Industry’s demands and political pressures exerted by developed countries to expand and strengthen patent protection worldwide have been based on the argument that patents promote innovation and thereby contribute to achieve social, political and economic well-being, independently of the level of development of the country where they are granted and enforced.
Six days a week, Tahir Cetin spends seven and a half hours hundreds of feet underground on a narrow ledge, mining coal near Soma, Turkey. He breathes in dust that is destroying his lungs, and digs into walls that could collapse on top of him. With one false step, he could fall to his death.
“We let the men participate in the workshop discussions, but the training sessions are only for women journalists,” says Mona Khadir, who coordinates the activities of the Filastiniyat Women Journalists’ Club in Gaza.
The just-completed review of Taiwan’s initial state human rights report offers a new model featuring direct involvement by civil society organisations in examining compliance with international rights covenants.
Molotov cocktails, clouds of teargas, live gunfire, ambulance sirens wailing as they ferried the wounded, and round after round of rubber-coated metal bullets exploding in the street…these were familiar scenes in Palestinian protest.
Women face greater odds in achieving equal political representation in the Pacific Islands than in any other region of the world, holding just 3 percent of seats in national parliaments, compared to 20 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa and 18.5 percent in South East Asia.
More than 10,000 people living in the coastal Adriatic town Dubrovnik have done what many others in the region could never. They are holding a referendum on a controversial development project that they believe endangers their city.
“We wanted to do something to bring focus to the plight of Palestinian political prisoners, of which there are around 5,000 in Israeli jails, including hunger strikers, children, women,” says Mohannad Barakat, 30, one of seven Palestinians who have made a Palestinian version of the Gangnam style.
Gaza is becoming increasingly radicalised as Hamas continues its crackdown on civil liberties, press freedom and the rights of women. In the last few weeks a number of journalists have been arrested and accused of being involved in “suspicious activities”, several detainees shot dead by police during arrest attempts, and female students asked to abide by a strict Islamic dress code.
Graphic video footage of an Egyptian man being dragged naked across a street and beaten by riot police during a protest in Cairo has sparked outrage in Egypt and heightened calls for police reform, a key demand of the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Despite anti-discrimination laws and a steadily growing number of employed women, Japan is falling behind the rest of the world on gender equality. Widespread discrimination persists, and has only grown more subtle over the past years.
From full literacy declared in the seventies, Iraq is down to 40 percent literacy for women. From the first woman prime minister and the first woman judge in the Middle East in 1959, Iraq has slipped to a place where an abnormal number of widows struggle, and where child marriages are on the rise. Hanaa Edwar is putting up a fight to win Iraqi women their freedoms again.
Governments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are being urged to end the institutionalisation of babies as more than 15,000 children a year in the region continue to be subjected to a practice experts say often leaves them physically and mentally scarred for life.
Since the restoration of democracy in 2008, Pakistan has undertaken steps to uphold human rights, but the situation of minorities has only worsened, according to a group of NGOs. Dalits are in the worst state, facing both religious and social discrimination, they say.
During the uprising that toppled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak women stood shoulder to shoulder with men in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, pressing the revolution’s demands for freedom, justice and dignity. But those who hoped the revolution would make them equal partners in Egypt’s future claim they may be worse off now than under Mubarak’s authoritarian rule.