Category Archives: Harming People – Keeping People Oppressed

This section gives examples of how people are oppressed / harmed by exploitation.  Should be read in conjunction with Opposing Oppression and Injustice. This is part of staying in power/struggle for control. It is a separate section because of its importance.

Ten worst countries in the world for working people Credit: ITUC

2020 ITUC Global Rights Index: violations of workers’ rights at seven-year high

Ten worst countries in the world for working people Credit: ITUC

ITUC June 18, 2020 The breakdown of the social contract has been exposed in the 2020 International Trade Union Confederation Global Rights Index with violations of workers’ rights at a seven-year high.

This trend, by governments and employers, to restrict the rights of workers through limiting collective bargaining, disrupting the right to strike, and excluding workers from unions, has been made worse by a rise in the number of countries that impede the registration of unions.

An increase in the number of countries that deny or constrain freedom of speech shows the fragility of democracies while the number of countries restricting access to justice has remained unacceptably high at last year’s levels.

A new trend identified in 2020 shows a number of scandals over government surveillance of trade union leaders in an attempt to instill fear and put pressure on independent unions and their members.

The General Secretary of the ITUC, Sharan Burrow, said: “These threats to workers, our economies and democracy were endemic in workplaces and countries before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted lives and livelihoods. In many countries, the existing repression of unions and the refusal of governments to respect rights and engage in social dialogue has exposed workers to illness and death and left countries unable to fight the pandemic effectively.

“As we look towards the recovery and build resilient economies, the 2020 ITUC Global Rights Index is a benchmark against which we will hold governments and employers to account.

“If the findings of the Rights Index are not shocking enough, we are already seeing some countries take things further. Under the cover of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, they are advancing their anti-workers’-rights agenda. This has got to stop and be reversed.

“The Global Rights Index exposes a breakdown in the social contract that governments and employers have with working people. There’s a trend to restrict working rights through violations of collective bargaining, withholding the right to strike and excluding workers from unions.

“But the Rights Index is not just a list of violations. It is a stark picture of the rights deficits we need to address as we build the new economic model the world needs as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. It must be a resilient global economy built on a New Social Contract: a new commitment to workers’ rights, renewed investment in compliance and the rule of law, and a foundation of workplace democracy.”

The Middle East and North Africa is the worst region in the world for working people, for seven years running, due to the ongoing insecurity and conflict in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Libya, coupled with the most regressive region for workers’ representation and union rights.

The ten worst countries for working people in 2020 are Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

The seventh edition of the ITUC Global Rights Index ranks 144 countries on the degree of respect for workers’ rights. Key findings include:

  • 85 per cent of countries violated the right to strike.
  • 80 per cent of countries violated the right to collectively bargain.
  • The number of countries that impeded the registration of unions has increased.
  • Three new countries entered the list of ten worst countries for workers (Egypt, Honduras, India)
  • The number of countries that denied or constrained freedom of speech increased from 54 in 2019 to 56 in 2020.
  • Workers were exposed to violence in 51 countries.
  • Workers had no or restricted access to justice in 72 per cent of countries.
  • Workers experienced arbitrary arrests and detention in 61 countries.

Rising up against police brutality

How the Black Lives Matter movement went mainstream Jose A. Del Real, Robert Samuels and Tim Craig Washington Post June 9, 2020

Activists catalog nearly 600 videos of officer violence against protesters Jake Johnson Truthout June 9, 2020

The problem of policing isn’t bad apples. It’s a diseased tree. Ruth Marcus Washington Post June 7, 2020

How police unions became such powerful opponents to reform efforts Noam Scheiber, Farah Stockman and J. David Goodman New York Times June 6, 2020
Half a decade after a spate of officer-involved deaths inspired widespread protest, many police unions are digging in to defend members.

I can’t breathe Sergio Peçanha Washington Post June 5, 2020
The ever-growing list of what black people cannot do without risking their lives.

In protests against police brutality, videos capture more alleged police brutality Kimberly Kindy, Shayna Jacobs and David A. Fahrenthold Washington Post June 5, 2020

Image: The U.S. has fallen below its traditional democratic peers.

Freedom in the World 2020 finds established democracies are in decline

Freedom House March 4, 2020. Despite mass protests in every region, world suffers 14th consecutive year of deterioration in political rights and civil liberties.

Democracy is under assault around the globe, and the effects are evident not just in authoritarian states like China, Russia, and Iran, but also in countries with a long track record of upholding basic rights and freedoms. While protest movements in every region have illustrated widespread popular demand for better governance, they have yet to reverse the overall pattern of declining freedom, according to Freedom in the World 2020, the latest edition of the annual country-by-country assessment of political rights and civil liberties, released today by Freedom House.

Countries that suffered setbacks in 2019 outnumbered those making gains by nearly two to one, marking the 14th consecutive year of deterioration in global freedom. During this period, 25 of the world’s 41 established democracies experienced net losses.

