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In 2017, the world witnessed a rollback of human rights
by Amnesty International
Over the past year, leaders have pushed hate, fought against rights, ignored crimes against humanity, and blithely let inequality and suffering spin out of control. This provoked mass protests, showing that while our challenges may never be greater, the will to fight back is just as strong.
Amnesty International’s report, The State of the World’s Human Rights 2017/18, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.
While the findings remain shocking, it is the events such as those highlighted in the report that galvanised people across the world to stand up in the face of adversity and make their voices heard.
In 2017, the world witnessed a rollback of human rights. Signs of a regression were everywhere. Across the world governments continued to clampdown on the rights to protest, and women’s rights took a nosedive in the USA, Russia and Poland.
From Venezuela to Tunisia, we witnessed the growth of a formidable social discontent, as people were denied access to their fundamental human rights to food, clean water, healthcare and shelter.
And from the US to the European Union and Australia, leaders of wealthy countries continued to approach the global refugee crisis with outright callousness, regarding refugees not as human beings with rights but as problems to be deflected.
In this climate, state-sponsored hate threatens to normalise discrimination against minority groups. Xenophobic slogans at a nationalist march in Warsaw, Poland and sweeping crackdowns on LGBTI communities from Chechnya to Egypt showed how the open advocacy of intolerance is increasing.
Prominent among a sea of stories that caused shock were the horrific reports of ethnic cleansing carried out by Myanmar’s military against its Rohingya population. The stories captured by our researchers were utterly heartbreaking.
“Shafi, my two-year-old son, he was hit hard with a wooden stick. One hit, and he was dead … Three of my children were killed,” said one woman, whose money, possessions – and children - were taken by soldiers.
But with few leaders willing to stand up for human rights on a global stage, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed from Myanmar to Iraq have gone ignored, making the world a more dangerous place.
Last year saw a record numbers of individuals come under attack for taking a stand against injustice. As a global organisation dedicated to fighting for human rights, we did not escape attack. Our own staff in Turkey were arrested and jailed on entirely baseless charges. While Idil Eser, Director of Amnesty Turkey, has been released, Taner Kilic the chair of Amnesty Turkey, remains in prison.
''Imagine being a lawyer, journalist or activist, whose life is under threat for telling the truth. In 2018, we cannot take for granted that we will be free to gather together in protest or to criticize our governments. In fact, speaking out is becoming more dangerous''. - Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General
That is exactly what is happening right now, as authorities aggressively pursue people who have stood up for human rights. These activists are being killed in staggering numbers, with more than 312 killings recorded in 2017, up from 281 the year before.
Despite the efforts of governments to shut down NGOs, undermine the media, take away people’s right to protest and jail campaigners, people refused to be silenced. And in this climate of fear and intimidation, it is all the more vital that we continue to speak out.
* Access the State of the World’s Human Rights 2017/18, via the link below.
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The fight for women’s rights must be fought every day
by International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
On the occasion of International Women’s Rights Day, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is launching a website page presenting 101 shocking statistics on sexist violence and discrimination against women worldwide.
This action aims to highlight the depth of male-female inequality and the many areas in which these abuses occur: relationships, marriage, health, work, politics, access to land, media visibility, and more.
FIDH presents 101 statistics on violations of women’s rights, for example: 3 women are killed by their partners every day in the United States. Only 11 countries in the world had women heads of state in 2017.
The women’s free speech movement that has emerged over the past six months is encouraging more and more female victims of abuse to speak out, press charges and help raise awareness about the devastating extent and nature of this phenomenon.
Feminist movements worldwide are mobilising against conservatism and misogyny. But the fight to liberate women from oppression and patriarchal domination is far from over.
The fight for equality is everyone’s fight: women’s and men’s alike. If you find the figures offensive, help by sharing them on social networks.
The fight for women’s rights must be fought every day, not only on March 8.
As a company, Twitter is failing to respect women''s rights online. (Amnesty)
Twitter is a social media platform used by hundreds of millions of people around the world to debate, network and share information with each other. From high-level female politicians to journalists, activists, writers and bloggers, to women who simply want to know what’s happening around them - Twitter can be a powerful tool for women to make connections and express themselves. In fact, the company has touted itself as a place where ‘every voice has the power to impact the world’.
But for many women, Twitter is a platform where violence and abuse against them flourishes, often with little accountability. As a company, Twitter is failing in its responsibility to respect women’s rights online by inadequately investigating and responding to reports of violence and abuse in a transparent manner.
The violence and abuse many women experience on Twitter has a detrimental effect on their right to express themselves equally, freely and without fear. Instead of strengthening women’s voices, the violence and abuse many women experience on the platform leads women to self-censor what they post, limit their interactions, and even drives women off Twitter completely.
At a watershed moment when women around the world are using their collective power to speak out and amplify their voices through social media platforms, Twitter’s failure to adequately respect human rights and effectively tackle violence and abuse on the platform means that instead of women using their voices ‘to impact the world’, many women are instead being pushed backwards to a culture of silence.
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