Greece Locks up Autistic Children in Cages

Thursday, 20 November 2014

After perfecting their economic model, Greece has revolutioned the way a country takes care of its handicapped children.

A BBC reporter was stunned during a visit to one of Greece’s Government run “institution” where disabled children are locked up in cages – staff say they want to improve conditions but money is short!

Nine-year-old girl stands and rocks backwards and forwards, staring through the bars of a wooden cage.

When the door is unlocked she jumps down on to the stone floor and wraps her arms tightly around the nurse. But a few minutes later she allows herself to be locked back in again without a fuss.

As in medieval time, she is used to her cage. It’s been her home since she was two years old.

This girl, who has been diagnosed with autism, lives in a state-run institution for disabled children in Lechaina, a small town in the south of Greece, along with more than 60 others, majority of whom are locked in cells or cages. Continue reading “Greece Locks up Autistic Children in Cages”

Democracy, Human Rights in Europe at lowest level

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The rule of law in Europe is going through its most severe crisis since the Cold War, a report by the continent’s top human rights and democracy watchdog warns.

Most of the European countries are facing “very worrying” challenges to human rights, democracies and the rule of law, Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, wrote in the report. Continue reading “Democracy, Human Rights in Europe at lowest level”

Hundreds of convicted doctors still practising (U.K.)

Medical chiefs say they cannot automatically ban convicted doctors because it   may breach their human rights

A man with a stethoscope around his neck

A man with a stethoscope around his neck Photo: PA

By Agencies

10:00PM GMT 24 Nov 2013

More than 750 GPs, surgeons and other doctors have kept their jobs despite   being found guilty of offences including taking indecent images of children,   drug trafficking and fraud.

Medical chiefs have said they cannot automatically ban convicted doctors   because it may breach their human rights.

Continue reading “Hundreds of convicted doctors still practising (U.K.)”

Amnesty accuses Turkey of abuse on ‘massive scale’


Human rights widely violated in Gezi Park crackdown

02 October, 20:22

(ANSAmed) – ANKARA – Amnesty International released a report Wednesday accusing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government of turning a blind eye to killings, torture, sexual abuse and persecution during the ‘brutal’ crackdown on Gezi Park protestors. The London-based organisation said human rights abuses had occurred ”on a massive scale”. Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s head expert on Turkey, spoke out against ”the wholesale denial of the right to peaceful assembly and violations of the rights to life, liberty and the freedom from torture and ill-treatment”. Hundreds of thousands of youths took part in the large anti-Erdogan protests held in June, demanding more democracy and speaking out against the re-Islamicisation of the country underway. Erdogan’s merciless crackdown had a heavy toll: six dead and 8,000 injured, ten of whom lost their sight after being hit to the head by tear gas canisters or to the face by rubber bullets shot point-blank. One 14-year-old boy is still in a coma, and some 5,000 were arrested. About 1,000 will be charged, according to press reports, some of whom for ”terrorism”. The Islamic prime minister has often lashed out at the peaceful demonstrators, calling them ”vandals” and ”terrorists”. Amnesty noted that little had been done to bring the perpetrators of abuse to justice, while thousands of protestors had instead been arrested and hundreds might have to stand trial simply for organising or taking part in a protest. Moreover, it said, journalists, doctors and lawyers who documented what happened, helped the protestors or stood up for their rights have been arrested, beaten, threatened or harassed. And despite the ”systematic abuse”, the authorities continue to praise the police, with Erdogan even calling the police efforts ”legendary”.

One of the stories Amnesty cited was that of Ethem Sarisuluk, a 22-year-old Alevi worker who was shot in the head on June 1 and died on June 14. The policeman who shot him was charged a month later only for ”manslaughter due to excessive self-defence”. Ethem’s family have said they have been subject to police pressure and intimidation to withdraw the report. Two witnesses have been arrested and Ethem’s father reported to the police for writing a protest slogan on a wall when the boy was dying. Amnesty International said that it had received reports of harassment and sexual assault by the police against those arrested, with several accounts of women threatened with rape.

