Category Archives: HUMAN RIGHTS

Iran: Key Labor Sectors Launch Major Strikes Amid Anti-State Protests


An article from Iran Human Rights

More than three months into anti-state protests across Iran that state security forces have been unable to crush despite the use of lethal force, oil workers, truckers, public transportation workers, and factory workers are joining other labor groups now waging strikes across the country.

“These workers are the backbone of the Iranian economy,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “The fact that so many workers are striking even while labor leaders are among the thousands who’ve been arrested since September speaks to the level of discontent against the government.”

While strikers’ demands have primarily focused on the longstanding issue of unpaid wages, chants of “Death to the dictator” can be heard in video footage  of truck drivers on strike at the Akbarabad Terminal in Tehran on November 22, echoing the anti-state slogans that have characterized the ongoing protests in Iran.

While strikers’ demands have primarily focused on the longstanding issue of unpaid wages, chants of “Death to the dictator” can be heard in video footage  of truck drivers on strike at the Akbarabad Terminal in Tehran on November 22, echoing the anti-state slogans that have characterized the ongoing protests in Iran.

Solidarity with Iran’s Protest Movement Expressed by Strikers

On November 23, 2022, the Union of Truck Owners and Drivers of Iran issued a statement  calling for nationwide strikes as of November 26 to protest the government’s lack of response to the problems facing its members.

“How can we ignore the plight of our innocent colleagues and other people in Kurdistan, Baluchistan and Izeh and other blood-stained cities?” said the statement, referring to the ongoing lethal state crackdown  on protests in multiple provinces, in which security forces have killed at least 451 people, including women and children, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency.

“The strikers, who along with the young women and men who have been protesting against the Islamic Republic’s tyranny, have shown incredible bravery in the face of the state’s ongoing violence, and they require meaningful international solidarity,” said Ghaemi.

“This includes ejecting the government of Iran  from the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) governing board, and expelling the Islamic Republic from the UN Commission on the Status of Women,” he added.

“As long as Islamic Republic security forces continue to gun down peaceful protesters and throw labor leaders behind bars, governments around the world should employ all diplomatic means of condemnation,” Ghaemi said, “including recalling ambassadors for consultations and summoning Iran’s diplomats for censure.”

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Question(s) related to this article:

The right to form and join trade unions, Is it being respected?

Is there progress in the struggle for human rights in Iran?

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Since mid-September, when the death of Mahsa (Jina) Amini in Iranian state custody sparked nationwide anti-state protests, strikes have occurred in the following industries according to social media postings by Iranian labor rights groups:

Oil and Gas
Public Transportation
Auto Manufacturing
Steel Manufacturing
Home Appliance Manufacturing
Food and Snack Manufacturing

November saw an uptick in labor strikes, with at least 20 reported in cities across at least 12 of Iran’s 31 provinces, including Tehran; Yazd; Kerhmanshah; Kurdistan; Isfahan; Hormozgan; Fars; Khuzestan; Bushehr; Qazvin; Alborz; and East Azerbaijan.

According to Article 27 of Iran’s Constitution, “Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.”

Yet peaceful labor activism is treated as a national security offense in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where independent labor unions are not recognized, strikers are often fired and risk arrest, and labor leaders are prosecuted under catchall national security charges and sentenced to long prison terms. These actions are all in profound violation of the ILO’s Fundamental Principles.

While it is unknown how many laborers have been arrested in total, at least 12 labor rights activists have been arrested since September, according to research by CHRI:

Davoud Razavi – Tehran
Erfan Kahzad- Karaj
Neda Naji – Tehran
Abed Tavancheh – Tehran
Mozaffar Salehnia – Sanandaj
Lotfollah Ahmadi -Sanandaj
Zanyar Dabbaghian – Sanandaj
Khabat Dehdar – Sanandaj
Amir Chamani – Tabriz
Hossein Koshi – Tabriz
Kamran Sakhtemangar – Sanandaj
Salah Zamani – Sanandaj

Meanwhile, imprisoned labor activist Reza Shahabi was transferred from Evin Prison in Tehran to Imam Khomeini Hospital for spinal issues on November 27, according to the Free Workers Union of Iran’s Telegram channel.

