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International Community Should Push for Results in Curbing Deforestation, Protecting Rights

As fires rage in the Brazilian Amazon, environment minister Joaquim Leite announced that the government has doubled the budget for environmental law enforcement and will recruit 700 new enforcement agents.  Leite presented these measures as…
Fires near Novo Progresso, Brazil on August 23, 2020, burned land deforested by cattle farmers.
News

Repeal New Segregated Education Policy for People with Disabilities

On August 17, Brazilian Minister of Education Milton Ribeiro made harmful remarks about children with disabilities, saying they “disturbed” other students and that some are “impossible to live with.” Later, he apologized to “those who were offended”…
A young girl who does not attend school, living in an institution in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on November 6, 2016.
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
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Brazil Should Deliver Results in Reducing Deforestation and Impunity for Environmental Crime and Violence

Speaking at the Leaders Summit on Climate convened by the United States today, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro insisted he’s committed to protecting the Amazon and even pledged more resources for environmental law enforcement. But since taking office…
Congressmen Jair Bolsonaro e Eduardo Bolsonaro speak with the press, Brasília, June 21, 2016.
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Human Rights Watch Letter Detailed Disastrous Policies Fueling Brazil’s Amazon Crisis

On January 27, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) detailing the disastrous impacts of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policies. The intervention has now…
Presidente Jair Messias Bolsonaro
News

20 Years On, UN Should Compensate Victims

Today, the United Nations human rights expert on hazardous waste called out the UN for consistently failing the victims of widespread lead poisoning in refugee camps it ran in Kosovo. The UN leadership should listen and take long-overdue action in…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug refugee camp in Mitrovica city, northern Kosovo. Cesmin Lug is one of several camps that the UN established in what was known to be a heavily contaminated area near a defunct lead mine. December 12, 2007.
News

Lead Poisoning Victims Await Justice, Compensation

Yesterday was supposed to be a celebration at the United Nations. October 24 is United Nations Day, marking the day the UN Charter officially came into effect in 1945. The Charter includes the commitment to protect human rights. But on the…
Houses in Kosovo
News

Defenders Play a ‘Positive, Important and Legitimate’ Role

I met Itahu Ka’apor after a long journey on a rough dirt track into the indigenous territory of Alto Turiaçu, in the Brazilian Amazon. After welcoming me and my colleagues into his community, he spent several days showing us how his…
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News

Roma Were Exposed to Toxic Lead in UN-Run Camps

  Yesterday, 55 Members of the European Parliament wrote to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, expressing dismay at the UN’s failure to remedy harm inflicted on ethnic minorities in northern Kosovo following the end of the war…
News

84 Killed, 276 Missing in Mining Waste Sludge in Brumadinho

The dam collapse in Brazil last week that killed 84 was the second such tragedy in just over three years, pointing to weak oversight by the government and urgent need for reforms. On January 25, a dam with mineral waste…
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News

Roma Afflicted with Lead Poisoning in UN-Run Camps

The United Nations may be undermining its own efforts to promote human rights, at a time when rights are under threat worldwide. That’s the view of a UN panel of experts, which investigated complaints of human rights violations by…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug Camp outside Trepca mine, on the outskirts of Mitrovica, June 22, 2009.
News

Body Ignores Own Advice to Give Clear Apology for Tragedy that was UN’s Fault

It looked like justice for Kosovo’s lead-poisoning victims was finally within reach. Former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson convened a meeting in December 2016, just as he and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were preparing to hand the…
News

Government Should Implement Law Providing for Inclusive Education

Today, September 1st, will be an exciting first day of school for most Serbian children. But for many children with disabilities, it will be just one more day without a chance to learn, make friends, and interact with peers and teachers. Take for…
A living room in Veternik Institution where children and adults with disabilities spend most of their days. There are no toys, education materials, or carpets on the floor. The only available source of stimulation is a TV attached to the wall.