It cited the cases of two girls who publicly denounced the incidents, but said that it was likely that the number of actual incidents of physical, sexual and verbal abuse was much higher than that reported.(ANSAmed).


Couples caught having sex before marriage could be sent to prison for FIVE YEARS under new Muslim law in Indonesia

  • Even couples living together out of wedlock and have sex to  face year in jail
  • Part of a raft of proposals which include a  ban on witchcraft and black magic
  • Bid to revise laws based on laws of former  colonial ruler, the Netherlands

By  Matt Blake

PUBLISHED: 10:59 EST, 22  March 2013 |  UPDATED: 11:12 EST, 22 March 2013


Unmarried singles who have sex in Indonesia  could be jailed for up to five years under new laws tabled by the government, it  was revealed today.

Even couples who live together out of wedlock  will not escape the harsh new rules and could be imprisoned for one year if  caught in amorous congress.

The unusual sex embargo was proposed as part  of a raft of new edicts which also includes a ban on witchcraft and black magic  which – if proved to have caused ‘someone’s illness, death, mental or physical  suffering’ – will carry a five-year prison term.

Sex embargo: Even couples who live together out of wedlock will not escape the harsh new rules and could be imprisoned for one year if caught in amorous congressSex embargo: Even couples who live together out of  wedlock will not escape the harsh new rules and could be imprisoned for one year  if caught in amorous congress

The strict regulations were revealed by the  country’s Justice and Human Rights  Ministry director general for legislation Wahiduddin Adams.

‘[Singles engaging in premarital sex] is  liable for up to five years in jail,’ he said, adding: ‘Our society is not like  in the old penal code that allows this.’

While Indonesia has long followed a  moderate  version of Islam, an emphasis on Muslim practices and  identity with Islamic  traditions has gathered pace in recent years.

Beliefs in witchcraft and mysticism are  widespread, especially on the main  island of Java. Many Indonesians are  generally relaxed about  homosexuality.

Jailed: In November last year, Brit Rebecca Blake was sentenced to three months in a Dubai jail for having drunken sex in the back of a taxiJailed: In November last year, Brit Rebecca Blake was  sentenced to three months in a Dubai jail for having drunken sex in the back of  a taxi

The plans are part of efforts to revise  sections of the criminal code still largely based on laws of the former colonial  ruler, the Netherlands, and have apparently gained the support of other members  of the country’s parliament.

‘I think, it would be good if this is  regulated,’ People’s Conscience Party MP Syarifuddin Sudding said.

Parliamentary speaker Marzuki Alle caused  international outrage last year when he proposed a ban on the miniskirt,  targetting female  politicians who chose to wear skirts above the  knee.

Mr Alle said he was preparing draft rules  banning female politicians and  staff members from wearing mini-skirts because  ‘there have been a lot of rape cases and other immoral acts recently and this is  because women  aren’t wearing appropriate clothes’.

He added: ‘You know what men are like –  provocative clothing will make them do things.’

But Indonesia is not the only nation with  strict laws governing sex.

In November last year, Brit Rebecca Blake was  sentenced to three months in a Dubai jail for having drunken sex in the back of  a taxi.

The £100,000-a-year recruitment consultant  was accused of stripping naked and writhing on top of Irishman Conor McRedmond,  28, in a Dubai  cab. McRedmond was handed  the same sentence for his part in the tryst.

Their taxi driver alerted police after spotting Blake in his rearview mirror with her top off, straddling  McRedmond  and ‘making the sounds of a woman having sex’.

They were the latest expats to fall  foul of  the United Arab Emirates’ strict laws preventing drunkenness in  public and sex  outside marriage.

In 2008, Vince Acors, 38, and Michelle Palmer, 40, were jailed for three months for having sex on a beach. The sentence was suspended on appeal.

And in 2009 Charlotte Adams and Ayman  Najafi  spent a month in jail after an Emirati woman complained they were kissing in  public.

