Category Archives: HUMAN RIGHTS

Colombia: Decriminalization of abortion is a triumph for human rights


An article from Amnesty International

The Colombian Constitutional Court’s ruling in favour of the decriminalization of abortion during the first 24 weeks of a pregnancy is a great triumph for human rights, said Amnesty International today.

Photo by: Daniel Romero/Long Visual Press/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“We celebrate this ruling as a historic victory for the women’s movement in Colombia that has fought for decades for the recognition of their rights. Women, girls and people able to bear children are the only ones who should make decisions about their bodies. Now, instead of punishing them, the Colombian authorities will have to recognize their autonomy over their bodies and their life plans,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

“Following the legalization of abortion in Argentina last year and the recent decriminalization in Mexico, this ruling is yet another example of the unstoppable momentum of the green tide in Latin America. We will not stop fighting until the sexual and reproductive rights of all women, girls and people able to bear children are recognized in the entire continent, without exception.”

The Constitutional Court approved the ruling to decriminalize abortion today during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, with five votes in favour and four against. After 24 weeks, legal abortion will continue to only be permitted in cases of a risk to the life or health of the pregnant person; the existence of life-threatening fetal malformations; or when the pregnancy is the result of rape, incest or non-consensual artificial insemination.

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

Question related to this article:

Abortion: is it a human right?

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“Although decriminalizing abortion in the first 24 weeks is a vital step forward for abortion rights in Colombia, and for Latin America and the Caribbean, no one should ever be criminalized for accessing an abortion. It’s vital that we keep pushing for full access to safe and legal abortion in all circumstances in Colombia and beyond,” added Erika Guevara-Rosas.

Despite being a fundamental right established by the Constitutional Court in Decree C-355 of 2006, access to abortion is currently unequal and limited in Colombia. It is estimated that currently in the country there are 400,400 abortions performed each year, and that less than 10% of these procedures are performed legally, with a high concentration of services in the biggest cities.

Legal abortion is not only much safer than clandestine abortion, but also the cost of its provision in Colombia, compared to care for incomplete abortion,  is much lower  when performed in top-level institutions, using the techniques recommended by the World Health Organisation.

The criminalization of abortion exacerbates inequalities between women. The vast majority of those reported for clandestine abortions in Colombia are those who live in rural areas and almost a third  of them are survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence or personal injury. Therefore, instead of framework with greater guarantees of human rights, a framework of persecution against the most vulnerable women has prevailed.

Moreover, the criminalization of abortion has generated fear and stigma in health care providers,  causing them to avoid providing the service  of termination of pregnancy for fear of the social and legal consequences they may face. 

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: Duncan Tucker:

Mexico : Renowned researchers share their experience of the UNESCO Chairs of the Latin American and Caribbean Region


An article from ZHN Zacatecas Hoy

In order to investigate the alternatives and strategies to implement a culture of peace program in educational systems, professors from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO ), participated in a discussion entitled “Experiences of the UNESCO Chairs of the Latin American and Caribbean Region”.

Adolfo Rodríguez Guerrero

To initiate these activities, the program coordinator of the education sector of UNESCO in Mexico, Adolfo Rodríguez Guerrero, indicated that the function of these Chairs is to support the solutions of the problems of sustainable development that are being presented during the last 20 or 30 years.

He explained that the UNESCO Chains is a program that contributes actions and reflections. they contribute to the collective intelligence, knowledge and innovation that is generated by universities in search of global citizenship.

Rodríguez Guerrero stressed that this specialized unit of the United Nations in our country is working for sustainable development through two elements: a global culture of peace and sustainability through an educational innovation, that is, a change in higher education that promotes knowledge and learning digital through new information technologies.

The coordinator of the UNESCO Chair of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Gloria Ramírez Hernández, focused on explaining the importance of human rights in the work that has been carried out in these Chairs since 1992, promoting values, attitudes and behaviors that reflect respect for life and eradicate violence in all its forms.

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(Click here for the original article in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

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

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

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She pointed out that these actions seek to reinforce the human rights and freedoms of each person, visualizing the culture of peace as a preventive action through the construction of democracy and the management of conflicts, resolving them with peaceful means.

Explaining her experience as a coordinator of this chair in the UNAM, the speaker highlighted her work of developing consciousness about the application of human rights. This is done by research, teaching and dissemination through fields of knowledge, lines of research and projects that seek to prevent violent attitudes.

One of these projects is the National Program of Education in Human Rights, which has the objective of promoting a culture of defense, promotion and response in human rights in all types, levels and modalities in a comprehensive approach that favors governance, democracy and peace.

Finally, the professor stated that “peace cannot advance without women”, and she mentioned that “conflict and humanitarian crises impede the access of women and girls to progress, including the right to food, education, security and health, as we are immersed in a social and economic collapse, especially in a post-pandemic context”.

For his part, the coordinator of the UNESCO “University and Regional Integration” Chair, Axel Didriksson Takayanagui, spoke about the transformation that must take place in the public university of the Latin American and Caribbean Region for a curriculum in a culture of peace and critical and analytical thinking.

The professor stated that the development of the Chairs UNESCO, will provide bases so that May of this year the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education presents the importance of implementing a culture of peace, considering that as a priority human right for inclusion, equity and educational transformation.

With regard to this international conference, the renowned researcher commented that this is the third edition of this type of academic activity. It will take place at the University of Barcelona in Spain. “This will be a space in which models will be analyzed by innovators and visionaries in higher education from around the world.

The coordinators of these talks at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas were the university professors Juana Elizabeth Salas and Oscar Padilla.

