Showing posts with label International Human Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Human Rights. Show all posts

October 23, 2019

Ukranian Journalist Held By Russia Separatists and Sentenced to 15 Yrs. in Penal Colony


I was thinking since VP Pence Likes to Visit Ukraine why would he not talk to the Russians about releasing this journalist. Maybe Giuliani would make a trip not to make money but for the good of someone which Im sure he does not remember how to do, but we can give him advice. Adam
Stanislav Aseyev -- shown here on Russian TV -- was abducted by Russia-backed separatists in the Donetsk region on June 2, 2017.
                    





A court established by Russia-backed separatists who hold parts of eastern Ukraine has sentenced journalist Stanislav Aseyev, an RFE/RL contributor, to 15 years in a penal colony.
In a ruling condemned as "reprehensible" by RFE/RL's president, separatist news outlet DAN reported on October 22 that the court had found Aseyev guilty of espionage, extremism, and public calls to violate the territory's integrity.
Aseyev, who wrote under the pen name Stanislav Vasin, disappeared in Ukraine's Donetsk region on June 2, 2017, and has been held in detention since by the separatists.
WATCH: After Two Years, Journalist Aseyev Remains Captive In Donbas (published in May 2019)


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"The conviction against Stanislav Aseyev, which dates from August but was made public only today, is reprehensible," said RFE/RL President Jamie Fly.

"Stas is a journalist and was only trying to raise awareness about the situation in eastern Ukraine. The ruling is an attempt by Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk to silence his powerful, independent voice. Stas should be released immediately," Fly added.

The 30-year-old journalist was one of the few reporters in Donetsk who continued to work in the city after it came under the control of the separatists.
Representatives of the separatists accused Aseyev of observing the deployment sites of their paramilitary groups and passing on the information to the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), according to the news outlet Hromadske.

In August 2018, the bipartisan U.S. Congressional Press Freedom Caucus called for Aseyev's immediate release, describing him as "one of the few independent journalists to remain in the region under separatist control to provide objective reporting."
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (Republican-Florida) also called for Aseyev's release in July.

Media rights group Reporters Without Borders has also voiced concern about Aseyev's treatment, which it has called "increasingly disturbing."

RFE/RL has also urged the release of Ukrainian Service contributor Oleh Halaziuk, who has been held by Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk since August 2017.

January 11, 2018

The Inter-American Human Rights Court Rules for Same Sex Marriage






The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled that same-sex marriages should be recognised.
The court's rulings apply to countries which have signed the American Convention on Human Rights.
Some of the signatories already recognise same-sex marriages while others recognise same-sex civil unions.
But others, such as Bolivia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Paraguay and Peru do not recognise either and will be expected to change their laws.
The court was established by the regional body, the Organization of American States (OAS), and signatories to the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights are bound by its rulings. 

Western hemisphere countries where same-sex marriage is legal:

People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018.                                                                                                               Reuters 
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Mexico (certain states only)
  • US
  • Uruguay

The ruling comes as a number of Latin American countries have changed or are debating changing their laws to allow same-sex couples to marry. 
Other western hemisphere countries, such as Ecuador, have introduced same-sex civil unions.

'Without discrimination'

The judges said that governments "must recognise and guarantee all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex".
They also said that it was inadmissible and discriminatory for a separate legal provision to be established just for same-sex marriages.
The judges demanded that governments "guarantee access to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, including the right to marriage, in order to ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples without discrimination".
Recognising the difficulty in passing such laws in countries where there is strong opposition to same-sex marriage, they recommended that governments pass temporary decrees until new legislation was brought in.
The judges issued the ruling in response to a motion brought by Costa Rica. 
The Central American government asked the court to give its opinion on whether it had an obligation to extend property rights to same-sex couples. The court ruled that it did. 
The Costa Rican government also wanted to know whether it should allow transgender people to change their name on their identity documents. Again, the court ruled that it should.
Costa Rica's Vice-President Ana Helena Chacón welcomed the court's ruling, saying it would be adopted "in its totality".
 BBC

December 26, 2017

Since US Packed and Went to Mar-a Lago-Britain Seems to be Picking Up Human Rights/LGBT /Russia




 People were proud of Johnson when he gave as good as he got in Moscow with his counter part


