06/08/2014 - 13:23

A 72-hour cease-fire in Gaza continued to hold Wednesday as talks are expected to begin in Cairo to negotiate a lasting peace between Israel and Islamist group Hamas. For a second day, Gazans ventured into the streets in search of food, household goods and medical supplies, taking advantage of the pause in Israeli shelling and airstrikes. Others returned from shelters to begin rebuilding their shattered homes, some of which have been littered with bullets and leftovers from the monthlong conflict. The cease-fire began at 8 a.m. local time on Tuesday.

 Security arrangements and access to the Gaza strip are expected to be  issues at the core of talks between Israel and Hamas. Both parties have  already made clear demands before the negotiations, which will be mediated  by Egyptian and U.S. diplomats. Israel aims to ensure Hamas cannot  rebuild its rocket arsenal and military capabilities, while Hamas wants the  Israeli blockade of goods and people into Gaza lifted.

 At the center of these deliberations, according to U.S., Israeli and Arab  ...

07/03/2014 - 20:31

ARTICLE 19 condemns the continued attacks directed against civil society and human rights defenders by the Ugandan government.

Over his 28 years in power, Museveni’s government has increasingly suppressed freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and threatened civil society groups working on a range of issues, including corruption, land, oil, and good governance. In the last 6 months the Uganda government has brought into law the regressive Public Order Management Act, has enacted the Anti-Pornography Act, and now the Anti-Homosexuality Act. “President Museveni highlighted just how dire the human rights situation has become by signing the Anti-homosexuality Bill into law,” said Henry Maina, Director of ARTICLE 19 East Africa. “This Act is the latest in a long line of initiatives designed to curtail fundamental freedoms in the country, notably freedom of expression and assembly. A person in Uganda can now go to prison for expressing an opinion.” The Anti-Homosexuality Act not only criminalises and provides life imprisonment for same-sex conduct, but also provides in Article 13 between 5 and 7 years imprisonment for the “promotion of homosexuality”.

This provision is particularly broad. It encompasses broadcasting, disseminating or publishing “pornographic” materials, funding or sponsoring homosexuality or other “related activities”, and the use of digital technologies for “homosexuality or promoting homosexuality”. Almost all of these key terms are not defined. “This Act is a direct attack on the freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and...

13/12/2012 - 20:26

OPEN your newspaper any day of the week and you will find areport from somewhere in the world of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government. There are several million such people in prison—by no means all of them behind the Iron and Bamboo Curtains—and their numbers are growing. The news paper reader feels a sickening sense of impotence. Yet if these feelings of disgust all oer the world could be united into common action, something effective could be done.

In 1945 the founder members of the United Nations approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 18.—
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion: this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in company with others in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19.—
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

There is at present no sure way of finding out how many countries permit their citizens to enjoy these two fundamental freedoms. What matters is not the rights that exist on paper in the Constitution, but whether they can be exercised and enforced in practice. No government,...