Human Rights – Wagdy Ghoneim Sun, 19 Sep 2021 10:14:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Human Rights – Wagdy Ghoneim 32 32 Barnstable County seeks candidates for human rights committee Sun, 19 Sep 2021 09:00:30 +0000

BARNSTABLE – The Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission is seeking candidates to fill vacancies from early 2022.

The mission of the nine-member volunteer commission is to promote equal opportunity in housing, employment, education and health care for all people in Barnstable, regardless of race, color, creed , gender, sexual preference, age or disability.

Responsibilities include attending monthly BCHRAC meetings, participating in one or more board committees, and assisting the Human Rights Coordinator in educating the public about BCHRAC’s mission through community and educational activities.

Interested applicants must be permanent residents of Barnstable County. Bilingual people and those with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Interviews with selected individuals will begin the week of October 25, 2021.

A letter of interest, biography and curriculum vitae should be sent by email to or by mail to Susan Quinones, coordinator, Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission, PO Box 427, Barnstable, MA 02630.

Applications must be received no later than Friday October 15, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. for review.

For more information, click here.

By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter

Bandits lost their human rights when they took up arms against Nigeria – Ndume responds to activists Sat, 18 Sep 2021 18:38:36 +0000

The Chairman of the Senate Army Committee, Senator Ali Ndume, said that bandits, terrorists and other criminals should not be spared from the onslaught of the military and other security agents.

He said terrorists, bandits and other criminal gangs, who are being bombed in the north of the country, have lost their “human rights” as they take up arms against the state and the people, warning those who warn security guards to be mindful of the human rights of criminals not to “play the devil”.

Lawmaker representing Borno South Senate District maintained his stance that terrorists should be wasted at once once caught, as he lamented the enormous losses they inflicted on innocent citizens during the last years.

Senator Ndume said this when asked to talk about military operations in the northwest and other places in relation to the human rights of criminal elements by journalists in Abuja.

He rebuked those who accused the military of not being aware of the human rights of bandits in their operations, stressing that in times of war there were bound to be casualties.

He said: “We are facing serious gunmen and it affects us all and when the army is up to the task the next thing you start talking about is human rights, massacres and the like, so what do you want the army to do? ? Don’t fight? Not to have casualties during the fight?

“One of the major problems in this country is the press. Instead of playing the angel, they play the devil. Why don’t you play angel? We are fighting this war and I don’t know if you are from the Northwest and go over there to see what these people have done with your life.

“If we can identify the bandits who have killed people recklessly, we don’t have to waste time killing them. When we start to talk about human rights, what right? What about the rights of the people who were killed, the children who were killed and the women who were raped and when the Nigerian army ambushes them then you start asking me about the rights humans. “

He insisted that the military should go ahead killing them while the legislature does everything possible to provide them with the necessary legislative support.

Insecurity: Boko Haram uses stolen weapons from Nigerian soldiers

Ateneo frat condemns murder of human rights lawyer – Manila bulletin Sat, 18 Sep 2021 05:05:00 +0000

A fraternity from Ateneo de Manila University condemned the murder of a human rights lawyer outside his home in southern Cotabato on Wednesday (September 15th).

(Photo from Juan Macababbad’s Facebook)

Atty. Juan Macababbad, 68, was shot dead by three unidentified gunmen outside his home in Brgy. Libertad, Surallah, South Cotabato. He suffered several gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead in hospital.

In a statement, the Fraternal Order of Utopia called for justice for Macababbad, which was part of its 1974 lot.

“We demand that this heinous crime be fully investigated, and that justice prevail for our Bod and his bereaved family,” the statement said.

The group said Macababbad “embodied the utopian values ​​of service, sacrifice and excellence.”

“As a human rights lawyer and defender of the poor, his assassination, against the backdrop of the alarming wave of lawyer killings in the country, is an affront to social justice and the rule of law.

Macababbad was vice president of the Union of People’s Advocates (UPLM) in Mindanao and was active in the People’s Advocate where he handled the criminal and civil cases of the poor free of charge.

He represented farmers, fishermen, informal settlers and victims of extrajudicial killings.

According to the UPLM count, Macababbad was the 58th lawyer and the third member of the National Union of Peoples’ Advocates killed since the election of President Duterte in 2016.



