CELEBRATED yesterday under the theme, “Human Rights 365”, is Human Rights Day, whose theme encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day, according to the official UN website.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the Common Standard of Achievement for all peoples and all nations.
In his message to mark the Day’s celebration, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon said: “I call on States to honour their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year. I call on people to hold their governments to account.”
In observance of the 2014 Human Rights Day, IBTimes India has gathered a list of the ‘Worst and gravest Human Rights violations’ that have occurred throughout the year of 2014:
1. All ISIS Beheadings, Rapes, Child Abuses:
The brutal executions of innocent people by the deadly Islamic State (ISIS) militants who continue to wreak havoc in northern Iraq and Syria after swallowing a swathe of land, which they arbitrary call a caliphate, are the gravest crimes and human rights violations.
It all started with US journalist James Foley’s murder on August 19. It was followed by the execution of American-Israeli journalist, Steven Sotloff on September 2nd. Another video showing a similar murder of British Aid worker, David Haines shocked the Western world. Then the group killed the UK aid worker, Alan Henning before finally beheading Peter Kassig, another aid worker.
2. US Police Shootings of Blacks
Police atrocities against blacks have been in the headlines for much of this year and have sparked one of the worst protests in recent memory. What incensed the already angry members of the black community were the two grand jury decisions not to indict police officers charged with the killings.
A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer, Darren Wilson, who is white, in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.
Days later another white police officer involved in the choke-hold death of Eric Garner, was allowed to walk free. The last words of the man, ‘I can’t breathe’ have been used as a slogan in the series of protests that have rocked New York City over the past week.
In a similar incident, a 12-year-old African-American boy was shot by a Cleveland Police officer on 22 November in a park. The child died the next day.
3. ‘Virginity Test’ in Indonesia
Female applicants to Indonesia’s National Police had to go through a mandatory “virginity test”, which the authorities require woman – and not men – to undertake as part of the application process, the HRW reported.
4. Saudi ‘Woman Drivers’ Arrested
Even in 2014, Saudi authorities continue to detain women for driving. In the latest case, two women driving on the Saudi side of the border of the UAE were detained for over six days.
5. Iranian Woman executed for killing Rapist
Rayhaneh Jabbari, 26, was hanged by an Iranian court for the 2007 killing of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, who had tried to rape her. The case has become a symbol of the worst human rights violation in Iran.
6. China’s Use of Executed Prisoner’s Organs
China has been infamous for using the organs of executed prisoners for transplantation. Under pressure from the Human Rights activists, China recently said that it would stop the practice.
There is curtailment of free speech and media in the country and those who protest are persecuted and even executed in China. In the latest example of human rights violation in China, Beijing-based activist Cao Shunli was detained after she was barred from boarding a flight to Geneva ahead of the UN Human Rights Council review of China on 22 October.
7. Operation Likofi, Congo
A recent report detailed how uniformed police in the Republic of Congo dragged suspected gang members from their homes at night. The unarmed young men and boys were brutally shot and killed outside their homes. Many others were taken without warrants to unknown locations.
8. Russian Abuse of Crimeans
Another HRW report released in November highlighted how Crimea residents who opposed Russia’s actions were intimidated and harassed. Many pro-Ukrainian activists were reportedly forced to disappear and Russia compelled Ukrainian citizens in Crimea to adopt Russian citizenship or leave.
9. Life Prison for Being Gay in Gambia
The Gambian president Yahya Jammeh signed a new criminal code decreeing life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality”. The law sparked a “witch-hunt” against LGBT people in the country with at least 14 documented arrests in the days following the new decree.
10. North Korea Torture
More than 200,000 North Koreans, including children, are imprisoned in camps, where many perish from forced labour, inadequate food and abuse by guards. 2014 has also seen episodes of arbitrary arrests, lack of due process and torture. There is no independent media, functioning civil society, or freedom of religion inside the reclusive communist autocratic country ruled by Kim Jong-un.