2014 Human Rights

Women and children

MDG  : A group of girls play in Beijing

A group of girls play in Beijing, China, where the constitution does not include a non-discrimination clause. Photograph: AP

Which countries have laws preventing violence against women? Which legislate for gender equality? And which countries allow abortion? To launch a new section on the Global development site, looking at women’s rights and gender equality, you can find World Bank and UN data to offer a snapshot of women’s rights around the world. Women’s hard-won rights are under pressure from reactionary policies. Working in partnership with two organisations – Mama Cash and Awid – from whom I also shall presenting new insights in the near future, the Guardian want their new section to offer a safe forum for debate and for sharing ideas, a place to that amplifies the voices of women’s rights advocates.

With some 1.8 million children in Ghana and the Ivory Coast toiling in the chocolate industry, where they may be exposed to the worst forms of child labour, including hazardous work and slavery, we as consumers have the right to know.But watching a revisit of a channel 4 crew, once more proof was given that the labels on the packing are not always a guaranty that everything is all-right and that the children their rights are respected.

G8 New Alliance, British overseas aid and cervical cancer in Kenya: A special report on the G8 initiative, UK spends aid money at home, and Kenyan girls offered cervical cancer vaccine.

A farmer harvest maize in western Kenya

Will the G8 New Alliance lift Africa’s small farmers out of poverty, or will it – as some claim – prove to be a new form of colonialism? Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

In 2012, the G8 launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition with the aim of boosting agricultural production and improving the lives of millions of farmers. Ten countries have signed up to the initiative, but is it good news for farmers.

In the special report on the New Alliance, the Guardian examines why it has been described as a new form of colonialism in Africa, explore the promises governments have made and discuss how donors increasingly look to the private sector to fund business development initiatives on the continent. They also look in more detail at plans for Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania.

Plantations

Plantations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast together supply 70 percent of the world’s cocoa. For years, these farms have used child slaves, who work 12 hours a day. They cut cocoa pods from trees with heavy machetes, slice the pods open, scoop out the beans, and put them in the sun to dry. Then they stuff the beans into bags and load them onto trucks bound for the United States and Europe. Children are not paid, they are cut off from their families, and when they don’t work fast enough, they are beaten.

The so called schools that had to be build were after 3 years still under construction and the weeds growing everywhere. Of all the promises being made nothing came through.

Gender issues

In Nigeria a law was signed early 2014 against same-sex couples and “public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly” and against the organising, operating or supporting gay clubs, organisations and meetings.

It’s outrageous that today, a person can be fired in 28 states solely for being gay or lesbian, but in the so called “modern country” United States of America this was still the issue in 2014. Democrats in the Senate advanced a bill that would bar LGBT discrimination in the workplace nationally for the first time. This bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), is a huge step forward for equal rights. But Republicans in the House were threatening to block it, and Speaker Boehner came out strongly against it.

Information issues

In September an Advisory Council to Google was convening in Madrid and Rome to discuss how one person’s right to be forgotten should be balanced with the public’s right to information. Throughout the fall there were a series of meetings taking place across Europe about ‘information sharing’ by social media companies but also by company chains. In Belgium it was decided supermarkets and other companies where people had a customer card should be informed yearly of the information gathered by that company (private information, custom attitudes).

In response to reports of NSA mass surveillance, Fight for the Future called for increased privacy protections on the internet to decrease the efficiency of surveillance efforts.

After the House of Representatives passed a loophole-filled reform bill, Google joined some of the biggest Internet companies in the world by signing a letter to Congress in favour of meaningful government surveillance reform. Members of the Take Action community got the word out.

In May, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that European law gives people the right to ask search engines like Google to remove results for queries that include their name. The organization participated in a day of action on June 5, 2014 to protest NSA surveillance. Reset the Net was a global rallying cry that asked people to take back control of their own privacy through tools and education. Google did its part by announcing a Chrome extension to improve end-to-end encryption.

