I’m constantly reminded how good I have it as I sift through human rights issues. It's easy to just brush off the turmoil abroad because it doesn’t make a direct impact on my daily life. But with some of these stories, basic humanity is at stake. In this issue update, I’m tackling some issues that continue to rear their ugly heads and some new ones you may just be hearing about for the first time. Take the next few minutes to put yourself in someone else’s shoes…
- In 2006, six-year-old Anyelí Liseth Hernández Rodríguez was kidnapped from her home in Guatemala. In 2008, American couple Timothy and Jennifer Monahan adopted a little girl from the country. Now, the girl’s birth mother and a human rights agency say Rodríguez was illegally put up for adoption and want the little girl -- now called Karen Abigal Monahan -- back. The situation poses an emotional and difficult scenario for the families, but also the U.S. government, which is not only required to follow international adoption regulations, but also protect the rights of its citizens, which now include little Karen Abigal Monahan. A Guatemalan court has ordered that the girl be returned to her birth mother, but the Monahans have indicated they intend to put up a fight. Stay tuned for developments, but as the president of the National Council for Adoption, Chuck Johnson noted, “This is a no-win situation.”
- More than a year and a half after the earthquake that rocked Haiti, a disproportionate number of women and girls lack access to health care. Human Rights Watch’s report, “Nobody Remembers Us,” outlines that despite millions of dollars given to Haiti to provide unprecedented access to free health care, maternal and reproductive care is severely lacking. Many women are even trading sex for food which has only increased the growing epidemic of sexual violence against women since the earthquake.
- Three Iranian men were recently hanged for having gay sex, according to Iran Human Rights. The men were charged and executed for sodomy under the Islamic penal code. There is word that there will be more scheduled executions in the coming weeks in Iran. The executions are planned to be open to the public.
- Just in time for the start of the school year, New Jersey’s, “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” aims to protect students from bullying. The law was paired with a phone and text hotline where parents and students can report bullying incidents. School administrators say the law goes too far by putting strict reporting requirements on school officials. The bill stems from the growing headlines of youth suicide related to bullying, including the death of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student who jumped from a bridge after a video of his sexual encounter with another man was posted on the internet by his roommate.
Thanks for taking the time to look at human rights issues from different views around the world. With the upcoming election, what issues do you want to hear about from candidates?