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“Flawed enforcement of court decisions undermines the trust in State justice” says Commissioner Hammarberg

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Strasbourg, 31.08.2009 – “Court decisions are not fully respected in several European countries. This must be seen as a refusal to accept the rule of law and is a serious human rights problem” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today.

Court decisions in these countries are often enforced only partly or with long delays - or sometimes not at all. This is a structural problem which should require the national authorities to take priority action.”

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Muslim women, bright shoes, new Nazis, new Jews!

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

There is a hot debate in Europe nowadays. In France and Italy, Muslim women wearing “burkinis” (swimsuits that conform to Islamic dress requirements) have been banned from public swimming pools.

Italian Mayor Gianluca Buonanno summed up all the different excuses used in various countries to justify this ban. “The sight of a ‘masked woman' could disturb small children, not to mention problems of hygiene,” he said.

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“Serious implementation of human rights standards requires defined benchmarking indicators” says Commissioner Hammarberg

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Strasbourg, 17.08.2009 - “Closing the implementation gap between the rights proclaimed in human rights treaties and the reality in member states requires a systematic approach and meaningful indicators” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today.

Highlighting models and categories of indicators adopted by international organisations such as the Council of Europe, the European Union and the United Nations, the Commissioner stresses that “indicators make human rights planning and implementation processes more efficient and transparent.

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The Daughter Deficit

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By TINA ROSENBERG

In the late 1970s, a Ph.D. student named Monica Das Gupta was conducting anthropological fieldwork in Haryana, a state in the north of India. She observed something striking about families there: parents had a fervent preference for male offspring. Women who had given birth to only daughters were desperate for sons and would keep having children until they had one or two. Midwives were even paid less when a girl was born. “It’s something you notice coming from outside,” says Das Gupta, who today studies population and public health in the World Bank’s development research group. “It just leaps out at you.”

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[Gitmo's darkness] Time for change and enlightenment (2)

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Ömer Zarplı *

As an Amnesty International report released in November 2007 suggests, on Dec. 28, 2001, the “US Justice Department [advised] the Pentagon that holding foreign detainees in the non-sovereign territory of Guantanamo Bay should prevent habeas corpus review by US courts.”

Historically, the legal status of Guantanamo Bay was established in 1903 with a lease treaty between the US and Cuba. In that treaty, while Cuba retained its ultimate sovereignty, the US gained complete jurisdiction and control over Guantanamo and the area has effectively been American since 1903.

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Call for Fellowship Applications

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Call for Applications: Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowships

Washington, D.C.

The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program at the Washington, D.C. -based National Endowment for Democracy invites applications for fellowships in 2010-2011.

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Commissioner Hammarberg's latest Viewpoint

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Strasbourg, 17.08.2009 - “Closing the implementation gap between the rights proclaimed in human rights treaties and the reality in member states requires a systematic approach and meaningful indicators” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today.

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New HRW report; ‘They Want Us Exterminated'

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Iraqi militias are carrying out a spreading campaign of torture and murder against men suspected of homosexual conduct, or of not being "manly" enough, and Iraq authorities have done nothing to stop the killing, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch called on Iraq's government to act urgently to rein in militia abuses, punish the perpetrators, and stop a new resurgence of violence that threatens all Iraqis' safety.

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International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

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(Statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay)

GENEVA -- The International Day of the World's Indigenous People is an opportunity to underline the importance of the rights of indigenous peoples and to pay tribute to the value and resilience of their cultures.

Since the introduction of the International Day by the UN General Assembly some fifteen years ago, we have achieved significant progress in our common efforts to advance the rights of indigenous peoples. This includes the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a genuine landmark in terms of human rights standards, and the launch of three UN mandates devoted to the rights of indigenous peoples. 

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Drinking Greek blood -- A good Turk is a dead Turk!

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

Last week I was in northern Cyprus on a short vacation. As I had done before, I read the daily newspaper Afrika every day during my stay on the island. Afrika is a highly readable newspaper, and it represents the fiercest opposition to the nationalist status quo in northern Cyprus.

Their ironic name is a reminder of what happened to them in the past. Before their printing house and buildings were bombed in 2001, their name was Avrupa (Europe). They changed their name to Afrika (Africa) to protest, in their own words, "the law of the jungle that rules northern Cyprus.”

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The ugly truth about the Kurdish question -- the Armenian question!?

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

If we could discuss the Armenian question openly, if we could confront the Armenian tragedy, there would not have been a Kurdish question. We are far from understanding the Armenian question, yet can we be close to solving the Kurdish question?

To answer this, we need to look at how the Kurdish question emerged in the first place. The same state “problem solving” mentality was in work for both the Armenian and Kurdish questions.

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