At the end of 2014, surveillance reform came very close to passing in the U.S. Congress. The Take Action community helped convince the Senate to close the loopholes in the House’s legislation. The revised version came just two votes short of moving forward in the Senate.

A key part of the USA Patriot Act — one which has been used to justify some of the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden — is set to expire in June of 2015.

In April a new SOPA-like Internet Censorship scheme through a secretive international agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was made up to censor the Internet and strip away users’ rights.[1] If finalized, it would force ISPs to act as “Internet Police” that will monitor our Internet use, censor content, and even remove entire websites.[2 ]
Together we grabbed the attention of decision-makers by projecting a Stop The Secrecy petition number on key buildings in Washington D.C. Now we need you to amplify our action by making it go viral online. Congress Member Ron Wyden, who leads U.S. trade legislation, has just joined with us to stand against TPP Secrecy!  We haven’t won yet so after you sign the petition please share the projection image below with everyone you know.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) = censorship on Internet + and removal of democratic rights

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) = censorship on Internet + and removal of democratic rights

The TPP is huge: It covers 40% of the global economy and will overwrite national laws affecting people around the world.3

The worst of the TPP threatens everything we care about: democracy, jobs, health, the environment, and the Internet.  That’s why industry lobbyists are forcing decision-makers to meet under extreme secrecy and pushing ‘Fast Track’ laws to cement the plan into place.

This is no way to make decisions in the 21st century. Every voice added now will make the Stop The Secrecy petition makes our call louder and stronger.

Please add your voice to help us build one of the largest online campaigns the world has ever seen.

[1] Find more information on Internet censorship in the TPP from OurFairDeal.org and here. Also see “TPP Creates Legal Incentives For ISPs To Police The Internet. What Is At Risk?” Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation.

[2] Leaked drafts of the Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, Source: Wikileaks. Background on several issues pertaining to the TPP can be found on the Expose The TPP website and in our resources page.

[3] U.S. “Bullying” TPP Negotiators Amid Failure to Agree. Source: Inter Press Service News Agency. *Note: The U.S. and the E.U. are already discussing a similar secretive agreement called “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)”. Once the TPP is finalized there will be pressure to harmonize and extend its provisions to TTIP — meaning the E.U. There are also reports of many others countries being added to the TPP once it is finalized.

Race discrimination

The United States did not mind to show the rest of the world there is still not equality for those who have a different skin. The first black American president is the sum-mum of the boycott for coloured people in the 21st century. Everything he presents is laughed away by the white conservatives, who also do not want to see how black people are still treated discriminatory and are still not able to walk freely on the streets like any other white American.

Already in 2011 I pointed out that there was too much impermissible police brutality in the U.S.A.. After all the brutal and unlawful killings of 2014 no wonder that protesters in several places went against the local police. In St. Louis the doors of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department were charged, leading to several arrests.

Eric Garner facebook.jpg

2014 Facebook profile photo of Eric Garner

Strange that still a lot of Americans do not want to recognise that certain actions taken on by police and investigation bureaus can not be accepted in a democratic civil country. The world could see, without a shame on the face of the Americans, how people were bullied on the streets and how black people did find their death in an incredible way. No wonder they got a fury over the deaths of the 18-year-old black surrendering Michael Brown in Ferguson and the a chokehold Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York. Those homicides left unpunished perhaps fused a new age of protest.

In Europe we could see that from the days of Martin Luther King those states still have to go a long way. Again several groups had to make old demands in new ways: for police accountability, for an end to mass incarceration, for racial and economic justice.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a rebuke of America’s “racist, inhumane crackdown on blacks,” with spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham asking that the U.S.

“show respect for human rights and set aside its politically-tainted view on the issue.”