Gathered in the sumptuous, wood-panelled sitting room of the UK ambassador’s mansion in Moscow, overlooking the turrets of the Kremlin across the river, a group of human rights activists discussed their meeting with Boris Johnson.
The foreign secretary had invited them over to hear their stories of horrific abuses in Russia, promising to use his status to raise awareness and to do what he can to heap pressure on the Russian government.
The meeting on Friday, held behind closed doors, came toward the end of a whirlwind visit to Moscow – the first by a British foreign secretary in over five years – at a time when relations between the UK and Russia are at their worst since the Cold War.
"Mr Johnson was asking what could be done by him, by the UK side, to support Russian society," Galena Arapova, director of the Mass Media Defence Centre, told BuzzFeed News.
"It’s always a good question because when the relationship isn’t as friendly as it could be, and international partners have an active position and raise an issue, would that help or not? It might make the situation worse. Honestly, we don’t have an answer to this."
But the activists at least appeared to be glad he was trying to help. Johnson did not shy away from some hard truths on his whirlwind 24-hour visit, which was aimed at boosting cooperation between the UK and Russia on critical global issues such as North Korea’s nuclear threats and the Syrian civil war.
Whether his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov was in listening mode, however, is highly questionable. Lavrov is infamously obstinate and no-nonsense (he was once caught muttering"fucking morons" during a meeting with Saudi Arabian officials), and likes to be in control at all times, particularly on his own turf.
He did not appreciate Johnson correcting him at a joint press conference over suspected Russian interference in western elections – which led to an extraordinary public exchange – but privately, UK officials were thrilled that Johnson showed he would not be bullied and gave as good as he got. 
It was Johnson who insisted on making human rights a key part of the Moscow trip, asking his aides to schedule time with activists and a speech to university students outlining the economic benefits of freedom of expression.
"This is the worst human rights crisis we have seen in Russia’s contemporary history," Tania Lokshina from Human Rights Watch told us after the meeting.
Basic freedoms in Russia are being eroded: Gay men are being rounded up, tortured, and abducted in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya; journalists are being killed for writing about the abuses of the government; and Jehovah's Witnesses have been labelled an "extremist" organisation.
A spokesperson for the Russian LGBT Network, who declined to give their name, said 110 people had been evacuated from Chechnya as of Friday. "Violence towards LGBT people is still going on," they said.
"According to our evidence, the authorities that were involved in the LGBT purge are now threatening the families of the victims. I think the chance to speak about this with the foreign secretary is amazing; the more we raise this issue, the more we keep it in the spotlight, the more we pressure the Russian authorities to initiate an investigation."
Meanwhile, the Russian government has refused to acknowledge a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in June that the Kremlin is encouraging anti-gay prejudice by adopting a law that bans gay "propaganda".
The law bans giving children any information about homosexuality, ramping up prejudice against LGBT people in Russia that is already deep-rooted and widespread. Lavrov has dismissed criticism over Russia’s treatment of gay people, however, saying in June: "On LGBT, we do not prosecute for this or that orientation."
Johnson did raise the issue of LGBT rights with Lavrov in their talks on Friday, but as expected, the Russian minister batted it away. Aides said Johnson was determined to raise awareness in other ways.
In his speech to Plekhanov University, in a hall packed full of Russian students, he spoke about the "freedom to live your life as you choose".
"We [in Britain] have just about the most diverse, open, welcoming culture that you will find anywhere in the planet," Johnson said. "We celebrate people’s choices about how to live their lives, including who to love and whomsoever they please to marry, a law that now permits same-sex marriage."
And he pressed the importance of a free media: "If you have a society where journalists are shot because they investigate the business dealings of the rich and powerful, then you will find countries that are less economically successful, less equal, and less attractive as places to invest."
He didn’t mention Russia by name, but then he didn’t have to. Some 357 journalists have been killed in Russia in the last 20 years, according to Mass Media Defence Centre director Arapova. And from one newspaper, Novaya Gazette, six have been killed in the last decade. Yet very few perpetrators are brought to justice.
"This creates a climate of impunity and a lot more problems than justice for one particular person," Arapova said. "It creates an atmosphere where others who don’t like criticism think OK, this is an easy, cheap, and quiet method to silence someone, because it won’t be investigated.” 
Earlier in the day, Johnson laid a bunch of red roses on Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, where opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was assassinated in 2015 with four gunshots in the back. As deputy prime minister of Russia under Boris Yeltsin, Nemtsov was a key figure in pushing the country toward democracy and free markets, and a vehement critic of president Vladimir Putin.
His lawyer Vadim Prokhorov told Johnson that the real perpetrators had still not been brought to justice, and urged him to pile pressure on Putin to launch a proper investigation. It remains to be seen whether Johnson can actually affect change, but allies say he hopes his involvement will shine a far bigger spotlight on the abuses taking place on Europe’s doorstep.
"It’s really difficult to influence the Russian authorities," Arapova said. "These scandals concern all of us, but the population of Russia has two realities.
"One reality is seen by the people who are watching TV, who live in rural areas where there’s no position, and they see that everything is good, they see the federal propaganda state TV and they are quite happy with what’s going on in Russia because 'we are winning'.
"And the other group of people are getting information from the internet – and have a totally different understanding of what is going on in the country. They hear stories of human rights violations, they see it differently. Those realities don’t cross, it’s like we live in different countries.
"The tension in society is growing – but it’s not necessarily growing into something that will change the situation."
Emily Ashton
Emily Ashton

