Human Rights

Regional News • Europe
Bosnia: Fire breaks out in migrant camp

A huge fire has broken out in a temporary migrant camp in northern Bosnia, near the Croatian border. 1,200 people have been living under "seriously substandard conditions" in the camp since this summer. Thick black smoke has been seen rising from the camp.

The fire was allegedly started by residents who set a tent alight, IOMs Peter Van der Auweraert said.

Regional News • World
Karima Baloch, Pakistani human rights activist, found dead in Canada - foul play not ruled out
Karima Baloch, Pakistani human rights activist, found dead in Canada - foul play not ruled out
Credit: @KarimaBaloch via Twitter

The body of 37-year-old Karima Baloch, a Pakistani human rights activist, was found in Toronto, Canada, where she lived for the past five years in exile. Baloch was a critic of the Pakistani military and state and was granted asylum in Canada in 2016 after being threatened by Pakistani authorities.

Police said there were "not believed to be any suspicious circumstances", but her husband, Pakistani activist Hammal Haider, reported that she had received threats prior to her death and that he didn't believe that her death was "an act of suicide".

"I can’t believe that it’s an act of suicide. She was a strong lady, and she left home in a good mood. We can’t rule out foul play as she has been under threats. She left Pakistan as her home was raided more than twice. Her uncle was killed. She was threatened to leave activism and political activities, but she did not and fled to Canada," so her husband.

Regional News • Asia • China
Report: Hundreds of Thousands of Uyghurs Forcibly Used in Cotton Harvesting
Report: Hundreds of Thousands of Uyghurs Forcibly Used in Cotton Harvesting
Credit: / Trisha Downing

Hundreds of thousands of members of ethnic minorities are being forced to work in cotton fields in China's Xinjiang province, according to a report. In 2018, at least 570,000 people were reportedly forced to harvest cotton in three Uyghur-majority regions in Xinjiang as part of a government forced labor program, the Center For Global Policy report said Monday, citing government documents.

Diversity & Inclusion
Discriminated gay soldiers in Germany to be rehabilitated and compensated

Until the year 2000, soldiers of the German armed forces were discriminated against because of their homosexuality. The Cabinet has decided to rehabilitate the soldiers involved. Convictions of the military courts are to be overturned and compensation paid, confirmed the federal government on Wednesday the 25th.

Human dignity more important than freedom of speech, German Federal Constitutional Court rules
Human dignity more important than freedom of speech, German Federal Constitutional Court rules
Credit: Asmodea Oaktree / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In a case about a lay-off because of a racist slur during a works council meeting, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled, that an insult, which is not only offensive but "fundamentally degrading" is not covered by the freedom of speech, because it infringes the human dignity, which is the highest principle of the German constitution.

Regional News • Middle East
Islamic laws get less priority in United Arab Emirates in exchange for personal freedoms
Islamic laws get less priority in United Arab Emirates in exchange for personal freedoms
Credit: / Ainur Kamaev

With newly announced reform plans the United Arab Emirates aim to boost the country’s economic and social standing and “consolidate the UAE’s principles of tolerance,” according to the state-run WAM news agency.

As of now, it's unclear how the new regulations will put into law, but according to the report they aim to "protect women’s rights," and get rid of laws defending "honor crimes".

Regional News • Asia • India
Amnesty International to halt operations in India
Amnesty International Logo
Amnesty International Logo Credit: Amnesty International

Amnesty International said Tuesday it is halting work in India due to a "continuing crackdown" and "harassment" by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The human rights watchdog said the bank account of its India branch has been frozen by the right-wing government.

In a statement, Avinash Kumar, Executive Director of the organization, said: "The continuing crackdown on Amnesty International India over the last two years and the complete freezing of bank accounts is not accidental."

Regional News • Asia • China
Report: New detention camps for Uighur in China detected - number 40% higher than estimated

According to a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute China has 380 facilities in the Xinjiang region that are suspected to serve as detention centers for the Uighur minority in China.

The number is around 40% higher than previously estimated and contradicts claims by China that the system that they claim is for "re-education" is being scaled back.

Regional News • Asia
Zara Alvarez, human rights leader, killed in Philippine
Zara Alvarez, human rights leader, killed in Philippine
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

The human rights leader Zara Alvarez was killed Monday evening after being shot six times as she was heading home after buying food for dinner. Alvarez is the 13th member of the Karapatan organisation to be killed since President Rodrigo Duterte election in 2016.

Zara Alvarez, former education director of the human rights alliance Karapatan, was a well-known human rights defender who received repeated threats and was subjected to harassment as a result of her human rights work.

In a statement, the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), strongly condemned the killing of Alvarez. “The death of even one human rights defender is way too many...We demand justice for Zara along with other human rights defenders who have been victims of extrajudicial killings,” APWLD stated.

Regional News • Asia • China
NGO urges governments to take China to court over repression of Uighurs

Human Rights Watch estimates one million Uighurs were detained without any judicial process, solely based on their ethnic origin and religion. In the "political education" camps, the NGO members discovered and documented practices of torture, denial of access to basic health care, denial of the right to practice their religion, and forced political education.

A possible genocide by the Chinese government against the Uighur community is being discussed today since forced sterilization or contraception is considered a crime under international law.

Sending China to the International Criminal Court is not possible because China has refused to sign the ICC Statute. The International Court of Justice could be the right approach, says the NGO, but as it is a state-to-state process, a government would have to be willing to take China to court.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany criminalizes upskirting and pictures of accident victims
Bundestag plenar hall
Bundestag plenar hall Credit: Andreas Praefcke (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The German parliament Bundestag has criminalized taking nonconsensual pictures under skirts or dresses. Under current legislation, it hadn't been illegal in most cases while under new legislations the perpetrators can be sentenced to up to two years of prison time. The same penalties will be applied to taking pictures and photographs of deceased accident victims as the current legislation only protected survivors.