UN States Govenments With Something to Hide Silence Brave People

2018 is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70thanniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org.

On the Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Program the moment arises for me when I asked the Thai Counterintelligence officer – who is the enemy?  Is the public the enemy?  Today I believe I am hearing the answer.  Yet the reality is – there is no enemy, only unquestioned beliefs that believe intimidation ensures power and control.  We visited human rights defenders in Cambodia and on the Burma border of Thailand.  I have never met such brave people risking their lives as they saw civilians were vulnerable to being murdered.  I saw torture chambers and the many photos of men, women and children who had been tortured to death because a dictator believed they were the enemy.  Pol Pot believed anyone with glasses (intellectuals) were emeies of the state.   Unchecked power seems to me to be the issue where there are no checks and balances and a global community that does not act united with one voice for peace.  It is the money, influence, corruption and emotional disconneciton that enables human rights violations or injustices to occur.

I feel this is an old paradigm that is losing power.

According to the UN Human Rights Council there are reprisals against civilians and human rights defenders who seek to contact the United Nations due to human rights violations.  It is reported that there are attempts to weaken civil society and the United Nations Human Rights Council through the use of undermining, intimidation, demeaning and incarceration.

What I can add here as a peacemaker is to say what we put out comes back as a universal law.  What you fight, oppress, intimidate returns as the mirror reflecting life back to you.  The definitely feel the tide is turning globally and there is a strong movement for unity and peace in the world.  People are awakening on a global scale to what has happened in the past.  I feel that growing and perhaps these reprisals are an attempt to cleave onto power.  I sense the fear in those who are seeking to control and frighten others.  I can only send love to them and those they have frightened.  It is the profile of the bully seeking power as he or she is powerless.

The hard work of conflict resolution and peacebuilding is on the table in these times as the real happiness, liberty and security of all nations.  The question is will governments, business and civil society decide to resolve and end wars and make peace? This is in everyone’s interests as social stability, collective problem solving is what needs to happen to deal with ecological and economic collapse.  Speaking up is critical to being heard and yes there are risks, but consider this:

“in the moment of your greatest trial is your greatest triumph”  

And another …

“is it better to stand on your feet or live on your knees?”

And another …

“When you walk in the dark a long time you believe this is the light (right), to walk in the light is to know darkness does not exist”

Some inspiration just came to me which I tweeted:

“At the heart of all violent conflict is a intensity to destroy love, bonding, kindness etc. This is great fear fearing the light. In truth those inflicting horrors on others are terrified of acknowledging their darkness, until they do it runs them. The evil is lack of self love.”

“Karma or drama is another aspect that heals when you recognise the other as yourself and greet this with unconditional love, This is how cause and effect dissolves.”

I feel a sadness when I say I recognise self destruction in all violence.  My hand extends to those feeling this hatred with kindness. I do feel their pain.  I feel it in all who suffer, why not end the suffering not a innocent human life?

Can we forgive those who hurt us, the Ethiopian President apparently has called for peace and forgiveness. If real, a wise move.

What are human rights?  It is the awareness that we are equal. This is not a fanciful notion it is in truth a birth right that we are all born equal.  Some will behave as if others lives are worthless others will honour life, we all get to choose.  As we choose we attract.  There is indeed a universal rebalancing.

Truth on all sides (as fairness) must be made visible if problems are to be resolved and to deescalate bullying, aggression, suppression, repression and the silencing of dissent of those who wish to speak the truth.  Intimidation, oppression, corruption are forms of crimes against humanity given they seek to suppress human dignity, the human person from the right to say ‘no’.  I am learning more deeply about this behaviour in democratic countries where it has been long believed that fairness is the mainstay. Increasingly we are witnessing the subtle and undermining oppression of people using laws, by-laws or defaming as a means of justifying violence.  It is covert bullying which is far more damaging then overt violence where the perpetrator is clear.  There is more illegal surveillance, watering down of regulators, legislative changes to enable abuses and political corruption where leaders are put in place by those I call the king makers.  This of course undermines democracy, freedom of speech and human rights.  Why is this a problem?  I would say it is not efficient when you consider the potential of humanity and where it can go when freed from fear.

I see a future that is beyond belief and releasing the great talent that lies dormant in humanity for its highest good.  However, at this point we still haven’t matured enough to examine what are the fears that drive us unconsciously.