India: government raids targeting critics Fri, 17 Sep 2021 03:32:21 +0000

(New York) – Indian authorities are using allegations of politically motivated tax evasion and financial irregularities to silence human rights activists, journalists and other government critics, Human Rights Watch said today hui. In September 2021, government finance officials raided Srinagar, Delhi and Mumbai against journalists’ homes, press offices, an actor’s premises, and the home and office of a rights activist. humans.

The raids are part of the growing crackdown by the national government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly since coming to power in 2014, and sedition laws, against activists, journalists, academics, students and others. They have also used foreign funding regulations and allegations of financial misconduct to target outspoken groups.

“The Indian government raids appear to be intended to harass and intimidate critics, and reflect a wider tendency to try to silence all criticism,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These abuses weaken fundamental democratic institutions in India and shatter fundamental freedoms.

Journalism organizations, such as the Editors Guild and the Press Club of India, have repeatedly called for an end to the harassment of independent media, saying it was a blatant attack on press freedom.

In the most recent incident, on September 16, officials from the Enforcement Directorate, which investigates financial crimes, raided the home and office of Harsh Mander, an activist, in Delhi, alleging financial and administrative irregularities. Mander was in Germany for a scholarship at the time of the raid. A joint statement by activists, academics and former officials condemned the raid as part of “an ongoing chain of abuses of state institutions” to restrict rights.

Authorities have repeatedly targeted Mander, who has strongly criticized the BJP government’s discriminatory policies against religious minorities and works with victims of community violence. Delhi Police, instead of taking action against BJP leaders who instigated community violence in Delhi in February 2020, filed a fabricated case of hate speech and incitement to community violence against Mander.

On September 8, Jammu and Kashmir police raided the homes of four Kashmiri journalists – Hilal Mir, Shah Abbas, Showkat Motta and Azhar Qadri – and confiscated their phones and laptops. Mir reported that they also took his and his wife’s passports. Authorities summoned all four to Srinagar Police Station for questioning and told them to come back the next day. Journalists in Kashmir have faced increased harassment from authorities, including arrests for terrorism, since the BJP government revoked the state’s autonomous constitutional status in August 2019.

In June, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention wrote to the Indian government expressing concerns about “allegations of arbitrary detention and intimidation of journalists covering the situation in India. Jammu and Kashmir ”. The letter cited the cases of Fahad Shah, Auqib Javeed, Sajar Gul and Qazi Shibli, and also raised concerns about the outspoken newspaper shutting down. Cashmere times in October 2020. He noted that these violations “may be part of a larger scheme of silencing independent reporting in Jammu and Kashmir, which in turn may deter other journalists and civil society from further broadly to cover public interest and human rights issues. In the region.”

On September 10, authorities from the Income Tax Department raided the offices of news sites. Laundry and Newsclick, in Delhi, as part of an investigation into suspected tax evasion. Both are known to criticize the government. During the raids, officials downloaded data from desktops and the personal cell phone and laptop of the Laundry editor, Abhinandan Sekhri, and took various financial documents as well as email archives from the Newsclick editor, Prabir Purkayastha, and another editor. Financial authorities previously targeted both media outlets in June. In February, officials from the Directorate of Execution raided Purkayastha’s office and home.

In July, tax authorities raided around 30 offices of one of India’s most widely read newspapers, Dainik Bhaskar, in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, after months of critical coverage of the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2017, authorities raided the NDTV television news channel, which is also critical of government policy, following allegations of financial irregularities.

On September 7, the Uttar Pradesh state police filed a criminal complaint against journalist Rana Ayyub, a vocal critic of the BJP government, for money laundering, cheating, dishonest embezzlement and breach of trust. The complaint, brought by a group called the “Hindu IT Cell”, accused him of committing these crimes during fundraising campaigns for flood victims and those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Uttar Pradesh police accused Ayyub of encouraging hostility between religious groups and of insulting religious beliefs in another criminal case in June, for sharing a video on social media. In the video, a Muslim man accuses Hindu men of beating him and forcing him to chant Jai Shri Ram, a phrase used by Hindus to pray or as a greeting, but which has also become a cry of rallying used by Hindu nationalists. Government supporters and Hindu nationalist social media trolls repeatedly abused and threatened Ayyub. In 2018, after receiving death threats, UN human rights experts called on Indian authorities to protect her.

