Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Human Rights. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Human Rights. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τετάρτη, Νοεμβρίου 19, 2014

UN condemns N.Korea ‘rights abuses’ (Resolution is symbolic, faces possible veto in Security Council)

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution condemning North Korean rights abuses and called for the Security Council to consider referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity.

The resolution was passed by a resounding vote of 111 to 19 with 55 abstentions in a General Assembly human rights committee.

Both China and Russia voted against the resolution on Tuesday along with countries like Cuba, Iran and Syria, who complained that the measure unfairly targeted North Korea.

  • North Korea reacted angrily to the vote and announced that it was breaking off talks on improving human rights with the European Union, which drafted the resolution with Japan.
  • Since the UN Security Council is not a proper platform to discuss the human rights issue and the referral to ICC will not help solve problems, China voted against the resolution, Hong Lei, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry, said on Wednesday.

Hong said that China consistently advocates for "constructive" dialogues and cooperation to settle disputes on the human rights issue, and opposes politicizing it and pressuring other countries with the issue.

Raising the human rights issue against North Korea to defame it is a method of the Western countries, especially the US, to make an excuse for not improving the bilateral relationship with Pyongyang, Li Dunqiu, a Korean studies scholar with Zhejiang University, told the Global Times.

North Korea resorted to various channels to improve ties with the US, including releasing American citizens Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller on November 8, but the US does not wish to reciprocate as friendlier relations that contradict its strategies in Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, said Li.

  • The non-binding measure will go to the full General Assembly for a vote next month.
  • Li said the resolution is symbolic as China and Russia are likely to veto the measure at the Security Council.

This developed, even as Russian President Vladimir Putin met with a special North Korean envoy on Tuesday, Putin's office said.

Choe Ryong-hae, a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the ruling Workers' Party, delivered a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but no further details were provided.

In response to the frequent visits between Moscow and Pyongyang, Hong said on November 14 that China has always encouraged North Korea to cooperate with other countries.

However, Jin Qiangyi, the director of the Asia Studies Center at Yanbian University, said this exchange will not generate significant results as Russia has always been prudent about its ties with North Korea. "Even if Kim visits Russia, their ties will not be further improved. The nuclear issue cannot be bypassed," Jin told the Global Times.

Agencies contributed to this story

By Chen Heying Source:Global Times

Δευτέρα, Σεπτεμβρίου 22, 2014

US, EU interference in other countries’ affairs unacceptable (Russia's ambassador to OSCE)

US and EU interference in other countries’ affairs is unacceptable, Russian Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Andrei Kelin said on Monday.

“The US claims to be monitoring the human rights situation in other countries, which no one has asked it to do. At the same time, it cannot solve its own human rights problems. Unlike other countries, the US has not expanded its participation in international treaties and conventions over the past several years,” Kelin said at the Warsaw Human Dimension Session of the 2014 OSCE Review Conference.

“The electoral practice in the US is far from perfect. The disgraceful Guantanamo prison has not been closed. Medical experiments with those on the death row evoke the darkest associations,” he said.

  • Kelin said children remained one of the least protected groups. “Child labor is still used and trafficking in children, including for sexual exploitation, thrives in the United States, this ‘showcase of democracy’,” Kelin said.

“Harsh treatment of adopted children is not properly investigated. And events in Ferguson exposed better than anything less the acuteness of the old problems of racism and segregation,” he added.

  • The US, which “teaches other countries amid serious challenges and threats at home, is unfortunately followed by some other OSCE Western partners,” the diplomat said.
The European Union and Canada “stubbornly refuse to notice and recognize the obvious escalation of dangerous tendencies which the OSCE is obligated to counter”, he said.

The revival of Nazi ideology, the spread of far right trends and views, and the protection of journalists on business trips, including in armed conflicts, have been blocked from the conference’s agenda.

“Disregard for the basic human rights and freedoms, including the right of people to self-determination, may have fatal consequences. We have already seen this policy that has triggered numerous violations of human rights norms and international humanitarian law, mass civilian deaths and eventually a humanitarian catastrophe in some parts within the OSCE region,” Kelin said.

First World Conference on Indigenous Peoples set to open at UN headquarters

UN,  21 September 2014 – The week of high-level events that marks the opening of the United Nations General Assembly's annual general debate kicks off this year with the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP), which opens Monday.

Convened as a high-level plenary meeting of the Assembly, the two-day World Conference is expected to draw over a thousand indigenous and non-indigenous delegates who will have the opportunity to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of their rights, including pursuing the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in 2007.

Indigenous peoples represent remarkable diversity – more than 5,000 distinct groups in some 90 countries, making up more than 5 per cent of the world's population, some 370 million people. These peoples continue to self-identify as distinct peoples with strong links to traditional territories with their own social, economic and political systems as well as unique languages, cultures and beliefs.

The World Conference is expected to result in a concise, action-oriented outcome document on the implementation the rights of indigenous peoples and the promotion of the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, prepared by the President of the General Assembly on the basis of inclusive and open consultations with Member States and indigenous peoples.

Opening remarks at the Conference are expected to be delivered by General Assembly President Sam Kutesa, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, among others.

The opening plenary will also include an opening ceremony involving indigenous peoples and the adoption of the World Conference outcome document.