The channel had previously reported on November 24 that imprisoned labor activist Nasrin Javadi, also in Evin, was suffering from severe influenza. It is not known whether she was allowed to receive proper medical treatment.

“The Islamic Republic is making a mockery of the international institutions to which it belongs by violating every one of their most basic principles,” said Ghaemi. “To maintain their credibility these institutions should take immediate action against the government of Iran.”

Read this article in Persian

Revealing He Too Had Manning Leaks, Ellsberg Dares DOJ to Prosecute Him Like Assange


An article by Jessica Corbett in Common Dreams

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Tuesday dared U.S. prosecutors to come after him like they have Julian Assange by  revealing  in a BBC News interview that the WikiLeaks publisher sent him a backup of leaked materials from former military analyst Chelsea Manning.

“Let me tell you a secret. I had possession of all the Chelsea Manning information before it came out in the press,” Ellsberg said to BBC’s Stephen Sackur in the on-camera interview. “I’ve never said that publicly.”

Assange had sent him the materials—which include  evidence  of U.S. war crimes—in case “they caught him and they got everything,” the 91-year-old explained. “He could rely on me to find some way to get it out.”

Australian-born Assange is currently detained in London and  fighting  in British and European courts against his extradition to the United States, where he could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted under Espionage Act charges.

Inviting action by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Ellsberg said that “I am now as indictable as Julian Assange and as everyone who put that information out—the papers, everybody who handled it.”

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Question related to this article:
Is Internet freedom a basic human right?

Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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“Yes, I had copies of it and I did not give them to an authorized person. So, if they want to indict me for that, I will be interested to argue that one in the courts—whether that law is constitutional,” he continued, referring to the Espionage Act.

Highlighting that the highest U.S. court has never held that it is constitutional to use the Espionage Act as if it were a British Official Secrets Act, Ellsberg said that “I’d be happy to take that one to the Supreme Court.”

The Espionage Act, “used against whistleblowers, is unconstitutional,” he asserted. “It’s a clear violation of the First Amendment.”

Ellsberg’s public confession comes after editors and publishers at five major media outlets that collaborated with WikiLeaks in 2010 for articles based on diplomatic cables from Manning  released  a letter late last month arguing that “it is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.”

“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” the letter states. “Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists. If that work is criminalized, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.”

The new Ellsberg interview also follows the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) confirming earlier this month that 51-year-old Assange has asked the tribunal to block his extradition to the United States.

Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton  told  Reuters last week that “I would imagine the U.S. wants to avoid” a case going before the ECHR for “trying to extradite a publisher from Europe for publishing U.S. war revelations when the U.S. is asking Europe to make all sort of sacrifices for the war in Ukraine.”

The Western Sanctions That Are ‘Choking’ Syria May Be Crimes Against Humanity


An article by Benjamin Norton in Agencia Uruguaya de Noticias

The United Nations special rapporteur said the “outrageous” sanctions the West has imposed on Syria are “suffocating” millions of civilians and “may constitute crimes against humanity.” The country’s economy contracted 90%. Nine out of 10 Syrians live in poverty.

“The entire [Syrian] population is in life-threatening conditions with severe shortages of drinking water,” electricity, fuel and food, the UN special rapporteur reported on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Alena Douhan.

Foto: Syrian children walk past ruins on their way home from school / UNOCHA / Ali Haj Suleiman 

The United Nations special rapporteur said the “outrageous” sanctions the West has imposed on Syria are “suffocating” millions of civilians and “may constitute crimes against humanity.” The country’s economy contracted 90%. Nine out of 10 Syrians live in poverty.

“The entire [Syrian] population is in life-threatening conditions with severe shortages of drinking water,” electricity, fuel and food, the UN special rapporteur reported on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Alena Douhan.

She wrote about the “enormous negative effect of unilateral sanctions”, which have “a devastating effect on the entire population” and “a devastating effect on almost all categories of human rights”.

“Maintaining unilateral sanctions amid the current catastrophic and still deteriorating situation in Syria may amount to crimes against humanity against the entire Syrian people,” the UN expert said.

