people to do particular acts and particular attacks on particular people in the country. So it’s not just a political manifesto – it’s also a calling for violence.”
The Free Speech Coalition says it is seeking advice on how to “launch an effective challenge” to the Chief Censor’s ruling.
Human Rights - Thu Mar 14, 2019 15:33
Every year, 25 million women across the world are forced to obtain unsafe abortions. The United States, through its foreign policy, is deeply complicit in the violation of these women?s right to life and equality under international law. International human-rights frameworks guard against these violations and hold the US and other countries accountable. The International ... Read more
Every year, 25 million women across the world are forced to obtain unsafe abortions. The United States, through its foreign policy, is deeply complicit in the violation of these women?s right to life and equality under international law.
International human-rights frameworks guard against these violations and hold the US and other countries accountable. The International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), for instance, details the basic rights and freedoms guaranteed to all people worldwide, including the right to life, the right to liberty and the right to equality. Such rights are not symbolic: they are grounded in the dignity of each human being and protected by international law.
Since 1966, 172 parties ? including the US ? have signed the ICCPR. It is one of the few human-rights treaties that the US has ratified. But today, the US imposes illegal abortion policies that brazenly violated its obligations under the Covenant and other binding provisions of international law.
The ICCPR spells out the right to access abortion services and safeguards against censorship. It also protects the right to nondiscrimination under Article 3; the right to life under Article 6; the right to be free from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under Article 7; and the right to free speech and association in Articles 19 and 22.
US abortion restrictions on foreign assistance, including the global gag rule and Helms and Siljander amendments, breach these fundamental obligations.
The global gag rule prohibits non-U.S. organizations from receiving global health assistance funding if they advocate around, provide, educate or counsel on abortion services as a method of family planning ? even though these organizations use non-U.S. funds to do so. First enacted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, the policy has been rescinded and reinstated along party lines with each presidential administration. The impact of the rule in the relevant countries is compounded by each iteration of the policy.
The Helms Amendment (in place since 1973, as a reaction to Roe v. Wade) prohibits any foreign assistance from being used for using abortion as a method of family planning. The Siljander Amendment (in place since 1981) prohibits the use of funds for lobbying for or against abortion.
By restricting women?s abortion access, these laws and policies violate their right to life by forcing them to obtain the procedure in unsafe ways. They also threaten women?s access to health care more generally, because many non-U.S. organizations receiving global health assistance are forced to cut services or close.
The global gag rule stifles the speech of doctors and other health care providers, preventing them from informing their patients of all the medical options available to them. This censorship worsens stigma, particularly for individuals living with HIV and AIDS, sex workers, members of the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities.
We must hold our leaders accountable to the human-rights framework that the US and 171 other parties have agreed upon. As state parties prepare for the UN Human Rights Committee meeting on March 25, when they will report on the implementation of the ICCPR, we urge them to insist on access to safe abortion as a right.
The history of the US disregarding international human-rights standards should not be accepted as the status quo. As attacks on women?s rights escalate worldwide, it is more critical than ever that we take the US to task on standards it has promised to adhere to as a law-abiding country.
Human Rights - Tue Mar 12, 2019 21:51
Human Rights Watch urges the Human Rights Council to renew and strengthen the mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan and ensure it has enough resources to carry out its important mandate to collect and preserve evidence of serious human rights violations and identify those responsible. This mandate is all the ... Read more
Human Rights Watch urges the Human Rights Council to renew and strengthen the mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan and ensure it has enough resources to carry out its important mandate to collect and preserve evidence of serious human rights violations and identify those responsible. This mandate is all the more important given continued abuses and the disappointing lack of progress in the establishment of the AU-South Sudanese hybrid court to investigate and try the most serious crimes.
Throughout South Sudan?s civil war, now in its sixth year, government and rebel forces have repeatedly committed grave crimes against civilians on a massive scale, including unlawful killings, destruction of property, unlawful detentions, torture, enforced disappearances, rape and sexual violence. Over 4 million people have had to flee their homes, half of whom are internally displaced and the rest in neighboring countries as refugees.
HRW continues to document persistent abuses despite the signing of a ?revitalized? agreement in September 2018, particularly in parts of Western Bahr al Ghazal, Unity, and Central Equatoria. The abuses have included unlawful killings, destruction of villages, forced displacement and widespread sexual violence. The Commission, in its latest report, also documents emblematic incidents of violence against civilians in these locations, finding that both government and opposition forces committed serious crimes that could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Commission was able to identify commanders who may bear responsibility for the crimes in a confidential dossier.
