National Security

NATIONAL SECURITY

Government leaders are often tempted to violate rights in times of insecurity.  

The coronavirus has been one such challenge, where US government authorities have claimed nonviolent protests have threatened national security and deployed a military response, using chemical weapons to disperse demonstrators.  The Trump administration has also regularly called the media an “enemy of the state” and incited violence against members of the press, and has not significantly addressed cyberthreats by countries attempting to influence America’s electoral process, which have benefited the party in power. 

The U.S. government's response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 provides another example.  The 9/11 attacks tested America's commitment to established domestic and international human rights laws, such as prohibitions on torture, secret prisons, and indefinite detention without trial.  Some government officials argued that these actions were necessary to gain intelligence and save lives. Critics, including many national security experts, argued that torture and other cruelty was not only illegal and immoral, but produced false confessions and unreliable information. The executive branch of the government also maintains a targeted killing program, using armed drones to strike terrorism suspects with little oversight or accountability.

People all over the world feel the effects of U.S. security and counterterrorism policies because US behavior influences that of other nations. Following the lead of the United States, many oppressive rulers have tried to justify abuses by citing the US government’s example. 

External Resources

Fake Video Calls Aim to Harm Ukraine Refugees

The mayor of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, has appeared on camera for years. Some of this footage has now apparently been manipulated by impostors impersonating him.

Read More

Maldives New ‘Evidence’ Law Undermines Media Freedom

In a serious setback for media freedom, the Maldives parliament today enacted legislation allowing courts to force journalists and media outlets to reveal their sources.

Read More

US Supreme Court Deals Blow to Climate Action

In a significant setback for climate action, the United States Supreme Court ruled yesterday to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Read More

Top Human Rights Tweets of the Week

Trending rights tweets this week.

Read More

Uganda: President Pledges Rights Improvements

President Yoweri Museveni should accelerate steps toward fulfilling his commitments to end abuses by security forces and restrictions on civil society and journalists in Uganda.

Read More

Yanomami Indigenous People at Risk in Venezuela

Cenoya Silva, a Yanomami Indigenous woman from the remote community of Parima B in Amazonas state in Venezuela, has been waiting three months to see family members who are being confined in a military hospital in Caracas, 500 miles from their community.

Read More

Czech Republic Should Ensure the Rule of Law is Central to EU Agenda

As the Czech Republic takes over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1, respect for the rule of law within the Union should be a top priority.

Read More

Georgia: First ICC Arrest Warrants

Arrest warrants issued on [DATE] 2022 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes committed during the 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia are the first public results of the court’s six-year investigation.

Read More

How Colombia Could Inspire the Fight for Abortion Rights in the US

The US Supreme Court may have overturned Roe v. Wade, but people living in the United States should look to Colombia for motivation, as abortion rights were expanded there earlier this year.

Read More

Palestine: Impunity for Arbitrary Arrests, Torture

Palestinian authorities are systematically mistreating and torturing Palestinians in detention, including critics and opponents.

Read More

The UN Security Council Should Renew Cross-Border Aid for Syrians

In less than two weeks, the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council will make a decision that affects the lives of more than 4.1 million people in northwestern Syria.

Read More

Honduras: Rights Agenda for the Castro Administration

Honduras’ new government should enact reforms to better protect basic rights and the rule of law after years of setbacks since the 2009 coup, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing a letter to President Xiomara Castro. The letter and accompanying 12-page report lay out the main human rights challenges in Honduras and key recommendations to address them.

Read More

Lesbian Parents in the US Should Not Need to Adopt Their Own Children

When the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade on June 24, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people across the United States were horrified to learn that, in addition to having protection of key reproductive rights rolled back, their marriages and relationships could be next.

Read More

Ukraine: Russian Missile Kills Civilians in Shopping Center

(Poltava, Ukraine, June 30, 2022) – Russian forces launched a missile which struck a shopping center in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, on June 27, 2022. The attack killed at least 18 civilians, according to local authorities, and wounded dozens of others, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 29, 36 people remained missing, as rescue efforts continued.

Read More

Turkey: Mass Arrests, Anti-LGBT Violence at Pride

Turkish police attacked and arrested hundreds at the Istanbul Pride March last weekend, in a sweeping display of violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, as well as journalists attempting to report on the June 26 event. The number of arrests in 2022 is three-times more than the arrests during the previous seven Istanbul Pride marches combined. Thirty-four of those arrested were youth, according to Kaos GL, a Turkish LGBT rights group.

Read More