Human Rights 

UN human rights office welcomes moves to curtail spread of hatred and violence online

The statement comes in the wake of a decision by Twitter to flag tweets by United States President Donald Trump earlier this week, which warned against potential electoral rigging this year, through states’ extending voting by mail. In response, President Trump on Thursday signed an Executive Order aimed at preventing online censorship, upholding free speech as “the bedrock of American democracy”, and protected by the country’s Constitution. On Thursday evening, he posted another tweet which the social media company flagged for violating  its rules against “glorifying violence”. In commenting on…

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Human Rights 

US must take ‘serious action’ to halt police killings of unarmed African Americans

“I am dismayed to have to add George Floyd’s name to that of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many other unarmed African Americans who have died over the years at the hands of the police – as well as people such as Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin who were killed by armed members of the public”, said High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in statement. She spelled out that authorities in the United States must take “serious action” to stop such killings, and to ensure that justice…

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Human Rights 

‘Lockdown generation’ of young workers will need extra help after COVID-19, urges UN labour chief

Those young people who still have a job have seen their working hours cut by 23 per cent, said the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, who also urged Governments to conduct widespread coronavirus testing and tracing of populations to help get economies back on their feet. Countries such as the Republic of Korea and Iceland had invested in effective virus-hunting techniques which had cost less than one per cent of their economic output, according to ILO, and developing countries where most people worked in the informal…

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Human Rights 

US states ‘manipulating’ COVID-19 pandemic to restrict abortion access, rights experts charge

Members of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls issued a statement on Wednesday expressing regret that states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee “appear to be manipulating the crisis” to curb women’s reproductive rights. “This situation is also the latest example illustrating a pattern of restrictions and retrogressions in access to legal abortion care across the country. We fear that, without clear political will to reverse such restrictive and regressive trends, states will continue pursuing this pattern,” said Elizabeth Broderick, Vice-Chair…

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Leaders Rwanda 

20 years under Rwanda’s ‘benevolent dictator’ Paul Kagame

Written by Antonio Cascais President Paul Kagame marks 20 years at the helm of Rwanda. He’s praised by some as a pioneer for women’s rights and environmentalism but criticized by others for his iron grip on power — which could last a while still. It’s no coincidence that the first “Made in Africa” smartphone comes from Rwanda: The Mara Phone is manufactured in an industrial area in the capital Kigali, just down the road from a Volkswagen plant. The German carmaker is one of many investors in the small East…

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Human Rights 

Victims of intercommunal violence in South Sudan deserve ‘justice, truth and reparations’: Bachelet

Three aid workers were among those killed. “The reports from Jonglei State are appalling”, Michelle Bachelet said of fighting that broke out between 16 and 17 May, forcing thousands to flee their homes. ‘Recurring pattern’ “This recurring pattern of violence, which continues to claim lives in South Sudan, has to stop,” she said.  “I urge the Government to ensure measures are in place to investigate this violence and to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted, and that victims and their families have access to justice, truth and reparations.” Intercommunal fighting…

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Africa Leaders 

Mubarak Bala: Facebook Posts and Freedom of Expression

Some Muslims have asked the police to prosecute Nigerian Humanist, Mubarak Bala for making some posts on Facebook. They claim that his posts insulted the prophet of Islam. And for that reason, they want Mr. Bala penalized. Others are threatening to execute him. The police have arrested Mr. Bala and may soon charge him. In this piece, I argue that the police should unconditionally release Mr. Bala because what they said he did was not an offense against the state. I am aware that some Muslims are unhappy with the…

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Human Rights 

Coronavirus impact on world’s indigenous, goes well beyond health threat

“I am receiving more reports every day from all corners of the globe about how indigenous communities are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and it deeply worries me to see it is not always about health issues”, said José Francisco Cali Tzay. In a statement Monday, the Special Rapporteur – a Maya Kaqchikel from Guatemala who took up his post on 1 May – urged Governments worldwide to ensure that indigenous peoples have access to information about COVID-19 in their languages. Cultural considerations Urgent special measures must also be put in place to ensure…

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Human Rights 

Coronavirus lockdowns in Central America, exploited by criminal gangs

By the end of last year, violence in the region forced some 720,000 people to flee their homes, almost half of whom currently remain displaced within their own country, according the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). And with COVID-related lockdowns in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, community leaders and some internally displaced people (IDPs) are reporting that organized criminal groups have been exploiting the confinement, to strengthen their control over local communities.  Chronic violence and insecurity, coupled with the restrictions in response to #COVID19 is risking…

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Human Rights 

UN rights chief warns against mishandling the lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns

Michelle Bachelet — a former doctor, health minister and Head of State — acknowledged the challenge facing governments as they grapple with the medical crisis, while also trying to save their economies from collapsing. When drawing up plans to lift #lockdowns, States should consult affected communities, as well as those on the #COVID19 front-lines. Participation builds trust and better compliance with measures to restrict contagion.#WeAreAllInThisTogether — Michelle Bachelet (@mbachelet) May 14, 2020 “Balancing the economic imperatives with the health and human rights imperatives during the COVID-19 pandemic is going to…

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