Human rights violations are prevalent around the world, but often receive little attention in the mainstream media. On top of that, in some countries, reporting on human rights violations puts you at risk for enforced disappearance, arrest, and/or provocation from the government, law enforcement, or the military. This only highlights the need to talk about these issues and to be aware of their existence, at the very least. Here are 15 human rights violations happening in the world now:
Every 21 minutes, a woman is raped in India. Most rapes go unreported and even those rapes that are reported often go unpunished. Recently, a college student in New Delhi, India was attacked in a speeding private minibus with iron rods, which punctured her intestines. She and her friend were tossed from the minibus and, despite begin dumped on a crowded street, it took 40 minutes for a passerby to contact the police. The victim died.
Somali authorities had unlawfully detained a journalist and three others linked to the case of a woman who reported being raped by state security forces. They were arrested solely because of the increasing media attention given to high levels of rape and other sexual violence in southern and central Somalia.
Many political prisoners are still imprisoned in Myanmar, having been falsely charged or convicted of a serious offense, arbitrarily detained, or imprisoned solely for their peaceful political activities. The formation of a government committee to review political prisoner cases is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough to end these abuses.
The recent clampdown on freedom of associate and unfair trial of Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire that led to a sentence of eight years in prison have effectively created a repressive environment where people dare not speak out.
At the beginning of 2013, Vietnamese authorities convicted 14 pro-democracy activists for “plotting to overthrow the government.” The sentences range from three to thirteen years.
Human rights defenders and political activists in Zimbabwe have been arrested, detained, harassed, tortured, or even killed for exercising their rights to peaceful protest and freedom of assembly and association.
Continued challenges face human rights activists as protestors demand the execution of Abdul Quader Mollah for his role in “beheading a poet, raping an 11-year-old girl, and shooting 344 people” during the 1971 Liberation War. As we demand justice for crimes, we cannot accept calls for the death penalty for convicted war criminals.
Last year in South Africa, police attacks on protesting miners led to the deaths of 34 miners and more than 70 injuries.
New satellite images raise fears that the North Korean government is starting to blur the line between the country’s horrendous political prison camps and regular villages.
Central African Republic
A precarious human rights tragedy is unfolding in the Central African Republic since the alliance of armed opposition groups, Seleka, has topped the CAR government, sending the president into exile and citizens into crisis yet again.
2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year prison sentence for co-authoring a proposal for political and legal reform in China.
The human rights situation in Mali is grave. Findings from an Amnesty International mission tell of executions and disappearances of civilians, arbitrary arrests, beatings, and other horrors reminiscent of the crimes committed in Darfur.
While stability and security have increased in Sierra Leone since 2002 with the end of the country’s decade-long war, civilians face grinding poverty, female genital mutilation is prevalent, and the maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world.
The human rights situation in Gambia is dire. Government opponents, human rights defenders, and journalists have been arbitrarily arrested and detained. Torture is widely used by security forces, and prison conditions are appalling.
Victims of mass executions, mass rapes, and mutilations throughout the Liberian civilian war have yet to see all of those responsible for those abuses held accountable, as the justice system struggles to provide access to justice for all Liberian citizens.