Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

Human Rights Day

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

Today, 10th December is UN Human Rights Day. I think the 10th December 2016 may have set a personal record in that I covered seven events, although one was only a fleeting meeting with a Rhino as I passed through Parliament Square. But five were human rights protests.

My work began in Old Palace Yard, in front of the House of Lords and around the rather ugly statue of George V. On 10th December 1948 the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and since then the day has been celebrated in countries around the world as Human Rights Day.

The UK was one of the countries that played a large part in both the establishment of the UN, whose first General Assembly was held in the early months of 1946 just a few hundred yards away in Methodist Central Hall, and in the UDHR, which “proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being”.

But our current government finds some of its provisions inconvenient and one of the driving forces of Brexit is that it will provide the opportunity to weaken compliance with the UDHR, threatening our human rights including workers rights to paid holidays, maternity leave and fair treatment at work, disability rights and the right to freedom from discrimination.

Supporters of the UK remaining in Europe were protesting in silent chains in towns and cities across the country and several hundred had come to do so in the centre of London. I didn’t find it easy to produce interesting pictures of what was a rather static event.
Silent Chain for Europe


As I walked across the front of Parliament towards Westminster tube station I came across two people in rather impressive rhinoceros costumes who were being photographed in front of the House of Commons, and paused briefly to take a couple of pictures.

What rather surprised me was the almost total lack of interest in them shown by the many tourists walking past. After all it isn’t every day you pass two rhinos on the street.
Save the Rhino


People from various campaigns had come to Broadcasting House to protest and hand in a letter about the BBC’s failure to report on political prisoners held unjustly in jails around the world. They accuse the BBC of an institutional policy of ignoring such cases, including a hundred Irish Republican prisoners, former Black Panther Mumia Abu Jamal held on Death Row in the USA for over 30 years, many Palestinians held in Israeli jails, the victims of Erdogan’s purge in Turkey, the many hanged in Iran and other cases of illegal imprisonment around the world.
BBC censors prison struggles


From the BBC I made my way north to Mornington Crescent, where I met one of the four groups of Santacon; the north London group had met up in Camden and were coming down into Central London and soon stopped in a small park.

I found it a little disappointing – as I wrote then,

“this year the event did seem rather more organised and tame, lacking some of the anarchic charm and chaos that brought much of London’s traffic to a halt in previous years – or perhaps I just took these pictures earlier in the day before the Christmas spirits, wine and beer had really kicked in. “

London Santacon 2016

I think police had leaned rather heavily on the organisers and insisted that they move off the streets into areas such as this for much of the event. I didn’t stay with the Santas long because there were other Human Rights Day events to photograph.


I took the tube back to Westminster where I found Balochs protesting opposite Downing St, calling on Theresa May to speak up for the Baloch people and their freedom against the Pakistan regime which they claim has a policy of genocide against the Baloch people and has killed thousands of Baloch activists and abducted more than 25,000 of them.

They say those abducted are tortured and then killed, with their bodies being dumped in deserted areas. Balochistan was an autonomous kingdom on the border of Pakistan and Iran, and was merged with Pakistan in 1948, the year after Pakistan was created. Since then there have been various Baloch separatist movements which have been brutally repressed by both Pakistan and Iran.
Balochs UN Human Rights Day protest.


I’d come to Whitehall to report on the Guantanamo Justice Campaign protest on UN Human Rights Day opposite Downing St calling for an end to torture, the closure of Guantanamo and an end to British complicity in torture.

It wasn’t a well attended protest probably because there had been relatively little publicity, but also reflecting the problem of keeping up interest in long running issues such as this which no longer attract much if any attention from our news media. They will argue that it is no longer news, but that is only because they choose not to cover it, instead filling pages and programmes with empty speculation and inconsequential affairs of insignificant so-called celebrities rather than matters of importance.
Human Rights Day call close Guantanamo


Another issue which has slipped almost completely off the news agenda is the plight of the Yazidi women and girls targeted and captured by ISIS (Da’esh) in Iraq. According to UN reports, more than 5000 Yazidis had been murdered and 5-7,000 abducted. Over 3,400 are believed to be still held, the women subjected to physical and sexual violence, including systematic rape and sex slavery.

The visit to the UK by UN goodwill ambassador Nadia Murad Basee Taha for 16 days of action prompted little or no news coverage.
Save Yazidi women and girls


More about all these events and more pictures on My London Diary.

Save Yazidi women and girls
Human Rights Day call close Guantanamo
Balochs UN Human Rights Day protest
London Santacon 2016
BBC censors prison struggles
Save the Rhino
Silent Chain for Europe


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


1st December 2018

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

Two years ago, the first day in December had been declared Stop Universal Credit day of action by Unite Community and small groups around the country were holding protests and handing out leaflets in busy town centres about the many failures and great hardship caused by this poorly though out and badly administered benefit. They called for an end to the long wait before claimants receive money, for applications to be allowed at job centres as well as online, for better help when the system fails people, for direct payments to landlords to avoid rent arrears and evictions and an end to benefit sanctions for all claimants.

Universal Credit was intended to simplify the benefits system, but it failed to take into account the huge range and complexity of situations ordinary people face, and assumed that claimants would have the same kind of support that the middle-class and wealthy take for granted from families, friends and resources. And its failures were compounded by making it a vehicle for cutting costs. As I commented in 2018:

“UC has created incredible hardship, pushing many into extreme poverty and destitution, making them reliant on food banks and street food distributions, greatly increasing the number of homeless and rough sleepers. Thanks to Tory policies, more than 120,000-plus homeless children in Britain will spend Christmas in hostels and B&Bs, many without the means or facilities to provide a Christmas meal.

Some have said that UC is a part of a “state euthanasia” system for the poor, with academic estimates that it and other benefit cuts and sanctions since the 2010 elections having caused 110,000 early deaths, including many suicides. A cross party committee has called for its rollout to be halted until improvements are made, but the government has dismissed virtually all criticism of the system, making only insignificant changes.”

http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2018/12/dec.htm#universal

I took a detour on my journey into London to photograph the protest outside Camden Town station, where protesters were also pointing out that Universal Credit “hands more financial power to male claimants making it a misogynist’s dream, forcing women in violent relationships into greater dependency on their violent male partners.”


The major protest taking place in London was a march and rally organised by the Campaign against Climate Change. Together for Climate Justice began with a rally outside the Polish Embassy, in advance of the following week’s UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

Despite the impending global disaster, little real action is being taken by countries around the world and we still seem committed to a course leading inevitably to mass extinction. Behind the failure to act is the intensive lobbying of companies exploiting fossil fuels who have spent many billions in sowing doubt about the scientific consensus of global warming, and continue to produce vast quantities of coal and oil and explore for further resources, increasingly in the more ecologically sensitive areas of the Earth.

At the rally a wide range of speakers expressed their concerns that the talks in Poland are being sponsored by leading firms in Poland’s fossil fuel industry. And at the rally opposite Downing St where Frack Free United were to hand in their petition at the end of the march, a speaker from the Global South reminded us of the urgency of the situation; people there are already dying because of climate change.

Before the march we were all taught to say a few slogans in Polish, including ‘Razem dla klimatu‘ (Together for the Climate) which appeared on a number of placards, and the rather less pronounceable Polish for ‘Time to limit to 1.5’, as well as for ‘Climate, jobs, justice!’.


Finally I made my way to Broadcasting House, where The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others were calling on the BBC to withdraw from the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest hosted by Israel, to avoid being complicit in Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights.

Campaigners say the contest ‘artwashes’ Israel’s human rights record, including the killing of at least 205 Palestinians by Israeli forces in the besieged Gaza Strip since protests began at the end of March, and the passing of the Jewish nation state law which formalises an apartheid system in Israeli law.

