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Human Rights

New state department report says human-rights abuses abound worldwide

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Human rights abuses abounded across the globe in 2020, the US State Department concluded Tuesday (30 March) in its annual review of how the world's governments treat their people, reports VOA News.

“The trend lines on human rights continue to move in the wrong direction,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters.

"The US State Department should launch a Ministerial to Advance Human Rights worldwide, similar to the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom," said Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile, the democratically elected official body representing East Turkistan and its people.  

State Department Report

"Strong and meaningful actions also need to be taken against governments violating human rights," Hudayar said.

Blinken cited numerous countries the U.S. considers offenders of basic human rights.

“In China, government authorities committed genocide against Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and crimes against humanity, including imprisonment, torture, enforced sterilization, and persecution against Uyghurs and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups,” Blinken said.

The report on China said Beijing “continued to imprison citizens for reasons related to politics and religion. Human rights organizations estimated tens of thousands of political prisoners remained incarcerated, most in prisons and some in administrative detention. The government did not grant international humanitarian organizations access to political prisoners."

“The U.S. can take meaningful action to end the genocide of Uyghurs by bringing East Turkistan to the agenda of the UN Security Council, prosecuting China's diplomats under US Code Section 1091, increasing tariffs, applying more sanctions, boycotting the Beijing 2022 Olympics, and recognizing East Turkistan as a Captive Nation,” said Hudayar.

Sky News on Concentration Camps

Leaked documents have revealed new details around the detention and ill-treatment of Uighur Muslims in China. video/Sky News

The BBC on Wednesday said it had relocated its China correspondent, John Sudworth, to Taiwan, a move that came after Chinese government attacks on both the reporter and the broadcaster over coverage of the Uyghurs in the country's [East Turkistan] Xinjiang region, reports Business Insider.

The BBC did not give a specific reason for Sudworth's relocation but said: "John's work has exposed truths that Chinese authorities did not want the world to know."

Salih Hudayar is the Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile, the democratically elected official body representing East Turkistan (renamed Xinjiang) and its people.

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As victims of genocide, the East Turkistan Government in Exile stands in solidarity with the victims of anti-Asian hate and supports the initiatives of the Biden Administration to combat violence, xenophobia, and bias. 

Human Rights

US police violence goes beyond all reasons: Russian human rights activists urge the UN to clamp down

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An issue of the police authority and the appropriateness of the force application, especially in countering crowds, has been quite acute for already many years. Recently there have been a number of cases in Europe which have re-actualized this question. For example, in May a video was published in social media showing German police in Frankfurt-am-Main beating with truncheons and using spray on a person lying on the road. In the same month, in Brussels, police used water cannons against protesters in response to attempts of pelleting officers with branches and bottles. In London large-scale protests were launched in March against the bill “On Police, Crime, Sentences and Courts”, which could give police more tools to prevent violations of order and law during demonstrations and punish those responsible if they do occur.

While in European countries the authorities and society are trying to find a compromise solution on the boundaries of police powers and disciplinary measures for violating them, in the United States police officers regularly commit violence against citizens of the country and remain unpunished. In 2021, 1,068 people died at the hands of American law enforcement officers. And last year the number was almost similarly shocking - 999 people were killed.

One of the most famous and high-profile cases of police violence in the United States was the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, when a policeman from Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin, pressed Floyd's neck with his knee to the asphalt and held him in this position for 7 minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd lay face down on the road. This case received widespread publicity and sparked numerous protests across the country. However, few people know that in the United States police officers killed six more people while on duty, a day after the court passed a conviction in the case of the George Floyd murder.

Among the new victims of American law enforcement officers were a man in Escondido, California, who was previously often prosecuted for crimes, a 42-year-old American from eastern North Carolina, an unidentified man in San Antonio, as well as another person killed in that the same city within a few hours after the death of the first. A 31-year-old man from central Massachusetts and a 16-year-old girl from Columbus, Ohio also died as a result of police actions.

In addition, the US law enforcement officers have repeatedly shown cruelty during illegal protest actions. This spring, during a rally against police brutality in Texas, a law enforcement officer threw Whitney Mitchell, who has no arms and legs, from a wheelchair. The girl participated in the event because of her boyfriend, who was killed a year earlier by a police officer during a similar action in defense of the rights of African Americans.

Such a horrifying situation leads to the conclusion that American human rights organizations are not coping with their responsibilities, since thousands of people are suffering from the actions of the US law enforcement agencies. The Russian Foundation to Battle Injustice (FBI) decided to come to the aid of their US counterparts.

The FBI was established with the assistance of Russian entrepreneur Yevgeny Prigozhin as a human rights organization aimed at combating police brutality around the world. The foundation's initiative group strives to consistently defend the rights of victims of law enforcement officers violence and draw attention to this problem in the United States and other Western countries.