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Forced contraception of Jewish Ethopian women is tip of global iceberg

A report claims Israel pressured women to reduce its poor black population. Reproductive rights need defending across the world

Lisa Hallgarten, Wednesday 30 January 2013 06.58 EST


Ethiopian Jewish woman hands

The hands of an Ethiopian Jewish woman during ‘Sigd’ prayers in Jerusalem. A report has revealed ‘Ethiopian women have been given injections of Depo-Provera without sufficient understanding of the purpose or side effects of the drug’. Photograph: Dan Balilty/AP

Should gynaecologists need to be told not to give women contraceptive injections without establishing fully informed consent? Of course not. But that is what has happened in Israel after it was revealed in a report by a women’s rights organisation that Ethiopian women have been given injections of Depo-Provera without sufficient understanding of the purpose or side effects of the drug. Some Ethiopian women in transit camps were refused entry to the country if they refused the injection, and others wrongly believed they were being inoculated against disease. While Israeli demographers discuss the need to “preserve a clear and undisputed Jewish majority among Israel’s total population“, it may seem anomalous that women in the Jewish Ethiopian population are forced or coerced into using this highly effective contraceptive method.

However, the conclusions of the report, written by Hedva Eyal, are that the injections given to Ethiopian women are “a method of reducing the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor”.

Many people may be unaware that the Israeli case is merely the tip of a global iceberg of human rights abuses in the field of reproductive health. Forced sterilisation of people with learning disabilities and people of minority ethnic groups was documented across Europe and the US in the 20th century. Under the state of emergency in India between 1975 and 1977, thousands of men and millions of women were bribed, coerced and sometimes forced to undergo sterilisation. As recently as 1996 in Peru, a demographic policy led to a sevenfold increase in sterilisations in just two years, effected through widespread violations of women’s rights. A provider explained: “Many [providers] did not inform women that they were going to be sterilised – they told them the procedure was something else. But I felt this was wrong. I preferred to offer women a bag of rice to convince them to accept the procedure and explained to them beforehand what was going to happen.”

And on into the 21st century. What litany of coercive practice would be complete without reference to China’s one-child policy, the violent implementation of which was highlighted in two particularly horrific cases last year? From Uzbekistan also come reports that doctors working to quotas have been sterilising women without their consent during caesareans. Likewise in 2010, HIV-positive South African women reported being sterilised while undergoing caesareans, abortions or shortly after childbirth without their knowledge. Others were made to consent under duress: “She [the nurse] snatched something that I wanted, you know? She made up a choice. She made up a choice for me.” These are just the abuses that spring to mind – many more are being reported around the world.

The flipside of these is the concerted attempt by reactionary groups to deny women access to reproductive and contraceptive healthcare altogether. Right now Republican politicians in the US are fighting for the right of employers to refuse women contraceptive cover in their health insurance, and clogging up state legislatures around the country with bills aimed at eradicating abortion services. It has taken 15 years to pass a reproductive health bill in the Philippines that will allow poor women access to affordable contraception for the first time: the Catholic church fought it every step of the way and began its campaign to overturn the bill minutes after it was passed. Meanwhile 47,000 women a year die from complications of unsafe abortion in countries where abortion is legally restricted, or where services are inadequate to meet their needs. In Latin America, women and doctors are imprisoned for having or providing abortions, and women such as Savita Halappanavar are dying unnecessarily because of laws that prevent the termination of pregnancies that are life-threatening – even when they are not viable.

These cases are all connected – whatever the detail, wherever they are happening. They are all indicative of a fundamental disregard for women’s lives. Forcing women to bear children, or preventing them from doing so, denying them life-saving treatment during pregnancy, or carrying out medical interventions without establishing informed consent, these all threaten women’s safety, dignity and bodily integrity. They are serious violations of women’s reproductive and human rights and must not be supported or countenanced by governments or doctors any more.

Robopocalypse, or killing robots: where humans are the target

Dec 6, 2012 18:12 Moscow Time


© Photo:

Run for cover! Robots may become self-governing devices with built-in firearms in massive numbers worldwide. Yet, robots’ picking who to destroy on the battlefield is a recipe for disaster. Killer robots, flying robots… Three specialists warn the Voice of Russia of what robots with self-determining weaponry would mean. The End of the World is nearing?

