Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity


Democratic Governance Watch

The plane hijacked by Belarus is a new challenge for the European Union

On Sunday, May 23rd, Poratsevich traveled to Lithuania from Greece, where he had attended an event with exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya. A few minutes after landing in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, his flight was diverted by the Belarusian authorities to Minsk under the pretext of an alleged bomb threat. Why land in Minsk if the destination airport was the closest one? According to the Lithuanian authorities, of the 126 passengers who boarded in Athens, 5 remained in Minsk: Protasevich, his girlfriend (of Russian citizenship) and three men whose identity was not revealed.

Kyrgyzstan: how to break democracy in six months

The once most democratic country in Central Asia it has been an almost direct flight from a chaotic and fragmented but democratic system to the heavy hand of a strong boss with increasing power and less opposition. Perhaps this distant country allows us to understand how weak democracy is when there are no solid institutions, how fragility entails instability and this opens the doors to charismatic leaders who proclaim themselves saviors just to take a step towards authoritarianism.

Belarusian government discriminates against athletes ahead of Tokyo Olympics

(Diálogo Político) The participation of Belarusian athletes in the next Olympic Games under their own flag is at serious risk, although they could present themselves under the Olympic flag, as independent athletes, as will happen with Russian athletes. That would be a very hard blow to Lukashenko's image at a time when demonstrations are once again taking over the streets after winter.

Chinese-style Democracy

In a context of a general lack of knowledge about China in Latin America, it is not only that there is no such thing as a Chinese-style democracy; it is that it is a mistake to believe that the Chinese model is better just because it may be more effective. Democratic systems are neither infallible nor perfect because they’re based on freedom, checks and balances, rule of law, participation, transparency and human rights. And China's effectiveness stems precisely from the absence of all these attributes.

The art of making friends. How the Chinese Communist Party seduces political parties in Latin America


China, more prosperous and autocratic

On December 3, political scientist Minxin Pei delivered the 17th annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World. Pei’s lecture, “Totalitarianism’s Long Dark Shadow Over China,” was presented by the Embassy of Canada to the United States and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The situation of gender and humanitarian aid in the Venezuelan crisis

In Venezuela, the decimation of economic growth destabilizes society, pushing the Maduro regime to continue its abuse of human rights and repression of dissent to remain in power. Without democratic renewal, it is unlikely that conditions will improve in Venezuela. In response, humanitarian aid must weigh the crisis’ consequences for different demographics, especially women. Targeting vulnerable socioeconomic groups requires greater coordination and deployment of existing aid infrastructure.

Stand together and hold China accountable or be the next victim

Stand together and hold China accountable or be the next victim The panelists' answers in the 24th Forum 2000 on what to do to fight the human rights violations in China also somehow fit into the four things Timothy Garton Ash highlighted in the Forum 2000’s opening: “If we have these four: truth, solidarity, strategy, and responsibility, there will be brighter times ahead”. However, the discussion made clear that now is the time to act. Now is the time to stand by the Hong Kong democratic movement, now is the time to recognize the genocide in Xinjiang and to fight to defend international human rights standards. Silence is complicit.

Candidates for the Human Rights Council election practice transparency and accountability

However, the non-cooperation of some states, obvious yet again on this occasion, was, as the French human rights ambassador Francois Croquette put it, “the elephant in the room”. The fact that Bolivia, Cuba, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Senegal declined the invitation to participate in the discussion, reflects one aspect that explains why the HRC has been criticized. Some countries have been mocking the international human rights protection mechanisms by sitting on the HRC while at the same time blatantly violating their citizens’ human rights back home.

China: A hard-line autocracy that loses credibility at an international level


Georgia: a democracy under Russian occupation for 12 years

On 7th August, for the 12th anniversary of the Russian occupation of Georgia, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Middle East Institute's Frontier Europe Initiative, organized a webinar on the worrying situation generated by the Russia-Georgia conflict in 2008. A short but intense war caused by a cross-border territory, South Ossetia, contested between the Russian Federation and Georgia, which has a very heavy historical legacy and it still affects negatively the Ossetian and Georgian people, victims of the violence perpetrated by Russian troops.

Russia: an increasingly repressive autocracy seeking a place on the UN Human Rights Council


Colombia: an attack on human rights defenders is an attack on democracy

According to the Bertelsmann Transformation Index of 2020, Colombia is on the right path when it comes to economic growth and democracy, although evident challenges remain. Social and income inequalities are apparent and coupled with consistent corruption scandals, the population’s faith in the state is plunging.

Freedom of Movement after Covid-19

Of all the controls that people all over the world have accepted with little protest in the name of public health, the prohibition of movement is the most consequential. …[C]ombining trustworthy government information, solidarity with the desperate, and pragmatic technology would surely be an improvement over the mass lockdowns in place in much of the world.

Chinese propaganda for a post-Covid-10 scenario


The new Uruguayan government and the regional defense of democracy

From the perspective of the commitment to human rights, the decision of the new Uruguayan authorities -that will assume office next March 1- to not include the region’s autocrats in the swearing in ceremony is consistent with their values. It speaks badly of an exemplary democracy to give “equal treatment and respect” to leaders in other countries that were not elected through free, fair and competitive elections.

Meanwhile, Colombia is also convulsed

In the last turn of events, President Duque agreed to convene the leaders who ignited the protests. The next few days will be key to see if the situation is radicalized or if a consensual exit from the agitation is achieved.

Migration crises and regional governance: The cases of Europe, North America and South America

Agreements in which destination countries, which are usually developed democracies, pay for not having to accept more migrants, are not what humanitarian advocates who argue in favor of international cooperation to face migration crises usually have in mind. However, cooperation to restrict immigration is more common worldwide than is cooperation in a liberal direction.

Piñera, PROSUR and autocratic China

(The Global Americans) A month after promoting the establishment of PROSUR, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera contradicted the central principles of the new regional bloc during a trip to China.

The G20, civil society, and democratic commitment

(Global Americans) At a time when democracy is regressing globally, it’s crucial for civil society to step up and affirm international commitment to democracy and solidarity with victims of authoritarianism. This message would have been especially well received in Argentina, which is still healing from its brush with dictatorship. If civil society continues to fail to do so, the G20 can hardly make a difference in its original goal: improving the welfare of the most vulnerable people around the world.