January 2021

PHOTO OF THE MONTHYakutsk, 23 January 2021: a demonstration at 50 degrees below zero in support of the Russian opponent Alexei Navanly

Dear friend,

2021 has fully kicked off with several relevant steps forward concerning our campaign for the recognition of the Right To Know. A new horizon opened up at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), as in the first session of 2021 a draft resolution on the Right to Know, of which Sen. Roberto Rampi is the General Rapporteur, has been scheduled for adoption by PACE Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media in June and by the the plenary in October this year. In a conversation on Radio Radicale from Strasbourg, Sen. Roberto Rampi and Matteo Angioli talked about the progress made in the last few weeks and the timetable set for the project.

Professor Luciano Floridi delivered a statement in support of the right to know, explaining why the affirmation of the Right to Know as a new generation human right is an indispensable tool to promote the rule of law in an increasingly borderless world dominated by technology. Prof. Floridi partook, on 15 January, Martin Luther King’s birth date, in a webinar we organized with a coalition of organizations committed to the formal recognition of the human and civil right to know. The appeal, launched during the webinar “Martin Luther King Day: from civil rights to the Right to Know”, puts forward a coordinated action to protect democracy as well as its underpinning values and human rights to shape the global and digital society.

As we look at the future of rights, we also look at the past. On the International Day of Remembrance, we recalled the tragedy of the Holocaust. As we witness a growing return of persecution of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in too many places in the world, it is all the more urgent that, just like 73 years ago, the words “never again” be transformed again into concrete and incisive actions.

There is no dramatic reality today, more emblematic of this urgency, than the plight of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang, subjected to a four-year campaign of mass internment and forced labour by the Chinese authorities. The GCRL, together with an international coalition of over 40 international civil society organizations, launched a Joint Appeal to the European Institutions calling for the inclusion of enforceable human rights clauses in the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI).

We also pay attention to the situation in Poland, where over 70 magistrates demonstrated to say “no more intimidation of judges” and to speak out against the “exerting unacceptable strain” placed on their colleagues. On the one hand the Polish government argues that certain reforms of the judiciary are necessary to tackle corruption and make the judicial system more efficient, on the other hand, critical voices, including the European Commission, state that the independence of the judiciary in Poland is being eroded as this recent event show us again.

As the new years begins, our campaigns continue and we hope to lead them with your support as well.

Asia Jane Leigh
Researcher

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