Autopilot is a built-in feature on many machines, but not with ones which are capable of firing off weapons. “Here’s an example of a killer robot, a flying robot. Go to GPS coordinates X and Y, if you detect a heat signature there, release your weapon. These are really stupid robots and that’s what’s scary about it because one thing is, they use artificial intelligence but there’s no way for them to discriminate against a military combatant or an insurgent and a civilian,” explained Noel Sharkey, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Sheffield. The trust of our nation would be in the hands of machines who only may know if A then do B type commands.

Nevertheless, if they are so primitive in their actions, why are militaries lured into learning how to build them with precision? One clear reason is to decrease the amount of troops they’d have to send into a combat zone, evidently decreasing the death rate.

“They’ve developed a plane called the Falcon HTV-2 that’s undergoing testing at the moment, it’s a totally unmanned combat plane and they tested it at 13 thousand miles per hour. So that’s not supersonic, that’s hypersonic. You can’t have a pilot in that plane at that speed. It would rip them to pieces with the g-forces. At that kind of speed, it would be very difficult for humans to be watching and seeing what’s going on and having any kind of say or control,” said Sharkey to the Voice of Russia, who’s also the chairman of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC).

The US Department of Defense (DoD) recently released a report titled Autonomy in Weapon Systems and touched on the important details of both autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons. And yet, the missteps which could incur are listed at the very end of the report. Failures include but are not limited to hacking into the system, jamming, decoys, and spoofing.

So even though the technology we have today could indefinitely lead to the autonomous armed robots of tomorrow, they come with their own set of unpredictable flaws. “Software today is extremely complicated and it behaves in ways people don’t expect. This is another aspect of the problem because even if we think we understand how a system behaves while it’s by itself, it then interacts with the other system. And we don’t know what the other system‘s going to do, therefore we don’t know what our system will do when it sees the other system behaving in a way that it didn’t expect,” told Mark Avrum Gubrud PhD, a physicist who’s been hired to research and write about this issue by Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security.

Bearing in mind what the implications of autonomous weaponry can do, it’s disturbing that the final decision is left in the hands of militaries and wealthy corporations. Fortunately, Human Rights Watch joined with the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic, and released a 50 page report called Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots.

Human Rights Watch and the International Human Rights Clinic are asking for an international treaty against the use, production, and development of fully autonomous weapons. In addition, they’d like for nations to put policies and laws in effect which would prevent uncontrollable, armed robots from becoming operable.

“We don’t think machines, however high tech they get, will be able to follow international law designed to protect civilians in war, we think they would undermine non-legal checks for example they don’t have compassion, which is a significant check on killing of civilians. And it’s also very difficult to hold fully autonomous weapons, killer robots, accountable for their actions—so it creates an accountability gap which can undermine deterrence,” stressed Bonnie Docherty Senior Researcher in the Arms Division for Human Rights Watch, to the Voice of Russia.

As a society, we have the technology available and a bunch of bright minds to do the work, in the field of autonomy. But researchers strongly urge engineering teams, to steer away from arming bots with ammo, and have them do more useful tasks, for human kind. “We ought to use robots to do all the boring and difficult laborious jobs and you put people to work taking care of other people, said Gubrud to the Voice of Russia and then went on, “Using robots for replacing people where people are expensive, well people are expensive but you know, that’s us, we should be in the business of taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other.” Gubrud pointed out that robots could be used in fields such as agriculture and Sharkey mentioned that we’re already using them for surgical procedures.

“And it’s also very difficult to hold fully autonomous weapons, killer robots accountable for their actions—so it creates an accountability gap which can undermine deterrence,” stated Docherty who said experts say that it could appear in 20 to 30 years and some say cruder versions could appear in the next few years.

