Human Rights

Human Rights are the most basic and agreed way of understanding our human responsibilities in the modern world and form an integral part of Catholic Social Teaching.
There is a growing awareness of the sublime dignity of human persons, who stand above all things and whose rights and duties are universal and inviolable. They ought, therefore, to have ready access to all that is necessary for living a genuinely human life: for example, food, clothing, housing, the right freely to choose their state of life and set up a family, the right to education, work, to their good name, to respect, to proper knowledge, the right to act according to the dictates of conscience and to safeguard their privacy, and rightful freedom, including freedom of religion. 
            
Vatican II: Gaudium et Spes, n26

2017

Image: Disability Rights

A new report alleges that disabled people are having their human rights violated by the UK government.The findings are contained in a report by Inclusion Scotland, working with colleagues in England and Wales, on how disabled people’s rights are being met. It concludes that there is evidence that the UK government is breaching its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

Read the Scottish Report

    

Image: Holocaust Memorial Day 27th January, 2017

Further information

Holocaust Memorial Day

Events in Scotland

How can life go on? (film)   

2016

Image: UK Immigration Centres Record 218 Hunger Strikers in Three Months An article in the Guardian states that figures obtained through FoI reveals the scale of desperation among asylum seekers in UK.   
Image: St Andrew's Day Anti Racism March and Rally No to Racism: protecting rights, defending communities
Join us for the march and rally. Details on STUC website.   
Image:  Greeetings Cards Campaigns
ACAT - Action by Christians Against Torture. The 2016 list of prisoners to whom you might want to send a greetings card has now been issued.  See their website for further details.

CSW - Christian Solidarity Worldwide. The list is available for downloading from the website.   
Image: Half of the World's Disabled Children Are Out of School 'hildren with disabilities are constantly left at the very back of the queue, and the impact on both individuals and economies can be disastrous'. At least half of the world's 65 million school-age children with disabilities are kept out of the classroom because little to no money is budgeted for their needs, disability rights groups said in a report on Monday 17/10/2016. (Zoe Tabary, Thomson Reuters Foundation)   Read More...
Image: Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy Consultation The Scottish Government have opened a Consultation on a Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy for Scotland. Human trafficking and exploitation are abhorrent crimes, as well as abuses of human rights and dignity. They involve trading adults and children as commodities and exploiting them for profit or personal benefit and they happen in Scotland today.
  Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 523: Protecting Humanitarian Workers Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House expresses its outrage at the bombing of a UN aid convoy on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Aleppo, killing an estimated 20 civilians and destroying 18 UN trucks and their cargo of vital supplies destined for communities in areas controlled by opponents of the Assad regime; further expresses particular concern at evidence that this was a revenge attack by Russian or Syrian government forces for an air strike the previous weekend by the US-led coalition against Daesh   Read More...
Image: Justice & Peace Europe: Statement on Europe Build bridges of justice rather than walls of fear
The Final Declaration from the European Justice and Peace Commission, International Workshop and General Assembly, Luxembourg, 30 Sept-3 Oct 2016   Read More...
Image: Scottish Churches Racial Justice Sunday Celebration 11th September - Paisley
Scottish Churches Racial Justice Sunday Celebration 2016. Wallneuk North Church, Abercorn Street PAISLEY PA3 4AB .  Sunday 11th September 2016 4pm -6:30pm. Speaker: Rev Iliya Shterev Roma Society Scotland.  Join in the  conversation in workshops. and continue the conversation over an international meal.   Read More...
Image: Amazon fires threaten to wipe out uncontacted tribespeople Forest fires are raging in an indigenous territory on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon, threatening to wipe out uncontacted members of the Awá tribe. Forest fires started by loggers destroyed over 50 per cent of the forest cover in the territory in late 2015. The Environment Ministry has stated that the situation is “even worse this year.” (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious Dialogue and some difficult questions A reflection by Marian Pallister
From the beginning of his Papacy, Pope Francis has urged the world to respect the Muslim faith and to honour the dignity of its adherents (a stance which echoes the 1964 document Lumen Gentium, and indeed, Pope Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio).   Read More...
Image: Pope prays for all exploited women and girls days after visiting group of ex-prostitutes Pope Francis prays for all exploited women and girls just three days after visiting a group of young women rescued from the sex trade. Pope Francis celebrated the feast of the Assumption by praying for all exploited women and girls. (The Tablet)   Read More...
Image: UN Human Rights Chief Deplores Mass Executions in Iran 5 August 2016 – The United Nations human rights chief has deplored the execution of 20 people in Iran this week for purported terrorism-related offences. “The application of overly broad and vague criminal charges, coupled with a disdain for the rights of the accused to due process and a fair trial have in these cases led to a grave injustice,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a news release.   Read More...
Image: Early day motion 136: UK'S RELATIONSHIP WITH SAUDI ARABIA Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House notes with considerable concern the Government's continued support for the government of Saudi Arabia; is dismayed by continuing serious and systematic human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, such as the severe restriction of freedom of expression, association and assembly, the use of the death penalty and flogging, and the lack of basic rights for women and immigrant workers;   Read More...
Image: Hope has no expiry date – Cardinal Bo Much is expected of Aung San Suu Kyi, who in April of this year became the leader of Myanmar’s first democratically elected government since 1962. In a country where Buddhist, Muslim and Christian have a troubled shared history, it is surely asking the miraculous (as the New York Times’ editorial board did on May 9) to present to the world a policy that can immediately pour oil on troubled waters.   Read More...
Image: Qatar: 0, Forced Labour: 1 Call on Qatar to take action on forced labour - Walk Free email action
Narayan Nepali knows the horror of forced labour in Qatar first-hand. He travelled from Nepal on the promise of a well-paid job. When he arrived his passport was confiscated by an employer and his nightmare began. Unfortunately, as construction for the football World Cup 2022 intensifies, more migrant workers will be vulnerable to forced labour than ever before.   Read More...
Image: Death-Trap Clothing Factories Persist Three Years on From Rana Plaza Three years ago on 24 March the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, came crashing down in what remains the worst industrial accident in the global garment industry. Over 1,134 people were killed and thousands more left seriously injured. Heartbreaking images of limbs, dust, rubble and tangled reams of brightly coloured fabrics made headlines worldwide, the ruined remains of the lives of thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers. (The Huffington Post) #FashionRevolutionDay   Read More...
Image: Human Rights in Europe: Do Not Leave the Battlefield '2015 was a year of fear and insecurity in Europe. The conflict in eastern Ukraine and on going economic malaise were overshadowed by a sense of vulnerability to terrorist threats and panic at the apparent inability to cope with the influx of asylum seekers'. Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, 18/04/2016.   Read More...
Image: New report shows M&S living wage commitment to be misleading Labour Behind the Label's recent report on M&S and H&M looks into the stories behind two leading high-street brands who have made claims to be ensuring a fair living wage is possible for their workers. The results? Low wages, slum housing and little evidence of change.   Read More...
Image: Saudi executions on course to double 2015 total This year (2016) has seen Saudi Arabia execute 82 people so far, according to new research by the international human rights organisation Reprieve – which suggests the Kingdom is on course to behead twice as many prisoners as last year. (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: Rainforest Foundation and Ethical Consumer Palm Oil Campaign Ethical Consumer has joined forces with the Rainforest Foundation in a ground-breaking collaboration to respond to the threat now facing the Congo rainforest. Their research is now powering the campaign to encourage consumers to buy the best rated products, forcing companies to use more sustainably sourced palm oil.   Read More...
Image: Anxious Dictators, Wavering Democracies, Freedom of the World 2016 The world was battered in 2015 by overlapping crises that fuelled xenophobic sentiment in democratic countries, undermined the economies of states dependent on the sale of natural resources, and led authoritarian regimes to crack down harder on dissent. These unsettling developments contributed to the 10th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.   Read More...
Image: Stand Up To Racism March and Rally - Glasgow March 19 Join Justice and Peace at the Stand Up To Racism March and Rally on March 19th. Assemble at 11am at George Square, Glasgow. There will be a number of speakers on the day.   Read More...
Image: Early day motion 880: Human Rights Violations and Natural Resource Extraction  Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House condemns serious and systematic human rights violations resulting from natural resource extraction operations around the world, as highlighted recently in a conference organised by the Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme; recognises that mining, oil and gas extraction projects are often a source of considerable conflict, threatening indigenous and other communities living on the land; believes that women from affected communities are at particular risk from irresponsible mining practices, as they can face dispossession, displacement and sexual and gender-based violence   Read More...
Image: Conflicts and Violence Take 'Huge Toll' On Children in 2015 Increasingly complex and widening conflicts have taken a huge toll on children in much of the Middle East in 2015, with parts of Africa and Asia facing protracted and relapsing wars that show no signs of abating, a senior United Nations child rights official said Monday 15th February 2016. Describing in her annual report to the UN Human Rights Council how extreme violence affected countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, stressed that groups perpetrating extreme violence particularly targeted children.   Read More...
Image: Easter Greetings to Prisoners of Conscience Action by Chritians Against Torture campaign
This is an invitation to send a message of support and greeting to endangered or persecuted Christians at Easter time. They focus especially on those who have been tortured and/or are still threatened with abuse. ACAT hope that you can give these names wide coverage and also send them Easter Greetings.   Read More...
Image: Labour Behind the Label: new report on living wage for garment workers Labour Behind the Label's new report, shows that despite M&S's commitment to ensure suppliers would be able to pay a living wage to workers by 2015, workers in all of their main production countries continue to live in poverty. (Sarah Butler, theguardian.com)   Read More...
Image: Help protect domestic workers in the UK Walk Free Email Action
Excited for a new opportunity and the chance to help her family financially, Sara was brought to the UK by a family to work as a domestic worker in their home. But far from the life she imagined, she found herself locked in the house, working round the clock, with no-one to turn to for help. With support from a neighbour, Sara was able to escape, and now she is doing everything she can to help domestic workers still trapped in slavery   Read More...
Image: World Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking - 8 February A Light Against Human Trafficking
This is the 2nd World Day of Prayer 2016. We are asked to renew our encounter and  join together the values, choices and everyday actions that favour the end of all forms of exploitation and trafficking in persons. We devote a bit of our time to pray and reflect, to think and dream about the dignity and freedom of every person.   Read More...
Image: 'Forward to Freedom' Exhibition in Scotland 'Forward to Freedom' Exhibition in Scotland. This exhibition on the history of the Anti-Apartheid Movement will be touring Scotland over the next few months, starting 1st to 5th February - in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh   Read More...
Image: Human Rights Watch World Report 2016: ‘Politics of Fear’ Threatens Rights In the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that the spread of terrorist attacks beyond the Middle East and the huge flows of refugees spawned by repression and conflict led many governments to curtail rights in misguided efforts to protect their security. At the same time, authoritarian governments throughout the world, fearful of peaceful dissent that is often magnified by social media, embarked on the most intense crackdown on independent groups in recent times.   Read More...
Image: It's time to end modern slavery - Ratify the Protocol email Action
Modern day slavery is everywhere: from the cotton farms of Uzbekistan, to domestic workers in Mauritania and cattle ranches in Paraguay; from the fisheries in the Philippines, to the World Cup construction sites in Qatar. The production chain of the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the World Cup that you'll watch on TV is hiding a harsh reality for millions of workers. Call on the government to ratify the protocol to end forced labour.   Read More...

