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Human Rights - Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33
The way governments decide to respond to the pandemic will impact the human rights of millions of people. Amnesty International is closely monitoring government responses to the crisis. These are extraordinary times, but it?s important to remember that human rights law still applies. Indeed, it will help us get through this together. Here?s a quick ... Read more
The way governments decide to respond to the pandemic will impact the human rights of millions of people.
Amnesty International is closely monitoring government responses to the crisis. These are extraordinary times, but it?s important to remember that human rights law still applies. Indeed, it will help us get through this together.
Here?s a quick look at how human rights can help protect us, and what the obligations of governments are in relation to the pandemic.
The right to health
Most governments have ratified at least one human rights treaty which requires them to guarantee the right to health. Among other things, this means they have an obligation to take all steps necessary for the prevention, treatment and control of diseases.
In the context of a spreading epidemic, this means ensuring that preventive care, goods and services are available to everybody.
In Hong Kong, one of the first places to be hit, a local NGO noted that nearly 70% of low-income families could not afford to buy the protective equipment the government was recommending, including masks and disinfectant. If states are endorsing the use of such items, they must ensure that everyone can access them.
Access to information
This is a key aspect of the right to health, but we have already seen governments ignoring it.
In December 2019, doctors in Wuhan, China, where the virus was first reported, shared with colleagues their fears about patients with respiratory symptoms. They were immediately silenced and reprimanded by the local authorities for ?spreading rumours?.
Rights to and at work
People in precarious forms of labour are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic, which is already starting to have a massive impact on people and the economy. Migrant workers, people who work in the ?gig? economy, and people in the informal sector are more likely to see their rights to and at work adversely impacted, as a result and the measures to control it.
Governments must ensure that everyone has access to social security ? including sick pay, health care and parental leave ? where they are unable to work because of the virus. These measures are also essential to help people stick to the public health measures states put in place.
Health workers are at the frontline of this pandemic, continuing to deliver services despite the personal risks to them and their families, and governments must protect them. This includes providing suitable, good quality personal protective equipment, information, training and psycho-social support to all response staff. People in other jobs, including prison staff, are also at higher risk of exposure, and should be protected.
Disproportionate impact on certain groups
Anyone can get it, but certain groups appear to be at greater risk of severe illness and death. This includes older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions. It?s also likely that other marginalized groups, including people living in poverty, people with disabilities and people in detention, including migrants and asylum seekers, will face additional challenges in protecting themselves and accessing treatment.
For example, homeless people will find it more difficult to self-isolate, and people who do not have access to adequate sanitation will be at greater risk of contracting the virus.
In designing responses, states must ensure that the needs and experiences of specific groups are fully addressed.
Stigma and discrimination
According to media reports, people from Wuhan have faced widespread discrimination and harassment in China. This includes being rejected from hotels or barricaded in their own flats, and having their personal information leaked online.
There have also been widespread reports of anti-Chinese or anti-Asian xenophobia in other countries, including US President Trump repeatedly calling it a ?Chinese virus?. In London, a student from Singapore was badly beaten up in a racially aggravated attack. There is no excuse for racism or discrimination. Governments around the world must take a zero-tolerance approach to the racist targeting of all people.
Meanwhile President Trump has used the pandemic to justify racist and discriminatory policies, and is reportedly planning a blanket ban on asylum-seekers crossing from Mexico.
Such an outright asylum ban would go against the government?s domestic and international legal obligations, and would serve only to demonize people seeking safety. A similar 2018 ban was swiftly declared unlawful by every court to have considered it
Human Rights - Wed Mar 04, 2020 17:58
Turkish president called on Greece and other EU countries to comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the Syrian refugee issue. “We call on, notably, Greece and all EU countries to respectfully treat the refugees, which came to their territories, in line with Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at ... Read more
Turkish president called on Greece and other EU countries to comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the Syrian refugee issue.
“We call on, notably, Greece and all EU countries to respectfully treat the refugees, which came to their territories, in line with Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at his party’s parliamentary group meeting in the capital Ankara.
