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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.
Human Rights - Fri Mar 01, 2019 15:05
The Federal Ministry of Human Rights of Pakistan recently started a campaign to raise awareness around child abuse that is happening in Pakistan at the moment. The campaign highlights how important it is for parents, teachers, and society at large to be vigilant and inform children about child predators. Like many other countries, child abuse ... Read more
The Federal Ministry of Human Rights of Pakistan recently started a campaign to raise awareness around child abuse that is happening in Pakistan at the moment. The campaign highlights how important it is for parents, teachers, and society at large to be vigilant and inform children about child predators. Like many other countries, child abuse in Pakistan is a serious issues which often goes unreported. This is the first campaign of its kind in the country and it has already received a warm response from both activists and the general public.
Child abuse is not a recent phenomenon nor restricted to a particular region. According to Sahil, an NGO working in child protection services, about 3,445 children (2017 girls and 985 boys) were abused in Pakistan in 2017. However, this number is much higher as most cases are not reported because of social stigma attached to the issue and the lengthy investigation process by the police. Unfortunately, the victims are often abused by their relatives, through business or someone they know and trust which leads many to remain silent.
In recent years, several child abuse scandals have shocked the nation. In 2016, the Kasur child abuse scandal made headlines and, in 2018, the rape and murder of six-year-old girl Zainab Ansari led to protests. These were widely discussed on social media and people demanded that the government punish the culprits and protect children.
Global Voices spoke to Shimaila Matri Dawood, a member of the Kasur Hamara Hai (KHH) group and the Managing Director of a media management company, to learn about their contribution to the campaign:
The Pakistani government has taken a number of steps to prevent child abuse. A National Child protection Centre has been set up by the Ministry which offers free education, counseling and medical treatment. A toll-free telephone Helpline (1099) has also been set up where human rights issues, including child abuse, can be reported.
Credit to https://globalvoices.org/2019/03/01/not-allowed-to-touch-campaign-is-raising-... for the story.
Human Rights - Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:08
As winter heads into Ireland again we have been seemingly hit by more and more storms in the last couple of years. With storm damage to buildings and homes, leaving people without electric and repair bills that at times can’t be paid for. Electric is a major component of everyday life and is vital to ... Read more
As winter heads into Ireland again we have been seemingly hit by more and more storms in the last couple of years. With storm damage to buildings and homes, leaving people without electric and repair bills that at times can’t be paid for.
Electric is a major component of everyday life and is vital to a basic standard of living. In the media, the storms get hyped up and the damage it inflicts. The pictures are shown for pure entertainment at times.
However what is not shown enough are the people that are deeply affected by it. An elderly person who faces these types of circumstances tend to be ignored in the media. It is a common responsibility that should be highlighted throughout the media.
Simply checking on them, providing help or assistance, even when its only a cup of tea can make a huge difference. There should be a system in place that provides emergency care to people based on priority.
On the other end of the spectrum we have people who are faced with damage to their home. Sometimes its just a small roofing leak but other times its large roof repairs in Dublin. Where does the money come from to help repair it? Insurance company’s are getting more and more difficult to deal with and payment can be protracted.
Schemes need to be set in place to provide support and help given on a case by case basis to people who simply cannot afford the repairs to their roof or are left stranded by their insurance company while they wait for payment.
Always get someone to help when looking at guttering at your home. Its an important function to ensure good maintenance on your gutters and helps to avoid other problems on your roof. For problems with your gutters, we recommend calling a gutter service for advice on fixing them.
Thankfully some repair company’s will help and delay taking payment for work. If you or someone you know has this type of problem, don’t be afraid to explain to the roofer the situation. Getting the roof fixed fast can make a huge difference to family’s that simply have no other choice but to continue living in a house that is damaged.
Human Rights - Wed Nov 14, 2018 16:13
Africa?s human rights body has taken a step backward in recent times. How can the African Commission on Human and Peoples? Rights expect governments to heed its call to end discrimination if the commission itself is not setting the proper example? The African Commission on Human and Peoples? Rights (ACHPR) has always been responsible for ... Read more
Africa?s human rights body has taken a step backward in recent times. How can the African Commission on Human and Peoples? Rights expect governments to heed its call to end discrimination if the commission itself is not setting the proper example?
The African Commission on Human and Peoples? Rights (ACHPR) has always been responsible for responding to violence and human rights violations that African governments inflict on their populations. However, it has not always succeeded in avoiding discrimination in its own actions, as demonstrated by its recent decision to revoke the observer status it had granted to the Coalition of African Lesbians.
As a result of that decision, the 63rd session of the ACHPR, held last month in Banjul, Gambia, was not just a polite formality. Human rights defenders in general and LGBTI activists in particular are upset about the ACHPR?s discriminatory actions.
The theme of the session was the fight against corruption in Africa, but many human rights defenders who traveled to the Gambia expressed their concern about the independence of the ACHPR from pressures exerted by the African Union. The African Union considers CAL to be too bold, espousing notions that are contrary to African values ??and traditions.
LGBTI activists fear that the withdrawal of CAL?s observer status is a sign of trouble, since their mission is to combat Africans? discrimination against LGBTI people in general and in this case lesbians in particular.
Back in 2014, the ACHPR approved Recommendation 275, which calls on governments to fight discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. There were signs of positive changes in people?s attitudes and increasing respect for human rights and freedoms. But the latest action of the ACHPR has been a step backwards. A homophobic step backwards.
Human rights defenders are now united in denouncing this injustice. They call on the leaders of the ACHPR to recognize the commission?s responsibility for eliminating the new climate of fear that now reigns in African civil society.
They should realize that they cannot expect governments not to discriminate against LGBT people if the ACHPR itself does so.
To be a human rights defender means accepting the responsibility for defending the rights of everyone without exception. In this case, it means not discriminating against identity organizations such as the Coalition of African Lesbians.
Steeves Winner, the author of this article, is an activist for LGBTI rights in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org