Insights on Human Rights

Orissa High Court Green Signals Same-Sex commitments

India, Asia

This case has marked the beginning of India’s journey towards acceptance and has been recognized as an attempt to break societal norms. The Orissa High Court has decided to consider a case of the same-sex relationship between two women and directed police to ensure that they cannot be married off by their families against their will. A 24-year-old woman has approached the Court with the grievance that her partner has been forcibly taken away by her mother and uncle. Both had been in a live-in relationship. Family members of the girl are going to forcibly arrange her marriage with someone else, the petitioner said while seeking the Court’s intervention.

According to the petitioner, her partner was forcibly separated by the latter’s mother in April in Bhubaneswar.

The petitioner exercised her rights to self-gender determination under the Supreme Court’s 2014 verdict in the NALSA case and preferred to be addressed as “he”.

His case was that both he and his partner are adults, and belonging to the same gender is not competent to enter into wedlock but still have the right to live together.

The petitioner Chinmayee Jena alias Sonu Krishna Jena, who produced a certification of gender dysphoria from a psychiatrist, had filed a habeas corpus application under Article 226 and 227. She claimed that both of them fell in love with each other in 2011 and had been enjoying a consensual relationship since 2017. A joint affidavit on March 17, 2020, submitted before the Court indicated that both had sworn before the Executive Magistrate, Bhubaneswar, declaring that they were staying together in their live-in relationship. Citing the provisions of protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which acknowledges living relationships, Jena pleaded to be reunited with her partner. Further, the Court has also asked the petitioner to allow his partner’s family to visit and communicate with her.

Read more

Mistreatment of foreign workers

Maldives, Asia

In Maldives, migrant workers are facing abuse by employers, in the form of deceptive recruitment practices, passport confiscation, fraudulent recruitment and trafficking, coercive and exploitative labour practices and increased vulnerability from COVID19. In addition to this, the Maldives police have detained more than 80 migrant workers in July for protesting unpaid wages, inhumane living conditions, and labour rights violations.

Read more

Clampdown on freedom of speech and expression

Sri Lanka, Asia

The president of Sri Lanka continues a campaign of fear and intimidation against human rights activists, journalists, lawyers and other challenging government policies. The opposers are being repressed by death threats, physical assaults and arbitrary arrests.

Read more

Civilians mistaken for Militants?

India, Asia

Three militants were killed in a retaliatory gunfight after they fired on the security forces during a search operation on July 18 in Sophian district and were buried in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. But their families living in Jammu identified them from photographs circulated on social media, said that they were labourers and had gone in search of work.

Read more

Asia’s Internet shutdown

India, Myanmar, Asia

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Refugees across the border of Bangladesh have lived without internet access in sprawling camps for months. In Myanmar’s Rakhine State, authorities had blocked mobile data services, this trend continued in February, when a ban was reinstated in five of the most conflict-affected parts of the state, prompting a call of help from activists, who have accused the military of trying to cover up their illegal use of power. Further in December, the world record was broken by India’s Kashmir for the shutdown of the internet. Authorities claim that this shutdown is an attempt to stop rumours during times of unrest. However, it is necessary that the government uses social media and the internet to discourage violence and restore public order.

Read more

Student-led, pro-democracy protests suppressed by government

Thailand, Asia

Students in Thailand are stepping up to pressurise the military-backed government to complete their pursuit of democracy. This is one of the first grassroot level protests in the country. Several unions have demanded that the government rewrite the constitution by the end of September to disband the military-appointed Senate and change election laws to make them more democratic.

Read more

Opposition suppressed in view of elections

Tanzania, Africa

As the general elections in Tanzania are around the corner, the authorities in the country have intensified restrictions and are actively suppressing opposition parties and other major rights groups. The government has also made multiple arrests and suspended the license of other groups in opposition. This conduct on the part of the authorities raises several doubts on the elections being fair and just.
Read more

Violence while enforcing COVID-19 restrictions

Angola, Africa

Security forces in Angola are being severely criticized for their use of violence and atrocity in laying down regulations to curb the spread of COVID-19. At least seven people have already lost their lives. Victims include people, as young as, sixteen years. Criminal investigations into the deaths are in process.
Read more

Mass escape at Madagascar prison

Madagascar, Africa

Security forces in Madagascar reportedly open fired as numerous inmates were trying to escape the Farafangana Prison. The Agency Spokesman said the inmates were fearful of being infected with COVID-19. The shoot-out ended up killing 20 people and injuring many more. The UN Human Rights Office also criticized the irresponsible use of force on the part of the security guards.

