Human Rights updates 5


Russia forcibly transfers Ukrainian citizens to its territory

According to a report by Amnesty International, Russia is forcibly transporting Ukrainian citizens to occupied territories or directly to Russia. Children who are taken from their parents for the purpose of subsequent adoption by a Russian family are no exception. Soldiers also force the elderly or people with disabilities to be transferred. Witnesses also describe inhuman and degrading treatment or physical intimidation. Yet the law of war prohibits the forcible transfer of individuals or groups of people from occupied territory. This is therefore a clear violation of human rights and international law.

The World Cup in Qatar is a display case of human rights violations

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has been threatening to impose financial penalties on national teams that planned to wear rainbow armbands in support of the LGBTQI+ minority. According to the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, FIFA was also considering handing out individual punishments in the form of yellow cards to players who chose to wear the rainbow armband. This is because homosexuality is a criminal offence in Qatar. Nor should we forget the workers who made the football event possible. Many of them worked in undignified conditions, were subjected to cruel treatment and thousands of them have died. FIFA should be among the first to stress the importance of fair play and human rights.

China violates people’s right to peaceful demonstration

Residents of several cities in China are protesting against draconian measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, because despite the decline in positive cases and the overall improvement in the situation, China is sticking to so-called ‘zero-covid’ measures, meaning that if even one positive case is detected, residents are subject to stricter restrictions. Protesters are therefore calling for the departure of President Xi Jinping and demanding the downfall of the Communist Party. The police have cracked down heavily on the protesters, violating the people’s right to peaceful protests. It is not only Chinese citizens who are being arrested but also foreigners. One example is a reporter for the British television channel BBC, who was severely beaten at a police station. In addition, the Chinese Government is violating the right of free access to information by censoring information relating to the protests from the very beginning.

COP27 failed to deliver major climate change changes

Climate action was the main theme of the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Egypt. Although world leaders at the conference agreed to create a special fund to cover losses and damages for the countries most affected by the climate crisis, an important commitment to phase out all fossil fuels failed to gain traction. These are, in fact, the main cause of the climate crisis. Solving the climate crisis is closely linked to human rights. The longer countries wait to come up with decisive solutions, the more the climate crisis will threaten the right to life, health, housing, water and much more. There are already many people suffering from water and food shortages, and their lives are constantly threatened by natural disasters or high temperatures.

Turkish human rights activists cleared of unfair allegations

Amnesty International Turkey Honorary President Taner Kılıç, former Amnesty International Turkey Director İdil Eser, and activists Özlem Dalkıran and Günal Kurşun have been acquitted by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals of charges of collaborating with a terrorist organization that is accused of attempting a coup d’état. They were detained in 2017. Although twelve trials confirmed the evidence was unfounded, it took five years before they were finally acquitted of the charges. However, as Amnesty International reports: “While the court’s decision marks a huge success, it also brings disappointment as further steps will be taken in the investigation of Taner Kilıç’s case”.


MEPs elect new ombudsman

Róbert Dobrovodský became the new Public Defender of Human Rights (Ombudsman). On the 9th of November, the deputies of the National Council of the Slovak Republic (NCSR) elected Maria Pataky’s successor after eight months. Since the expiry of Patakyova’s term of office, more than 600 complaints have accumulated for consideration and signature.

Helping Ukraine, the environment and the LGBTQI+ community awarded the White Crow Award

The White Crow Award is given to people who are willing to protect truth and justice through their actions, thereby demonstrating their civic courage. This year the award went to Martina Paulíková, a long-time environmental activist. She was instrumental in preventing the construction of a dam in the village of Slatinka, which would have significantly endangered a rare habitat. The award was also given to Roman Samotný, the owner of the Tepláreň bar. Samotný has been trying to create a safe space for people from the LGBTQI+ community for several years. This year’s final recipient was any person who has tried to mitigate the effects of the war in Ukraine through their actions and tried to help its people.

Conference Human Forum 2022

The 9th edition of the Human Forum, an international conference on human rights and democracy, took place in Banská Bystrica. This year’s themes were – Strengthening Democracy in Regions to Prevent the Growth of Extremism and Human Rights and Democracy as Pillars of Stability and Prosperity. The conference was addressed, among others, by President Zuzana Čaputová and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic Rastislav Káčer. The event was further accompanied by several discussion panels on global and regional challenges to democracy, human rights and the role of civil society in Slovakia.