2015

Image: 10th December is Human Rights Day "On Human Rights Day, let us recommit to guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms and protecting the human rights of all." United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon   Read More...
Image: UN – end contract with G4S - Email action G4S profits from Israel's brutal occupation of Palestine. So why is the UN giving them $22 million? Waging violence is bad enough. Profiting from it? That’s even worse. But that’s what G4S, a British 'defence' conglomerate, does everyday. They run for-profit prisons and detention centres in occupied Palestine -- and with over 1800 Palestinian men, women, and children arrested in the last 2 months, business is booming.   Read More...

The government of Saudi Arabia is preparing to execute some 52 prisoners at once, including several juveniles arrested at protests, according to reports.  Several Arabic media outlets have this week reported official sources as saying that 52 prisoners are set to be executed in the near future. The reports appear to suggest that among those executed will be six youths arrested at protests in the country’s Eastern Province – including juveniles Ali al Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher. All three were tortured into bogus ‘confessions’ that would be used to convict them. (Ekklesia)   Read More...

Image: Christmas Greeting Card Campaign 2015

If you would like to send greeting cards to prisoners of conscience this Christmas, Action by Christians Against Torture have lists of prisoners who are, victims of torture, persecuted Christians, or members of human rights groups. Please make sure you follow the guidelines when sending your cards   Read More...

Image: Stand up for Justice - Traidcraft campaign Choked by gas pollution from a factory; Forced to leave your home to make way for a plantation; Threatened with violence if you question what is going on. This is what is happening to some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people because of the activities of some UK-linked companies. We wouldn’t find this acceptable – so why should they?   Read More...
Image: Public Services under attack through TTIP and CETA Several organisations, have published the report “Public services under attack. TTIP, CETA, and the secretive collusion between business lobbyists and trade negotiators.”   Read More...
Image: Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum: Stop the Separation Barrier Please sign the Petition
The National Coalition of Christian Organisations in Palestine and the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum of the World Council of Churches invite you to sign the petition. Stop the illegal Separation Barrier!   Read More...
Image: Tainted Peace - Torture in Sri Lanka Since May 2009 Torture has long been used in Sri Lanka to persecute minorities, crush dissent and stifle civil society. It is deeply entrenched in the fabric of the state and has persisted across the decades regardless of changes in political leadership. (Freedom from Torture )   Read More...
Image: Books not Bombs Please sign the E Petition
There’s now hope of a brighter future for the millions of out-of-school children trapped in conflict and emergency situations around the world. After receiving 8 million signatures, world leaders recently made a firm commitment to establish a fund for education in emergencies with Norway being the first to pledge funds. If these promises are fulfilled, children in these situations will be less vulnerable to being trafficked, exploited or abused.   Read More...
Image: UN Gift Boxes at the Fringe - Can you help? The Scottish Churches Anti-Human Trafficking Group (SCAHTG) are working in partnership with Edinburgh Presbytery and Stop the Traffik to host UN Gift Boxes during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from the 19th – 21st of August and are looking for volunteers to help.   Read More...
Image: Not Enough Done For Survivors of Trafficking & Modern Slavery

Recent figures indicate an increase in the number of victims of human trafficking and modern-day slavery in the UK. Yet a recent report from the Human Trafficking Foundation has accused the government of failing to provide adequate protection to individuals who have been trafficked, often leaving them exposed to further exploitation or vulnerability.   Read More...

Image: Time To Debunk Myths and Prejudices About Roma Migrants in Europe Political and media debates on Roma migration have become recurrent in several European countries.  Since the eastward expansion of the European Union in 2004 and 2007, and the lifting of employment restrictions regarding Romanian and Bulgarian citizens in a number of EU member states in 2014, fears of Roma migration have often triggered uninformed and inflammatory discourse.   Read More...
Image: Children are Holders of Rights, in Their Own Right The Council of Europe has been fighting for children's rights since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child came into force 25 years ago-and even before. In that time there have been huge strides forward, not only in terms of the many special protections now in place for children, taking into account their unique vulnerability.   Read More...
Image: Rainforest Rescue: Stop the Nicaragua Canal Email Action
Nicaragua is planning a new canal for container ships and oil tankers. While the project is economically important for China – the apparent driving force behind the canal – it would mean clear-cutting rainforests, mass resettlement and the destruction of Lake Nicaragua’s ecosystem.   Read More...
Image: International Day in support of Victims of Torture Vigil of Prayer for Victims of Torture
As in previous years the UK Branch of Action by Christians Against Torture will join with Christians around the world to keep a Vigil of Prayer victims of torture. Many European ACATs hold will be holding a prayer vigil during at least part of the night of 26th to 27th but others will be holding services or vigils at the weekend (28th ). This year’s theme is: What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them – human beings that you care for them?”  Psalm 8 v.5   Read More...
Image:  TTIP vote at European Parliament postponed at the last minute A historic vote on the biggest trade deal ever negotiated between the EU and the US has had to be postponed after the European Parliament descended into chaos.  Our MEPs - were meant to have a series of votes on the deal. But after never-before-seen levels of pressure on MEPs from members of the public across Europe, politicians behind the deal were so worried about losing the votes that they cancelled them.   Read More...
Image: World Day Against Child Labour - 12 June Hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.   Read More...
Image: Rana Plaza workers get compensation The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is delighted to announce a major campaign victory with the confirmation that the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund has finally met its target of $30 million, following a large anonymous donation.  The CCC has been campaigning since the disaster in April 2013 to demand that brands and retailers provided compensation to its victims.   Read More...
Image: El Salvador vs Oceana Gold - URGENT EMAIL ACTION In just a few weeks, a World Bank tribunal could decide whether the tiny Central American nation of El Salvador will have to dish out millions to a Canadian-Australian mining giant - just for rejecting a destructive gold mine. OceanaGold is suing El Salvador for a whopping $301 million under investor laws that allow corporations to shamelessly sue countries.   Read More...
Image: Privacy and free speech under threat, warns Liberty The Government appears to have delayed plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. While many of the Conservative manifesto commitments were in the legislative agenda, the Queen's speech said only that 'proposals' would be brought forward for a British Bill of Rights. (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: World Cup? FIFA sponsors must tell Qatar to play fair on workers' human rights. 62 workers may lose their lives for each game played during Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, a tournament likely to be sponsored by FIFA partner companies Coke, VISA, McDonald’s, Adidas, Kia and Hyundai. Without sponsorship, this multi-billion dollar tournament couldn’t take place.   Read More...
Image: Will Rana Plaza victims finally get what they are owed? This week the world will mark the second anniversary of the worst industrial accident in the history of the garment industry. We must always remember and never forget the thousands of people whose lives were lost or forever changed – all for the price of a cheap T-shirt.   Read More...
Image: UK FCO Human Rights and Democracy Report 2015 Published by Foreign & Commonwealth Office 12th March 2015
The Human Rights and Democracy Report presents the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) analysis of the human rights situation in 27 countries where the UK government has wide-ranging concerns.   Read More...
Image: Action by Christians Against Torture Easter cards for persecuted Christians For the first time ACAT-UK is seeking your help and those of your colleagues, friends and parishes to send an Easter card specifically to victims of torture, persecuted Christians, Human Rights groups and individuals under threat.   Read More...
Image: Amnesty International 2014/15: State of the World's Human Rights This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones, Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need.   Read More...
Image: UK Violence Against Women and Girls House of Lords/House of Commons - Joint Committee on Human Rights

"Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights violation we face globally, whether in times of peace, conflict or post-conflict transition". (Ms Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.)   Read More...

Image: Freedom in the World 2015 - Freedom House Annual Report The number of countries designated by Freedom in the World as Free in 2014 stood at 89, representing 46% of the world's 195 polities and nearly 2.9 billion people-or 40% of the global population.  The number of countries qualifying as Partly Free stood at 55, or 28% of all countries assessed, and they were home to just over 1.7 billion people, or 24%of the world's total.   Read More...
Image: Romero’s martyrdom has been officially recognised By unanimous vote the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognised Archbishop Oscar Romero’s martyrdom in odium fidei. He was killed whilst celebrating mass. All so-called doctrinal objections to his beatification have been withdrawn. (Gianni Valente, Rome)   Read More...

