The election of Donald Trump gives us is an opportunity to renew the global human rights project. Attempts at demonstrating the universalism of human rights often stumbled due to an erroneous perception that they were actually a western concept. If the president of the United States openly turns his face against sixty years of progress, it could perversely help galvanise in all parts of the world - but only if we take seriously human rights in all their forms.
We strike for the 12 people a day who travel to the UK to access abortion, for the thousands of people who order abortion pills online every year in Ireland. We strike because, among other areas of life, this is a work place issue; we take time off to travel, to have an abortion with pills at home, it affects our ability to do care and domestic work.
There was always a starkly political quality to Chelsea Manning's case. Her unprecedented 35-year jail sentence was obviously designed to deter anyone from following her example. A crushing "pour encourager les autres" jail term that would have seen her left to languish in a maximum-security military prison until 2045. It was an exercise in political retribution, not justice.
For all of the thousands of news stories on Donald Trump's presidential win, it's fair to say there's very little clarity on what his presidency is likely to mean for human rights. Either within the USA, or around the world. We're all working with scant evidence and a lot of speculation... Essentially, though, the problem is two-fold. First, the USA's human rights record is already poor in manifold ways and urgently needs improvement. And second, Trump's turbo-charged rhetoric suggests an impatience with the rule of law and international standards.
Allowing passengers to cram a plane's overhead lockers with large imitation AK-47s seems an odd thing to permit in these days of heightened airport security (where every 100ml-plus container of moisturiser is banned and travellers are ordered to remove their shoes at the er, drop of a hat), but there you go
Mitchell's "new Srebrenica" line echoes Jan Egeland, the United Nations official who's responsible for trying to broker humanitarian access in Syria. The effectiveness - or otherwise - of UN efforts to deliver aid into Syria has been one of the many vexed issues of this crisis. With Srebrenica (as with Rwanda) the UN failed abysmally. Is it going to fail with Syria as well? Let's fervently hope not. And let's hope that Aleppo stays at the centre of international attention. Because, even without a standalone massacre of Srebrenica's magnitude, Aleppo is already a frightening humanitarian emergency. Aleppo isn't the new Srebrenica, it's the old Aleppo. And that's easily bad enough.
The last century has taught us just how achievable change is, especially when it comes at both a national and individual local level - from people's perceptions about the morality of drink-driving, to the drastic reduction in the ubiquitous habit of smoking everywhere, and of course racism. But it takes a huge coming together of determined people. It takes showing that this is not what we are prepared for the United Kingdom to head towards, that this is not the new normal.
Essentially today, we are acknowledging that sex workers have the right to be free from violence, abuse, and discrimination. Just like anyone else. To accompany the policy's launch, we have also published four new reports looking at the plight of sex workers in Argentina, Hong Kong, Norway and Papua New Guinea. Overall the reports come to the same conclusion. Governments must do much more to protect sex workers from abuse. And criminalisation of sex work contributes to the denial and abuse of their human rights.
A new poll of more than 27,000 people in 27 countries shows that 80% of those interviewed - in countries on all continents - would accept refugees in their country. The poll, carried out for Amnesty International by the global consulting firm GlobeScan, contrasts sharply with anti-refugee attitudes expressed by extremist organizations and politicians claiming to speak on behalf of "ordinary people" in their countries.
It will have come as no surprise to anyone who's been involved in grassroots solidarity with refugees that a new Amnesty poll, published yesterday, has found overwhelming support among the British public for people fleeing conflict and persecution. Over three quarters of British people would accept refugees into their neighbourhood or home, the survey results show, and 70% say the government isn't doing enough to help.
I hope the UK joins other liberal democratic countries in adopting the Nordic model. Perhaps in the future we will wonder why, at the beginning of the 21st century, decriminalisation could even be regarded as freedom rather than an obstacle to equality, a violation of human dignity and a contravention of human rights.
One hundred and fifty-six people have been exonerated from various death row facilities in the USA in the past four decades. And these are just the ones we know about. How many other victims of miscarriages went to their deaths? Serious crimes deserve serious sentences, but the premeditated cruelty of the death penalty is not the answer. Capital punishment has no proven deterrence value, it's prone to terrible error, it's often applied following shoddy trials and sometimes in blatantly political ways, it's irreversible if implemented, and it inflicts mental torment on the condemned...