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European Commission Proposes Measures “To Apply the Fiction of Non-Entry”

As families huddle to keep warm in the forests along the Poland-Belarus border, some of them nursing wounds from violent ping-pong pushbacks, the European Commission has proposed a plan to make a horrible situation even worse. On December 1, the…
Blankets and sleeping bags strewn across a forest floor
News

Ensure Humanitarian Access, End Ping-Pong Pushbacks

“Die here or go to Poland.” This was the “choice” that a Kurdish man from Syria told me a Belarusian border guard had given him, as he described his horrific experiences on the Poland-Belarus border, pleading with the guard to be allowed go back to…
A group of men seated on the ground
News

Polish Authorities Should Allow Access to Territory and Asylum Process

While Poland’s government touts its role in the airlift of at-risk Afghans from Kabul, it has trapped 32 Afghans for over 3 weeks at its border with Belarus, preventing them from entering Poland to exercise their right to seek asylum and denying them…
Polish security forces surround migrants at the border with Belarus in Usnarz Gorny, Poland on September 1, 2021. 
News

Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
News

Government Should Protect Refugees, Not Send People Back to Dangerous Conditions

The Kenyan government has again issued an ultimatum to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide a plan and timeline for closing the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. Though the government has issued these demands before, its…
Photo: An aerial picture shows a section of the Hagadera camp in Dadaab near the Kenya-Somalia border, May 8, 2015.
News

European Commission Should Hold Government Accountable for Violating Fundamental Rights

The message was clear at this week’s European Parliament hearing on Poland’s near-ban on abortion: the European Commission should act decisively to protect the lives and rights of women and girls and stop erosion of the values on which the European…
Women's rights activists, holding posters of the Women's Strike action, protest further tightening of Poland's restrictive abortion law in front of the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
News

Government to Pay US$12 Million in Compensation for Smelter Pollution

In a victory for environmental health, last week, a Kenyan Court awarded $1.3 billion Ksh (USD12 million) to residents of Owino Uhuru, a suburb of Mombasa, for damages related to pollution from a nearby lead smelter that recycled lead-acid batteries.…
News

Activists Opposing these Plans have Faced Threats and Harassment

Environmental activists in Kenya scored a unique victory last week. On June 26, the National Environmental Tribunal revoked a license issued to Amu Power Company to establish a controversial coal-fired power plant in Lamu. …
Environmental activists and petitioners listen to a tribunal ruling over the construction of a coal-fired power plant, at the supreme court building in Nairobi, Kenya
News

Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the UDHR at COP24

Today, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, governments at the climate summit COP24 in Poland are working around the clock to finalize the Paris “Rulebook” – the regulations that will guide the…
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News

Denials Come in Wake of New Law That Restricts Protest Rights

When I traveled to Poland to attend the United Nations climate conference yesterday, I passed through immigration without any problems. But not all representatives of civil society groups participating in the negotiations have been that lucky.…
Women climate change activists demand respect for rights at Paris Agreement signing ceremony outside the United Nations in New York, April 2016.
News

On Black Protest Anniversary, Support for Women’s Rights Needed

On October 3, 2016, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Poland in defiance of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s attempt to enact a complete abortion ban.  #CzarnyProtest, or Black Protest, and #StrajkKobiet (…
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News

Bill Will Limit Protests During COP24 Summit

In mid-January, the Polish parliament passed a government-sponsored bill which, will hamper the rights of environmental activists to protest at UN climate talks in December and subject them to government surveillance. President Andrzej Duda signed…
Environmental activists chain themselves to a logging machine during an action in the defence of one of the last primeval forests in Europe, Bialowieza forest, Poland May 24, 2017.
News

UN Pollution Meeting Should Embrace Child Rights in its Resolutions

Bhopal, Chernobyl, and Minamata – these environmental disasters shocked the world. Yet, pollution results not only from catastrophic accidents but also from years of silent exposure. Children’s developing bodies are particularly…
“My name is Amina and I am twenty years old. I grew up here in the town of Bagega. I had six children. Three have died. Each time one died, I was so distraught and I was very traumatized.” Amina, Bagega, Zamfara state, Nigeria, 2011.
News

Chechen Asylum Seeker Sent Back to Unsafe Belarus

“Ahmad,” a 34-year-old Chechen man, boarded a Polish-bound train in Brest, Belarus, last week, hoping to seek asylum there. He had fled from Chechnya, a Russian republic, where he says the authorities tortured and unlawfully detained him. …
Asylum seekers in the arrivals hall at Brest train station, returned on the 13.46 pm train from Terespol, where their requests to seek asylum Poland were rejected. Brest, Belarus, December 7, 2016.
News

Government Seeks to Limit Sales of ‘Morning After’ Pill

Poland’s government is again trying to curb women’s control over their bodies. After last year’s attempt to impose a near-total ban on abortion, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has introduced a bill to limit sales of…
Protesters hold coathangers to illustrate the danger to women’s safety posed by an outright ban on abortion © Reuters
News

Kenya’s High Court Overturns Government Bid to Send Somali Refugees Back Home

Early this morning, Somali friends in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp that’s home to more than 300,000 people, were celebrating the selection of Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” as the new president of Somalia. Residents in Dadaab have been waiting…
An aerial view shows makeshift shelters at the Dagahaley camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border in Garissa County, Kenya. Photo taken April 2011.
News

Limiting Extension to Six Months Prolongs Confusion, Suffering

This year, widespread attention has focussed on Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, which the Kenyan government threatened to close by late November. But on Wednesday, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for interior announced that the closure will be delayed…
Photo: Refugees stand outside their tent at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border in Garissa County, Kenya, October 19, 2011.
News

Draft Law Would Push Abortion into Back Alleys

Coat hangers strung from trees and piled up in front of government buildings by protesters serve as a grim reminder that women’s lives are at risk under Poland’s proposed new abortion law. The bill, now under review by…
Woman holds a placard as she takes part in an abortion rights campaigners' demonstration in front of the Parliament in Warsaw, Poland September 22, 2016. The placard reads: "Let's save women".
News
Blaming refugees for everything from economic woes to terrorism is becoming a sinister global trend. Now Kenya, home to almost 600,000 refugees – two thirds from Somalia – seems ready to join the bandwagon of European states…
Newly-arrived refugees run away from a cloud of dust at the Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, near Kenya's border with Somalia in Garissa County, Kenya, July 16, 2011.