The government had an almost paranoid fear of protests. A square kilometer around the Supreme Court was barricaded and off limits to the public. In faraway provinces, roadblocks were erected to stop demonstrators. Some opposition members were under temporary house arrest. But it turned out to be unnecessary. Nobody dared to protest.
After 15 long years of public campaigns and debates in which different political, social and business sectors held marches and counter-protests, Argentina finally has a new law that guarantees access to public information.
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) advanced its commitment to the safety of journalists after adopting a groundbreaking resolution with measures for states to ensure journalist protection. But this is only the first step, many note.
With the African Union celebrating the African Year of Human Rights at its 26th summit, at its headquarters in Addis, Ethiopia, the venue raises serious concerns about commitment to human rights.
Whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden
and Julian Assange
are hounded – not by autocratic but by democratic governments – for revealing the truth about grave human rights violations. Nobel peace prize winner, writer and political activist Liu Xiaobo
is currently languishing in a Chinese prison while the killing of Egyptian protestor, poet and mother Shaimaa al-Sabbagh
, apparently by a masked policeman, in January this year continues to haunt us.
Flogging a dead horse, as the old idiom goes, is far removed from flogging a live Saudi blogger.
Authorities in Azerbaijan took steps Dec. 5 to muzzle Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist who is the country’s most vocal government critic. A Baku court granted a motion to hold Ismayilova in jail pending a criminal trial, while her Facebook page mysteriously went dark.
Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, an advocacy NGO, is facing criminal charges
for sending a tweet that said: “many Bahrain men who joined terrorism and ISIS have come from the security institutions and those institutions were the first ideological incubator”.
On discussion panels, by email and in the blogosphere, Cuban intellectuals are speaking out to bring a critical perspective and propose roads forward to national development. And they increasingly seem to be including the transformation of public space as one of their goals.