UNHRC - Part II: Prioritising Economic Aspects Of Human Rights

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) - “As a result of the financial crisis, the ability of individuals to exercise their human rights and that of States to fulfill their obligations to protect human rights has diminished,” noted Bat-Erdene Ayuush, Head of the Right to Development Section at the UN Human Rights Office speaking at a UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) panel discussion at last year.

But, at its 25th session from March 3 to 28 in Geneva, only two out of about 100 reports tabled, address the economic and development aspects of human rights. Almost all other reports address individual rights specific to countries, rather than collective rights of people.

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UNHRC - Part I: Navi Pillay Faulted For Abuse Of Power

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) - UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) head Navi Pillay’s current campaign against Sri Lanka over alleged human rights violations – along with similar campaigns against Libya and Syria earlier – could jeopardize the cause of human rights around the world, analysts say.

Pillay released a report in February calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes when the Sri Lankan armed forces crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a final battle in May 2009.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Envoy in Geneva conveying the Sri Lankan Government’s response to Pillay’s report stated that the UN High Commissioner’s recommendations, “reflect the preconceived, politicised and prejudicial agenda which she has relentlessly pursued with regard to Sri Lanka”, and in a 18-page document pinpointed her double standards accusing her of giving “scant or no regard to the domestic processes ongoing in Sri Lanka”.

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The Lampedusa Tragedy: Why Sons Could Not Mourn Their Mothers

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By Mirjam van Reisen* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BRUSSELS (IDN) - In the early morning of October 3 a tourist was enjoying the beautiful quiet beach of the Italian Mediterranean Island when three swimmers appeared. Three African young men frantically asked for help. They had left their mothers behind in a ship on sea that was on fire.

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‘Lampedusa’ Forces EU Asylum Policy Overhaul

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By Mirjam van Reisen* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

BRUSSELS (IDN) - The Italian government has published the names of the occupants of the boat that drowned near Lampedusa on October 3. All those on the list appear to be Eritreans. At the weekend hundreds of bodies were recovered, washed ashore on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The European Union is soul-searching and identifying the problems of its increasingly repressive refugee and asylum policy.

A meeting of Ministers of Home Affairs has been called in Luxemburg to consider a package of measures, in a first response to the Lampedusa tragedy. Observers are pointing out that the effect of the European policy to effectively control the ‘safe routes’, forces the most desperate refugees to take ever bigger risks in their attempt to reach safety.

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Upsurge in Support for Death Penalty Abolition

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By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

TORONTO (IDN) - There are miles and miles to go before capital punishment is at last accepted as a remnant of the gory past and abolished. But indications are that it is slowly on its way out. Amnesty International has welcomed an upsurge in global support for abolition of the death penalty, after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly in favour of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

In the vote on December 20, the fourth such vote by the plenary session of the UNGA since 2007, 111 states voted for the resolution – an increase of two from the last vote in 2010. There were 41 votes against, with 34 abstentions.

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Women Fight for Rights in New Egypt

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By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis**

CAIRO (IDN | GCC) - Throughout the course of Egypt's January 25 Revolution, which culminated in the ouster of longstanding President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, female protesters stood on the frontlines of the uprising alongside their male counterparts. But as Egyptians continue to celebrate the downfall of Mubarak's oppressive regime, many female activists say the lot of women hasn't improved – either socially or politically – in the post-Mubarak era.

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Libya: The Fight for Women's Rights Goes On

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By Mel Frykberg*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis**

TRIPOLI (IDN | GCC) - Following the Libyan revolution, in which women played a crucial part, and the participation of large numbers of female citizens in the July 2012 elections, Libyan women are now looking forward to a partnership and full equality with their male counterparts.

"Libyan women were instrumental in the country choosing a liberal and progressive government in the recent elections as many of them voted for the winning National Forces Alliance (NFA) of Mahmoud Jibril," said Nadine Nasrat, from the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

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Drone Strikes Very Much a Human Rights Issue

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By Martin Khor*
IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

GENEVA (IDN) - The use of drones by one state to kill people in other countries is fast emerging as an international human rights issue of serious public concern. This was evident in the recent session (June 18-July 6, 2012) of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, both in the official meetings and in NGO seminars.

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UN Censures Practice of Detaining Migrants

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By Jaya Ramachandran
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

GENEVA (IDN) - The United Nations has in a new report expressed grave doubts about the widespread practice of detaining migrants. States use a variety of reasons to justify this practice and some see irregular migration as a national security problem or a criminal issue, notes the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, in his latest report to the Human Rights Council. However, he warns, there are a number of human rights issues at stake.

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