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Every time I learn about unjust acts of inhumanity, it triggers an intense and overpowering sense of rage followed swiftly by an equally intense and overwhelming sense of powerlessness as my instinct to help is challenged by the question: "But, what can I do?"

Examples of injustice and inequalities, whether it be the 2012 Delhi bus rape and murder; the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar; the use of deadly force at anti-police protests in Nigeria; the countless incidents of racial bias that led to many more Black people being fatally shot by the police in the US; the horrifying scenes of bodies washing up on Europe's beaches and the response to it that has been described as "brutal"; or the humanitarian crises in Yemen, Sudan, Syria, to name but a few -- all make my blood boil.…  Seguir leyendo »

Uyghur protesters hold signs during a demonstration against China in Istanbul on Thursday. (Tolga Bozoglu/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Coca-Cola chairman James Quincey recently slammed the state of Georgia for its new election law. “We all have a duty to protect everyone’s right to vote, and we will continue to stand up for what is right in Georgia and across the U.S.,” he said.

Across the U.S. — and no further?

As Western businesses prepare to salute China at the Beijing Winter Olympics next February, the chairman of the China-Britain Business Council offered an all-purpose explanation of why it’s okay to do business with the Communists who are committing genocide 1,600 miles west of the ski slopes and skating rinks.…  Seguir leyendo »

A street cleaner stands in front of an H&M clothing store last month in Beijing. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Last week, the European Union joined the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States in imposing coordinated sanctions on Chinese officials linked to human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The move came soon after a fractious U.S.-China confrontation in Alaska over human rights, and growing calls for Beijing’s crackdown in its northwestern region to be labeled as “genocide.”

Strikingly, Chinese state-owned media have reveled in the hostility of Alaska, the accusations of genocide and the multicountry sanctions. In the aftermath of those sanctions, the Communist Youth League regurgitated a year-old statement from European clothing giant H&M saying that it would “not source products” from Xinjiang over worries about forced labor.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man walks past a television screen at Suseo railway station in Seoul on March 26 showing news footage of North Korea's latest tactical guided missile test. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images)

On Thursday, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast, calling these a “new type of tactical guided missile.” This latest provocation, in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution that bans Pyongyang from conducting ballistic missile tests, follows combative rhetoric and actions in recent weeks.

North Korean officials issued a statement criticizing U.S.-ROK military exercises this month, warning the Biden administration not to “cause a stink” as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Japan for their first official trip to Asia. And North Korea fired two short-range cruise missiles last weekend — a move the United States and South Korea downplayed in an apparent effort not to overhype the tests.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rwanda's journey from its 1994 genocide to a model of orderly development made it a go-to country for those who want to invest in an African success story, taking in hundreds of millions in new overseas investments each year and making it one of corporate America's ideal places for charitable donations. But the love affair between the United States and Rwanda's hardline president Paul Kagame, should be seriously reconsidered after 27 years of systemic human rights abuses.

To name the alleged abuses is to name what's typical of despots everywhere: election-rigging, a captive judiciary, a well-oiled propaganda machine that silences truth, and the assassination of opposition leaders, journalists, and regime critics at home and abroad.…  Seguir leyendo »

A mediados de septiembre de 2020 se produjo un salto cualitativo en la lucha por los derechos humanos y la democracia en Venezuela: la Misión Internacional Independiente de Determinación de los Hechos sobre la República Bolivariana de Venezuela —designada por Michelle Bachelet, Alta comisionada para los Derechos Humanos de la ONU— presentó el compendio, más de 400 páginas, que demuestra, a partir de testimonios confiables y sólida documentación, las prácticas de secuestros, desapariciones forzosas, ejecuciones extrajudiciales, torturas, violencia sexual y de género, tratos crueles y humillantes, con los que el poder somete a la sociedad venezolana. Crímenes de lesa humanidad cometidos por el régimen encabezado por Nicolás Maduro.…  Seguir leyendo »

Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released from prison earlier this month after serving 1001 days in prison for "crimes" that included contacting human rights groups and trying to change Saudi Arabia's restrictive male guardianship laws. Loujain is by no means free, though. She is banned from traveling for five years and remains on a three-year probation, living under the constant threat of being jailed again.

Travel bans are not new in Saudi Arabia. But past rulers used them more sparingly. Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) took power, they have increasingly become a key instrument in his struggle to extinguish any semblance of dissent.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un grupo de mujeres agitan sus puños para mostrar su apoyo a la democracia en la plaza Tahrir de El Cairo, en junio de 2013. Credit Laura El-Tantawy

Unos maleantes con garrotes y machetes habían establecido un puesto de control improvisado a las afueras de la plaza Tahrir, o de la Liberación, de El Cairo para golpear a los manifestantes a favor de la democracia y se me encogió el corazón cuando vi que los matones interceptaron a dos frágiles mujeres y las amenazaron.