On September 15, tax authorities raided the premises of Sonu Sood, an actor, in Mumbai, alleging tax evasion in connection with a real estate transaction. The raids appeared to be politically motivated because the actor had received high praise from the general public, media and opposition politicians across the country for his philanthropic work during the pandemic, particularly in filling in the gaps. created due to government foreclosure policies and health care shortages.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and various United Nations human rights experts have repeatedly expressed concerns over the past few years about the shrinking space for groups in the United Nations. civil society and increasing harassment and prosecution of human rights defenders and other critics. They called on the government to ensure that no one is detained for exercising their basic human rights and to protect civil society groups in the country.

“By stifling fundamental freedoms in her country, India is undermining its influence as a world leader in the promotion of human rights,” Ganguly said. “The government must change course and defend the fundamental rights of its people. “

UN warns that AI can pose a threat to human rights Thu, 16 Sep 2021 16:10:41 +0000

The UN human rights chief called on member states to impose a moratorium on the sale and use of artificial intelligence systems until the “negative, if not catastrophic” risks they pose can be treated.

The remarks of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet referred to a new report on the subject published in Geneva.

Report warns against using AI as a tool for forecasting and profiling, saying the technology could impact “the rights to privacy, to a fair trial, to protection from arrest and detention arbitrary acts and the right to life “.

Bachelet’s report and comments follow the recent revelation of widespread use of spyware, known as Pegasus, to target thousands of phone numbers and dozens of devices belonging to international journalists , human rights activists and heads of state.

Bachelet recognized that AI “can be a force for good, helping societies overcome some of the great challenges of our time,” but suggested that the damage it could cause outweighs the positives. But she also warned of an “unprecedented level of surveillance across the world by state and private actors,” which she said is “incompatible” with human rights.

“The higher the risk to human rights, the more stringent the legal requirements for the use of AI technology should be,” she said.

When the report was released, Tim Engelhardt, UNHRC’s Human Rights Officer, Rule of Law and Democracy Section, called the AI ​​situation “catastrophic” and said it “was not. ‘has not improved over the years but has worsened ”.

The paper includes an assessment of profiling, automated decision making, and other machine learning technologies.

This story originally published in the Morning edition live blog.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit

‘Ineligible’ Universal Credit Cut Violates Human Rights Law, Says UN Envoy | Universal credit Thu, 16 Sep 2021 03:00:00 +0000

Cutting universal credit by £ 20 per week is an ‘unacceptable’ measure that violates international human rights law and has the potential to trigger an explosion in poverty, the UN poverty envoy has said.

In a devastating intervention accompanied by a letter to the UK government, Olivier De Schutter, the UN-appointed rapporteur on extreme poverty, told the Guardian that the withdrawal of the £ 1,000 a year increase from next month was “deliberately backward” and inconsistent. with Britain’s obligation to protect the rights of its citizens to an adequate standard of living.

“It’s unreasonable at this point to remove this benefit,” he said, adding that the decision to cut universal credit – which was boosted last year to help people get through the pandemic – was based on a “very poorly informed understanding” of its impact on applicants.

“For these people, £ 20 a week makes a huge difference, and could be the difference between falling into extreme poverty or staying just above that poverty line… If the question is budget consolidation to maintain the public deficit to acceptable levels then you should increase income, not reduce welfare at the expense of people in poverty. “

Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Food Foundation

De Schutter urged the government to drop plans to withdraw the £ 20 increase from October 6, saying it was too early. There was ample evidence that millions of people would struggle to feed themselves and pay essential bills as a result.

He said: “We are not yet out of the crisis. I suspect that when the October 6 expiration date was set, it might have been expected that the economy had improved significantly or that the pandemic was behind us, but neither of those conditions are met. . So now is not the time to back down. “

The intervention came as Labor increased pressure on the cut, which will be followed by an increase in national insurance contributions from April.

A tax-paying universal credit seeker would have to work more than nine hours of overtime each week to cover the loss of the two shifts, Labor leader Keir Starmer said.

