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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 59  Al Jazeera  March 1, 2018 3:32am-4:00am +03

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dean used in the florida school shooting two weeks ago trumps accuse senators of being afraid to take on the national rifle association lobby group and says it's time to end the known since we have to keep the guns out of the hands of those that post a threat and this really includes background checks and i know senator that you're working on things joe i know you're working and. i mean i'm looking at a number of the folks around the table you're working in different bills we have to get in we have to get and the chief executive of the u.s. olympic committee has resigned citing health problems scott blackmun has been under fire following the committee's response to a series of sexual abuse scandals in january former u.s. gymnastics team doctor laurie nasr was jailed for life for molesting hundreds of girls some of amsterdam's canals have frozen over as cold temperatures gripping much of europe snow and freezing conditions for a siberian cold snap are causing traffic and flight delays in many parts of
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mainland europe and britain those are the headlines the news continues here on al-jazeera after inside story i'll see in about twenty five minutes behind. as the united nations human rights council continues its conference in geneva there are often discrepancies between what officials tell the un and what happens on the clowns so how committed are governments in respecting human rights this is inside story.
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hello and welcome to the program. all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights that's from the first article of the united nations universal declaration of human rights which was signed in one nine hundred forty eight and since then the document has been used as a stand for ensuring fundamental rights and the protection of minorities around the well the united nations human rights council began its annual conference in geneva this week it comes at a time when i'm a see international says world leaders are undermining the rights of millions with gets all the guests in a moment but first david tate's discussion from geneva it was meant to be a celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights but the shadow of conflict was costing a mood of pessimism across the powers of nations as the un human rights council began its opening session this week in geneva today oppression is
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fashionable again this security state is back. and fundamental freedoms are in retreat in every region of the world. and nowhere more so than in syria still no cease fire the bombing the killing and maiming have not stopped in eastern guta although the government says it's responding to revel shelling on the capital of damascus and it is important for the united nations to step up to the plate. outside the chamber men who know all about challenge use syrian members of the white helmet rescue teams talking to a colleague inside eastern goto. we do not need assistance we need a ceasefire and a stop to the bloodshed and massacres being committed against civilians women and children against guta. no average to stays off emotional milk but the only think
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that continues to give us the strength is a smile that we see on a child's they or words seen from a father or mother. the resident a crisis for me and my has been described by the un as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing and the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world seven hundred thousand mostly muslim or hinge or have fled into neighboring bangladesh the country's army launched a campaign of murder and rape to drive them from their villages but that's not how the minister from me in marjah described it in geneva and the fight against terrorist who used civilian recruits there will always be violence illiterate damage and civilian casualties britain's minister of state of the foreign office beg to differ and as i put to the minister just now i said what is the first duty of any responsible government it is the security of all your citizens and from my
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mind my perspective that means irrespective of who they are what community they belong to and yes that protecting means. acting the rights and the civil rights at the human rights of the wreckage a muslim community many political observers might also have taken issue with both the tone and content of the speech by egypt's foreign minister to the human rights council some a shock three boasted egypt created in record time a modern constitution in line with international standards to preserve human rights and fundamental freedoms but when it gyptian is go to vote in presidential elections in march they won't have much of a choice on the ballot any real challenger to president abdel fattah el-sisi has either been arrested or forced to drop out human rights watch says the crackdown is a violation of the same constitution their foreign minister was so eager to highlight and of course al jazeera journalists mamata saying has now been held in the gypsum prison for fourteen months and has still not been formally charged egypt
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me an ma in syria three prime examples of how the government side of the story often stands in stark contrast to what is actually happening on the ground david chaytor al jazeera geneva. m c international recently signaled civil war world leaders including president donald trump and is just other for his annual report saying they are callously undermining the rights of millions from the u.s. travel ban on merely muslim majority countries to myanmar's crackdown against the ranger amnesty says governments across the globe are shamelessly backsliding on human rights and that's what it's cause hate filled rhetoric threatens to normalize discrimination against marginalized groups but this has led to a global protest movement including the meter campaign and others like it in support of him arise and also criticize the global response to mass killings that
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are in the middle east calling it perilously weak. let's bring in our guests now joining us on skype from geneva john fisher geneva cassidy director at human weiss watch in london coffee deal me the founder of the lies matter of an isolation and in burnham were in england also on skype was a friedman professor of the university of reading ross is the author of feigning the to protect the united nations and the politicization of human rights welcome to you or i would like to start by asking mr fischer this when you listen to the species of the united nations human rights commission some of the member states are known to be human rights violators then you wonder someone should be disconnected from reality here is that the member states or is it the u.n. us r.c. itself. well there's no question we share the concerns about human rights violators