The Commission also documents the powerful and draconian role of South Sudan?s national security and military intelligence which have arbitrarily detained, tortured, abused detainees and are implicated in several enforced disappearances. These findings are consistent with our research. As one 24-year-old Juba university student who was detained for three years without charge, and released in September 2018 following a presidential pardon told us:
Mr. President, impunity continues to be the main driver of these serious, ongoing abuses.
In the absence of another international mechanism to monitor and document human rights violations and abuses, the Commission?s role in collecting and preserving evidence for identifying those responsible for crimes and potential use in future prosecutions is indispensable.
We urge the Council to renew the mandate for another year. If no progress is made to establish the hybrid court, the International Criminal Court remains the global court of last resort and should be pursued.
This article first appeared on: https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/12/council-should-renew-commission-human-rig...
Human Rights - Tue Mar 12, 2019 00:15
GENEVA – Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer jailed in Iran, was handed a new sentence on Monday that her husband said was 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. Sotoudeh, who has represented opposition activists, including women prosecuted for removing their mandatory head scarf, was arrested in June and charged with spying, ... Read more
GENEVA – Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer jailed in Iran, was handed a new sentence on Monday that her husband said was 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.
Sotoudeh, who has represented opposition activists, including women prosecuted for removing their mandatory head scarf, was arrested in June and charged with spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran?s supreme leader, her lawyer said.
She was jailed in 2010 for spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security ? charges she denied ? and was released after serving half her six-year term. The European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov human rights prize.
A judge at a revolutionary court in Tehran, Mohammad Moqiseh, said on Monday Sotoudeh had been sentenced to five years for assembling against national security and two years for insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Sotoudeh?s husband, Reza Khandan, wrote on Facebook that the sentence was decades in jail and 148 lashes, unusually harsh even for Iran, which cracks down hard on dissent and regularly imposes death sentences for some crimes.
The news comes days after Iran appointed a new head of the judiciary ? Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric who is a protege of Supreme Leader Khamenei. The appointment is seen as weakening the political influence of President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate.
Iran, often accused of human rights abuse, said on Monday it had allowed U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore to visit last week at the head of a ?technical mission.
The visit, confirmed by a U.N. official, appeared to be the first in many years by U.N. human rights investigators who have been denied access by the government.
The U.N. investigator on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, raised Sotoudeh?s case at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, saying that last week she ?was reportedly convicted of charges relating to her work and could face a lengthy prison sentence.?
?Worrying patterns of intimidation, arrest, prosecution, and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers, and labor rights activists signal an increasingly severe state response,? Rehman said.
Story originally from: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/03/12/world/crime-legal-world/husband-...
Human Rights - Sun Mar 03, 2019 19:04
In his latest report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on February 27, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran Javaid Rehman voiced concern over human rights violations in Iran, in particular the way the death penalty is implemented. A British-Pakistani legal scholar and professor of Islamic law and international ... Read more
In his latest report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on February 27, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran Javaid Rehman voiced concern over human rights violations in Iran, in particular the way the death penalty is implemented.
A British-Pakistani legal scholar and professor of Islamic law and international law at Brunel University, Rehman expressed deep regret that children as young as 9 years old can still be executed, noting that at least 33 minors have been executed since 2013.
Retaliating, the Iranian judiciary?s High Council for Human Rights rejected the report as baseless, saying Rehman is “misusing his position to spread propaganda against the Islamic Republic.?
Once again, Tehran has responded by targeting the UN rapporteur rather than the facts reflected in his report, according to human rights activists.
In a statement issued on March 2, the High Council for Human Rights said Rehman?s numerous “interviews” with various media outlets including the BBC, which is ?well known for its hostile reports against Iran,? are ?a blatant violation? of the UN framework, within which he has been chosen as special rapporteur, local news outlets reported.
Focusing on the execution of child offenders, Rehman had said that Iran must “urgently amend legislation to prohibit the execution of persons who committed [a crime] while below the age of 18 years and as such are children, and urgently amend the legislation to commute all existing sentences for child offenders on death row.?
Directly addressing the high authorities in Iran, Rehman had asked them to provide the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the special rapporteur with a list of all child offenders on death row.
Responding to the report, Larijani has sufficed to dismiss Rehman’s report as “baseless” and “unrealistic.?
Echoing Larijani’s statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi also said Iran believes that the extension of the mandate of the special rapporteur for another year is ?unjustifiable and unnecessary.?
Once again, Qassemi stopped short of presenting any evidence proving Rehman’s latest report as irrelevant and unfair even though its SiteJot.
Tehran has not responded yet to Rahman’s allegations, which include coerced confessions, suppressing workers, teachers, and Sufi dervishes of the Gonabadi denomination, and widespread discrimination against the Kurdish, Baha’i, and Sunni minorities.