Douhan, a respected international law professor, visited Syria for 12 days in October and November to investigate the impact of sanctions on the country. On November 10, she released a preliminary report that “calls for the lifting of long-standing unilateral sanctions that ‘suffocate’ the Syrian people.”

The UN special rapporteur described a medieval-style blockade, in which sanctions have “eroded to the level of complete extinction the purchasing power of households, which are in a prolonged state of survival.”

“The sanctions imposed have shattered the state’s ability to respond to the needs of the population, particularly the most vulnerable, with 90% of people now living below the poverty line,” she wrote.

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(click here for the article in Spanish.).)

Question related to this article:

Are economic sanctions a violation of human rights?

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Prices have risen more than 800% since 2019, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, and sanctions block the importation of “food, medicine, spare parts, raw materials, and items necessary for the country’s needs and economic recovery,” she said.

While Western governments claim to have humanitarian exceptions to their sanctions regimes, the UN expert stressed that “secondary sanctions and over-compliance” by international financial institutions prevent Syria from importing necessary goods, and have even made it very difficult for UN institutions and international humanitarian aid organizations to operate in the country.

Today, more than half of Syrians suffer from food insecurity. Furthermore, 24% of Syrians are disabled and 14.6% suffer from diseases.

The sanctions have also prevented the government from rebuilding damaged infrastructure, and have caused a “shortage of electricity and drinking water”, leading to daily blackouts, including in hospitals, contaminated water and even a cholera outbreak.

Due to the occupation of Syria’s oil-rich regions by the US military and its Kurdish allies, government oil production is only 10% of its pre-2010 levels, and with Western sanctions making the oil importation nearly impossible, the Syrian people face a chronic shortage of gasoline and fuel.

Douhan called for the unilateral sanctions that the United States and Europe have imposed on Syria to be lifted immediately, stressing that they are illegal under international law.

The UN expert has also previously traveled to Venezuela and reported that illegal Western sanctions had similar devastating effects on the civilian population there, while depriving the government of 99% of its revenue.

Most of the sanctions imposed on Syria came after the West launched a proxy war against the country in 2011. But the UN expert noted that Washington has imposed sanctions on Damascus since 2004.

Aggressive US sanctions imposed against Syria in 2011 and 2012 expanded to a de facto blockade in 2019, with the passage of the Caesar Act, which Douhan noted “authorized secondary sanctions against non-US persons anywhere in the world who provide financial resources.” , materials or technological support to the Syrian government or that carry out transactions with it”.

The European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada and Australia have imposed similar sanctions, along with the Arab League, which is dominated by the Persian Gulf monarchies.

As part of her trip, Douhan met with representatives not only of the Syrian government but also civil society organizations, health clinics, financial institutions, humanitarian groups, businesses, universities and religious bodies, as well as other UN entities. that operate in the country.

Douhan will present the final version of her report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2023.


*Benjamín Norton is a journalist, writer and filmmaker. He is the founder and editor of Multipolarista, and lives in Latin America.

2022: Nobel Committee Gets Peace Prize Wrong Yet Again


An article by David Swanson in World Beyond War

The Nobel Committee has yet again awarded a peace prize  that violates the will of Alfred Nobel and the purpose for which the prize was created, selecting recipients who blatantly are not “the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses.”

With its eyes on the news of the day, there was no question that the Committee would find some way to focus on Ukraine. But it steered clear of anyone seeking to reduce the risk of that thus-far relatively minor war creating a nuclear apocalypse. It avoided anyone opposing both sides of the war, or anyone advocating for a ceasefire or negotiations or disarmament. It did not even make the choice one might have expected of picking an opponent of Russian warmaking in Russia and an opponent of Ukrainian warmaking in Ukraine.

Instead, the Nobel Committee has chosen advocates for human rights and democracy in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. But the group in Ukraine is recognized for having  “engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population,” with no mention of war as a crime or of the possibility that the Ukrainian side of the war was committing atrocities. The Nobel Committee may have learned from Amnesty International’s experience of being widely denounced for documenting war crimes by the Ukrainian side.

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Question related to this article:

Nobel Prize for Peace: Does it go to the right people?