The meetings will be co-chaired by indigenous representatives from all regions: Pacific, African and Asian, as well as Western and Eastern European, and Latin American and the Caribbean.


Σάββατο, Αυγούστου 09, 2014

On International Day, Ban says indigenous peoples can be "powerful agents of progress"

 UN, 9 August 2014 – Marking the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said indigenous peoples have a central interest in development and can act as “powerful agents of progress.”

“In order for them to contribute to our common future, we must secure their rights,” said Mr. Ban in his message on the Day, in which he added: “Let us recognize and celebrate the valuable and distinctive identities of indigenous peoples around the world. Let us work even harder to empower them and support their aspirations.”

The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is commemorated annually on 9 August in recognition of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held in Geneva in 1982.

“Historical injustices have all too often resulted in exclusion and poverty,” Mr. Ban said, adding that power structures continue to create obstacles to indigenous peoples' right to self-determination.

  • There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries around the world who constitute 15 per cent of the world's poor and about one third of the world's 900 million extremely poor rural people. Practicing unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.
Yesterday at an event at UN Headquarters in New York to kick off commemoration of the International Day, the President of the General Assembly, John Ashe, said that with the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People coming to an end and the World Conference in September 2014, this year celebration carries with it particular significance.

“The historical marginalization of indigenous peoples is still an unfortunate reality in today's world and in many places, daunting obstacles are a part of daily life,” Mr. Ashe said through a statement delivered by his Special Advisor, Crispin Gregoire.

Irina Bokova, head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted that the agency, tasked with protecting cultural diversity, is leading the way with two angles of action – first, to promote the use of indigenous cultures, languages and traditions, and second, to provide knowledge and skills that enable indigenous peoples to participate fully and equally on the national and international stage.

“We are taking this forward also in the context of the post-2015 development agenda. With our partners, we are advocating for an ambitious and comprehensive education goal that provides due respect to local knowledge systems, including those of indigenous peoples,” she said.

The UNESCO chief said the International Day is an opportunity for all to mobilize to bridge the gaps that remain to the fulfilment of indigenous peoples' rights, particularly as the international community shapes a new post-2015 development agenda.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007, recognized their right to self-determination and to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. This year's theme, “Bridging the gap: implementing the rights of Indigenous peoples” also marks the 20th anniversary of the celebration, which dates back to 1994. 


Παρασκευή, Αυγούστου 08, 2014

Ukraine: UN alarmed by intensifying clashes, mounting casualties in country’s east

UN, 8 August 2014 – A senior United Nations human rights official today declared the situation in Eastern Ukraine “extremely alarming” with intensifying fighting, mounting casualties and serious damage to infrastructure.
Briefing the Security Council, Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, expressed concern over the “rapid professionalization of armed groups, which are increasingly well-organized and equipped with heavy weaponry.”

“Fighting in and around population centres has resulted in heavy loss of life and very significant damage to property and civilian infrastructure. Both sides must be reminded of the imperative that they act proportionately and take precautions to avoid deaths and injury of civilians: otherwise,” he warned.
  • The human rights situation has deteriorated significantly in pockets of territory in Luhansk and Donetsk, which are controlled by armed groups and where the Government has been undertaking its security operations.
According to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission and the World Health Organization (WHO) since mid-April, more than 1,543 people have been killed in the east, including civilians, the military and members of the armed groups. Some 4,396 have been confirmed wounded but the real number is likely to be much higher.
“The fabric of society is being torn apart by the continuous and ongoing violence and fighting; the misinformation being spread is building divisive narratives, hardening people’s resolve and deepening social divides,” warned Mr. Šimonović.
  • In the Crimea region, harassment and discrimination has intensified against Ukrainian nationals, Crimean Tatars, religious minorities, and activists who opposed the 16 March “referendum”. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that more than 15,200 people have left Crimea, while tens of thousands of people continue to flee the fighting in the east. The total number of internally displaced persons in Ukraine stands at over 117,910.
Freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly, movement and religion, have also taken a toll, he continued. In the east, these rights have been strictly curtailed by the armed groups.
  • Worrying trends show the rise of hate speech, particularly in social media, and a number of incidents targeting Russian-owned banks and businesses on the grounds that they are allegedly ”financing terrorism.” Journalists have also come under attack, especially in the east, where attempts at media manipulation have been especially egregious, said Mr. Šimonović.
He said he was particularly worried about children who remain in harm’s way. According to Ukrainian authorities, some 300 children are still in orphanages in the areas under the control of armed groups. Residents in the east affected by the prolonged may need psychological assistance to heal and rebuild their lives, particularly children. Many others will require help to recover, such as victims of torture and former hostages, especially those held for long periods.
  • He called for a multi-year human rights action plan for Ukraine based on the recommendations of the UN human rights mechanisms and the work of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission. The Government will need to address wider systemic problems, such as corruption, facing the country with respect to good governance, the rule of law and human rights.
“We cannot afford to wait a day longer, when at least 50 people are being killed or wounded every day. The price being paid by all Ukrainians as a result of the conflict is too high,” he added.
As for the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which killed 298 people on 17 July, he said that while the downing of the aircraft may constitute a war crime, a thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation is needed to determine the facts and circumstances of this act.
  • “This investigation is now underway, led by the Netherlands,” he said, underscoring in that regard that it is disturbing to learn that the volatile security situation at the crash site continues to hamper the investigators, despite the ceasefire zone declared by the Government of Ukraine around the area.
“It is urgent to stop the fighting and to secure the crash site,” declared Mr. Šimonović, adding that at the same time of course, there needs to be accountability for those responsible for war crimes, serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross violations of human rights law, as documented by the findings of the UN Monitoring Mission. 

