People respect the security guards

Where there is arbitrariness : Ten countries in which the human rights situation is particularly dire

It's a special day. One who should make it clear that civil liberties, the rule of law and protection against political, racist or religious persecution are by no means a matter of course.

That is why December 10th was declared Human Rights Day, which is intended to draw attention to violations of fundamental rights and to denounce abuses.

It is true that the General Assembly of the United Nations agreed on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. But more than 70 years later, these guidelines are being questioned and violated in many countries around the world. This ranges from the arrest of opposition members to forced labor and discrimination to torture and executions. Human rights are particularly bad in these countries.


Many Uyghurs expressed outrage on Monday after the press conference by the Chinese vice-party leader of the Communist Party of Xinjiang. Shorat Zakir claimed that all of the people who were in the "vocational training centers" in western China have "completed" their training and are now living happy lives.

"Then where is my father?" Tweeted Fatima Abdulghafur, a Uyghur from Sydney. “Where are my mother, brother and sister? Where is my cousin Why can't I call her? If the claim is true, show it to me and send it to Australia! "

The Chinese government has banished over a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities to re-education camps in Xinjiang under the pretext of "fighting terrorism". The arbitrariness, systematics and human rights violations in the camps have recently become even better known through leaked government documents.

But China is not only criticized because of the massive state oppression of the Uyghurs. Police violence in Hong Kong, the oppression of Tibetans, the arrest of human rights activists and lawyers, torture in prisons, organ harvesting from hospitals, lack of freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of religion are other violations that human rights organizations accuse China of.

North Korea

The isolated state is one of the most repressive countries in the world. While the ruler Kim Jong Un shows his strength with nuclear weapons and missile tests, the people in his own country are brutally suppressed. According to Amnesty International, up to 120,000 people are detained in prison camps for political reasons, where they are subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

Forced labor is widespread in North Korea. The government uses them to prop up the economy and keep the population under control, reports the human rights organization Human Rights Watch. "A significant majority of North Koreans have unpaid work at some point in their lives."

North Koreans also have to generate foreign currency for the regime abroad, especially in Russia. They have to work hard, are only paid by the government, and have limited mobility. Human rights organizations refer to them as "work slaves".


Almost two decades after entering the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued to expand his power. Opposition and critical journalists are exposed to repression, the freedom of assembly has been so severely restricted that it has in fact been abolished.

Amnesty International explains that anyone who campaigns for human rights in Russia must fear for their freedom, health and life. Even after ten years, the murder of the human rights activist Natalia Estemirova has not been cleared up any more than the murders of well-known politicians and journalists.

The human rights situation is particularly worrying in the Russian republic of Chechnya, where arbitrariness and lawlessness have prevailed for years. There are repeated reports of arbitrary arrests, torture and "disappearances" of people in Chechnya. In addition, homosexuals are brutally persecuted.


Former Venezuelan UN ambassador Diego E. Arria calls it a "shame" that Venezuela was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on October 17th. Membership is a “fig leaf” for the socialist ruler Nicolás Maduro.

In no country in South America are human rights so in such distress. According to the organization "Foro Penal" there are around 400 political prisoners in Venezuela. 17 of the 112 opposition members of the deposed parliament are now in exile. Maduro's opponent Juan Guiadó is still free, but the secret service and constant harassment are supposed to wear him down and his supporters.

Journalists cannot work freely either. Socialist thugs, colectivos, and demonstrators repeatedly attack or ambush opponents of the regime. In addition, there is a judiciary that no longer acts independently. More than 4.3 million people have now left the country. The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, said recently that Venezuela is now a dictatorship.


For Bashar al Assad, the matter is clear - anyone who does not accept the rule of the president without ifs and buts will be declared a terrorist and mercilessly persecuted as an enemy of the state. Arbitrary arrests, torture and executions without due process are among the targeted means of power.

In a confidential situation report by the Federal Foreign Office, it is said that 17,000 people died as a result of abuse in dungeons. Others died because they starved to death or were withheld from urgent medical care.

According to information from activists, several million Syrians are on the wanted lists of the state authorities. Tens of thousands have disappeared without a trace. Human rights activists call this regime’s approach a “policy of annihilation”.


Orders and obedience, whoever does not obey this rule of law, must fear the repression instruments of a police and military state in Egypt by the head of state Abdel Fattah al Sisi. The result is a climate of intimidation and fear.

If you dare to criticize the rulers, it can result in excessive violence and imprisonment. Freedom of expression, association and assembly are severely restricted. According to human rights activists, there are an estimated 60,000 political prisoners.

Without the rule of law, members of the opposition and democracy activists are sentenced to long prison terms. Courts sentenced hundreds of defendants to death. Observers largely agree that Egypt today is much more repressive than it was under the long-term dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Saudi Arabia

The Gulf country is an ally of the West, but it is far from Western standards. The world learned how cruelly the state is acting against its critics even abroad after the murder of the Saudi regime critic Jamal Kashoggi in Istanbul a year ago.

In Saudi Arabia itself, key human rights are severely restricted or ineffective. Government critics or human rights activists are imprisoned for many years. The blogger Raif Badawi has been in prison for seven years for allegedly insulting Islam. Representatives of the Shiite minority were cruelly executed. Beheadings take place in public.

Women are now allowed to drive and work, but the law continues to discriminate against them. In addition, the Saudi Arabia-led International Military Alliance committed serious violations of international law in Yemen.


There are gross violations of human rights in Iran. Central rights such as freedom of expression, assembly and religion as well as the right to sexual self-determination are severely restricted or suspended.

The Revolutionary Guards enforce their radical Islamic rules against women. People are locked up who express criticism without the use of force. Trials violate the rule of law, prisoners are mistreated and tortured. Cruel corporal punishments are carried out, including flogging and amputation.

Hundreds of people are executed every year, some in public. According to information from the opposition, around 200 people were recently killed when protests were cracked down, the US is even talking about 1,000.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The dimension of violence in the African country, which is as big as Central and Western Europe combined, receives little attention in Europe. The United Nations estimate the number of deaths in the Congo since 1996 at four to five million people. Around 100 people die every day.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is widely regarded as a "failed state" that cannot even guarantee the basic security of the people in all parts of its territory and meet their basic needs. Neither the army nor the UN peacekeeping mission for the Congo (Monusco) can keep the 120 militias in check, which are fighting each other and enriching themselves with the valuable raw materials.

In the east of the country in particular, ethnic conflicts and mass rape are terrible everyday occurrences. But there are also problems where the government has the say: security forces are brutal against opposition rallies.


This spring, the EU lamented “serious setbacks” in terms of human rights in its latest report on Turkey. Since the attempted coup in 2016 in particular, the country has slipped into an autocratic state, in which restrictions on civil liberties are justified with the necessary fight against alleged enemies of the state.

Tens of thousands of people were imprisoned during this time because they are said to have had connections with the coup plotters, and hundreds of thousands lost their jobs. Several hundred newspapers, television channels and radio stations have been banned - according to a count by the Turkish journalists' union TGC, 110 journalists are currently behind bars.

President Erdogan's government promises improvements through judicial reform. So far, however, no lasting changes have been identified.

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