When does human rights become a tool of propaganda?

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The fact that all sides of all wars have always failed and always will fail to engage in humane operations is possibly why Alfred Nobel set up a prize to advance the abolition of war.  It’s too bad that prize is so misused. Because of its misuse, World BEYOND War has created instead the War Abolisher Awards.

– – – – – – –

Adding here some thoughts from Yurii Sheliazhenko:

NGO Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) recently was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize  with Russian and Belarussian human rights defenders.

What is the Ukrainian secret of success? Here are some tips.

– don’t rely on support of local citizens, embrace international donors with their agendas, like the U.S. Department of State and NED;

– support NATO membership of Ukraine, shame those who seek compromise with Russia  and ask the West to engage in war against Russia on Ukrainian side by imposing no-fly zone and delivery of armaments;

– insist that war is necessary for survival and no negotiations are possible;

– insist that international institutions are worthless and therefore human rights activists must ask for weapons for the Ukrainian Armed Forces;

– insist that only Putin violates human rights in Ukraine, and only the Ukrainian army are real human rights defenders;

– never criticize Ukrainian government for suppression of pro-Russian media, parties, and public figures;

– never criticize Ukrainian army for war crimes, for violations of human rights related to war effort and military mobilization, like beating of students by the border guard for their attempt to study abroad  instead of becoming cannon fodder, and nobody should hear from you even a word about human right to conscientious objection to military service.

Albinos: “Human rights apply to them too!!! “


An article by Rijanirina J. Randrianandrasana

A 6-year-old child, his lifeless and mutilated body, was found in the town of Berano in Amboasary on March 4, 2022. Another 4-year-old (See minutes 11-13 of the report), but with a less tragic outcome, kidnapped in Ambilobe, is located and found by the police in Tuléar with his kidnappers on July 21. What these two children have in common is that… they are people in Madagascar with albinism.

Albinism is a congenital, rare and non-contagious hereditary disease, caused by the absence of a pigment, affecting both men and women, regardless of their origin. Under international human rights law, people living with albinism are considered persons with disabilities.

However, these people are ostracized. They are often subject to direct and indirect discrimination, particularly in the areas of health, education and work. Attacks on people with albinism can vary from verbal aggression to physical aggression.. Wrong beliefs and superstitions endanger their lives and safety.

The attitude of society towards them has not changed and these people and their families are still at risk of being attacked. This is contradicted by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified in 1976, that stipulates that every human has the right to life and that this right is protected by law (Part III, art. 6.1) and that everyone has the right to freedom and security (art. 9.1).

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(click here for the original article in French.)

Question related to this article:

How can we protect the human rights of persons with disabilities?

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But the worst part is that we are all responsible for these atrocities. We, their classmates, harass them with our words and gestures. We, co-workers, devalue them given their handicap situations even if this hardly defines their aptitudes. We, their own family, are ashamed of the appearance of one of our own. We, members of society, remain silent in the face of these insults and violence. We, the decision-makers, do nothing to improve their living conditions by establishing adequate supports. We are all guilty because we do not act properly.

But, fortunately, all is not lost. We can fight against forms of violence, discrimination and stigmatization towards people with albinism. Due to their alarming situation, it is essential to make certain changes so that they can enjoy the same rights as others. The right to equality and non-discrimination does not mean that everyone must always be treated the same; sometimes distinctions have to be made. Thus, we have a duty to sensitize society on the rights of these people and to abolish discrimination and violence against them.

It is not too late for us, discriminating, ignorant people, profiteers, traffickers, to become agents of change and to organize ourselves to protect people with albinism; The fight has only just begun!!! With that, we’ll end this article with the quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “We can never know what the results of our actions will be.” But if we do nothing, we will get no results. »


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL & OSISA. (2021). Promoting & Protecting the Human Rights of Persons with Albinism: A Handbook for National Human Rights Institutions. Amnesty International Ltd.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. (2016, March 8). Urgent action: Malawi, danger for people with albinism.

DIDR-OFPRA. (2018, May 14). People living with albinism. Democratic Republic of Congo.