Δευτέρα, Ιουλίου 28, 2014

Eastern Ukraine: UN rights chief says downing of plane may be "war crime," urges probe

UN, 28 July 2014 – The shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine may amount to a war crime, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today said today, releasing a new report that details a total breakdown of law and order and a reign of fear and terror inflicted by armed groups in the area.
“I would like to stress to all those involved in the conflict, including foreign fighters, that every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law, including war crimes, will be brought to justice, no matter who they are,” Navi Pillay said. “I urge all sides to bring to an end the rule of the gun and restore respect for the rule of law and human rights.”

The High Commissioner made the comments while issuing a new report by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission deployed to Ukraine in mid-March, calling for greater care to prevent more civilian casualties.
The report, which covers the period from 8 June to 15 July, does not officially cover the 17 July downing of the plane. However, Mr. Pillay used the launch of the report to call for a “prompt, thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation.”
The UN Security Council has also called for an international investigation into the incident, and demanded that armed groups allow unfettered access to the crash site and ensure that its integrity is maintained.
Meanwhile, in the report, the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) documents how armed groups continue to abduct, detain, torture and execute people kept as hostages in order to intimidate and “to exercise their power over the population in raw and brutal ways.”
“Already increasing numbers of people are being killed with serious damage to civilian infrastructure, which – depending on circumstances – could amount to violations of international humanitarian law,” she said. “The fighting must stop.”
More than 812 people have been abducted or detained, according to the report, including politicians and employees of the local coal mining industry, but the majority of them ordinary citizens, such as teachers and students. Those detained are frequently used to seek ransom, while some are forced to dig trenches or fight on the front lines. There are also reports of alleged executions following so-called military tribunals.
In response, the Government of Ukraine has accelerated its security operations, resulting in heavy fighting and an estimated 101,617 people fleeing to other parts of Ukraine, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
“The reports of increasingly intense fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are extremely alarming,” Ms. Pillay said, with both sides employing heavy weaponry in built-up areas, including artillery, tanks, rockets and missiles.
The report also points out how impunity in the areas under the control of the armed groups in the east has led to the collapse of the rule of law.
OHCHR noted that while the Government faces challenges to restore law, order and security, it must urgently prioritize good governance, rule of law and human rights issues, especially as Ukraine “seeks to fulfil its EU aspirations and establish a democratic and pluralistic society.”
  • In addition, the Office underscored that the human rights situation in Crimea remains a great concern with intensified harassment and discrimination of Ukrainian nationals, Crimean Tatars, religious minorities and activities opposed to the 16 March referendum.
The report also noted the impact of the current economic recession facing the country, particularly in the east which is the country’s centre for heavy industry.
The intensified fighting and continuation of the conflict have led to “more polarized” opinions, including dramatic escalation of hate speech, particularly on social media, as well as demonstrations and protests, including in the Parliament.


Τετάρτη, Ιουλίου 23, 2014

Israel pounds Gaza as Kerry pushes truce (UN says ‘war crimes’ possible)

Israeli forces pounded Gaza on Wednesday, meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamists and sending thousands of residents fleeing, as US Secretary of State John Kerry said on a visit to Israel cease-fire talks had made some progress.

In a blow to Israel's economy and a public relations coup for Hamas, US and European air carriers halted flights to the Jewish state citing concern over a militant rocket from Gaza that hit a house near Ben Gurion airport. Israel urged a rethink, saying its air space was safe.

Adding to pressure on Israel, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Wednesday there was "a strong possibility" that it was committing war crimes in Gaza, where 668 Palestinians have died in the fighting, mostly civilians.

Israel denied the suggestion, stepping up the war of words and accusing Hamas of using fellow Gazans as human shields.

Making an unannounced, one-day visit, Kerry was due to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, signaling an intensification of efforts to end the bloodshed.

"We have certainly made some steps forward. There is still work to be done," Kerry said shortly after arriving.

Israel launched its offensive on July 8 to halt missile salvoes by Hamas and its allies, struggling under the weight of an Israeli-Egyptian economic blockade and angered by a crackdown on their supporters in the nearby occupied West Bank.

After failing to halt the militant barrage through days of aerial bombardment, Israel sent ground troops into the Gaza Strip on Thursday last week, looking to knock out Hamas's missile stores and destroy a vast, underground network of tunnels.

"We are meeting resistance around the tunnels ... they are constantly trying to attack us around and in the tunnels. That is the trend," Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said Wednesday.

Some 29 Israeli soldiers have been killed so far in the conflagration, including a tank officer shot by a Palestinian sniper overnight. Three civilians have died in rocket attacks out of Gaza, including a foreign laborer hit on Wednesday.

 Source:Reuters - globaltimes.cn

Τρίτη, Απριλίου 15, 2014

Chinese Foreign ministry condemns Britain over latest human rights report

China on Tuesday condemned Britain for interfering in its domestic affairs, in response to a human rights report, a day after the British government said Beijing had called off human rights talks.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused Britain of issuing the report with "irresponsible remarks made about the Chinese political system, rudely slandering and criticizing China's human rights situation."

