March 8, 2013 |
Mary Robinson doesn't mind the tough stuff. As the United Nations chief advocate for human rights, she traveled the world in a hot-spot hopscotch - Rwanda, Chechnya, Dagestan, East Timor, the West Bank - for hard discussions with people who didn't necessarily want her around. No matter. "I've never found it difficult to stand up to bullies," says the former president of Ireland (1990-1997) and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002). It's a matter-of-fact statement, not a boast.
March 3, 2013 |
BEIJING - In an unusual action that quickly sparked debate online, Chinese authorities showed a live broadcast Friday of four foreign drug smugglers in their last hours before execution for killing 13 fishermen. A shocking and apparently unprecedented form of reality TV for China, the program on state-run television featured all the staples of modern current events coverage - experts, pundits, instant analysis. It cut away as the convicted men were being led from their cells, hands tied up with rope, toward their lethal injections.
February 3, 2013
Xu Liangying, 92, a renowned Chinese rights advocate, physicist, and translator of Albert Einstein's writings, died Jan. 28, in Beijing's university district, where he lived for many years. No cause of death was given. Mr. Xu began translating Einstein in 1962 after being forced to leave his job as editor of a leading science journal for criticizing the policies of the Communist Party led by Mao Tse-tung. He was the main translator of the three volumes of The Collected Works of Einstein in Chinese and initiated or wrote numerous letters and petitions defending human rights.
January 30, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Blind dissident Chen Guangcheng on Tuesday urged China's people to end the communist-governed nation's "leadership of thieves" and for Washington not to "give an inch" on human rights in its relations with Beijing. Chen made the comments as he received an award from the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice in a ceremony attended by several U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The foundation is named for late U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, a prominent rights advocate. Chen's speech was a stinging rebuke to authorities in China, where he had faced years of persecution for his legal activism against forced abortions and for citizens' rights.
January 30, 2013
Venezuela's jail conditions cited CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela's government is facing mounting criticism from activists and the U.N. human-rights office for its handling of the country's overcrowded and violent prisons following a clash between inmates and troops that left at least 58 dead. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed concern Tuesday about "an alarming pattern of violence in Venezuelan prisons, which is a direct consequence of poor conditions.
January 29, 2013 |
MOSCOW - Russia is preparing to put lawyer Sergei Magnitsky on trial, even though he died in 2009, an unusual twist in a case that has become a byword for Russian corruption and severely strained U.S. relations with Moscow. Russia's top court ruled in August 2011 that posthumous trials were allowed, with the intention of letting relatives clear their loved ones' names. In Magnitsky's case, family members say they don't want another trial, yet prosecutors refiled charges anyway. The move has outraged human-rights groups who see the whistleblower's situation as indicative of the rampant judicial abuse, skyrocketing graft, and blurred boundaries between the state and organized crime that have plagued Russia under President Vladimir Putin.
January 26, 2013
No to Brennan President Obama should withdraw the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency ("Cabinet nominations," Tuesday). Brennan is currently working with Obama on the "kill list" used in directing drone attacks in the Middle East, which is a despicable activity. Drones are probably responsible for killing more innocent civilians than "bad guys" who are targeted because they are suspected terrorists. Even worse, Brennan was involved with the Terrorist Threat Interrogation Center during the Bush administration.
January 25, 2013 |
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is holding 700 suspected militants without charges under a controversial law that has been criticized by human rights groups, the country's attorney general said Thursday. The attorney general's admission, made during a Supreme Court hearing, will likely fuel concerns about Pakistan's conduct during the last several years as it battled a domestic Taliban insurgency in the country's northwest. The suspected militants are being held in internment centers in the country's semiautonomous tribal region along the Afghan border - an area that is the main Taliban sanctuary in the country, Attorney General Irfan Qadir said.
January 16, 2013 |
HAVANA - For years, Cuban dissidents say, authorities' message to them has been the same: Sure, you can leave the country. Just don't expect us to let you come back. Now, two prominent and outspoken government opponents say they've been told they can come and go freely under a new law that eliminated decades-old travel restrictions on nearly all islanders. It's a calculated risk that potentially enables the dissidents to become high-profile ambassadors for change in the communist-run country, traveling abroad to accept awards and slamming the government back home in speeches to foreign parliaments.
December 30, 2012 |
MOSCOW - President Vladimir V. Putin on Friday signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children, abruptly terminating the prospects for more than 50 youngsters preparing to join new families. The move is part of a harsh response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be human-rights violators. Although some top Russian officials including the foreign minister openly opposed the bill, Putin signed it less than 24 hours after receiving it from Parliament, where it passed both houses overwhelmingly.