Could human rights protections reverse today's cruelty?

Al Jazeera

Week after week, year after year, the endless stream of cruelties and occasional barbarism across the Middle East seems only to widen and deepen.

Alarm over Thailand soldiers being given police powers

Al Jazeera

Rights groups have condemned a new law issued by Thailand's military-led government that gives the country's soldiers police powers, warning it could lead to troops committing human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Commission of Jurists were among six groups that released a joint statement on Tuesday calling for the legislation to be rescinded. On March 29, the country's armed forces, including paramilitary units, were given wide-ranging powers to detain suspects without arrest warrants for up to a week for several crimes. The military said a crackdown on "mafia figures" was needed because of the lack of police officers to do the job. But the rights groups said the move was a judicial power grab that would give troops immunity from prosecution and may lead to abusive acts such as torture and enforced disappearances.

China condemns protection of corrupt officials in name of human rights

The Japan Times

BEIJING – The top anti-graft body in China, which is pushing for the extradition of corruption suspects who have fled abroad, condemned "some people" who protect corrupt officials in the name of human rights but did not name the targets of its ire. China has sought increased international cooperation in its "Fox Hunt" campaign to track down officials and business executives suspected of corruption who have fled overseas. But Western nations have been reluctant to sign extradition treaties with China, where mistreatment of criminal suspects remains a problem, and courts are not independent of the ruling Communist Party. They say China has not provided sufficient proof of suspects' crimes. "Some people internationally use human rights and the law as excuses," the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in an online statement on Sunday.

Privacy Protection Essential to Shield Human Rights, Says Microsoft's Smith


Microsoft President Brad Smith said on Wednesday a "new wave" of data privacy protection and other security measures was needed to safeguard people's rights at a time when "everything has gone digital". Speaking at Lisbon's Web Summit, Europe's largest tech conference, Smith said it was important to protect privacy, something he sees as a "fundamental human right" and one of the next decade's most critical issues. "It's why I believe we will not only need a new wave of technology but a new wave of privacy protection as well, a new wave of security protection, a new wave of measures to protect the ethics and human rights associated with artificial intelligence (AI)," he said. He gave no details of any concrete measures he was proposing. Tech companies such as Microsoft and rival company Apple have been under mounting pressure to do more to protect users' data.

Human rights commission tackles artificial intelligence


KIM LANDERS: From self-driving cars to facial recognition new technology powered by artificial intelligence is changing the way we live and work and how we make decisions. But what is this rapid rise of new technology doing to our Human Rights? That's the question a new project from the Human Rights Commission is going to tackle. It's trying to identify the issues at stake before coming up with a final report by late next year. Edward Santow is the Human Rights Commissioner.