2014

Image: Clean Clothes Campaign New report to mark International Migrant Day
To mark the United Nation’s International Migrant Day, Clean Clothes Campaign released a new report in conjunction with the MAP Foundation outlining the gross violations of labour rights among migrant workers in the Thai apparel industry.   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 578: Sexual Violence In Conflict In Burma Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House condemns the continuing use of rape as a weapon of war and the recent escalation in military attacks in Kachin, northern Shan and Karen States; notes the recent report by the Women's League for Burma, detailing evidence of the continuing use of rape and sexual violence; calls for a nationwide ceasefire and an end to the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war in Burma   Read More...
Image: Today is World Aids Day World Aids Day was the first ever global health day and has continued to be marked since 1988. It is an opportunity to join people worldwide in the fight against HIV, showing support for people living with HIV and commemorating those who have died. More info: UN AIDS       World Aids Day      Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support      
Image: International Community has Duty to Protect Minorities It is the international community's duty to draw lessons from the horrific violence and atrocious crimes facing minorities around the world to prevent them from being repeated, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said at a forum on minority issues. Speaking to the 7th Session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues on "Preventing and Addressing Violence and Atrocity Crimes Targeted against Minorities," Mr. Eliasson explained that simply saying "never again" is not enough.   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 543: For Our Daughters Campaign Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House notes that For Our Daughters, a national charity which campaigns against sexist violence and homicide and commemorates those who have died, reports that at least three to four women and girls die each week in the UK as a result of all forms of male violence; further notes that the annual death rate is worse than in the Northern Ireland conflict and exceeds annual troop losses in Iraq and Afghanistan;   Read More...
Image: Christmas Greeting Card Campaign If you would like to send greeting cards to prisoners of conscience this Christmas, the following organisations have lists of prisoners who are victims of torture, persecuted Christians and human rights groups. Action by Christians Against Torture; Christian Solidarity Worldwide; War Resisters International. Please make sure you follow the instructions given by each organisation when sending your cards   Read More...
Image: World remembers murder of 6 Jesuits and 2 laywomen 25 years ago in El Salvador The world marked the 25th anniversary of the murder of 6 Jesuits and two laywomen in El Salvador on Sunday, one of the most chilling episodes in the unrest affecting Central America in the late 20th century.  In the early morning of November 16, 1989, a group of soldiers entered the Jesuit residence of the University of Central America, and dragged 5 priests out of their beds, and shot them in the back of their heads in a courtyard.  They then killed another Jesuit inside the residence.  Finally, they killed the housekeeper and her teenage daughter, who were hiding in a bedroom. (Vatican Radio)   Read More...
Image: Children's Rights are Human Rights Children must fully enjoy the protection offered by all international human rights treaties. Dignity and integrity of children are non-negotiable. Discrimination on any grounds cannot be tolerated. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) adopted in 1989 changed the way in which countries look at children as real rights holders. On 20 November 2014, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Convention. It has been ratified by all 47 Council of Europe member states.   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 465: ILO Convention On Gender-Based Violence At Work Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House notes the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November 2014; further notes with concern that gender-based violence is present in every society in the world and that globally one in three women will be beaten or sexually abused in their lifetime and that this occurs everywhere, even in the workplace;   Read More...
Image: Stop Gendercide - Contact your MP Many millions of abortions take place around the world simply because the unborn child is a girl. A bill will be tabled in the House of Commons on the 4th November aimed at combatting the terrible injustice of sex- selected abortion. Please contact your MP ahead of that date.   Read More...
Image: J&P Europe: Protecting Human Dignity at a Time of Economic Crisis Final Statement of the International Workshop of Justice and Peace Europe, October 2014
‘Representatives of 22 European Justice and Peace Commissions, met in Greece for an International Workshop on theme of Human Dignity and Economic Crisis. In Greece the impact of the crisis has been particularly stark and visible, with people taking to the streets to protest about the widespread unemployment and its consequences. We have come here to reflect on the threats to, and offences against, human dignity that have emerged, and learn about models of good practice for the protection of human dignity…   Read More...
Image: Factory collapse injures four A factory floor in a factory in Cambodia collapsed on 21 October injuring a number of people. The factory was producing for H&M and New Look. Four employees suffered back and leg injuries after part of the floor collapsed at a Takeo province garment factory yesterday morning.   Read More...
Image: Modern Slavery Rises in UK led by Sex, Labour Trafficking

The number of people locked in slavery in Britain rose by 22% last year, with online dating, social media sites and Internet job advertisements used increasingly to recruit victims, a new report has shown. Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) identified 2,744 people, including 602 children, as potential victims of human trafficking in 2013 with more than 40% ending up in the sex trade and almost 30% forced into manual labour.   Read More...

Image: This is One world Week One World Week "Living Differently" Breaking Chains - Making Change
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Image: Act now to end child slavery in the chocolate industry Much of the chocolate we enjoy may be tainted by child slavery. Anti-Slavery International’s latest research shows the continuation of child trafficking, a form of modern slavery, to cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, which produces almost 40% of the world’s cocoa. Instead of going to school young boys are forced to spend long days hacking open cocoa pods with machetes, handling dangerous pesticides and carrying heavy loads - work that is deemed extremely hazardous, can lead to injury and ill-health, and that no young child should have to do.   Read More...
Image: Protect Migrant Domestic Workers The UK government should address, not dismiss, evidence that employers have abused migrant domestic workers in the UK, Human Rights Watch and the UK charity Kalayaan have said. A draft law before parliament is aimed at combating forced labor and other criminal offences but does not address a visa system that contributes to the abuse of migrant domestic workers by their employers.  Human Rights Watch, 04/09/14   Read More...
Image: Burma: 20,000 People Have Risked Lives Crossing the Indian Ocean In its Irregular Maritime Movements report, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has revealed that an estimated 87,000 people have embarked on dangerous journeys across Southeast Asian waters since July 2012 in order to escape the violence in Burma's Rakhine State. 53,000 are thought to have journeyed in the 12 months ending June 2014, an increase of 61 per cent. (The Independent)   Read More...
Image: Pope lifts beatification ban on Archbishop Oscar Romero

Pope Francis has lifted a ban on the beatification of murdered Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. An outspoken critic of the military regime during El Salvador's bloody civil war, Archbishop Romero was shot dead while celebrating Mass in 1980. (BBC News)   Read More...

Image: The Commonwealth Games, principles and protest The 2014 Commonwealth Games brought moments of sporting glory, to Glasgow. It also brought protests exposing the gap between Commonwealth ideals and reality in many member countries. The very existence of the Commonwealth, originating from the British empire, raises questions. Nevertheless it offers opportunities for international cooperation and exchange. The Commonwealth Charter commits members to high ideals including democracy, human rights, peace, sustainable development and environmental protection. Yet many – the UK included – fall short, with little real challenge. (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: How Chiquita Bananas Undermined the Global War on Terror Colombian families whose relatives were massacred by paramilitaries cannot sue the Chiquita Brands fruit company in federal court, the 11th Circuit United States Court of Appeals ruled last week. The victims charged that Chiquita was responsible for the deaths by funding a right-wing paramilitary group. A panel of judges decided the victims did not have standing in U.S. court, even though the North Carolina-based banana giant pled guilty to U.S. criminal charges in 2007. The victims were claiming potentially billions of dollars in damages from the company.  The ruling was a big victory for the banana giant — and for the rights of American companies to finance international terrorism   Read More...
Image: Stepping Up Fight Against Human Trafficking at Core of Vatican Conference Top US Official Hosts Event That Recalls 1st World Day Against This Tragedy (Zenit News)
VATICAN CITY, August 01, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The call to combat human trafficking was echoed again at the Vatican this week. Urging participants to step up the fight and support trafficking survivors, the Vatican held a video conference Tuesday recalling the first World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, reported Vatican Radio on Wednesday.   Read More...
Image: Supreme Court victory for victims of trafficking Up until 29 July 2014, not all people trafficked into the UK had a right to recover damages from their traffickers. It depended on their immigration status – if it was irregular, they weren't able to do it, even if it was the traffickers who caused their status to become irregular in the first place. Yesterday, thanks to anti Slavery International intervention in the Supreme Court, that changed. In what is a historic judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that trafficked people have a right to claim damages from their traffickers irrespective of their immigration status. This is a hugely important step forward in the fight to end modern day slavery, and a proud week for Anti-Slavery International and their supporters.   Read More...
Image: Ending Violence Against Women Must Become a Top Priority On August 1, the Istanbul Convention, a landmark treaty of the Council of Europe dedicated to preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, will enter into force. It could not come at a better time. Violence against women remains one of the most widespread human rights violations which takes place every day in Europe; intimate partner violence is still among the major causes of non-accidental death, injury and disability for women. This tragic situation stems from a variety of social, economic and cultural reasons, but a common background condition is glaring inequality between men and women. The Convention has the potential to become a powerful driver in making progress on this pressing human rights issue.   Read More...
Image: Freedom in the World 2014 8th Year of Decline in Political Rights/Civil Liberties
The state of freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, according to Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House's annual country-by-country report on global political rights and civil liberties. Particularly notable were developments in Egypt, which endured across-the-board reversals in its democratic institutions following a military coup. There were also serious setbacks to democratic rights in other large, politically influential countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Venezuela, and Indonesia. Fifty-four countries showed overall declines in political rights and civil liberties, compared with 40 that showed gains.   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 178: Continued Use Of Torture Worldwide Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House notes with grave concern that, despite a global ban on torture, torture has been reported in 141 countries since 2009; is dismayed that governments continue to carry out this barbaric practice while continuously denying it; wishes to raise greater awareness of the International Day in support of victims of torture on 26 June 2014 and the Stop Torture campaign led by Amnesty International to protect individuals from the risk of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment carried out by state officials, particularly in the focus countries of Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, the Philippines and Uzbekistan;   Read More...
Image: Stand by Brazil - CAFOD Action - Please sign the petition Don’t watch another game until you’ve read this‏.
The World Cup is underway in Brazil right now, but beyond the stadiums there are still 3.5 million people living in poverty. Join in making sure their needs and rights are not ignored. As the eyes of the world focus on São Paulo and the rest of Brazil for the duration of the World Cup tournament, we ask you to ensure that the needs of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens are not forgotten.   Read More...
Image: Clean Clothes Campaign We are very concerned about the lack of urgency and transparency of the brands.
After a two-day public hearing, the jury of the People's Tribunal to assess human rights abuses faced by workers in the Indonesian garment industry, announced its verdict. Judges found overwhelming evidence of ‘systematic violation of the fundamental right to a life lived with human dignity' in an industry employing mostly women and said 'urgent action must be taken' by a variety of stakeholders.   Read More...
Image: Show a RED CARD to Child Labour

June 12 is World Day Against Child Labour. There are over 168 million children in child labour worldwide and we must all do our part to put an end to it. ‪#‎RedCard   Read More...

