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Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014

June 29, 2015 Comments off

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014
Source: U.S. Department of State

The fundamental struggle for dignity has been a driving force in human history worldwide, and what drives us toward it is a set of universal values and aspirations.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are ideals that cannot be contained by national boundaries or ocean shores.

That is why it is especially troubling that so many people in so many places face grotesque restrictions on their freedoms and rights from their own governments.

For far too many people, 2014 was defined by suffering and abuse perpetrated by terrorist groups exploiting religious discourse and divisions to advance their totalitarian ideology, or by governments, such as Syria, sometimes acting in the name of combatting terrorism.

High Commissioner’s report to the Human Righ Council on discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identit

June 26, 2015 Comments off

High Commissioner’s report to the Human Rights Council on discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity (PDF)
Source: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

In recent years, Governments in all regions have pursued a variety of initiatives aimed at reducing levels of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. For example, since 2011, 14 States have adopted or strengthened antidiscrimination and hate crime laws, extending protection on grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and, in two cases, also introducing legal protections for intersex persons. Three States have abolished criminal sanctions for homosexuality; 12 have introduced marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples nationally; and 10 have introduced reforms that, to varying degrees, make it easier for transgender persons to obtain legal recognition of their gender identity.

In dozens of countries, police, judges, prison guards, medical staff and teachers are receiving gender and sexuality sensitivity training, anti-bullying programmes have been launched in schools, and shelters have been built to house homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Popular television programmes have integrated LGBT characters in a positive way and celebrities have helped to raise awareness by “coming out” as LGBT persons themselves or speaking out in support of members of the LGBT community. In all regions, LGBT and intersex3 human rights defenders are more vocal and visible – in several cases successfully challenging in the courts attempts by authorities to restrict their legitimate activities.

While these advances are welcome, they are overshadowed by continuing, serious and widespread human rights violations perpetrated, too often with impunity, against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Questions and answers on how the European Commission helps refugees

June 23, 2015 Comments off

Questions and answers on how the European Commission helps refugees
Source: European Commission

Refugees are among the most vulnerable in humanitarian crises. This is why the European Commission provides substantial resources to help them. The European Commission gave more than €854 million or some 70% of its annual humanitarian aid budget in 2014 to projects helping refugees and IDPs in 33 countries worldwide. The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) invests heavily in assisting displaced people and is currently responding to crises such as: Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan, Somali refugees in Kenya and Yemen, Congolese refugees in the Great Lake region, Colombian refugees in Ecuador and Venezuela, Myanmar refugees in Thailand, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Sahrawi refugees.

Beyond Asylum: Rethinking Protection Policies to Meet Sharply Escalating Needs (Transatlantic Council Statement)

June 5, 2015 Comments off

Beyond Asylum: Rethinking Protection Policies to Meet Sharply Escalating Needs (Transatlantic Council Statement)
Source: Migration Policy Institute

There is a growing recognition among policymakers and humanitarian actors alike that the global refugee system is failing both those it was designed to protect and the communities providing protection. With global forced displacement at levels unseen since World War II—and more than half of refugees under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in protracted displacement situations of five years or more—it has become clear that current protection mechanisms are not offering effective and efficient access to refuge for those in need.

In December 2014, MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration convened its thirteenth plenary meeting in Brussels to examine these growing strains on the global protection system. The Council’s deliberations highlighted the need for both national governments and international actors to respond proactively to instability and the inevitable displacement as it occurs, and to look beyond the traditional instrument of territorial asylum.

At the meeting, participants identified three primary policy goals for moving beyond the traditional care-and-maintenance model of protection: invest in sustainable livelihoods and better living conditions for both refugees and host communities in the crisis region; widen legal channels for protection and consider alternative ways for refugees to submit claims or move onward; and build fair and efficient asylum adjudication, reception, and return policies. The pursuit of these goals can facilitate the development of an innovative, comprehensive protection system to better meet the needs of today’s refugees and host communities.

CA — Office of the Correctional Investigator Releases Administrative Segregation in Federal Corrections: 10 Year Trends — Federal Corrections Overuses Segregation to Manage Inmates

June 3, 2015 Comments off

Office of the Correctional Investigator Releases Administrative Segregation in Federal Corrections: 10 Year Trends — Federal Corrections Overuses Segregation to Manage Inmates
Source: Office of the Correctional Investigator

For more than 20 years, the Office of the Correctional Investigator has extensively documented the fact that administrative segregation is significantly overused. Segregation is the most austere and depriving form of incarceration that the state can legally administer in Canada. Today’s Statistical Report highlights just how often the practice is used in federal corrections. With an inmate population of just over 14,500 the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) made 8,300 placements in administrative segregation in last fiscal year.

In releasing his report, Mr. Howard Sapers, Correctional Investigator of Canada, said “There is no escaping the fact that administrative segregation has become overused as a population management tool to address tensions and conflicts in federal correctional facilities.” During the reporting period, 27% of the inmate population experienced at least one placement in administrative segregation. “Segregation is so frequently used that half (48%) of the current inmate population has experienced segregation at least once during their present sentence,” Sapers added.

Administrative segregation is commonly used to manage mentally ill offenders, self-injurious offenders and those at risk of suicide. The report found that inmates in administrative segregation are twice more likely to have a history of self-injury and attempted suicide, and 31% more likely to have a mental health issue. 68% of inmates at the Regional Treatment Centres (designated psychiatric hospitals) have a history of administrative segregation. Sapers stated that “this is further evidence that the CSC uses segregation to manage behaviours associated with mental illness.”

+ Full Report

Managing migration better in all aspects: A European Agenda on Migration

May 28, 2015 Comments off

Managing migration better in all aspects: A European Agenda on Migration
Source: European Commission

Today, the European Commission presented a European Agenda on Migration outlining the immediate measures that will be taken in order to respond to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean as well as the steps to be taken in the coming years to better manage migration in all its aspects.

The plight of thousands of migrants putting their lives in peril to cross the Mediterranean has shocked and it has become clear that no Member State can or should be left alone to address huge migratory pressures. This Agenda sets out a European response, combining internal and external policies, making best use of EU agencies and tools, and involving all actors: Member States, EU institutions, International Organisations, civil society, local authorities and third countries.

The Rights Of LGBTI People In The European Union

May 22, 2015 Comments off

The Rights Of LGBTI People In The European Union
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The prohibition of discrimination and the protection of human rights are important elements of the EU legal order. Nevertheless, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons persists throughout the EU, taking various forms including verbal abuse and physical violence.

Sexual orientation is now recognised in EU law as a ground of discrimination. However, the scope of these provisions is limited and does not cover social protection, healthcare, education and access to goods and services, leaving LGBTI people particularly vulnerable in these areas.

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