Advances and new conquests rival restrictions and steps back
Seventy-two years after the United Nations approved theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights [10 de diciembre de 1948],more than 100 states and territories worldwide violate these rights in some way. Conflicts of all kinds, austerity measures, the effects of climate change, natural disasters, growing inequality, insecurity, discrimination, cuts in freedoms, among other issues, make the fight for individual fundamental rights and collectives remain fully active.
As if this were not enough,the outbreak of coronavirus diseasehas come to aggravate the situation to the point thatAntnio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, considers that the pandemic is turning into a human rights crisis despite the fact that the threat is the virus, not people. The global picture is pretty bleak, he says.Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights. There are always countries going in the wrong direction, he warns. Moving towards greater equal opportunities and more responsive governance without leaving anyone behind was the leitmotif of the summit held in New York in September 2015 in which more than 170 countries approved the 2030 Agenda. The multilateral agreement included the deployment toglobal scale of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)with practical and feasible strategies and solutions based on human rights regulations.
However,good intentions are thrown face to face with reality. Different NGOs have detected increasing hostility and relaxation in the defense of basic rights. According to Manos Unidas, some 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty (less than 1.15 euros a day income) and 2.6 billion in relative poverty (less than 1.84 euros a day). Oxfam Intermn indicates that 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than 4.6 billion people in the world and that the great fortunes elude up to 30% of their fiscal obligations.Human Rights Watch alerts of harassmentand the overcrowding suffered by migrants and refugees in different parts of the globe. Alianza por la Solidaridad exposes the persecution suffered by human and environmental rights defenders, especially women, in Latin America. Save the Children recalls that 700 million minors suffer violence, abuse and exploitation. Amnesty International denounces the misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic policies of many countries. And so it goes on.
How did we get here? The2020 World Social Report: inequality in a rapidly changing world, produced byMarta Roig, Head of Trends and Emerging Affairs of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, reveals that the main cause of the trend towards inequality is the policies of governments. In his study, Roig points out that certain population groups are being excluded from social, economic, political and cultural life. This reality is unfair and a source of conflict, he adds.
Esteban Beltrn, director of Amnesty International (AI) Spain, believes that the world lives on a pendulum. On the one hand, he explains, some governments exert strong repression regarding civil and political rights and freedom of expression. On the other, this repression meets greater resistance among the population to defend their rights and freedoms. This occurs in a context of growing economic inequality between the rich and the poor that has increased since the 2008 crisis and threatens to increase even more after the pandemic, he stresses.
Reviewing the world map of the most significant inequalities and injustices that occur today, we can see how some governments use hate policies towards certain groups, says Beltrn. In Asia, the focus is mainly on China, where the Iugur ethnic group is persecuted and more than a million people are held in re-education camps; in India, where several Muslim minorities are attacked with impunity; and in the Philippines, where there are massive extrajudicial executions against drug users.
In America highlights the violence unleashed on the streetsagainst protesters who last year caused 210 deaths in countries like Venezuela, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Haiti, Chile and Colombia. The hate policy is also manifested in Brazil against indigenous people and opponents of the Bolsonaro government. Furthermore, the Brazilian Amazon rainforest suffered 89,178 fires in 2019, 30% more than in 2018, and 30% of the American population lives in extreme poverty.
In the Middle East, repressive actions are commonin Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. Up to 12 countries have prisoners of conscience and there are 367 human rights defenders in prison. Iran and Saudi Arabia segregate half of its population women with coercive measures towards them.
Africa, despite the overthrow of Omar al Bashir in Sudan and the reforms promoted in Ethiopia in favor of human rights, continues to host the majority of armed conflicts.
And Europe? The director of AI Spain observes advances and setbacks. A positive trend is thatten countries are changing their gender violence lawsso that it is accepted that it is not no and that any refusal on the part of the women supposes the crime of sexual violence. The negative note must be found inthe treatment of migrants and refugees. The resources are not given for rescue operations at sea, thousands of people remain in unfortunate situations on the Greek islands and the EU reaches agreements with countries such as Libya and Turkey, which violate human rights, warns Beltrn.
Hungary and Poland also apply hate policies towards immigrants. In Poland, moreover, legal and safe abortion has been restricted and attempts have been made to undermine judicial independence.
In Asia: China: More than a million people held in reeducation camps. India: Several Muslim minorities are attacked with impunity. Philippines Massive extrajudicial executions against drug users.
In America:-Honduras, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Haiti, Chile, Colombia: Violence in the streets against protesters that have caused deaths. Violation of civil rights.-Venezuela: Violence against protesters. Violation of civil rights. It is the country with the highest number of deaths by firearm (60 per 100,000 inhabitants). Brazil: Repression against indigenous people and opponents of the Bolsonaro government. 89,178 fires in 2019 in the Brazilian Amazon jungle. Mexico: Almost 35,000 deaths by firearm in 2019.