Image: Religious Launch Campaign to Combat Human Trafficking During 2014 World Cup Championship Seen as Opportunity to Raise Awareness and Prevent Modern-Day Slavery
The 2014 Soccer World Cup, to take place in Brazil June 12 - July 13, will provide an occasion to sensitize the public about human trafficking, say campaigners against the modern-day slavery. For this reason, a campaign called 'Play for life, against trafficking', promoted by Talitha Kum, an international network of consecrated persons, has been launched to put an end to this social scourge. The campaign is being run under the aegis of the General Union of Superiors General  (UISG).  (Zenit.org)   Read More...
Image: Youth Human Rights at Risk During Current Economic Crisis "Young people have been one of the groups hardest hit by the economic crisis in Europe, with youth unemployment being the most common pathology of many countries implementing austerity measures. However, it is not only the social and economic rights of young people that are being undermined, but also their right to equal treatment, their right to participation, and their place in society, and more broadly, in Europe. Due to chronic unemployment, many young people are losing hope in the future of their countries, their faith in the political elite, and their belief in Europe. A rights-based approach should replace the current neglect of young people in discussions about the crisis", says Nils Muiznieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Human Rights Comment published 03/06/14.   Read More...
Image: Brazil: Defend Human Rights At The World Cup Protest is not a crime. Give Brazil a yellow card ahead of the World Cup - email action
Last year, Brazilians took to the streets for mass protests on a scale never before seen in the country. The focus of demonstrations quickly widened from outrage at transport fare hikes to include dissatisfaction with inadequate public services, government corruption and forced eviction of communities in preparation for the World Cup. Peaceful protesters in Brazil are being fired on with rubber bullets and tear-gassed by poorly-trained police using excessive force. If it carries on like this, Brazil risks  turning the beautiful game ugly.   Read More...
Image: International Labour Organisation says forced labour generates annual profits of US$ 150 billion Report finds illegal gain from forced labour of about 21 million people amounts to three times more than prior estimates.
Forced labour in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year, about three times more than previously estimated, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO report, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour, said two thirds of the estimated total of US$ 150 billion, or US$ 99 billion, came from commercial sexual exploitation, while another US$ 51 billion resulted from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture and other economic activities.   Read More...
Image: Trafficking and the Commonwealth Games The ‘More than Gold’ campaign and STOP THE TRAFFIK have teamed up to bring 4 UN Gift boxes to Glasgow for the duration of the Commonwealth Games. The ‘Gift Box’ is an innovative project created by STOP THE TRAFFIK and the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking and was launched during the 2012 London Olympics.   Read More...
Image: Rana Plaza - First Anniversary 24 April 2014 Matalan fails Rana Plaza victims - email action
Hundreds of you have been taking action to call on Matalan to pay the £3 million in compensation that they owe to the survivors of the Rana Plaza disaster and the families of the 1,138 victims. Labour behind the Label recently spoke to Matalan head office on the phone and received yet again no confirmation that they will pay into the Rana Plaza compensation fund. We need to keep up the pressure on Matalan around this important date to make sure they pay the £3m they owe.   Read More...
Image: Early day motion 1260 South African Gold Miners and Respiratory Disease Please ask your MP to sign this EDM. That this House recalls the tributes paid to Nelson Mandela, a great fighter against apartheid and a founding father of democratic South Africa; notes that 27 April 2014 will be the 20th anniversary of South Africa's first democratic election; expresses its concern that one of the legacies of apartheid which has not been addressed is that thousands of South African gold miners, mostly from rural areas that were the primary sources of apartheid migrant labour, have been decimated by epidemic rates of silicosis, an incurable, preventable, respiratory disease that increases susceptibility to tuberculosis, which is endemic in rural areas where TB rates and drug-resistant TB are soaring   Read More...
Image: Pope Francis says human trafficking is 'a crime against humanity' Police from around the world and religious leaders pledge to work together and to fight against human trafficking
Pope Francis has described human trafficking as "a crime against humanity" as international police chiefs and religious figures pledged in the Vatican to work together to fight modern-day slavery. At the end of a two-day meeting, organised by the bishops' conference of England and Wales and chaired by the archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Pope Francis met privately with four women, all former sex workers who were the victims of trafficking. (Lizzy Davies, theguardian.com Thursday 10 April 2014)   Read More...
Image: Major interfaith initiative to combat slavery launched Eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking across the world by 2020 is the objective of a ground-breaking agreement between Catholic, Anglican and Muslim leaders announced at the Vatican on 17 March. Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby have personally given their backing to the newly-formed Global Freedom Network.   Read More...
Image: Faith-based groups urge more access to HIV treatment Faith-based organisations with the United Nations, have urged expansion of access to anti-retroviral treatment for persons living with HIV and AIDS in a consultation organised by the UNAIDS and Caritas Internationalis, from 25 to 26 February in Rome, Italy. The consultation brought together more than one hundred participants including representatives from Christian faith traditions, UN organisations, Vatican, governments, donors, the medical and scientific community and the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.  (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: Sign the petition to Tetley and Tata Global Beverages Recent reports disclose the horrific reality behind the Tetley tea empire - workers on plantations in northern India, including children, are paid less than $3 a day to pick our tea. They toil from dawn until dusk, often spraying industrial pesticides with little protection, and going back to run-down homes that are open to rain and wind -- their only option. Researchers say that overflowing latrines have created “a network of cesspools” within the living area for employees and their families. But the massive corporation that owns Tetley, Tata Global Beverages, is refusing to take serious action.   Read More...
Image: Report Reveals 'Extensive' Violence Against Women in EU Violence against women is "an extensive human rights abuse" across Europe with one in three women reporting some form of physical or sexual abuse since the age of 15 and 8% suffering abuse in the last 12 months, according to the largest survey of its kind on the issue, published on Wednesday. The survey, based on interviews with 42,000 women across 28 EU member states, found extensive abuse across the continent, which typically goes unreported and undetected by the authorities.   Read More...
Image: Call on the Scottish Government to support model anti-slavery law

The Scottish Government announced that it would introduce world-leading anti-slavery legislation. Well done Scotland.   In Scotland right now, potentially the world’s ‘most innovative and comprehensive’ anti-slavery laws are up for discussion in parliament. An unprecedented action plan is on the table that outlines tough penalties for offenders and a new system of support for survivors. This could also be used to inspire other modern slavery laws around the world. The Scottish Government has until Tuesday, 18 March, to show its support for this model anti-slavery law in Scotland.   Read More...

Image: EDM 1095: Migrant Workers in Qatar & the 2022 World Cup email your MP
Please ask your MP to sign this EDM:  That this House notes that since Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup the country has experienced a construction boom; further notes that in the last two years hundreds of Indian and Nepalese migrant workers have died working on construction projects in Qatar; moreover is extremely concerned that in the build-up to 2022 hundreds more migrant workers will die due to unsafe working conditions; and calls on the Government, the international community and FIFA to act to urge Qatar in the strongest possible terms to drastically improve working conditions, review the migrant worker sponsorship scheme and properly compensate the families of migrant workers who have been injured or killed.   Read More...
Image: Qatar World Cup: 400 Nepalese Die on Nation's Building Sites The grim statistic comes from the Pravasi Nepali Co-ordination Committee, a respected human rights organisation which compiles lists of the dead using official sources in Doha. It will pile new pressure on the Qatari authorities - and on football's world governing body, FIFA - to curb a mounting death toll that some are warning could hit 4,000 by the time the 2022 finals take place. (The Observer, 15 February)   Read More...
Image: Eighth Year of Decline in Political Rights and Civil Liberties Ten countries given the lowest possible rating  for both political rights and civil liberties. Central African Republic  / Somalia / Equatorial Guinea / Sudan / Eritrea / Syria / North Korea / Turkmenistan / Saudi Arabia / Uzbekistan.  The state of freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, according to Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House's annual country-by-country report on global political rights and civil liberties.   Read More...
Image: Government blocks Lords changes, but 'gagging law' activists press on Voluntary groups and NGOs reacted with anger after the government used the whipping system to vote down amendments to its controversial Lobbying Bill. "The Commons has today chosen to completely ignore both the Lords and the legitimate concerns of civil society," commented Alex Massey, Senior Policy Officer at ACEVO, the charity leaders' organisation, after the short debate. Others expressed similar sentiments. But campaigners point out that peers and fewer than 20 MPs can alter the balance again, and say they are 'not going away'. (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: EU and Afghanistan: Mission Accomplished, Women Abandoned?