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who become members of the the un's human rights council primarily in order to block themselves from from scrutiny we have seen on the human rights council states like like china like egypt like saudi arabia like venezuela all of course known for systematically violating the human rights of their of their own people and at the same time with the humax council just started its thirty seven session and it begins with statements by foreign ministers so it's expected that they will come and try and and to sell the best vision of their country possible even if it's disconnected from reality that segment ends today and it's up to noon we'll have a panel discussion on the seventieth anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights and then get into the real work of the council which is negotiating the text a resolution now we have seen in the course of two thousand and seventeen even though it's a very difficult political environment the human rights internationally but the human rights council has nonetheless created for example a fact finding mission into atrocities in man manner and investigation into
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violence in the size region of the of the d r c an investigation into human rights and humanitarian lauren and yemen as well as many other other situations so while we share the concerns while we we urge the council to speak out more consistently to bring attention to the violations by all its members still there is a lot of good work that is done dilli of greater africa to promote and protect human rights in africa do you believe the organizations like the u.n. or see are there to protect people from being. tortured detained rests in places like africa are are unfortunately i have to say i have i have very little faith in the u.n. for doing that because that we've same what the u.n. hours down over the years and the congo nothing has changed in the congo congo over the lives of the congolese people are saying what the u.n. has done. the average ivory coast so i to be honest with you i have very little
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faith in the u.n. as a matter of fact and friedman i mean. you this is an inter governmental organization so the level of political dealings here a massive sometimes constraining the workings within the institution is this something which is likely to further. prevent this organization from moving forward and establishing genuine change in the in the world we can't just look at the un human rights council on its own we have to say it is part of the your instrument right system which includes independent experts special wrapper tears includes treaty bodies those bodies have many more powers and they haven't different level of expertise the human rights council was created as an intergovernmental body and we expect intergovernmental bodies to be political and sometimes to be politicized and because it's an intergovernmental body it was not given binding powers or ways to take action forward because we knew that those actions are binding powers could
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be politicized by the member states themselves i think it's our expectations of the council that are too high and a mismatch to reality and that needs to be greater understanding what the council can do and what is wrong actually years just to give an idea about the controversy that has been triggered over the last few days this official is the presence of iranian justice minister say that it is a of by who was a gentle prosecutor back in iran and that has been accused of committing atrocities against against activists in the past many people decide with his presence should have been boycotted by members of the united nations high. commission yes well i mean it's entirely true that that a number of governments send their foreign ministers to present these i'm realistic pictures of the route situation and the countries the u.n. is a place where there is freedom of expression so and it really the states have you know the opportunity of. themselves even though it may be grossly disagreed what they have to say what counts is what counts and now does well with the information on
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iran which is before it and a decision of the council we're looking to see a renewal of the mandate of the special rapporteur on iran has been a very very good mandate hold as madonna is going fortunately passed away recently so she will be successful we appointed in due course for that position but we are expecting the mandate of the special to be renewed so that scrutiny can can continue to be brought to the united nation and the country we're also expecting a strong resolution on the the situation of human rights violations in iran as well as a joint statement likely led by a number of states condemning the the recent crackdown on peaceful protests mr dillwyn i mean you seem to have little faith in the united nations high commission what do you think should be done for example to tackle the problem of abuses in africa do we need to have a strong institutions based in africa or do need to have institutions that have the power and the mandate to enforce dramatic changes on the ground well i. like to say
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that i think we need institutions with the un with the power to chile do something on the ground so what we've seen across africa is you know that the to ration of human rights it's just african governments the abuse of their their people they're supposed to be protecting its own going and nonstop and as like so i mean from a sittin here and being to answer questions about the u.n. i don't see any actions being taken by the u.n. to actually change anything with these governments are doing in africa so yes we need a stronger enforcement agency by the u.n. to actually make things happen in africa in places in africa we're talking about it the as a congo for instance nothing is happening that. we're going to talk about places
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like togo nothing is happening there central african republic. things happening in misrata i mean this comes against a backdrop of the report that was released by the amnesty international which depicts a grim reality about what's happening in terms of human rights abuses of the same time the united nations high commissioner for human rights. xavier. hussein is stepping down of the reason why his tipping days basically because the culture the environment is not conducive to any genuine change it seems that with facing a real quizes when it comes to the un itself well let's be clear that and the high commissioner who has done some excellent work during his term isn't just stepping down because of the culture outside of the un amongst member states there's also a culture within the united nations that is retracting in terms of human rights and that culture starts from the very top and from the very new secretary general who has a background in humanitarian sort of matters but has not taken human rights at all seriously in terms of what the other two speeches about said about first of all
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about having statements on iran about the types of resolutions that can be passed but instead the gentleman just before me who was speaking about pending u.n. do on the ground again we have to understand what the u.n. is it's one hundred ninety three member states and the u.n. can only take action against member states who are sovereign if those member states consent to the u.n. entities coming in whether it's peacekeeping whether it's development agencies or seller so statements are important fact finding missions are important security council resolutions are important as a human rights council resolutions and general assembly ones but really we have to look to the hundred ninety three member states who drive this organization who are the bosses of this organization and ask if there are genuine where is there a critical mass of states who really want to improve the human rights situation on the ground in very many of these grave and dire situations well speaking of the genuine dry. to change or to introduce reformists official. has just been