No obstante, las mujeres, dos hermanas llamadas Minna y Amal, se mantuvieron firmes aquel día de hace una década durante la Primavera Árabe. Me acerqué para entrevistarlas a ellas y a los tipos, que llevaban navajas de afeitar y palos con clavos incrustados, la violencia extrañamente en pausa para realizar una entrevista conjunta, les pregunté a Minna y Amal por qué se arriesgaban tanto en la búsqueda de derechos políticos.…  Seguir leyendo »

La controversia de Valladolid vuelve a ser actualidad. Se me objetará que se trataba de una disputa teológica organizada en 1526 por Carlos V y que, básicamente, opuso las tesis epistolares de Bartolomé de las Casas, obispo dominico, a las del filósofo Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda. Lo que estaba en juego eran los indios americanos y el derecho o no de los españoles a colonizarlos y reducirlos a la esclavitud. En otras palabras, ¿los indígenas eran hombres naturalmente libres y con los mismos derechos que los españoles? El Papa respondió que sí, los indios eran hombres; Sepúlveda lo dudaba; De las Casas estaba seguro.…  Seguir leyendo »

Foto del 4 de mayo de 2018, donde una estudiante corea consignas exigiendo que el diálogo nacional prometido por el gobierno comience de inmediato, en Managua, Nicaragua. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

En abril de 2018 estalló una movilización social masiva en Nicaragua que protestaba contra la reforma de la seguridad social. La acción represiva de las fuerzas de seguridad y de los grupos armados progubernamentales y, en menor medida, los abusos cometidos por individuos que participaron en las protestas, dejaron más de 300 personas muertas y de 2,000 heridas. Más de 1,600 personas fueron detenidas de manera arbitraria y aproximadamente 100,000 tuvieron que solicitar asilo en otros países.

En agosto de ese año, la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos publicó un primer informe sobre esos sucesos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Photo illustration of Donald Trump and the Twitter logo. Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

The ‘deplatforming’ of Donald Trump – including Twitter’s announcement that it has permanently banned him due to ‘the risk of further incitement of violence’ after the riots in the US – shows once more not only the sheer power of online platforms but also the lack of a coherent and consistent framework for online content governance.

Taking the megaphone away from Trump during the Capitol riots seems sensible, but was it necessary or proportionate to ban him from the platform permanently? Or consistent with the treatment of other ‘strongmen’ world leaders such as Modi, Duterte and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who have overseen nationalistic violence but whose accounts remain intact?…  Seguir leyendo »

Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, January 2021. Photograph: AP

The apparent end to the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar and a reconciliation among the states involved prompts the question: when will the Saudi government release the citizens who were caught up in the conflict and imprisoned during the three and a half-year crisis?

In a breakthrough, it was announced on 4 January that Saudi Arabia had opened its land border with Qatar, paving the way for an easing of tensions that had led to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain severing diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in mid-2017. On 5 January, the annual GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) summit took place in Saudi Arabia’s north-western Al-Ula province.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ruhollah Zam during his trial in Tehran in December. Credit Ali Shirband/Mizan News Agency, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

He has been dead for a month.

On Dec. 12 Iranians woke up to bleak news: Their government had executed Ruhollah Zam, a 42-year-old journalist. The sentencing judge described Mr. Zam as a spy, as someone who incited violence and had “sown corruption on earth,” a vague charge which is often used to describe attempts to overthrow the Iranian government.

Mr. Zam, who had been imprisoned in Iran after the disputed presidential election in 2009, fled to France in 2011, where he was granted political asylum. From Paris, he started Amad News, a popular anti-government website, which also operated on the encrypted messaging app Telegram and other social media platforms.…  Seguir leyendo »

My business -- documenting attacks on journalists in Asia and advocating on their behalf -- requires a thick skin. I can't let every case get to me, or I couldn't function. But sometimes a case pierces through the armor. That happened Monday morning when I awoke to the news that a Chinese court had sentenced journalist Zhang Zhan, 37, to four years in jail for "picking quarrels and provoking trouble." This follows the government indictment, which accused her of "publishing large amounts of fake information."

Zhang's real crime: to report factually on the ground at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, at its then epicenter, Wuhan, in video dispatches that challenged the government's official narrative.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Trump was an unabashed supporter of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

On Monday, a court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, sentenced Loujain al-Hathloul, the Saudi activist, to five years and eight months in prison. Ms. al-Hathloul, who campaigned for the right of women to drive, was convicted of “trying to harm national security” and advancing “a foreign agenda.” She has already been in prison for two and a half years. A combination of time served and partial sentence suspension could lead to her release in a month or so.