On Wednesday, a non-binding Labor Commons motion calling for the removal of the universal credit cut was passed with the support of four Tory MPs: Peter Aldous, Neil Hudson, John Stevenson and William Wragg. Former Tory Welfare Secretary Stephen Crabb spoke in the debate arguing that the advantage should be retained.

Crabb said: “It’s not about being wet on fiscal discipline or being light Labor. It is about recognizing what good responsible social policy is, and I am clear in my mind that this sudden and abrupt withdrawal from the £ 20 increase that millions of families will experience in the coming weeks is not not the right way to do social policy. “

De Schutter, a Belgian-born law professor and human rights expert, took office in May 2020, succeeding Philip Alston, who produced a scathing report in 2018 on the impact of austerity in the Kingdom United, calling rising levels of child poverty “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic catastrophe”.

Ministers argued that the withdrawal of the temporary hike in universal credit, introduced as a pandemic measure in April 2020 and worth £ 1,050 per year to more than 6 million unemployed or low-income beneficiaries, is needed as the government focuses on getting people to work or work longer hours as the economy opens up.

De Schutter said that didn’t justify the cut. “Numerous studies show that the condition for the emergence of a healthy and well-qualified workforce is to provide adequate levels of social protection. You will not improve the productivity of workers or the employment rate of people by pushing people into poverty. “

In addition to warnings from charities and opposition parties that 500,000 people, including 200,000 children, will fall into poverty, Conservative MPs fear the withdrawal will hit families struggling with the cost of living, including in the old politically sensitive “red wall”. »Headquarters in the North of England and the Midlands.

The cost of living crisis will have been further fueled by record inflation spurred by rising food and beverage prices. Inflation rose to 3.2% in August from 2% in July, putting additional pressure on the household budget. The £ 20 reduction will come at the end of holidays and energy prices rise.

Six former Conservative secretaries at work and pensions have urged the government to abandon its plans. Among them, the political architect of universal credit, Iain Duncan Smith. He urged ministers this week to “seize the opportunity to protect more families from poverty and make the £ 20 increase permanent”.

In a letter to the UK government, De Schutter said he welcomed the government’s decision to provide the increase, saying it had played an important role in keeping low-income households out of poverty during the pandemic. However, its removal would leave millions of people unable to cover daily expenses.

He said the UK is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and under it, the government must adequately justify “retrograde measures” by carrying out a formal impact assessment showing that the decision is binding, reasonable and proportionate.

“In view of these criteria, Your Excellency’s Government may wish to reconsider the proposed reduction, as it is prima facie doubtful whether the removal of the £ 20 mark-up is a measure consistent with international human rights law and standards. man, ”the letter reads. .

Last week, the government said it had not conducted a formal assessment of the impact of the reduction because it was a return to “business as usual”. De Schutter said it was a “well-established” rule of international law that states must assess and publish the impact of any regressive measure on citizens.

A government spokesperson said: “Universal credit supports 6 million people and will continue to provide a comprehensive and vital safety net for those who work and those who do not.

“As announced by the Chancellor in the Budget, the increase in universal credit has always been a temporary measure designed to help applicants get through the financial turmoil of the most difficult stages of the pandemic – it did, and it is. just for the government to focus on its plans for jobs, helping people get back to work and helping those who already have jobs to advance and earn more.

]]> EU calls for reconsideration of trade relations with Pakistan amid deteriorating human rights Wed, 08 Sep 2021 23:47:10 +0000

Representative image

Islamabad [Pakistan] September 9 (ANI): Pakistan having failed to make significant progress in protecting human rights in the country, the European Union called for an immediate reassessment of the EU-Pakistan trade regime granted to it in January 2014 .

The trade regime allows products to enter the EU market from developing countries without import duties. As a result, Pakistan’s exports to the EU rose from 4.538 billion euros to 7.492 billion euros: an increase of 65 percent, the EU reported today.

According to reports, the EU is one of Pakistan’s most important trading partners, accounting for 14.3% of Pakistan’s total trade in 2020 and absorbing 28% of the country’s exports, mainly in the textiles and clothing sector. ‘clothing.

