Human Rights News

Ethiopia: New Unrest Plagues Nation's Rocky Transition
[ICG] The killing of a prominent Oromo musician has unleashed a wave of protests that have left dozens dead, highlighting anew the fragility of the country's transition. Authorities and opposition leaders should call for calm and engage in sustained dialogue to bridge the bitter divisions.
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Congo-Kinshasa: One Million People Displaced in DR Congo in 6 Months
[DW] The UNHCR recorded events of killing, mutilation, sexual violence and looting in DR Congo in the last eight weeks. The African nation has one of the highest rates of internal displacement in the world.
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Congo-Kinshasa: Kinshasa Vows Zero Tolerance Over Child Soldiers After U.S. Anti-Trafficking Nod
[Thomson Reuters Foundation] Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) decries use of child solders by army and militias after upgrade in U.S. Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report
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Ethiopia: The Paradox of Ethiopian Women - Increased Suffering, Higher National Profile, Muted Voices
[African Arguments] The appointment of women to 50% of ministerial positions by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on October 2018 was welcomed and considered as a challenge to Ethiopia's long-held tradition of patriarchal culture.[1]
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Namibia: Scores Rally to Protest Abortion
[New Era] A group of anti-abortion activists rallied in Windhoek yesterday against calls to legalise abortion.
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UN rights office expresses alarm at Hong Kong arrests under new security law
The UN human rights office, OHCHR, has expressed alarm at the arrest of demonstrators in Hong Kong, following China’s adoption of a national security law for the Special Administrative Region (SAR).
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Cameroon: English-Speakers Claim Harassment After Government Declares Security Alert
[VOA] Cameroon's displaced Anglophones, who fled from the separatist war in western regions to the capital, are accusing authorities of harassment. Last week, the government declared a security alert following two explosions in Yaounde and began raids on houses in English-speaking majority neighborhoods.
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South Africa: Why Does Racism Prevail? Leading Scholars Apply Their Minds
[The Conversation Africa] All people belong to one biological species and there are no human "races". So why does belief in race persist? It may be a scientific misconception, but it is real. It defines the lived experience of many people and determines how governments act and how people treat one another. How did race come to have this power and this durability?
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Lesotho: Lesotho Nationals to Receive SA COVID Grants
[Lesotho Times] THOUSANDS of Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) holders and other asylum seekers are set to receive M350 grants over a six-month period from the South African government to cushion them from the effects of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
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Zimbabwe: Zimbabweans Engage ILO, Cosatu Over Unpaid COVID-19 State Grants
[New Zimbabwe] Zimbabweans formally employed in South Africa have sought assistance from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and trade unions to help them in accessing Covid-19 grants made available under the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
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Youth activist speaks up for environmental protection at Human Rights Council
At the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, a teenager from Côte d’Ivoire has explained why protecting the environment matters so much.
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International: World Intellectual Property Organization Announces Service Providing Evidence of Intellectual Assets’ Authorship
(July 1, 2020) On May 27, 2020, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced a new service called WIPO PROOF, which reportedly provides evidence of the existence of digital files in any format at a point in time in order to document their authorship. According to WIPO, because creative activities are increasingly digital, global, and […]
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South Africa: Foreign Nationals Become 'Undesirables' During Lockdown
[Daily Maverick] The closure of Home Affairs' visa and refugee offices during lockdown has had widespread consequences for foreign nationals in South Africa. Many have now become 'overstayers', declared 'undesirable people'.
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Tunisia: Possibility to Carry On Transfer of Living Expenses of Pupils and Students Abroad, July-August (Bct)
[Tunis Afrique Presse] Tunis/Tunisia -- The Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) announced that it is possible, on an exceptional basis, to continue to transfer the living expenses for July and August 2020, for the benefit of pupils and students living abroad, and this, as part of their schooling files domiciled with approved intermediaries for the 2019/2020 academic year.
