Is the 21st century one of freedom?Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
On 27th of February 2002, in the Indian city of Godhra, Gujarat, a Muslim crowd attacked a train filled with Hindu activists, firing two cars, and killing 27 persons. The event triggered a violent spiral of religious revenge and four days later, 2,000 Muslims were killed, their houses, mosques and trades destroyed and hundreds of women raped and mutilated before the members of their families.
Later investigations revealed that the attacks had been planned and done with the mutual approval and collaboration of the local authorities.
Religious intolerance has been signaled in Afghanistan, Algeria, Brazil, Burundi, Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Liberia, Nigeria, many countries of the Middle East, Congo, Russia, Uganda, China (see the Muslims of Xinjiang) and others.
Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Torture is a common practice in Brazil and the violence in prisons is common and with tragic consequences. At the end of May 2002, 20 convicted and a guardian died during a revolt in the prison of maximum security of Manaus. The imprisoned protested against the tortures and the subsequent killing of an inmate and against the overpopulation and the inhuman life conditions in the prison.
In January 2002, 27 prisoners were assassinated during a revolt in the prison of Oso Blanco (the Amazonian state of Rondonia). The victims were stabbed, shot, hung or tossed from the roof by inmates belonging to rival bands.
The more recent episodes of Abu Graib are too fresh in our minds...
These infringements have also been signaled in Angola, Argentina, US, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Peru, Congo, Dominican Republic, South Africa, Russia, Turkey, Tunisia, Vietnam and other countries.
Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
For 18 years, LRA (Lord Resistance Army) guerrilla from northern Uganda has been kidnapping boys to train them as soldiers and girls to turn them in sexual slaves of the commanders. In 2002, the number of children found in the power of LRA was of 20,000.
Slavery has been also signaled in Albania, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Myanmar, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Georgia, Kirghistan, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and other countries.
Article 13.(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
After the fire cease between the government of Angola and UNITA in 2001, the number of people experiencing hunger reached 2 millions. 4.5 million people were refugees. The harassment and extortion amongst refugees is common, just like rapes.
This violation is also signaled in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Colombia, ex-Yugoslavia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Congo, Uganda ...The Darfour case of Sudan is much too famous.
Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
15 journalists were killed and 68 experienced violent attacks in turbid circumstances for having denounced the corruption and abuses of the Russian Army in Chechnya. The special correspondent of "Novaia Gazeta" in the Caucasian republic was "invited" in 2002 to leave the country.
Infringement of the freedom of speech and media, and killed/attacked journalists have been also signaled in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Kenya, Sudan, Panama, Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, Iran, Pakistan, Tunisia, Vietnam, China ...
Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
The Vietnamese authorities adopted an increasingly severe attitude towards the so-called 'groups of high risk behavior for contracting HIV', like drug addicted and prostitutes, qualified as "social demons". At least 75,000 drug dependent persons were detained in 71 overpopulated rehab camps in 2002.
Similar situations have been signaled in Belarus, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Pakistan, Congo, Russia, Ukraine, Zambia...