Human Rights Violations: Where Is Immune?
Politicians around the globe claim to speak for “the people”, but they are usually the sources of the different sorts of violations of human rights in their own countries or other societies. There seems no will to stop these violations. In this brief summary, we look at some cases of human rights violations in different countries in 2016-2017.
• On any given day in the US, there are 2.3 million people in state and federal prisons and jails, the world’s largest reported incarcerated population.
• Thirty-one US states impose the death penalty. At time of writing, 23 people in eight states had been executed in 2017, all by lethal injection.
• Guantánamo Bay detainees had been denied access to judicial remedy for torture and other human rights violations incurred while in US custody.
• More than 42,000 unaccompanied children and 56,000 individuals who comprised family units were apprehended crossing the southern border irregularly during the 2017.
• Black people make up 13 percent of the population and 13 percent of all adults who use drugs, but 27 percent of all drug arrests. Black men are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of white men.
• Black people are 2.5 times as likely as white to be killed by police. An unarmed black person is five times as likely to be killed by police as an unarmed white person.
• Nearly 50,000 youth age 17 and younger are held in juvenile prisons; approximately 5,000 more are incarcerated in adult jails or prisons.
• Every year, 200,000 people under 18 have contact with the adult criminal system, with many children tried automatically as adults.
• The US continues to sentence children to life in prison without parole, although states increasingly reject its use: as of 2017, 25 states and Washington, DC had banned or did not use the sentence for children.
• At time of writing, seizures for deportation of undocumented people from the interior without criminal convictions had nearly tripled to 31,888 between the inauguration and the end of September 2017, compared with 11,500 during approximately the same period in 2016.
• Around 1.5 million Americans live in nursing homes, where inappropriate and nonconsensual use of antipsychotic medications.
• At time of writing, media reported that US forces interrogated detainees in secret prisons run by foreign forces in Yemen. The US continues to hold 31 men at Guantanamo indefinitely without charge, nearly all of whom have been there for more than a decade.
• As of November Saudi Arabia’s military attacks against Yemen have killed at least 5,295 civilians and 8,873 wounded, according to the UN human rights office, although the actual civilian casualty count is likely much higher.
• Since March 2015, Human Rights Watch has documented 87 apparently unlawful attacks by the coalition, some of which may amount to war crimes, killing nearly 1,000 civilians and hitting homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and mosques.
• In June, the SCC sentenced 14 members of the Shi’a minority to death after convicting them on charges that included shooting at security officials, inciting chaos and participating in demonstrations and riots. Nine others received prison terms.
• On 2 January the authorities carried out 47 executions, reportedly 43 by beheading and four by shooting, in 12 locations around the country.
• Although indigenous women and girls across Canada represent just 4.3 percent of Canada’s female population, 16 percent of female homicide victims are indigenous.
• As of July, there were 132 drinking water advisories—indicating unsafe water—in effect in 92 First Nations communities across Canada.
• In past years, widespread patterns of gang rape by employees of Barrick Gold in Papua New Guinea, and the apparent use of forced labor at Nevsun Resources’ Bisha mine in Eritrea was reported. Government of Canada has made no proactive efforts in these regards.
• Indigenous children are 24 times more likely to be detained than non-Indigenous children.
• Contrary to Article 37(c) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 17-year-olds were tried as, and jailed with, adults in the state of Queensland in 2017.
• Around 320 people taken to Australia for medical treatment remained at risk of being returned to either Nauru or Manus Island.
• As of 30 November 2017, there were 383 people, of whom 44 were children, 49 women and 290 men, in an offshore processing centre on Nauru, where they continued to suffer neglect, ill-treatment and other abuse in a deliberate policy to deter asylum-seekers from trying to reach Australia by boat.
• IN 2017, the authorities conducted more than 4,000 house searches without judicial authorization and subjected more than 400 individuals to assigned residence orders.
• There were reportedly between 500 and 1,000 migrants, including up to 200 unaccompanied children, in the Calais area, as of October, despite the dismantling of the squalid, informal camp at the end of 2016. The French ombudsman and local organizations reported dire living conditions for migrants there, as well as police harassment and abuse against migrants and aid workers, concluding that they contributed to “inhuman living conditions.”
• In an annual report in March 2017, the inspector of prisons found that women in prison face difficulties “accessing psychiatric care.”
• According to civil society organizations, 4,615 individuals were forcibly evicted in the first six months of 2017.
• In the first half of 2017, authorities recorded 143 attacks on asylum shelters and 642 attacks on refugees and asylum seekers outside their home.
• The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s official statistics showed a 57% spike in reporting of hate crime following the EU membership referendum, followed by a decrease in reporting to a level 14% higher than the same period the previous year.
• Research by the domestic women’s rights organization Women’s Aid showed that refuges were being forced to turn away two in three survivors due to lack of space or inability to meet their needs, and that the rate for ethnic minority women was four in five.