Beyond the pale, Torture in name of the good cause

In 2014, a report by Brazil’s National Truth Commission asserted (in a 2,000 pages report) that the United States government was involved in teaching torture techniques to the Brazilian military government of 1964-85. According to O Globo, the National Truth Commission (CNV) report documents how more than 300 members of the Brazilian military spent time at the School of the Americas, run out of Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia. While there, attendees “had theoretical and practical lessons on torture, which would later be replicated in Brazil.”
The U.S. role in teaching harsh techniques to the pro-American, anti-Communist dictatorships that flourished in Latin America first came to light as the Cold War ended and those regimes began to crumble. A Pentagon manual from the 1980s revealed in 1996 showed that the American instructors “recommended interrogation techniques like torture, execution, blackmail and arresting the relatives of those being questioned.” It was only through the U.S.’s release of such documents that the CNV was able to reach its conclusions as the “Army refused to cooperate and the Navy and the Air Force submitted incomplete responses” to their questions.
The same commission also identified the participation of 337 agents of Brazilian government involved in human rights violations, including arbitrary prisons, forced disappearings, torture and subsequent death of political opponents to the dictatorship in Brazil.

At several places in the world the North Americans did not mind in the aftermath of 9/11, to repeatedly violate both international and domestic prohibitions on torture and CID in the name of fighting terrorism. For years US officials, pointing to Department of Justice memorandums authorizing the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects in US custody, denied that they constituted torture. But many clearly do: International bodies and US courts have repeatedly found that “waterboarding” and other forms of mock execution by asphyxiation constitute torture and are war crimes, other by the State authorized techniques, including stress positions, hooding during questioning, deprivation of light and auditory stimuli, and use of detainees’ individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress, violate the protections afforded all persons in custody – whether combatants or civilians – under the laws of armed conflict and international human rights law, and can amount to torture or “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment”.

 One of the images that show alleged abuses of prisoners by soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq Photo: AP


One of the images that show alleged abuses of prisoners by soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq Photo: AP

    * The Bush Administration decided the Geneva Conventions would not apply to detainees held in Guantánamo Bay (a decision later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court) Article III of the Geneva Convention
* The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel produced a series of “torture memos,” which mutilated the law so as to restrict the definition of CID and to make certain torture practices seem legal under U.S. law;
* U.S. interrogations of suspects in the “war on terror” have included such cruel and inhuman techniques as prolonged isolation and sleep deprivation, intimidation by the use of a dog, sexual and other humiliation, stripping, hooding, the use of loud music, white noise, and exposure to extreme temperatures;
* The CIA used waterboarding – illegal as torture under international and U.S. law – to interrogate three “high-value” detainees;
* The U.S. began to send detainees for interrogation to countries known to use torture;
* President Bush admitted that several high-level officials in his Administration met secretly to authorize specific interrogation methods otherwise prohibited.

 The former US vice-president Dick Cheney has defended the CIA torture programme as ‘absolutely, totally justified’. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

The former US vice-president Dick Cheney has defended the CIA torture programme as ‘absolutely, totally justified’. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Numerous instances of torture and CID by U.S. personnel – confirmed by U.S. officials who took part in or witnessed these events – have been fed by a climate of impunity and the failure of either the executive branch or Congress to conduct a comprehensive, impartial, and independent investigation into detention policies and practices.

This has had a corrosive effect on respect for human rights around the world. The U.S. has lost influence over the behaviour of other governments. U.S. misconduct has encouraged others to feel they have license to violate international law. And these practices make U.S. citizens vulnerable to abusive treatment when they are abroad.

Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, speaking on the Senate floor after releasing the report, said the techniques in some cases amounted to torture and that

“the CIA’s actions, a decade ago, are a stain on our values, and on our history.”

The U.N.’s special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson, said the report revealed a

“clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration” and called for prosecution of U.S. officials.

Civil rights advocates also called for accountability.

“Unless this important truth-telling process leads to prosecution of the officials responsible, torture will remain a ‘policy option’ for future presidents,”

said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch in New York.

Immigration

President Obama has cooled on commitments made during the 2008 election to pursue criminal investigations. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President Obama has cooled on commitments made during the 2008 election to pursue criminal investigations. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The Obama administration floated an amnesty for young illegal immigrants, preventing the removal of people who would have benefited from the Dream Act — which Congress pointedly refused to pass — by executive fiat. Tens of thousands of teenagers and families from Central America came across the border, including unaccompanied minors.

