Category Archives: HUMAN RIGHTS

The Global Campaign for the Prevention of Child Marriage

. . . . . HUMAN RIGHTS . . . . .

Sent to CPNN by Ksenija Cipek

The Global Campaign for the Prevention of Child Marriage (GCPCM) was launched in March 2019 by Mr. Shahin Gavanji and Ms. Ksenija Cipek, and the primary goal of this Campaign is raising awareness and illuminating people’s minds to address child marriage in the world. The managers of campaign believe that education is a powerful strategy to prevent child marriage in the world.

[Editor’s note. Click here for the official UN Human Rights Commission statement on child marriage as a violation of human rights.]


This Campaign is not a Charity or an NGO, it is just a FREE PROGRAMM available to communities to help spread awareness about child marriage and everyone who joins to this Campaign does on a voluntary basis.  

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Question related to this article:

How to stop violence against children?

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This Campaign has just begun a global project for which is called “195 children messages from 195 countries “and everyone from any country can join freely and work voluntary.

In the project “195 children messages from 195 countries”, children of the world, are invited to send their drawings and paintings to Campaign.

Children will write their dreams for their future, and, as a united voice in the world to prevent child marriage, they can convey their letters to all by the help of GCPCM.

The Campaign has received letters from children from 39 countries so far and hopes to receive letter from all countries in the world.

All children who send letter become Honorable Lavender Ambassador, because children are real Ambassadors of the Campaign!

DEAR CHILDREN ALL AROUND THE WORLD, SEND US YOUR LETTERS AND PAINTINGS AS A SUPPORT TO GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR THE PREVENTION OG CHILD MARRIAGE!

(E-MAIL: gcecm.official@gmail.com)
Our Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/gcpcm.official
Our LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6520690215374319616

South Africa Launches Plan to Combat Xenophobia and Racism

… . HUMAN RIGHTS … .

An article by Dewa Mavhinga, Director for Southern Africa in
Human Rights Watch

Today, South Africa launched its National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination, marking an important step towards addressing the widespread human rights abuses arising from xenophobic and gender-based violence and discrimination that continue to plague South Africa.

The five-year plan, developed in a consultative process between the government and civil society, aims to raise public awareness about anti-racism and equality measures, improve access to justice and better protection for victims, and increase anti-discrimination efforts to help achieve greater equality and justice.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the state of human rights in the world today?

Are we making progress against racism?

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But the Action Plan fails to address a key challenge fueling the problem: South Africa’s lack of accountability for xenophobic crimes. Virtually no one has been convicted for past outbreaks of xenophobic violence, including the Durban violence of April 2015 that displaced thousands of foreign nationals, and the 2008 attacks on foreigners, which resulted in the deaths of more than 60 people across the country.

To effectively combat xenophobia, the government and police need to publicly acknowledge attacks on foreign nationals and their property as xenophobic and take decisive action. This should include ensuring proper police investigations of xenophobic crimes and holding those responsible to account.

Inflammatory public statements – such as those made by Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba in December 2016, blaming illegal immigrants for crimes and calling on them to leave the city – should be strongly condemned. As South Africa prepares for national elections on May 8, 2019, political leaders should not incite xenophobic violence or promote discrimination.

The National Action Plan is a welcome development indicating the South African government’s intent to fight xenophobia, racism, and all forms of discrimination and prejudice. Now it should fully implement that plan, and work to stem the dangerous tides of intolerance for good.

(Thank you to the Good News Agency for sending us this article.)

Amnesty International: After Christchurch, how to beat Islamophobia and hate

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An article by Osama Bhutta, Communications Director of Amnesty International

Racists and bigots believe that diverse societies don’t work. Frustrated that their howling at the moon wasn’t enough, they’re now picking up weapons in an attempt to prove themselves right. We can’t keep expressing shock and then moving on until the next outrage. We watched in astonished horror last year when a Nazi entered a US synagogue and shot dead 11 worshippers. And yet after the initial alarm, the world carried on like before.

