NGOs Seek to Embed Rights Standards in Machine Learning

July 11, 2018

A coalition of nongovernmental organizations has signed onto a “Toronto Declaration” that sets out human rights standards for machine-learning systems, particularly focused on requiring companies to ensure that such systems “respect the principles of equality and non-discrimination” and offer remedies to victims of alleged discrimination.

UN Agents Critique Austrian Focus on Political Islam

July 11, 2018

The UN Working Group on Mercenaries has called on Austria to avoid an “excessive” focus on punishing individuals who travel abroad to join and fight with terrorist groups and on combating political Islam as an ideology, instead emphasizing a need to “address the root causes of radicalisation and violent extremism” in a comprehensive manner.

UN Poverty Report Provokes Questions on Underlying Data

July 11, 2018

George Russell examines how a recent report from UN human rights mandate holder Philip Alston blaming economic inequality in the US on regressive government measures and “persistent and chronic racial bias” overlooks data on declining poverty rates and is based on input from activist groups that oppose policies of the Trump Administration.

UK Leader Triggers Blowback over “Common Rulebook” Plan

July 11, 2018

The BBC reports that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has divided her Conservative Party by adopting a Brexit negotiating position that would see the UK maintain a “common rulebook” with the EU, prompting resignations from her cabinet and critiques that such a plan would straitjacket UK trade policy.

 

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  • Haley Picks Apart UN Poverty Report

    July 16, 2018

    US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley writes that a recent report from UN human rights mandate holder Philip Alston blaming the US government for creating poverty in the country is a politically motivated and misleading manifesto that is a waste of American tax dollars.

     
  • UN Faces Renewed Criticism over Handling of Sexual Abuse

    July 16, 2018

    The New York Times reports that the UN system, and particularly its development apparatus, is facing a rash of criticism for maintaining a “byzantine” reporting mechanism lacking consistent and predictable procedures for dealing with sexual abuse allegations and often favoring men in power over their female accusers.

     
  • Israel Lowers Participation in UNHRC

    July 16, 2018

    The Times of Israel reports that, following the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Israeli government announced that it has temporarily reduced its participation in the body, which the country’s Prime Minister called a “biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization.”

     
 
  • Business Group Launches Labor Guidelines for Engineering, Construction

    July 16, 2018

    A coalition of companies called Building Responsibly has published a set of Worker Welfare Principles, developed in consultation with “civil society stakeholders,” to establish a global “baseline” for labor rights in the engineering and construction industries aligned with international human rights standards.

     
  • Rhode Island Files Climate Lawsuit Against Energy Companies

    July 16, 2018

    The Washington Times reports that Rhode Island has become the first US state to file a lawsuit seeking damages from energy companies for their contribution to future negative impacts in the state caused by global warming.

     
  • NGO Issues Guidelines on Rights Observance in IT Supply Chains

    July 16, 2018

    The nongovernmental organization Germanwatch has published, with financial support from the German government, a report containing recommendations to EU institutions and the information technology (IT) industry on how best to implement the global human rights agenda and OECD guidelines in guidelines on minerals sourcing.

     
 
  • CoE Official Warns of Migrant, Social Rights Violations in Greece

    July 16, 2018

    Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović has called on CoE members to address the ongoing arrival of migrants in Greece “in a spirit of collective responsibility and solidarity” and warned of the impact of “austerity” measures on the social and economic rights of the country’s citizens.

     
  • ECtHR: Russia Violated Prisoners’ Right to Compensation

    July 16, 2018

    The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has held that Russian courts violated the rights of two complainants to compensation by awarding them a low level of damages to compensate them for extra time they spent in prison.

     
  • ECtHR: Russia Failed to Comply with Ruling on Prisoners’ Family Rights

    July 16, 2018

    The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has held that the Russian government failed to reform its practice of interfering with the ability of prisoners to maintain contact with their families by sending them to far-away prisons in response to a 2017 ECtHR judgment, and that Russia offered no effective remedy to challenge such policies.

     
 
  • Malaysian Man Receives $450 Fine for Islamic Family Law Violation

    July 16, 2018

    A 41-year-old Malaysian man was fined $450 for violating certain parts of the state’s Islamic family law when he married an 11-year-old girl, although his fine did not include marriage to a minor.

     
  • Critics of Planned Islamic Concert Receive “Islamophobic” Label

    July 16, 2018

    Muslim organizations in France have deployed the term “Islamophobic” against critics of  planned Islamic concerts, including a musician whose most well-known song is entitled “Jihad,” at the site of the 2015 Islamist terrorist attacks at the Bataclan theatre in Paris.

     
  • IS Militants Kill Guards at Saudi Prison

    July 16, 2018

    The Islamic State’s (IS) digital magazine has reported that IS militants staged an attack against security guards at a major prison in Saudi Arabia, with an unknown number of casualties.