Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity

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.

El crimen de la guerra (The crime of war)

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Democracy Day in the Time of the Pandemic

Recognized every September 15, International Day of Democracy is promoted by the United Nations to raise global awareness of democratic principles. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored both the fragility and importance of democratic institutions in addressing the economic, political, and public health crises facing much of the world.

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.

Cuba’s voting pattern during its 12 years at the UN Human Rights Council

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

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Milada Horáková and the remembrance for the victims of totalitarianism

Horáková was a pioneer of human rights activism and an emblematic figure in the defense of democracy in the then Czechoslovakia. The book «Milada Horáková: Defender of Human Rights and Victim of Totalitarianisms» by historian Ricardo López Göttig is an invitation to remember this brave woman and to embrace the noble ideals she defended, for which she first suffered imprisonment in the Nazi concentration camp in Terezin and eventually was executed by the communists.

Milada Horáková: Defensora de los Derechos Humanos y víctima de los totalitarismos (Milada Horáková: Defender of Human Rights and victim of totalitarianism)

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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.

¿En qué mundo vivimos? (What world do we live in?)

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

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A disgrace to the region: Latin America's «leader» on the UN Human Rights Council is a dictatorship

Cuba will most likely be elected to its fifth term in the HRC, which will enable it to run for re-election in 2023. By returning to the Council in 2023, Cuba would then complete 18 of the 20 years of the HRC’s existence in one of its seats. Other countries with a similar record, such as Saudi Arabia or China, could achieve the same. The fact that Cuba manages to maintain its «leadership», spending as many years as possible in an organization that it makes fun of, says a lot about the lack of real leadership in Latin America regarding the defense of human rights.

Cuba and the Resolution 60

«Cuba's lack of commitment to the Universal System of Human Rights» (in Spanish: «La falta de compromiso de Cuba con el Sistema Universal de Derechos Humanos»), a report by analysts Brian Schapira and Roxana Perel, edited and presented by CADAL, is a superb investigation that crosses the sinuous itinerary of the Cuban government in human rights matters, parting from a moment of change and inflection in the main international body created by the United Nations to face global human rights challenges.

Cuba’s lack of commitment to the international human rights system

The current outline in English addresses the main ideas and statements included in the report «La falta de compromiso de Cuba con el sistema universal de derechos humanos» (Cuba’s lack of commitment to the international human rights system), originally published in Spanish. To fully understand it, a thorough reading would be required. However, we believe the current summary, to which we have decided to add both the report’s introduction and conclusion sections almost entirely, represents a valuable document that will offer a comprehensive overview of the topics discussed and the conclusions drawn from the original report.

Brazil lights the bonfire of the arts

I write my comment on this hostile environment to the arts and culture in Brazil in a time of coronavirus and social isolation, in which so many of us are sick and several of us have already died, including artists such as Aldir Blanc, Rubem Fonseca, Sérgio Sant’Anna, Moraes Moreira y Flávio Migliaccio. The Bolsonaro government was not in solidarity with any of these losses, preferring to ignore them while continuing with its conservative agenda.

Report on the risk of imagining

The Danish NGO Freemuse has produced a comprehensive report calling it the “State of Artistic Freedom”: a detailed survey of different abuses of the right of expression enshrined in the Universal Charter of Human Rights. It highlights the state of emergency in which thousands of artists and intellectuals live and survive in different parts of the world. There is no ideology, no system, no political regime that does not have its eye on artists.

Threats to the freedom of artistic expression

In the annual report presented on 15 April 2020, Freemuse points out a continuing deterioration of freedom of expression in general and of art in particular, which translates into 711 attacks in 93 countries and shows that art continues to be a hazardous activity that can lead to harassment, censorship, imprisonment and even death. To successfully monitor this development, Freemuse compiles and analyses statistical data, as well as thorough interviews with artists around the world. The comparative analysis allows to identify global trends and recognize those areas where interference is necessary to defend the freedom of artistic expression.

