Top 25 Human Rights Victories of 2011

My apologies to everyone. This slideshow was created back in January, but I have been extremely busy and haven’t had a chance to post anything for a while. For those of you who may have trouble reading the slide, I have included a transcript below.


1. Water Justice for India’s Victims – February 24: India’s state legislature in the southern state of Kerala passed a law allowing people who had been affected by Coca-Cola operations, which had polluted the Plachimada District’s natural water supply, to seek compensation. The action was welcome by communities throughout India and was celebrated at the international level as an important step toward holding multinational corporations accountable for their actions. (Photo: Jason Alden/OneRedEye)

2. Laurent Gbagbo Arrested for Crimes Against Humanity – April 12: Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo was arrested in April and flown to The Hague on November 30th to face charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. Gbagbo was first former head of state to be tried by the ICC. (Photo: AFP/ Getty Images)

3. Bolivia Passes Law of Mother Earth – April 22: The country passed the Law of Mother Earth, the world’s first piece of legislation that gives the natural world rights that are equal to those of humans. Bolivia has long suffered from serious environmental problems from the mining of tin, silver, gold and other raw materials.The law promotes “harmony” and “peace” and “the elimination of all nuclear, chemical, biological” weapons.

4. Nepal is Landmine Free – June 14: The United Nations announced that Nepal is landmine-free. Thousands of the anti-personnel devices had been planted by the Nepalese military to battle Maoist rebels during a10-year insurgency that began in 1996. (Photo: Tim Wimborne/Reuters)

5. UN Passes Gay Rights Resolution, Hailed as Historic Moment – June 22: The United Nations endorsed the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people for the first time ever, passing a resolution hailed as historic by the U.S. and other backers and decried by some African and Muslim countries. (Photo: AP)

6. New York Legalizes Gay Marriage – June 24: New York Legalizes Gay Marriage. NY became the sixth and largest state to legalize gay marriage. The bill, which passed 33-29, was the culmination of weeks of contentious debate and negotiations between Governor Cuomo and the GOP-controlled Senate. It is considered an important prize for advocates, given the states size and New York City’s international stature and its role as the birthplace of the gay rights movement, which is considered to have started with the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in 1969.

7. South Sudan Becomes Worlds Newest Nation – July 9: After two decades of civil war, South Sudan seceded from the north to became its own country. While this is a victory and hope remain high, there is still much unrest between the two countries. (Photo: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

8. International Tribunal Landmark Decision in Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States – July 21: Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States is the first case brought by a domestic violence survivor against the U.S. before an international human rights body, the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights. After 12 years of fighting, Lenahan received a measure of justice. In a landmark decision, an international tribunal has found the U.S. government responsible for violating the human rights of a Colorado woman and her three daughters, who had been victims of domestic violence. (Photo: Jessica Lenahan Gonzales)

9. Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Freed – July 22: After two and a half months of detention and an international outcry, famed artist Ai Weiwei was released on bail from a Chinese prison. Weiwei has been an outspoken critic of the Chinese governments repression and human rights record, and his family has long claimed that his arrest was an attempt by the authorities to silence his activism. Although Weiwei is out of prison, he is in the midst of battling a 2.4 million dollar fine for tax evasion that many believe to be just another form of harassment. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/ Reuters)

10. Chile Recognizes 9,800 More Pinochet Victims – August 18: Chile officially recognized 9,800 more victims of its dictatorship, increasing the total number of people killed, tortured or imprisoned for political reasons to 40,018. Survivors of rights violations will get get lifetime pensions of about $260 a month. Relatives of those killed receive more than three times that amount. In all, the government will need to increase its compensation to about $123 million a year. Victims also are entitled to health, education and housing benefits. (Photo: European Pressphoto Agency)

11. Peru Recognizes the Rights of Indigenous People – September 6: Peruvian President Humala traveled to Bagua, in the Peruvian Amazon region, to sign the Consultation with Indigenous Peoples Law, that requires government to consult with indigenous peoples before companies can begin projects like digging mines,drilling for oil or building dams. Indigenous peoples must also be consulted before Congress can approve any proposed law that could affect their rights.

12. California Passes First Ever Bill on Congo Conflict Minerals – September 12: California state assembly passed a bill that prohibits state agencies from signing contracts with companies that fail to comply with federal regulations aimed at deterring business with armed groups in eastern Congo. The California bill builds off the momentum of the Dodd-Frank bill passed by the U.S. Congress last year, by further encouraging companies to help build a legitimate mining industry in Congo.

