News Selection – Human Rights
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Human Rights.
Is China winning its fight against rights at the UN?
12/12/2018: Few governments work harder to eliminate criticism of their human rights record at the United Nations than China. Other governments – and the UN system itself – should push back against these encroachments.
Source: Human Rights Watch
70 years on, landmark UN human rights document as important as ever
9/12/2018: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has reached its 70th anniversary, a chance to remind the world that the human rights of millions are still being violated on a daily basis.
Source: UN News
A “crisis point” for human rights defenders
1/11/2018: Governments have fallen short on their commitments, as human rights defenders continue to be killed around the world with impunity. In 2017 alone, over 300 defenders across 27 countries were killed, double the numbers from 2015.
Source: Inter Press Service
Myanmar’s ‘Genocidal Acts’ demand UN action
26/10/2018: The UN was founded 73 years ago in large part to address mass atrocities like those committed against the Rohingya, argues Human Rights Watch’s Asia advocacy director. Source: The Diplomat
African Union moves to neutralise Africa’s main human rights body
25/10/2018: Efforts to curtail the independence of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights could ultimately leave African activists and citizens without a vital structure for addressing human rights abuses. Source: Inter Press Service
Tread Softly Comment: Many African leaders are critical of the International Criminal Court on grounds that Africa should be left alone to call its governments to account for standards of human rights. In undermining the continent's most important human rights institution, those leaders appear unconcerned about abuses that the ICC is designed to address. Relevant Briefing: Human Rights Law Enforcement
Trump on asylum-seekers: hysterical, shortsighted, wrong
21/10/2018: The people in the Central American caravan making their way to the US border with Mexico are facing real life-and-death issues. President Trump should really turn down his rhetoric more than a few notches.
Source: Human Rights Watch
UN Security Council asked to hear from UN mission on Myanmar atrocities
17/10/2018: The US and eight other countries have requested a UN Security Council meeting to hear from a UN fact-finding mission that has accused Myanmar's military of atrocities against Muslim Rohingyas. Source: Channel News Asia
Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it
12/10/2018: While the institution has been the subject of controversy since its creation in 2006, the UN Secretary-General has reiterated that it plays “a very important role” in the UN’s human rights architecture. Source: UN News
Tread Softly Comment: The UN has published this inadequate response to criticism of last week's "secret-ballot election" for membership of the Human Rights Council. For the first time in the Council's history, the number of nominations failed to exceed the number of vacancies, removing any mechanism to prevent the election of Eritrea and Philippines. The US decision to leave the Human Rights Council in June has been transformed from petty obeisance to Trump into an act of principle. Relevant Briefing: Human Rights Law Enforcement
UN: Philippines, Eritrea don’t belong on Rights Council
11/10/2018: UN member countries should oppose the candidacies of the Philippines and Eritrea for the Human Rights Council because of their egregious human rights records, Human Rights Watch has said. Source: Human Rights Watch
Eritrea: diplomacy changes, but political prisoners remain
3/10/2018: There was hope that change would come for Eritrea’s many political prisoners after Eritrea and Ethiopia made peace this year. But jailing critics in Eritrea remains the norm, says Human Rights Watch. Source: Human Rights Watch