The police in the US have too much power over people

In a context of excessive disorder, it is more difficult than ever to discuss police abuses and enduring racism rationally. Looting and mayhem often produce a political dynamic of escalating polarization. But in politics nothing is foreordained. The United States can find a better way, one that gives the police the incentive and resources they need to work for people.

BTI and Cuba: the State of democratic denial

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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

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Cuba and its Narcissus State

In the exact sense of the Narcissus myth, the Cuban state may drown in the attempt to kiss the constructed and projected image of itself in an era previous to instant and globalised information. In the post-Covid-19 world, states need more than mirrors. They need effiicency.

Fernández’s March 1 speech before the Legislative Assembly

(The Global Americans) The general formula of establishing good and strong institutions to serve the public are the inspiration of democratic norms. But there is still a long way ahead to discover what will work for Alberto Fernández and what shape his democratic policies will take.

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.

La derecha como autoritarismo en el siglo XXI (The right as authoritarianism in the 21st century)

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Human Rights Watch World Report 2020: Chile

(The Global Americans) In recent months, there has been an increasing focus on human rights when discussing the events taking place in Chile. In its report, HRW emphasizes the human rights abuses during last year’s protests committed by Chile’s Carabineros. It also shows how authorities responded to this challenge and the progress (or lack thereof) of these initiatives. It also pays attention to human rights issues that have had a longer history in the country and that continue to affect minorities.

Morales’ mandate in Guatemala comes to an end, Human Rights Watch examines the country

(The Global Americans) On January 14, during his inauguration ceremony held in Guatemala City, Giammattei vindicated his promise of handling corruption and endemic violence in the country with a “hard hand.” To this end, he proposed a law initiative to denominate “maras and gangs as terrorist groups.”

Argentina’s controversial foreign policy

(Global Americans) Under Argentina’s new government, foreign policy decisions based more on ideological affinity than on greater pragmatism could bare serious consequences for the country, more so when dealing with non-democratic countries.

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.

Latin America and the Cuban segregation

(Clarín) Would anyone accept in any country in Latin America that there can only be one ideology and that if one does not share it is a traitor subject to being fought by any means? Then it is worth asking, where is the regional reaction to such legal aberration and criminalization of human rights?

Bolivia prepares for elections under great uncertainty

The way of Evo Morales to present himself as a candidate for president for the fourth consecutive time was not simple. Anyway, Evo has good cards to show. Among its advantages is economic stability and social improvements that occurred since its assumption. But several polls agree that if Evo does not win in the first round he would lose in the second against Carlos Mesa.

La izquierda como autoritarismo en el siglo XXI (The left as authoritarianism in the 21st century)

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Brazil’s red flags

Brazil encompasses many of the problems that affect the region: corruption, street violence, cases of police abuse, and entrenched stereotypes in society that make all these problems in turn become more serious in minorities. In this regard, both Bolsonaro's sayings and his lack of commitment to the progressive agenda do not help to solve the structural problems of Brazil and the country seems to be going in the opposite direction to which it should go.

Origen, mitos e influencias del antisemitismo en el mundo (Origin, myths and influences of anti-Semitism in the world)

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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.

Sounds hard, doesn’t it?

(7 Miradas) The phrase that best suits these calculations is the one of Ian Fleming when he described the James Bond novels: “they are beyond the probable, but not beyond the impossible.”

The two diplomacies in Cuba: the complacent and the committed

The list of complacent would be long, for example, those of democratic countries whose officials never received any nomination for the Award for Committed Diplomacy in Cuba, so it is as if they were not there. And most worrying, after the delivery of the last edition of the Prize for the period 2016-2018, is the setback that some embassies recorded.

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.

A dubious referendum on a (slightly) revised constitution shows growing opposition to the revolution in Cuba

(The Global Americans) Given the significant numbers of votes against the reform, the results of the referendum call into question the unanimity on which Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) have always attempted to stake the legitimacy of the revolution.

On Parole: 29 years after the Velvet Revolution

We must thank Michael Zantovsky, current executive director of the Václav Havel Library, for the awe, the laughter, the criticism, the almost intimate talk, and the slight psychological detachment provoked by some of the snippets narrated in the life of his friend. Zantovsky has privileged information of Havel and (almost) does not hold back, doing to all human beings a favor.