Leftist President of Honduras Blocks Indigenous Community’s Eviction


An article by Andrea Germanos from Common Dreams (reprinted according to Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Honduras’ new leftist president on Wednesday intervened  to halt a court-ordered eviction of an Indigenous community from their ancestral lands following violent scenes of the attempted forced removal by police earlier in the day.

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Question related to this article:

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

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Human Rights Minister Natalie Roque shared  on social media that, with orders from President Xiomara Castro, lawyers and officials from her office went to the Tierras del Padre community, located just south of the capital of Tegucigalpa, to stop the evictions, saying the suspension was in accordance  with the law and authorized by the state.`

“We are not going to tolerate any aggression or blow against a pregnant woman or against a citizen or against a child,” presidential adviser Pedro Amador said on the scene,  according to  video circulated on social media

In a tweet, Roque accused judicial officials who’d approved the evictions of continuing “in the power of the dictatorship.” As  Agence France-Presse  reported  last month, “four of the five judges in the court’s constitutional chamber were named to their posts by the previous Congress, which was dominated by the right-wing National Party of former president Juan Orlando Hernandez.”

A statement from the country’s human rights ministry  called  the proposed expulsions—performed at the behest of a businessman and land developer who claims ownership of the area—a “clear violation of the human rights of over 100 families who live in the sector in an ancestral Lenca territory that dates from the year 1739.”

Amnesty International : Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians


A report from Amnesty International

In May 2021, Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, began protesting against Israel’s plan to forcibly evict them from their homes to make way for Jewish settlers. Many of the families are refugees, who settled in Sheikh Jarrah after being forcibly displaced around the time of Israel’s establishment as a state in 1948. Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank in 1967, Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah have been continuously targeted by Israeli authorities, who use discriminatory laws to systematically dispossess Palestinians of their land and homes for the benefit of Jewish Israelis.

video by Amnesty

In response to the demonstrations in Sheikh Jarrah, thousands of Palestinians across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) held their own protests in support of the families, and against their shared experience of fragmentation, dispossession, and segregation. These were met with excessive and deadly force by Israeli authorities with thousands injured, arrested and detained.

The events of May 2021 were emblematic of the oppression which Palestinians have faced every day, for decades. The discrimination, the dispossession, the repression of dissent, the killings and injuries – all are part of a system which is designed to privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians.

This is apartheid.

Amnesty International’s new investigation shows that Israel imposes a system of oppression and domination against Palestinians across all areas under its control: in Israel and the OPT, and against Palestinian refugees, in order to benefit Jewish Israelis. This amounts to apartheid as prohibited in international law.

Laws, policies and practices which are intended to maintain a cruel system of control over Palestinians, have left them fragmented geographically and politically, frequently impoverished, and in a constant state of fear and insecurity.



Apartheid is a violation of public international law, a grave violation of internationally protected human rights, and a crime against humanity under international criminal law.

The term “apartheid” was originally used to refer to a political system in South Africa which explicitly enforced racial segregation, and the domination and oppression of one racial group by another. It has since been adopted by the international community to condemn and criminalize such systems and practices wherever they occur in the world.

The crime against humanity of apartheid under the Apartheid Convention, the Rome Statute and customary international law is committed when any inhuman or inhumane act (essentially a serious human rights violation) is perpetrated in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another, with the intention to maintain that system.

Apartheid can best be understood as a system of prolonged and cruel discriminatory treatment by one racial group of members of another with the intention to control the second racial group.


Amnesty International has created a free 90-minute course called “Deconstructing Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians”. To learn more about the crime of apartheid in international law, what apartheid looks like in Israel/OPT, and how it affects Palestinians’ lives, sign up to our course on Amnesty International’s human rights education academy.


Apartheid is not acceptable anywhere in the world. So why has the world accepted it against Palestinians?

Human rights have long been side-lined by the international community when dealing with the decades-long struggle and suffering of Palestinians. Palestinians facing the brutality of Israel’s repression have been calling for an understanding of Israel’s rule as apartheid for over two decades. Over time, a broader international recognition of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as apartheid has begun to take shape.

Yet, governments with the responsibility and power to do something have refused to take any meaningful action to hold Israel accountable. Instead, they have been hiding behind a moribund peace process at the expense of human rights and accountability. Unfortunately, the situation today is one of no progress towards a just solution and worsening human rights for Palestinians.

Amnesty is calling for Israel to end the international wrong, and crime, of apartheid, by dismantling measures of fragmentation, segregation, discrimination, and deprivation, currently in place against the Palestinian population.


The Palestinian experience of being denied a home is at the heart of Israel’s apartheid system. That’s why, as a first step towards dismantling this system, we are calling on Israel to end the practice of home demolitions.

Palestinian families need people to stand with them against injustice and discrimination, by taking action to help them protect their homes.



Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, successive governments have created and maintained a system of laws, policies, and practices designed to oppress and dominate Palestinians. This system plays out in different ways across the different areas where Israel exercises control over Palestinians’ rights, but the intent is always the same: to privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians.

Israeli authorities have done this through four main strategies:

Fragmentation into domains of control: At the heart of the system is keeping Palestinian separated from each other into distinct territorial, legal and administrative domains

Dispossession of land and property: Decades of discriminatory land and property seizures, home demolitions and forced evictions

Segregation and control: A system of laws and policies that keep Palestinians restricted to enclaves, subject to several measures that control their lives, and segregated from Jewish Israelis

Deprivation of economic & social rights: The deliberate impoverishment of Palestinians keeping them at great disadvantage in comparison to Jewish Israelis


In the course of establishing Israel as a Jewish state in 1948, Israel expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages, in what amounted to ethnic cleansing.

