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.
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.
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
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.
They championed Venezuela’s revolution. They are now its latest victims.Isayen Herrera, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Tibisay Romero and Sheyla UrdanetaNew York Times November 19, 2020 In an effort to complete his consolidation of power, Nicolás Maduro is cracking down on the leftist activists who once supported him, but have begun to speak up against his administration’s corruption and cronyism.
Barr hands prosecutors the authority to investigate voter fraud claimsKatie Benner and Michael S. SchmidtNew York Times November 9, 2020 The attorney general said that he had authorized “instances” of investigative steps but that inquiries should not be based on specious claims. Mr. Barr’s authorization prompted the Justice Department official who oversees investigations of voter fraud, Richard Pilger, to step down from the post within hours.
The election that could break AmericaBarton GellmanThe Atlantic November 2020 If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result. Who will stop him?
What happens to migrants forcibly returned to Libya? Mat NashadNew Humanitarian August 5, 2020 The killing last week of three young men after they were intercepted at sea by the EU-funded Libyan Coast Guard has thrown the spotlight on the fate of tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers returned to Libya to face detention, abuse and torture by traffickers, or worse.
Journalist’s murder puts a tycoon, and a nation, on trialMiroslava German Sirotnikova and Marc SantoraNew 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 prisonAustin RamzeyNew 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.
Bulgaria charges three Russian agents in poisoning caseMichael SchwirtzNew 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.