Tag Archives: India

Horror on the Border: Slew of Recent Incidents Highlight Human Rights Crisis

More bad news from the southern border

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-14-2019

There has been a steady stream of heartbreaking news at the southern border under the President Donald Trump administration, including the jailing of children and deaths of detained migrants.

Five stories in just the last several days punctuate the crisis: Continue reading

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On #WorldPressFreedomDay, a Reminder: Only 9% of Humanity Lives in Nations That Respect Reporters’ Rights

“This situation is very worrying for journalists and above all for all those human beings who are being deprived of their right to information.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-3-2019

Journalists and advocates for free expression and information celebrated #WorldPressFreedomDay Friday. (Image: RSF)

As the international community celebrated #WorldPressFreedomDay on Friday, a leading global nonprofit warned that only 9 percent of humanity lives in countries with good or satisfactory levels of press freedom.

Journalism advocacy group Reporters Sans Frontières—also known as RSF, or Reporters Without Borders—highlighted the detail from its annual World Press Freedom Index, published last month. Based on the report’s findings, the journalism group produced a color-coded map that shows how each country on Earth generally regards free expression and information. Continue reading

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In ‘Historic Vote,’ Ohio City Residents Grant Lake Erie Legal Rights of a Person

“What Toledo voters and other places working on rights of nature are hoping is to not only change laws but to change culture.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-27-2019

Voters in Toledo, Ohio approved a measure to give Lake Erie a Bill of Rights, enabling residents to fight against polluters who violate the body of waters right to thrive naturally. (Photo: Ken Lund/Flickr/cc)

Tired of receiving notices warning that their drinking water may have been compromised and having little recourse to fight corporate polluters, voters in Toledo, Ohio on Tuesday approved a measure granting Lake Erie some of the same legal rights as a human being.

Sixty-one percent of voters in Tuesday’s special election voted in favor of Lake Erie’s Bill of Rights, which allows residents to take legal action against entities that violate the lake’s rights to “flourish and naturally evolve” without interference. Continue reading

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Like Military at Gitmo, ICE Reportedly Using Nasal Tubes to Force Feed Migrant Prisoners on Hunger Strike

“By starving themselves, these men are trying to make public the very suffering that ICE is trying to keep hidden from taxpayers.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-31-2019

According to the Associated Press, the detained migrants said they began refusing food to “protest verbal abuse and threats of deportation from guards.” Photo: It’s Going Down

Employing what one critic described as “Guantanamo Bay style” abuse, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are reportedly using plastic nasal tubes to force-feed at least six detained migrants who have been on a prolonged hunger strike to protest conditions at an El Paso, Texas prison.

As the Associated Press reported on Thursday, detained migrants and an attorney representing the hunger strikers said “nearly 30 detainees from India and Cuba have been refusing to eat, and some are now so weak they cannot stand up or talk.” Continue reading

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World’s Largest Strike? Tens of Millions in India Rise Up Against Right-Wing Economic Policies

Public sector workers across India went on strike to protest Prime Minister Modi’s push for privatization and demand higher wages

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-2-2016

Strikers in , India. Photo: Twitter

Strikers in Jadavpur, India. Photo: @RitabrataBanerj/Twitter

Tens of millions of public sector workers in India went on strike Friday to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for privatization and other right-wing economic policies.

“This strike is against the central government, this strike is for the cause of the working people,” said Ramen Pandey, of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, to Al Jazeera.  Continue reading

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Walmart, Gap, H&M Called Out for Global Worker Exploitation and Abuse

Three years after Rana Plaza collapse, labor violations still rampant, reports find

By Nadia Prupis and Deirdre Fulton, staff writers for Common Dreams. Published 5-31-2016

The 2013 Rana Plaza disaster killed more than 1,100 people. (Photo: Jaber Al Nahian/flickr/cc)

The 2013 Rana Plaza disaster killed more than 1,100 people. (Photo: Jaber Al Nahian/flickr/cc)

Some of the world’s biggest retailers, including Walmart, Gap, and H&M, have failed to improve workplace safety three years after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh killed more than 1,100 people and turned a spotlight on dangerous labor conditions faced by some of the world’s poorest workers.

A series of new reports released Tuesday by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, a coalition of rights groups and trade unions, finds that tens of thousands of laborers in Bangladesh are still making garments in buildings without proper fire exits, while pregnant workers in Indonesia and India face discrimination and wage theft. Continue reading

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America just Blocked India’s Solar Program

By Vandita. Published 3-10-2016 by AnonHQ

Walking to the solar panels. Photo: Kiran Jonnalagadda from Bangalore, India (Walking to the solar panels) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Solar panels near Leh, India. Photo: Kiran Jonnalagadda from Bangalore, India (Walking to the solar panels) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Solar power sees unprecedented boom in the United States – solar power grew by 6.2 gigawatts in 2014; and 1 million American homes have solar panels as of February 2016. However,  the United States dragged India to the World Trade Organization claiming that India’s efforts to boost local production of solar cells and solar modules violated WTO rules.