13. Occupy Wall Street Movement – September 17: The first tent was pitched in New York City’s Zuccotti Park. Since then, the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread like wildfire, igniting a national conversation about unemployment, greed, income and economic inequality. (Photo: Craig Ruttle)

14. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Officially Ends – September 20: Americans finally said goodbye to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell—the law that banned gay service members from serving openly in the military. The repeal has been a long time coming and was a major milestone for gay rights advocates. (Photo: Getty Images)

15. Iran Releases American Hikers – September 21: After spending more than two years imprisoned in Iran, American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were released on September 21, 2011. Josh and Shane, along with Sarah Shroud—released from prison in 2010—were hiking in Iraq and charged with espionage and illegal entry into Iran. Supporters across the country banned together with the hikers families and fought tirelessly for their release. (Photo: Jumana El-Heloueh/Reuters)

16. Flavia Kyomukama Appointed to Head Uganda AIDS Commission – September 21: Amidst the uproar over Uganda’s proposed anti-homosexuality bill (whose fate in parliament remains unclear), an important sign of progress was largely overlooked. In September, the Uganda AIDS Commission announced the appointment of Flavia Kyomukama to its main decision-making committee. Ms. Kyomukama is a well-known HIV-positive activist and vocal advocate for the human rights of LGBTI people. In the Ugandan capital, she spoke of the need to “remind leaders that gays are human beings with a right to health.”

17. Palestine Makes UN Bid for Statehood Recognition – September 23: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has submitted his request to the UN for recognition of a Palestinian state. To rapturous applause in the General Assembly, he urged the Security Council to back a state with pre-1967 borders. (Photo: Getty Images)

18. Saudi Women Granted Right to Vote Without Male Approval – September 25: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia granted women the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, the biggest change in a decade for women in a puritanical kingdom that practices strict separation of the sexes.Saudi women, who are legally subject to male chaperones for almost any public activity, hailed the royal decree as an important, if limited, step toward making them equal to their male counterparts. They said the uprisings sweeping the Arab world for the past nine months —along with sustained domestic pressure for women’s rights and a more representative form of government — prompted the change. (Photo: Handout)

19. Arab Spring, Tunisia & Egypt Vote – October 23: Over the last year, a string of democratic uprisings has erupted across the Middle East and in North Africa. The revolution began in Tunisia in December 2010 when Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in act of protest. Nearly a year later,on 23 October 2011, Tunisians turned out in huge numbers for the country’s first free election. Mohamed Bouazizi’s mother is pictured after casting her ballot at a polling station. Protest spread across the Arab world to Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and several other countries. On 28 November 2011, Egyptians went to the polls for the first time in decades after ousting President Hosni Mubarak. (Photo: Jamal Saidi/Reuter)

20. Palestine Becomes a Full Member of UNESCO – October 31: The United Nations cultural agency admitted Palestine as a full member in a highly divisive bid that opponents say could harm renewed peace efforts. One hundred and seven (107) votes turned up in favor of Palestinians, while 14 were against the membership bid of Palestine. (Photo: AP)

21. World Population Reaches 7 Billion – October 31: Danica May Camacho came into the world at two minutes before midnight, a tiny, wrinkled girl born into a struggling Manila family in a crowded public hospital. She became a symbol of the world’s population reaching 7 billion people and all the worries that entails for the planet’s future. Amid the millions of births and deaths around the world each day, it is impossible to pinpoint the arrival of the globe’s 7 billionth occupant. But the U.N. chose Oct. 31st to mark the day with a string of festivities worldwide, and a series of symbolic 7 billionth babies being born. (Photo: Erik DeCastro/Pool)

22. Aung San Suu Kyi Returns to Politics – December 2: During Hillary Clinton’s historical visit to Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi spoke about political reform and freedom. She stated: “If we move forward together I am confident there will be no turning back on the road to democracy.” Suu Kyi has spent most of the last two decades under house arrest and was released last year. On December 13, 2011, with support from the people of Myanmar and the international community, Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party was given the go ahead to formally return to politics. The National League for Democracy (NLD) will register for a by-election this year. (Photo: POOL New/Reuters)

23. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Declares “Gay Rights Are Human Rights!” – December 6: Secretary Clinton delivered her Human Rights Day speech in Geneva, making a powerful, timely and truly historic argument for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. (Photos: Getty Images)

24. Three Women Win Nobel Peace Prize – December 11: In 2011, Nobel Peace Prizes were awarded to three brave and influential women for their fight against injustice, dictatorship and sexual violence. The women are Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee (C), Yemeni human rights activist Tawakul Karman (R) and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. When they accepted their award on December 11, 2011, in Oslo, they called on all women to stand up and fight for their rights. “My sisters, my daughters, my friends—find your voice, “Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said. Before this year, the Nobel Peace Prize had only been given to 12 women in the last 112 years. (Photo: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters)

25. Pakistan Passes Landmark Women’s Rights Bills – December 12: Senate unanimously passed two landmark women’s rights bills. The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010 and The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill 2008 aim to empower and protect women and increase penalties for perpetrators of gender-based violence. Dozens of Pakistani women every year suffer serious injury and physical deformity as a result of having acid or other corrosive substances thrown on them, often as a result of family disputes. (Photo: Muhammed Muheisen/ AP)

27 -28. Sources: Click the URL to be redirected related article.


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