Britain's path on this issue was not helpful for bilateral communication on human right subjects and was not good for the development of the Sino-British relationship, Hua told a media briefing on Tuesday.

Britain must immediately stop using human rights as a pretext for interfering in China's internal politics and judicial sovereignty, in a bid to ensure the next round of human rights talks between the two countries, Hua added.

Britain listed China as "a country of concern" in its annual human rights report last week, saying it had observed increased curbs on freedom of expression, association and assembly in 2013.

China reacted by calling off talks with Britain on Beijing's human rights record, which was scheduled on Wednesday, UK media reported.

The two countries had agreed to resume the regular meetings during a trip to China by British Prime Minister David Cameron in December.

Cameron's visit was aimed at spurring closer trade and business links between Britain and the world's second biggest economy and at drawing a line under a dispute involving Dalai Lama that had led to a diplomatic freeze.

"We are disappointed that the Chinese government last week unilaterally postponed the Dialogue, which was due to take place on 16 April," a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

"It is not for us to say why it was postponed. We are now in discussion to agree new dates," she said. 


Δευτέρα, Μαρτίου 31, 2014

Egypt: UN rights experts denounce mass death sentences as ‘mockery of justice’

UN, 31 March 2014 – A group of eight United Nations human rights independent experts today urged the Egyptian authorities to quash the 529 death sentences announced in Egypt last week and give the defendants new and fair trials, in line with international human rights law.
“The right to life is a fundamental right, not a toy to be played with. If the death penalty is to be used at all in countries which have not abolished it, international law requires the most stringent respect of a number of fundamental standards,” the experts said in a news statement.

On 24 March 2014, the 529 defendants were convicted of various charges, including membership in an unlawful organization (the Muslim Brotherhood), incitement to violence, vandalism, unlawful gathering and the killing of one police officer. All the charges relate to events in August 2013 after the Government of President Mohamed Morsi was ousted. The exact charges against each defendant are unclear as they were not read out in court, and at least 600 more individuals are currently under trial for similar charges.
“We are appalled by the lack of clarity of the charges under which each individual was sentenced to death. Reports that some of them received capital punishment for charges of unlawful gathering, or any other offence not involving murder, indicate a clear violation of international law,” the experts stressed, recalling the “most serious crimes” provision under international law, according to which only crimes of intentional killing may be punishable by death. 

“The imposition of the sentence of death on 529 defendants, after a two-day trial that was rife of procedural irregularities, and on unclear or sometimes insignificant charges makes a mockery of justice,” added the experts. “There is a clear need for a serious and comprehensive reform in any legal system that allows for such developments to occur.”
The independent experts also expressed deep concern about numerous procedural irregularities reported during the recent proceedings, such as limited access to lawyers, trials in absentia, or the mass imposition of the death sentences, all of which are in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a party.
“International law also requires that, in cases of capital punishment, trials must meet the highest standards of fairness and due process,” they noted. 

Warning that the absence of a fair trial is likely to “undermine any prospects for reconciliation within the Egyptian society,” the experts reminded the Egyptian authorities “how crucial it is that the future of the Egyptian society be based on dialogue, justice, and respect of human rights.” 

Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. 
The group of eight experts was comprised of: Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Gabriela Knaul, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Juan Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.
Also a part of the statement were: Mads Andenas, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; and Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.-

Τρίτη, Μαρτίου 25, 2014

UN human rights office deeply alarmed at mass imposition of death penalty in Egypt

UN, 25 March 2014 – The United Nations human rights office said today it is deeply alarmed by the imposition of the death penalty against 529 people in Egypt on Monday after a “cursory” mass trial in which the majority of defendants were not present in court.
“The astounding number of people sentenced to death in this case is unprecedented in recent history,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told a news conference in Geneva.
“The mass imposition of the death penalty after a trial that was rife with procedural irregularities is in breach of international human rights law.”

The 529 defendants were convicted of various charges, including membership of an unlawful organisation (the Muslim Brotherhood), incitement to violence, vandalism, unlawful gathering and the killing of one police officer. 

All the charges relate to events in August 2013 after the Government of President Mohamed Morsi was ousted. Mr. Colville pointed out that this was several months before the Muslim Brotherhood was declared by the Egyptian authorities to be an unlawful organisation. The exact charges against each defendant are unclear as they were not read out in court.
Mr. Colville noted that a death sentence may only be imposed after proceedings that meet the highest level of respect for fair trial and due process standards, and only for the most serious crimes in accordance with international law. 

“A mass trial of 529 people conducted over just two days cannot possibly have met even the most basic requirements for a fair trial,” he stated, while also noting that more than three-quarters of the defendants, reportedly 398 individuals, were tried in absentia.
“Membership of a political group or participation in demonstrations certainly does not meet the threshold of ‘most serious crimes’,” he added. 

Defence lawyers say that they have had insufficient access to the defendants and that the court did not consider relevant evidence presented by the defence. 

According to sources present at the trial, among other procedural irregularities, the judge did not call on each defendant by name; some of the defendants who were in detention at the time of the trial were not brought to the court; and the judge did not ask about the legal representation of the defendants. 

