Human Rights News

Algeria: Election Gets Low Turnout Amid Opposition Boycott
[DW] Algeria held its first parliamentary election since a 2019 uprising. But the women-led Hirak movement boycotted the vote, citing repression and "old guard" networks.
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South Africa: Why South Africa Isn't Changing Fast Enough
[The Conversation Africa] Claims of racial bias against black pupils at affluent private schools are becoming a routine South African event. They are also a symbol of the country's reality.
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Nigeria: Twitter Ban Exposes Deep Rift
[DW] Nigeria's indefinite Twitter ban has cut off an estimated 40 million users in the country. The prohibition of the microblogging platform is being celebrated by some, highlighting the country's growing north-south divide.
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‘Demystify’ albinism and end discrimination – UN chief 
On International Albinism Awareness Day, Sunday, the UN chief reiterated his “solidarity with persons with albinism”.
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Nigeria: Govt Has Declared Emergency On Gender-Based Violence - Tallen
[Daily Trust] The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, said the federal government had declared a state of emergency on the rising cases of gender-based violence in the country.
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Zimbabwe: People Living With Disabilities Hail New Policy
[The Herald] The launch of the National Disability Policy by President Mnangagwa this week has been hailed as a historic development in addressing the rights and welfare of persons living with disabilities.
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Tanzania: Albinism in Tanzania - What Can Be Done to Break the Stigma
[The Conversation Africa] The light physical appearance of people with albinism is caused by an inherited condition which results in a lack of melanin. This means people with albinism will have very pale skin, hair, and eyes.
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UN rights chief urges accountability for escalating ‘catastrophe’ in Myanmar
Escalating violence across Myanmar including attacks on civilians must be halted to prevent even greater loss of life and a deepening humanitarian emergency, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Friday.
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South Africa: Court Orders Zulu King's Trust to Pay Back Millions
[GroundUp] In a ruling that affects five million people in KwaZulu-Natal, the Pietermaritzburg High Court has ruled the Ingonyama Trust's land leases unlawful.
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Gambia: Immigration Commissioner Jammeh Admits to Several Puts By Lawyer Gaye
[Foroyaa] Immigration Commissioner Olimatou Jammeh on Wednesday, 9th June 2021 admitted to several puts by Lawyer Segga Gaye representing Mansa Sumareh and Ebrima J. Sanneh in the diplomatic passport scandal case.
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Africa: From Migration to Geoengineering, Climate Risks Threaten More Conflict
[Thomson Reuters Foundation] Military and security experts warn new international rules to deal with global warming-related threats are urgently needed
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International: ILO Report on World Employment Trends Highlights Importance of International Labor Standards to Protect Workers’ Rights
(June 10, 2021) On June 2, 2021, the International Labour Organization (ILO) published the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021 report (WESO Trends report), which highlights the importance of international labor standards to protect workers’ rights. In particular, the WESO Trends report focuses on the disparate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on workers, […]
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Namibia: Police Battle Fuel Smuggling Across Angolan Border
[Namibian] Police battle fuel smuggling across Angolan border
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Child labour figure rises to 160 million, as COVID puts many more at risk 
For the first time in two decades, the number of children being put to work has risen – to 160 million worldwide, representing an increase of 8.4 million over four years – while millions of other are at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new UN report launched on Thursday.
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UN experts to G7: Production of safe COVID-19 vaccines must outweigh profit 
A group of UN independent human rights experts called on Wednesday for the leaders of the world’s largest economies to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines for people in the Global South, urging them not to allow the profit motive to undermine global health and equity.
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‘Mass deaths’ alert in Myanmar as 100,000 flee junta’s heavy weapons
In Myanmar, international action is needed urgently to prevent “mass deaths” there, after civilians fled attacks by so-called “junta bombs”, a top independent UN rights expert has warned.
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Nigeria: Immigration Service Reopens Passport Application Portal
[Premium Times] Applications and payments for passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng.
