There are many reported violations of human rights around the globe. These violations may be against civil and political rights, economic rights, and social and cultural rights. The violations may be intentional or a result of a failure to prevent the violation.
Examples of violations include torture, cruel or degrading treatment or punishment, deprivation of life, slavery, forced labor, arbitrary arrest or detention, interference with privacy, propaganda, war crimes, discrimination, and racial or religious hatred.
See our Clever Article: Human Rights – What Are They?
The Erosion Of Human Rights
Western news often reports on human rights violations in China, Russia, the Middle East, and some less-developed countries. But they often ignore the fact that they are also increasing in the West including the U.S. and Europe.
In 2017, the Danish government took on the chairmanship of the Council of Europe and stated that it planned to weaken the influence of the European Court of Human Rights.
In the U.S. a recent court decision limits the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce emissions, and gives more power to corporations to pollute and exploit the environment. And recent changes in environmental protection, human rights, and abortion rights in the U.S. prompted the United Nations deputy high commissioner for human rights, Kate Gilmore to state that the U.S. was to blame for the global erosion of human rights.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many European states used a state of emergency to introduce a range of legal measures that went against their own constitutional laws and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Public emergency laws allowed states to impose restrictions on the public including restrictions on social distancing, isolation of those infected or anyone exposed to the virus, enforced vaccination, testing, tracking, and more.
Whilst protecting the health of any nation is important, many of these measures went against basic human rights such as the right to privacy, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, personal security, and freedom from restrictions.
Some countries used the pandemic for political advantage over and above the need for controlling the spread of the virus and protecting the population. In Hungary, president Viktor Orban used the COVID-19 pandemic emergency law to give him the power to suspend rules, bypass the Parliament and adopt decrees that limited the freedoms of the media, threaten civil society groups, and criminalized the homeless. Source: hrw.org
But this was not an isolated case, during the second wave of the virus, many European member states introduced states of emergency to suppress dissent, limit the freedom of assembly, limit the right to privacy, and restrict access to information through a lack of transparency and accountability.
Vulnerable populations: migrants, minorities, the homeless, the elderly, disabled people, and others were most hit by these violations which have highlighted significant structural failures which have allowed the erosion of global human rights.
The rapid development of technology has allowed a previously unheard-of escalation in human tracking. Including monitoring, movement, and location tracking. Facial recognition is also a growing concern along with the data collected through the use of QR codes, mobile phones, electronic anklets, and other electronic devices. Whilst these devices do no harm in themselves there is a great concern (and secrecy) over what happens to the data being collected, who has access to it, and what is it being used for.
Mobile phone apps have access to data over and above what is needed to provide the service. As much of this technology is new and still developing there is a legal vacuum when basic human rights are being violated There is no rigorous system to ensure companies access and use personal data that is only necessary for the application or service and that it is stored and used responsibly. Technology companies must work with human rights and privacy experts to ensure that there are no human rights violations such as gender or other discriminatory acts taking place.
Profit Before People – Corporate Greed
Some mega-corporations have more money and influence than many countries around the world. This is a problem when they use their power to influence the actions of governments for the benefit of their shareholders without consideration of their long-term impact. It is becoming increasingly common for corporate giants to deceive people with empty slogans and false promises. In its 2021/22 report: The State of the World’s Human Rights, Amnesty International identifies ‘corporate greed as a major factor in increasing global inequality.’
Pfizer reported its full-year 2021 revenues as $81.3 billion, an 95% increase over its 2020 revenues (Source dcatvci.org), profiteering out of the misery of others during the COVID-19 pandemic appears to not just be acceptable but has become the ‘new normal.’
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