When the power of the internet first became apparent, the obvious resort of government was simply to ban or block access to sources of information that political leadership found displeasing.
The Snowden revelations led to a healthy debate on how a democratic country, the United States, as well as some of its allies, carries out massive online surveillance. But repressive regimes have seized upon this to introduce more online repression that increasingly leads to detentions. In Bahrain, malicious links have been used to identify and arrest several anonymous Twitter users who were outspoken against the government. Kazakhstan adopted legislation similar to Russia’s in order to crack down on digital media carrying criticism of the authorities. In Bangladesh and in Singapore, government reprisals have focused on social media posts critical of political leaders. Iranian authorities have continued to hand down harsh punishments, sentencing some users to lengthy prison terms for their digital activities. The Syrian regime, in the midst of a civil war, had an army of hackers that infected 10,000 computers with malware.
The freedom of speech is not only threatened in suppressing regimes but as well on the internet.
India, the world’s largest democracy, has a strong civil society, vigorous media, and an independent judiciary, but also serious human rights concerns.
Among these, is the violence against women, particularly rape and murder. While legal reforms introduced in response to the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder gave prosecutors new tools for pursuing such crimes, they also expanded use of the death penalty. The Indian government does not appear to have a mechanism in place to track the efficacy of the reforms in preventing and punishing sexual violence. It has also failed to take effective measures to reduce sexual harassment and improve women’s access to safe transportation.
Source: human rights watch
This month the United Nations secretary-general appointed Malala Yousafzai as a UN Messenger of Peace to promote girls education, an acknowledgement of the courage and passion of millions of students who take great risks to learn in the face of adversity and conflict. Access to education in Pakistan, for girls and boys, remains deeply compromised. Human Rights Watch’s March 2017 report, “Dreams Turned into Nightmares’: Attack on Students, Teachers, and Schools in Pakistan”, documents militant violence that has disrupted the education of hundreds of thousands of children, particularly girls.
Pakistan’s militant Islamist groups, including the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and their affiliates, use attacks on schools and universities to foster intolerance and exclusion, to target symbols of the government, and, particularly, to drive girls out of school. The Pakistani government does not collect specific data on the number of attacks on schools and universities. However, according to the Global Terrorism Database, there were 867 attacks on educational institutions in Pakistan from 2007 to 2015, resulting in 392 fatalities and 724 injuries. The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack recorded at least 838 attacks on schools between 2009 and 2012, leaving hundreds of schools damaged.
China’s human rights environment continues to deteriorate as Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump prepare to meet at a summit on April 6-7, 2017, at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, according to Human Rights Watch.
“Torture, disappearances, imprisoning peaceful advocates, destroying religious communities, internet censorship – President Xi has plenty to answer for on these subjects,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “But will he be asked – and asked to change course?”
The Chinese government aggressively stepped up its campaign against civil society activists and online speech in the past year. Many peaceful critics of the government remained locked away, including Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo and Uighur economist Ilham Tohti. Eight of the human rights lawyers and supporters among the 300 detained during a nationwide raid in July 2015 are still facing trial, while another six have been sentenced.
Chinese authorities should halt the expulsion and political re-education of monks and nuns from a major Tibetan religious institutions, according to Human Rights Watch. According to a statement by an abbot of the institution, Chinese officials announced on March 12, 2017, that 3,225 homes at Larung Gar, the world’s largest Tibetan Buddhist institution, would be torn down by April 30.
“China is aggressively dismantling religious freedom along with religious life at Larung Gar by subjecting many expelled monks and nuns to forced re-education,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “The restrictions imposed on former residents should be removed so they can exercise fully their rights to religious practice, including freely joining religious institutions and observing religious rituals.”
The United Nations Special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran is a United Nations Special Rapporteur whose mandate is to monitor and investigate human rights in Iran. The current Special Rapporteur is Asma Jahangir, a human rights lawyer of Pakistani origin and a former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. She has held the position since 2016.
For decades, human rights defender Asma Jahangir has numbered among the strongest voices for democracy and progressive policies in Pakistan and, more recently, around the world. Her career has spanned legal representation and reform, writing, and advocacy, all for the rights of communities left behind by their governments. Despite death threats, personal attacks, and even a plan by the Pakistani government to assassinate her, Jahangir stands tall for women, minorities, and all those without protection.
Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.
Through the Human Rights Watch Film Festival brings to life human rights abuses through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all people.
The HRW Film Festival currently screens in over 20 cities around the world throughout the year. The festival’s programming committee operates out of the New York office to screen more than 500 films each year.
The only way for true equality between women and men is the acceptance of the true indifference and equality between them.
To regard one another as members of the same human kind, instead of men and women, all important in building a better world for us all.
You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.
– Marie Curie
Mind and Life emerged in 1987 from a meeting of three visionaries: Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama — the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and a global advocate for compassion; Adam Engle, a lawyer and entrepreneur; and Francisco Varela, a neuroscientist.
The Dalai Lama, Engle, and Varela were convinced that well-refined contemplative practices and introspective methods could, and should, be used as equal instruments of investigation — instruments that would not only make science itself more humane but also ensure its conclusions were far-reaching. Mind and Life was formed to bridge this divide and advance progress in human well-being.
Since the first Dialogue with the Dalai Lama, Mind and Life has held 29 others that bring together scientists and contemplatives on a wide range of critical subjects: addiction, ecology, ethics, attention, neuroplasticity, destructive emotions, altruism, economics, and more. Additionally, over the past 30 years, Mind and Life’s work has extended beyond the Dialogues. The Institute has become a direct funder of individual research via its grant and scholarship programs.
According to the universal declaration of human rights, article 9, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The rise of extremism which advocates extreme measures or views on different subjects, such as politics or religion for an ideology, is a threat to this human right.
Extreme movements often tend to exclude diverse opinions and instead accept like -minded parts. The ways of the extremists can be fatal and threatening to those that are not included in the same movement, making the extremism a great threat to the human rights.
“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.”
― Mahatma Gandhi