Non-Belgians from 2014 onwards can be banned from entering Belgium. Syria fighters will lose any benefit they receive as an asylum seeker or refugee. Residence permits will be cancelled too.

Terrorism

The Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, founded 12 years ago by Mohammed Yusuf, a charismatic cleric who called for a pure Islamic state in Nigeria, like ISIS present themselves as real Muslims working for Allah. They want all people to come to Muslim faith but do not mind terrorising other Islamic groups? We only could see that they caused havoc in Africa’s most populous country through a wave of bombings, assassinations and now abductions. They also gave the world the impression they are more interested in fighting to overthrow the government than to bring people to a “true faith” and to have good reasons to create a peaceful Islamic state, with the idea that:

“Anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors”.

Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram - which has caused havoc in Africa's most populous country through a wave of bombings, assassinations and now abductions - is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram – which has caused havoc in Africa’s most populous country through a wave of bombings, assassinations and now abductions – is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

Contrary to what is written in the Quoran/Qu’ran or Koran they find it all right to capture little girls rape them and to sell them as sex slaves. In April an estimated 276 girls and women were abducted and held hostage from a school in Nigeria. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2014 claimed that Boko Haram attacks have left at least 12,000 people dead and 8,000 people crippled. In October 2014 the extremists loaded on to motorbikes, pick-up trucks and tanks, and made a sudden and unexpected strike southwards. They sped down from Borno state, the epicentre of a five-year conflict that has displaced more than 1m people in Nigeria’s remote and impoverished north-east, where the group is fighting to carve out an Islamic caliphate.

Protesters call on the government to rescue the kidnapped school girls in Lagos - 1 May 2014

The Chibok abductions caused outrage across Nigeria – Protesters call on the government to rescue the kidnapped school girls in Lagos – 1 May 2014 – BBC Photo

More than 10,000 people have died in violence linked to Boko Haram in the past year. Car bombings, ambushes and raids similar to the one on Mubi occur on a near daily basis. Earlier last year, Boko Haram gained international notoriety when it kidnapped 276 girls from their school dormitory.

The UN refugee agency on Tuesday 2015 January 6 reported that war in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere had uprooted an estimated 5.5 million people during the first six months of 2014, signalling a further rise in the number of people forcibly displaced.

UNHCR’s new “Mid-Year Trends 2014” report shows that of the 5.5 million who were newly displaced, 1.4 million fled across international borders becoming refugees, while the rest were displaced within their own countries. Taking into account existing displaced populations, data revisions, voluntary returns and resettlement, the number of people being helped by UNHCR stood at 46.3 million as of mid-2014 some 3.4 million more than at the end of 2013 and a record high.

Among the report’s main findings are that Syrians, for the first time, have become the largest refugee population under UNHCR’s mandate (Palestinians in the Middle East fall under the care of the UN Relief and Works Agency), overtaking Afghans, who had held that position for more than three decades. At more than 3 million as of June 2014, Syrian refugees now account for 23 per cent of all refugees being helped by UNHCR worldwide.

Syrians, for the first time, have become the largest refugee population under UNHCR's mandate.

Syrians, for the first time, have become the largest refugee population under UNHCR’s mandate.

An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, taking refuge in neighbouring countries or within Syria itself. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 3 million have fled to Syria’s immediate neighbours Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria. Meanwhile, under 150,000 Syrians have declared asylum in the European Union, while member states have pledged to resettle a further 33,000 Syrians. The vast majority of these resettlement spots – 28,500 or 85% – are pledged by Germany.

Despite dropping to second place, the 2.7 million Afghan refugees worldwide remain the largest protracted (at least five years) refugee population under UNHCR care. After Syria and Afghanistan, the leading countries of origin of refugees are Somalia (1.1 million), Sudan (670,000), South Sudan (509,000), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (493,000), Myanmar (480,000) and Iraq (426,000).