Τρίτη, Μαρτίου 04, 2014

Human rights are selectively used weapon of the West

The ongoing UN Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva has focused on two issues.
The situation in Ukraine and the U.S. sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka. Paradoxically, the two issues, which seem to have nothing common, excellently emphasize the fact that in the contemporary world, human rights have been turned into a powerful political weapon which is being selectively used. The notorious double-standards appear brighter in this area than any other sphere. Here is an opinion from expert at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies Boris Volkhonsky.

“Curiously, purely superficial similarity could be seen in relations between the central governments in Ukraine and Sri Lanka and their regions (Crimea and the north and eastern provinces consecutively). The majority of population in Crimea and the north and eastern provinces in Sri Lanka consists of ethnic minorities who strive for at least autonomy and self-dependence within the framework of the multinational state. In fact, in both cases, ethnic minorities on these territories feel cultural and historical similarity with the large ethnic groups living in the neighboring countries. (Russia in case of Crimea and Tamil Nadu in case of the north and east provinces of Sri Lanka,” Volkhonsky said.

Although there is an apparent superficial similarity in the two situations, it is incomprehensible why the approaches of the international community, especially the West, towards them are in a marked contrast. The “Tamil Tigers” who waged an armed struggle for over 25 years against the Sri Lankan government enjoyed if not direct support of the West, at least the sympathy of the public opinion. At present, the U.S. is creating a front that consists of its allies and trying to pass a resolution that demands an international investigation into crimes allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan Army during the final phase of the humanitarian operation at the UNHRC meeting in Geneva. As soon as the residents of Crimea demanded wider autonomy, they were described as separatists. Some hotheads even demanded for expelling Russian from the UN Human Rights Committee for its support for the residents of Crimea.

“One of the possible explanations for the use of double-standards by the West lies on the surface,” says Volkhonsky. “This principle was formulated by Franklin Roosevelt concerning South American dictator Somoza. “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of bitch.” In the eyes of the West, the present anti-Russian regime in Ukraine is undoubtedly sons of bitch, but they are their sons of bitch. The main thing is that they are a strong lever for putting pressure on Russia. While, all those who oppose them should be considered as the enemies of democracy or separatists,” Volkhonsky said.

On the other hand, in the past years, Sri Lanka has been in the orbit of Chinese politics and has become an important foothold of China in the Indian Ocean. This means that Sri Lankans are “not our sons of bitch”. Consequently, Sri Lanka must be exemplarily punished.

However, there is another weighty explanation that forces us to glance at the situation in a different way. Although there is a superficial similarity in the situations in Ukraine and Sri Lanka, there are significant differences, says the Russian expert.

“Firstly, Sri Lanka has faced various situations since the independence, but it has never violated democratic principles despite of the civil war. The regime change has always occurred within the framework of the constitution, after holding general elections. Ukraine is a different story. Every time, the democratically elected President has been ousted under the pressure of street crowds, armed people who do not recognize democratic principles, simply Nazis,” Volkhonsky said.

Those who fight for self-independence differ in a similar way. The residents of Crimea use exclusively peaceful methods so that their voice is heard. But the “Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” was stick to an armed struggle and terror from the very beginning and was the most notorious terrorist organization.

It seems that in any situation, the West is ready to defend extremists and bandits regardless in which side they are. The only demand is that they should be their sons of bitch.
Read more: http://indian.ruvr.ru/2014_03_04/Human-rights-West/


Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 18, 2014

UN rights chief calls for urgent action on ‘historic’ report on DPR Korea

18 February 2014 – There can no longer be any excuses for inaction regarding rights abuses in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said today, welcoming a UN-mandated report cataloguing crimes against humanity of an “unimaginable scale” being committed in the country.
“In January 2013, I urged the international community to put much more effort into tackling the human rights situation of people in DPRK. Two months later, the Commission of Inquiry was duly established by the Human Rights Council,” said Ms. Pillay in a press release.

“It has now published a historic report, which sheds light on violations of a terrifying scale, the gravity and nature of which – in the report’s own words – do not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”
The report, released yesterday and which will be formally presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 17 March, documents crimes such as “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, forcible transfer of populations, enforced disappearance and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”
In 400-pages, the Commission found that the DPRK “displays many attributes of a totalitarian State” and reports that the cited crimes against humanity are ongoing due to the “policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.”
In her reaction, Ms. Pillay suggested that the international community has paid “insufficient attention” to these human rights violations which have been ongoing.
“That has now been partly rectified,” she noted but called for strong international leadership to follow up on the Commission’s finding and “to use all the mechanisms at its disposal to ensure accountability, including referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC).”
“It is vitally important to maintain the momentum on addressing the serious violations that this remarkable report documents in such a comprehensive manner,” Ms. Pillay added. “The spotlight on human rights in the DPRK should not be dimmed as the news headlines fade away.”
In addition to the report, the Commission included a copy of a letter sent to Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, containing a summary of the systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations that “entail crimes against humanity.”
The letter states that the three-member panel would recommend referral of the situation in the DPRK to the ICC “to render accountable all those, including possibly yourself, who may be responsible for the crimes against humanity referred to in this letter and in the Commission's report.”
  • North Korea: UN Commission documents wide-ranging and ongoing crimes against humanity, urges referral to ICC

GENEVA (17 February 2014) – A wide array of crimes against humanity, arising from “policies established at the highest level of State,” have been committed and continue to take place in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, according to a UN report released Monday, which also calls for urgent action by the international community to address the human rights situation in the country, including referral to the International Criminal Court.
In a 400-page set of linked reports and supporting documents, based on first-hand testimony from victims and witnesses, the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK has documented in great detail the “unspeakable atrocities” committed in the country.
“The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,” the Commission -- established by the Human Rights Council in March 2013 -- says in a report that is unprecedented in scope.
“These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” the report says, adding that “Crimes against humanity are ongoing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.”
The second more detailed section of the report cites evidence provided by individual victims and witnesses, including the harrowing treatment meted out to political prisoners, some of whom said they would catch snakes and mice to feed malnourished babies. Others told of watching family members being murdered in prison camps, and of defenceless inmates being used for martial arts practice.
“The fact that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea…has for decades pursued policies involving crimes that shock the conscience of humanity raises questions about the inadequacy of the response of the international community,” the report stated. “The international community must accept its responsibility to protect the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from crimes against humanity, because the Government of the DPRK has manifestly failed to do so.”
The Commission found that the DPRK “displays many attributes of a totalitarian State.”
“There is an almost complete denial of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as of the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, information and association,” the report says, adding that propaganda is used by the State to manufacture absolute obedience to the Supreme Leader and to incite nationalistic hatred towards some other States and their nationals.
State surveillance permeates private lives and virtually no expression critical of the political system goes undetected – or unpunished.............................http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14255&LangID=E

Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 17, 2014

Right2Water urges privatisation ban in first EU Citizens’ Initiative debate

Organisers of the “Right2Water” campaign urged the EU Commission to guarantee access to water and sanitation as a human right, and give a legal undertaking that water services will not be liberalised in the EU, in the first European Parliament debate on a European Citizens’ Initiative in Parliament on Monday. MEPs shared the view that access to water is a basic human right, but some pointed out that rules on providing drinkable water remain the remit of EU member states.

The hearing, organised by the Environment Committee, in association with Development, Internal Market and Petitions committees, brought together representatives of the “Right2Water” Citizens Committee, MEPs and the European Commission, which will draft a response to the initiative by 20 of March.

“Parliament recognised that water is a shared resource of humankind and a public good and that access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right in its the resolution of 3 July 2012 on the implementation of EU water legislation”, but “We need to do more to foster the participation of all actors of our society to make sure that the protection of water resources and of drinking water in particular is reflected into all our policies” said Environment Committee chair Matthias Groote (S&D, DE).

« We launched this initiative to get it on to the European Commission’s agenda. We wish to reiterate here that water provision and sanitation are essential public services for all » said Right2Water Citizens’ Committee chair Anne-Marie Perret. « It is important that citizens should be able to pay reasonable rates reflecting their needs, not those of distribution company shareholders. Today, they no longer hesitate to cut off the water of families in difficulty », she added.

“A milestone in the history of European democracy”

Hailing the first-ever hearing on a Citizens’ Initiative as “a milestone in the history of European democracy” Gerald Häfner (Greens/EFA, DE), of the Petitions Committee said “Today, we are switching to listening mode. The question now is how we can better legislate on an issue that is crucial. Water is a human right and should remain in public hands”.

« We are living in year one of the citizens’ democracy in Europe » said Corinne Lepage (ALDE, FR). « To listen is good, but to heed is better. The Commission absolutely must heed the ECI. We note its wish to pursue the route of liberalisation, which is not what citizens want”, she added.

« Not something you can shrug off »

« We ask for a clear legislative commitment that water services will not be liberalized in the European Union” said Citizens’ Committee Vice-President Jan Willem Goudriaan. “We shall have a reason to celebrate when the European Commission acts to show that the ECI is not something that you can just shrug off”, he added.      

Water services, public or not: a matter for member states…

«  Water should be accessible and affordable for all.” said MEP Richard Seeber (EPP, AT). “However this is organised, should be left to Member States”, he added.

…but also trade negotiations and “Troika” adjustment measures

Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D, DE) agreed that water should not be governed by market rules and voiced concerns that trade negotiations under way between the EU and third countries could lead to liberalisation through the back door.

Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL, EL) stressed the citizens’ opposition to « attempted privatisation » of water distribution in Athens and Thessalonika, among the measures allegedly imposed by the ECB/European Commission/IMF “Troika”.

“Water issues can create or exacerbate conflicts” in the world

“There is a very long way to go before the universal human right to safe water and sanitation will be universally enjoyed” said Michèle Striffler (EPP, FR), of the Development Committee. “Ensuring sustainable access to safe drinking water, as well as basic sanitation for all is, among other things, good conflict prevention policy."

“Citizens have shown a very clear proof that this instrument of participatory democracy works, that they would like to have a direct say and to communicate with EU institutions on how its agenda should be shaped” said European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.

Παρασκευή, Φεβρουαρίου 14, 2014

UN human rights commissioner criticizes Turkey’s Internet law

The Office of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has criticized Turkey for its controversial Internet law, saying it may lead to breaches of human rights.

A statement released by the OHCHR on Feb. 14 criticized the law, which was allowing Turkey’s telecommunications authority (TİB) to block websites without first seeking a court order. The law was adopted Feb. 6 by Parliament and is currently awaiting President Abdullah Gül’s approval. 

“We are concerned legislative amendments adopted by the Turkish Parliament last week regulating the use of the Internet may lead to breaches of human rights, in particular the right to freedom of expression and opinion, and the right to privacy,” the statement said.

Law 6518 will also require Internet service providers to store data on web users’ activities for two years and make it available to the authorities upon request without a judicial order, the statement recalled, adding that Internet service providers will face severe penalties if they fail to remove content deemed to be illegal.

“Even before the amendments, Law 5651, enacted in May 2007, placed broad restrictions on Internet use. Since the law came into force, approximately 37,000 websites have reportedly been denied operation by court orders and administrative blocking orders,” the statement said.

The OHCHR said the law was incompatible with Turkey’s international human rights obligations, in particular those related to freedom of expression and the right to privacy.

  • On Feb. 8, a group of people gathered in several Turkish cities, protesting the amendment’s passing in Parliament. The protests, especially in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, were met with harsh police crackdowns. 

  • The OHCHR called on Turkish authorities “to ensure the police force does not resort to excessive use of force and other human rights violations while performing their duties during demonstrations.” 
  • “Acts of sporadic violence or other punishable acts committed by some individuals in the context of peaceful protests should not be used by the authorities to deprive others of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly,” it said. 

Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 16, 2014

Mass 'executions' in Syria could be war crime: UN

GENEVA: Extremist Islamic groups in Syria are committing a "soaring" number of killings in the country's north that could amount to war crimes, the UN human rights office said on Thursday.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says that over the past two weeks her office has received reports of "a succession of mass executions of civilians and fighters who were no longer participating in hostilities in Aleppo, Idlib and Raqqa by hardline armed opposition groups in Syria, in particular by the" al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

She warned that such killings violate international humanitarian law, and the numbers of such violations are thought to be alarmingly high.

"While exact numbers are difficult to verify, reliable eyewitness testimony that we have gathered suggests that many civilians and fighters in the custody of extremist armed opposition groups have been executed since the beginning of this year," Pillay said in a statement.

Fighting between the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other Islamic groups in northern and eastern Syria has killed hundreds of people over the past two weeks. The infighting is the most serious among opponents of President Bashar Assad since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.

Pilay's office reported that in the first week of January a number of people were killed in Idlib by armed opposition groups. It said that on Jan. 6 in Aleppo three people reportedly held by the al-Qaida linked group at its base in Makhfar al-Saleheen were found dead, handcuffed, with bullet wounds in their heads.

Two days later, also in Aleppo, "numerous bodies, again mostly handcuffed and blindfolded, were found in a Children's Hospital" once used as a base by the group, the UN office said, and that at least four local media activists were among the dead, as well as captured fighters from armed opposition groups.

Pillay says there also are "deeply disturbing reports emerging of mass executions" by the al-Qaida linked group, both when it withdrew from Raqqa and after it regained control earlier this week.

"These reports are particularly alarming, given the large numbers of people, including civilians, that armed opposition groups in Syria are believed to be holding in custody," Pillay said. "The taking of hostages is prohibited under international humanitarian law and may also constitute a war crime." 


Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 16, 2013

High court orders California to release thousands of prisoners....

On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal to halt the early release of thousands of California prison inmates by the end of the year.
The Supreme Court did not comment on its decision, which supports a previous ruling by a lower court forcing California to free about 9,600 additional inmates by the end of the year. In 2011, federal judges ruled that the state must improve prison health conditions. Reducing the number of inmates was included as part of the process.
Since then, California has cut its prison population by about 25,000 inmates. State Gov. Jerry Brown claims that releasing even more could jeopardize public safety. It remains to be seen whether or not counties in California are equipped to handle the influx of inmates scheduled to occur.

"We haven't projected for them. They are not part of our population modeling. So you can't give them to us. We're not ready for this yet," Jerry Powers, a member of the Los Angeles County Probation Department, told the local ABC news affiliate in Los Angeles.
According to ABC, Los Angeles County could find itself making room for about 3,000 inmates in January 2014.
"The state's reclassification of mentally disordered offenders so that they're no longer mentally disordered offenders because of a signature on a piece of paper has resulted in an undue burden to our local county probation officers," Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich said. 

California is still trying to strike a deal with the courts that would delay the release of prisoners beyond the start of the new year. Gov. Brown has also signed a bill that would allow the state to hold inmates in private and county jails should it fail to arrange a delay of the January deadline. 
Attorneys representing the inmates are currently in the midst of settlement negotiations with the state. At least one is arguing that Tuesday’s decision should compel California to begin complying with the judges’ ruling.
“They already lost once and the Supreme Court said you don’t get a second bite at the apple,” Michael Bien, one of the attorneys representing inmates, said to Time. “Hopefully it’s the signal to all the parties that it’s time to comply with the three-judge court’s orders and move on with the reforms that are necessary, rather than resisting.”
This is just the latest chapter in a dispute that began in 2001, when a lawsuit filed on behalf of inmates argued that poor prison conditions violated inmates’ constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment. When federal judges agreed, California was required to upgrade its medical facilities and staff, and reduce overcrowding.

The Supreme Court’s decision to reject California’s appeal comes just over one month after inmates ended an attention-grabbing hunger strike at the state’s largest prison. In an attempt to protest the poor conditions they found themselves in because of the prison’s lengthy solitary confinement policies, about 30,000 inmates began refusing meals in a strike that would last for two months. By the end of the second month, the number of participants fell to 100, but lawmakers agreed to hold legislative hearings this autumn to discuss policy change proposals. 