November 30, 2017

United Nations Reinforces Landmark Resolution on LGBT Human Rights








The landmark document introduced at the United Nations 10 years ago and designed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, as well as other sexual minorities, was updated and strengthened yesterday.
The changes reflect the significant developments in international human rights law and practice since their publication and include a growing understanding that human rights violations affect people based on how they express their gender or how their sex characteristics are manifested.
The “Yogyakarta Principles,” written by a group of international human rights experts who had met in 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, are a codification of binding international human rights standards related to sexual orientation and gender identity. The document, introduced to the UN in Geneva and New York in 2007 was a response to well-documented patterns of abuse against LGBT people.
The principles have been widely used by human rights defenders to demonstrate that LGBT rights are basic human rights and to show the gap between entitlement to rights and the harsh reality of discrimination and hate crimes.
Yesterday, 33 international human rights experts released an updated set of principles on international human rights law relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. The “Yogyakarta Principles plus 10,” add nine new principles to the original 29, covering a range of rights pertaining to gender recognition, information and communication technologies, poverty, and cultural diversity.
The new document also contains 111 “additional state obligations,” related to areas such as torture, asylum, privacy, health, and the protection of human rights defenders. For example, it calls on countries to compile statistics on violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression and sex characteristics. It also protects intersex children from involuntary modification of their sex characteristics and calls on countries to end the unnecessary registration of people’s sex or gender in their identity documents.
The updated principles call for action to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI). Enforcing laws and policies designed to protect LGBTI people worldwide is an essential step to achieving full equality and ending discrimination.
The full text of the Yogyakarta Principles plus 10 and supporting documents can be found at www.yogyakartaprinciples.org.


Boris Dittrich Advocacy Director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program


December 19, 2016

UN 2nd Attempt Won to Not Stop LGBT Human Rights Investigations



 



 Supporters of gay rights have won a major victory at the United Nations with the failure of a second African attempt to stop a U.N. independent expert from investigating violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

After a first defeat Nov. 21 in the General Assembly's human rights committee, African nations led by Burkina Faso attempted again Monday to suspend the work of the first LGBT expert. But the result was almost identical.

 
Those countries sought to delay implementation of a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution to determine "the legal basis" for the expert's mandate.

Opponents introduced an amendment to eliminate the call for a delay. It was adopted by a vote of 84-77 with 16 abstentions, virtually the same as the committee’s 84-77 vote with 12 abstentions.