Pakistan, which hosts 1.6 million Afghan refugees, remains the biggest host country in absolute terms. Other countries with large refugee populations are Lebanon (1.1 million), Iran (982,000), Turkey (824,000), Jordan (737,000), Ethiopia (588,000), Kenya (537,000) and Chad (455,000).

By comparing the number of refugees to the size of a country’s population or economy, UNHCR’s report puts the contribution made by host nations into context: Relative to the sizes of their populations Lebanon and Jordan host the largest number of refugees, while relative to the sizes of their economies the burdens carried by Ethiopia and Pakistan are greatest.

In all, the number of refugees under UNHCR’s mandate reached 13 million by mid-year, the highest since 1996, while the total number of internally displaced people protected or assisted by the agency reached a new high of 26 million. As UNHCR only provides help for the internally displaced in countries where governments request its involvement, this figure does not include all internally displaced people worldwide.

“In 2014 we have seen the number of people under our care grow to unprecedented levels. As long as the international community continues to fail to find political solutions to existing conflicts and to prevent new ones from starting, we will continue to have to deal with the dramatic humanitarian consequences,”

said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

“The economic, social and human cost of caring for refugees and the internally displaced is being borne mostly by poor communities, those who are least able to afford it. Enhanced international solidarity is a must if we want to avoid the risk of more and more vulnerable people being left without proper support.”

Another major finding in the report is the shift in the regional distribution of refugee populations. Until last year, the region hosting the largest refugee population was Asia and the Pacific. As a result of the crisis in Syria, the Middle East and North Africa have now become the regions hosting the largest number of refugees.

Before the end came to a close a resolution by the UN Security Council fell one vote short of the nine needed to pass, receiving eight Yes votes, two No votes and five abstentions. As such a Jordanian resolution demanding an end to Israel’s occupation of land seized in the 1967 Six day war and the creation of a Palestinian state was rejected and could set the stage again for an escalation of the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

Hanan Ashrawi said:

“The UN Security Council vote is outrageously shameful. It is ironic that while the United Nations designated 2014 as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the resolution failed to pass as an indication of a failure of will by some members of the international community.”

In the frame of the European resettlement programme, Belgium had committed to proceed with the resettlement of 100 refugees on its territory in 2014 after the CGRS and Fedasil had organised a meeting in December 2013 bringing together the resettlement programme’s different stakeholders.

Syrian refugees queue for relief items - © UHNCR

The office of the State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Maggie De Block presented the objectives for the coming year. As for 2013, the Belgian government has committed to the resettlement of 100 refugees on its territory in 2014. The objective is to increase this number every two years in order to reach 250 refugees in 2020.

Since the start of the crisis in Syria, the UNHCR has been calling for help for Syrian refugees. For some of them, resettlement or the humanitarian admission to a third country is the only solution. This concerns women and children in danger, people who have been victims of violence or torture, refugees requiring medical assistance, etc. To date, more than fifteen states, inclusive Belgium, have responded to the UNHCR’s request with a view to the resettlement of Syrian refugees fitting this profile. The refugee groups have been defined on the basis of the priorities of the UNHCR and the European Union. On the basis of these criteria, in 2014, Belgium has decided to resettle 70 Syrians fleeing the fighting in Syria and 30 Congolese refugees from the Great Lakes region.

The first group of refugees as part of the Belgian resettlement program 2014 arrived in Belgium last autumn. The group consisted of 75 Syrians who fled to Turkey, to escape from the acts of war.

A CGRS delegation went to Ankara, Turkey on the 31stof August. The team consisted of two protection officers specialized in Syria and the region, as well as a mission coordinator.

In total, the group consists of some 20 families and a dozen single people who have been presented to Belgium by UNHCR. Almost half of them (40%) are younger than 18. All of these refugees live in an urban environment, mostly in Istanbul. They all have a story of their own, but they all have in common that they are very vulnerable and they have suffered severely from the Syrian conflict. Many of them have lost family members. The CGRS team has interviewed all the adult refugees. During the mission, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also performed a medical examination on these people.