But the 3rd biennial evaluation of the EU’s GSP, published in 2020, showed that Islamabad has failed to improve the human rights misery in the country. Especially when it comes to the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Those accused of blasphemy face immediate imprisonment and most accused are denied bail. Many, even acquitted or released from prison, have been murdered, EU Today reported.

Meanwhile, Islamabad’s relations with the Taliban group that toppled the popularly elected government in Afghanistan are also said to be one of the main reasons for this “reassessment”.

Highlighting Pak-Taliban relations, former Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh also claimed that the Taliban are micromanaged by the famous Pakistani intelligence agency – the ISI, adding that Islamabad is indeed in charge of the war-torn country. as a colonial power.

Experts believe Pakistan played a key role in removing the elected Afghan government from power and establishing the Taliban as a decisive power in Afghanistan. Recently, a UN monitoring report said that a significant part of the leadership of Al-Qaida resides in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. (ANI)

Immigrants, bind the human rights of yesterday and today in Chile Sat, 04 Sep 2021 15:58:09 +0000

By Maxine Lowy

Immigrants and refugees create great expectations in the country they arrive. In Chile, however, today as decades ago, such aspirations for a better and fairer life can be tarnished by a harsh reality.

Hostility towards immigrants to the point of endangering their lives was a common thread that spun a commemoration held on August 30 on the narrow cobbled lane outside London 38 Memory space, organized in collaboration with Justicia y Dignidad Sin Fronteras, and a number of other organizations in Santiago. The event was the official launch of “30 to 30”, a series of month-long activities against racism in Chile.

It was the International Day of Missing Detainees, proclaimed in 2010 by the United Nations. Of the 1,193 people (i) subjected to this endless absence which was the state policy of the Chilean dictatorship, 88 people were seen at the 38 London Street Detention and Torture Center run by the repressive secret police of DINA in 1973 and 1974. (ii) This year’s commemoration focused on foreigners and immigrants who are part of this tragic list.

A greater awareness of the vulnerability of immigrants in Chile, which has over the past ten years become one of the main destinations for Latin American regional immigration, has been reinforced by a coincidence of the date. On August 30, 2017, Haitian immigrant Joane Florvil was detained in Santiago, culminating with her death a month later.

When it comes to foreign residents of Chile, the two tragedies are interwoven by an attitude that stems from a similar root.

In the 1960s, under the presidency of Eduardo Frei Montalva and during the three years of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende, Chile was seen from afar as a stable democracy with the promise of an increasing improvement in the quality of life. Thousands of foreigners saw Chile as a place to study, work, live and, during Allende’s tenure, observe the socialist process. In addition, neighboring countries overwhelmed by authoritarian regimes have led to an exodus of hundreds of people who have sought refuge in Chile. At the time of the military coup, according to the estimates of the military junta itself, around 13,000 foreigners were living in Chile. (Iii)

On September 12, 1973, in the aftermath of the coup, radio and other media broadcast a military decree ordering foreigners to report to local police stations. During the following days, Chileans heard soldiers calling them to denounce all foreigners: “Do not have compassion for the foreign extremists who came to kill Chileans. (Iv) Overnight, aliens had become potential enemies. Sixty-one immigrants are among those forcibly disappeared in the dictatorship’s custody, while dozens have been arrested and deported. In addition, 200,000 Chilean citizens were forced to leave this country, which was not a suitable land for immigrants at the time.

After 1990

With the inauguration in March 1990 of the first post-dictatorship government, Chile projected itself as a prosperous developing country with modern communications and infrastructure. However, the political and economic structure inherited from the dictatorship has remained largely intact. Truth and justice were also on hold for the human rights violations committed during the dictatorship. The absence of full justice is another common thread that unites the judicial processes for crimes committed by the dictatorship with those committed today, as in the case of Joane Florvil.

The recognition of Chile as a member of the circle of democratic countries was crowned in 2004 by the invitation to participate in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti. The thirteen-year presence of Chilean troops on the island generated a positive image of Chile, encouraging thousands to travel to the far south of the hemisphere.