Despite 12 years of armed conflict, investment and capacity-building by foreign governments in Afghanistan, including by European Union governments and the EU itself, women's rights remain in peril.Violence against women and forced marriage are rife, while high-profile female government officials and civil society activists face threats and attacks by the resilient Taliban insurgency. All too often, the government appears unable or unwilling to bring to justice the perpetrators of these crimes. Worse, in the last year Afghan government officials have themselves attacked some of the most basic legal safeguards for women. (Human Rights Watch, 20/01/14)   Read More...

Image: Ministers asked to think again on Lobbying Bill after major Lords defeat Voluntary organisations are calling on the UK government to reconsider its Lobbying Bill following a major defeat in the House of Lords last night -- plus a petition handed in by former Bishop of Oxford Lord Harries, backed by 120 NGOs and 166,000 people in less than a week. Campaigners won a significant vote at Westminster in the Bill's Report Stage on 15 January 2014, thanks to the votes of crossbenchers, Labour peers, two rebel Conservatives and four rebel Lib Dems, two English Anglican bishops and an independent. (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: Urgent petition: support Lord Harries' amendments to the Lobbying Bill As we reach the final stages of the Lobbying Bill in parliament, the UK Government has started to respond to the overwhelming opposition from charities, NGOs and advocacy organisations, the pressure is working. Key amendments will be tabled by former Bishop of Oxford Lord Harries, chair of the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement, which is now backed by over 130 organisations. (Ekklesia)   Read More...

2013

Image: Government U-turn on torture inquiry promise “scandalous” Commenting on the publication of the preliminary work of the Gibson Inquiry into UK rendition in torture, and the announcement by Cabinet Office Minister Ken Clarke that the Government will no longer hold a judge-led inquiry into the issue but will instead pass the issue to the Intelligence and Security Committee, Clare Algar, Executive Director of legal charity Reprieve said: “These findings show just how crucial it is that a fully independent and transparent inquiry is held into the UK’s involvement in torture and rendition.   Read More...
Image: Honor Mandela by carrying on the struggle for justice and peace Father John Dear's blog from The National Catholic Reporter

With everyone else, I've been mourning, celebrating and reflecting these past few days on the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela, who died Dec 5. I'm amazed at his political vision; his daring revolutionary commitment; his patient endurance through 27 years in prison; his determination to avoid war and reconcile South Africa upon his release; his persistent forgiveness; his outspoken stance against war, poverty, AIDS and U.S. imperialism; his towering example; and, perhaps most of all, his personal dignity and humanity.   Read More...

Image: Tell the Home Secretary to help end child trafficking in the UK Email action by Walk Free
At the moment the UK is introducing new laws on Modern Slavery. Let's make sure it helps protect children from trafficking.   Read More...
Image: Lobbying Bill unjust and undemocratic, says Christian think-tank Ekklesia has endorsed a new report, published today (10 Dec), calling for substantial changes to the government's Lobbying Bill, which in its present form would severely restrict the free speech of civic groups a year before an election.  "The Commission's consensus proposals for amendment represent a definite improvement, but serious doubts remain as to whether the Lobbying Bill can be rendered fit for purpose in time for the 2015 election. It will be open to significant legal challenge and may leave legitimate campaign groups with little option but to challenge an unjust law," warned Ekklesia co-director Barrow.   Read More...
Image: RIP Madiba “It always seems impossible till it's done” “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”   Read More...
Image: Call for Peace Wishes and Prayers - Messages of Peace for Bethlehem - Advent and Christmas 2013

All people of good will are invited to write a message of hope and encouragement to our friends in Bethlehem. The season of Advent and Christmas reminds us of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace.  The expectation of a just peace in Israel – Palestine is still alive, locally and globally. Pax Christi International supports all those in the Holy Land who show enormous courage in choosing peaceful ways that leads to a just peace. They raise their voices and speak truth to power, acting out inspirational stories to restore peace and build bridges between communities and religions in countries throughout the world.   Read More...

Image: One year on and still waiting for justice - Act Now Edinburgh Woollen Mill still refusing responsibility, and the Families of Tazreen Fashions fire victims continue to wait for justice. On November 24th 2012, over 120 workers were killed and many more injured when a fire ripped through the Tazreen Fashions factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photos taken and documents retrieved from the burnt out ruins showed Tazreen had been producing garments for the UK company Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM). EWM have yet to pay a penny in compensation to these workers.   Read More...
Image: A Disturbing Truth: the Church, the poor, and Oscar Romero Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP gave the following lecture entitled: 'A Disturbing Truth: the Church, the poor, and Oscar Romero' at Westminster Abbey, (29 October) Manchester (31 October) and Edinburgh (1st November)   Read More...
Image: St Andrews Day - STUC cancels St Andrew's Day march as mark of respect Saturday 30 November 2013.  Rally 12 noon, Glasgow Film Theatre, Rose Street, Glasgow.  Speakers include: Jerry Dammers, Musician and anti-racism campaigner: Hope not Hate, Speaker: Alan White, United Glasgow Football Club. Dee Matthew, Show Racism the Res Card

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Image: Political prisoners released in Burma, but many remain locked up

The release of several prisoners of conscience in Burma today is a positive step, but time is running out for the government to keep its promise to release everyone imprisoned for peaceful activism by the year's end, Amnesty International says. Burma (known by the regime as Myanmar) recently announced the release of 69 political prisoners, including several prisoners of conscience. (Ekklesia) 

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Image: Iraq: Executions at Their Highest in Post-Saddam Iraq A sharp increase in the use of the death penalty in Iraq has brought the number of known executions to the highest in the decade since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, with at least seven prisoners sent to the gallows yesterday, sparking fears that many more death row prisoners are at risk.  "Iraq's increased use of the death penalty, often after unfair trials in which many prisoners report having been tortured into confessing crimes, is a futile attempt to resolve the country's serious security and justice problems," said Phillip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.   Read More...
Image: Christmas Greeting Card Campaign If you would like to send greeting cards to prisoners this Christmas, here are some options Action by Action by Christians Against Torture: download the list here  Christian Solidarity Worldwide: download the list here  War Resisters International: download the list here   Read More...
Image: World AIDS Day 1st December 2013 UNAIDS reports a 52% reduction in new HIV infections among children and a combined 33% reduction among adults and children since 2001. World closing in on Millennium Development Goal 6, globally the AIDS epidemic has been halted and reversed—race is on to reach universal access to HIV treatment. See also SCIAF   Read More...
Image: Government needs to rethink Lobbying Bill, says Christian think-tank The government needs to listen to charities, churches and unions, and to amend substantially those provisions in its Lobbying Bill which would curtail the legitimate advocacy functions of voluntary organisations, says the Christian think-tank Ekklesia. The response came to news of a five week delay for further consideration agreed by the government on 5 November, after substantial pressure on parliamentarians concerning the advisability and workability of the Transparency in Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill.
Read the full press release from Ekklesia    Read More...
Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. When citizens are prevented from enjoying that right, the social, political and cultural implications can be serious, as the debate will show. The loss of other human rights can swiftly follow. The debate is therefore important not only for Christians, but for all religious groups and minorities, and indeed for everyone seeking to live out the dictates of their conscience in worship, teaching, practice and observance, respectful of others' right to do likewise, and under the protection of a state striving to achieve that positive vision under the rule of law. That is a far cry from the reality for many Christians in the middle east. House of Commons, Westminister Hall Debate
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Image: Pope meets Aung San Suu Kyi Pope Francis on Monday (28 October) received Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi in the Vatican, offering his support to her commitment towards democracy. The Burmese opposition leader, a former political prisoner in her own country, is currently on a visit to Europe and on Sunday was made an honorary citizen of Rome. During the meeting, which took place in the Papal Library, Pope Francis expressed his appreciation for Aung San Suu Kyi’s commitment towards democracy in her country, and assured her of the Church’s support towards this cause.   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 603: Textile Workers In Bangladesh Email your MP
Please ask you MP to sign this EDM. 'That this House notes that Bangladesh is currently the world's second-biggest producer of textiles and garments, and that it's mostly-female workforce of four million people are the lowest paid in the world and face appalling working conditions on a daily basis for less than £28 a month; deeply regrets the tragic disasters at garment factories across Bangladesh in recent months, which have claimed well over 1200 lives, left tens of thousands too injured to work and pushed millions more into poverty; commends Global Citizen's See Through Fashion campaign, which is working with the British fashion industry to encourage retailers to sign up to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which will ensure better safety and working conditions for the people who make a majority of Britain's clothes;   Read More...
Image: Electoral Reform Society: Please help stop the lobbying bill

The Lobbying Bill passed its second reading in the House of Lords last week. Despite some amendments made in the Commons, it is still deeply flawed. Can you help out by sharing your views with the Lords as they prepare to debate the Bill in Committee Stage this week? You can write to the Bill’s sponsor, Lord Wallace, here. Let him know you share concerns – that the Lobbying Bill could severely affect our ability to raise important issues in the lead up to elections – and that’s why we are asking you to share your thoughts with him.