In the middle east: Saudi Arabia and Iran; Repressive policies for various causes are common. Half of the population (women) suffers segregation. Large number of executions. Iraq: Political repressions for different causes against the population. Large number of executions
In Europe: Turkey: Violation of civil rights. Hate policy against certain groups. Hungary: Violation of civil rights. Hate policy against immigrants. Poland: Violation of civil rights. Hate policy against immigrants. Restricted legal and safe abortion
Following the pendulum theory, the dark side includes those democracies that enact hate policies towards some group. This is the case of the USA, India, the Philippines, Brazil, Turkey, Hungary and Poland. This is very dangerous, says Beltrn, because it may lead one to think that human beings are not born free and equal, but depend on the attitude of their governments.
The positive pole includes those countries that have made substantial progress in defense of humanity. A significant fact is that today there are 145 states that have abolished the death penalty[en 1948, cuando se aprob la Declaracin Universal de los Derechos Humanos solo eran 16]. In this sad chapter, China, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia have the highest number of executions worldwide.
More green shoots: In Europe, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Iceland, Germany, Cyprus, Greece and Luxembourg, progress is being made on gender violence. In Africa, Ethiopia has passed important laws in favor of human rights. Its Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for signing reconciliation with Eritrea after two decades of confrontation. And in Asia, Taiwan has passed a same-sex marriage law.
Although Beltrn assures thatthere is no whitelist of pristine countriesIt does name Canada as an ambassador for the least corrupt nations in the world, despite maintaining certain tensions with its indigenous populations.
Given the panorama, what can be done to live in a better, fairer and more supportive world? First, stop discrimination and inequality, which are the breeding ground for the violation of human rights, responds the director of AI Spain.If we talk about discrimination, 40% of women of childbearing age live in countries where access to legal and safe abortion is restricted. Regarding inequality, the countries where there is greater stability and more respect for human rights are those in which the middle class is broader than the number of rich and poor, he argues.
Another essential requirement, says Beltrn, is to maintain international law: The Sustainable Development Goals are important to mark the long-term solidarity roadmap, but they cannot replace international law. The main problem with the SDGs is that they do not there is accountability, in international law yes: a case of torture, for example, can be brought to court.
For sample, a button. According to the director of AI Spain,Mexico registered almost 35,000 deaths by firearm in 2019, the most violent year in its historyto recent. The drama there is that 97% of crimes go unpunished and impunity is incompatible with human rights since it does not allow coexistence. The worst example is given by Venezuela, which is distinguished for being the country with the highest number of deaths caused by weapons of fire[60 por cada 100.000 habitantes].
Protecting human rights means not letting your guard down. It never reaches Ithaca, says Beltrn. There are always dangers to face. Climate change is the greatest intergenerational threat in human history, warns the expert. The good news is that tomorrow is not written. In his opinion, the resistance of civil society to not see their rights and freedoms trampled is a hopeful sign that the future may be different.
Image of demonstrations in defense of the fight against gender violence.
Human rights in Spain present a mixed reality, defines Esteban Beltrn. In some respects much progress has been made, but in others we still have serious problems. Among the first, he cites the approval of laws and practical policies and the improvements promoted in terms of citizen awareness. Among the latter, he points out gender violence as the main Achilles heel. Within this area it includes victims of sexual violence, a lack that monopolizes 40 daily complaints in our country.
The director of AI Spain also calls for progress in social rights. For example, on the subject of housing. In the period 2013-2019, in Spain there have been more than 400,000 evictions, he denounces. Despite some important improvements in the eviction policy in the context of the pandemic, it remains a serious structural problem, he said.
Another deficit is in the weakened Spanish health system, which has been progressively deteriorating from 2008 to 2015. The cuts in this field have been noticed and now we are seeing the consequences, criticizes Beltrn. We need to invest in protecting peoples access to health, he suggests.
In Spain there is freedom of expression and opinion. However, the director of AI Spain appreciates certain threats. Specifically, he regrets the anti-terrorism law, in force since the ill-fated ETA era. The exaltation of terrorism poses a risk to freedom of expression because opinions that do not represent any crime cannot be criminally condemned, he explains. It also sees obstacles in the so-called gag law, whose application during the pandemic has caused a certain police arbitrariness when it comes to sanctioning.
Beltrn does not hesitate to weigh the significant progress made by Spain in the defense of human rights, but warns that there are still pending issues. In his opinion, the alarm lights hover over two issues: the situation of poverty in which 27% of Spanish households live and the possibility that the pandemic will reduce the middle class and widen the inequality between rich and poor. We are warned.
Originally posted here:
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