At the beginning of 2017, when Joane Florvil arrived in Chile, expressions of the government itself which stigmatized immigrants, differentiating between “good and bad immigrants”, were already being heard. It was a strategy by which the government justified measures that denied visas specifically to Venezuelan and Haitian immigrants. The consequence of this policy for many immigrants has been an extreme vulnerability and precariousness in the quality of their daily life. Then, in 2021, the government proceeded with the implementation of an action, unprecedented since the years of dictatorship in Chile: the administrative and massive expulsion of immigrants, mostly Venezuelans. Institutional mistrust and repressive policies affecting immigrants represent another link that connects today’s government to the military regime.

A discriminatory view of immigrants and Afro-descendants in particular had enormous consequences for Joane Florvil. A series of errors, negligence and mistaken assumptions on the part of municipal, police and health authorities led to his arrest and the dispossession of his two-month-old daughter. As happened 45 years ago, when the communications media reduced the detention of foreign residents, Joane is now criminalized by repeatedly transmitting images of the handcuffed young mother who allegedly abandoned her baby. A month later, on September 30, 2017, Joane Florvil died in hospital. Her daughter remained in the care of the government child protection agency until her now widowed husband could pick up the child.

Subsequently, other situations of discriminatory negligence resulted in the death of Monise Joseph, 31 years old (May 2019) awaiting treatment in a hospital and of Emmaus Louis, 6 years old (January 2021) who drowned in a swimming pool during a school trip. On August 31, Louis Gentil became the last Haitian immigrant to die, this time shot dead by police, according to witnesses without cause, in the district of La Ligua in Santiago.

London 38

Since the start of the democratic recovery process in 1990, five people have not been found after their arrest by the police: Hugo Arispe (2001), José Huenante (2005), Ramón Pacheco (2008), José Vergara (2015), and the young immigrant Haitian Jean Fedor Louis (2020). The lack of truth and justice in these cases is another link in the chain that links them to the majority of detainees who were forcibly disappeared during the dictatorship.

The seventy people, masked, gathered in front of the London 38 memorial site listened to the accounts of 19 immigrants who were forcibly disappeared under the dictatorship. They also heard Haitian social work student Michel Joseph say: “In Chile, we are worse than animals. The animals here receive medical care and live well, but we are humiliated and mistreated. The color of our skin has made us victims of this supposedly democratic system.

Carlos Astudillo took the microphone, still leaning on crutches almost two years after police seriously injured him at the start of social protests in October 2019. He told the crowd: “Human rights violations link many generations. They connect those of us who have suffered human rights violations today because there is no justice for us. “

The London 38 and the coalition Justicia y Dignidad sin Fronteras London 38 have collaborated on immigrant rights issues for several years. For the series of events programmed in the “30 to 30” program, they are joined by other organizations: Trama Tejido Migrant, Ethics Commission Against Torture, Ampro, Migraciones y Access to Derecho, Collective of feminist professors and students, Ciudadano Observatory, Jewish Association Diana Aron, and T-Zen. The activities will end on September 30 with a memorial service in front of the hospital where Joane Florvil died four years ago.

i La Segunda, October 20, 1973, p. 3., cited in Pascale Bonnefoy, Terrorismo de Estadio (2016), 166.
ii La Tercera, September 16, 1973, cited in Terrorismo de Estadio by P. Bonnefoy, 111.

iii Elias Padilla. La memoria y el olvido: Detenidos-Desaparecidos en Chile (Santiago: Ediciones Orígenes. 1995)

Thanks to London 38 for the photo of the event.

Minsk calls on Warsaw to allow human rights activists access to refugees at border – world Thu, 02 Sep 2021 00:28:08 +0000

MINSK, September 1. / TASS /. Minsk asked Warsaw to allow representatives of human rights and humanitarian organizations access to Afghan refugees who have been staying for two weeks at the border between Belarus and Poland.

“The Belarusian State Border Committee believes that the Polish side must take all necessary measures to resolve the situation, allow international human rights and humanitarian organizations to access refugees and examine the claims asylum seekers as provided for under European and international law, “the Committee said on Wednesday.

According to the Belarusian side, the current situation and the unfavorable weather conditions create a real threat to the life and health of Afghan refugees who were brought by Polish law enforcement officials to the border after their detention in Poland. “Despite the fact that these refugees remain on Polish territory, the Belarusian State Borders Committee showed goodwill and deemed it necessary to leave officials of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and of the Belarusian Red Cross Society This was done so that they could leave daily necessities for the Afghan refugees at the border, as the Polish side is blocking access to the camp for representatives of the defense organizations human rights and media, ”the committee said, adding that humanitarian assistance included food, clean water, personal hygiene products, protective clothing, rain gear and clothing. blankets.

