Newsletter October Newsletter

Good and Bad News Update – World October 2022

Good News World

  • Research by Amnesty International which included 17,000 fans from 15 countries found that almost three quarters were in favour of compensating migrant workers who suffered abuses while working in Qatar in preparation for the football World Cup. Only ten per cent opposed this.
  • The Australian government has promised to review the current federal human rights framework, with a view to legislating a Human Rights Act. Recent polls there revealed that almost three quarters of Australians support a Human Rights Act. Only three per cent do not.
  • New York, at least temporarily, has introduced new laws to restrict the carrying of guns in certain places such as parks, churches and theatres and introduced stringent rules for issuing permits to carry concealed weapons. 
  • California has also introduced new gun laws, including measures to improve school campus safety and restrict gun possession by people convicted of child or elder abuse. Recent legislation also allows individuals and the state to sue gunmakers for the harm caused by their products, prohibits marketing guns to minors and restricts the sale of firearms which are intentionally made untraceable.
  • The US has renamed hundreds of peaks, lakes and other features on federal land to remove the racist and derogatory terms such as ‘squaw’.
  • The UN Human Rights Committee (a committee of experts) found that the Australian government violated the rights of Torres Strait Islanders by failing to adequately protect them from the impact of climate change.

Bad News World

  • A recent report by the International Labour Organisation, the International Organisation for Migration and Walk Free estimates that there are 50mn people trapped in modern slavery.
  • Wet’suwet’en land defenders and peaceful protesters in British Columbia who are opposing the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, to which they have never consented, have been harassed, intimidated, forcibly removed, and criminalised by the police and private security guards for peacefully defending their traditional lands over which they have title. Drilling under the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River), one of the last remaining clean sources of drinking water and salmon spawning grounds in the territory, is imminent. In May, the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a third letter to Canada noting its concern. 
  • The last remaining man of the Tanaru Indigenous Territory, an untouched indigenous community in Brazil’s Amazon forest, has died after 26 years of isolation. According to Survival International, the rest of his community was killed in attacks from the 1970s onwards by cattle ranchers. Indigenous-protection bodies have been dismantled in Brazil and attacks from illegal miners and loggers continue.
  • On 16 September, a young, fit and healthy 22-year old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, died in intensive care after being severely beaten after her arrest by the morality police for failing to adequately cover her hair. There have been protests throughout Iran since her death was announced, with at least 92 fatalities. The authorities have shut down the Internet but video footage has emerged of the defiant acts of protest including women burning their hijab and cutting their hair. 
  • Iran is using facial recognition technology to identify women in public transport who are not wearing the hijab.
  • Two women have been sentenced to death in Iran on charges of ‘corrupting the earth’ because of their links to the LGBT community.
  • Out of the 36 men who remain in Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre, 19 are cleared for release yet remain imprisoned today. One of these, Toffiq-al-Bihani, was cleared for transfer as far back as 2010. 
  • Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, thought to be one of the men behind the September 11 attacks, has been in custody since 2003. He remains in Guantanamo Bay awaiting trial before a military tribunal. Initially held in secret prisons outside the USA, human rights groups say that Mohammed was interrogated in ways that amount to torture – for example, he was waterboarded 183 times.
  • Five Hong Kong speech therapists were found guilty of conspiracy to publish seditious children’s books. Featuring cartoons of sheep and wolves, they referenced actual events.
  • Governors of American states, including Texas, Florida and Arizona, have begun sending migrants by ‘planes and buses to so-called immigrant-friendly ‘sanctuary cities’ such as New York, Chicago and Washington DC. Critics have described the actions as inhumane and some migrants are suing the Florida Governor on the grounds that they were induced to cross states lines under false pretences.
  • The American Library Association has documented 681 attempts to ban or restrict access to books in libraries, schools, and universities so far this year, involving 1,651 different titles. In many cases, targeted books are by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons and those attempting to censor them have not necessarily read or even looked at them.