AP

December 2, 2016

First UN HR Investigator Promises Investigations into Abuses




  
The first-ever U.N. independent expert selected to examine violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has vowed to forge ahead with wide-ranging investigations despite formidable opposition to his appointment in a U.N. vote.
"This mandate will cover every country under the sun and under the moon," Vitit Muntarbhorn said at a LGBT conference in Bangkok on Wednesday. "There can never be a political or legal vacuum in terms of protecting people."
This includes working with countries opposed to his appointment, Vitit said.
"We also have to cover not only peace, but war," he said, noting that members of the Islamic State group have reportedly killed people accused of being gay by throwing them off buildings.
Vitit's U.N. position was in peril last week when a group of African nations nearly derailed his appointment by the Human Rights Council, saying the U.N. was prioritizing LGBT issues over discrimination based on race or religion. Blocking a Human Rights Council appointee would be unprecedented, according to U.N. officials.
Vitit, who was appointed on Sept. 30 and has started his duties, faces a final vote in the U.N. General Assembly later this month but is expected to be approved. In the meantime, he says he will "just carry on with the work."
He is in charge of writing a U.N. report on violence against LGBT people, as well as receiving and responding to complaints of abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
To achieve these goals, he plans to visit a "balance" of developed and poorer countries in different regions.
"No entity, no authorities are monolithic," Vitit said. "We will find strands, advocacy of kindness, consideration, humanity, in pretty much every region, and we must use that well in terms of building the capacity to rationalize with those authorities that might not yet be open enough."
"You will always find someone, even among those governments, that are slightly more open to discussion," he added.
Along with Africa, opponents to Vitit's appointment include countries in the Middle East as well as China and Russia. At least 76 countries have laws in place that criminalize or discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a U.N. report last year.
In a fiery speech to hundreds of cheering gay rights supporters, Vitit emphasized the need for a wide, inclusive focus.
Vitit was previously a U.N. outside investigator into human rights in North Korea, which consistently denied his requests for meetings during his six years in the role.
DAKE KANG, ASSOCIATED PRESS

September 21, 2016

Proof Positive Russian Airstrikes Hit the Aid Convoy

This image provided by the Syrian anti-government group Aleppo 24 news, shows damaged trucks carrying aid, in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. A U.N. humanitarian aid convoy in Syria was hit by airstrikes Monday as the Syrian military declared that a U.S.-Russian brokered cease-fire had failed. The US says it is holding Russia responsible for the attack, saying two Russian SU-24 figther jets (inset) were in the area during the attack. AP


 American military officials told CNN on Tuesday that radar, signals intelligence, and aerial surveillance all suggest that Russian aircraft were responsible for airstrikes on an aid convoy near Aleppo, Syria that killed at least 20 people.
"All the evidence we have points to that conclusion," one official told CNN.
The Red Crescent aid convoy was heading to a village just outside Aleppo Monday night when 18 of its 31 trucks, which were carrying UN supplies, were struck in at least two waves of strikes. As a result, the UN has halted all aid delivery in the country.
The attack occurred shortly after a ceasefire agreement between the Syrian regime and rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad, which was intended to allow the passage of humanitarian aid, broke down amid renewed fighting.
The Russian military had already denied that Russia or Syria had anything to do with the attacks. Russia's defense ministry released drone footage that they argue proves other factors were at play.
"We carefully studied the video recordings of the so-called activists from the scene and found no signs that any munitions hit the convoy," said Russian military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov, according to Kremlin-owned news agency TASS. "Everything shown on the video is the direct consequence that the cargo caught fire and this began in a strange way simultaneously with carrying out a massive offensive of militants in Aleppo."
While the official explanation was that the convoy had not been hit with munitions, Konashenkov did imply that an offensive from Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda linked militant group, had something to do with the deadly strikes.
Later in the day, TASS issued a new report, again quoting Konashenkov, suggesting that the convoy had been accompanied by a "terrorists' truck with a mortar."
"It is not clear who is covering home [sic]: either the mortar is covering the convoy with the White Helmets volunteers or vise versa," the spokesperson said, seemingly implying that the humanitarian aid workers had been working in conjunction with the al-Nusra fighters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which employs a network of activists in the country to monitor attacks on civilians, reports that it was a series of airstrikes that took out the convoy in Aleppo.
If Russia is proven responsible for the attack, it would be a black eye for the Putin regime, which spent the better part of Monday condemning an accidental airstrike carried out by the US on a Syrian military position, also near Aleppo. 
It's not the first time Russia and America have argued about who was behind an airstrike in Syria. In August, neither country could agree on who was responsible for taking out the Islamic State's second-in-command.
Despite the seeming disintegration of the cease fire, US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that the agreement is “not dead" and is planning on meeting his counterparts, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, again on Friday.
Follow Justin Ling on Twitter: @Justin_Ling

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