Vulnerability of human rights activists Denial of rights to human rights activists
People working peacefully for human rights may be persecuted under the pretext that they constitute a threat against the national security of a country. In many cases, human rights activists are jailed because they defend or try to help people who have been harassed or detained because of their beliefs. In some countries, people working for human rights are taken to clandestine detention centres and tortured. They are sentenced to long prison terms by secret trials. Their efforts are officially denounced, their houses are raided, their papers are confiscated, and their families intimidated.
According to the United Nations, during 1986-1988 several of human rights leagues or associations were threatened and banned and their activists persecuted, imprisoned and murdered in Algeria, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Poland, Singapore, Tunisia and Vietnam. In Peru in 1990, there were numerous reports of government-prompted attacks, persecution and threats against human rights organizations, their leaders and members, including the disappearance of Guadalupe Callocunto, a human rights activist.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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