These haters are destabilising our societies and concerted action needs to be taken before things get even worse.

To be clear, this isn’t just about western societies. Many Muslims see Christchurch as a small part of a global rising tide of Islamophobia perpetrated by insecure majorities. Let’s take a whistle-stop world tour from east to west.

In Myanmar, decades of hate speech and persecution culminated in 2017 with over 700,000 predominantly Muslim Rohingya having to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh after a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing. The implicated military in Myanmar has been given plenty of diplomatic cover by China, whose authorities are currently holding up to 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups   in euphemistically titled “transformation-through-education” camps in Xinjiang. It’s one of the stories of our age, subjugation on an epic scale.

India’s historic multi-faith character has taken a hit under the leadership of Narendra Modi, a man who was chief minister during the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Muslims. His brand of Hindu nationalism has led to divisiveness rather than unity, leading to growing phenomena such as “cow-related violence”.

Many politicians across Europe have been gaining ground by peddling anti-Muslim messages. France’s Marine Le Pen compared Muslims spilling onto pavements from packed mosques after Friday prayers to Nazi occupiers. A key message of the Brexit campaign was the “threat” of Turkey joining the EU. Arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage once accused British Muslims of having “split loyalties”.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the state of human rights in the world today?

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The biggest beneficiary of ballot box Islamophobia though is Donald Trump with his campaign promise of a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”. He said that this ban would stay in place until the country’s representatives “can figure out what the hell is going on”. Presumably, despite all his intelligence, he’s still not got a grasp of it. Trump arrived on the back of a generation of Islamophobia which went hand-in-hand with the controversial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which let us not forget, resulted in the still barely acknowledged deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslims.

When the global picture is this grim, it’s little wonder that many Muslims feel embattled. Especially when they are also being told that despite these tragic numbers, they are actually the aggressors.

This is not, however, a religious conflict. The millions of Muslims who have lost their lives, been put in detention, or repressed in other multifaceted ways, have not been treated this way as part of a religious war. These are not the new crusades. The perpetrators are too diverse and too disparate for this to be case. So are the victims. Christians are also repressed in China, Pakistan and Indonesia. Christian and Muslim Palestinians face violence and discrimination every day in the context of Israel’s occupation of their territory. France and Germany reported disturbingly sharp rises in anti-Semitism last year; who can forget the distressing images of swastikas daubed across graves in Jewish cemeteries in Herrlisheim and Quatzenheim in eastern France? In light of the evidence,  a ‘War on Islam’ thesis doesn’t add up.

This is about how nation states treat their minorities. In this respect, Muslim-majority states are also often found wanting. Infamously there are no churches in Saudi Arabia. Given these circumstances, it was no surprise to see Saudi Arabia’s crown prince giving endorsement  to China’s treatment of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

Harmony isn’t going to be achieved if only we had more interfaith dialogue and more mosque open days. Tackling this threat effectively requires a radical rethink about how we talk about freedom, equality and respect for all.

The strength of a nation lies in how well you treat all your people. It’s a mark of strength when you celebrate everyone who lives alongside you. We move forward when everyone has the freedom to live their lives as they wish, to contribute to their society as they see fit, and to be the people they want to be.

I grew up in Scotland and am proud of my nationality and my faith. We used to say that it takes many different coloured threads to make tartan, just as it takes many different types of people to make Scotland.  Every culture around the world must find their language to bring people together, rather than to drive them apart. In 1945, the Nazis were defeated through war. This time, we’ll beat the haters through the force of our love, compassion and shared humanity.

Mexico: Cuitláhuac García issues decree for Culture of Peace and Human Rights Directorate

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An article from El Dictamen

The governor of the state of Veracruz, Cuitláhuac García Jiménez, has issued the Decree to form the General Directorate of Culture of Peace and Human Rights, as part of the Declaration of the Emerging Program for Crisis of Serious Violations of Human Rights in Matters of Disappearance of Persons in the State.