Approximately 1 million Syrian refugees are living in Turkey at present. Less than one third lives in one of the 21 refugee camps. The rest lives all over Turkey, sometimes in very awkward conditions. In addition to the Syrian refugees, Turkey recently was confronted with a new influx of refugees due to the crisis in Iraq.

The CGRS is now finishing off the selection. Fedasil will then organise a Cultural Orientation mission, during which the refugees are prepared for their future life in Belgium.

In a press release issued on 19 November 2014, Theo Francken, State Secretary for Asylum and Migration, confirmed his intention to double the number of places for the resettlement of vulnerable refugees from Syria and Iraq.

The previous federal government had established the quota for 2015 to be 150 refugees. This was already 50 more than in the two previous years. But as a result of the lasting conflict in Syria and Iraq and the increasing flow of refugees from both countries, the number for 2015 will hence be doubled. Furthermore, of these 300 places, 225 will be reserved for Syrians and Iraqis.

Francken:

“They fled their own country for fear of persecution, for instance because of their religious beliefs, their ethnic roots, or because of a civil war, without any prospects of a permanent return to their homes. The announced doubling of the number of ‘resettlers’ is a direct response to an urgent appeal from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to the Western countries to offer more places for resettlement.”

During the selection of 150 additional refugees, the UN refugee organisation UNHCR will pay special attention to religious and ethnic minorities from Syria and Iraq, including Yezidi or Yazidis and Christians. Francken:

“The Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons will organize a mission of recognition to examine whether the refugees meet all the necessary criteria for resettlement. Next, Fedasil will arrange their accommodation and assistance in Belgium. That way they receive shelter, as well as psychological and employment counselling.”

After Centuries of Persecution, Yazidis Advocate Final Exodus From Iraq - 2014

After Centuries of Persecution, Yazidis Advocate Final Exodus From Iraq – 2014

Convictions

At last the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in Cambodia, formed in 1968 as an offshoot of the Vietnam People’s Army from North Vietnam, the Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are found guilty of crimes against humanity and were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), commonly known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. It was the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen, and Khieu Samphan. Democratic Kampuchea was the name of the state as controlled by the government of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979. It allied with North Vietnam, the Viet Cong, and Pathet Lao during the Vietnam War against the anti-Communist forces.

In November the European Court of Human Rights has ordered Belgium to make out an € 11,000 payment to four convicted criminals who have been sentenced to twenty years in jail by Belgian courts of assizes.
The European judges ruled that the Belgian judges had violated the convention for failing to provide any motivation. Belgium has meanwhile changed the court procedure to ensure that convictions are motivated in such cases.

The former Equal Opportunities Minister Joëlle Milquet (Madame Non) convinced lawmakers to legislate in favour of anti-sexism legislation. The law went on the statutes during the tail end of the last parliament, but out in the real world not everybody agrees what is and what is not sexist behaviour. In order to provide a helping hand the Belgian Institute for the Equality of Women and Men has drawn up a handy ‘Anti-sexism Guidebook‘.

ONE Youth Ambassadors campaigning

Youth Ambassadors ONE VOTE 2014 campaign.

More than 100 Youth Ambassadors converge on the European Parliament in Brussels to lobby MEPs as part of the ONE VOTE 2014 campaign. Photo: ONE

391 of 751 Members of the European Parliament have signed the One Vote 2014 pledge. ONE Youth Ambassadors are a dedicated team of volunteers who electrify ONE’s campaigns across Europe. They lobby decision makers, work with the media to raise the profile of their campaigns, and encourage the public to sign their petitions through online activity and local events.

ONE is an international campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 6 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa… because the facts show extreme poverty has already been cut by 60% and can be virtually eliminated by 2030, but only if we act with urgency now.