How we release the trauma’s from the past?
How we can learn values that unify humanity?
And how we take responsiblity for our own discord that is projected onto perceived enemies?

These are the baby steps of a civilisation that has to face fear, resolve conflict and step into a destiny full of promise.  I see this.

The UN video first as it clearly states its case and how it feels under seige where the masks/gloves are coming in respect of what governments are standing for. The message appears directed to governments.  I send love and peace to all sides, all ways.


UN report warns of alarming scope and effect of reprisals on victims, activists and human rights defenders

GENEVA (12 September 2018) – People globally face harsh reprisals and intimidation for cooperating with the United Nations on human rights, a “shameful practice,” a major UN report warned.  This trend deters others from engaging with the UN and results in “self-censorship.”

The annual report on reprisals of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the ninth of its kind, details country by country cases in two annexes, including allegations of killing, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests and detention, surveillance, criminalisation, and public stigmatisation campaigns targeting victims and human rights defenders.

It includes allegations of reprisals and intimidation documented in a total of 38 countries.   Some of the States are current members of the Human Rights Council. Some have featured in the annual report on reprisals nearly every year since it was instituted in 2010.*

“The cases of reprisals and intimidation detailed in this report and its two annexes represent the tip of the iceberg, while many more are reported to us. We are also increasingly seeing legal, political and administrative hurdles used to intimidate – and silence – civil society,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour, the senior UN official designated to address the issue, who will present the report to the Human Rights Council on 19 September 2018.

The report notes that selectively applied laws and new legislation are used to restrict and obstruct organizations that are likely to cooperate with the UN. This includes limiting their ability to secure and maintain funding, especially from foreign donors.

The impact of fear of reprisals is not only visible in the field, where United Nations personnel often encounter people too afraid to speak with them, but also at headquarters in New York, Geneva, and elsewhere, the report says.

The report highlights a “disturbing trend in the use of national security arguments and counter-terrorism strategies by States as justification for blocking access by communities and civil society organizations to the United Nations.” It notes that a number of NGOs, human rights defenders, activists and experts have been labelled as “terrorists” by their Governments.  Reported cases include individuals or organizations being officially charged with terrorism, blamed for cooperation with foreign entities, or accused of damaging the reputation or security of the State.  

“States have frequently invoked counter-terrorism as the reason an organization or individual should be denied access to participation at the United Nations. The real global threat of terrorism notwithstanding, this issue must be tackled without compromising respect for human rights,” the report says.

While the majority of the documented cases were perpetrated, or at the very least condoned, by State officials, violations by non-State actors must also be taken seriously, the report says. Private citizens, corporate actors and non-State groups must be held accountable as well.

The wide scope of reprisals inhibits the UN’s work in many ways, including in conflict settings, when delivering humanitarian assistance or in protecting civilians, and in the development context, where community members who engage on land and resource-related projects frequently encounter a hostile environment.

The report recognises that the United Nations must strengthen the collection of information on acts of intimidation and reprisal, including do more to ensure that incidents experienced by women human rights defenders and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons are documented, disaggregated and properly analysed. It also encourages all stakeholders to report allegations of intimidation and reprisals for cooperating with the UN on human rights as they occur, to ensure follow-up and action.

“As the Secretary-General has said, we should all be deeply shocked and angered by the extent to which civil society actors suffer reprisals because of their work, including when they cooperate with the UN. But shock and anger must translate into real action. Governments can do much more to stop reprisals, ensure that they do not recur, and hold those responsible to account for their actions,” said Gilmour.

The report calls on States to follow up on the cases included in the present and previous reports and provide substantive responses.


* 29 Countries in which new cases are listed in the report and Annex I (in alphabetical order) are: Bahrain, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Myanmar, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).

Follow up/ongoing cases are also included in relation to the following 19 countries (in alphabetical order) in Annex II: Algeria, Bahrain, Burundi, China, Egypt, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.


Read the report (A/HRC/39/41) online in English, French, Arabic, Russia, Spanish and Chinese.

See the UN Human Rights Office video on reprisals

For more information and media requests, please contact: Rupert Colville – + 41 22 917 9767 Liz Throssell – + 41 22 917 9466 / ethrossell@ohchr.org or Ravina Shamdasani – + 41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org.

2018 is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70thanniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org.

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Mohandas Gandhi

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”