(Thank you to Jay Ralitera for sending this article to CPNN)

Honduras: A massive march cries out for peace in Olancho


An article from La Tribuna

JUTICALPA, Olancho. Representatives of public and private institutions joined the “Walk for Peace 2022”, through the main streets of this departmental capital.

Marchers called for an immediate ceasefire in the face of criminal acts that affect municipalities, delabdubg the authorities for greater security, and for the investigation and punishment of those responsible materially and intellectually for the violent acts.

The march concluded in the Municipal Plaza of Juticalpa.

The authorities, teachers, administrative staff and students of the North-East Regional University Center, CURNO, joined the “Walk for Peace 2022”.

(Click here for the original article in Spanish about this event)

Questions related to this article:

How effective are mass protest marches?

Students from the “Francisco Morazán” National Pedagogical University, UNP-FM, and from primary and secondary schools also participated.

The activity also had the organizational support of the Network of Families Living Together in Peace, with the intention of developing a culture of peace and a resounding no to violence among children and young people.

Educational institutions of all levels participated. They were supported by the authorities of CURNO, the Political Government of Olancho, the mayor of Juticalpa and the Departmental Directorate of Education of Olancho.

The “Walk for Peace 2022” was a desperate call to Olanchana society to eliminate violence and strengthen peace.

The department of Olancho, with 24,000 square kilometers ,is the largest in Honduras, similar in size to countries like El Salvador and Israel.

The department is whipped mercilessly by crimes and threats of all kinds, but the most serious thing is the environment of impunity with which those responsible for these criminal acts act, the march condemned.

According to official sources, the population in the department of Olancho is approximately 600 thousand people, almost 50 percent concentrated in the municipalities of Juticalpa and Catacamas.

Official statistics show that the municipalities of Juticalpa, Catacamas Patuca and Dulce Nombre de Culmí have the highest number of homicides between men and women.

Africa confronts linguistic imperialism with Kiswahili


An article from the Monitor

The move by the African Union — the apex organisation for African states — to adopt Kiswahili as one of its official working languages, is not only culturally and political significant, but a shot in the arm in its global spread.

This comes just three months after the United Nations on November 23, 2021 designated July 7 as the World Kiswahili Language Day.

It becomes the first African language, which is spoken by more than 200 million people, to be honoured by UNESCO.

Kiswahili, mainly spoken in the East African region, is a fusion of the dialect born of Bantu and Arabic languages, has earned its place of pride as one of the world’s top 10 most spoken languages and Africa’s most widely used native lingua. It enjoys official status national in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It is also widely spoken in parts of DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

Officially, it was being used in the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional blocs before AU’s adoption.

Over the years, Kiswahili has spread south of the continent, to parts of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, while Burundi, Madagascar and the Comoros islands have also adopted it.

In June 2020, South Africa introduced Kiswahili as an optional subject in the hope that the language could become a tool to foster cohesion among Africans.

And it’s in this light that the AU move to adopt Kiswahili is a milestone in mainstreaming it– and eventual launch globally.

Proponents of a single language for Africa are hoping that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTFA) will be the catalyst required to launch Kiswahili as Africa’s language of trade and continent-wide communication.

“Aside from fostering shared identity, Kiswahili as a language is a very important tool in the geopolitics of things. It will unite Africa just as other languages like French, Spanish or English have united those who speak them,” said Prof Macharia Munene, a history lecturer at the Nairobi-based United States International University Africa.

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Question related to this article:

Is language a human right?

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“Although it will take a few decades before Kiswahili gains a foothold in every African state, the recent developments are important catalysts.”

An expression of culture 

According to him, language is intrinsic to the expression of culture, arguing that’s why American culture is quite dominant in the world.

It is on that premise that he argues China is doing everything to promote mandarin, hoping it will use it to stamp its cultural influence in the world.

Kenya, Uganda and South Africa are some of the states where China has made initiatives to popularise mandarin.

But China and France –– which also announced plans to make French the language of Africa –– encounter a continent increasingly conscious about its identity.

The diplomatic use of Kiswahili in Africa, and its subsequent introduction into schools’ curricula across the continent is expected to help forge friendships, cultural and economic relationships.