Ms. al-Hathloul’s case has attracted international attention and condemnation from United Nations human rights experts, the U.S. House of Representatives and numerous rights organizations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Paramilitary police officers swap positions during a change of guard in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibert, in October. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The world is finally responding to the Chinese government’s mass atrocities against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s northwest province of Xinjiang. But now Beijing is replicating some of its worst practices — including rounding up hundreds of thousands of innocent people in military-style reeducation camps — in other parts of China. This year, Beijing built and filled massive camps in Tibet, which had been the original testing ground for cultural genocide, political indoctrination and forced labor. Tibetan leaders are pleading for the world to pay attention.

“When it comes to human rights violations in China, Tibet was Patient Zero,” Lobsang Sangay, the president of the Tibetan government in exile, known as the Central Tibetan Administration, told me during a visit to Washington last week.…  Seguir leyendo »

For Formula One fans around the world, the news that world champion Lewis Hamilton has recovered from coronavirus and will be fit to race in Abu Dhabi this weekend will be met with jubilation. F1’s management, on the other hand, might be feeling ambivalent.

Over the course of a season marred by Covid-19, Hamilton’s increasingly firm stance on social justice, sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement, has frequently overshadowed the racing. And last month, before the Bahrain Grand Prix, he made the incendiary claim that F1 has a “consistent and massive problem” with human rights abuses in the places it visits.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Policía antidisturbios afuera del edificio del Congreso en Ciudad de Guatemala, el 21 de noviembre de 2020. (AP Photo/Oliver De Ros)

No es sorprendente que América haya sido la región más afectada por la pandemia de COVID-19. Los graves problemas de derechos humanos por los que ya atravesaba el continente crearon tierra fértil para que eventualmente se convirtiera en el epicentro del nuevo coronavirus.

El impacto de la pandemia no solo se siente por los más de 29 millones de casos y 750,000 muertos que se han registrado, sino también por las consecuencias inmediatas y futuras con relación al ejercicio de derechos humanos, sobre todo de grupos históricamente marginados como los pueblos indígenas y afrodescendientes, las mujeres y niñas, y las personas migrantes y refugiadas, entre otros.…  Seguir leyendo »

En esta foto de mayo de 2018, Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, del Movimiento San Isidro, habla durante una entrevista en su casa de La Habana, Cuba. (REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini/File Photo)

Esperaron a que pasara el cuarto cumpleaños de la muerte de Fidel Castro, que conmemoraron en la escalinata de la Universidad de La Habana con un acartonado acto que catalogaron de “patriótico”; esperaron a que se acercara el fin de semana y que fuera Thanksgiving en Estados Unidos para que sus vecinos más pendientes no lo estuvieran; esperaron a que cayera la noche en la capital de la isla, le bloquearon a toda la nación el acceso a Facebook, Instagram y Youtube para que no hubiera material gráfico en vivo; y solo entonces, decidieron entrar como fieras descompuestas. Esa fue la maquiavélica puesta en escena que llevó a cabo el régimen cubano para desmantelar al grupo de artistas, activistas y periodistas, nucleados alrededor del Movimiento San Isidro, que estaban atrincherados en una casa de La Habana Vieja protestando pacíficamente a través de una huelga de hambre con el fin de obtener la liberación de uno de los miembros del movimiento, el rapero Denis Solís.…  Seguir leyendo »

Manifestation pour soutenir les Sahraouis du groupe de Gdeim Izik, à Salé en décembre 2016. Photo Fadel Senna. AFP

Depuis dix ans, 19 prisonniers politiques sahraouis sont injustement emprisonnés suite à un procès inique, entaché notamment par l’utilisation d’aveux obtenus sous la torture. Ils sont actuellement rejugés. Un procès éminemment politique, avec en toile de fond la question très sensible de l’autodétermination du Sahara occidental. Verdict prévu le 25 novembre. Dix ans. 3 650 jours. 87 600 heures. Cela fait dix ans qu’ils attendent, dans leur geôle, que justice soit rendue. «Ils», c’est le groupe de Gdeim Izik. De quoi s’agit-il ?

L’affaire remonte au 8 novembre 2010. A l’époque, dans le territoire du Sahara occidental, 20 000 Sahraouis manifestent pacifiquement au lieu-dit Gdeim Izik, au sud de la ville de Laâyoune, afin de protester contre les discriminations dont ils s’estiment victimes de la part du gouvernement marocain et revendiquer leur droit à l’autodétermination.…  Seguir leyendo »