Our Voices

This Week’s Spotlight on Human Rights

Nasrin Sotoudeh on prison, the hijab, and violence in Iran

Iran’s Qarchak jail has been called many things: a torture chamber; the worst women’s prison in the world; unfit for humans. Nasrin Sotoudeh uses just one word to describe the nine months she spent there: “Hell.” Sotoudeh does not speak of the appalling conditions or stench of sewage, the undrinkable water or lack of food, the disease or cruelty of solitary confinement. She simply says: “I am ready to return whenever they say.”

Rights chief urges Russia to end crackdown as journalist detentions reach all-time high

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Russia to end its crackdown on journalists in a statement issued shortly after President Vladmir Putin began a fifth term in office. Volker Türk said he was concerned by the increasing number of journalists charged, convicted and jailed for their independent reporting, in what appears to be an intensification of a crackdown on dissenting voices.

Human rights court mulls rules on climate change action

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights could reframe how governments across Latin America and the Caribbean — and perhaps beyond — deal with climate change and its effects on people. A case before the court is unfolding as experts issue warnings about how little time remains for countries, corporations and people to reduce emissions and curb global warming.