Dutch social care shift hits disabled people’s rights
The Netherlands government plans to slash social care funding and put pressure on frail elderly and other disabled people to do ‘voluntary’ work in return for any help they get, the newspaper Volkskrant reported. Austerity measures have already taken a heavy toll, and are hugely unpopular.
There is overwhelming evidence that human activities are mainly responsible for climate change since the mid-twentieth century, and urgent action is needed to tackle the problem, scientific experts have said.
Benefit cheats will face sentences of up to 10 years, director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC has threatened. While punishing fraud by claimants – and frightening people who are honest but fear being targeted – will be popular with parts of the public, the lack of a sense of proportion is worrying.
Protecting the health of migrants is a matter of human rights, according to a report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) along with the World Health Organisation and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR). This raises important ethical and legal concerns, especially in countries bringing in measures which reduce migrants’ access to healthcare or damage their health. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18710)
UN commissioner challenges Sri Lanka human rights denial
At a press conference in Colombo on 31 August 2013, United Nations high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay highlighted serious ongoing concerns, while recognising progress in some areas. Numerous people continue to be denied human rights, in part because so many others are in denial about abuses by state or rebel forces.
UK parliament rejects vigilante violence against Syria
The UK parliament has prudently rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s call to join in military action in Syria which would almost certainly have been unlawful. While tough measures are needed, vigilante ‘justice’ contrary to international law could have catastrophic consequences. A US attack is still likely.
The UK government is seeking to rush a new law through Parliament which would heavily limit action on political and social issues in the twelve months before an election. This threat to basic freedoms could have drastic consequences.
UK parliamentarians have invited the far-right chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, despite his role in the mass murder of minorities. The opposition Labour Party and Conservative-led government risk serious embarrassment, and worse, if they do not act now to distance themselves from this controversial politician.
Church of England: Is error really better than uncertainty?
Many people like religious as well as political leaders to be clear and decisive, even if they are sometimes wrong. However Christian faith is primarily about love and trust in a living God, rather than the pretence of certainty on all kinds of matters. On issues such as sexuality, where different views are widely held, churches should be open to differences in practice.