According to Global Voices—an international multi-lingual organisation of writers, translators, academics and digital rights activists—currently, there are more than 7,100 languages spoken around the world, 28 per cent of which are spoken on the African continent.

Despite the existence of some 2,140 local languages in Africa, English, French and Arabic reign supreme.

English on the other hand dominates online spaces in the region.

But this has shrunk to between 51-55 per cent as opposed to 80 per cent on online dominance two decades ago. Projections indicate that Kiswahili, which is now online, will become an increasingly important instrument of trade.

Renowned author Stanley Gazemba asserts that the language has the potential to forge strong trading ties between the people of eastern, central and southern Africa and to promote cultural cohesion.

“If widely promoted in these regions, the language can single-handedly remove the artificial barriers and boundaries imposed by imperial powers,” he wrote in The Elephant.

“There are an estimated 2,000 languages spoken on the continent. Colourful as this may appear, it also poses a challenge in marshalling all these diverse cultures into thinking and working towards a collective goal, which necessitates the creation and promotion of a lingua franca that can be used seamlessly across political and administrative borders, and which can ultimately allow the African people to speak in a single voice.”

“Kiswahili has proved to be a useful tool in unlocking the potential of this sleeping giant in the regions south of the Sahara.”

Kiswahili is taught in universities around the world, including in China, while in the USA, an estimated 100

Chile: the main changes in the proposal for the new Constitution


An article from Radio 3 (translation by CPNN)

The Constitutional Convention delivered today (July 4) the draft of the new Constitution to the President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, with a series of changes with respect to the current Constitution, as summarized below.

In the text of the new Constitution that the population must accept or reject in a plebiscite, the passage from a “democratic republic” to a “parity democracy” is highlighted, which implies that women occupy at least 50% of all State bodies and proposes to take measures to achieve substantive equality and parity.

Gabriel Boric on Twitter

The now former president of the Constitutional Convention, María Elisa Quinteros, expressed in her speech that the text delivered today to the president is “the first joint constitution in the world,” and noted that it was chaired by two women.

The current constitution of 1980 does not include anything related to a gender and parity approach, in fact, the closest thing to parity is the article that indicates that people are born free and equal in rights, a rule that was reformed, since previously it only referred to to men.

Another great change proposed by the text is that it defines Chile as a Plurinational and Intercultural State, which implies the recognition of 11 peoples and nations, in addition to constituting Indigenous Regional Autonomies and recognizing the legal systems of indigenous peoples, with respect to the Constitution. The current constitution totally omits native and indigenous peoples.

Regarding the Political System, there are also important changes, such as the lowering of the age from 35 to 30 years to run for president, in addition to the consecutive re-election of the Head of State himself for once, a measure that will not apply to Gabriel Boric, but which will apply for the next president.

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(click here for the article in Spanish.).)

Question related to this article:

Are human rights guaranteed in national constitutions?

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It also highlights the elimination of the Senate, a body that has more than 200 years of history in the country. It will be replaced by a Chamber of the Regions, which will have less power than the Senate had before and would have the power to form limited laws and regional agreements.

The lower house would be renamed the Congress of Deputies and Deputies and would have greater power for the formation of laws. Hence there will be two chambers with asymmetric power.

One of the strengths of the new proposal is the one that defines Chile as a “Social and Democratic State of Law”, including a series of articles that guarantee social rights, such as education, health, housing, work and pensions. .

In this matter, the current constitution gives the private sector powers to act over State institutions in the provision of social goods, while the proposed new Constitution indicates that it is the duty of the State to seek solutions to these problems.

The proposed constitutional text also includes a change regarding abortion, since it indicates that the State must ensure the conditions for a voluntary and protected pregnancy, childbirth and maternity, and for a voluntary interruption of pregnancy. The current Constitution of 1980 explicitly protects “the life of the unborn”, although this was modified with the approval of the interruption of pregnancy on three grounds: fetal inviability, risk to the life of the mother, and rape.

The proposal was initially criticized by the most conservative sector, arguing that this measure implied interrupting the pregnancy at any time, according to its detractors. However, it will be a right that must be regulated by the Legislative Power, which will decide which are the deadlines and the way to do it.