Cofounded by Bono, they raise public awareness and work with political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency so governments are accountable to their citizens. ONE does not raise money itself to build schools, hospitals and the like, but does its work by advocacy and campaigning so that government funds continue to flow to programs that make a difference in people’s lives. ONE works closely with African activists and policy-makers as they fight corruption, promote poverty-fighting priorities, monitor the use of aid, and help build civil society and economic development. ONE’s work is strictly politically non-partisan.

ONE is funded almost entirely by foundations, individual philanthropists and corporations. They achieve change through advocacy, having teams in Washington, D.C., New York, London, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin and Paris educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives.

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Preceding reviews of 2014:

My blogs 2014 in review
2014 Politics in the United States of America
2014 Politics all over the world

Next: 2014 Health and welfare

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  1. Christian Association of Nigeria in dispute
  2. 850 Calorie Challenge
  3. Millions of pounds of overseas aid money spent in Britain
  4. Kenyan girls get cervical cancer vaccine, but women’s wait for treatment goes on
  5. Eritreans in Britain forced by embassy to pay 2% diaspora tax
  6. Typhoon Haiyan: feud hampers reconstruction of Tacloban
  7. Big gains made on women’s health, but access still unequal, says
  8. World Cup 2014 – is Brazil’s sex industry crackdown a threat to human rights?
  9. The U.S. Spent Decades Teaching Torture Techniques To Brazil
  10. Remembering military repression
  11. Brazil truth commission: Abuse ‘rife’ under military rule
  12. Victims revisit Brazil’s torture cells Watch
  13. Moment of truth
  14. Brazil president weeps as she unveils report on military dictatorship’s abuses
  15. Brazil’s Torture Truth Commission Report Published in Full
  16. USA and Torture: A History of Hypocrisy
  17. The next torture report: photographs show US troops abusing and sexually humiliating prisoners
  18. CIA tortured, misled, U.S. report finds, drawing calls for action
  19. The Torture Report Diary
  20. “The Torture Report” Book Now Available in Print and Online
  21. Ten Questions: #8
  22. Ten Questions: #9
  23. CIA report: ‘Torture is a crime and those responsible must be brought to justice’
  24. Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists?
  25. Profile: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau
  26. Boko Haram in the World News by The Guardian
  27. How Boko Haram Captured Missing Nigerian Schoolgirls’ Hometown (video)
  28. Why Nigeria has not defeated Boko Haram
  29. Boko Haram: A bloody insurgency, a growing challenge
  30. Jihadist groups around the world
  31. Boko Haram insurgency creates humanitarian crisis in Nigeria
  32. Boko Haram victim: ‘we heard the gunshots closer and closer’ – video
  33. War stokes further growth in forced displacement in first half 2014
  34. Syrian Refugees A snapshot of the crisis – in the middle east and europe
  35. Syria Regional Refugee Response
  36. Resettlement in Belgium in 2014
  37. Belgium plans to resettle 300 refugees in 2015
  38. Who are the Yazidis and why is Isis hunting them?
  39. Who Are the Yazidis, the Ancient, Persecuted Religious Minority Struggling to Survive in Iraq?
  40. Meet Iraq’s secretive, persecuted sect under siege by militants from ISIS
  41. The Yazidis, a People Who Fled
  42. Iraq: The Other Kurds: Yazidis in Colonial Iraq
  43. Persecution of Yazidis by ISIL
  44. After Centuries of Persecution, Yazidis Advocate Final Exodus From Iraq
  45. ‘In Iraq, there is no peace for Yazidis’
  46. US intensifies efforts to rescue stranded Yazidi refugees
  47. Iraq’s Yazidis in danger
  48. Trapped Yazidis Face Death
  49. Kurds rescue Yazidis from Iraqi mountain
  50. Yazidi community under attack — again
  51. Exclusive: Iraq says Islamic State killed 500 Yazidis, buried some victims alive
  52. UN Security Council rejects resolution on Palestinian statehood
  53. China, Russia And Iran Lecture The US On Human Rights
  54. Sexist behaviour to be pubishable by law in Belgium
  55. Inequality, Injustice, Sustainability and the Free World Charter
  56. Expanding opportunities for more American families
  57. Having to wear a coat inside the house against the cold, as a college graduate, is a sign for society
  58. Call to raise the wage
  59. Accents in schools and tools of survival against aliens
  60. Solving the pay equity problem: Not that easy
  61. Inequality, Injustice, Sustainability and the Free World Charter
  62. Let’s Talk Happiness
  63. Standing aside or looking at election days
  64. Transparency is the key to credibility for the EU
  65. Judges set from human rights ruling on Serbian prison revolt abuse allegations
  66. Caliphs and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government
  67. ISIS, Mosul Dam and threatening lives of those who want to live in freedom
  68. Inequality, Injustice, Sustainability and the Free World Charter
  69. Russian take-over of Crimea
  70. Ghana struggling to translate oil money into development gains
  71. Sexual slavery in Mexico – a pimp tells his story
  72. Needs of least developed countries in danger of being sidelined
  73. Empowering girls is about rights, not just economics