This decree reforms, adds and repeals various provisions of the Internal Regulation of the Government Secretariat and indicates that from this Thursday until the creation of the State Search Commission in the Entity, the attention to cases of missing persons will be made through of the General Directorate of Culture of Peace and Human Rights, under the Ministry of Government.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Question related to this article:

How can we develop the institutional framework for a culture of peace?

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Among the powers of the head of the aforementioned unit are to assist in institutional strengthening through the design, implementation, management, strengthening and consolidation of public policies on culture and education for peace, in accordance with the constitutional and legal provisions on of human rights.

In addition, it will elaborate and coordinate the State Human Rights Program, in collaboration with the bodies of the State Public Administration, Autonomous Bodies and Civil Society, in accordance with the guidelines of the National Human Rights Program, the State Development Plan, and Sectoral, Regional, Institutional and Priority Programs.

Once approved by the head of the State Government Secretariat and published in the Official Gazette of the State, its implementation and compliance will be monitored and its evaluation coordinated.

Studies and thematic research on human rights will also be carried out, in order to analyze the information that originates from them and thus propose public policies on the matter, considering the results of reports, rapporteurs, committees and working groups of organizations multilateral and international human rights

Iran: 3000 signature campaign for child abuse prevention

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Sent to CPNN by Javaher Sinaei

As the Iran Chapter of My Body Is My Body Program, Shahin Gavanji and Jahangir Gavanji organised a signature campaign to support Child Abuse Prevention in Iran: the 3000 signature campaign for child protection and child abuse prevention. 


The purpose of the campaign was to announce the support of the Iranian people for preventing child abuse by signing on the fabric.  In this plan, a fabric of 15 square meters was fabricated and put in all the main parks of each province.   

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Question related to this article:

How to stop violence against children?

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More than 3,000 signatures were collected from all cities in Iran 
(31 cities Alborz, Ardabil, Bushehr, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, EastAzerbaijan,Isfahan,Fars,Gilan, Golestan, Hamadan, Hormozgan,Ilam, Kerman,Kermanshah,Khuzestan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad,Kurdistan,Lorestan, Markazi,Mazandaran,North Khorasan,Qazvin, Qom,RazaviKhorasan,Semnan,Sistan and Baluchestan,South Khorasan,Tehran,West Azerbaijan, Yazd, Zanjan).


The goals of this campaign:


1- The collective participation of citizens to learn about this positive social program leading to child abuse prevention.


2- Meetings and face to face conversations with different groups of people on a large scale to get familiar with My Body Is My Body Program


3- Belief in development of awareness, making conversation between Iranian people and learning teammate activities to protect children.

Australia: Conference Calls for Mainstreaming Human Rights Education

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

An article by Neena Bhandari from InDepth News

More investment is needed in human rights education and strengthening of civil society to address inequality and sustainability – the main objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This was the key message from the Ninth International Conference on Human Rights Education (ICHRE) held in Sydney, Australia.


A glimpse of the exhibition on human rights education. (Photo credit: NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning)

Drawing inspiration from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which marks its 70th Anniversary this year, the ICHRE 2018  (November 26-29) recommended all stakeholders to mainstream human rights education as a tool for social cohesion towards peaceful coexistence; and strive to bridge the significant gap between integrating human rights education in the curricula and its implementation.

“Beyond human rights education, people have to be enabled and empowered to exercise their inalienable rights, to live by those rights, and to uphold their rights and the rights of others,” said Dr Mmantsetsa Marope, Director of UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education, in her opening address.

She highlighted: “Three core factors – good governance, good health, and quality and relevant education – converge to enable and empower people to create and live a culture of human rights. These three factors are paramount, because they determine other factors that can facilitate or impede the realization of human rights.”

The sixth consultation of the implementation of UNESCO’s 1974 Recommendation  in 2016 reported that more effort was required to strengthening teachers’ capacity to implement human rights education.

Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education, which provides tools and training to teachers and people working with children to integrate human rights values and approaches in the work that they do, reaches out to 100,000 young people across 50 communities in Canada each year.

Equitas Executive Director Ian Hamilton told IDN, “Currently our programme is focused on helping to educate primary school children aged between 6 and 12 years and adolescent youth between 13 and 18 years.

“Through our program, Play It Fair  we use a series of games and activities to introduce human rights to children and encourage them to think critically about what is happening around them and how they can promote human rights values – equality, respect, inclusion and exclusion.

“For example, we ask children to play musical chairs the traditional way and then play a cooperative version and use that as an entry point to talk about inclusion and exclusion.”

Hamilton added: “We have seen that these tools also transform the people, who are working with children. They learn the content about the same time as the children, but it also makes them feel empowered, being equipped to deal with these issues.” 


Equitas also works with young adults using similar participatory approaches and results, and through its virtual forum: speakingrights.ca.

Youth is the focus of the fourth phase  (2020-2024) of the UN World Programme for Human Rights Education launched in September 2018.

Elisa Gazzotti, Programme Coordinator and Co-chair NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning, Soka Gakkai International Office for UN Affairs in Geneva, told IDN, “We use the technique of storytelling to engage young people to share how through human rights education they were able to steer their lives in a positive direction and become fully engaged actors in their communities.”

“We organised a workshop here around Transforming Lives – the power of human rights education exhibition, which was co-organised by SGI together with global coalition for human rights education HRE2020, the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning and others in 2017 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. It shows how human rights education has transformed the lives of people in Burkina Faso, Peru, Portugal, Turkey and Australia,” Gazzotti added.

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Questions for this article:

How can we promote a human rights, peace based education?

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Arash Bordbar, a third-year engineering student at the Western Sydney University and Chair of the UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Council had fled Iran at the age of 15 years and stayed in Malaysia for five years before being resettled in Australia in 2015. He is now a youth worker at the Community Migrant Resource Centre, where he is supporting newly arrived migrants get education and find employment.

Similarly Apajok Biar, 23, who was born in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya and came to Australia in 1997 with her family under a Humanitarian visa, is chairperson and co-founder of South Sudan Voices of Salvation Inc, a not-for-profit youth run and led organisation. As youth participation officer at Cumberland Council in Sydney, she has been working to ensure that young people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to have a say in decisions that affect them at all levels – local, state, international.

“Knowledge of these rights can both improve relations between people of different ethnicity and belief, and nourish civil society,” said Dr Sev Ozdowski, Conference Convener and Director of Equity and Diversity at Western Sydney University.

Over 300 representatives from international human rights organisations, civil society, educational institutions, media and citizens participated in the ICHRE 2018, a series initiated by Dr Sev Ozdowski, to advance human rights education for the role it plays in furthering democracy, the rule of law, social harmony and justice.

While UDHR has been reinforced by several legal instruments, including conventions, charters, declarations, and national legislation, and the global discourse has broadened to include gender equality, people living with disabilities and LGBTIQ communities, the biggest challenge is the threat facing human rights organisations and defenders.

“That is the most dangerous threat because if we silence those voices then our capacity to educate and mobilise the public reduces and we will end up excluding most people,” Equitas Executive Director Hamilton told IDN.

In many countries, human rights are still not a priority. Tsering Tsomo, Executive Director of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, an NGO based in Dharamsala (India) said: “In Tibet, the Chinese authoritarian regime has criminalised the UDHR itself by punishing people who translated the UDHR in Tibetan language and disseminated it amongst Tibetans.

“This happened in 1989 when 10 Tibetan monks were sent to jail for propagating the UDHR, just a year after the Chinese government publicly acknowledged the existence of Human Rights Day. Along with celebrating the 70th anniversary, we also observe the 30th anniversary of the imprisonment of the 10 Tibetan monks.”

