Archive | Human Rights

IDP’s finding little refuge in Iraq

More than one million displaced Iraqis continue to languish without government aid.

Haifa Abdul Majid, one of more than one million Internally Displaced Iraqis, has been living in extreme poverty for more than five years without any assistance from the Iraqi government (Dahr Jamail/Al Jazeera)

Baghdad – The first thing Haifa Abdul Majid did after being told I wanted to speak with her about her experience as a refugee in her own country was to, incredibly, express her gratitude for the fact that she has food.

“First I thank God because we are finding some food and can eat, unlike many other countries where people cannot even find food,” the 55-year-old grandmother said while holding her arms to the sky in thanks.

But the reality of her situation was quickly evidenced by her inability to offer the usual large repertoire of sweets, cookies, and other welcoming treats for guests, as is the usual custom in Iraq.

Instead of the aforementioned, she offered a glass of water.

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Human Rights for US Disabled?

While the US has historically led in disability rights, critical barriers remain.

Human rights for US disabled

The struggle for disability rights has been one spanning decades in the United States, and it is ongoing (GALLO/GETTY)

More than one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s total population, live with some form of disability.

Often referred to as “the world’s largest minority”, persons with disabilities are accustomed to facing barriers to their participating in almost every aspect of society.

“In the case of disability, we’ve had to spend all our time and energy determining who is a member of the club, rather than if they are being discriminated against,” Joelle Brouner, Executive Director of the Washington State Rehabilitation Council told Al Jazeera.

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2012: A Year of Human Rights Challenges

As Human Rights violations continue around the world, will 2013 be a better year?

The Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya is home to roughly one million inhabitants and is considered one of the largest slums in Africa (GALLO/GETTY)

International Human Rights day is celebrated on December 10, but from a human rights perspective, 2012 has been more of a year to learn from than one to celebrate.

Human Rights Day was chosen to honour the UN General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on December 10, 1948, which was the first global enunciation of human rights.

Yet, for most of the years since then, the reality has been quite different than the Human Rights ideals set more than 60 years ago.

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Guantanamo: A legacy of shame

Despite Obama’s promises to close it, the prison remains open with no end in sight.

When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, one of his biggest campaign promises was to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay (Reuters)

“They used dogs on us, they beat me, sometimes they hung me from the ceiling and didn’t allow me to sleep for six days,” Al Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj, who spent six years in Guantanamo Bay prison, told Al Jazeera. “Sometimes they wouldn’t allow me to use the restroom, other times they would run the air conditioner very high and leave me in that room for a very long time.”

This was after he’d had his kneecap broken just after being detained by the US military in Pakistan in 2001, when he was on a reporting assignment to cover the US invasion of Afghanistan. Al-Haj was regularly tortured by US military personnel and interrogators throughout his time in the infamous prison.

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