Just recently, a WTO panel has ruled that the domestic content requirement (DCR) imposed under India’s National Solar Mission (NSM), is inconsistent with its archaic treaty obligations under the global trading regime. The requirement in question mandates a percentage of components to be sourced locally, to boost homegrown production of solar cells and solar modules. Continue reading

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Where do women belong in Indian cities?

While men can be seen hanging around, women are expected to have a purpose for being outdoors. This question must be addressed.

By Asiya Islam. Published 2-26-2016 at openDemocracy

A woman sits in front of her shop near Aligarh. Evonne/Flickr. Some rights reserved.

A woman sits in front of her shop near Aligarh. Evonne/Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Every time I go back to Aligarh, my hometown in India, I see a new eating spot. McDonald’s, KFC, Domino’s and Café Coffee Day are very recent additions to the city. Aligarh, pretty much like Oxford and Cambridge, is primarily a university city although it is also known for lock making and some handicrafts. When I went to the Women’s College, Aligarh Muslim University for my Bachelor’s almost a decade ago, I hung out mostly at the canteens in the college and university and went for lunch to local restaurants. The big city offerings of coffee, fried chicken and burgers were not around then (the closest we got to international cuisine was spicy chowmein which was probably more Indian than Chinese); those were the temptations of Delhi, the metropolis nearest to us. Continue reading

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State Dept Accused of Watering Down Human Rights Ratings to Advance Obama Trade Agenda

Reuters investigation shows American diplomats played politics with annual human trafficking report

Written by Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-4-15.

Fisherman raise their hands when asked who among them would like to go home. (Image via US State Department)

Fisherman raise their hands when asked who among them would like to go home. (Image via US State Department)

The U.S. State Department is being accused of playing politics with human rights after a damning new Reuters investigation published late Monday revealed that high level officials watered down the opinions of rights experts hired to evaluate nations’ human trafficking records seemingly to advance a number of the Obama administration’s key agenda items.

Exposing a “degree of intervention not previously known,” according to the investigation, there were 14 instances where senior American diplomats overruled the analyst opinions to inflate the record of “strategically important countries” for this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report, released last week.

Among those cases, Malaysia had its status upgraded from the lowest level “Tier 3” to the “Tier 2 Watchlist,” which is one rung down from “Tier 2,” despite analysts finding no improvement in the country’s trafficking record. Rights observers charge that this was a deliberate move to pave the way for the passage of the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

In June, Congress passed a provision barring the U.S. from entering into trade agreements with “Tier 3” countries. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (D), who had spearheaded that effort, issued a statement after the investigation was published, saying: “If true, the Reuters report further confirms what I, along with the human-rights community, have feared all along: The State Department’s trafficking report has been blatantly and intentionally politicized.”

Reuters reports:

Congressional sources and current and former State Department officials said experts in the [Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, or J/TIP] had recommended keeping Malaysia on Tier 3, highlighting a drop in human-trafficking convictions in the country to three last year from nine in 2013. They said, according to the sources, that some of Malaysia’s efforts to end forced labor amounted to promises rather than action.

The country has been cited for having a robust sex slavery industry as well as forced labor camps.

Though the news of Malaysia’s pending status change first broke last month, human rights groups on Monday reiterated their discontent.

“The vultures circled,” Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia Division for Human Rights Watch, told Huffington Post. “What you are seeing is significant damage to the credibility of that report because of these political games played back in Washington.”

Other countries where the State Department issued such “inflated recommendations,” according to human rights analysts, included: China, India, Cuba, Mexico, and Uzbekistan.

Reuters notes that “while a Tier 3 ranking can trigger sanctions limiting access to aid…such action is frequently waived.” However, the real power of the trafficking report “is its ability to embarrass countries into action.”

Lawmakers, including Menendez, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are convening on Thursday to review the State Department report.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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A year of Modi Raj – India in crisis

Middle and upper class Indians see no crisis. The media fails to inform them that 75% upwards are too often suffering not only neglect but massive state violence and terror.

Written by N. JAYARAM.  Published 5-26-15 in OpenDemocracy.

By Christopher J. Fynn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Christopher J. Fynn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Almost two years ago, in an article for openDemocracy, this writer made a couple of predictions regarding the outcome of the general elections in 2014 that turned out to be wide of the mark.  The article made other assertions that, after what came to light later in 2013 and early last year, help explain why the predictions went awry.

I had predicted that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, “can hope for a maximum of 25 percent vote share nationally.” In the event his Bharatiya Janata (Indian people’s) Party got 31 percent of the votes polled nationally, resulting (thanks to the first-past-the-post system, as in Britain) in a comfortable majority for the BJP on its own, without having to depend on coalition partners. So the following prediction stood nullified: “Modi will have to make deals with several smaller parties, each claiming bigger pounds of flesh than their strength in terms of seats warrants.” Continue reading

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