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Morocco: EU Welcomes Morocco's Decision to Facilitate Return of Unaccompanied Minors
[MAP] Brussels -- The European Union (EU) has welcomed Morocco's decision to definitively settle the issue of unaccompanied minors in Europe.
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Namibia: Angolan Pupils Attend School Without Permits
[Namibian] The directorate of education in Ohangwena has noted with concern that a large number of Angolan children are attending school in the region without study permits as it is required of foreign pupils.
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Namibia: Home Affairs Discourages Non-Urgent Applications
[New Era] The home affairs ministry has urged the public to delay application for national documents - due to rising Covid-19 cases - that are not urgent.
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Protection call for Burkina Faso civilians after terror attack leaves 132 dead
Communities in rural Burkina Faso urgently need greater protection from violent extremists, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, insisted on Monday, in response to a deadly assault at the weekend that claimed the lives of at least 132 innocent people.
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Rights experts decry ‘black hole’ for media freedoms in Belarus
UN independent human rights experts have called for the immediate release of a jailed social media activist in Belarus amid what they described as a “black hole” for media freedoms in the country, according to a statement issued on Monday.
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International: First Labor Complaints Filed through United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Rapid Response Labor Mechanism
(June 3, 2021) On May 10, 2021, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrialized Organizations (AFL-CIO) and other groups announced that they had filed the first labor complaint under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism, alleging that workers at the Tridonex auto parts factory in Matamoros, Mexico, are being […]
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Sweden: Government Tasks Sami Parliament with Investigating Sameby Legal Construct and Membership Rules
(June 1, 2021) On May 20, 2021, the Swedish Parliament announced that it was reviewing legislation pertaining to the Sami (a nomadic group indigenous to northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia) and had tasked the Sami Parliament with investigating the legal construct and status of the sameby—literally “sami village” but actually a legal entity and an […]
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Norway: Government Completes Public Review of Corona Certificate Rules
(May 27, 2021) On May 5, 2021, the Norwegian government (Statsministerens kontor, Helse- og omsorgsdepartementet, Kulturdepartementet) sent out a proposal for public review (høring) regarding the issuance of an official “Corona Certificate.” The deadline for submitting responses was May 12, 2021. The week-long response time was considerably shorter than the usual amount of time afforded […]
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European Union: Commission Publishes Proposal to Regulate Artificial Intelligence
(May 26, 2021) On April 21, 2021, the European Commission published a legislative proposal for an Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act). The AI Act addresses the risks of AI systems to the safety or fundamental rights of citizens by following an approach based on risks ranging from unacceptable to minimal. Whereas certain harmful AI-enabled practices […]
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New Zealand: Landmark Judgment Recognizes Customary Rights in Coastal Marine Area
(May 21, 2021) On May 7, 2021, the High Court of New Zealand, the third highest court in New Zealand’s court hierarchy, issued a decision in Re Edwards (Whakatohea) (No 2) [2021] NZHC 1025 in which it “granted recognition orders for customary marine title and protected customary rights to a number of applicant groups in […]
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Israel: Supreme Court Affirms Distribution of Nude Photos without Consent Violates Rights to Privacy and Dignity
(May 14, 2021) On March 17, 2021, the Supreme Court of Israel dismissed an appeal against a decision by the Beersheva District Court regarding a number of criminal offenses, including the distribution of a person’s nude photos online without that person’s consent. The Beersheva court had rejected an appeal against the petitioner’s conviction and sentencing […]
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OSCE/ODIHR Director Link criticizes call for reintroduction of death penalty by Tajikistan’s Prosecutor General
WARSAW, 6 August 2016 – Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), today criticized the call by the Prosecutor General of Tajikistan for the reintroduction of the death penalty, and expressed concern over recent discussions related to removing the bans on capital punishment in some other OSCE participating States. “Countries in the OSCE have committed themselves to consider the complete abolition of capital punishment, not to reconsider that abolition,” the ODIHR Director said. “Yesterday’s call by the Prosecutor General in Tajikistan for the reintroduction of capital punishment in that country is completely out of place in a region where most of the countries recognize the inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of…