Thus, the next step for us as Homo sapiens is to be proactive by creating a ban against the use of unrestrainable devices. We can drive toward a different path which can help society in fulfilling more important roles. As for the battlefield, some duties need that special hintof human touch—something robots can only mimic and not understand –at least in the here and now.


Report: Syrian Rebels Have New Anti-Aircraft Missiles

Nov. 29, 2012 – 10:35AM   |

WASHINGTON — Syrian rebels have recently obtained up to 40 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, the Washington Post reported Nov. 29, citing Western and Middle Eastern intelligence officials.

Some of the missiles were supplied in the past weeks by Qatar, the newspaper reported, citing two unnamed Middle Eastern intelligence officials with knowledge of the matter.

“It should be worrying to everyone,” one of the officials said. “When (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad is finished, terrorists could end up with these, and commercial flights would be at risk.”

The U.S. government has opposed arming Syrian rebels with such weapons, fearing that they could eventually land in the hands of terrorists. U.S. intelligence officials declined to comment on the report.

The report comes after the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Nov. 27 that the Syrian rebels downed an army helicopter with a ground-to-air missile.

“It is the first time that the rebels have shot down a helicopter with a surface-to-air missile,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The Britain-based Observatory said the missile was part of a consignment newly received by the rebels that had the potential to change the balance of forces in the 20-month conflict.

More than 40,000 people have died since the conflict erupted in March 2011, according to the Observatory.

Turkey using anti-terrorism law to quash debate -UN : ” has jailed more reporters than Iran, China or Eritrea “

Thu, 1 Nov 2012 15:43 GMT

Source: reuters

* UN experts review Turkey’s rights record, anti-terror law

* Decry high number of prosecutions of activists, journalists

* Govt says right to lawyer guaranteed, torture not tolerated

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Nov 1 (Reuters) – Turkey is using a vague counterterrorism law to prosecute many activists, lawyers and journalists, often holding them for long pre-trial periods without access to a lawyer, United Nations human rights experts said on Thursday.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee said after reviewing Turkey’s record for the first time that the right to due process is sharply curbed under its 1991 Anti-Terrorism Law and that some of its provisions are incompatible with international law.

“We’re worried about the vagueness of the definition of the terrorist act in the 1991 law and the very far-reaching, unacceptable restrictions on the right of due process for accused people and the high number of cases in which human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and even children are charged under the anti-terrorism law,” Michael O’Flaherty, committee vice-chairman, told a news briefing.

He added: “Not for terrorism, but for the free expression of their opinions and ideas, in particular in the context of non-violent discussion of the Kurdish issue.”

Almost 100 journalists are in prison as well as thousands of activists, lawyers, politicians, military officers and others. Most are accused of plots against the government or support for outlawed Kurdish militants.

The U.N. committee, composed of 18 independent experts, examined the records of five countries, including Turkey, in upholding fundamental civil and political rights.

During the debate, they voiced concern about Turkey’s anti-terror law’s restriction of access to a lawyer for the first 24 hours when they said the risk of torture was the highest.

Erdogan Iscan, director-general of Turkey’s foreign ministry, said the Anti-Terror Law allowed authorities to protect the public and ensure a swift judicial process. It was in accordance with international human rights treaties.

The right to contact a lawyer was an absolute right and authorities had a policy of zero-tolerance to torture, he said.

The experts urged Turkey to bring its laws into line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a landmark U.N. pact ratified by 147 states including Turkey.

“Detainees do not have access to an effective mechanism to challenge the lawfulness of their pre-trial detention and do not always in practice have prompt access to a lawyer,” they said.

Activists and journalists are prosecuted under provisions including a ban on criticising the military, they said.

The watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists says Turkey has jailed more reporters than Iran, China or Eritrea.

Although Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan won a third term last year, many secular Turks fear his socially conservative AK Party has Islamist tendencies that threaten the secular republic. There is growing criticism of his authoritarian style of rule.

Jailed Kurdish militants on hunger strike may start to die within the next 10 days, Turkey’s main medical association warned, saying the prime minister’s dismissal of the protest as a “show” risked hardening their resolve.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Myra MacDonald)–un/