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News on Human Rights
112 Pro-Biafra Imo Women Arrested Sat Aug 25, 2018 14:06 | Human Rights
Traveller Community in Galway Fri Aug 03, 2018 18:03 | Human Rights
Maldives Remain UK Priority Thu Jul 19, 2018 13:09 | Human Rights
US Withdraw From UN Human Rights Council Thu Jul 19, 2018 13:06 | Human Rights
Returning Refugees Greece Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:56 | Human Rights
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Human Rights - Sat Aug 25, 2018 14:06
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, including many Nigerians have demanded the unconditional release of 112 pro-Biafra Imo women
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, including many Nigerians have demanded the unconditional release of 112 pro-Biafra Imo women who were arrested, detained and remanded in Owerri prison for participating in a peaceful protest to demand the whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu. 112 pro-Biafra Imo women who were arrested, detained and remanded in Owerri prison for participating in a peaceful protest to demand the whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu. The women were remanded in jail till September 3 by Magistrate S.K Durumba for embarking on a peaceful protest. It was also gathered that one of the women (a pregnant woman) who broke down in the court as a result of the alleged beaten earlier received from the police during the peaceful protest was said to have bled profusely before she was rushed to an undisclosed hospital. However, following their continued remand, the concerned Nigerians who condemned their incarceration called for their unconditional release.
Human Rights - Fri Aug 03, 2018 18:03
The traveller community in Galway are living in overcrowded, damp and mouldy accommodation with inadequate sewerage, insecure electricity, no facilities
The traveller community in Galway are living in overcrowded, damp and mouldy accommodation with inadequate sewerage, insecure electricity, no facilities for children to learn or play safely. Many live in sites without regular rubbish collections and where their landlords carry out little to none maintenance despite the fact the Travellers are paying rent for their homes.
The findings, detailed in a report published on Friday, paint a picture of poverty and social exclusion for hundreds of Traveller adults and children across Galway city and county.
The report, compiled by the Galway Traveller Movement, examines conditions at 18 Traveller sites and group housing schemes. It is written as a ?response to over 18 years of prevarication, failed targets and tokenistic interaction? from local authorities, its authors say.
The UN group says: ?housing and accommodation is integrally linked to other human rights and is central to the fundamental underpinning of those rights? ? ie to the ?dignity of the human person?.
Adequate housing, it says, must have adequate space, protection from cold and damp, sustainable access to energy for cooking and lighting, be in a location allowing access to employment, healthcare and education, and enable the inhabitants? ?expression of cultural identity?.
Some 16 families, including 29 adults and 39 children, live at one Carrowbrowne transient site where ?pipes for sinks, showers, washing machines? are constantly blocked and ?water and sewerage comes up over the ground and through the bays?. There is no playground or green space. A second, temporary site in Carrowbrowne is home to 13 families, with 36 children. It is infested with rats and has plumbing and sewerage problems.
There is no alternative accommodation for any of the 16 families, including 25 children, at the overcrowded Cul Trá which is poorly maintained and has no play facilities. Also overcrowded is the seven-bay Tuam Road permanent site, which is home to 16 adults and 22 children.
Outside the city, eight sites and schemes were surveyed, including the six-bay Craughwell permanent halting site a mile outside the village. Families there have been waiting since 2006, when the county council first committed to redeveloping the site to adequate permanent housing.
Bathrooms in outhouses are ?not fit for use?, toilets leak and the units are ?too cold for washing? in. Doors are damaged, windows won?t close and there is no play area.
At Gort Bridge housing scheme outside Loughrea, all seven units are occupied. They are ?cold and damp?, yards are ?infested with rats? and barriers to the site mean emergency services cannot access it.
The report concludes both Galway City and Galway County Councils are breaching their Traveller tenants? international human rights.
Human Rights - Thu Jul 19, 2018 13:09
The Maldives remains a human rights priority country for the UK government, a report published Monday said, with the human
The Maldives remains a human rights priority country for the UK government, a report published Monday said, with the human rights situation continuing to deteriorate and an increase in the intimidation of human rights defenders and journalists.
There was an increase in violent threats and intimidation against human rights defenders and NGOs, in particular against those advocating for freedom of religion or belief, said the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The UK would continue to support human rights defenders, it said, and would work with international partners to press the Maldives to restore democratic freedoms including free and fair presidential elections scheduled for September.