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ODIHR Director Link and IHRA Chair Constantinescu, on day to commemorate genocide against Roma and Sinti, say greater efforts needed to protect endangered memorial sites and ensure dignity of victims
WARSAW / BUCHAREST, 2 August 2016 – Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), called today for greater efforts to protect endangered memorial sites related to the Roma and Sinti genocide during World War II. Speaking on the occasion of the commemoration of the liquidation of the “Gypsy family camp” at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944, when the close to 3,000 remaining Roma and Sinti in the camp were murdered, they stressed that states have to do more to demonstrate their sincere and strong commitment to education about and remembrance of the genocide. “Positively, we have seen increasing attention in recent years…
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OSCE concludes series of training seminars on implementing the National Preventive Mechanism in Kazakhstan
257391 Colin McCullough, OSCE Programme Office in Astana The OSCE Programme Office in Astana concluded a series of two-day training seminars for some 100 members of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) against Torture on 2 August 2016 in Aktobe, Western Kazakhstan. From May to August 2016, participants were trained in Pavlodar, Almaty, Astana and Aktobe on practical aspects of the NPM’s implementation. The training seminars aimed at increasing the transparency and effectiveness of the Mechanism in monitoring, reporting and conducting preventive visits at detention facilities. National experts discussed with the NPM members the working procedures and methodology, challenges in fulfilling human rights obligations and ethical aspects in line with national and international anti-torture standards. Special emphasis was placed on the…
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OSCE/ODIHR and OHCHR train prosecutors and lawyers in Kyrgyzstan on international standards regarding freedom of religion or belief
International standards and the national legal framework on freedom of religion or belief were the focus of two consecutive training events organized jointly by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institution and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Regional Office for Central Asia (ROCA) of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) from 25 to 28 July 2016 in Bishkek. The training for 25 prosecutors and 31 defence lawyers from all regions of Kyrgyzstan was provided in close co-operation with the Training Centre for Prosecutors under the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Training Centre for Lawyers. The course covered a wide variety of topics directly relevant to the work of the participants, including recent developments in Kyrgyzstan.…
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OSCE launches first distance human rights course in Ukraine for judges
Andrii Dziubenko The OSCE Project Co-ordinator on 15 July 2016 launched the first distance course in Ukraine on the application of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Developed, designed and produced by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator, the course was finalized after it was successfully piloted on the online platform of the National School of Judges of Ukraine (NSJU). From now the NSJU will have this sustainable tool at its disposal for systematically training judges on applying the case-law of the ECtHR without having to involve extra human or financial resources. Thirty judges from all over Ukraine have already been trained distantly and received their certificates of accomplishment. The content was developed in co-operation with experts on…
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OSCE PA human rights committee Chair Ignacio Sanchez Amor follows up on developments in Turkey
COPENHAGEN, 25 July 2016 – In response to the measures taken by the Turkish authorities following the attempted coup, Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain), Chairperson of the OSCE PA Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, issued the following statement today: “I remain concerned by the developments which have been taking place in Turkey since the attempted coup, as expressed in an earlier statement. As I joined the rest of the international community in offering strong support to the restoration of constitutional order, I also warned against reprisals and hasty purges and underscored the need to safeguard democratic institutions. “Unfortunately, the sudden dismissal of thousands of judges, prosecutors, academics, and journalists across the country has challenged human rights standards,…
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Obama to Meet with Mexican President Peña Nieto as State Department Evaluates Mexico’s Human Rights Situation