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Germany: Berlin Adopts Antidiscrimination Act
(June 30, 2020) On June 21, 2020, a new antidiscrimination act entered into force in the city-state of Berlin, Germany. The act, entitled the State Antidiscrimination Act, prohibits Berlin public authorities, including police and public schools and universities, from engaging in discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnic origin, racial association, religion or belief, disability, […]
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Italy: Constitutional Court Declares Criminal Code Provision on Child Abduction Unconstitutional
(June 30, 2020) On May 29, 2020, the Italian Constitutional Court issued a decision declaring the unconstitutionality of a Criminal Code provision on the suspension of parental authority in cases of child abduction and child maintenance overseas. (Decision No. 102 of May 29, 2020.) Background of the Case At the request of the Supreme Court […]
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Bachelet renews call for accountability in Philippines war on illegal drugs
The Human Rights Council should consider supporting new accountability measures against perpetrators of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines’ so-called war on illegal drugs, the UN’s top rights official said on Tuesday.
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Tunisia: Interest-Free Loan Offered to Tunisians Abroad to Facilitate Their Return Home
[Tunis Afrique Presse] Tunis/Tunisia -- An agreement to grant Tunisians residing in France and Europe an interest-free credit of up to ?6 thousand to enable them to purchase tickets from Tunisair or CTN (Tunisian Shipping Company) has been agreed with the Tunisian Foreign Bank (TFBank), said Finance Minister Nizar Yaïche.
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Harmful practices rob women and girls of ‘right to reach their full potential’
Urgent, and accelerated action is needed to end female genital mutilation, child marriage, and other “harmful practices” and abuses carried out against women and girls, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency (UNFPA), said on Tuesday, in its latest major report on the state of the world’s population.
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Israel’s illegal annexation plans for Palestine, ‘disastrous’ for wider Middle East – Bachelet
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned Israel on Monday not to proceed along the “dangerous path” of annexing a swathe of occupied Palestinian territory, urging the Government to listen to its own former senior officials along with the “multitude of voices around the world”.
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France: Constitutional Court Strikes Down Key Provisions of Bill on Hate Speech
(June 29, 2020) On June 18, 2020, the Conseil constitutionnel, France’s constitutional court, struck down key provisions of a bill on online hate speech. This bill, known as the “Loi Avia” (the Avia Law) for the name of its principal sponsor, National Assembly member Laetitia Avia, was initially submitted on March 20, 2019, and finally adopted […]
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Independent UN rights experts call for decisive measures to protect ‘fundamental freedoms’ in China
The repression of “fundamental freedoms” by the Chinese Government prompted nearly 50 UN independent experts on Friday to express their continuing alarm, urging the country to “abide by its international legal obligations”.
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Italy: Supreme Court of Cassation Issues Decision on Rights of Detained Persons
(June 26, 2020) On May 22, 2020, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) issued a decision declaring unconstitutional a provision imposing a radical ban on communication between incarcerated persons who, in accordance with Law No. 94 of July 15, 2009 and article 4-bis of Law No. 354 of July 26, 1975, are grouped together […]
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Angola: DRC Immigrants Keep Violating Border in Lunda Norte
[ANGOP] Dundo -- Thousands of immigrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continue to try to enter illegally in Angola through the borders in eastern Lunda Norte, despite of restrictions imposed by the Angolan government with aim to curb the spreading of Covid-19.
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Speak out against torture, an ‘abhorrent denial of human dignity’, urges UN chief
Torture is an “egregious abuse of human rights”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday, the International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture.
