Displaying items by tag: human rights
In a landmark ruling, an employment tribunal declared Mary Onuoha's dismissal for wearing a cross had been both victimisation and harassment, and Croydon NHS Trust had breached her human rights and created a 'humiliating, hostile and threatening environment' for her to work in. Mary was removed from her role as an NHS theatre practitioner and demoted to various administrative roles before resigning after facing two years of hostility from her NHS bosses. She was told that wearing a cross necklace breached the Trust's dress code - even though plain rings, hijabs, turbans and religious bracelets were permitted. The NHS said the wearing of a necklace was an infection risk. The tribunal judge said, ‘it is clear to us that the infection risk of a necklace of the sort the claimant used to wear, when worn by a responsible clinician who complied with handwashing protocol, was very low’.
Attempts to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in a case against a Belfast bakery have been rejected. Seven years ago, Christian-led Ashers Baking Company refused to write ‘support gay marriage’ on a cake. Gareth Lee sued Ashers, then lost his case at the UK Supreme Court. He took the matter to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that the UK had failed to protect his human rights. Before the Supreme Court ruling, a Belfast county court and an appeal court had both ruled that the bakery had discriminated against Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Kazakhstan’s ongoing civil unrest shows the need for meaningful progress against corruption. Last week there were countrywide protests over inequality, poverty and corruption, also calling for meaningful reforms. The wealth the country’s political elite have amassed through corruption has been a particular concern throughout the protests. Kazakhstan has made some progress in fighting corruption in recent years - in a 2019 study people and small businesses saw things improving on the ground - but serious concerns remain, such as the flawed anti-corruption framework, lack of responsiveness in policy-making, and state control of the media. Pray for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other independent voices who are urging the government to resolve the ongoing unrest peacefully. Unless the violence stops immediately, the way out of the crisis is uncertain for the already struggling Kazakh society.
Prime minister Justin Trudeau came into office promising to strengthen and restore ties with native communities and recently told reporters, ‘We are committed to compensating indigenous people who were harmed as children in child and family services’. Yet his government says it will appeal against a court order to pay billions of dollars to compensate indigenous children who went through the child welfare system. Last month, a tribunal upheld a 2016 ruling that the government underfunded First Nations services compared with those for non-indigenous children, and ordered $40,000 (£23,340) payouts to each child who was in the on-reserve welfare system after 2006. The case has been a source of tension between tribes and the government. The government has said it is not opposed to compensation, but that it had issues over the order's jurisdiction and how the money was to be divided.
There are many smart, educated women who could drive Japan out of its economic slump to a stunning economic recovery, but the rigid hiring system and male-dominated leadership block women from the best-paid jobs. Japan risks becoming a nation of bored housewives with university degrees. Parliament declared it would significantly increase the number of women in leadership by 2020, but the deadline quietly came and went without getting close to its target. Critics believe the aim had little to do with women thriving at work and more to do with an acute need for workers. The working-age population has been rapidly shrinking since the 1990s. Many women are stuck in part-time or dead-end roles which pay 40% lower than men. Companies are reluctant to have more women in their workforces, but the drive for change could come from international companies hiring graduates with gender equality.
‘Because my surgery was delayed while I was in prison, my left upper tooth, palate, cheekbone and lymph nodes were removed. The bottom of my left chin is now empty. Bone was taken from my leg and placed on my face. According to an MRI, the tumor has spread to the back of my eye’, said Ayşe Özdoğan, whose ‘crime’ was working at a dormitory affiliated with the Gülen movement. She was jailed for nine years for being ‘a member of a terrorist organisation’. Torture, ill-treatment, and lack of medical care for sick prisoners, are widespread in Turkish jails. Rooms are arranged with no security cameras. No torture detection can be made. When prisoners filed a criminal complaint about being beaten, a disciplinary investigation was launched against them for insulting the officer and the president.
The USA is resuming unconditional financial aid to the Palestinians without any stipulation that the PA end human rights violations and assaults on public freedoms. Lawyers for Justice said that the forms of torture in the PA-controlled Jericho Prison included hanging detainees from the ceilings, beatings, verbal abuse and electric shocks. ‘The Future List calls on all electoral lists approved by the Central Elections Committee, all human rights bodies and all honourable people of this country to form a united front to confront the arbitrary political arrests that aim to silence every free voice that rises in the face of tyranny and corruption practiced by the Palestinian Authority.’ It appears the diplomats care little that the PA is arresting, torturing and intimidating social media users and political activists. Western journalists loudly raise their voices when damning Israel. International silence and absolute support for the PA encourages Palestinian leadership to continue their repression.
Rev Brian Casey is making a fresh appeal to the Home Office not to deport 13 year old Giorgi Kakava, who has lived in Scotland since he was three. He faces being sent to Georgia, where he was born. He came to the UK with his asylum-seeker mother, who feared the gangsters her husband owed money to would either kill Giorgi or sell him to sex traffickers. She died in 2018 while awaiting the outcome of her asylum appeal, leaving Giorgi in the care of his grandmother and legal guardian Ketino Baikhadze. His residence permit expired in December. 90,000+ people signed a petition asking that he be allowed to stay in Glasgow. Rev Casey said it was a ‘scandal and a moral outrage’ that he was still living under a cloud of uncertainty. His plea for ‘decency and compassion’ comes as the Scottish parliament prepares to vote on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 23 March.
Care home visitor bans have been branded a human rights breach by some MPs, who are demanding a new law allowing visits and have given the government a two-week deadline to act and stop residents dying in isolation. A committee of MPs and peers has called on government ministers to legislate against blanket bans on care home visits in England, which they argue is a breach of the basic right to family life. We can pray for all residents to receive visits from a close relative or friend. This is what happens in Ontario, where they changed the law to allow access to care homes and mental health hospitals for a relative who is a designated caregiver and part of the home/hospital’s care team, provided they test negative before each visit. Harriet Harman heads up the team of MPs who have asked Matt Hancock to ‘consider our proposal as a matter of urgency and respond to us by 17 February’.
Paul Lamb is paralysed below his neck apart from limited movement in his right arm after a car crash in 1990. He said he was ‘devastated’ after a Court of Appeal refused him permission to bring a legal challenge over assisted dying. He argued the current law, banning assisted suicide, is discriminatory and breaches his human rights. He said he felt ‘powerless’ and urged the government to launch an inquiry. The Ministry of Justice said any change in the law would have to be considered by MPs. In an open letter to justice secretary Robert Buckland, Mr Lamb said he was writing ‘to urge you to take notice of this decision and launch an inquiry into assisted dying, and ask if you might meet with me to discuss this important matter’. Humanists UK are supporting Mr Lamb in his case.