 

    

Image: Harmful Practices Against Women And Girls Can Never be Justified by Religion Harmful practices inflicted on women and girls can never be justified in the name of freedom of religion or belief, an independent United Nations human rights expert told a General Assembly committee dealing with social, humanitarian and cultural issues. "Countless women are exposed to complex forms of human rights violations based on both religion or belief and their sex," said Heiner Bielefeldt, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. (UN News Centre, 29 October 2013)   Read More...
Image: Procurement Reform Bill  - SCIAF email Action Nine billion reasons to act for justice
Every year the Scottish Government spends £9 billion buying goods and services - some from Scotland, some from much further away. This autumn, the Government and MSPs will debate a new law, the Procurement Reform Bill, which will guide how this £9 billion is spent. SCIAF is launching a new campaign calling for Scottish Government to make sure our money is not used to exploit workers, damage the planet or benefit unethical businesses.   Read More...
Image: Faith bodies express anxiety over effect of Lobbying Bill Thirteen faith-based organisations have written to David Cameron and Nick Clegg to express their fear that the Lobbying Bill will "curtail our ability to express deeply-held beliefs in the political arena" The letter states that even after the Government’s latest amendment to the Bill, the signatories believe there is a "very real risk that non-biased political activity will be captured by the…Act." (Ekklesia)
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Image: The Edinburgh World Justice Festival - 12th - 26th Oct. In the summer of 2005, while the G8 met in Scotland and made promises that have yet to be kept, a people’s movement was born in Edinburgh - The Edinburgh World Justice Festival. Bringing together people & organisations who share the common values of justice, peace, non-violence, human rights for all, democracy, respect of differences, independence and self-responsibility, honesty & openness, equality & solidarity. The 2013 EWJF programme is set to be packed with talks, workshops and action that will keep the issues of world justice in the public eye. View EWJF events here
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Image: Dying for a Bargain BBC One - Panorama,  Dying for a Bargain. If you missed 'Dying For A Bargain' on 23 September, you can watch it here. Panorama investigated the shocking working conditions in Bangladesh clothing factories and how the Western fashion industry is turning a blind eye.   

     
Image: Take One Action Take One Action – Scotland’s global change film festival – is back in Edinburgh and Glasgow from 27 September to 12 October, premiering two weeks of the best new international cinema connecting us across our shared planet. Get involved today!   Read More...
Image: Eight UK clothing brands still refuse to fix dangerous factories in Bangladesh In April over 1200 people died in Bangladesh when the Rana Plaza building collapsed. There has never been a clearer sign that all retailers need to dramatically raise their efforts to ensure that those making their clothes are doing so in safety and with dignity. After huge public pressure over 80 clothing brands signed up to a union-backed Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Please contact the 8 clothing brand that refuse to sign the accord telling them that there are no excuses for ignoring safety standards and workers’ rights in Bangladesh   Read More...
Image: Pope Francis to organise conference on human trafficking
VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis will call a conference in November to discuss an "action plan" against human trafficking and modern slavery, Vatican radio reported.
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Image: Stop Child Labour Many observers thought that child labour was a thing of the past in Europe. However, there are strong indications that child labour remains a serious problem and that it might be growing in the wake of the economic crisis. Governments need to monitor this situation and to use the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Social Charter as guidance for preventive and remedial action. Vulnerable people are always disproportionately affected in times of economic down-turn. The link between declining economic growth and increasing child labour is therefore no surprise. With the recession many European countries have drastically cut social aid. As unemployment soars, many families have found no other solution than sending their children to work.  Nils Muiznieks, Commissioner for Human Rights, 20/08 /2013   Read More...
Image: More action urged on trafficking and forced labour

Communities, churches, statutory authorities, survivor groups, police and NGOs need to work together better to tackle modern day slavery in Scotland and across the UK. That was the message coming out of a conversation asking 'Does Slavery Exist in Scotland Today?' at Just Festival in Edinburgh on Wednesday 8 August. Human trafficking, exploitation of migrant labour, forced prostitution, child exploitation, selling of organs, organised sexual abuse and domestic servitude are only a few examples of modern human enslavement, and it has been a growing problem, participants in the discussion at St John's Episcopal Church heard. (Ekklesia)

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Image: Fund for Peace - Failed States Index 2013 Index compiled/researched by 'Fund for Peace' - An independent, nonpartisan,  non-profit research and educational organization that works to prevent violent conflict and promote sustainable security. Though the index will show that some countries have moved down the index, this does not mean that conditions have got better;  just that they have been replaced by countries with deteriorated conditions moving up the index. Top ten worst countries in 2012: Somalia, DR Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Yemen, Afghanistan, Haiti, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe   Read More...
Image: UN chief condemns violence in Egypt and calls for respect for human rights UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the deadly upsurge of violence in Egypt and called on security forces to respect the right to free speech and assembly while urging protesters to demonstrate peacefully. Protests on Friday and Saturday (26 and 27 July) have left scores of people dead and hundreds others injured. “The Secretary-General once again calls on the interim authorities to assume full responsibility for the peaceful management of the demonstrations and ensure the protection of all Egyptians,” Ban's spokesperson said in a statement. (Ekklesia)
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Image: Families of Guantanamo detainees tell Senate of 'suffering' and 'anguish' The children of Guantanamo detainee and British resident Shaker Aamer have submitted statements to a US Senate hearing on the closure of the prison, describing life without their father. On 24 July, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights – Chaired by Senator Richard Durbin – held a hearing on closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was the first hearing of its kind since 2009. In a statement put on the record at the hearing, Shaker’s son Michael wrote: “Since I have grown up I find it very difficult without my dad. I can feel how hard it is for my mum. Even though he has been cleared for release, he has been tortured.” (Ekklesia)
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Image: Breathless for Blue Jeans shocking undercover report from Chinese sweatshops, shows a killer disease being inflicted on workers in the name of fashion

Chinese workers are exposed to silicosis, a deadly lung disease, while working in factories that produce jeans for Western brands such as Levis, H&M and Gap. The ‘distressed’ denims found in almost any high street store come with a hidden human cost. Sandblasting, one of the techniques used to produce these popular jeans, destroy workers’ lives. War on Want jointly with their partners in China exposes in the report, Breathless for Blue Jeans: Health hazards in China’s denim factories, the plight of workers in six factories in Guandong, the Chinese province responsible for half of the world’s entire production of blue jeans.

 



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Image: Mandela Day 2013 “It is in your hands to make a difference.” Nelson Mandela. Today is the fourth International Nelson Mandela Day. All over the world, people are honouring Nelson Mandela's legacy by committing their time to serving others.  Follow this live blog for the latest updates.
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Image: Five Steps To Increase Women's Safety Violence against women is one of the most widespread and serious human rights violations occurring every day in Europe. Only in the last three weeks more than five women have been killed in different countries, including Austria, Italy, Spain and Ukraine.  These murders are only the tip of a much larger iceberg of thousands of cases happening all over the world. Although there is a lack of comprehensive data, it is conservatively estimated that more than 60,000 women and girls die yearly in the world due to violent causes. Nils Muiznieks, Commissioner for Human Rights, Strasbourg, 10/7/2013   Read More...
Image: Traidcraft  - The dark side to our high street brands Fast fashion at what cost: what does the recent collapse of a garment factory, resulting in over 1000 deaths, reveal about how clothes get to our high street shops? Read this interview with Traidcraft's private sector expert Fiona Gooch to find out more:   Read More...
Image: Vietnamese Child Trafficking Victims Win Appeal Against Convictions Three children from Vietnam who were trafficked to the UK and forced to work for criminal gangs have had their criminal convictions quashed. The children were arrested after police raids on cannabis factories and later convicted of drug offences. In an unrelated case, a woman from Uganda had her conviction for carrying false documents overturned. The court ruled the four should not have been prosecuted because they were victims of a "vile trade in people". Lawyers for the four argued they should not have been prosecuted because they were all victims of trafficking.
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Image: 10.5 Million Children Worldwide in Forced Domestic Labour With an estimated 10.5 million children worldwide working in people's homes in hazardous and often slavery-like conditions, the United Nations labour agency today called for an end to child labour in domestic work and urged decent working conditions for adolescents who can be legally employed. "There is no place and no excuse for child labour in domestic or any other form of work," UN International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General, Guy Ryder, said in his speech in Geneva to mark World Day against Child Labour. According to the latest figures in ILO's report, Ending child labour in domestic work, of the 10.5 million underage workers, an estimated 6.5 million are child labourers aged between five and 14 years of age. More than 71 per cent are girls, some of whom work as a result of forced labour and trafficking.UN News Centre, 12/06/13
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Image: Kyrgyzstan: 3 Years After Violence, a Mockery of Justice Justice for crimes committed during the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 remains elusive and the authorities' commitment to accountability is in doubt. Many people have gone on trial in connection with the violence. But the justice process has been seriously flawed from arrest to conviction, and has led to lengthy prison sentences based on unsound convictions. Criminal investigations into the June 2010 violence have been marred by widespread arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment, including torture. Unchecked courtroom violence and other egregious violations of defendants' rights have blocked the accused from presenting a meaningful defence. Human Rights Watch has documented how investigations disproportionately and unjustly targeted ethnic Uzbeks, and how this group has a heightened risk of torture in custody.
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Image: UN Committee against Torture criticises UK immigration detention UN Committee against Torture report May 2013. Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of the United Kingdom, adopted by the Committee at its fiftieth session (6-31 May 2013). UK practice highlighted; Amending the 2010 UKBA EIG allowing detention of people with mental illness unless it cannot be managed in detention; Conducting an immediate independent review of the application of Rule 35; Reviewing the screening process for administrative detention of asylum-seekers upon entry; Lowering the evidential threshold for torture survivors; Deportations to Sri Lanka; Restraint of children.   Read More...
Image: World Day Against Child Labour - 12 June

Hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.

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Image: Obama fails Guantanamo detainees, says Reprieve President Obama, in a major defence policy speech, failed to provide any meaningful assistance to the hunger-striking detainees being held without charge at Guantanamo Bay, says legal charity Reprieve.  The speech comes amid revelations that prisoners are being subjected to invasive and aggressive cavity searches as a matter of policy if they want to take phone calls or meetings with their lawyers. (Ekklesia)
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Image: Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 112: Women In Afghanistan That this House notes with concern that despite steady improvement in the rights of Afghan women since the severe repression of the 1990s, women in Afghanistan are once again in danger; raises concerns about information indicating that women are being marginalised in the peace process, ignored in the security transition and that they continue to be subject to violence in the home and attacks against the defenders of women's rights; commends the efforts by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development to ensure the Afghan government upholds its commitments on women's rights, including through implementation of the Elimination of Violence Against Women law, which is a central commitment under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework; praises the campaign being led by Amnesty International UK to highlight the plight of women in Afghanistan; and calls on the Government to keep the pressure on the Afghan administration to put women first.