+++

  • Chinese Persecution of Christians on the Rise During Holidays (thenewamerican.com)
    In China, where religious liberty has been under attack since the communist takeover in 1949, persecution of Christians has escalated over recent months. Communist Chinese authorities have destroyed churches and religious symbols and arrested Christian leaders and laity in recent crackdowns against those groups regarded by Beijing as “cults.”
  • Christians in China Outnumber the Communists (teapartyeconomist.com)
    Although at least on paper the People’s Republic of China recognizes freedom of religion since 1978, party members are explicitly forbidden to believe in any religion. In 2011, Zhu Weiqun, executive vice minister of the United Front Work Department, wrote, “Party members shall not believe in religion, which is a principle to be unswervingly adhered to.”
  • Beijing’s “Airpocalypse” Offers Dismal View of Life in Megacities (triplepundit.com)
    The Chinese capital’s “airpocalypse” offers a dismal view of what may well lie ahead for those living in mega-cities around the world. In his Dec. 16 report, Wainwright also reveals the extraordinary degree to which pollution is affecting residents’ lives and the built environment, as well as offering examples of the incredibly extreme, outrageous and outrageously expensive solutions being proposed by scientists, engineers and urban planners.
  • Debunking three myths about anti-Christian violence… (cruxnow.com)
    At the end of every December, the Vatican’s missionary agency Fides puts out a list of Catholic pastoral workers killed in the line of duty during the past year. It’s not a complete index of anti-Christian violence, just clergy and laity murdered while working full-time for the Catholic Church.

    For 2014, the agency lists 26 such victims, including 17 priests, one religious brother, six nuns, one seminarian, and one lay catechist. Latin America was the most dangerous zone, accounting for 11 deaths, followed by Africa with 7.

  • 10 Dirty Secrets Of The Catholic Church (listverse.com)
    Between the late ’30s and early ’60s, the Catholic Church shipped at least 1,000 British and 310 Maltese children to Catholic schools in Australia, where many were forced to do construction work or other hard labor.

    In addition to forced labor, subsequent inquiries have found that many of the migrant children in the Church’s care were brutally beaten, raped, and starved—some children were made to “scramble for food thrown on the floor” to survive. Many of the children were stripped of their birth name. Decades later, in 2001, the Catholic Church in Australia confirmed the crimes committed and issued an apology.

  • OPINION: Action (Wo)Man (musingsofamildmanneredman.com)
    Boots previously displayed science toys for boys and ‘domestic games’ or Tea Sets for girls. Clearly boys or men do not drink tea and girls cannot be expected to understand the science behind every day things? It is not only sexist, it is socially damaging.

    Segregating toys by gender, and denying children the chance to develop their interests, damages formative education and perpetuates gendered constructs into later learning. The World Bank’s 2012 report on Gender Equality and Development argues that it is “stereotypes within the education system, norms governing gender roles in the household that constrain a woman’s choice of occupation.” Indeed, early learning impacts educational and academic choices and leads to limited talent pools for ‘atypical’ occupations.

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About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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11 Responses to 2014 Human Rights

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