The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
September 26, 2016, Rights Reading
By UUSC on September 26, 2016
Our weekly roundup of what we’re reading: a few select articles from the front lines of human rights that we don’t want you to miss.
1. “Anti-gay pastor arrested and deported from Botswana,” Ed Cropley, Tiisetso Motsoeneng, and Catherine Evans, Huffington Post, September 20, 2016
Encouraging news about sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) rights in Africa came with the announcement that President Ian Khama of Botswana ordered the arrest and “immediate deportation” of U.S. Pastor Steven Anderson, of the Faithful World Baptist Church in Arizona, after Anderson called for the killing of gays and lesbians during a radio interview in the capital city of Gabarone. President Khama’s action came a week after Anderson was banned from South Africa. President Khama reported, “He was picked up at the radio station…. We don’t want hate speech in this country.”
UUSC is pleased to see such official action in support of SOGI rights by the government of an African country and looks forward to more progress in the future. Stay up to date on our African SOGI rights strategy on our website.
2. “The UN’s urgent plan to help refugees – two years from now,” Uri Friedman, The Atlantic Magazine, September 20, 2016
This thorough perspective on the world’s current refugee crisis and the U.N. plan to take urgent action on their behalf during its first-ever Summit for Refugees and Migrants earlier this month.
In addition to sobering facts such as “one in every 113 people in the world today has been driven from home by violence, persecution, or human rights violations,” and the news that German chancellor Angela Merkel regrets her country’s welcoming policies toward refugees after defeats in recent elections. On the other hand, Canada is “looking at our options,” according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who announced “a commitment to spend another $64.5 million to support people affected by humanitarian crises.”
Perhaps the most significant observation Friedman makes is the difference between how organizations like the United Nations and world governments define the word, “urgent.” He writes, “World leaders measure time in months and years. Refugees do so in minutes and hours.”
Read more about UUSC’s ongoing work to support the world’s refugees and how you can help here. Or join the Refugee Rapid Response Network here.
3. “Philippines: Duterte critic Leila de Lima says she fears for her life,” James Griffiths, CNN, September 22, 2016
“I don’t feel safe. The truth is I am not safe,” the leading critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in an interview last week. Her statement came shortly after she was removed as head of the country’s Senate Justice and Human Rights committee, which had been investigating President Duterte’s “war on drugs,” which includes encouragement for police and vigilantes to kill drug dealers without fear of prosecution. She is accused by the Duterte administration of accepting bribes from Philippine drug lords in return for political favors, charges she denies.
The Senate Justice and Human Rights committee resumed its hearings despite de Lima’s removal; a recent witness provided the sensational testimony that he had personally witness Duterte “personally execute a justice department official with an Uzi submachine gun.”
UUSC is monitoring the human rights crisis in the Philippines through its on-the-ground consultant Rainera (Renee) Lucero, who reported on recent events to all of the organization’s staff via a conference call on September 21. Lucero reported on the removal of Senator de Lima and its likely political motivations. Read UUSC’s special statement denouncing President Duterte’s human rights violations here.