Derechos Humanos

‘Our long-awaited honeymoon together turned into the biggest nightmare I could have ever envisioned’

On 27 November I landed in Bangkok with my beloved husband, a Bahrain-born professional football player. We were overjoyed to be spending our honeymoon together in the breathtaking country of Thailand. Not only were we celebrating our honeymoon, but it was also my husband’s first time traveling outside of Australia in the five years since he fled there in 2014 from Bahrain and was granted refugee status.

We chose Bangkok for our honeymoon because of all the beauty it had to offer and had planned our visit in detail together. We planned a serene boat ride together to one of the famous floating markets to buy tropical fruits and locally made crafts, and to visit Bangkok’s unique aquarium for its one-of-a-kind ocean experience that we had read about.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Will the Olympic movement allow a fellow athlete to languish in jail, or worse be sent back to his country of birth to be tortured?’ Photograph: Kommersant Photo Agency/REX/Shutterstock

In the 50 days since Hakeem al-Araibi has been held in a Bangkok jail, global events for Olympic sports have continued. The Hockey World Cup and the World Swimming Championships were held and the Handball World Championships, football’s Asian Cup and tennis grand slam the Australian Open have begun. The Winter X Games and Super Bowl will also be under way soon.

Yet one of our fellow Australian athletes, Hakeem al-Araibi, a former international footballer, remains in jail, awaiting the worst fate of any asylum seeker or refugee: extradition back to the country that persecuted him, the country he fled in fear for his life.…  Seguir leyendo »

Recientemente, la Fundación Víctimas del Terrorismo ha concedido el premio «Defensa de los Derechos Humanos» a nuestras Fuerzas Armadas. Según recoge la Prensa, los miembros del Jurado han tenido en consideración que, en la actualidad, las Fuerzas Armadas españolas están presentes en numerosas misiones en el exterior, con más de 3.000 militares desplegados en cuatro continentes. Recuerda la Fundación que dichas misiones son «Una contribución a la paz que hace a nuestra sociedad deudora con unas Fuerzas Armadas que siempre han velado por nuestra seguridad, a riesgo de haber entregado la vida de no pocos de los suyos».

En mi opinión, lo que hace especialmente relevante este premio es la naturaleza del mismo: «La Defensa de los Derechos Humanos».…  Seguir leyendo »

Loujain al-Hathloul in 2014, when she took a widely-viewed video of herself as she drove from the United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia.CreditLoujain Al-Hathloul/Loujain al-Hathloul, via Associated Press

When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Saudi Arabia on Sunday, he is expected to discuss Yemen, Iran and Syria and “seek an update on the status of the investigation into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

I am struck by what is not included in Mr. Pompeo’s itinerary: the brave women activists of Saudi Arabia, who are being held in the kingdom’s prisons for seeking rights and dignity. Mr. Pompeo’s apathy is personal for me because one of the women detained, Loujain al-Hathloul, is my sister. She has worked relentlessly to earn Saudi women the right to drive.

I live in Brussels.…  Seguir leyendo »

The tragedy of Fahad Albutairi and Loujain al-Hathloul

A couple years ago, when I was writing for “American Dad!,” I needed an Arabic speaker for a small part. Our casting director recommended a Saudi comedian named Fahad Albutairi, who happened to be in Los Angeles for a couple of months shooting a television show. I looked him up. He was the first Saudi stand-up comedian to appear on stage professionally in the kingdom, the “Jerry Seinfeld of Saudi Arabia.” He had a couple million Twitter followers. (He has none now; I’ll get to that.) He was, frankly, way more interesting than the part.

The day of the recording, I walked to the booth to meet Fahad and direct his session.…  Seguir leyendo »

Raja Casablanca / Louis Witter

On that glorious night, they stood on their seats for almost the entire game, arms aloft, shouting, cheering, booing and, most of all, singing. Lyrical chants filled the air that chilly November evening. There was a sea of green—their team’s color—on their shirts and on the flags they waved. Artistic graffiti decorated the stadium.

The fans shared an immense love for and loyalty to the Raja Athletic Club of Casablanca (RCA). They sang and sang until the final whistle, savoring every word of songs that expressed the passion in their hearts. Raja was facing AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup final, one of Africa’s major soccer tournaments.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Cairo intersection with a poster of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The heads of state change in Egypt, but the repressive structures stay the same, Nancy Okail writes.CreditCreditSima Diab/Bloomberg

I’ll never forget the words I read scribbled on the wall when I was first put into a cage in a Cairo courtroom, on Feb. 26, 2012: “If defending justice is a crime, then long live criminality.”

That was the first day of my trial, Case No. 173/2011. (In Egyptian courtrooms, defendants are kept in cages.) Along with 42 other defendants, 17 of them Americans, who worked for international nongovernmental organizations in Egypt, I was charged with operating an organization without a license (not true) and receiving illegal foreign funds (also not true). All of us worked for organizations promoting the rule of law, transparency and democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a variety of languages. Photo: Getty Images.

There is growing attention to human rights in debates on economic inequality. In the UK, concerns about the disproportionate impact of economic policy on vulnerable groups have been raised recently by the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights – who issued a statement criticizing the Conservative government’s austerity policies – as well as in a report from the UK government’s independent Equality and Human Rights Commission. These reports echo global concerns about fiscal policies, poverty and extreme economic inequality.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – which celebrates its 70th anniversary today – and the human rights treaties it inspired do not expressly address income and wealth gaps.…  Seguir leyendo »

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman waits for the family photo during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last month.CreditCreditAndres Martinez Casares/Reuters

In November 2015, I spent a couple of weeks reporting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It had been less than two years since my last visit to the country and just 10 months since King Salman’s ascension to the throne, but the mood among local activists and intellectuals had darkened considerably. On my final evening, my friend Fahad al-Fahad, a marketing consultant and human rights activist, offered to take me on a tour that, he suggested, might help to explain the new atmosphere.

We drove to the Jaffali mosque, where, just outside, public beheadings are carried out, and where, earlier that year, Raif Badawi, another Saudi activist, had been flogged before hundreds of onlookers.…  Seguir leyendo »

El premio Sájarov ha recaído tres veces en disidentes cubanos: en 2002 fue premiado Oswaldo Payá, fallecido en el año 2012 en circunstancias que no se han aclarado; las Damas de Blanco fueron distinguidas en 2005; y Guillermo Fariñas lo recibió en 2010. Siempre digo que el Sájarov es más que un premio. Es una herramienta de activismo político que debe servir para reforzar a los luchadores por la libertad y la democracia. Pero, para que así sea, es necesario el compromiso de las autoridades europeas y de los gobiernos nacionales. Recordemos que el Sájarov lo concedemos los representantes de 500 millones de ciudadanos europeos, por lo que honrarlo debería ser un deber de la máxima importancia para los gobernantes.…  Seguir leyendo »

El mundo les falló a los niños en zonas de conflicto

Este Día de los Derechos Humanos (10 de diciembre) marca el 70.º aniversario de la aprobación en la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas de la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos. Lamentablemente, los acontecimientos de los últimos años muestran que el mundo no está cumpliendo los compromisos consagrados en ese documento, en particular en lo referido a la protección de los niños.

Por ejemplo, en partes del este de Ucrania controladas por separatistas, donde más de 200 000 niños van a la escuela en áreas militarizadas, hubo kindergartens cuyas ventanas fueron alcanzadas por disparos. También hay informes que señalan que en abril, la fuerza aérea afgana, con respaldo de asesores de la coalición de la OTAN liderada por Estados Unidos, mató a 36 estudiantes, profesores y padres, y provocó heridas a otros 71, en una ceremonia de graduación.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos (DUDH) cumple 70 años. Cabe preguntar si hay motivo suficiente para celebrarla, cuando somos conscientes de que las violaciones de los derechos que proclamó han sido cotidianas y masivas desde el día de su aprobación y que para muchos millones de seres humanos ese documento es poco más que retórica ajena a su vida real.

Debemos evitar sobre todo dos posiciones extremas, que hemos visto también con ocasión del 40º aniversario de la Constitución Española de 1978. De un lado, los exegetas que nos proponen una ceremonia cuasi religiosa, en torno a un dogma (la universalidad de los derechos humanos) recogido en un catecismo (DUDH), que tiene su iglesia (la ONU), sus sacerdotes (los funcionarios ONU) y misioneros (las ONG).…  Seguir leyendo »

El 10 de diciembre de 1948 la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas reunida en París aprobaba la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos. Fueron 48 de los entonces 55 miembros de la organización los que se pronunciaron a favor mientras que se abstenían la URSS y sus satélites del bloque socialista, Arabia Saudí y Sudáfrica. Con ello, la Asamblea General culminaba un trabajo comenzado por la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la ONU tres años antes, apenas nacida la institución, y sentaba las bases para el desarrollo de lo que la misma Carta de San Francisco había establecido en su preámbulo: «Nosotros, los pueblos de las Naciones Unidas, resueltos… a reafirmar la fe en los derechos fundamentales del hombre, en la dignidad y el valor de la persona humana, en la igualdad de los derechos de hombres y mujeres y de las naciones grandes y pequeñas…».…  Seguir leyendo »

In separate interviews over the past few days, two Russian officials — Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin — have indicated that Vladimir Putin’s government may be preparing to pull Russia out of the Council of Europe. If enacted, “Ruxit” — as the council’s secretary general, Thorbjørn Jagland, termed it — will mean much more than denying Russian citizens the protection of the European Convention on Human Rights and access to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. It will also be a continuation of Putin’s attempts to reorient Russia away from the very concept of Europe that is the antithesis to the current regime in the Kremlin.…  Seguir leyendo »

Depuis sa fondation en 1949, la République populaire de Chine a cherché à renforcer son contrôle sur les régions périphériques et historiquement non-chinoises, telles que le Tibet, et le cas moins médiatisé du Turkestan oriental.

Au cours des dernières décennies, pour asseoir son autorité, le régime chinois n’a pas hésité à recourir à divers moyens économiques, politiques, mais aussi à la force et à l’encouragement à l’installation – voire à l’envoi direct et programmé – de populations han (chinois ethniques) dans ces périphéries pour mieux les arrimer à son territoire national.

Dans ces régions qui possèdent langues, cultures et organisations sociales et politiques propres, le mécontentement vis-à-vis des politiques imposées par l’Etat chinois et le questionnement de la légitimité de son autorité se manifestent continuellement jusqu’à aujourd’hui.…  Seguir leyendo »

Newly displaced Syrian children arrive at a refugee camp in the village of Atimah, in Syria’s Idlib province, on Sept. 11. (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters)

Violent attacks by local populations against refugee populations are depressingly common across the globe. In August, demonstrators in the Brazilian border town of Pacaraima attacked refugees from neighboring Venezuela. The rioters destroyed a provisional refugee camp and forced an estimated 1,200 Venezuelans to flee back across the border.

Meanwhile, more than 1.5 million Venezuelans have been displaced to neighboring countries by the worsening crisis, and similar reports of violence by locals against the refugees abound.

And Syrian refugees have suffered extensive harassment in Lebanon, with deliberate efforts to clear refugees from specific areas, while many Rohingya from Myanmar have been targeted in India.…  Seguir leyendo »

Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images A farmers’ protest march in New Delhi, India, July 20, 2018

Last Thursday’s morning papers in India settled something that we have been debating for a while. A front-page report about the arrests of five political activists in The Indian Express read, “Those held part of anti-fascist plot to overthrow govt, Pune police tell court.” We should know by now that we are up against a regime that its own police calls fascist. In the India of today, to belong to a minority is a crime. To be murdered is a crime. To be lynched is a crime. To be poor is a crime. To defend the poor is to plot to overthrow the government.…  Seguir leyendo »

Algunas de las atrocidades han sido captadas en video. Credit Matthew F. Smith, Taimoor Sobhan y Japhet Weeks

Este documental de opinión revela imágenes impactantes que han recopilado los refugiados rohinyá sobre el genocidio que se lleva a cabo en Birmania.

La única manera en la que la comunidad internacional hará lo correcto es si los responsables son procesados por estos delitos y es sabido que Birmania no es ni capaz ni está dispuesta a asegurar que se haya justicia a nivel doméstico. La situación es justamente una de las razones por las cuales existe la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI).

El Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU no debe perder más tiempo; debe aprobar una resolución que refiera la situación birmana a la CPI y, ya que eso suceda, los procuradores podrán empezar a armar el caso.…  Seguir leyendo »

El 26 de julio de 2018 se organizó una manifestación en Managua para conmemorar los cien días de protestas ciudadanas contra el gobierno de Daniel Ortega en Nicaragua. Credit Marvin Recinos/AFP — Getty Images

El presidente Daniel Ortega logró imponer su voluntad y aplastar las protestas mediante el terror. Desde que los manifestantes levantaran barricadas en todo el país, lo que inicialmente era una represión brutal se transformó en una cacería indiscriminada. Policías y pandillas “parapoliciales” han detenido arbitrariamente, secuestrado y desaparecido a decenas de personas.

En la década de 1980, la comunidad internacional adoptó el término “desaparición forzada” para los casos en que las autoridades o grupos que actúan con su connivencia privan de libertad a una persona y se niegan a reconocer que fue detenida o a informar su paradero o destino. La definición legal se creó, en parte, como respuesta a las dictaduras militares que utilizaron secuestros masivos para sembrar el terror en Argentina y Chile.…  Seguir leyendo »

Andrei Sakharov in Moscow in 1973.CreditAssociated Press

Fifty years ago this Sunday, this paper devoted three broadsheet pages to an essay that had been circulating secretly in the Soviet Union for weeks. The manifesto, written by Andrei Sakharov, championed an essential idea at grave risk today: that those of us lucky enough to live in open societies should fight for the freedom of those born into closed ones. This radical argument changed the course of history.

Sakharov’s essay carried a mild title — “Thoughts on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom” — but it was explosive. “Freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of mankind by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorships,” he wrote.…  Seguir leyendo »