Erdogan slammed Greece by showing a photo displaying the help extended to the Greek people who fled Nazi attacks and took refuge in Syria during the World War II.
“One of the Greek boys or girls in this photo is maybe the grandparent of [Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos] Mitsotakis,” Erdogan said.
“A Greek, who tries every way possible to not accept refugees in its country […] should not forget that one day he could need that compassion,” he added.
Last week, Turkish officials announced that they would no longer try to stop irregular migrants reaching Europe.
Since then, thousands of irregular migrants flocked to Edirne to make their way into Europe.
Ankara has repeatedly complained that Europe has failed to keep its promises under the 2016 migration deal with Turkey to help migrants and stem further migrant waves.
Turkey, which already hosts some 3.7 million Syrian migrants, more than any country in the world, says it cannot absorb another refugee wave.
The decision was made after 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred by the regime forces in Idlib, northwestern Syrian late February.
The Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a 2018 deal with Russia, which prohibits acts of aggression in the region.
Erdogan said that Turkey would not leave its territory to the mercy of terror groups or the blood-stained hands of the Syrian regime, nor would it abandon the oppressed Syrians alone.
“With our latest operation [Spring Shield], I believe we have demonstrated once again that we are a country that knows how to fight but one that does not want to fight,” he said, referring to the fresh Syria operation announced on Sunday.
Human Rights - Sun Oct 13, 2019 19:12
Over the past few weeks amidst escalating trade war tension the United States has taken aim at numerous Chinese entities citing their involvement in alleged human rights violations occurring throughout China’s Xinjiang province. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday the measures target those ?who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the ... Read more
Over the past few weeks amidst escalating trade war tension the United States has taken aim at numerous Chinese entities citing their involvement in alleged human rights violations occurring throughout China’s Xinjiang province.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday the measures target those ?who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention and abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, or other members of Muslim minority groups? in Xinjiang, China.
The Trump administration has denounced China’s actions in Xinjiang for a little over a year, but no official action had been taken till now.
Last week, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) issued a detention order against a Chinese apparel company with ties to the United States, claiming the company produced its products using forced labor in Xinjiang.
On Monday, U.S. Department of Commerce announced export restrictions on 28 Chinese entities, including regional government agencies, local police and security technology companies.
The State Department announced on Wednesday it would ban certain Chinese officials and their immediate family members from obtaining U.S. visas, citing their ties to human rights violations in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government is accused of turning Xinjiang into a mass-surveillance state — where the U.N. says it has detained over a million Muslims, some of whom are allegedly subject to forced labor according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The re-education camps
Located throughout Xinjiang are what the Chinese government calls “vocational centers.” These centers were established “to eradicate the breeding soil of extremism and terrorism,” according to the Chinese government.
Contrary to their title, human rights experts refer to these centers as “re-education camps,” while others call them “internment” or “concentration” camps. These camps currently house over a million Muslim people, according to the United Nations.
“These are truly internment camps where these people are being treated in ways that are fundamentally inconsistent with what China would have you believe, and in ways that ? when the world finds out ? we will all regret,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told ABC News earlier this year.
ABC News has spoken to several sources who claimed to have been in the camps. Each described different forms of torture — ranging from sleep deprivation to starvation. The Chinese government has denied all allegations of torture within these facilities.
CBP issued detention orders on goods imported from five countries based on allegations that people producing those items might be children or adults subjected to forced labor. The orders are used to hold shipping containers at U.S. ports of entry until CBP can investigate the claims of wrongdoing.
Heitan Taida, a Chinese apparel company, was one of the companies slapped with detention orders. Last year, The Associated Press reported that Heitan Taida was forcing Muslims to sew garments for U.S. importers inside a Chinese re-education camp.
Hetian Taida did not respond to emails from ABC News Wednesday. In a previous conversation with the AP, Wu Hongbo, the company?s chairman, said that although Hetian Taida was located in a compound shared by a camp, Hetian Taida was not involved in the camp?s activities.
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.