International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances – Stories from China

Gao Zhisheng has been kidnapped, tortured and detained on and off by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime since 2006. In 2019, his wife Geng He told the International Service for Human Rights that being disappeared has become “the norm in his life”.

In that same interview, she added, “My children and I have never experienced the common happiness of united families… We only have one wish, which is that Gao Zhisheng is alive and that he can come back home alive.”

Ms Geng, who has been in exile along with her and Gao’s children since 2009, has just marked another sad anniversary: the fifth anniversary of her husband’s most recent disappearance.

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Human rights advocacy in a world of interests: why the EU fell short at India’s Raisina Dialogue

India’s Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, was recently asked how he saw the country’s role in defending free societies globally – a diplomatic way of confronting India on its failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

His answer was, if not reassuring to human rights proponents, certainly honest: “Countries evolve a combination of values, interests […] and all of us would like to find the right balance”.

This has always been the tension at the heart of foreign policy. And the European Union (EU) is no exception. Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty (which forms the constitutional basis for the bloc) reads: “In its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests”.

In our interactions with the EU, human rights organisations repeatedly appeal to the Union’s stated values. Whilst, in general, the EU is a benevolent global actor on human rights, there are instances where an appeal to values alone is not sufficient to galvanise action.

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India’s reservation policy is meant to help Dalits, as long as they don’t convert to Christianity or Islam

In June, we published a blog post detailing the history of Dalit conversion in India and how this can often be an act of self-liberation for members of this historically underprivileged community. This continues to this day, however there are those in the community, particularly those who convert to Christianity or Islam, who can continue to face discrimination and hardship even after conversion.

For this blog, we spoke to a Christian who works on Dalit and other human rights issues in the country, who shared some of her own experiences and shed light on the issues that persist for Dalits in India today.

“Growing up as a Christian in India, there were some decisions that you had to make early on in life. One such decision was what I would put my caste down as in my school’s admission form. I was taught that we are all God’s children and we are all equal, but why was I being asked to classify myself? I was a Christian, so I ticked the box that said OC (Other Caste) because we were taught that Christians don’t have castes and that was the only sensible option available. Also, because I was privileged to not know what caste I belong to. 

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Recognising the remarkable: A call for the release of Nguyen Bac Truyen

“He never refused anyone who needed his assistance… He was doing his work with much humility… I believe that he belongs to a human category that could not ignore any injustices that happened around him.”

Vu Quoc Dung, human rights defender with Veto!

“He is a man of honour, admired and respected by many”

A supporter[1]of Nguyen Bac Truyen

“Standing up for one’s own community is admirable; but standing up on behalf of others, when you yourself are being oppressed – that is truly courageous.”

Ed Brown, Secretary-General at Stefanus Alliance International
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Derribando el “muro del miedo” de Cuba

Ningún derecho humano fundamental existe aisladamente. Hay superposiciones y enlaces significativos entre todos los derechos humanos, por ejemplo, los relacionados con la libertad de religión o creencia (LdRC), la libertad de expresión, y la libertad de asamblea. Estos tres derechos se ubican juntos en los Artículos 18, 19 y 20 de la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas.

Durante el año pasado, y sobre todo en meses recientes, estos derechos relacionados entre sí han sido crecientemente atacados en Cuba, durante manifestaciones pacíficas de miembros de la sociedad civil independiente, como artistas y periodistas que además se identifican con una religión o creencia en particular. Estos grupos se mantiene protestando de diferentes maneras hasta el día de hoy, solicitando reformas legales y políticas, sobre todo en contra del Decreto Legal 370 y el Decreto Legal 349.

El Decreto Legal 349 entró en vigor en el 2018 y otorgó al gobierno control extensivo sobre toda forma de expresión artística en la isla, especificando incluso que cualquier actividad artística tendrá que ser aprobado por adelantado por el Ministerio de Cultura. Inmediatamente, muchos ciudadanos cubanos expresaron preocupaciones por que la ley esencialmente apagaría la libertad de expresión en Cuba, si solamente se permitiera la existencia del arte que haya sido aprobado por el gobierno. En el mismo año un grupo de artistas, periodistas y académicos se unieron para formar el Movimiento San Isidro para protestar de manera pacífica y creativa ante la censura oficial de la expresión artística en la isla.

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