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Image: 32.4 Million People Displaced by Disasters in 2012 A new report released today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reveals that 32.4 million people were forced to flee their homes in 2012 by disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes. While Asia and west and central Africa bore the brunt, 1.3 million were displaced in rich countries, with the USA particularly affected. 98% of all displacement in 2012 was related to climate- and weather-related events, with flood disasters in India and Nigeria accounting for 41% of global displacement in 2012. In India, monsoon floods displaced 6.9 million, and in Nigeria 6.1 million people were newly displaced. While over the past five years 81% of global displacement has occurred in Asia, in 2012 Africa had a record high for the region of 8.2 million people newly displaced, over four times more than in any of the previous four years. (Reliefweb, 13/05/113)
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Image: Souls of our Shoes Exhibition Scottish Interfaith Group on Domestic Abuse
Souls of our Shoes Exhibition from Monday 6th May to Monday 27th May at St Mary’s Scottish Episcopal Cathedral, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh EH12 5AW. The shoes in this exhibition speak on behalf of abused individuals who suffer and some who die at the hands of their partner. Other comments come from those who journey with them. Their reflections represent a faith perspective. 'It is God’s intention for all human beings, male, female, child and adult, to enjoy safety, freedom, dignity and fullness of life. Abuse in the home is a violation of God’s wish for humanity as it can adversely affect an individual’s relationship with God and also creates substantial damage in the family, in the community and in society as a whole.' (From the Inter-Faith Statement) With timely help, many can escape from their abusive situation, rebuild their confidence and live in safety. This exhibition has been adapted from the ‘104 pairs of shoes’ initiated by the YWCA.
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Image: Where should I shop?: Labour Behind the Label - Our advice to you
In the face of stories about sweatshop factories and buildings collapsing in Bangladesh, it is often difficult to know where you should shop. Buying 'sweatshop free' clothes is a complicated business. Labour Behind the Label exists to help improve conditions for garment workers on the ground and empower them to change their systems for the better – they are not a consumer label and can't hope to know everything there is to know about all brands.

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Image: Stop Fatal Fashion Over 30 global brands have signed onto the Bangladesh Safety Accord. A huge thanks to everybody who has helped! The struggle is by no means over, but this is a major breakthrough that will bring real change. Shame on retailers like Walmart and Gap who refuse, but together with you we hope to change their ways still. Read the announcement.
 
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Image: Tell brands to take responsibility and sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement! Stop Press! Primark, H&M and Zara, have signed on to  the Bangladesh Safety Accord. This will save lives. Thank you to all who have signed petitions, over 30 brands signed up but some have not. Find out more. Stop The Killing! Demand safety for Bangladeshi workers. Over 1200 people were killed in the Bangladesh Rana Plaze building collapse. On Wednesday 24th April thousands of workers went to work at one of their garment factories located above the Rana Plaza shopping centre in Savar, Dhaka. They had been told to return to work despite noticing large cracks appearing the building only the day before. Over 370 of these workers were killed and over a thousand injured when that same day the building came crashing down, trapping them under tons of rubble and machinery. Send an email NOW
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Image: The Stateof the World’s Mothers 2013 Report The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the world’s toughest place to be a mother – and Finland the best – according to Save the Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report. The Mother’s Index, contained within the report, looks at 176 countries around the world that are succeeding – and failing – in saving the lives of mothers and their new-born babies. It assesses mothers’ well-being using indicators of maternal health, under-five mortality, levels of women’s education, income, and political status. The Nordic countries sweep the top spots while, for the first time, countries in sub-Saharan Africa take up each of the bottom ten places in the annual index. A woman or girl in the DRC has a one in 30 chance of dying from maternal causes – including childbirth – but in Finland the risk is one in 12,200.   Read More...
Image: Bangladesh factory collapse: Who really pays for our cheap clothes? The sad fact behind the building collapse in Bangladesh in whch hundreds died is that it isn't an isolated problem.  The story will leave the headlines at the end of this week but on Monday hundreds of thousands of workers will return to factories that are frankly further tragedies waiting to happen, and will keep producing clothes for high street brands.  (Anna McMullen, campaigner for Labour Behind the Label, on CNN)   Read More...
Image: Give adidas the boot! Join the Footlocker day of action 22 April
STOP PRESS PT Kizone workers paid by Adidas, A huge thanks and congratulations to everyone who helped win this momentous struggle.
In April 2011, 2,800 workers in Indonesia lost their jobs after their factory, PT Kizone, closed down. Since then these workers have been fighting to get the $3.4 million they are owed in severance pay. Since the closure many workers have been unable to find new work and struggle to stay in their homes and keep their children at school. An international campaign has called on brands producing at PT Kizone to pay severance. While Nike and Dallas Cowboys have paid $1.6million to the fund, adidas has refused to pay a penny, despite strong international campaigning. Join the Footlocker International Day of Action on 22nd April. Act Now!   Read More...
Image: 28.8 Million Internally Displaced People Worldwide In 2012 by conflict and violence The number of people internally displaced by armed conflict, violence and human rights violations at the end of 2012 was 28.8 million, an increase of 2.4 million people on the previous year and the highest global figure ever reported by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). Over 6.5 million people were newly displaced inside their home countries in 2012, almost twice as many as the year before. Because these people have not crossed a border, they are not refugees and do not benefit from international protection. ''Much of the spike in the number of internally displaced people worldwide was due to the 2.4 million people displaced by the crisis within Syria by the end of 2012,'' said Kate Halff, Director of IDMC.   Read More...
Image: Edinburgh Woollen Mill and the Tazreen Fashions Factory In November 2011 at least 112 workers died in a fire at Tazreen Fashions, a garment factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many workers jumped to their deaths trying to escape from the nine story building. Others were simply burned alive. Factory windows were barred to prevent theft and there weren’t enough fire exits, making it impossible for workers to escape. Workers’ families have not only lost a loved one but have been left in even worse poverty. Many injured workers are unable to afford medical treatment. The Tazreen workers produced for labels including Edinburgh Woollen Mill, who have so far refused to engage with Labour Behind the Label or the Bangladesh trade unions to ensure the victims of the fire get the justice they deserve. Act Now! Sign the petition calling on Edinburgh Woollen Mill, and other buyers from the Tazreen Fashions factory, to pay full compensation to the victims and their families.
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Image: International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Slavery - 25 March Today on the International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Slavery, we honour those who suffered at the hands of the brutal slavery system and renew our commitment to stand up against modern slavery.   Read More...
Image: Sri Lanka Accused of Ongoing Torture and Abuse of Tamil Prisoners According to a new report by 'Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice'. The Sri Lanka government continues to break its international treaty obligations and its own laws through its treatment of Tamil political prisoners. At Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review (which periodically examines the human rights performance of all 193 UN members), the panel noted that four pledges made by the government in 2008, in relation to prisoners, were 'incomplete'. Overall, the government rejected 100 of the 210 recommendations made to it. See also Mark Townsend and Hussein Kesvani guardian.co.uk,  23 March 2013
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Image: World Water Day - 22 March

The fulfilment of basic human needs, our environment, socio-economic development and poverty reduction are all heavily dependent on water. Good management of water is especially challenging due to some of its unique characteristics: it is unevenly distributed in time and space, the hydrological cycle is highly complex and perturbations have multiple effects. Rapid urbanization, pollution and climate change threaten the resource while demands for water are increasing in order to satisfy the needs of a growing world population, now at over seven billion people, for food production, energy, industrial and domestic uses. Water is a shared resource and its management needs to take into account a wide variety of conflicting interests. This provides opportunities for cooperation among users.

    

Image: 'Shameful' Failure To Tackle Slavery And Human Trafficking in the UK Ministers, the police and social workers have been accused of a "shocking" failure to prevent the spread of modern slavery in the UK, leading to sexual exploitation, forced labour and the domestic servitude of adults and children from across the world. Describing government ministers as "clueless" in their response to tackling human trafficking, both into and within the UK, the most exhaustive inquiry yet conducted into the phenomenon concludes that the approach to eradicating modern slavery is fundamentally wrong-headed. Instead of helping vulnerable victims who are trapped into forms of slavery after being trafficked from overseas, the legal system prosecutes many for immigration offences. Inquiry outlines 80 recommendations, including appointing an independent commissioner and new legislation to protect victims (The Observer, 09/03/13)   Read More...
Image: G4S accused over links to Palestinian 'torture' death jail Campaigners from War on Want have called for the British private security corporation G4S to be held to account for its involvement with Israel's unlawful detention of Palestinians. The call followed the death of a Palestinian prisoner, after his alleged torture in custody by Israel's internal security service Shin Bet.
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Image: Côte d'Ivoire : Widespread Human Rights Violations Continue A repressive cycle of widespread human rights violations by the armed forces pursuing former President Laurent Gbagbo's supporters is making reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire ever more elusive. The national army, set up by President Alassane Ouattara in order to integrate forces loyal to the former President in the wake of the 2010 post-election violence which led to nearly 3,000 deaths, was supposed to ensure "the safety of person and property without distinction" and "be a powerful instrument for national cohesion".   But the truth behind this public gloss is that this new national army, along with an armed militia of traditional hunters - the Dozos - are carrying out extra-judicial executions, deliberate and arbitrary killings, politically motivated arrests and torture. They are acting with almost total impunity under the pretence of ensuring security and fighting against perpetrators of armed attacks. Reliefweb, 26/02/13
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Image: Please ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1114: Afghanistan Legacy That this House is saddened by Panorama's account of the legacy of the UK's sacrifices in Afghanistan that revealed the Afghan police as an ill-disciplined, drug addicted force practising endemic child abuse, corruption, kidnapping, murder and the looting of equipment paid for by British taxpayers; is distressed to hear of the absence of remorse following the murder of three boys killed when attempting to escape from police abuse; and recalls that 440 British soldiers died attempting to improve life in Afghanistan.   House of Commons: 26/02/2013   Read More...
Image: Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1058: Human Trafficking That this House recognises that human trafficking represents a form of modern-day slavery and that many victims are held under conditions of enforced or bonded servitude whilst being exploited for their labour; urges the Government fully to implement the Council of Europe's Convention on Human Trafficking, including appointing an independent rapporteur or ombudsperson and to work closely with other EU member states to adopt an effective regime to combat this appalling practice......    Read More...
Image: More Women Forced Into Slavery After Change To Immigration Law The number of women suspected of being trafficked to perform housework in embassies and private houses in Britain has increased amid warnings that vulnerable workers have been denied an escape route from domestic servitude by new immigration rules. The rise in domestic servitude comes amid a 25 per cent increase in the number of trafficking victims reported in 2012 to the national referral mechanism. The authorities say the increase to nearly 1,200 people could be attributable to both better detection of trafficking rings and an increase in the crime. (Paul Peachey, Indpendent, Sunday 03 February 2013)
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Image: Slavery: Can You Spot It Outside the Cinema?

