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Economic and Social Rights

    April 25, 2013

    Authorities in the Republic of Congo must immediately release two teachers arrested in connection with a peaceful strike and held for a week without charge, Amnesty International said today.

    Hilaire Eyima, head of the French department at the school Lycée de la Révolution, was arrested by plainclothes police officers at his home on 18 April. He is still being held at the headquarters of the General Directorate for the Surveillance of the Territory (DGST).

    Claude Nzingoula, a teacher at the medical school in the capital Brazzaville, was arrested on Friday 19 April at his school and was also taken to the DGST headquarters, where he has been detained since.

    “Hilaire Eyima and Claude Nzingoula are only detained for standing up for their rights. The continuing detention of these two prisoners of conscience is a blatant disregard to freedom of expression and assembly by the Congolese authorities” said Paule Rigaud, Amnesty International's deputy Africa Program director.

    The two teachers have reportedly been denied access to a lawyer of their choice.

    Amnesty International has adopted them as prisoners of conscience.

    March 21, 2013

    Israel’s fence/wall through the occupied West Bank cutting off Palestinians from their farmland, and the settlements that take over even more lands, are ongoing violations of international law, Amnesty International said today as US President Barack Obama continued his first presidential trip to the region.

    The organization has learnt that, in the last few days, Palestinian farmers in the northern West Bank village of Jayyus, who for years have had trouble accessing their land through the military fence/wall (which in this area takes the form of an electrified and heavily guarded fence), are now faced with Israeli settlers setting up additional obstacles.

    The settlers have installed a caravan outpost to the north of the Israeli settlement Tsufim on the farmers' land in an apparent reaction to the military finally starting to act on a 2009 Israeli High Court of Justice ruling that the fence should be re-routed in order to return some of the land to the farmers.

    March 04, 2013

    The United Nations was presented today with a new report today outlining serious concerns regarding hunger and food insecurity in Canada, one of the wealthiest nations in the world. The report, written by independent expert, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, makes several concrete recommendations for strengthening protection of the human right to food in Canada. Human rights organizations present in Geneva, expressed deep disappointment that the government focused primarily on criticizing and dismissing the report and made no commitment to move ahead with any of the constructive recommendations.

    The report comes from De Schutter’s official mission to Canada, in May 2012. It represents his first visit to a country in the Global North – where serious levels of hunger and poverty are least expected.

    February 05, 2013

    People who have their economic, social and cultural rights routinely trampled on are set to gain a fresh route to justice via the UN – but once in force it will only immediately apply to 10 nations, Amnesty International said. 

    The new complaints mechanism, established by the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (the Protocol), will allow individuals and groups to seek justice from the UN if their rights – including adequate housing, food, water, sanitation, health, work, social security and education – are violated and their government fails to provide justice.

    “Access to justice is essential for victims of all human rights violations and the Protocol is a key step towards accomplishing this,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “Almost 40 years after the equivalent Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights came into force we have finally achieved parity between the two treaties and meaning to the principle of indivisibility of all rights.

    November 08, 2012

    Romani children in the Czech Republic are still being denied the educational opportunities offered to other students five years after the European Court of Human Rights found the authorities guilty of discrimination, Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) said in a report published today.

    “The Czech Republic’s education system is failing Romani children, with devastating consequences for their future. Thousands of Romani pupils are trapped in segregated schools which leaves them with few chances for further education and extremely limited options of finding work,” said Dezideriu Gergely the Executive Director of the European Roma Rights Centre.

    ”Unfortunately, many Romani pupils in Czech Republic today are reliving the experience of the applicants who lodged the complaint with the European Court more than a decade ago,” Gergely added.

    Israel’s new government must drop a proposed law that would lead to mass forced evictions of Bedouin people and instead pursue legislation to protect Bedouin housing rights, Amnesty International said, as the Ministerial Committee on Legislation is due to consider the proposal on Sunday.

    The draft “Law for Regularizing Bedouin Habitation in the Negev - 2012”, approved by the previous government, threatens at least 30,000 Bedouin in the country’s southern Negev/Naqab desert with forced eviction from their communities, which have never been officially recognized by the Israeli government.

    “Forcibly evicting tens of thousands of Bedouin from communities where they have lived for generations cannot be justified in the name of economic development or any other reason – Israel’s new leaders must have the courage to venture where previous governments have ignored human rights standards,” said Ann Harrison, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

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