According to the committee, UNHCR officials promised that such assistance would continue to be provided until the situation of the Afghan refugees was resolved.

According to the Polish Ministry of the Interior, more than 3,000 attempts to enter Poland illegally from Belarus have been recorded since the beginning of August. Last year there were 120 such attempts. The Polish Defense Ministry announced on Monday the start of work to erect a barbed wire fence 2.5 meters high on the Polish-Belarusian border. Some 2,000 troops have been deployed to protect the border.

A difficult situation is reported in the border section near the settlement of Usnarz Gorny, where some 300 migrants have been held for about two weeks. The Afghan refugees tried to cross the Polish border illegally but were stopped by border guards. Warsaw claims that the migrant remains on Belarusian territory and, therefore, the Belarusian side is responsible for his fate.

Centerstage Theater shines a light on diversity and human rights Sun, 29 Aug 2021 00:30:00 +0000

As Centerstage Theater continues to evolve towards in-person performances, strengthening diversity and representation in casting and storytelling remain key goals for the theater.

“Centerstage is all about opening the doors to live theater and the arts to people who couldn’t get in before,” said artistic director Trista Duval. “Whether you want to be on stage, in the audience, or behind the scenes, we strive to find those walls and tear them down, find those doors and unlock them. ”

After presenting its postponed Christmas show in July, Centerstage is heading towards a 2021-2022 season entirely in person.

Deanna Martinez, who ran the Christmas show, said she has had more opportunities to perform as a woman of color at Centerstage than anywhere else.

“A lot of times, female directors in particular are seen as good with kids, so they’re often very limited to children’s productions and things like that,” Martinez said. “As a person of color, I’m often asked to work on what we call ‘the February projects’. We are often asked to work specifically on projects that target our own ethnic communities. Centerstage doesn’t see it that way. They see it as all projects are for everyone.

Martinez added that it was important for her to join a theater that would be safe for her own daughter and the other colored children she had worked with.

Duval said the theater has strived to improve diversity in the cast since she became artistic director. Recently, Centerstage released a statement in support of Black Lives Matter with a list of immediate actions that it believes are either completed or underway.

“On a purely statistical level, the more diversity you have, the healthier you are, and in terms of human rights, it is a question of human rights,” said Duval. “Black Lives Matter is about human rights. Access to the arts should be a human right.

In an effort to make the theater more accessible, Centerstage hosted its first sensory performance in 2019 to include people with sensitivities or sensory issues.

“They created relationships in the community within schools and then also in specific cultural groups in the community to ensure that their diversity is not a checkbox, but is a true representation of the community. in which they operate, ”Martinez said.

Martinez added that she felt very supported and sought after as a director at Centerstage. When they couldn’t put on their Christmas show, they rescheduled rather than cancel.

Centerstage has also remained partially open throughout the pandemic and has not had to lay off staff. The performers of the Christmas show were able to film performances of individual songs to be broadcast in a Christmas cabaret. Duval said Centerstage lost money, but was counting on community support and had a successful fundraising event.

Duval and Martinez both said they were excited about the coming season. Duval added that she cried when they were able to bring people back to the theater for the first time and was delighted to be able to provide opportunities for performing artists again.

“The live theater is supposed to be live, so being able to do that last show, and have both streaming and live options, was so exciting,” Martinez said. “It was wonderful to feel the energy of space. Even though it was less crowded than usual due to limited capacity, it’s still worth hearing the live reactions, laughs and gasps.

As they head into the next season, Martinez said she hopes Centerstage takes another step in portraying beyond the colorblind cast: telling diverse stories.

Duval said the theater intended to start including these stories this season, and added that they were in negotiations for a script that does just that.

“In an era when social media is gaining traction, the idea of ​​sitting down for two and a half hours and hearing about someone else’s life in a very vivid and visceral way, but also funny and touching, is incredibly important, ”said Duval. . “Now is not the time to throw them out the window to play it safe with show titles.”