Since then, successive governments have designed laws and policies to ensure the continued fragmentation of the Palestinian population. Palestinians are confined to enclaves in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and the refugee communities, where they are subject to different legal and administrative regimes. This has had the effect of undermining family, social and political ties between Palestinian communities and suppressing sustained dissent against the apartheid system; it also helps to maximise Jewish Israeli control over land and maintain a Jewish demographic majority.

Millions of Palestinians remain displaced as refugees and continue to be physically isolated from those residing in Israel and the OPT through Israel’s continuous denial of their right to return to their homes, towns and villages.


Since 1948, Israel has enforced massive and cruel land seizures to dispossess Palestinians of their land and homes. Although Palestinians in Israel and the OPT are subjected to different legal and administrative regimes, Israel has used similar land expropriation measures across all areas – for example, since 1948, Israel has expropriated land in areas of strategic importance that include significant Palestinian populations such as the Galilee and the Negev/Naqab, and used similar measures in the OPT following Israel’s military occupation in 1967. In order to maximize Jewish Israeli control over land and minimize the Palestinian presence, Palestinians have been confined to separate, densely populated enclaves. While Israeli policies have allowed for the discriminatory allocation of state land to be used almost exclusively to benefit Jewish Israelis both inside of Israel and in the OPT.

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

Question related to this article:

Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?

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Successive Israeli governments have pursued a strategy of establishing domination through discriminatory laws and policies which segregate Palestinians into enclaves, based on their legal status and residence.

Israel denies Palestinian citizens their rights to equal nationality and status, while Palestinians in the OPT face severe restrictions on freedom of movement. Israel also restricts Palestinians’ rights to family unification in a profoundly discriminatory manner: for example, Palestinians from the OPT cannot gain residency or citizenship through marriage, which Jewish Israelis can.

Israel also places severe limitations on Palestinians’ civil and political rights, to suppress dissent and maintain the system of oppression and domination. For example, millions of Palestinians in the West Bank remain subject to Israel’s military rule and draconian military orders adopted since 1967.


These measures have left Palestinians marginalized, impoverished and economically disadvantaged across Israel and the OPT.

Decades of discriminatory allocation of resources by Israeli authorities, for the benefit of Jewish Israeli citizens in Israel and Israeli settlers in the OPT, compound these inequalities. For example, millions of Palestinians inside of Israel and East Jerusalem live in densely populated areas that are generally underdeveloped and lack adequate essential services such as garbage collection, electricity, public transportation and water and sanitation infrastructure.

Palestinians across all areas under Israel’s control have fewer opportunities to earn a living and engage in business than Jewish Israelis. They experience discriminatory limitations on access to and use of farmland, water, gas and oil amongst other natural resources, as well as restrictions on the provision of health, education and basic services.

In addition, Israeli authorities have appropriated the vast majority of Palestinians’ natural resources in the OPT for the economic benefit of Jewish citizens in Israel and in the illegal settlements.



Palestinians are systematically subjected to home demolitions and forced evictions, and live in constant fear of losing their homes.

For more than 73 years, Israel has been forcibly displacing entire Palestinian communities. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians’ homes have been demolished, causing terrible trauma & suffering. More than 6 million Palestinians remain refugees, the vast majority of whom live in refugee camps including outside of Israel/OPT. There are over 100,000 Palestinians in the OPT and another 68,000 inside of Israel at imminent risk of losing their homes, many for the second or third time.

Palestinians are caught in a Catch-22 situation. Israel requires them to obtain a permit to build or even erect a structure such as a tent, but – unlike Jewish Israeli applicants – rarely issues them a permit. Many Palestinians are forced to build without permits. Israel then demolishes Palestinian homes on the basis that they were built “illegally”. Israel uses these discriminatory planning and zoning policies to create unbearable living conditions to force Palestinians to leave their homes to allow for the expansion of Jewish settlement.

Mohammed Al-Rajabi, a resident of Al-Bustan area in Silwan, whose home was demolished by Israeli authorities on 23 June 2020 on the basis that it was built “illegally”, described to Amnesty International the devastating impact on his family:


Israel has enacted discriminatory laws and policies that disrupt family life for Palestinians. Since 2002, Israel has adopted a policy of prohibiting Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza from gaining status in Israel or East Jerusalem through marriage, thus preventing family unification.

Israel has long used discriminatory laws and policies to separate Palestinians from their families. For example, Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza cannot gain legal status in Israel or occupied East Jerusalem through marriage, denying their rights to family unification. This policy has forced thousands of Palestinians to live apart from their loved ones; others are forced to go abroad, or live in constant fear of being arrested, expelled or deported.

These measures explicitly target Palestinians, and not Jewish Israelis, and are primarily guided by demographic considerations that aim to minimize Palestinian presence inside Israel/OPT.

Sumaia, was born and raised in Lod in central Israel. She married her husband, who is from the Gaza Strip, in 1998 and he moved to live with her in Lod. In 2000, Sumaia and her husband began the process of applying for family unification, so they could live together legally. The family unification process took 18 years, during which the couple lived in fear and anxiety. Sumaia told Amnesty International:


Over the past 14 years, more than 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been living under Israel’s illegal blockade. Along with four major military offensives, the blockade has had catastrophic consequences for the people of Gaza.

The blockade is a form of collective punishment. It forces Gaza’s population – the majority of whom are refugees or their descendants who fled in 1948 – to live in increasingly dire conditions. There are severe shortages of housing, drinking water, electricity, essential medicines and medical care, food, educational equipment and building materials. In 2020, Gaza had the world’s highest unemployment rate, and more than half of its population was living below the poverty line.

On 30 March 2018, Palestinians in Gaza launched the Great March of Return, a series of weekly mass demonstrations along the fence between Gaza and Israel.

They were demanding their right to return to their villages and towns in what is now Israel, as well as an end to Israel’s blockade on Gaza. The response was brutal: by the end of 2019, Israeli forces had killed 214 civilians, including 46 children, and injured more than 8,000 others with live ammunition. A total of 156 of those injured had to have limbs amputated. More than 1,200 patients require long-term, complex and expensive therapy and rehabilitation, and tens of thousands more require psycho-social support -none of which are widely available in Gaza.

The blockade prevents Palestinians from accessing adequate healthcare, in particular life-saving and other emergency medical treatment only available outside Gaza. The Israeli authorities often delay these permits and sometimes fail to provide them at all.

Adham Al-Hajjar, 36, is a freelance journalist and lives in Gaza City. On 6 April 2018, while he was covering the Great March of Return demonstrations, Israeli snipers positioned along the fence separating Gaza from Israel shot him. He is unable to get the medical help he needs in Gaza because of the debilitated health services there.


Israel has been systematically committing serious human rights violations against Palestinians for decades. Violations such as forcible transfer, administrative detention, torture, unlawful killings and serious injuries, and the denial of basic rights and freedoms have been well documented by Amnesty and others. It is clear that Israel’s apartheid system is being maintained through committing these abuses—which have been perpetrated with almost total impunity.

They form part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian population, carried out within the context of Israel’s institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination over Palestinians, and therefore constitute crimes against humanity of apartheid.


There is no place for apartheid in our world. It is a crime against humanity, and it has to end.

Israeli authorities have enjoyed impunity for too long. The international failure to hold Israel to account means Palestinians are still suffering every single day. It’s time to speak up, to stand with Palestinians and tell Israel that we will not tolerate apartheid.

For decades, Palestinians have been calling for an end to the oppression they live under. All too often, they pay a terrible price for standing up for their rights, and they have long been calling for others around the world to help them.

Let this be the beginning of an end to Israel’s system of apartheid against Palestinians.

Join us in the fight for justice, freedom, and equality for all.


The Palestinian experience of being denied a home is at the heart of Israel’s apartheid system. That’s why, as a first step towards dismantling this system, we are calling on Israel to end the practice of home demolitions.

Palestinian families need people to stand with them against injustice and discrimination, by taking action to help them protect their homes.


Further Reading

Q&A: Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity

Amnesty International : 33 human rights wins to celebrate this year


An article from Amnesty International

It’s been a busy year for Amnesty International with positive changes taking place around the world. Laws have been rewritten, awards have been won, prisoners of conscience released and our supporters have continued to campaign with passion to ensure people can live free from torture, harassment or unjust imprisonment. Here’s a round-up of human rights wins to celebrate this year…


Global: Amnesty International’s ground-breaking report  on how health workers around the world had been exposed, silenced and attacked during the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in Ibrahim Badawi, a doctor, and Ahmad al-Daydoumy, a dentist, being released from detention in Egypt in January and March this year. They were just two of the many health workers arbitrarily detained in 2020 in Egypt, on vague and overly broad charges of “spreading false news” and “terrorism”, which Amnesty highlighted in its research.


Sri Lanka: Following the outbreak of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka, a number of people from the Muslim community were forcibly cremated on the instructions of the authorities and against the wishes of the deceased’s families. Amnesty International called for Sri Lanka’s authorities to respect the right of religious minorities to carry out the final rites of their relatives in accordance with their own traditions unless restrictions were needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Amnesty also engaged with Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states to impress upon the Sri Lankan government to change this discriminatory policy, and placed op-eds in Pakistan and Bangladesh ahead of a key session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. As a result, Sri Lankan authorities decided to end the practice of forced cremations for victims of Covid-19 in February.


Bahrain: Amnesty International helped to secure several prisoner releases in Bahrain this year, including four children who had been tried as adults. In March, a Bahraini court suspended a six-month prison sentence against the four and placed them in a rehabilitation programme instead – one week after Amnesty issued an urgent action. In April, there was more good news with the release of prisoner of conscience, Mohammed Hassan Jawad, who had been serving a 15-year prison sentence for his peaceful participation in the 2011 uprising. Amnesty International has been campaigning for his release for a decade. In another breakthrough, on 11 March, the European Parliament adopted a resolution  on Bahrain’s human rights situation and its treatment of human rights defenders, followed by another  in September on Emirati prisoner of conscience Ahmed Mansoor – which echoed Amnesty’s recommendations.

Japan: In March, a Japanese court ruled that the government’s failure to recognize same-sex marriage was unconstitutional – the country’s first-ever judicial ruling on marriage equality. The decision was a ground-breaking step for same-sex couples in their pursuit of equal rights and could set an important precedent for similar cases filed by other same-sex couples in Japan. This followed campaign calls and petitions  from Amnesty International and others.

Iraq: The Iraqi parliament passed the Yezidi Survivors Law  which provides a framework for reparations for many survivors of ISIS atrocities in northern Iraq, including women and girls who were subjected to sexual violence and child survivors who were abducted before the age of 18. This was a key recommendation in a report published last year  by Amnesty International on the physical and mental health crisis endured by Yezidi children separated from their families. The report was also referenced by Angelina Jolie in a speech  to the UN Security Council regarding sexual violence in conflict. Additional bylaws were passed in September.

Global: In March, October and November, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it would open formal investigations into the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Philippine  government’s deadly ‘war on drugs’ and crimes against humanity in Venezuela. Amnesty International has been documenting crimes against humanity in all these countries for several years, its research was cited dozens of times in the Prosecutor’s filing.

Madagascar: After months of refusing to acknowledge, the Malagasy government finally dropped its policy of refusing to order Covid-19 vaccines following pressure from Amnesty  and others – giving more people a chance to access life-saving vaccines.

South Africa: In March, police revived an investigation into the 2017 murders of best friends Popi Qwabe and Bongeka Phungula, after receiving a petition  signed by more than 341,000 Amnesty International supporters worldwide demanding that their killers be brought to justice. The police have now completed their investigation and handed over the case to the country’s National Prosecuting Authority. After years of distress and anger over irregularities and delays in the original police investigation, Popi and Bongeka’s friends and families finally have reason to believe that justice for their loved ones is on the horizon. “I feel optimistic,” said Popi’s sister Thembelihle. “I feel like finally, something is about to change.”


Global: Amnesty International released its flagship annual report, The State of the World’s Human Rights. This latest edition covered the human rights situation in 149 countries and was translated into a record 38 languages. It also included specific advocacy calls on a range of human rights issues.


Global: Amnesty International won a prestigious Webby Award  for its microsite on the abuse of tear gas by police forces around the world. The site was originally launched in mid-2020, and is frequently updated with new content and evidence of abuses. The material is also still being cited in ongoing advocacy, including in recent US Congressional debates around regulating or banning police use of tear gas.


Burundi: NGO worker and human rights defender Germain Rukuki was released from prison  after spending more than four years behind bars for standing up for human rights. Initially sentenced to 32 years in prison on baseless charges, Germain was jailed before getting a chance to hold his youngest child, born just weeks after he was detained in July 2017. After more than 400,000 actions calling for his release, Germain is looking to be reunited with his family, who fled the country for fear of reprisals.

China: Amnesty International published an extensive report detailing how the draconian repression faced by Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region amounts to crimes against humanity. The report garnered significant global media coverage, and was followed up with a campaign calling for the closure of the internment camps. To date, the ‘Free Xinjiang Detainees’ petition  has been signed by more than 323,000 people around the world and Amnesty International’s national teams in 10 countries have held petition handover events.

Pakistan: Amnesty International successfully campaigned for the acquittal and release of  Shafqat and Shagufta Emmanuel, a Christian couple, who spent seven years on death row on blasphemy charges.

USA: Decode Surveillance  NYC saw more than 7,000 Amnesty International supporters from 144 countries map 15,000 surveillance cameras across New York City which can be used by the NYPD to track people using facial recognition software. The results of the innovative project helped campaigners push local legislators for a ban on the use of the discriminatory technology.

Nepal: After the launch of Amnesty International’s report, “Struggling to breathe”: The second wave of Covid-19 in Nepal, which was followed by sustained campaigning and advocacy initiatives, the Japanese government donated 1.6 million vaccines to Nepal, Bhutan donated 230,000 and the UK donated 130,000 doses.

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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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Nigeria: The Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) granted an order to prohibit Nigerian authorities from prosecuting anyone using Twitter in the country. This victory for freedom of expression came after Amnesty International  helped Nigerian NGO, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), to bring a case against the Nigerian authorities over their threat to prosecute anyone using Twitter after they implemented a blanket ban on the social platform in June.


Nicaragua: After more than two years locked up in an immigration detention facility in California where she was abused and denied access to adequate medical care, Maura Martínez, a transgender woman originally from Nicaragua, was finally freed in July.  Martínez had spent half her life in the United States where she sought safety after experiencing relentless gender-based violence while living in Mexico. However, after a legal incident, US authorities detained and threatened to deport her. Thanks to a global campaign by Amnesty International and partner organizations, she is now free and able to live in the USA while she awaits the adjudication of her asylum claim.

Honduras: On 5 July 2021, a court in Honduras convicted David Castillo, the former manager of the company Desarrollos Energéticos and the person in charge of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project, of participating in the 2016 murder of the human rights defender Berta Cáceres. Amnesty International has campaigned for justice for Berta for years and continues to demand that all those responsible for ordering or carrying out her murder face justice.

Denmark: In early 2021, the Danish government proposed a draft law to parliament granting police the power to issue a “security-creating assembly ban” if a group of people exhibited “insecurity-inciting behaviour”. Amnesty Denmark and partners successfully prevented the Danish government from passing the law, which would have put undue restrictions on the right to protest. They won the Civic Pride Award 2021  for their campaigning. Another award winner was Amnesty Hungary, which campaigned against the abusive and stigmatising LexNGO law, as part of the Civilisacion coalition. Over 3 years, the coalition fought LexNGO, taking the case to the European Court of Justice, which eventually led to the repeal of the law.

Sierra Leone: After years of sustained campaigning from Amnesty International and others, the parliament voted to abolish the death penalty in Sierra Leone  for all crimes. The Act, approved by parliament in July, was being finalised before President Julius Maada Bio can sign it into law. The process of commuting all outstanding death sentences has already begun. As of 30 June 2021, 21 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa had abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

Latin America: Amnesty International celebrated the achievements of its five-year human rights education programme, It’s My Body!, which set out to educate young people in Argentina, Chile and Peru about sexual and reproductive rights, enabling them to make positive changes in their community. Hundreds of young people were trained to provide support to others and the impact has been incredible. In Argentina, one young person successfully reformed a school curriculum to include comprehensive sexuality education, while in Peru, young people who took part in the project trained parents and teachers across the country.

USA: After the previous US federal administration carried out 13 executions in six months, on 1 July 2021, the US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the establishment of a moratorium on executions pending the review of policies and procedure by the Department of Justice. Amnesty International has been one of the organizations campaigning for this outcome and will continue to work until this temporary measure is turned into permanent abolition of the US federal death penalty [and all death sentences are commuted.


Afghanistan: Following the collapse of the Afghanistan government after the Taliban seized power in mid-August 2021, Amnesty International researchers continue to investigate atrocities committed by the group and were able to verify two massacres of Hazara people in the provinces of Ghazni  and Daykundi  by Taliban fighters. These reports were among the first evidence that the Taliban continued to persecute marginalized communities in Afghanistan as they took control of the country. Amnesty International also published powerful testimony from girls  who were excluded from school, amidst ongoing Taliban threats and violence.


Guinea: After months of campaigning  from Amnesty International and its supporters, pro-democracy activist Omar Sylla was unconditionally released on 6 September, the day after the military led a coup against President Alpha Conde. Following his release, dozens of political activists were also released and charges were dropped by the judiciary.

Tunisia: Research by Amnesty International helped to end the practice of arbitrary travel bans imposed on many Tunisians following President Kais Saied’s seizure of exceptional powers. After Amnesty published a story on the situation, the president issued a statement  on 17 September ordering the border police “not to impose any travel ban on people unless through a judicial order”.

Global: Following years of advocacy, pressure and engagement from Amnesty International, the Human Rights Council recognized the Right to a Safe Clean Healthy and Sustainable Environment and created a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change – an emphatic statement leading up to COP26 about the link between human rights and the environmental crisis.

Central African Republic: Two men suspected of crimes against humanity Mahamat Said Abdel Kani and Eugene Barret Ngaikosset were finally arrested, with Ngaikosset placed in custody by the Special Criminal Court (SCC). It was the first time the SCC publicly named  a suspect and it came after Amnesty International called  for the SCC to address its lack of transparency. Amnesty International has been advocating for justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in CAR for a number of years and our work – together with others – contributed to these two individuals being arrested.


Global: The European Parliament’s Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded to the Pegasus Project, which saw Amnesty partner with major media organizations to expose the vast scale of violations perpetrated through secretive cyber surveillance. The revelations made global headlines and led to spyware company NSO Group being blacklisted by the USA, as well as triggering investigations in multiple countries, and calls for the surveillance industry to be properly regulated.

Moldova: The parliament of Moldova ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Suppression of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), opening the door to better protection and support to survivors of domestic violence and violence against women. According to the Moldovan government, the country has already adapted more than 20 legislative acts to meet the requirements of the convention. To date, the only other country in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to ratify the convention, in addition to Moldova, is Georgia. Amnesty has been actively promoting women’s rights and the fight against domestic violence for years.

Kosovo: Following an intervention from Amnesty International, Austrian-based Kelkos Energy withdrew its baseless defamation lawsuits  against environmental activists Shpresa Loshaj and Adriatik Gacaferi, who had publicly raised concerns about the environmental impact of hydropower projects. Austrian-based Kelkos Energy was using these lawsuits to intimidate and silence Shpresa and Adriatik from speaking out about the possible environmental damage caused by the company’s exploitation of Kosovo’s natural resources.

Turkey: A court acquitted  18 students and an academic who had been prosecuted for taking part in a peaceful campus-based Pride parade in Ankara in May 2019, which was met with police using pepper spray, plastic bullets and tear gas. Their acquittal after a protracted legal battle was a victory for justice. The case of the METU students was part of Amnesty International’s flagship Write for Rights campaign in 2020. More than 445,000 people from 43 countries demanded their acquittal.

Global: Following pressure from Amnesty’s international and partner organisations, the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General announced plans to mainstream children’s rights within the UN system. The announcement followed a successful UN side-event organised jointly by Amnesty International and its partners, featuring an address by Amnesty’s Secretary General, Agnes Callamard.


Guinea Bissau and Niger: Guinea Bissau and Niger declared  they would allow individuals and NGOS to submit complaints to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, bringing the number of countries to sign the declaration to eight. Amnesty’s advocacy campaign was pivotal, thanks to its educational video, social media campaign and sustained engagements with African Union actors and civil society groups.

The Elders: Israel’s designation of Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist” undermines core democratic principles

    . . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

    A press release from The Elders

    The Elders express their grave concern at Israel’s recent designation of several Palestinian civil society organisations as “terrorist”, and wider misuse of anti-terrorism frameworks to restrict civil society.

    Photo: joiseyshowaa

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    Question related to this article:

    Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

    Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?

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    Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia, Nobel Peace Laureate and member of The Elders, said: 

    “Israel’s recent designation of six Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist organisations” is part of a wider pattern of repression of Palestinian and Israeli civil society, and undermines core democratic principles. Global anti-terrorism frameworks such as the Financial Action Task Force standards should not be misused to restrict the legitimate work of civil society. Any designation must be proportionate and evidence-based. I urge the Israeli government to lift the designation or provide sufficient justification of it, and to recommit to the preservation of civic space and democratic freedoms.”

    Hina Jilani, human rights advocate, Co-chair – Task Force on Justice, said:

    “Human rights defenders and wider civil society play an indispensable role in our democracies.  When they are silenced, governments can no longer be held accountable. The designation of six Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist organisations” by Israel without adequate explanation puts their vital work and survival at risk, and sets a dangerous precedent. The Elders stand in solidarity with the NGOs, and call on donor governments to stand firm in their support for Palestinian civil society.”

Fourth Paris Peace Forum ends with a series of initiatives


An article from (translation by CPNN)

The 4th edition of the Paris Peace Forum, which brought together 1,000 participants in Paris and 15,000 online, ended this Saturday (November 13) with a series of initiatives, including the launch of an international appeal to defend the rights of the child in the digital environment.

Frame from video of the Forum

The international regulation of digital technology was one of the main issues of this edition of the Paris Peace Forum. In addition to the opportunities it opens up for children, the digital environment can also expose them to “illegal or hateful” content online and to cyberbullying, hence the decision of this forum to host the launch of a international call to defend the rights of the child in the digital environment.

This appeal was signed by major digital platforms, including Amazon, Google, YouTube, and Twitter, a dozen non-governmental organizations and nearly a dozen states, according to a press release from the Forum.

The signatories also pledged through series of actions “to enable children to use digital tools safely and to benefit to their full potential, without being exposed to abuse,” the document said.

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(Click here for the original in French.)

Questions related to this article:

Rights of the child, How can they be promoted and protected?

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Still in the digital domain, the United States and the European Union have joined the Paris Call for Confidence and Security in Cyberspace. Launched in 2018 during the first edition, this call invites “to react together in the face of new threats that endanger citizens and infrastructures”.

The “Net Zero Space” initiative which calls for a sustainable use of outer space by 2030, with the objective of reducing pollution of the “Earth’s orbit” environment has also been launched as part of the project. of the forum.

The Armed Forces of 22 countries, represented at the forum by their Minister of Defense, are also committed to reducing their impact on the climate.

The Forum participants thus recalled the importance of cooperation in responding to the challenges facing the world. This is for example the case of the call to defend the rights of the child in the digital environment. “Taking back control of a number of digital business operations can only go through international cooperation,” explained the president of the Paris Peace Forum, Pascal Lamy.

In a message addressed to the participants of this forum, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres stressed the importance of dialogue and solidarity to reduce the fractures that threaten the world. “No state will be able to absorb them alone. Solidarity is our only chance,” he stressed.

It is this same global solidarity through cooperation that will rid the world of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“The pandemic will end when the world decides to put an end to it. It is in our hands. It is a question of political will and courage”, announced the head of the WHO during the forum.

The Paris Peace Forum is an international event focusing on issues of global governance and multilateralism. This fourth edition, which was held from November 11 to 13, brought together 45 heads of state and government and leaders of international organizations.

Amnesty International: Leaders’ catastrophic failure on climate at COP26 shows they have forgotten who they should serve and protect – humanity at large


An article from Amnesty International

Leaders have catastrophically betrayed humanity at large by failing to protect people most affected by the climate crisis and instead caving into the interests of fossil fuel and other powerful corporations, Amnesty International said today as the climate conference, COP26, concludes for another year.  Following two weeks of negotiations by world leaders in Glasgow, Amnesty’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard, said:

“The United Nations Climate Change Conference has failed to deliver an outcome that protects the planet or people. Instead it has betrayed the very foundations on which the United Nations was built – a pledge first not to countries, nor states, but to the people. Throughout their negotiations, our leaders have made choices that ignore, chip away or bargain away our rights as human beings, often discarding the most marginalised communities around the world as expendable collateral damage.

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Questions related to this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

What is the relation between climate change and human rights?

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“Their failure to commit to maintaining the global temperature rise at 1.5°C will condemn more than half a billion people, mostly in the global south, to insufficient water and hundreds of millions of people to extreme heatwaves. Despite this disastrous scenario, wealthy countries have failed to commit money towards compensating communities suffering loss and damage as a result of climate change. Neither have they committed to providing climate finance to developing countries primarily as grants, a decision that threatens poorer countries – the least equipped to cope with the climate crisis – with unsustainable levels of debt.

“It is bitterly disappointing to see the many loopholes in the COP26 agreement which bow to the interests of fossil fuel corporates rather than our rights. The agreement fails to call for the phasing out of all fossil fuels and all fossil fuel subsidies – demonstrating the lack of ambition and bold action needed at this critical time. In addition, the focus on carbon offsetting by rich countries, without even putting in place adequate environmental and human rights protection  measures, ignores the threat to Indigenous peoples and communities who risk being evicted from their land to make way for these schemes. It is a hollow and unacceptable substitute for real zero emissions targets. 

“The decisions made by our leaders in Glasgow have grave consequences for all of humanity. As they have clearly forgotten the people they serve, the people must come together to show them what can be achieved. Over the next 12 months, we must stand together to call on our governments to take ambitious action on climate change that puts people and human rights at its centre. If we do not put our hearts and minds into solving this existential threat to humanity, we lose everything.”

USA: Women Rally for Abortion Justice Amid ‘Unprecedented Attack’ on Reproductive Rights


An article from Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons – CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. )

Amid an escalating Republican assault  on reproductive rights and a looming U.S. Supreme Court reckoning, women and allies across the United States and around the world took to the streets Saturday to #RallyForAbortionJustice and defend Roe v. Wade.

(frame from video by @Molly JongFast

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, D.C, New York City, Los Angeles, and more than 600 other cities and towns, according to Women’s March, the event organizer.

“No matter where you live, no matter where you are, this moment is dark—it is dark—but that’s why we’re here,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, told  participants at the Washington, D.C. protest. “It is our job to imagine the light, even when we can’t see it. It is our job to turn pain into purpose. It is our job to turn pain into power.”

At the Houston rally—where signs read “Abort Abbott” in protest of S.B. 8, Texas’ draconian abortion law signed earlier this year by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott—more than 10,000 people turned out, with many chanting, “Our bodies, our choice.”

In Washington, D.C., Women’s March executive director Rachel O’Leary Carmona described the wave of GOP anti-choice laws in at least 16 states as an “unprecedented attack” on reproductive rights.

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Questions related to this article:

The struggle for human rights, is it gathering force in the USA?

How effective are mass protest marches?

Abortion: is it a human right?

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“For a long time, groups of us were ringing the alarm bell around abortion access and many of us were told we were hysterical and Roe v. Wade will never be overturned,” Carmona told  USA Today. “But now it’s clear that our fears were both rational and proportional.”

Women’s March  says  that by refusing to block the Texas law—which bans abortions after six weeks  without  exceptions for rape or incest, and offers $10,000 bounties for vigilantes who successfully sue anyone who “aids or abets” the medical procedure—the Supreme Court “effectively took the next step towards overturning Roe v. Wade.”

In May, the Supreme Court announced it will hear a challenge to Mississippi’s near-total abortion  ban , a case that author Lauren Rankin  warned  “may very well be the death knell for Roe v. Wade” given the high court’s conservative supermajority.

 Nearly all  House Democrats  came together  last week to pass the  Women’s Health Protection Act  (WHPA) in response to the Texas law and amid  mounting fears  that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe.  According to  the advocacy group Equal Access to Abortion, Everywhere, the WHPA would establish “a statutory right for health care providers to provide, and their patients to receive, abortion care free from medically unnecessary restrictions, limitations, and bans that delay, and at times, completely obstruct, access to abortion.”

However, the bill faces an uphill battle in an evenly split Senate in which anti-choice Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.)  oppose  the measure.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted Saturday that Americans “support the right to a safe, legal abortion.”

Speakers at Saturday’s rallies emphasized the harm caused by anti-choice laws. Planned Parenthood of Illinois senior director of public policy Brigid Leahy  told  the Associated Press at the Springfield march that women started traveling to Illinois two days after the Texas law took effect.

“They are trying to figure out paying for airfare or gas or a train ticket, they may need hotel and meals,” she said. “They have to figure out time off of work, and they have to figure out childcare. This can be a real struggle.”

“Week for Peace 2021” Initiative for the consolidation of peace in Colombia


An article from Area Cucuta

The increase in femicides, domestic violence, murders against social leaders and the growth of poverty, indicates that the struggle in Colombia to achieve a healthy territory is still a challenge. For this reason, it is important that between September 5 and 12, version 34 of the “Week for Peace” will be held. The initiative of peace-building organizations of Colombian civil society, has, since 1987, made visible the daily effort of people , collectives and institutions that work in the construction and consolidation of peace, the redignification of the victims, the care and respect of life in and from the regions of the country.

The initiative invites people to find ways of reunion and solidarity for reconciliation with life and biodiversity. It includes the participation of the Truth Commission, National Secretariat for Social Pastoral, United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, Center for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation (CMPR), Redepaz, Universidad Javeriana, the National Network of Regional Development Programs and Paz (Redprodepaz) and for the fourth consecutive year Compensar, among other organizations. The slogan is “The Truth we can !”
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(click here for the article in Spanish.).)

Question related to this article:

Truth Commissions, Do they improve human rights?

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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According to statistics from the Database of Collective Actions for Peace (Datapaz) of the Center for Popular Research and Education (CINEP / PPP), this is the month that historically presents the highest levels of mobilization and that between 1987 and 2016, most of the mobilizations (86%) were oriented to the promotion of peace. For this reason, this year it emphasizes the practices developed by individuals, groups, families, social organizations and communities, focused on truth and reconciliation. It shows how people organize themselves to re-signify and overcome the factors that generate violence, enable peaceful coexistence and commit all the actors in the conflict and civil society in improving the living conditions of the community.

“We are convinced that reconciliation is the best way to rebuild the social fabric, in a year impacted by the pandemic and by historical social demands. For this reason, in order to make visible the different collective initiatives of integral well-being that are had, Compensar is committed to the development of the country with different programs to attend early childhood in rural territories, complementary school days in Bogotá, Soacha, Caparrapí, Yacopí, La Palma and La Peña or programs for the elderly in Caparrapí. In this way, it will be possible to consolidate a culture of peace ”, assured Margarita Añez, director of Compensar’s Welfare and Social Development Unit.

In this line, the Week for Peace aims to describe the main tasks of peacebuilding and defense of human rights that must be promoted at the moment in the country, in accordance with the moment of legitimate social protest that Colombia is experiencing, the The Covid-19 pandemic, the final report that the Truth Commission has been preparing, and the progress and difficulties in the implementation of the Peace Agreement, both in public institutions and in civil groups of ex-combatants, victims and society in general. .

In this way, it will be recognized as a process that requires commitments and agreements, which are woven in a differential and multiscale way from the different social, community and territorial processes committed to the defense of human rights, human dignity and the comprehensive implementation of the agreement. of peace, having as a fundamental axis the work carried out by the Truth Commission.

Thus, the formation of a more equitable society will be achieved for the construction of a plural, participatory and lasting peace, with a view to national reconciliation.