The report also found an alarming global erosion in governments’ commitment to pluralism, a defining feature of liberal democracy. Ethnic, religious, and other minority groups have borne the brunt of recent state abuses in both democracies and authoritarian countries. Left unchecked, such violations threaten the freedom of entire societies.

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Harming people – Keeping people oppressed 2020

Filmmaker who mocked Egypt’s president dies in prison Declan Walsh New York Times May 2, 2020
Shady Habash had been held without trial at a maximum-security prison for two years. His lawyer said the cause of death was unknown.

Amazon fires New York worker who led strike over coronavirus concerns Kenya Evelyn The Guardian March 31, 2020 Citing ‘vein of toxicity’ and firing of whistleblowers, Amazon VP resigns in disgust Julia Conley Common Dreams May 4, 2020

After exposing corruption in Russian courts, he’s now in jail himself Ivan Nechepurenko New York Times March 27, 2020
Pretending to be a senior official, Sergei Davydov induced judges to fix cases, then revealed the conversations. Then the system struck back.

Coronavirus outrage spurs China’s internet police to action Paul Mozur New York Times March 16, 2020
Online enforcers are dragging in hundreds for questioning as an assault on online speech continues. They are a sign of how Beijing has given censors a more punitive role.

Chinese tycoon who criticized Xi’s response to coronavirus has vanished Javier C. Hernández New York Times March 14, 2020
Ren Zhiqiang appears to be the latest government critic silenced by the Communist Party as it cracks down on dissent over the epidemic.

Journalist’s murder puts a tycoon, and a nation, on trial Miroslava German Sirotnikova and Marc Santora New York Times February 28, 2020
The killing of Jan Kuciak and his fiancée shocked Slovakia. The trial of the businessman accused of ordering it promises to expose corruption in high places.

China sentences Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai to 10 years in prison Austin Ramzey New York Times February 25, 2020
Mr. Gui, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen, ran a publishing house that appeared to anger the Communist Party. The bookseller disappeared under mysterious circumstances from his home in Thailand in 2015 only to emerge as a target in a campaign by China’s Communist Party to silence dissent even beyond the mainland.

Six of the 28  Latin American indigenous rights defenders murdered in 2019. Credit Cultural Survival
Six of the 28 Latin American indigenous rights defenders murdered in 2019. Credit: Cultural Survival

In Memoriam: 28 indigenous rights defenders murdered in Latin America in 2019 Cultural Survival January 28, 2019

Mexican butterfly conservationist is found dead, two weeks after vanishing Kirk Semple and Paulina Villegas New York Times January 29, 2020

How the environmental lawyer who won a massive judgement against Chevron lost everything Sharon Lerner The Intercept January 29, 2020

Bulgaria charges three Russian agents in poisoning case Michael Schwirtz New York Times January 23, 2020
The trio, members of a secretive group within Russia’s military intelligence agency, are accused of trying to kill an arms dealer, his son and one of his top executives in 2015.

Conflict 2020

Conflict is an essential element, probably the most important one, in creating societies where exploitation is important.  It is easy to see in the past: one group or nation conquered another and put those conquered in a subsidiary status, taking their land, taxing them and placing them in an inferior position through various means. These patterns frequently continue into the present, in (usually) weakened, but still present, form.  Conflict can also arise when people who are oppressed fight for their freedom. Also see Conflict

USA and France dramatically increase major arms exports; Saudi Arabia is largest arms importer SIPRI March 9, 2020

800,000 Syrians have fled in three months: this is what it looks like Vivian Yee, Allison McCann, Hwaida Said, and Haley Willis New York Times February 14, 2020
Some crowd into trucks. Others go on foot. The current Syrian crisis is similar in scale to the Rohinga crisis of 2017. Hundreds of thousands of people are trying to escape relentless airstrikes in northwest Syria.

“I lost my two legs after I stepped on a mine laid by Da’esh [the Arabic acronym for IS] when we tried to escape from al-Shaafa 10 days ago,” 17-year-old Ammar said, as his father Ahmed drew back the blanket covering his legs, both blown off below the knee.  “We didn’t have access to a hospital, so I had to prepare his bandages at home, with salt and water,” explained Ahmed. His youngest son, sitting in the back seat, lost his legs in the same escape attempt. “I thank God we managed to flee at last,” Ahmed said. “But why did my sons have to go through all this pain?” Credit: New Humanitarian/Constantin Gouvy

Fleeing the last days of Islamic State in Syria Constantin Gouvy New Humanitarian January 24, 2020

Sibri Natana sits at a restaurant in Fada N’gourma with two of her children. In December she was forced to watch as jihadists murdered her brother. Credit: Sam Mednick/TNH

In eastern Burkina Faso, spreading violence and little international aid Sam Mednick New Humanitarian January 21, 2020

People return from Iran at a border crossing near Zaranj in Afghanistan’s Nimroz Province on 19 January 2020. (Credit: Stefanie Glinski/TNH)

Fleeing the last days of Islamic State in Syria Constantin Gouvy New Humanitarian January 24, 2020

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