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South Africa: Immigrant Tradesmen Accuse Police of Harassment
[GroundUp] Tradesmen who wait for work outside Builders Warehouse in Fourways say they can't get work because they are chased away by metro cops. Photo: Kimberly Mutandiro
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Japan: Law to Prevent “Powa-Hara” (Power Harassment) Takes Effect
(June 22, 2020) On June 1, 2020, the 2019 amendment to the Labor Policy Comprehensive Promotion Act (Act No. 132 of 1966, amended by Act No. 24 of 2019 (Reiwa)) took effect. The amendment act, nicknamed the “Powa-Hara (Power Harassment) Prevention Act,” had been promulgated on June 5, 2019. A 2016 survey on power harassment […]
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European Union: Member States Adopt Technical Specifications to Ensure Interoperability of COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps
(June 19, 2020) On June 16, 2020, the European Union (EU) member states agreed on a set of detailed technical specifications to ensure the interoperability of national COVID-19 contact tracing apps that use a decentralized approach. Each member state must designate a technical lead who will have operational responsibility for ensuring interoperability. In addition, guidelines […]
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OSCE/ODIHR Director Link criticizes call for reintroduction of death penalty by Tajikistan’s Prosecutor General
WARSAW, 6 August 2016 – Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), today criticized the call by the Prosecutor General of Tajikistan for the reintroduction of the death penalty, and expressed concern over recent discussions related to removing the bans on capital punishment in some other OSCE participating States. “Countries in the OSCE have committed themselves to consider the complete abolition of capital punishment, not to reconsider that abolition,” the ODIHR Director said. “Yesterday’s call by the Prosecutor General in Tajikistan for the reintroduction of capital punishment in that country is completely out of place in a region where most of the countries recognize the inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of…
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ODIHR Director Link and IHRA Chair Constantinescu, on day to commemorate genocide against Roma and Sinti, say greater efforts needed to protect endangered memorial sites and ensure dignity of victims
WARSAW / BUCHAREST, 2 August 2016 – Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), called today for greater efforts to protect endangered memorial sites related to the Roma and Sinti genocide during World War II. Speaking on the occasion of the commemoration of the liquidation of the “Gypsy family camp” at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944, when the close to 3,000 remaining Roma and Sinti in the camp were murdered, they stressed that states have to do more to demonstrate their sincere and strong commitment to education about and remembrance of the genocide. “Positively, we have seen increasing attention in recent years…
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OSCE concludes series of training seminars on implementing the National Preventive Mechanism in Kazakhstan
257391 Colin McCullough, OSCE Programme Office in Astana The OSCE Programme Office in Astana concluded a series of two-day training seminars for some 100 members of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) against Torture on 2 August 2016 in Aktobe, Western Kazakhstan. From May to August 2016, participants were trained in Pavlodar, Almaty, Astana and Aktobe on practical aspects of the NPM’s implementation. The training seminars aimed at increasing the transparency and effectiveness of the Mechanism in monitoring, reporting and conducting preventive visits at detention facilities. National experts discussed with the NPM members the working procedures and methodology, challenges in fulfilling human rights obligations and ethical aspects in line with national and international anti-torture standards. Special emphasis was placed on the…
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OSCE/ODIHR and OHCHR train prosecutors and lawyers in Kyrgyzstan on international standards regarding freedom of religion or belief
International standards and the national legal framework on freedom of religion or belief were the focus of two consecutive training events organized jointly by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institution and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Regional Office for Central Asia (ROCA) of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) from 25 to 28 July 2016 in Bishkek. The training for 25 prosecutors and 31 defence lawyers from all regions of Kyrgyzstan was provided in close co-operation with the Training Centre for Prosecutors under the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Training Centre for Lawyers. The course covered a wide variety of topics directly relevant to the work of the participants, including recent developments in Kyrgyzstan.…
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OSCE launches first distance human rights course in Ukraine for judges
Andrii Dziubenko The OSCE Project Co-ordinator on 15 July 2016 launched the first distance course in Ukraine on the application of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Developed, designed and produced by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator, the course was finalized after it was successfully piloted on the online platform of the National School of Judges of Ukraine (NSJU). From now the NSJU will have this sustainable tool at its disposal for systematically training judges on applying the case-law of the ECtHR without having to involve extra human or financial resources. Thirty judges from all over Ukraine have already been trained distantly and received their certificates of accomplishment. The content was developed in co-operation with experts on…
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OSCE PA human rights committee Chair Ignacio Sanchez Amor follows up on developments in Turkey