Σάββατο, Σεπτεμβρίου 28, 2013

Cyprus an example of ills caused by non-enforcement of U.N. decisions: president Nicos Anastasiades (VIDEO ONU)

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The "unacceptable" situation that Cyprus finds itself in -- still divided after 40 years of numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions that call for its reunification -- is an example of the harm that can result from the non-enforcement of United Nations decisions, the president of the island nation told the U.N. General Assembly here Thursday.

"Should decisions or resolutions based on international law or condemning violations of human rights not be implemented or enforced ....regional differences and conflicts can indefinitely be prolonged, serving the petty interests and expedience of their perpetrators," President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus said in his speech at the high-level debate of the General Assembly, in its third day on Thursday and set to wrap up on Oct. 1.

The United Nations has been facilitating talks between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, with a view to the eventual establishment of a federal government with a single international personality, consisting of a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, each of equal status.

The U.N. has maintained a peacekeeping force on the island (UNFICYP) since 1964, when inter-communal fighting erupted.
On the sidelines of the Assembly on Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Anastasiades met to discuss talks on preparations for the resumption of negotiations aimed at achieving a comprehensive settlement.
"A comprehensive settlement is not only desirable, but should not be further delayed," Anastasiades said in his Thursday remarks, calling on Turkey and his Turkish Cypriot compatriots to "become partners in the effort for the reunification of a peaceful, secure and prosperous homeland."

Welcoming the positive response of Turkey to his proposals on meetings, he expressed hope that the response will be followed up through "practical and substantial steps and the adoption of a constructive attitude, guided by good faith."

  • President Anastasiades is one of scores of leaders to speak at the annual General Assembly session at which more than 130 heads of state and government and other high-level officials will present their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance.
  • Πώς αποτιμούν τα κόμματα την ομιλία Αναστασιάδη...

Λευκωσία: Διαφορετικές απόψεις διατυπώνουν τα κόμματα σε σχέση με την ομιλία του Προέδρου της Δημοκρατίας, Νίκου Αναστασιάδη στη Γενική Συνέλευση των Ηνωμένων Εθνών.

Ο Εκπρόσωπος Τύπου του ΔΗΣΥ, Πρόδρομος Προδρόμου δήλωσε ότι η ομιλία του Προέδρου, αλλά και η γενικότερη παρουσία του στη Νέα Υόρκη έδωσαν το στίγμα της αναβαθμισμένης παρουσίας της Κύπρου στην περιοχή.

Με βάση τα νέα δεδομένα που δημιουργούνται, πρόσθεσε, θα πρέπει το Εθνικό Συμβούλιο να χαράξει νέα στρατηγική.

Το ΑΚΕΛ εκτιμά ότι θα μπορούσαν να λεχθούν περισσότερα για τις ευθύνες της Τουρκίας στην ομιλία του Προέδρου της Δημοκρατίας.

Ο Εκπρόσωπος Τύπου του ΑΚΕΛ, Γιώργος Λουκαϊδης σημείωσε ωστόσο ότι αυτό που έχει σημασία από δω και μπρος είναι να γίνουν οι σωστές κινήσεις λόγω της κινητικότητας που υπάρχει.

Ο Πρόεδρος του ΔΗΚΟ, Μάριος Καρογιάν δήλωσε ότι μπορεί η ομιλία του προέδρου Αναστασιάδη να μην ήταν καταγγελτική, ωστόσο, είπε, έδωσε το σωστό στίγμα και τα σωστά μηνύματα.

Ο Εκπρόσωπος Τύπου της ΕΔΕΚ, Δημήτρης Παπαδάκης δήλωσε ότι η ομιλία του προέδρου Αναστασιάδη κινήθηκε στα ρηχά και απουσίαζε ο καταγγελτικός λόγος.

Ο Αναπληρωτής Πρόεδρος του ΕΥΡΩΚΟ, Μιχάλης Γιωργάλλας τόνισε ότι η πλευρά μας δεν έχει περιθώρια λάθους, ούτε την πολυτέλεια άλλης αποτυχίας.

Είπε ότι θα πρέπει να συνεχιστούν οι κινήσεις που φανερώνουν την καλή θέληση της πλευράς μας, χωρίς όμως να απαλλαγεί η Τουρκία από τις κατοχικές της ευθύνες.

Κάθε άλλο παρά ικανοποιητικές χαρακτήρισε τις εξελίξεις ο Γενικός Γραμματέας των Οικολόγων, Γιώργος Περδίκης και διερωτήθηκε γιατί κάποιοι χαριεντίζονται κατά την έκφρασή του.

Ανησυχητικές χαρακτήρισε τις εξελίξεις ο Πρόεδρος της Συμμαχίας Πολιτών, Γιώργος Λιλλήκας και προειδοποίησε ότι θα ακολουθήσουν κι άλλες υποχωρήσεις από την πλευρά μας.

Πηγή: philenews - See more at: http://www.philenews.com/el-gr/eidiseis-politiki/39/164055/pos-apotimoun-ta-kommata-tin-omilia-anastasiadi#sthash.NUEniebc.dpuf

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