To combat the water crisis in the country, the text includes a great difference with respect to the current constitution, since water will be established as a “non-property” good, in addition to establishing a human right to water, prioritizing its use and creating a National Agency of Water for its sustainable use.

These are some of the major changes in the proposed constitution, which includes 388 articles, and which will be presented to the country’s president, Gabriel Boric. The president himself and the ministers Izkia Siches (Interior) and Giorgio Jackson (Secretary General of the Presidency ) will sign a decree that establishes the plebiscite on September 4 for people over 18 years of age, which will decide if the new Constitution is adopted.

Colombia: Final report of the Truth Commission: an oral and written legacy for the country


An article by Fausto García Calderón from Radio Nacional de Colombia (translation by CPNN)

The wait is over. After the Truth Commission was born in 2017, today, Tuesday, June 28, 2022, five years later, the final report was presented at the Jorge Eliecer Gaitán Theater in Bogotá.

The work has been underway since November 29, 2018 when the commission began its mandate, detailing the truth of the conflict in Colombia over more than fifty years. The task was undertaken by 11 commissioners, presided over by Father Francisco de Roux.

Photo: Colprensa

The presentation that began around 11 in the morning, began with the words of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who highlighted the work carried out by the Truth Commission.

“This process clarifies not only the past of the violations that occurred during the armed conflict, but also contributes to uniting Colombian society so it can advance towards the construction of a future of peace for all,” she said.

In his turn, Father Francisco de Roux, president of the Truth Commission, highlighted the work in which 27,508 stories were heard, from victims, indigenous peoples, Afros, peasants, members of the public force, illegal armed groups, businessmen, politicians and others that in one way or another had to do with the conflict in Colombia.

“We call on everyone to accept ethical and political responsibilities with sincerity of heart. We have verified that those who recognize their responsibilities, far from diminishing their reputation, enhance it”, said Father Francisco de Roux, during his intervention.

You may also be interested in: “The truth cannot be a space for revenge”: Petro on the Commission report

Memories of the truth

Unfortunately, during their work, on August 7, 2020, one of the eleven commissioners, Ángela Salazar Murillo, a defender of women’s rights, died of Covid-19.

Commissioner Leyner Palacios pointed out that her struggle “shows us the importance of writing about the effects on women, cultures, ethnic groups, and implies addressing the damage to the territory. She has left us a great knowledge of what happened in the territories, from San Andrés to Urabá. Those tours that she was able to take left us with a lot of information in terms of testimonies and it has been essential for us to finish this task”. Commissioner Palacios highlighted the legacy of a woman who dedicated her years to the service of the Afro people, “ It’s been wonderful to be able to pick up that work. She told me once: the violence impacted the entire country, but blacks and indigenous people were affected distinctly and differently.”

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(click here for the article in Spanish.).)

Question related to this article:

Truth Commissions, Do they improve human rights?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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The presentation of the report also recalled the sociologist and story seeker Alfredo Molano, who died a year ago, on October 31, 2019. When he began his mission as commissioner, he mentioned the following: “It is time for a light, so be it. tenuous, that allows us to face the tragedy that we have lived. Let the windows open!”

Find out here: What does the Truth Commission report say about the camp?

Pages from the Final Report

There are 10 chapters in the final report of the Truth Commission: Historical Narrative; Violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law; Women and LGBTIQ+ population; Ethnic; Boys, girls, and adolescents; Impacts, coping and resistance; Exile; Testimonial; Territorial; Synthesis, findings, conclusions and recommendations for non-repetition.

Exile is one of the chapters that generates the most interest, given the problems that Colombian men and women who have left the country because of the armed conflict have had to face. In this, especially, the Commission heard 2,200 testimonies in more than 20 countries.

For Commissioner Carlos Beristain, it was essential to listen to and include the truths that are outside the country. “There is a Colombia outside of Colombia that has been invisible in the eyes of society and the State, people who had to leave the country due to the armed conflict, and this is a form of recognition of their experience.”

Beristain, a doctor and psychologist by profession, and today a commissioner and a seeker of peace and truth, considers that this report, together with the book he wrote ‘Una Maleta Colombiana’, adds to what must be done in order to unite Colombia.