Have you been to the cinema lately? If so, there are a few syllables that won’t have escaped your attention. Lincoln and Django – two big budget films on slavery, from some of the biggest names in Hollywood. A great boost to public awareness, right?  Well, not exactly. With all this buzz about the past, it’s dangerously easy to forget that slavery is the stuff of present headlines as well as history books. A recent poll has found that 75% of the population do not consider human trafficking a ‘widespread problem’ at all. Meanwhile, the trial of a nine-man ring of suspected sex-traffickers from Oxford paints a bleaker picture.

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Image: Torture On Rise In Afghan Jails, Says UN Report The use of torture has risen in Afghan police jails over the past year, and there are "credible reports" the country's intelligence service has created secret prisons and sometimes hides detainees from international observers, a damning UN survey has found. Just over half of prisoners held in connection with Afghanistan's long-running war endured torture or ill-treatment while in custody between October 2011 and October 2012, with 14 different methods recorded, including electric shocks, twisting of genitals, beatings with cables and rifle butts and suspension from the wrists or feet. Emma Graham-Harrison, guardian.co.uk, 20 January 2013
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Image: Take action: Tell H&M to dump slave-grown cotton from its supply chain Every year, more than a million men, women, and children in Uzbekistan are forced by their government to work in the state-run industry harvesting cotton. Activists who speak out are tortured and detained. Please sign the petition.   Read More...
Image: Obama must correct Guantanamo failure in second term President Barack Obama must revisit the promise he made in 2009 to close the Guantanamo detention facility, Amnesty International has said ahead of the 11th anniversary of the first detainee transfers to the US naval base in Cuba. The plea came just days before Mr Obama's re-inauguration as US president. This time, says the globally known human rights NGO, he must commit the USA to releasing the detainees or bringing them to fair trial. (Ekklesia)
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Resources


Image: TTIP and trade justice
A resource pack on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership for churches.
Produces by Global Justice Now, the pack incorporates prayers, writings and ideas by people from a range of Christian traditions  who share a conviction that trade injustice is a barrier to the fullness of life promised by the kingdom of God.




Image: Human Rights Watch World Report 2015: Rights Aren't Wrong in Tough Times
Human Rights Watch's 25th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. Summarises key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide.



Image: First major piece of research on female genital mutilation (FGM) in Scotland launched by Scottish Re

The first major piece of research on female genital mutilation (FGM) in Scotland is being launched today by Scottish Refugee Council with Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice and Communities Alex Neil. The report has identified an urgent need for a strategic, multi-agency approach to supporting and protecting communities affected by the practice.



Image: Saving Mothers and Children in Humanitarian Crises
Top Ten Worst Countries to be a Mother: Somalia, DR Congo, Niger, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire. Motherhood is the toughest job in the world. With long hours, constant demands and no time off, caring for our children is an all-consuming task. But for women living in crisis, the challenges of being a mother are greater - and the stakes are so much higher. (Save the Children - State of the World's Mothers 2014)



Image: U.S. Department of State - Trafficking in Persons Report 2014
"We each have a responsibility to make this horrific and all-too-common crime a lot less common. And our work with victims is the key that will open the door to real change—not just on behalf of the more than 44,000 survivors who have been identified in the past year, but also for the more than 20 million victims of trafficking who have not.  As Secretary of State, I’ve seen with my own two eyes countless individual acts of courage and commitment. I’ve seen how victims of this crime can become survivors and how survivors can become voices of conscience and conviction in the cause. This year’s Trafficking in Persons Report offers a roadmap for the road ahead as we confront the scourge of trafficking."  John F. Kerry, Secretary of State



Image: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom - Annual Report
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal advisory body the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) created to monitor religious freedom abuses abroad, today released its 2014 Annual Report, and recommended that the State Department add eight more nations to its list of 'countries of particular concern,' defined under law as countries where particularly severe violations of religious freedom are tolerated or perpetrated: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.



Image: Pope Francis’ Lenten Message
Pope Francis’ Lenten Message concentrates on the theme of poverty. ‘Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.’    The Message forms a good basis for reflection at this time of year.



Image: Human Rights Watch - World Report 2014
HRW's annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from the end of 2012 through November 2013.



Image: The Joy of the Gospel

To conclude the Year of Faith, and as a reflection on the Bishops’ Synod on Evangelisation last year, Pope Francis has published an Apostolic Exhortation with its title from the opening words – Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel.



Image: 32.4 Million People Displaced by Disasters in 2012
A new report released today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reveals that 32.4 million people were forced to flee their homes in 2012 by disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes. While Asia and west and central Africa bore the brunt, 1.3 million were displaced in rich countries, with the USA particularly affected. 98% of all displacement in 2012 was related to climate- and weather-related events, with flood disasters in India and Nigeria accounting for 41% of global displacement in 2012. In India, monsoon floods displaced 6.9 million, and in Nigeria 6.1 million people were newly displaced. While over the past five years 81% of global displacement has occurred in Asia, in 2012 Africa had a record high for the region of 8.2 million people newly displaced, over four times more than in any of the previous four years. (Reliefweb, 13/05/113)




Image: Europe's Pariah State? Future of Human Right in Britain

Since taking office in September 2012, Chris Grayling has made no secret of his desire to get rid of the Human Rights Act and to 'dramatically curtail' the role of the European Court of Human Rights in the UK. In October he refused to rule out an exit from the European Convention, despite the concerns of senior Tories such as Dominic Grieve and Kenneth Clarke (Grayling's predecessor in the ministry). Grayling's front-bench colleague, home secretary Theresa May, was said to be drawing up a manifesto promise to repeal the Human Rights Act. Frances Webber, a retired human rights barrister and author of Borderline Justice: the fight for refugee and migrant rights, examines Britain's difficult relationship with the European Human Rights Convention.

 



Image: The Stateof the World’s Mothers 2013 Report
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the world’s toughest place to be a mother – and Finland the best – according to Save the Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report. The Mother’s Index, contained within the report, looks at 176 countries around the world that are succeeding – and failing – in saving the lives of mothers and their new-born babies. It assesses mothers’ well-being using indicators of maternal health, under-five mortality, levels of women’s education, income, and political status. The Nordic countries sweep the top spots while, for the first time, countries in sub-Saharan Africa take up each of the bottom ten places in the annual index. A woman or girl in the DRC has a one in 30 chance of dying from maternal causes – including childbirth – but in Finland the risk is one in 12,200.



Image: Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Being  publishes report
The UK has taken a number of important steps in the fight against human trafficking, according to this report. However, more needs to be done to ensure that the overall approach is focused on the victims of trafficking and their rights as human beings. The report calls on the UK authorities to further strengthen mechanisms for identifying victims and to make sure that people who have been trafficked are treated primarily as victims of serious human rights abuses. Read the full report



Image: Worst of the Worst  -  World's Most Repressive Societies
More than 1.6 billion people-23 percent of the world's population-have no say in how they are governed and face severe consequences if they try to exercise their most basic rights, such as expressing their views, assembling peacefully, and organising independently of the state. Citizens who dare to assert their rights in these repressive countries typically suffer harassment and imprisonment, and often are subjected to physical or psychological abuse. These regimes keep a tight grip on power by eliminating political opposition, emasculating civil society, and silencing their critics.  Freedom House



More Determination is Needed to Make Human Rights Real. "Europe must move with more determination from rhetoric to enforcement of human rights standards"  Thomas Hammarberg, Strasbourg, 17 January 2012



The Report  documents human rights abuses worldwide including: mistreatment of migrants in Western Europe; violations of the laws of war in Libya and Afghanistan; the plight of political prisoners in Vietnam and Eritrea; the silencing of dissent in China and Cuba; internet crackdowns in Iran and Thailand; killings by security forces in India and Mexico; election-related problems in Russia and the DR Congo; neglectful maternal health policies in Haiti and South Africa; suppression of religious freedom in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia; torture in Pakistan and Uzbekistan; discrimination against people with disabilities in Nepal and Peru; detention without trial in Malaysia and by the United States.







Lessons from the Ivorian cocoa sector by Paul Robson AS International Dec 2010



Image: Scotland & Slavery - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow