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Pope Francis’s support for same-sex civil unions, extracted from a 2019 interview and recently broadcast, has reverberated around the world. Not surprisingly, it is the only snippet from “Francesco”, a wide-ranging documentary on his life,…
Pope Francis attends a inter-religious ceremony for peace in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, in Rome, October 20, 2020.
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Over three years ago, the Chilean government sent a bill to Congress to uphold same-sex marriage. The bill has not moved forward. Instead, Chile has been taking steps backward. Take the June decision by the Constitutional Court, denying a request…
People take part in the annual Pride parade in support of the LGBT community, in Santiago, Chile, on June 22, 2019.
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This article was published in five newspapers in Latin America. Leaders in the Americas have often been confronted in recent years with hard questions about accountability and prisoners’ rights. Should people imprisoned for…
Peru's former President Alberto Fujimori listens to the judge's verdict about his sentence in prison, in Lima October 29, 2013.
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A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.  The…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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  In January, a colleague of mine at Human Rights Watch predicted that 2018 would be the “year of the courts” for LGBT people’s rights. Seven months into the year, courts around the world have indeed come down with important rulings that…
The Indian Supreme Court building in New Delhi, India.
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Last month, the government of President Sebastián Piñera of Chile issued rules that could seriously undermine access to legal abortion in the country. The rules issued by the Health Ministry, which modify the ones issued under former President…
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In a moment when some countries have stepped back on LGBT rights, a January 9th decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has opened a window of opportunity for Latin America to lead the way.   In a landmark…
People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018. The sign reads: "The court said yes".
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Last month, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile introduced a bill in Congress that appears to be a reaction to the recent release, in Peru, of the former autocratic President Alberto Fujimori. The proposal limits the early release of people convicted of…
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At first glance, 2017 seems to have been a good year for marriage equality the world over. But the year ends on a negative note. Let’s start in Europe. In Germany and Malta, two European Union member states, legislation came…
Same-sex couple get married at a registry office in Germany.
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Last week, the rights group Derechos Digitales released the text of a worrying draft decree, signed by President Michelle Bachelet in June, that could greatly increase intrusive government access to personal data. The decree, which still needs to be…
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(Santiago, Chile) – Last month, in a huge victory for Chile’s women, the Constitutional Court here upheld a long-awaited law that eases a total ban on abortion, raising hopes that other Latin American countries will soon reconsider their cruel…
Demonstrators raise their thumbs in approval during a rally inside congress in favor of a draft law that would ease the country's strict abortion ban, in Valparaiso, March 17, 2016.
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On November 2, the Chilean Senate adopted a resolution urging the Bachelet administration to support the Vatican’s efforts to mediate the Venezuelan crisis, and to seek a special OAS session to evaluate Venezuela's compliance with the Inter-American…
Aerial view of St. Peter's square in the Vatican.
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Correa Cracks Down on Environmental Activism

During his visit to Ecuador last month, Pope Francis delivered a speech on environmental stewardship and urged the administration of President Rafael Correa to “open spaces for dialogue” on how to manage the country’s resources. The 4,000-square-mile…
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Why Catholics must condemn anti-gay violence

The recent assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family has brought renewed attention to Catholic approaches to gay and lesbian persons. During the synod, church leaders discussed pastoral and theological perspectives regarding the place of homosexual…
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I went to Vatican City recently to talk to officials there about Pope Francis’ views on homosexuality. In that famous interview in July, Pope Francis answered a question about how he would deal with gay priests: “Who am I to judge”? We sent him a letter…
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I am not Catholic. I am not a believer. And yet, as a South African, I am aware of the positive and negative roles the Catholic Church can play. It was outspoken against apartheid, and its liberation theology (controversial within the church) inspired a…
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On October 16, 1998, London police arrested General Pinochet on a warrant from a Spanish judge for human rights crimes.     In the ten years since, the world has become a smaller place for brutal despots. Indeed, today a former dictator accused of…
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Bringing their tormentors to book is an important way for victims to recover their dignity

John Laughland suggests that human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch, are more concerned about the conviction of former heads of state than about them getting fair trials. Nothing could be further from the truth. (Fujimori's trial could…
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A casual visitor to the drab committee room in the British Parliament building where the fate of General Augusto Pinochet was decided during five weeks in 1998 and 1999 might have been excused for missing the case's historical significance. The law lords…