“The Colombian maleta (suitcase) refers to the experiences collected by the victims and the reflections that this provokes and is a bridge between exile and Colombia.”

Read here: Why is it important the Final Report of the Truth Commission?

The future of the report

The presentation was conceived as a commitment to the victims left by the war in Colombia. Moments before starting the presentation, the sensations were a diverse mix; there was hope, anxiety, joy, touches of sadness and the desire that what is known in this final report be the agreement not to forget our truth, not to let memory be clouded and dispersed in time.

It should be emphasized that, despite the fact that the final report was presented today, there will be two months for it to be presented around the country, that is, until August 29, 2022, in which each chapter will be delivered periodically.

“We ask Colombian men and women without distinction to accept the truths of the tragedy, of the destruction of life among us and to make the determination not to kill anyone for any reason. We ask everyone to recognize the victims of the armed conflict, their pain and dignity”, Father Francisco de Roux concluded.

UN rights chief concludes China trip with promise of improved relations


An article from the United Nations

At the end of her official visit to China, the first such trip in 17 years, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet announced new areas of engagement between her office and the Chinese Government on rights issues, and summarized the many rights issues raised during her six-day May mission.

High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet during her visit to China, in Ürümqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. (Photo from OHCHR)

During Saturday’s virtual press conference, Ms. Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, outlined the new opportunities for dialogue between her office and the Chinese authorities that were discussed during the visit, which include an annual senior strategic meeting, and a working group that will meet in Beijing and Geneva, as well as online.

The working group, explained Ms. Bachelet, will discuss specific thematic areas, including development, poverty alleviation and human rights, minority rights, business and human rights, counterterrorism and human rights, digital space and human rights, judicial and legal protection, and human rights.

The High Commissioner pointed out that, as her Office does not have a presence in China, the working group will allow for structured engagement on these and other issues, and provide a space for her team to bring specific matters of concern to the attention of the Chinese Government.

Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong on the agenda

During her mission, Ms. Bachelet spoke with a range of government officials, several civil society organisations, academics, and community and religious leaders. In addition, she met several organizations online ahead of the visit, on issues relating to Xinjiang province, Tibet, Hong Kong, and other parts of China. 

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Question for this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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In Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur minority, Ms. Bachelet raised questions and concerns about the application of counterterrorism and de-radicalisation measures and their broad application, and encouraged the Government to undertake a review of all counterterrorism and deradicalization policies, to ensure they fully comply with international human rights standards, and are not applied in an arbitrary and discriminatory way.

On the Tibet Autonomous Region, Ms. Bachelet reiterated the importance of protecting the linguistic, religious, and cultural identity of Tibetans, and allowing Tibetans to participate fully and freely in decisions about their religious life, and for dialogue to take place. 

Regarding Hong Kong, Ms. Bachelet urged the Government to nurture – and not stifle – the tremendous potential for civil society and academics in Hong Kong to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights. She described the arrests of lawyers, activists, journalists and others under the National Security Law as “deeply worrying”, and noted that Hong Kong is due to be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee in July.

“To those who have sent me appeals, asking me to raise issues or cases with the authorities – I have heard you”, she declared. “I will continue to follow up on such issues and instances of concern on a sustained basis”.

‘China has a very important role to play’

The rights chief praised China’s “tremendous achievements” in alleviating poverty, and eradicating extreme poverty, 10 years ahead of its target date. 

The country, she added, has gone a long way towards ensuring protection of the right to health and broader social and economic rights, thanks to the introduction of universal health care and almost universal unemployment insurance scheme. 

A number of other developments in the country were welcomed by Ms. Bachelet, including legislation that improves protection for women’s rights, and work being done by NGOs to advance the rights of LGBTI people, people with disabilities, and older people.

The UN rights chief underscored the important role that China has to play, at a regional and multilateral level, and noted that everyone she met on her visit, from Government officials, civil society, academics, diplomats and others, demonstrated a sincere willingness to make progress on the promotion and protection of human rights for all. 

(Editor’s note: Bachelet’s trip does not support US propaganda claiming that China is engaged in genocide in Xinjiang.)