Stories written by Ed Holt

Slovakia PM Assassination Attempt Sparks Journalists’ Safety Fears

Fears for the safety of journalists in Slovakia are growing in the wake of an assassination attempt on the country’s prime minister, which some politicians are blaming in part on local independent media. Relations between some media and members of the governing coalition, led by Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Smer party, have become increasingly tense since the government came to power in October last year.

International Community Urged to End Impunity for Violence Against Healthcare in Conflicts

Governments and international agencies must do more to end impunity for violence against healthcare, campaigners have urged, as a new report shows that attacks on healthcare during conflicts reached a new high last year.

Media Freedom Declining Across Europe, With Implications for Rule of Law

A new report has warned media freedom in the EU is close to “breaking point” in many states amid rising authoritarianism across the continent.

Conditions Worsen for Belarus Migrants Stuck in ‘Death Zone’ on EU Border

As the refugee crisis on the Belarus/EU borders approaches its fourth year, a crackdown on activism in Belarus is worsening the situation for migrants stuck in a “death zone” as they attempt to leave the country. Groups working with refugees say the repression of NGOs in Belarus has led to many organizations stopping their aid work for migrants, leaving them with limited or no humanitarian help.

International Women’s Day, 2024
Rural Tajik Woman’s Road to Empowering Women Living with HIV

Born and raised in a rural area in a traditional Tajik family, Takhmina Haidarova managed to finish high school with excellent grades and wanted to go to university. “[But] it was compulsory for my family to give higher education to boys, and girls were trained to be housewives,” she says. Her dream of higher education was instead replaced by an arranged marriage to a cousin.

Women, Girls Equal Partners in HIV Responses, Says Activist

UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, recently made an impassioned call for governments to support women and girls from marginalized communities at the frontlines of the defence of human rights, to help ensure, among others, that global health is protected.

Trapped and Trafficked—Fishers Tell of Forced Labor Horror

“The thing is that when you come from an African country, they know that you’re basically trapped,” says Noel Adabblah. “You have the wrong documents; you can’t go home because you’ve already borrowed money there to get here, and you won’t risk losing what work you have, no matter how bad, because of that. They know all the tricks.” 

Fear as Russian Anti-LGBT Law Comes into Effect

“This is what you get after ten years of state propaganda and brainwashing,” says Anatolii*. The Moscow-based LGBT rights activist’s ire is directed at a recent ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court declaring the “international LGBT movement” an extremist organization.

‘War on Drugs’ Failed and Policies Need Major Overhaul – Report

A major advocacy group has demanded an overhaul of global drug policies as a landmark report is released showing how governments’ complacency has perpetuated a failed ‘war on drugs’ despite its devastating consequences for millions of people around the world.

Pharma Giant’s TB Drug Decision Welcomed, But Not All Developing Countries Benefit

In a surprise move, pharma giant Johnson and Johnson (J&J) has agreed not to enforce some of its patents on a lifesaving TB drug, making generic versions available in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Marginalising Key Populations Impacting Efforts to End HIV/AIDS Epidemic

A report released this week has highlighted how continuing criminalisation and marginalisation of key populations are stymying efforts to end the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Ukraine: Environmental Crisis Compounds Humanitarian Disaster Following Dam Destruction

As well as creating a humanitarian crisis, the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine has wrought enormous environmental damage which may never be undone, ecologists have said. The collapse of the dam in the Kherson region on June 6 put more than 40,000 people in immediate danger from flooding and left hundreds of thousands without access to drinking water, according to Ukrainian officials.

Tuberculosis Risk Factors Exacerbated by Climate Change

While there is no established causal relationship between climate change and tuberculosis (TB), studies have begun to highlight the potential impact its effects could have on the spread of the disease.

Russia’s Press Freedom ‘Worst Since the Cold War’ – Analysts

The arrest of a US journalist in Russia has not only sent a chilling warning to foreign reporters in the country but is a sign of the Kremlin’s desire to ultimately stifle any dissent in the state, press freedom watchdogs have warned.

Poland Abortion Laws: Repression of Reproductive Rights and Out of Sync – Activists

“People want the abortion laws here liberalised. Society has changed; even the politicians can see it,” Kinga Jelinska, a Polish reproductive rights activist, says. “In four or five years, I believe, the abortion laws here will be liberalised, because it’s what the people support.”

Hate Attacks Against LGBTQI People Increase in Europe – Report

When D.A.* first heard about the fatal attack on a gay bar in the Slovak capital, Bratislava, last October, their first reaction was a mix of grief, shock and anger. But then, soon after, the university student and member of the country’s LGBTQI community immediately began to worry.

New Approach to Atrocities Needed, Say Ukraine War Crimes Investigators

As plans are announced to set up an international centre in The Hague to prosecute war crimes committed in Ukraine, groups involved in documenting them say there must be a fundamental change in how the world reacts to war atrocities. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost one year ago, there have been allegations of tens of thousands of war crimes committed by invading forces.

Destruction of Ukraine’s Healthcare Facilities Violates International Humanitarian Law – Report

While recent reports highlight the growing list of human rights abuses and war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine, new research has laid bare the massive scale of arguably Russia’s most systematic and deadly campaign of rights violations in the country – the targeting and almost complete destruction of healthcare facilities.

European Energy Crisis Hits Roma Populations Hard

As European households brace for energy shortages this winter and leaders draw up support packages to help people heat homes in the coming months, experts fear that the largest minority on the continent, the Roma, will be left behind.

Russia’s LGBTQI ‘Propaganda’ Law Imperils HIV Prevention

A new law banning LGBTQI ‘propaganda’ in Russia will further stigmatise LGBTQI people in the country and could worsen what is already one of the world’s worst HIV/AIDS epidemics, critics have warned.

‘Tactical’ Nuclear Weapons Could Unleash Untold Damage, Experts Warn

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conflict’s potential to escalate to the use of nuclear weapons has been highlighted by political analysts and military experts alike.

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