?The UK will continue through public and private messaging to make clear to the Government of Maldives our concerns over the erosion of democracy and human rights.?
Other UK human rights priority countries include Somalia, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Russia.
Criticism of the Maldives government has rocketed since February, when President Abdulla Yameen imposed a state of emergency in response to a Supreme Court ruling ordering the release of political prisoners.
The UN human rights chief described the government?s actions as ?an all-out assault on democracy? while Amnesty International called it ?a license for repression, targeting members of civil society, judges and political opponents.?
The ranks of high-profile figures jailed or exiled since Yameen took office include two former presidents, two Supreme Court justices, two vice presidents, two defence ministers lawmakers and the country?s chief prosecutor.
The Maldives has also fallen in a press freedom index.
The European Union has approved targeted measures, such as travel bans and asset freezes, against those responsible for ?undermining the rule of law or obstructing an inclusive political solution and serious human rights violations? if the situation in the Maldives does not improve.
Human Rights - Thu Jul 19, 2018 13:06
Terming the Human Rights Council as the United Nations’ “greatest failure”, US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley has alleged
Terming the Human Rights Council as the United Nations’ “greatest failure”, US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley has alleged that the institution has provided cover for the world’s most inhumane regimes as she defended the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from it.
Last month, the US withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council and condemned its “shameless hypocrisy” in absolving wrongdoers through silence and falsely condemning those committing no offence, saying America will not take lectures from hypocritical institutions.
In her remarks at a top American think-tank – The Heritage Foundation – the Indian-American US Ambassador to the UN alleged that “more often, the Human Rights Council has provided cover, not condemnation, for the world’s most inhumane regimes. It has been a bully pulpit for human rights violators.”
Alleging that Human Rights Council has been, not a place of conscience, but a place of politics, Ms Haley said the UN body has focused its attention unfairly and relentlessly on Israel.
Meanwhile, it has ignored the misery inflicted by regimes in China, Venezuela, Cuba, and Zimbabwe, she said.
“Judged by how far it has fallen short of its promise, the Human Rights Council is the United Nations’ greatest failure,” Ms Haley said.
“It has taken the idea of human dignity – the idea that is at the center of our national creed and the birthright of every human being – and it has reduced it to just another instrument of international politics. And that is a great tragedy,” Ms Haley said, noting that she did not come to this conclusion happily, or lightly.
“Many of our friends urged us to stay for the sake of the institution. The United States, they said, provided the last shred of credibility the Council had. But that was precisely why we withdrew,” she said.
The right to speak freely, to associate and worship freely; to determine ones own future; to be equal before the law – these are sacred rights, she asserted.
“We take these rights seriously – too seriously to allow them to be cheapened by an institution – especially one that calls itself the Human Rights Council,” she said.
Asserting that no one should make the mistake of equating membership in the Human Rights Council with the support for human rights, Ms Haley said to this day, the US does more for human rights, both inside the UN and around the world, than any other country. The US will continue to do that.
“We just won’t do it inside a Council that consistently fails the cause of human rights,” she said.
Ms Haley said America’s withdrawal from the Human Rights Council does not mean that it has given up its fight for reform.
“On the contrary, any country willing to work with us to reshape the Council need only ask. Fixing the institutional flaws of the Human Rights Council was, is, and will remain one of the biggest priorities at the UN,” she added.
Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:56
A delegation from the German Interior Ministry will start discussions with officials in Athens on Tuesday about Berlin?s proposals to
A delegation from the German Interior Ministry will start discussions with officials in Athens on Tuesday about Berlin?s proposals to return 3,300 migrants and refugees that were registered in the Eurodac fingerprint database in Greece but still managed to make their way to Germany. They will also discuss how some 3,500 families living in Greece with relatives in Germany will be reunited.
Meanwhile Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas has sent a letter to the mayors of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros in an attempt to reassure them that asylum seekers will not be returned from Germany to hotspots on the islands. Vitsas dismissed speculation that the government made a deal with Berlin for a suspension of planned value-added tax hikes on these islands in exchange for migrant returns.
?Scenarios that refer to the creation of new hotspots on islands in exchange for low VAT are simply lies,? he said in the letter. ?The situation will remain as is. One hotspot on Lesvos, one on Chios, one on Samos, one on Kos and and one on Leros,? he explained, adding that the aim is to decongest them. Meanwhile, migrant flows to the Greek islands continue unabated, further overcrowding accommodation centers.
From June 22 up until Monday, some 1,519 migrants and refugees arrived, bringing their total number on the islands to 17,924. Of these, 7,573 are at the Moria hotspot on Lesvos, 2,212 are at the Vial center on Chios and 3,914 are on Samos.
Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:54
Most Australian migrants who speak another language with their family have no trouble with the English language, official data reveals.
Most Australian migrants who speak another language with their family have no trouble with the English language, official data reveals. Last month, Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge said the government would consider suggestions that basic conversational English should be a requirement for permanent residency. It followed moves to make aspiring citizens have a “competent” level of English.
Most migrants who speak another language at home have a high level of proficiency in spoken English. Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Wednesday reveals that the majority (73 per cent) of permanent migrants spoke a language other than English at home in 2016. Permanent migrants who spoke a language other than English at home generally reported a high level of proficiency in spoken English (83 per cent).
Skilled migrants had the highest level of English proficiency, at 92 per cent. Those in the family and humanitarian streams ? who arrived under different eligibility criteria and circumstances ? had lower rates of English proficiency, at 73 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively. In 2016, there were 2.2 million permanent migrants whose arrival date connected with their permanent visa was between January 1, 2000 and August 9, 2016.
Almost three in five were skilled migrants, about one in three were in the family stream while one in 10 were part of the humanitarian stream. Permanent migrants were younger than the general population, with 85 per cent of working age ? 15 to 64 years old. There were differences in the top countries of birth of permanent migrants by visa stream. The majority of the skilled migrants were from India (19 per cent), followed by England (13 per cent) and China (12 per cent).
The top countries for family migrants were China (14 per cent), England (8.8 per cent) and India (8.3 per cent). Humanitarian migrants were most likely to be born in Iraq (18 per cent), Afghanistan (12 per cent) and Myanmar (8.1 per cent). In 2016, 70 per cent of permanent migrants aged 15 years and over held a non-school qualification. In terms of work, the majority of skilled migrants aged 15 and over were in the labour force (83 per cent).
That compared with almost two-thirds of family migrants and about half of humanitarian migrants. Out of the skilled migrants, more than one in three were working in professional occupations. Of these, about one in 10 were working as health professionals (9 per cent), or business, human resource or marketing professionals (8.8 per cent), and ICT professionals (6.6 per cent). Employed permanent migrants most commonly reported earning weekly incomes of $650 to $999 per week. More than half of permanent migrants aged 15 and over owned their home outright or with a mortgage, while 42 per cent were renting.
Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:48
Four central European countries have said they will not attend an EU mini-summit on migration this weekend, and joined Austria
Four central European countries have said they will not attend an EU mini-summit on migration this weekend, and joined Austria in urging the bloc to focus on boosting border security rather than distributing refugees among member states. Leaders from Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria met in Budapest on Thursday and reaffirmed their view that tougher anti-immigration measures must be the EU?s priority in its search for a coherent asylum policy.
?Europe must be able to protect its borders and guarantee the security of its citizens,? said Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, whose country ? like Poland and the Czech Republic ? faces EU legal action for refusing to accept a quota of refugees.
Both Czech premier Andrej Babis and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz called for the EU border agency Frontex to be significantly bolstered, to ensure no repeat of the 2015 migration crisis that saw more than one million people enter the EU via Turkey and the Balkans.
?We have to have a Europe capable of defending us . . . We have to strengthen Frontex, to protect our external border and ensure internal freedom,? said Mr Kurz.
Writing later on Twitter, Mr Kurz added: ?We need to put aside the debate on distribution [of refugees] and focus on protection of the external border, on which there is already great consensus among EU member states.?
That debate has raged since 2015, with Germany leading calls for all EU members to take refugees to ease the burden on entry points like Greece and Italy, while Mr Orban has built border fences and led resistance to any quota scheme.
Leaders across central Europe and in Austria and Italy now broadly share Mr Orban?s views, as migration returns to the top of the agenda for next week?s EU summit.
Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:47
More food and drink has been sent to a pair of military ships off Sicily as Italy waited for other
More food and drink has been sent to a pair of military ships off Sicily as Italy waited for other European nations to pledge to take some of the hundreds of migrants on board before allowing them to step on to Italian soil. Germany, Spain and Portugal each agreed to accept 50 of the migrants, following similar offers by France and Malta on Saturday, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte said. But the Czech Republic rebuffed the appeal, calling the distribution plan a ?road to hell?.
Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini has vowed to prohibit further disembarking in Italy of migrants who were rescued while crossing the Mediterranean unless the burden is shared by other EU countries. Salvini, who leads the right-wing League party in Italy?s populist coalition government, told reporters Sunday the ?aim was for brotherly re-distribution? of the 450 rescued passengers on the two military ships.
Conte contacted fellow EU leaders Saturday, asking them to take some of the rescued migrants. But Czech prime minister Andrej Babis tweeted that his country ?won?t take any migrants?, dismissing Italy?s approach as a ?road to hell? that would encourage more migrant smuggling.
Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:45
The Czechia government has expressed support for a same-sex marriage bill, sponsored by 46 members of parliament from different political
The Czechia government has expressed support for a same-sex marriage bill, sponsored by 46 members of parliament from different political parties. Czeslaw Walek, the founder of the Czech marriage equality movement Jsme Fer, has been campaigning for marriage equality since 2016. He told Human Rights Watch that the government?s move was important because 37 conservative members of Parliament had submitted a bill a few days earlier to change the Constitution to include a provision limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman.
Both bills and the government?s opinion will be discussed in the lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. If the majority votes for the marriage equality bill, it will be submitted to the Senate. Walek believes the Senate, which has veto power over all bills, is more conservative than the Chamber of Deputies on the issue of marriage equality but he was still hopeful the bill would pass.
If the bill passes in the Senate, it will go to President Milos Zeman, who can either approve or veto the bill. He hasn?t made his position public. Walek told Human Rights Watch: ?The path is long and curvy, but we are hopeful. The best-case scenario is that we will celebrate marriage equality in the Czech Republic during the Pride March of August 2019.?
Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:43
Residents of Northern Ireland risk losing citizenship rights linked to the Belfast Agreement due to new policies being drafted for
Residents of Northern Ireland risk losing citizenship rights linked to the Belfast Agreement due to new policies being drafted for Brexit, campaigners have warned.
The 1998 Good Friday peace deal allows those born in Northern Ireland to be British, Irish or both, thereby also providing the rights of citizens of the European Union (EU). But under new Brexit proposals, Northern Ireland residents with Irish citizenship (plus those who identify as British but are entitled to Irish citizenship) risk losing a range of EU rights. These include access to the European Health Insurance Card, access to EU student fee rates, the right to vote for MEPs, plus the right to be joined by non-European Economic Area (EEA) family members.
A Northern Irish-based human rights group, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), has now written to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker seeking urgent clarification amid concerns that draft policy for Northern Ireland ?departs from the commitments? made by the UK and the EU.
In a practical sense this would render Irish citizens in Northern Ireland as having fewer EU rights than Irish citizens resident in existing third countries. In the correspondence, seen by Belfast journalism website thedetail.tv, the CAJ said it was concerned the commission was departing from the commitments made in the EU-UK Joint Report published in December 2017 to frame the Brexit talks.
The UK and EU would have to commit to a special arrangement to reflect the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland. The CAJ is concerned that the position of the European Commission ?would remove access to almost all EU rights from Irish citizens in Northern Ireland.
It would limit Irish citizens in Northern Ireland to holding mostly ?dormant? EU rights that are only exercisable if the rights holder leaves Northern Ireland and takes up residence in another EU member state.
?In a practical sense this would render Irish citizens in Northern Ireland as having fewer EU rights than Irish citizens resident in existing third countries.?
The CAJ said the commission?s position ?also conflicts with the commitment to protect the [Belfast Agreement] in all its parts?.
In 2017 the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin received 82,274 applications from people in Northern Ireland for Irish passports, up from 45,646 in 2012. Wider concerns over the protection of rights in Northern Ireland were highlighted in June, when a joint statement from the Alliance Party, the Green Party, SDLP and Sinn Féin expressed ?profound concern that Brexit will result in further regression on equality and rights?.