A small group of Zionists had come to oppose the protest, but made it clear that they did not want me to photograph them. Some lifted the Israeli flags they were holding to hide their faces when I pointed my camera in their direct or turned away.


More at:

BBC Boycott Eurovision Israel 2019
Together for Climate Justice
Stop Universal Credit day of action


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Boycott Puma

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Back in 1924 the two Dassler brothers founded a shoe factory in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, Germany, the first company in the world to specialise in sports footwear, working together until 1948 when they decided to split the company into two, forming Adidas and Puma, becoming bitter rivals, both still based in Herzogenaurach and producing sports and leisure footwear and clothing. Adidas is now the second largest sportswear manufacturer in the world, and Puma is number three.

Puma sponsors many athletes and clubs in different sports around the world, including Manchester City. InMinds Islamic human rights group protest outside the Puma Carnaby Street store because they say Puma whitewashes Israel’s war crimes by sponsoring the apartheid Israel Football Association which includes clubs from illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.

The protesters say these settlements constitute a war crime under international law and 215 Palestinian sports clubs have asked Puma to respect human rights and cut its ties with the IFA. Puma has failed to do so.

Inminds supports the human and civil rights of the Palestinian people and campaigns for people to oppose the cruel treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli state and by some Israeli citizens, particularly those from some of the settlements who attack Palestinians. It points out the different treatment of Palestinians which amount to an Apartheid system. One of the banners reminds people that on average Israel imprisons a Palestinian child every 12 hours and kills one every 60 hours, and it destroys a Palestinian home every 9 hours. Another poster points to the 221 Palestinian prisoners who have been killed in Israeli jails, either by torture or medical neglect.

Many of those passing the protest were shocked to hear these statistics and others on the leaflets that were handed out, and some stopped to take photographs with the protesters. One man stopped briefly to shout insults at the protesters, and similar protests have often been opposed by Zionist protesters, at times violently as video taken by the group and posted online shows.

A similar protest here in October 2018 came under attack by two well-known anti-Palestinian activists, who in June 2019 pleaded guilty to charges of harassment and threatening behaviour after the prosecution agreed to drop more serious charges of assault. As well as fining one and imposing a community curfew on the other, Hendon Magistrates Court imposed an “indefinite” restraining order on both, barring them from coming within ten metres of three of the pro-Palestinian activists.  

Inminds take pains to avoid anti-Semitic attitudes and comments in their posters and literature and their protests often include Jewish supporters, but they robustly support the human rights of Palestinians and oppose the oppressive restraints of the Israeli state against the Palestinian people.

A few more pictures at Carnaby St Puma Boycott.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Trans+ Pride

Monday, February 17th, 2020

Stonewall tell us that:

One in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the last year.

The number of lesbian, gay and bi people who have experienced a hate crime has risen by 78 per cent since 2013.

https://www.stonewall.org.uk/cy/node/57287

But they go on to state that things are even worse for the trans community:

Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last year, compared to one in six lesbian, gay or bi people who are not trans.

Two in five who identify as non-binary have experienced a hate crime in the last year.

14 per cent of trans people do not feel safe where they live. 44 per cent of trans people avoid certain streets because they do not feel safe, compared to 26 per cent of lesbian, gay or bi people who are not trans.

https://www.stonewall.org.uk/cy/node/57287

Trans people have particularly come under attack in print and on the media by a small group of largely ageing feminists, who have been labelled ‘trans exclusionary radical feminists‘ or ‘TERFs’ though these people object to the label, calling it a slur. Some of them use the rather non-specific term ‘gender critical’. Wikipedia says TERF is “used to describe feminists who express ideas that other feminists consider transphobic, such as the claim that trans women are not women, opposition to transgender rights and exclusion of trans women from women’s spaces and organizations.”

