The Xinjiang region, which exports 20 percent of the world’s cotton, has become the world’s largest open-air prison. Illustration by Mariana Bernardez for the Human Rights Foundation.

Have you ever thought about how the shirt you’re wearing was made?

What if it turned out that some of the people who helped make your shirt were working against their will in concentration camps, as part of a modern-day system of slavery? If you knew about the lives of these workers and their names, would you still want to buy and wear that shirt?

Researchers have verified that the video above was taken in Xinjiang, located in the northwestern region of China. Referred to as East Turkestan by locals, Xinjiang is home to China’s ethnic minority, the Uyghur…


Berta Soler and the Ladies in White marching in Havana (March 20, 2016)

Last month, the Cuban regime reportedly released over 6,500 prisoners to curb the spread of COVID-19. It was also reported that more than 300 people were imprisoned for “spreading an epidemic” by refusing to wear face masks.

It is unclear whether political prisoners were among those granted an “early release,” but pursuant to a petition signed by Cuban organizations operating in exile, political prisoners continue to be subjected to the most deplorable conditions during the pandemic.

The Cuban regime’s actions clearly demonstrate the implementation of repressive policies under the guise of “modernization” — further entrenching the government’s totalitarian dictatorship.

Introduction


by Prachi Vidwans, HRF research associate

When the Wuhan coronavirus rose to international attention in mid-January, we saw many well-reported articles detailing the ways that Chinese authorities suppressed information about the epidemic in its early stages.

From Li Yuan’s detailed description in the New York Times of the CCP’s treatment of critics, to the BBC’s reporting on social media censorship used in Wuhan, it seemed clear that the CCP’s authoritarian instincts and internal climate of fear were a direct threat to global health.

But on January 23, members of the World Health Organization’s emergency committee directly opposed this narrative of…


Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Photo by Studio Incendo.

By HRF’s Center for Law and Democracy

Yesterday, as masked Hong Kong citizens dressed up to celebrate Halloween in streets full of tear gas, the government successfully obtained a temporary injunction to curtail online speech in the city.

In recent days, the Hong Kong government has applied for a series of injunctions to ban protest-related activities in an attempt to discourage the pro-democracy protests that have gone on for more than four months.

This latest injunction prohibits online speech that “promotes, encourages or incites the use or threat of violence” that is “intended or likely to cause” physical injury or…


Why the World Should Pay Attention to Bolivia’s Presidential Election

Protests across Bolivia have drawn well over a million people since the start of October.

By Jhanisse Vaca Daza

The fires that ravaged the Chiquitano dry forest of Bolivia may cause President Evo Morales’ hopes of a fourth term to go up in smoke. Sunday’s election provides an opportunity for Bolivians to express their opposition to the Morales government and rid the world of an authoritarian ruler.

Since early July, the Chiquitano — a forest that is home to more than 500 unique species and over 100,000 indigenous peoples, and is the origin point of the Amazon river — has lost more than 4 million…


Don’t Elect Human Rights Abusers to the UN Human Rights Council

On Oct. 17, the U.N. General Assembly will vote to elect the new members of the Human Rights Council.

This week, the U.N. General Assembly will vote to elect 14 countries to the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC). Six countries that are notorious for their poor human rights records have a strong chance of being elected to the very same council that is supposed to condemn their actions.

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro is among those who stands to join the UN’s highest human rights body. This is possible because of the way that the elections are structured. …


It’s well known that freedom of expression does not exist in China. The country’s dictatorship regularly and harshly persecutes its citizens if they dare to dissent, protest, or petition for free and fair elections.

And now Beijing is forcibly exporting this culture of censorship to its many business partners around the world.

The examples are endless. Apple removed Taiwan flag emojis from its phones in Hong Kong; Marriott sought forgiveness from Beijing after an employee “liked” a tweet about Tibet; McDonalds pulled a television ad that angered Chinese authorities; American Airlines altered its materials to erase Taiwan as a self-governed…


Join the Human Rights Foundation for inspiring talks from heroic individuals at the forefront of the struggle for freedom around the world.

The Oslo Freedom Forum, held in Norway each May, brings together leaders and influencers to discuss how to make the world more peaceful, prosperous, and free. At the Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, we bring this experience and community to the U.S. with a one-day version of our annual Norwegian summit.

On October 23, HRF presents some of the world’s bravest activists — a master class in the struggle for freedom around the globe. …


By: Jhanisse Vaca-Daza

Illustration by Stephanie Cui

Simply put, staying disciplined when it comes to practicing nonviolence in protests is easier in theory than in practice. But when peaceful protest is done well, it may just be one of humanity’s biggest accomplishments.

Keeping a collectively cool head is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges for pro-democracy movements in the face of tyranny. In the case of Standing Rivers (Ríos de Pie), a Bolivian movement that I belong to, avoiding clashes with the police is something we’re not only prepared for but for which we have methodically trained. …


By: Alvaro Piaggio & Prachi Vidwans

This week, we’re launching the Human Rights Foundation’s (HRF) first-ever drug policy report: The Cost and Consequences of the War on Drugs.

This project was kickstarted over a year ago with a panel at the 2018 Oslo Freedom Forum, where experts — including International Narcotics Control Board member Francisco Thoumi — discussed the serious, negative impact that international drug prohibition has had on human rights. What we heard from our panelists and other activists in the HRF community is that international human rights organizations are not doing enough work in the drug policy arena…

Human Rights Foundation

We promote democracy and human rights around the world, with a focus on authoritarian regimes.

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