Tag Archives: Human Rights

152nd anniversary of Confederation: All out to give Canada a modern constitution and definition of rights

July 1 marks the 152nd anniversary of Confederation. On this date in 1867, the British North America Act, 1867 united four separate colonies of the British Empire in North America into the Dominion of Canada. The Indigenous nations and peoples were made subject to the racist colonial Indian Act and subjected to genocide on a grand scale while the Métis people were also treated on a racist basis and the Métis Nation was ignored. Continue reading

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War by other means: The violence of North Korean human rights

By CHRISTINE HONG

1. Victors’ Justice?

In February 2014, upon completing a several-month investigation into “human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [DPRK, or North Korea]” – an investigation initiated in the sixtieth anniversary year of the 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement that halted combat but did not end the war – the three-member Commission of Inquiry (COI) established by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) concluded that North Korea had committed crimes against humanity. Such “unspeakable atrocities,” in the framing account of Commission chair Michael Kirby, “reveal a totalitarian State [without] parallel in the contemporary world.”[1] Analogies to the “dark abyss” of North Korea, the Australian jurist maintained, could be found only in the brutality of the Third Reich, South African apartheid, and the Khmer Rouge regime.[2] Reproduced in news reports around the world, Kirby’s markedly ahistorical examples may have succeeded in inflaming global public opinion yet they failed to contextualize the issue of North Korean human rights in a way that might generate peaceful structural resolution. Indeed, insofar as the 372-page COI report singularly identified the North Korea government as the problem – both as “a remaining and shameful scourge that afflicts the world today,” in Kirby’s jingoistic phrase, and as the primary obstacle to peace in Korea – the Commission gave new life to the vision of regime change that has animated post-9/11 North Korean human rights campaigns. By recommending that North Korea and its high officials be brought up before the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), it continued the hostilities of the unresolved Korean War “by means purporting to be judicial.”[3] The urgent question of a long-deferred peace relative to the Korean peninsula, which the Commission incoherently addressed, bedeviled its conclusions, rendering its findings partial, its recommendations in some instances uneasily one-sided, and its premise of impartiality suspect.[4] Moreover, that the COI proceedings and report aligned the United Nations with the United States, South Korea, Japan, and Great Britain while singling out North Korea and, to a far lesser degree, China, for blame performed an unsettling restaging of the Korean War on the agonistic terrain of human rights, suggesting an encrypted “victor’s justice” with regard to an unending war that up to now has had no clear winners.[5] Continue reading

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US sanctions violate human rights and international code of conduct

Illegal economic sanctions as collective punishment

UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights

NO-helms-burtonAn independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council [of the United Nations] has expressed deep concern at the recent imposition of unilateral coercive measures on Cuba, Venezuela and Iran by the United States, saying the use of economic sanctions for political purposes violates human rights and the norms of international behaviour. Such action may precipitate man-made humanitarian catastrophes of unprecedented proportions. Continue reading

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Word. Report [to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations] of the Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order [Alfred de Zayas] on His Mission to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Ecuador [Some Extracts]

One of many “Gringo, Respect” murals in Caracas

One of many “Gringo, Respect” murals in Caracas.

August 3, 2018

The Report of the Independent Expert says:

Introduction

[…]

After his mission, he continued to follow developments in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, including the refusal of the opposition to sign the negotiated agreement of 7 February 2018, the Declaration of the Summit of the Americas and that of the People’s Summit, both held in Lima in April 2018. Continue reading

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates 70th anniversary

International Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10, the date on which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, seventy years ago in 1948. According to its Preamble, the Declaration, which contains thirty articles, was to constitute a “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.” Continue reading

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US heroizes drug-dealing, torturing Afghan thug as its golden boy

Civilians and military personnel stand beside the grave of Gen. Abdul Raziq, Kandahar police chief, who was killed by a guard, as the pay respect during his burial ceremony in Kandahar, Afghanistan on Oct. 19, 2018.
Civilians and military personnel stand beside the grave of Gen. Abdul Raziq, Kandahar police chief, who was killed by a guard, as they pay respect during his burial ceremony in Kandahar, Afghanistan on Oct. 19, 2018 | AP

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This day. The Black Power salute

1968.Black Power salute

October 16 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Black Power protest at the 1968 Olympics 200 metre medal ceremony by African American athletes Tommie Smith (centre) and John Carlos (right), the gold and bronze medalists. Peter Norman (left), the silver medalist from Australia and an opponent of the White Australia policy, displayed the badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). This was – and is – a powerful example of defiance in the face of racist oppression, in particular, and for human rights for all, in general. Continue reading

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