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.

Argentina is walking a thin red line

One year from primary elections, the future of Argentina is torn between economic stagnation, the debate over the decriminalization of abortion, and the corruption of the Kirchner years.

Las ciencias sociales en contextos autoritarios (The social sciences in authoritarian contexts)

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Así se vota en Cuba (This is how they vote in Cuba)

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Deconstrucción. Crónicas y reflexiones desde la Europa Oriental poscomunista (Of construction. Chronicles and reflections from post-communist Eastern Europe)

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Artistic Freedom Around the World

In the specific case of Cuba, the report questions the fact that artistic freedom on the island is subject to the aims of the Revolution and everything that is not framed within this premise is censored and repressed.

Who decides the Cuban elections?

The institutionalization of the “revolution” has left Cuba with an electoral bureaucracy that suffocates popular sovereignty, allowing it’s citizens no room for freedom of political expression

Will the Venezuelan Condemnation of the Demands for Political Openness in Cuba Continue to Drag Out?

(The Global Americans ) The regional and international condemnation of the Venezuelan autocracy is a step in the right direction. However, to be transparent, this condemnation has to be extended to Cuba.

Mogherini, the European Union, and Cuba

(The Global Americans) It would be relevant to know the expectations of the High Representative of the European Union in the dialogue on human rights with Cuba.

Parliamentary Diplomacy and Foreign Policy in Human Rights

(Perfil) Legislators can submit draft declarations condemning humanrights violations in dictatorial countries and ask for declarations from theirrespective governments in intergovernmental organizations; denouncecorrupt electoral processes that are neither fair nor transparent inautocratic regimes; and recognize the work and initiatives of democraticactivists whose lives are at risk.

An Act of Remembrance and Solidarity

From this year forward, the Argentine capital will be a pioneer city in Latin America as it commemorates the victims of totalitarianism every 23rd of August. Someone who will always be in our thoughts on this day will be Cecilia de la Torre, who passed last December.

Cubans’ motorcycle diary woes

(Latin America Goes Global) Unlike their Latin American counterparts, Cubans face unique challenges traveling and emigrating within Latin America. And that doesn’t include the trouble leaving the island.

It’s time to set limits to Cuban Dictatorship

(Latin America Goes Global) The Cuban government is practicing abroad what it is strictly forbidden within its own borders, infringing the political reciprocity principle in bilateral relations.

Rational Migration Policy in a Xenophobic World

(Latin America Goes Global) If Argentina were to help foment a global trend in xenophobia it would be worrisome, and surprising. The country has one of the most open migration regimes in the world.

Reflections on the Global Think Tank Summit

(Perfil/Buenos Aires, Argentina) The message I heard in Montreal was dire, both for the liberal values Cadal embodies and for the ability of think tanks and other civil society organizations to have any sort of effect on the world. However, I thought of reasons for optimism about Cadal´s ability to do good work even in the current difficult context.

Is the U.S. opening to Cuba dead in the water?

The European Union, Cuba and Human Rights

Without a Cuban gesture towards a more open political system, it does not make sense to discuss an agreement since the one party regime of Raúl Castro would not approve any improvement in the area of human rights. Thus, the negotiations between the EU and Cuba started rather poorly if we believe there was ever any genuine interest by the EU in achieving any progress regarding a more open political system in the island.

A Too Big Reward for China

The perception that China rewards loyalty is wrong. Not only is it doubtful that kowtowing to China will bring short-term benefits but, on the contrary, it is rather quite possible that we’ll end up paying a high price for such policy in the future. If today’s decisions are shaping our future, then granting China with market economy status will surely be a nail in the coffin for Argentina.

Fidel Castro and the Integrity of Estela de Carlotto in the Defence of Human Rights

(Infobae) A human rights figure cannot be indifferent towards human rights violations that take place in the remaining dictatorships nor they can ignore such evident facts to defend the indefensible.

 
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