Everyone has the right to life. This principle is enshrined in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and appears in numerous international treaties and national laws.
Since being roundly chastised last fall by the U.N. Committee Against Torture for excessive use of force by its law enforcement agencies, the United States hasn't exactly managed to repair its international reputation.
Over the last two decades, nearly 92,000 people have gone missing in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, according to official figures and academic studies. Most of the cases have been shelved with little or no investigation.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay have advised “maximum restraint” following media reports of a violent police crackdown on peaceful protestors in Istanbul’s Gezi Park.
There is a “deficit of justice” in Brazil, where the police themselves sometimes join the ranks of organised crime, in the form of militias, according to Amnesty International.
Adding to a long list of domestic woes, including a factory collapse that left hundreds dead last month, Bangladesh is now grappling with a wave of violence that threatens to deepen the gulf between secular sections of society and religious fundamentalists.
Harsh police handling of public protests erupting across India over a spate of sensational rapes since December has resulted in renewed demands to reform a force that retains the repressive features of its colonial origins.