In the beginning of July the Foundation to Battle Injustice had sent an open letter to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The FBI appeals to the Chairman of the HRC, Najat Shamim Khan, with a request to hold an urgent meeting in order to approve a permanent humanitarian mission to the United States of America – with an aim to stop constantly observed offenses and police brutality.

“The entire civilized world is a witness of a racially motivated civil war initiated by the police against people of the US,” the open letter states.

Recently, the UN human rights group published a report on racist incidents by the US police officers. According to experts, in 190 out of 250 cases deaths of the African descent people were caused by police officers. Most often, such incidents occur in Europe, Latin and North America. At the same time, most commonly, law enforcement officers manage to avoid punishment. The Foundation to Battle Injustice mentions in its appeal the names of Americans killed by the police — Marvin Scott III, Tyler Wilson, Javier Ambler, Judson Albam, Adam Toledo, Frankie Jennings and Isaiah Brown.

In these circumstances, the Foundation to Battle Injustice suggests considering sending an international humanitarian mission to the United States, which will work to prevent systematic human rights violations. The FBI notes in an open letter that the UN has successful experience in conducting such operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, El Salvador, Cambodia and Liberia.

The FBI members consider that “the current situation in the United States regarding human rights and freedoms has frightening similarities with South Africa during the apartheid era.” That is why the Foundation to Battle Injustice demands from the UN Human Rights Council “to immediately respond to the crisis of state violence against citizens in the United States.”

It will be remembered that the Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention.

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Gay rights

Orban says Hungary will not let LGBTQ activists into schools

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (pictured) said on Thursday (8 July) that EU efforts to force Hungary to abandon a new law banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools would be in vain, write Krisztina Than and Anita Komuves, Reuters.

His government will not allow LGBTQ activists into schools, Orban said.

The right-wing leader was speaking on the day the new law entered into force. It bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality and gender reassignment, and says under-18s cannot be shown pornographic content.

It also proposes setting up a list of groups allowed to hold sex education sessions in schools.

European Union chief executive Ursula von der Leyen warned EU member Hungary on Wednesday it must repeal the legislation or face the full force of EU law.

But Orban said only Hungary had the right to decide on how children should be raised and educated.

The law, which critics say wrongly conflates paedophilia with LGBT+ issues, has prompted protests in Hungary. Rights groups have called on Orban's Fidesz party to withdraw the bill. The European Commission has opened an inquiry into it.

"The European Parliament and the European Commission want that we let LGBTQ activists and organisations into the kindergartens and schools. Hungary does not want that," Orban said on his official Facebook page.

The issue was one of national sovereignty, he said.

"Here Brussels bureaucrats have no business at all, no matter what they do we will not let LGBTQ activists among our children."

Orban, who has been in power since 2010 and faces a potentially tough election fight next year, has grown increasingly radical on social policy in a self-proclaimed fight to safeguard what he says are traditional Christian values from Western liberalism.

The opposition party Jobbik has also supported the bill in parliament.

On Thursday, the NGOs Amnesty International and Hatter society flew a huge heart-shaped rainbow colour balloon over Hungary's parliament building in protest against the law.

"Its aim is to erase LGBTQI people from the public sphere," David Vigh, director of Amnesty International Hungary, told reporters.

He said they will not observe the new law nor change their educational programmes.

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Gay rights

'A disgrace': Hungary must ditch anti-LGBT law, EU executive says

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Demonstrators attend a protest against a law that bans LGBTQ content in schools and media at the Presidential Palace in Budapest, Hungary, June 16, 2021. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo/File Photo

The European Union's chief executive Ursula von der Leyen warned Hungary on Wednesday (7 July) it must repeal legislation that bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality or face the full force of EU law, write Robin Emmott and Gabriela Baczynska, Reuters.

The legislation introduced by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban was sharply criticised by EU leaders at a summit last month, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte telling Budapest to respect EU values of tolerance or leave the 27-country bloc.

"Homosexuality is equated with pornography. This legislation uses the protection of children ... to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation ... It is a disgrace," European Commission President von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

"No issue was as important as the one that impinges on our values and our identity," von der Leyen said of the Hungarian law discussion at the June EU summit, saying it went against the protection of minorities and respect for human rights.

Von der Leyen said Hungary would face the full force of EU law if it did not back down, although she did not give details. Such steps could mean a ruling by the European Court of Justice and the freezing of EU funds for Budapest, EU lawmakers say.

Orban, who has been Hungary's prime minister since 2010 and faces an election next year, has become more conservative and combative in promoting what he says are traditional Catholic values under pressure from the liberal West.

The Spanish government last month approved the draft of a bill to allow anyone over the age of 14 to change gender legally without a medical diagnosis or hormone therapy, the first large EU country to do so, in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called the split over values between eastern countries such as Hungary, Poland and Slovenia as a "cultural battle".

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