Tag Archives: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights Day, Seventy Years On

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This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

The Declaration, and the commitment of UN Member States to affirm and implement its principles, has resulted in the dignity of people uplifted, untold human suffering prevented and the foundations for a most just world have been laid in the treaty regime built upon the Declaration. It is both an aspirational, visionary document and a set of standards that permeates international law.

The Declaration articulates a vision that has been built upon and used to extend rights and protect people around the globe. In a world where exploitation and violation are so strong, we can be grateful for the many ways in which the Declaration has had an impact. Its successes are many.

At the same time, violations of international law and human dignity are perpetrated in many countries. In a report released on Friday, a team of experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council noted that:

Recent memory is replete with multiple examples of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Impunity reigns supreme in many countries undergoing conflicts or political upheavals, encouraged by narrow national objectives, geopolitics and political impasse at the United Nations Security Council.

The report expressed concern that an “upsurge of nationalism and xenophobia seen in countries of asylum, at a time of rising forced-migration” is “reversing the gains of international humanitarian cooperation of the last 70 years.”

UN News notes that :In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, the UN is urging people everywhere to “Stand Up for Human Rights”.

One way to do that is to  choose a place in the world where human rights are abused (including in the United States of America) and become informed. Take one action today that affirms and celebrates the worth and dignity and rights of others.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Death Penalty, Human Rights, United Nations

Lent 8: evil

F20 Evil UN Tour 9 October 2011

 

One of a series of posters focusing on the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
United Nations

Manhattan, NY
9 October 2011

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Nine years of resistance

Today’s letter in the Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon went to President Calderón of Mexico on behalf of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo.

For more than nine years, these two courageous women have taken on the military and authorities to demand justice after soldiers raped them in 2002. Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo are Indigenous Me’phaa (Tlapaneca) women. Amnesty International notes that:

Indigenous women in Mexico who are raped rarely file a complaint due to cultural, economic and social barriers. Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo have shown courage in reporting their ordeals and have followed up their cases in national and international courts. The women and their families have faced threats as their battle for justice continues.

Guided by Amnesty International’s sample letter, I urge President Calderón to ensure a swift, full and impartial investigation into the rape Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú. This investigation should take place in civilian courts as should all cases of human rights violations by military personnel.

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Find resources for the Write-a-thon, including sample letters to adapt.

Learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights framework.

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Freedom of expression in Paupua province

English: Former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosev...

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Today’s letter in the Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon addressed the situation of Filep Karma, who was arrested in December 2004 for his participation in a peaceful flag-raising ceremony in Papua province of Indonesia. Karma is serving a 15-year sentence on charges of treason.  Amnesty International considers him to be prisoner of conscience and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

My letter asked Amir Syamsuddin, Indonesia’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights to release Filep Karma and to make a public commitment that there will be no further arrests of individuals purely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, assembly, or association.  It included a request that the Minister ensures that laws concerning “rebellion” (Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code) are not used against people who have engaged only in peaceful activities. The request was rooted in the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate referenda, independence, or other political solutions.

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On behalf of teachers

Today’s letter in the Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon  focused on teachers which comes close to my heart since my family contains a number of teachers over the generations.

Jalila al-Salman and Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb, leaders of the Bahrain Teachers Association, appear to have been imprisoned because of the association’s calls for strikes during the protests earlier this year.

Amnesty International reports that authorities first arrested Jalila al-Salman on 29 March 2011, and reportedly ill-treated her in detention.   Mahdi Abu Dheeb was arrested on 6 April and reportedly suffered torture and solitary confinement.  Although civilians, the two teachers were tried before a military court, in breach of their right to a fair trial.  In September, Jalila al-Salman was sentenced to three years in prison, and Mahdi Abu Dheeb was sentenced to ten years.  Their appeal is to be heard by the High Criminal Court in December.

The request to the King asks for an investigation into the case and the allegations of torture and ill-treatment.  It asks that any who are found responsible for ill-treatment be held accountable. It further asks that if the investigation shows that Jalila al-Salman and Mahdi Abu Dheeb were arrested because of their leadership of the Bahrain Teachers Association and their peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly,  should be immediately and unconditionally released, and all charges against them should be dropped.  The King is asked to ensure that their appeal hearing meets international standards and that any evidence obtained through torture or duress not be used against them.  The King is also asked to uarantee that they receive appropriate medical care and are protected from ill-treatment.

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Sri Lanka – Ragihar Manoharan

Letter three in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon went last night to the President of Sri Lanka. It focused on  Ragihar Manoharan. Ragihar was one of five students killed by security forces in the city of Trincomalee on January 2, 2006. The letter asks the President to tell his family the truth about what happened to their son. Amnesty International reports that a commission of inquiry examined the killing of Ragihar Manoharan. My letter and the Amnesty International Campaign ask for the release of the commission’s report.

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Find resources for the Write-a-thon, including sample letters to adapt.

Learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights framework.

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