As the United States takes a huge step forward in human rights, many other countries still have their own leaps to take. This also means that there is much human rights work to be done, even here in our own country. Here are 14 more human rights violations happening around the world today:
In February 2012, members of Pussy Riot performed mere seconds of a protest song that was critical of authorities in Russia in Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral. Two of the band members were found guilty of “hooliganism” and are serving sentences in notoriously brutal penal colonies, while the third faces restrictions on her freedom of movement and speech.
Forty-seven women were detained during a protest by a peasant organization in San Salvador Atenco in 2006. Dozens of these women were subjected to physical, psychological, and sexual violence by the police officers while being transferred to prison. These women are still waiting for justice.
Peaceful protests in Syria in March 2011 were quickly met by government authorities responding with deadly force, leading to systematic and widespread human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity. The citizens of Syria are currently under attack by their own government. Government forces are indiscriminately bombing entire residential neighborhoods and killing entire families.
Throughout Guatemala, women and girls are being victimized with little action by the government. In 2012 alone, around 560 women were murdered across the Central American country, many after being sexually assaulted. Among the most recent victims were two young girls around age six and 12 who were found strangled to death in the street in Guatemala City.
Human rights defender Mao Hengfeng was sentenced to 18 months in “Re-education Through Labor (RTL)” last fall because of her work standing up for human rights. Her health has worsened while in detention. In February, she was allowed to serve the rest of her RTL term at home.
Rape and sexual abuse are widespread in Nicaragua as the majority of victims are under 17 years old. Nicaragua’s “Law Against Violence Against Women” (passed in 2012) was a positive step. However, some areas of the law fall short of recognizing that gender violence has its roots in the unequal relations of power between men and women.
Sanjiv Kumar Karna and four other students in Nepal were last seen in October 2003 when they were arrested by security force personnel. They students were reportedly beaten and have not been heard from since.
In Peru and across the Americas, Indigenous Peoples continue to fight to have their rights respected.
Sudan and Chad
Civilians displaced in Darfur and in the refugee camps of Eastern Chad continue to face attacks by government forces, pro-government militias, and armed opposition groups. In recent months 500 people were reportedly killed and roughly 100,000 displaced in attacks against civilians.
In Bolivia, survivors of human rights violations – including torture and enforced disappearances committed during the military and authoritarian regimes 1964-1982) and their family members are still waiting for reparations for the abuses they or their loved ones suffered.
Iran is second only to China as the world’s leading executioner. Death row inmates can be executed at short notice, and the authorities are not required to inform families prior to executions.
In Colombia, two women are raped every hour. The country’s 45-year-old internal conflict has created a dire human rights situation in which all parties to the conflict continue to subject women to rate and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
A recent spike in civilian deaths in Afghanistan highlights the urgent need for all parties to the conflict to take greater precautions to avoid civilian casualties. In 2012, 2,754 Afghan civilians including children, were killed in conflict.
The United States is conducting a secret drone killing program that appears to violate international human rights law. Reportedly, thousands of people, including children, have been killed to date.