Read more

With militants on the rise army exercises unauthorised power over citizens

Burkina Faso, Africa

As attacks related to Islamic militants are on a rise, the army is targeting any civilian perceived to support them. Several men were taken from an eastern town in Burkina Faso and only five survived. The survivors insist that they have no links to Islamic extremists. Civilians in the country are trapped between the army and the extremist attacks.
Read more

New bill permits Child Marriage

Somalia, Africa

The Somalian parliament is considering a new bill that would put countless children in the country at a risk of marriage. This bill would allow children as young as 10, to get married. An increment in cases related to child marriage has been reported in the COVID-19 pandemic. It is difficult for civil society organisations to uphold human rights because of the political instability in the country.
Read more

US asylum system to be dismantled

USA, North America

The Trump administration has brought into action tyrannical policies that have resulted in radical rewriting of the asylum definition to exclude almost everyone from eligibility. Thereby, pushing the citizens into dangerous conditions.It has also implemented new, rapid-deportation programs that are dispensed with procedural protections required to ensure asylum processes are fair. These policies violate the right to seek asylum and put people at risk of potentially lethal violence.

Read more

Argentina hopes a new Abortion Bill

Argentina, South America

Abortion rights activists in Argentina see a new ray of hope with the country’s transformed political landscape. President Alberto Farnández, who took office in December 2019 has publicly supported decriminalizing abortion. He has promised to submit a bill to Congress to decriminalize abortion. Submitting the bill was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but Fernández’s top legal adviser has said that the government hopes to submit it this year.

Read more

Indigenous Kids Face death due to malnutrition

Colombia, South America

The pandemic and lockdown are making it harder than ever for the Wayuu, an indigenous group in Colombia and Venezuela, many of whom live in the Colombian northeastern state of La Guajira, to get adequate food, water, and health care at a time when they need them more than ever. The Colombian government should urgently take action to protect indigenous Wayuu children’s rights. Isn’t caring for the citizens amidst this pandemic the most important role of the government?

Read more

Despite Pandemic, police forces exert control!

Venezuela, South America

Venezuelan security forces and authorities have used measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 as an excuse to crack down on dissenting voices and intensify their control over the population, Human Rights Watch said today. Since declaring a state of emergency to combat Covid-19 in mid-March, 2020. Venezuelan authorities have arbitrarily detained and prosecuted dozens of journalists, healthcare workers, human rights lawyers, and political opponents who criticize the government of Nicolás Maduro. Many detainees are charged under an overly broad hate crimes law, before a judiciary that lacks independence. The lawyers for the accused routinely have limited access to judicial files and prosecutors, due to Covid-19 related court closures. Some detainees have been subjected to physical abuse that might amount to torture.
Read more

Elderly suffer abuse in aged care facilities


Human Rights Watch has investigated abuses in aged care facilities in Australia and found that they are giving drugs to older people with dementia,to control their behaviour where drugs are not required to treat medical symptoms. Due to the visitor’s ban, during COVID -19, people living in the aged care facilities are worried and exhausted, having gone through months without contact with their loved ones. Restraining older people with drugs has grave consequences , increasing risk of strokes, pneumonia, and even death.

Read More

Solitary confinement a hazard for prisoners?

Western Australia

The Western Australian government should permanently end the use of prolonged solitary confinement for prisoners, particularly those with disabilities. Some prisoners at the Casuarina Prison are spending more than 23 hours a day in solitary confinement with as little as 30 minutes of fresh air a day.Three men have died inside Western Australian prisons in the past three months.Solitary confinement effects are devastating for people with psychosocial or cognitive disabilities.

Read more

Police suppresses right to freedom of expression

Belarus, Europe

Belarus security forces viciously beat and detained largely peaceful protesters over the country’s election outcome on August 9 and 10, 2020. In a statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,it was noted that there were 8 missing protestors and there had been 4 deaths. This issue raises concerns about interference with and violations of rights to freedom of expression, particularly media freedom and political speech, and freedom of assembly.
Read more

Leave a Reply