Latin America promotes but doesn’t respect human rights

Latin American countries such as Brazil and Mexico have been strong on promoting human rights internationally and in supporting the UN human rights machinery during 2007.

But unless the gap between their policies internationally and their performance at home is closed their credibility as human rights champions will be challenged, according to this week’s report from Amnesty International on human rights around the world.

You can access the report here and click on the links at the top for specific country reports. Continue reading

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Video: Shakira aims to help poor kids

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Last Thursday, Colombian popstar Shakira got a group of Latin American stars and businessmen together in the Mexican capital to launch ALAS (meaning “WINGS”), a Latin American initiative aimed at aiding the development of young children in the region.

Shakira, who recently got together with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, has been running her own foundation to help the poor since she was 18

Millionaires Carlos Slim and Howard Buffett, son of Warren Buffett, were also in attendence, lending their financial and moral support to the songstress.

Not so long ago, Latin American artists who spoke up for social causes often risked prison, exile or far worse, writes Reed Johson in the Los Angeles Times.

What a difference a generation makes. On Thursday, a phalanx of Spanish-speaking pop artists headed by Colombian superstar Shakira and Spanish-Italian singer Miguel Bosé gathered here to promote a new initiative to aid Latin America’s millions of poor, malnourished and undereducated children. They were joined by the world’s second-richest man, a top U.S. philanthropist and an international mob of reporters drawn by a potent cocktail of celebrity, money and power, laced with an emerging social conscience.

The following video was made to accompany this story, all rights reserved.

Press Freedom Report Paints Grim Picture for Latin America

Journalists in Latin America continue to be the victims of murders, threats and harassment when investigating sensitive subjects such as corruption and drug trafficking, according to the latest report from the World Association of Newspapers, and media in Mexico remains a target of violent attacks.

The report mentions the three media workers shot dead in Oaxaca in October, which it says were probably a reprisal by drug traffickers for their newspaper’s coverage El Imparcial of organized crime, but doesn’t mention the murders of Amado Ramírez, of Televisa, in Acapulco on 6 April this year and of Saúl Martínez Ortega, of the magazine Interdiario and the daily Cambio de Sonora, on 23 April, which were noted by Reporters Without Borders.

Three journalists have been killed in Columbia this year, and one in each of the following countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Paraguay.

According to the organization, the number of journalists killed in 2007 is approaching the record 110 deaths last year.