Saturday, 10 December 2011


The UN marked Human Rights Day...

"UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Human rights went viral in 2011 as people around the world used social media such as Twitter to protest against dictatorships, the U.N. human rights chief said Friday.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a message on the eve of Human Rights Day that power shifted in the Arab world this year as ordinary men, women and even children used Facebook and other social media platforms to stand up to long-ruling dictators.
"Today, as in the past, editorial and financial factors — as well as access — determine whether or not protests, and repression of protests, are televised or reported in newspapers around the world," Pillay said in a statement.
"But wherever it happens, you can now guarantee it will be tweeted on Twitter, posted on Facebook, broadcast on YouTube, and uploaded onto the Internet," she said. "In sum, in 2011, human rights went viral."
The U.N. is making broad use of social media to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Saturday.
Pillay, who is based in Geneva, was at U.N. headquarters in New York on Friday to answer some of the hundreds of questions pouring in via social media platforms about the human rights observance.
Called "30 Days and 30 Rights," the U.N. social media campaign was launched Nov. 10, with a daily posting about one specific article of the Universal Declaration's 30 articles.
The U.N. human rights office said more than 1 million people viewed the Facebook pages, with especially strong interest from cities including Tunis, Tunisia; Giza and Cairo in Egypt; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Jakarta, Indonesia; Bangkok; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Geneva; London and New York.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said human rights belong to everyone.
"But unless we know them, unless we demand they be respected, and unless we defend our right — and the right of others — to exercise them, they will be just words in a decades-old document," Ban said."
Taken from:

Image from : Andy Worthington is an investigative journalist, author, filmmaker and Guantanamo expert. I attended a Guantanamo Bay presentention by Andy earlier this year; it was excellent. Would recommend.

Monday, 5 December 2011

European Day of Persons with Disabilities: Disabilty and Economic Crisis

Update from FRA (Fundamental Rights Agency). The following is taken from

The economic crisis threatens participation and inclusion of people with disabilities

02 December 2011 - This year's European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference, on 1-2 December in Brussels, specifically focuses on the effects of the crisis on people with disabilities. It brings together organisations representing people with disabilities and relevant stakeholders to identify best practice solutions to offset the effects of the economic crisis on people with disabilities. On this important European Day, the FRA underlines that it will continue its efforts to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities.

"In times of crisis especially, people need to rally around and help those most in need. In the past, hard times have posed a serious challenge to the protection of fundamental rights, particularly for vulnerable groups, such as people and children with disabilities who face increased risk of poverty, exclusion and discrimination," said FRA Director, Morten Kjærum. "We must make sure that the advances in rights for people with disabilities are not jeopardised by public spending cuts. Collectively the EU needs to ensure that people with disabilities do not pay the price for the economic crisis in reduced support and services."
The FRA will continue to work alongside its partners in the EU institutions and Member States, and with civil society, including disabled persons organisations, to promote the rights of people with disabilities. Preliminary findings from our latest research on the experiences of people with mental health problems and people with intellectual disabilities in nine EU Member States show that they are deprived of some of their basic rights. Significant barriers to their right to independent living and restrictions on their legal capacity remain. FRA's research underlines the need for policy makers to shape the laws and policies that can best guarantee that people with disabilities do not disproportionately suffer the effects of public sector spending cuts. Lower public expenditure on programmes such as independent living services, personal assistance schemes, education and vocational training, and healthcare threaten the participation and inclusion of people with disabilities in their local community.