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saying let's look at the cases that we have been dealing with over the last few years the atrocities committed against the ranger nothing has been done to tackle the issue more than four hundred thousand people have been killed in syria nothing has been done to tackle this issue so what are we talking about here well i j should make clear that obviously we are with a civil society organizations human rights organizations so. because we share the concerns that often the u.n. is slow to act up and there is all it can and and need to be done so it's not not my role to defend the position of the united nations but i also recognize it is the place in the world where the governments of the of the of the world to come together do meet and have the capacity to decide and address issues of current concern part of our role is to to push both the u.n. system itself and the governments to make it up to ensure that they are tens of to be the crises that are unfolding before their eyes and we did see for example in relation to to myanmar that if fact finding mission was was created last year that
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kind of can finding mission is create is gathering information on on atrocities there is a special operator who has been able to visit the country although myanmar itself is has blocked or access recently i think international pressure on myanmar is increasing and and we are seeing a large number of states that used to consider themselves allies of the country now lining up and condemning them through through un resolutions and so there's no question of course that you know the situation is under scrutiny and that to meet men now is going for obviously rolled up since the show that more is done the civility we keep saying that we need the u.n. when need the other international institutions to step in when others believe that it's high time fruit for people like you to rally reach out to others build a momentum bottom up to try to change the culture in continents like africa that's the only way we can have the significance chains instead of always saying that we need the others to step in yes. that's what we've been trying to do of africa large
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rally in the grassroots all across africa and in the diaspora to be become politically involved in what's happening on their continent i mean what would the families the problem with what happens in africa is you know we have these neal colonial repressive regimes that support them backed by governments in the west and they have the ganz than. they have all sorts of spyware to dismantle any grassroots movement so how do you how do you respect people we know we know nothing to fight where we bought their voices how do you how do these people get themselves across that these governments and that is the problem that it's what we're saying happening in the congo right now repressing the population that's what we're saying they need to oprah that's what we've seen in togo that's what we've seen in the average coast and all these are for can conferees. it seems are we having two
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issues here basically which are putting the human rights activists all over the world on edge is like human rights was a very difficult time the world leader the united states of america is run by a president who has been accused of spreading in your culture against immigrants. in his own country but also spreading world by the same time this this talk about what to starve the reform within organizations like the united nations so which one do you think should be tackled immediately i think it's a very tricky question and we are very troubling times because on the one hand we have leadership in the united states where we have always expected a culture that promotes human rights that is retracting on human rights we have some countries in the members of the european union who again retracting going back to borders going against human rights and we also have countries like china which let's be clever very public that they don't believe in human rights that they would
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like to take human rights off the table together and so there is this sort of critical mass of states for different reasons who are anti human rights what we need are the last american states many of the european states some of the african states who really believe passionately in strong being human rights to come together and to find ways of lobbying for effective change finding finding mechanisms together that suit all of their needs and ideologies and in some ways this ties back to both what john was saying earlier and to the gentleman from africa much matter about inherent human rights defenders on the ground some asthma jangan who was a special rapporteur on iran was a human rights defender who was absolutely brilliant in pakistan on national laws and then later on international human rights because what we need are ways of impairing more as which angers the next generation of voices who understand how to use the human rights system at the u.n. and to regional levels to lobby for affective change to protect and promote human rights and we need to do that in order that member states don't feel that they can
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with impunity simply crack down on those human rights defenders and national level sufficient i mean do you think that building momentum to words. removing countries from the human rights council for example could be productive in the near future because some of the nations have been widely accused of committing atrocities like in places like in yemen for example but then nothing has been done to address this issue is exactly there are standards that are supposed to apply to human rights council membership the standards that are being set out very clearly by the general assembly there's an expectation that member states what hold the highest standards of human rights and cooperate with the council and mechanisms all too often though those standards aren't on it or are fragrantly playground you violated we have seen that when there are competitive elections in new york that sometimes the rights violators don't get elected so for example russia around on
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a competitive state at the same time that it was responsible for atrocities in in syria and it came and bottom of it of its vote in poland was not elected to the human rights council other states like egypt and saudi arabia received the the fewest votes within their regional groups but because it was not a competitive election there only as many candidates the seats they got elected anyway so i do fully agree that there should be consequences for violation of membership standards and they should be increased and tend to be human rights forwards which are addicted to the council so that they are subject to increased scrutiny to get it and during the time of the body that may be a disincentive the rights violators to seek membership develop medias see the possibility for. abuse as to be. prosecuted in the near future singled out by the international community more isolated or do you think this is. this might take quite some time.
