On Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to pass a resolution critical of the Sri Lankan government’s failure to take action to stop ongoing human rights violations and calling for an investigation into abuses committed during and in the aftermath of the country’s 26-year civil war. Despite a significant campaign by the Sri Lankan government to prevent its passage, twenty-five countries voted in support of the resolution while thirteen countries opposed and eight abstained. Freedom House welcomes the continued attention to the abuses committed by the Sri Lankan government, but is disappointed by the weakening of the resolution which removed a call for an international investigation.
Signatories express their recognition and support for the protection of human rights within the Inter American system and the Inter American Commission on Human Rights in light of the upcoming Organization of American States' (OAS) special session.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has gone to great lengths to market itself to the world as a cosmopolitan oasis and regional hub for education, culture, and finance. Substantial donations to New York University and the Sorbonne have lured these prestigious institutions to open satellite campuses in Abu Dhabi. The Guggenheim and Louvre have also expanded their collections to satellite museums in the Emirati capital. However, as the UAE authorities escalate their repression of civil society, the cracks in the country’s veneer of relative tolerance are becoming more apparent.
Ten years ago, the government of Fidel Castro arrested and tried 75 Cuban dissidents for their defense of freedom of expression, human rights and democracy in one of the largest government crackdowns on human rights defenders and civil society activists on the island. On the anniversary of what has been widely termed the Black Spring, we are reminded Cuba has done little to change its authoritarian practices over the years and continues to extinguish any hint of political dissent among Cuban citizens.
Freedom House decries the arrest of prominent Zimbabwean human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa and four senior opposition leaders on Sunday, one day after a largely peaceful referendum on a draft constitution, and calls for their release. The referendum, which followed a marathon three-year effort to draft a new constitution, is seen as an important step towards the next Zimbabwean election.