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Encouraging Signs They Are Set to Take More Leading Role

The Nordic countries proudly express steadfast commitment to human rights as a priority in foreign policy, but have been disappointingly inconsistent in practice. Sweden launched a feminist foreign policy in 2014 – a laudable approach that failed…
An Icelandic flag hangs outside a shop in Reykjavik, October 27, 2016.
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Landmark Ruling Confirms Constitutional Right to a Healthy Environment

Clean air is a core component of the right to a healthy environment. So says the UN expert on human rights and environment to mark the occasion of World Environment Day. The residents of Chile’s coastal region of Quintero and…
201906americas_chile_environment_protest
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Plan Would Link EU Funds to Rule of Law, Functioning Judiciary

It’s not every day the European Commission proposes something truly ground-breaking. But yesterday, when the EU announced a new plan to link EU funds given to member states to the health of their judiciary, it did just that.…
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 28, 2015.
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Chile May Be on a Roll for Rights

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet says she will make good on a promise at the United Nations a year ago and introduce a bill in parliament on August 28 to allow same-sex couples to marry. Bachelet’s announcement fulfills a…
People attend a gay pride parade to demand for a new law for gender equality after Chilean President Michelle Bachelet sets marriage equality as the government's priority in Santiago, Chile July 1, 2017.
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Other Council of Europe Countries Should Back LGBT Rights

As of March 1, Finland will allow same-sex couples to marry, bringing to thirteen the number of European countries with marriage equality laws.Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement on February 21, affirmed…
LGBT Rainbow Flag
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President Bachelet Fulfil Promise to Push for Bill

In January, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced the start of an open public discussion on same-sex marriage aimed at producing a “satisfactory bill on marriage equality, recognizing the same rights for everyone.” It was, she said, “not only a…
Chile's government house is illuminated with rainbow colours to mark International Day Against Homophobia in Santiago, Chile, May 17, 2016.
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Seeking justice for the ongoing grave human rights abuses in Syria has proven largely elusive. Now the shield of impunity is beginning to crack. Several countries, including Sweden, Germany, and France are in the process of investigating some…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
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Refugee Crisis and Universal Jurisdiction Cases in Europe

What’s the basis for European courts to try atrocities committed in Syria and Iraq? What is universal jurisdiction? Does universal jurisdiction mean that every country can investigate any grave international crime committed in Syria and Iraq? What…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
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Chile’s chamber of deputies decided to side with women and their human rights yesterday, and approved a bill to partly decriminalize abortion. The new law would permit women to have safe, legal abortions if they are victims of rape, if their lives are in…
Demonstrators raie their thumbs in approval during a rally inside congress in favor of a draft law by the government, which seeks to ease the country's strict abortion ban, in Valparaiso, Chile March 17, 2016. The banner reads: "Chile makes history today,
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Chile’s House of Representatives approved a “civil union” bill this week granting legal rights to same-sex couples. The bill creates the Pacto de Unión Civil (PUC), a new legal status for couples that live together in committed relationships, regardless…
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Q. How likely are the Chilean courts to prosecute Pinochet?    A. There are legal obstacles to Pinochet's prosecution in Chile, including:   his immunity from criminal process as a senator for life;     an amnesty decree that covers crimes committed…
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A Human Rights Watch Update, November 6, 1998

The House of Lords has completed two days of hearings about the detention of Augusto Pinochet. Lawyers for the Crown, representing Spanish authorities who are seeking extradition, presented arguments and answered questions from the five-member panel of…