2012: A Year of Human Rights Challenges

As Human Rights violations continue around the world, will 2013 be a better year?

The Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya is home to roughly one million inhabitants and is considered one of the largest slums in Africa (GALLO/GETTY)
International Human Rights day is celebrated on December 10, but from a human rights perspective, 2012 has been more of a year to learn from than one to celebrate.

Human Rights Day was chosen to honour the UN General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on December 10, 1948, which was the first global enunciation of human rights.

Yet, for most of the years since then, the reality has been quite different than the Human Rights ideals set more than 60 years ago.

“Northern Mali is a veritable hell-hole, especially for women, as an al-Qaeda affiliate imposes its version of Sharia Law on the population, leading to amputations, executions and complete lack of freedom,” Bill O’Neil, an international lawyer who is the Director of Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum told Al Jazeera.

O’Neil pointed out how North Korea continues to violate countless Human Rights, as the country engages in true totalitarian repression, and explained how the government in Bahrain “has exerted control over all aspects of basic freedoms, continues its crackdown on freedom of assembly, association and a lack of fair trial, and torture is common in detentions there.”

And it’s not just countries one would usually suspect of Human Rights violations.

O’Neil posed this question for the United States:

“Will the Obama administration reveal its drone targeting criteria so that we can all see whether they are consistent with obligations under binding international law?”

The Obama administration ordered an end to government complicity in torture but continues to refuse to investigate, let alone prosecute, US officials who were responsible.

Read the full article at Al Jazeera English.