LCHR: Introducing ‘Britain and Her Allies’

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Last year was an important one for human rights. We saw the 20th anniversary of the Human Rights Act, and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These documents not only form the basis of human rights laws in the UK, which guarantee freedom from persecution, violence and oppression, but are essential components of our democracy. The Human Rights Act protects the fundamental rights of all British citizens – ranging from freedom of speech to freedom from torture – and is one of Labour’s proudest achievements.

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LCHR on Brazil: Bolsonaro poses a grave threat to human rights

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By Stephen Delahunty, Guest Writer 

As Brazil’s new right-wing populist leader, Jair Bolsonaro, was sworn in as the 42nd president on 1st January this year, he promised the country’s “liberation from socialism, inverted values, the bloated state and political correctness”.

By the following day, it was clear to see what the former military captain actually meant. The President had already named seven former military men to head key ministries, the largest number of military officers appointed to cabinet since the end of the country’s military dictatorship in 1985. While the number of ministries was reduced from 29 to 22, a move that saw the Ministry of Labour axed in a country where over 12 million people are out of a job.

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LCHR on the Bangladesh election: Sheikh Hasina tightens her iron grip on the country

2e6728caeb74475ebcd9e38c618758b8_18By Corinne Linnecar, Campaigns Officer

On Sunday 30th December Bangladesh’s incumbent Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, secured an unprecedented third term in office. The ruling Awami League and its alliance took 288 of the 300 seats, with some 100 million Bangladeshis voting in 40,000 polling stations across the country. Yet the results have been marred with widespread allegations of vote rigging, intimidation, and violence, including one horrendous story of a woman being gang raped for voting against the government.

With the Awami League taking 99.9% of the vote in some constituencies, the main opposition party has claimed the election was rigged and called for a re-run. Sheikh Hasina has rejected such claims, assigning her victory to the Bangladesh’s strong economic growth over the last ten years.

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Britain’s long tradition of respect for human rights is under threat

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 12.54.07 PMThis article was co-authored by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, and Matthew Turner, Chair of the Labour Campaign for Human Rights, and originally published in The Guardian on 10 December 2018.

Exactly 70 years ago, 48 members of the UN general assembly voted in favour of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Support was not unanimous. Drafting was not without controversy or disagreement. But the result was a major victory for humanity. The declaration rightly stands as a beacon of hope to people everywhere, and is the most translated document in the world, available in 370 languages. It forms the basis of human rights laws across Europe – including the European convention on human rights and the EU charter of fundamental rights – that have allowed millions of people to enforce their rights through the courts.

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Britain has overlooked Saudi Arabia’s transgressions for too long

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An abridged version of this article was co-authored by Clive Lewis MP and Matthew Turner, Chair of the Labour Campaign for Human Rights, and originally published in The Times on 1 November 2018.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince must restore dignity to his country — by ending Yemen’s cruel war. This was the title of one of Jamal Khashoggi’s final articles for the Washington Post before he died. He called for an end to the war in Yemen, not even on humanitarian grounds, but because it has been a political failure. It was this type of criticism for which, according to the Turkish authorities, he was strapped down to a table in the Saudi embassy and cut to pieces with a bone saw while he was still alive. The criticism was mild and legitimate. If the reports are true, the Saudi government has responded with an act of sickening barbarism that has deeply shocked the world.

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BBC staff being persecuted by the Iranian government

At the Labour Party Conference last week I attended, on behalf of LCHR, a private briefing hosted by the BBC World Service.

From within the UK, it is easy to forget what an enormous organisation the BBC World Service is. It has a weekly global audience of over 347 million people, and provides independent and impartial news, information and analysis in over 43 languages.

The topic of the briefing was the steps that the BBC World Service is taking to try to combat ‘fake news’ around the world, particularly in countries that have important elections next year such as India and Nigeria. We should all be proud of the efforts that the BBC is making on this front – proving once again that the BBC is a national treasure, and a great projection of positive British values around the world.

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