TERFs have disrupted various events including the 2018 Pride Procession and the London Anarchist Bookfair 2017. As well as TERFs, trans people are under attack form some Conservative religious groups and people on the far right including so-called MRAs, men’s rights activists. Odd bedfellows for feminists.

Stonewall was an appropriate source for my information for various reasons. It was the 1969 Stonewall riots that kick-started the whole gay rights movement, a time when gays first stood up against the police raids on gay clubs, and the main figures who led that defiance were three ‘women of color’, two of whom were trans women the third a butch lesbian. The ‘T’ has always been an integral part of the LGBT community, and transgender people have become much more visible in recent years.

There were fears that there might be some disruption of London’s First Trans+ Pride March by TERFs or other transphobic groups, but if there were any protesters against the march I didn’t see them.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


LGBTQ+ in Poland under threat

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

Poland has a long history of tolerance, with homosexuality only being criminalised by occupying powers (most recently during the second world war), and consensual same-sex acts were decriminalised under the Penal Code of 1932 with the age of consent being set at 15.

But Poland is also in many respects a deeply conservative country, with a 95% Roman Catholic population. Many basic human rights are still denied in Poland, and various EU directives on equal treatment get ignored as “unconstitutional”. Amnesty, quoted by Wikipedia, in 2015 concluded that “the LGBTI community in Poland faces widespread and ingrained discrimination across the country” and that “Poland’s legal system falls dangerously short when it comes to protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and other minority groups from hate crimes”.

Things have got succesively more difficult since the Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power, becoming a majority government in the 2015 elections. Their campaign in the 2019 elections was strongly around opposition to gay rights, and several cities and provinces covering most of south-east Poland issued declarations of ‘ LGBT free zones’, later amended to be called ‘LGBT ideology-free zones’. In December December 2019, the European Parliament voted by over 4 to1 to condemn the over 80 LGBTI-free zones in Poland.

One small photographic problem was with a large chalk rainbow which the protesters had drawn in front of the protest. Showing it all in a picture that made sense was not easy. Even using the full-frame fisheye lens it was difficult.

A view from one side was perhaps an improvement, and the rainbow umbrella certainly helped.

The event was a strong expression of solidarity with the Polish LBGTQ+ community, and included speeches by Peter Tatchell, Nicola Field of Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners and Weyman Bennett of Stand Up to Racism as well as by Polish Rainbow in UK.

More at Solidarity with Polish LGBTQ+ community.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


September 2019: My London Diary

Friday, November 1st, 2019

I just managed to finish posting my pictures and comments to My London Diary for September 2019 before the end of October, though I am finding it more and more difficult to keep up.

I began September with a rather active week with friends in the Yorkshire Dales, mainly in Wharfedale. It was an area I’d hardly visited before and certainly worth a trip.

September 2019

Requiem for a Bee
HS2 threatens ancient Woodland
Veterans Moon for Soldier F

Climate Rally for the Imagination
Hong Kong must be free
Students Strike for climate justice
XR Doctors Climate Protest

Wework stop victimising cleaners
Clerkenwell Road & Old St
Clean Air for Catford Children
Zimbabwe protests continue
XR Youth International
Cody Dock Duck Race
Bromley-by-Bow to Star Lane
Carnaby St Puma Boycott
Global Climate Strike Protest continues
Elephant & Brixton Global Climate Strike

Global Climate Strike Rally
Hackney don’t victimise housing activists
Hackney
Brixton anti-racist march
London’s First Trans+ Pride March
Stop Arming Israel HSBC Protest

Criminal Abuse of Women in South Africa
Against LGBTQ Hate Crime
Stop the suicide crisis

Yorkshire Dales holiday

Kettlewell and Starbotton
Skipton
Bolton Castle
Wensleydale waterfalls
Kettlewell & Arncliffe circular
More Kettlewell

Skipton Castle
Litton Church & Falls
Buckden circular
Kettlewell final
Linton
Conistone walk

London Images


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.