COPENHAGEN, 25 July 2016 – In response to the measures taken by the Turkish authorities following the attempted coup, Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain), Chairperson of the OSCE PA Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, issued the following statement today: “I remain concerned by the developments which have been taking place in Turkey since the attempted coup, as expressed in an earlier statement. As I joined the rest of the international community in offering strong support to the restoration of constitutional order, I also warned against reprisals and hasty purges and underscored the need to safeguard democratic institutions. “Unfortunately, the sudden dismissal of thousands of judges, prosecutors, academics, and journalists across the country has challenged human rights standards,…
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Obama to Meet with Mexican President Peña Nieto as State Department Evaluates Mexico’s Human Rights Situation
The meeting takes place at a moment when the State Department is assessing whether the Mexican government has met the human rights conditions in the Merida Initiative. Washington, DC—Tomorrow the presidents of the United States and Mexico will meet at the White House. This meeting takes place at a moment when the State Department is assessing whether the Mexican government has met the human rights conditions in the Merida Initiative—a U.S. security assistance package. Under the Merida Initiative, 15 percent of select funds are conditioned on the State Department reporting to Congress that Mexico is making substantive progress in its respect for human rights within the framework of security operations. read more
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Assembly’s work on migration presented to OSCE ambassadors by Ad Hoc Committee Chair Lombardi at special Permanent Council
VIENNA, 20 July 2016 – Presenting the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s work concerning the refugee and migrant crisis at a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna today, Swiss parliamentarian Filippo Lombardi laid out the Assembly’s plan of action going forward, which includes monitoring the situation on the ground and developing policy recommendations for the OSCE and its participating States. The meeting was convened by the OSCE German Chairmanship to present and discuss the report by Amb. Claude Wild, Chair of the OSCE Informal Working Group Focusing on the Issue of Migration and Refugee Flows. The participants discussed in particular the importance of improving global migration governance and how the OSCE can lend its contribution to promoting regional implementation…
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WOLA Report: Mexico's New Criminal Justice System
There’s Much Left to do Before Celebrating The Mexican government has called its transition to the new adversarial, oral-based criminal justice system a “mission accomplished.” However, much remains to be done for Mexico to enjoy a system that holds perpetrators accountable for crimes while ensuring respect for human rights. Washington, DC­–The Mexican government has called its transition to the new adversarial, oral-based criminal justice system a “mission accomplished.” However, according to a new WOLA report, much remains to be done for Mexico to enjoy a system that holds perpetrators accountable for crimes while ensuring respect for human rights. read more
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Ayotzinapa Case: Negotiations between Mexico and the Inter-American Commission Continue
WOLA and 11 organizations demand a strong mechanism to follow-up on the case In a public letter to Mexican President Peña Nieto, the human rights organizations requested that a mechanism with the terms proposed by the IACHR is established. In a public letter to Mexican President Peña Nieto, WOLA and eleven international and regional human rights organizations urged the Mexican government to create an effective mechanism to follow up on the investigation of the enforced disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students. read more
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Third Member of Honduran Environmental Organization COPINH Murdered Since March
Brutal killing of Lesbia Janeth Urquía underscores the deeply troubling pattern of violence against human rights defenders in Honduras Honduran authorities must take meaningful and serious steps to address what appears to be a pattern of repression against human rights defenders. Press Release read more
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Republican House Leadership Signals Shift on Cuba
Broad and bi-partisan support for measures to ease trade and travel restrictions on Cuba led to controversy in the House of Representatives on Wednesday night, and ended with an agreement that signals a shift in the House leadership’s attitude toward Cuba policy change. read more
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Cuba Votes in House of Representatives Expected Tonight
Republicans Take Lead on Cuba Trade and Travel When the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill comes to the House floor, likely on Wednesday, July 6, Republican Members of Congress will take the lead in offering two amendments that would ease travel and trade with Cuba. Debate on the amendments is expected Wednesday evening, with votes on Wednesday or Thursday. Washington, D.C.—When the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill comes to the House floor, likely on Wednesday, July 6, Republican Members of Congress will take the lead in offering two amendments that would ease travel and trade with Cuba. Debate on the amendments is expected Wednesday evening, with votes on Wednesday or Thursday. read more
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WOLA Announces Recipients of its 2016 Human Rights Awards
Honorees Show Unwavering Commitment to Human Rights in the Americas Press Release Washington, D.C.—WOLA (the Washington Office on Latin America) is proud to announce the recipients of its prestigious Human Rights Awards for 2016. Each year, WOLA presents this award to organizations or individuals who exemplify a commitment to WOLA's vision for the future, where human rights and social justice are the foundation for public policy. The 2016 Human Rights Awards recipients have shown unwavering dedication to advancing human rights in the Americas. read more
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