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with brody in a take why some tyro probably never happen as long as a lot of these regimes. want one thing we have we have two addresses the gowns are no made in africa the tools the spy tools that african governments used to repress press their populations are now made in africa brought to him from either china or from the the west so we need to address the sources of the problem that the people aid in these african governments to repress their populations so that needs to be addressed first before we start talking about really dealing with the africans repressed in their people on the ground so we need to have a mechanism where we know where who is what to who in africa and then we can deal in full up from there because as things stand right now these african governments they they have a free round they can do whatever they want and the beyond is no one no one chases
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them i see authorities international organizations have to they have to make it easy for the africans on the ground to to bring cases against these african dictators again murderous. i mean against this background what do we need now see more conferences meetings gathering like we've been seeing at all these organizations or see activists humor why it's people sent to the filled because ultimately these are the people who could potentially base international awareness about those who commit atrocities. we shouldn't underestimate the power of these u.n. conferences u.n. sessions of the visibility people watching them on the web cons n.g.o.s coming to geneva being able to run side events activists being able to speak within the council chamber we're station underestimate the importance that member states place on these meetings because they receive visibility there is naming and shaming they
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feel very much under scrutiny of course these meetings on their own cannot do everything just like human rights defenders across the world on their own can't do everything what we need to do is have a much more global and joined up thinking on this not just rely on those n.g.o.s that are based in geneva or in new york with lots of access but go out on the ground and work with local n.g.o.s empowered and bring them into geneva into universal periodic review sessions into the human rights council we need to ensure that countries like china know that it may not happen it could dissidents if they block them from coming to the human rights council as happened with the women who unfortunately died on the media human rights council on in detention that they will be named and shamed for it that there will be scrutiny on cue those kind of abuses thank you thank you very much indeed we do have time to talk more about other who were vice abuse of those devotee how they're pushing to in the near future russia for them and kofi the loamy john fisher thank you very much indeed for your contribution to the program and thank you too for watching you can see the program again and its time by visiting our website just euro dot com for further discussion
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go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter i'll hand it is a.j. inside story for me has a whole bottle of the whole team here by phone now. time the bamboo harvest is navigating dangerous rapids from the time we depart two thousand we finish are scared to the fish and dicing with death. from afraid of
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poland i'm afraid of dying breed if i don't go by coughing up my family to meet the men who go to the extreme just to make a living cot you have to be a school or swim or otherwise and surf and risking it all vietnam at this time on al-jazeera. the nature of news as it breaks there is a sense of the new toped with a president who enjoys quite a deal with details coverage they are dodging distractions that appear to be hurting president trump's ability to manage the mideast peace crisis from around the world over one hundred thirty one thousand people are registered in a south korean database first separated family. violence and discrimination are all too familiar to many women in india a reality too often reinforced by bollywood. but its leading star is throwing his
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weight behind the cause. the body to about their duty and using his celebrity to advocate for gender equality. the snake charmers ahmed khan witness at this time either. i know i'm about to send in doha with the top stories on al-jazeera there's been no lives have been attacks in syria's eastern hotel despite a russia's pause in his style that he's activists of reported government shelling and fighting on three fronts during the five hour truce.


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