The meeting takes place at a moment when the State Department is assessing whether the Mexican government has met the human rights conditions in the Merida Initiative. Washington, DC—Tomorrow the presidents of the United States and Mexico will meet at the White House. This meeting takes place at a moment when the State Department is assessing whether the Mexican government has met the human rights conditions in the Merida Initiative—a U.S. security assistance package. Under the Merida Initiative, 15 percent of select funds are conditioned on the State Department reporting to Congress that Mexico is making substantive progress in its respect for human rights within the framework of security operations. read more
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Assembly’s work on migration presented to OSCE ambassadors by Ad Hoc Committee Chair Lombardi at special Permanent Council
VIENNA, 20 July 2016 – Presenting the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s work concerning the refugee and migrant crisis at a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna today, Swiss parliamentarian Filippo Lombardi laid out the Assembly’s plan of action going forward, which includes monitoring the situation on the ground and developing policy recommendations for the OSCE and its participating States. The meeting was convened by the OSCE German Chairmanship to present and discuss the report by Amb. Claude Wild, Chair of the OSCE Informal Working Group Focusing on the Issue of Migration and Refugee Flows. The participants discussed in particular the importance of improving global migration governance and how the OSCE can lend its contribution to promoting regional implementation…
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WOLA Report: Mexico's New Criminal Justice System
There’s Much Left to do Before Celebrating The Mexican government has called its transition to the new adversarial, oral-based criminal justice system a “mission accomplished.” However, much remains to be done for Mexico to enjoy a system that holds perpetrators accountable for crimes while ensuring respect for human rights. Washington, DC­–The Mexican government has called its transition to the new adversarial, oral-based criminal justice system a “mission accomplished.” However, according to a new WOLA report, much remains to be done for Mexico to enjoy a system that holds perpetrators accountable for crimes while ensuring respect for human rights. read more
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Ayotzinapa Case: Negotiations between Mexico and the Inter-American Commission Continue
WOLA and 11 organizations demand a strong mechanism to follow-up on the case In a public letter to Mexican President Peña Nieto, the human rights organizations requested that a mechanism with the terms proposed by the IACHR is established. In a public letter to Mexican President Peña Nieto, WOLA and eleven international and regional human rights organizations urged the Mexican government to create an effective mechanism to follow up on the investigation of the enforced disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students. read more
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Third Member of Honduran Environmental Organization COPINH Murdered Since March
Brutal killing of Lesbia Janeth Urquía underscores the deeply troubling pattern of violence against human rights defenders in Honduras Honduran authorities must take meaningful and serious steps to address what appears to be a pattern of repression against human rights defenders. Press Release read more
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Republican House Leadership Signals Shift on Cuba
Broad and bi-partisan support for measures to ease trade and travel restrictions on Cuba led to controversy in the House of Representatives on Wednesday night, and ended with an agreement that signals a shift in the House leadership’s attitude toward Cuba policy change. read more
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Cuba Votes in House of Representatives Expected Tonight
Republicans Take Lead on Cuba Trade and Travel When the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill comes to the House floor, likely on Wednesday, July 6, Republican Members of Congress will take the lead in offering two amendments that would ease travel and trade with Cuba. Debate on the amendments is expected Wednesday evening, with votes on Wednesday or Thursday. Washington, D.C.—When the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill comes to the House floor, likely on Wednesday, July 6, Republican Members of Congress will take the lead in offering two amendments that would ease travel and trade with Cuba. Debate on the amendments is expected Wednesday evening, with votes on Wednesday or Thursday. read more
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WOLA Announces Recipients of its 2016 Human Rights Awards
Honorees Show Unwavering Commitment to Human Rights in the Americas Press Release Washington, D.C.—WOLA (the Washington Office on Latin America) is proud to announce the recipients of its prestigious Human Rights Awards for 2016. Each year, WOLA presents this award to organizations or individuals who exemplify a commitment to WOLA's vision for the future, where human rights and social justice are the foundation for public policy. The 2016 Human Rights Awards recipients have shown unwavering dedication to advancing human rights in the Americas. read more
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