UDHR holds the Guinness Book World Record as the most translated document. It is now available in more than 500 languages and dialects.

“In Tibet, there is a lot of rhetoric about human rights, but no implementation. Instead there is total impunity for the crimes committed by security forces and an upsurge in government spending on domestic security, which has long surpassed defence spending. This has resulted in a series of human rights violations.

“The challenge for the UN and human rights organisations is to counter the economic and political pressure exerted by powerful countries in reframing the international human rights discourse and in silencing critical civil society voices,” Tsomo told IDN.

Speaking on the path from UDHR to the World Programme for Human Rights Education, Cynthia Veliko, South-East Asia Regional Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Bangkok said: “The shocking retrenchment in leadership on human rights in many States across the globe over the past few years poses a real threat to the historic progress made, often painstakingly, over the decades that followed the 1948 adoption of the UDHR.”

“The continued realisation of the principles set out in the UDHR ultimately cannot be achieved without human rights education. It is an essential investment that is required to shape future world leaders with the principles of humanity and integrity that are required to build and sustain a humane world,” Veliko added.

The ICHRE 2018 Declaration  also raised concerns on the human rights implications of insufficient progress in climate change mitigation and adaptation, increasing food and water insecurity, rising sea levels, inter-state and internal conflict leading to increased migration, escalating new arms race among major powers, and rising levels of violence – particularly violence against women and children.

The Declaration called for greater awareness of the opportunities and risks of new forms of communication and media opportunities, which will help engage and reach more children and young adults, but also pose the threat of human rights abuse online.

(Thank you to the Global Campaign for Peace Education for calling our attention to this article.)

Amnesty International: Oppressive, sexist policies galvanize bold fight for women’s rights in 2018

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An article from Amnesty International

Women activists around the world have been at the forefront of the battle for human rights in 2018, Amnesty International said today [December 7] as it launched its review on the state of human rights over the past year.


Photo copyright REUTERS/Vincent West

The human rights group also warns that the actions of “tough guy” world leaders pushing misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic policies has placed freedoms and rights that were won long ago in fresh jeopardy.

“In 2018, we witnessed many of these self-proclaimed ‘tough guy’ leaders trying to undermine the very principle of equality – the bedrock of human rights law. They think their policies make them tough, but they amount to little more than bully tactics trying to demonize and persecute already marginalized and vulnerable communities,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“But it is women activists who have offered the most powerful vision this year of how to fight back against these repressive leaders.”

The findings are published in “Rights Today”, a major review analysing the human rights situation in seven regions around the world: Africa, Americas, East Asia, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and South East Asia. The launch marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the first global bill of rights, which was adopted in 1948 by the world’s governments.

2018: Women rise up

The burgeoning power of women’s voices should not be underestimated, notes the review. While women’s rights movements are well established, female activists have dominated the biggest human rights headlines from the past year.  And women-led groups like Latin America’s Ni una menos have galvanised mass movements on women’s rights issues on a scale not seen before.

In India and South Africa, thousands took to the streets to protest endemic sexual violence. In Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively, women activists risked arrest to resist the driving ban and forced hijab(veiling). In Argentina, Ireland and Poland, demonstrators rallied in vast numbers to demand an end to oppressive abortion laws. In the USA, Europe and parts of Asia, millions joined the second #MeToo-led women’s march to demand an end to misogyny and abuse.

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(Click here for a Spanish version of this article or here for a French version.)

Question(s) related to this article:

What is the state of human rights in the world today?

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However, the report notes that we cannot celebrate the “the stratospheric resurgence of women’s activism” without addressing the driving force behind why so many women have mobilised to demand change.

“Women’s rights have consistently been placed a rung below other rights and freedoms by governments who believe they can pay lip service to these issues while doing little in reality to protect the rights of half the population” said Kumi Naidoo.

