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· January, 2021

Stories about Human Rights from January, 2021

Settlement pacts in Syria's Daraa: A hunt for dissidents

"Regime violations are not new...People of Dara'a were killed by air shelling and internationally-banned weapons. Thousands have been arrested. What is new is their silent death; death licensed by treaties."

Thai woman receives 43-year sentence for sharing audio clips ‘defaming’ the monarchy

"Although her sentence was reduced to 43 years, it’s still too harsh & unnecessary cruel. Should a defamation case land someone several decades in jail?"

A Zimbabwean journalist, two opposition politicians jailed for tweets about police brutality

Hopewell Chin’ono, Job Sikhala and Fadzai Mahere were arrested for tweeting about a police officer who allegedly beat a baby to death while enforcing COVID-19 regulations.

Why can't women be marriage registrars in Bangladesh?

A recent court rule in Bangladesh denying women to be marriage registrars has sparked heated debates as women and human rights activists question the basis of the judgement.

Russian protesters rally in support of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny

Unusually large numbers of Russian citizens are protesting against the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexey Navalny - on the street and on TikTok.

Chinese-Australian cartoonist Badiucao walks a fine line to avoid being politically hijacked

For Badiucao, the best way to spread the message of universal human rights is through his art, but even within Australia's Chinese communities, the narratives are both complex and nuanced.

Which colonial statues are being torn down in Latina America?

For many, destroying statues is another way to demolish, symbolically, the ideas of oppression, slavery and colonialism.

Hong Kong’s Kim Jong-un impersonator reveals he was arrested in October

Hong Kong’s Kim Jong-un impersonator has revealed he was arrested in October for possessing a firearm without a licence, which he denies; he says his political performances are to blame.

Unmarried women and sexual health: Battling stigma in India

"If you are not married, and having sexual relationships, you are considered impure and the doctor will not treat you."

What awaits Hong Kong in 2021?

Mass arrests, blocking of websites, end of judicial independence, among other issues, seem to be in store for Hong Kong this year.

COVID-19, digital rights and Nigeria's emerging surveillance state

In Nigeria, contact-tracing apps raise valid concerns about the government's attempts to leverage this for future clampdowns on citizens' digital rights — long after the pandemic is long gone. 

Kenya must implement data protection law before 2022 presidential election

Kenya must act quickly to enforce its new data protection law. If not prepared, the ghosts of Kenya’s political past may once again come back to haunt its citizens.

In Guinea, President Alpha Condé takes his third term despite long-running controversy

Guinean president Alpha Condé succeeded in getting reelected for a third time by imposing a constitutional reform obtained in poll criticized by opposition and organizations.

Social media blackout, violent crackdown on opposition ahead of presidential elections in Uganda 

“Millions of young people demand reform and say their future is pitted against a small cadre of tyrants committed to retaining power at all costs,” says Bobi Wine. 

Inside Argentina’s ‘green tide’ of feminist activism for the right to legal abortion

It's impossible to explain with words what it was like to live with the anxiety of waiting ... the fear that the bill could be rejected.

Arab states’ reconciliation with Qatar leaves pro-unity Saudis behind bars

Prominent Saudis, including cleric Salman al-Odah, who spoke against the boycott of Qatar in 2017, face a long list of charges such as incitement against the ruler.

Pakistan's Supreme Court orders reconstruction of Hindu temple razed by a mob incited by Muslim clerics

A cleric of the religious right-wing political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) was arrested in connection with the incident.

Why I might not go back to El Salvador

'Nearly 20,000 Salvadorans were killed from 2014 to 2017. That’s more violent deaths than in several countries that were at war during those years, such as Libya, Somalia and Ukraine.'

Mass arrests in Hong Kong of participants in the pro-democracy camp's July 2020 primaries

A number of pro-democracy organizations and media outlets also received court orders directing them to hand in documents related to police investigations.

COVID-19 and shrinking freedom limits in Jordan

In Jordan, recent detentions of journalists and activists in 2020 bear the hallmarks of a police state.

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