Rights Today points to a growing body of policies and laws designed to subjugate and control women, especially around sexual and reproductive health. These include a push from Polish and Guatemalan law-makers to advocate for stricter abortion laws, while in the USA, funding cuts to family planning clinics have put the health of millions of women at risk.

Women activists have risked their lives and freedoms to bring to light human rights injustices. They include Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian child activist who was unjustly imprisoned for daring to stand up for her people; Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef, three activists who are now detained in Saudi Arabia for campaigning on women’s rights; and Marielle Franco, who was brutally murdered in Brazil earlier this year because she fearlessly fought for human rights.

2019: A landmark year to turn the tide on women’s rights

Kumi Naidoo noted that the anniversary of the international bill of rights for women in 2019 – the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) – will be an important milestone that the world cannot afford to overlook.

The bill, which will turn 40 next year, is widely adopted. Yet many governments have only adopted it under the condition that they can reject major provisions that are designed to secure women’s freedoms, such as pursuing a national policy to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in law and practice and committing to eliminating discrimination against women in marriage and family relations.

Amnesty International is urging governments to take action to ensure that women’s rights are upheld – this includes not only commitments to international standards, but changes to harmful national laws and proactive measures to empower women and protect their rights.

“The fact that so many countries have only partially accepted the international bill of women’s rights is evidence that many governments think protecting women’s rights is just a PR exercise to make them look good, rather than a priority they need to address urgently,” said Kumi Naidoo.

“All around the world, women on average earn far less than their male peers, have far less job security, are denied access to political representation by those in power, and face endemic sexual violence that governments continue to ignore. We have to ask ourselves why this is. If we lived in a world where in fact it was men facing this kind of persecution, would this injustice be allowed to continue?

“I want to acknowledge that Amnesty International can and should do more on women’s rights. As we enter 2019, I believe now, more than ever, we must stand firm with women’s movements, amplify women’s voices in all their diversity and fight for the recognition of all our rights.”

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Colombia: Today the Truth Commission begins its mandate

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An article from El Espectador (translation by CPNN)

The Truth Commission, which was born out of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, begins its mandate this Thursday [November 29] to clarify what happened during half a century of armed conflict.

With a symbolic ceremony, held in Corferias de Bogotá, this Thursday will begin on the day zero of this extrajudicial entity, which, for three years, will be challenged to hear, understand and interpret the voices of the actors of the armed conflict.

Its mission: to build a final report that establishes patterns of violence and facts of victimization. In the words of Father Francisco de Roux, president of the Truth Commission, from this day we are on a path that seeks reconciliation and that we will not repeat what happened.

“We hope we can contribute to Colombia seeking the truth in a sincere, transparent way, which is a public good and is the responsibility of all of us in Colombia. We hope to contribute in depth with our communication and pedagogy and with the Casas de la Verdad that we are starting to open in different regions in the form of a mobile team with the communities,” he said in an interview with the Justice for Peace chapter of Colombia2020 .

They will be eleven commissioners of the truth – accompanied by an interdisciplinary team – who will go to nine regions of the country and through mobile groups will collect testimonies from all sectors that will voluntarily provide information on the most serious facts of the conflict.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

 

Question related to this article:

Truth Commissions, Do they improve human rights?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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“This division of the country, and the location of the 26 houses of truth, are the product of the six months of work carried out by the Commission. During this time they also defined patterns of victimization that they intend to study, for example, torture, forced displacement, sexual violence, etc.,” said Truth Commissioner Saul Franco.

In addition to victim organizations, other organizations have approached the Commission, including members of the Military Forces, members of the former FARC and paramilitaries. However, as De Roux acknowledged, the political sector has not approached them. Former President Ernesto Samper – he revealed – has been one of the few who has expressed his intention to give his testimony before the Truth Commission.

It should be remembered that the truth commission is an extrajudicial entity that will not make judgments or assign individual responsibilities. “We must be aware that testifying to the Commission has an advantage: we are not judges, we are not going to punish anyone. We will protect the testimonies we receive. We have to use them to interpret what happened, unless the person who brings it says: ‘I want to give this testimony in public, because I want to contribute in a public impact to the transformation of the country.’ “, said Roux.

For Juan Carlos Ospina, coordinator of Advocacy of the Colombian Commission of Jurists, the challenges of the commission can be summarized in three points: first, organize its work to address the knowledge of the armed conflict, which is very extensive and complex, in just three years ; second, to allow the widest participation of victims and citizens, and to manage expectations adequately (with publicity and transparency) about their work. Third, build trust from the beginning. Listen to all the actors in the conflict and generate conditions for the construction of a culture of peace (respect, coexistence, reconciliation, co-responsibility and non-repetition) based on their work. Fourth, carry out its work (keeping in mind its complexity) not to judge wherever possible in view of the adverse scenario for peace created by the change of government and congress.

Finally, another of the Commission’s challenges is to face the resistances of the sectors that question their positions and their suitability. The wide variety of voices and the inclusiveness of the story, as the commissioners affirm, will be decisive for their legitimacy.

Paris: World summit brings surge of new commitments to protect human rights defenders

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A press release from the International Federation for Human Rights

Human rights defenders from across all corners of the world gathered this week [31 October] in Paris for the Human Rights Defenders World Summit, to develop a plan of action for how to protect and promote the work of activists fighting for rights, 20 years on from the first UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

After three days of discussions and strategy development spanning regional and global issues, environmental rights and women human rights defenders and the increasing attacks on human rights defenders everywhere, the momentum culminated in the presentation of a landmark action plan which will be presented to the UN in December.


(Click on photo to enlarge)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who spoke at the opening ceremony said: “What human rights defenders teach us is that all of us can stand up for our rights and for the rights of others, in our neighborhoods, in our countries and all over the world. We can change the world .”

The Summit discussed calls on Governments, corporations, international financial institutions, donors and others, including the adoption of national governmental action plans, implementation of legislation to legally uphold the UN declaration, protecting defenders as a priority in foreign policy and prioritizing the protection and work of women human rights defenders, LGBT+, indigenous rights defenders and other marginalized defenders.

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Question related to this article:

What is the state of human rights in the world today?

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Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said: “The level of danger facing activists worldwide has reached crisis point. Every day ordinary people are threatened, tortured, imprisoned and killed for what they fight for or simply for who they are. Now is the time to act and tackle the global surge in repression of human rights defenders.”

The closing ceremony took place at the Palais de Chaillot, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed 70 years ago. The 150 defenders gathered together to set out the Action Plan and pay tribute to the men and women who work tirelessly to defend human rights around the world.

Among those in attendance over the last three days were Alice Mogwe, Secretary General of FIDH and the Director of Botswana Ditshwanelo; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia, who is calling for justice after his mother, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was assassinated one year ago in Malta; Anielle Franco, who is bravely campaigning on behalf of her sister, Marielle Franco, a Brazilian activist and elected councillor who was shot dead in her car seven months ago.

Hina Jilani, President of OMCT, founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and the first UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders said: “States have never given us space. It is because of human rights defenders that there is space for civil society. Seeing you all here engaged in defending human rights, I am not too pessimistic. As a movement, we have never been as global as we are now. But we have to be clear to states: you need to live up to the challenge and speak out for defenders. Human rights don’t come for free .”

The 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

In 1998, governments adopted the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders to acknowledge the key role of human rights defenders. Despite progress in some areas, many governments are continuing to fall short of their commitments 20 years on from the first Summit and the global context in which human rights defenders operate in has become increasingly challenging. Democratic values are under threat and systemic corruption, extreme inequality and discrimination, religious fundamentalism and extremist policies are all on the rise. Alongside this, we have seen a concerted effort to undermine, discredit and kill human rights defenders. In 2017, at least 312 human rights defenders were assassinated, twice as many as in 2015, almost all with impunity for the perpetrators. The Action Plan hopes to tackle these injustices and support Human Rights Defenders to continue their critical work in a safe environment.

USA: Planned Parenthood Strikes Back: Preparing for the Worst in the Wake of Kavanaugh’s Confirmation

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

A blog by Miranda Martin for MS Magazine

Photo John Bright / Creative Commons

Planned Parenthood isn’t waiting to see if the worst has yet to come for Roe v. Wade in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Instead, they’re planning to launch a multi-million dollar, nationwide campaign to ensure that abortion remains accessible—even if the landmark decision legalizing it nationwide is overturned.


Photo John Bright / Creative Commons

Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Court  tips the scales against Roe  for the first time since it was decided in 1973; he would likely cast the fifth vote necessary to overturn the decision  and give states the power, once again, to criminalize abortion providers and their patients. Kavanaugh’s record shows that he is hostile to reproductive freedoms. Should Roe be overturned, women in over 20 states across the country could lose access to safe and legal abortion overnight.

According to Planned Parenthood, overturning Roe would leave over 25 million women with access to safe, legal abortion in their own state, including over 4.3 million Latina women and almost 3.5 million Black women of reproductive age.

Planned Parenthood has been preparing for such a moment since President Trump’s election in 2016. Trump ran on a platform of outlawing abortion and talked about “punishing” women who elect to undergo the procedure on the campaign trail; his administration has consistently attacked women’s access to reproductive health care and undermined their bodily autonomy.

“We know that we’ll need an ironclad network of states and providers across the country where abortion will still be legal and accessible,” Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens told the New York Times,  “no matter what happens at the Supreme Court.”

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The post-election fightback for human rights, is it gathering force in the USA?

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The “Care for All” campaign, at face value, is simple: In states where abortion access is at risk, Planned Parenthood will mobilize against legislation that further restricts or outlaws abortion. In states where abortion access will likely remain in place even with Roe, they’ll work to expand access, opening more clinics and hiring more staff in order to keep them open for longer hours in order to accommodate women crossing state lines in pursuit of care. They’ll offer women traveling long distances transportation assistance through a Regional Access Network and push to expand telemedicine abortion access, in place now in 14 states, for those who can’t make the trip. The organization’s efforts will manifest first in states where abortion policies fall short of those in place along both coasts, specifically Illinois.

“In 2018 alone, advocates introduced 869 positive measures expanding reproductive health care—the highest number of policies introduced to advance reproductive rights in a single legislative session ever,” the organization noted in a press release announcing the new multi-pronged effort. “In tandem, advocates and pro-women’s health legislators blocked or delayed 93 percent of the state-level abortion restrictions introduced in the 2018 legislative session. Now, Planned Parenthood Action Fund will kick off the 2019 legislative session by doubling down on this work.”

Abortion access remains at risk even if Roe remains in place as long as a majority of Justices sitting on the Supreme Court are opposed to reproductive freedoms. Rulings in smaller cases on abortion and contraception are now likely to result in outcomes which further inhibit access, allow for obstruction and increase the burdens imposed on women seeking care.

In order to proactively shift cultural perceptions around abortion—and thus provide a buffer against further attacks on women’s reproductive rights—the organization also plans to engage with media more effectively and more often in order to smash stigma and break the silence around what is a safe and common medical procedure with widespread public support. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that Planned Parenthood is popular even amongst conservative voters: 57 percent  of Trump voters oppose women being restricted from accessing birth control, healthcare and cancer screenings.

In advance of their 2019 campaign kick-off, Planned Parenthood is doing all they can to mobilize pro-choice voters with a 20 million dollar  effort in coalition with other like-minded organizations. In total, they predict that they will engage 2.5 million voters  before the midterm elections on November 6.

“We know this is a winnable fight,” the organization told the New York Times  in a statement. “Each of us deserves the right to control our own bodies, including the right to decide if and when to become a parent.”