But with these new openings for liberty come novel approaches to repression. Authoritarian and autocratic regimes are appropriating agile, 21st century technology to prop up sclerotic systems of brutality and corruption. Technological developments have provoked greater feelings of insecurity in these brittle regimes and propelled them to extend their repression far beyond their borders, sometimes reaching into the refuge of democratic societies where political opponents, independent journalists, and civil society activists operate in safety. INTERPOL is a legitimate and potent tool for international law enforcement cooperation—one that the United States relies on heavily to bring criminals to justice and thwart threats to security around the globe.
Because of these notices, innocent individuals live in fear of traveling mternationally and have been detained, had their bank accounts closed, and, sometimes, been returned into the hands of the very regimes from which they escaped. First, it clearly states that it is the policy of the United States to use our influence in INTERPOL to advance specific reforms that increase transparency and accountability for those that abuse the system while helping the organization to live up to its stated obligations to uphold international human rights standards and resist politicization It further establishes that the United States will use its diplomatic clout to confront countries that abuse INTERPOL and work to ensure the freedom of movement and ability to engage in lawful commerce of victims of this abuse the world over.
The bill requires the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and State—in coordination with other relevant agencies—to submit to Congress an assessment of the scope and seriousness of autocratic abuse of INTERPOL, an evaluation of the adequacy of the processes in place domestically and at INTERPOL to resist this abuse, and a plan for improving interagency coordination to confront this phenomenon. We have been deeply concerned by reports that some authorities in this country have improperly cited INTERPOL notices from autocratic countries to detain individuals and place them in danger of being returned to the very countries from which they fled.
Madam Speaker, these measures are critical to restricting the freedom that some autocratic regimes have enjoyed to harass, persecute, and detain their political opponents around the world. Authoritarian and autocratic states like China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Venezuela must be called out by name and held to account for their repeated manipulation of legitimate law enforcement tools for petty political ends. Helsinki Commission has done to address the grave threat of transnational repression and malign influence by authoritarian regimes.
We can no longer sit idly by, content that those who wish to do us harm are on the other side of the world. In this new age of autocracy, the threat is here—now—and it comes in the form of abusive Red Notices, dirty money, and bought-and-paid-for lawfare tactics The purpose of these tactics is to silence journalists and activists, hollow out the rule of law, and ensure that no one ever dare pursue this new class of transnational kleptocrats whose sole goal is the wholesale looting of the countries they claim to serve and the seamless transfer of those ill-gotten gains to our shores and those of our allies.
Well-orchestrated disinformation campaigns do exist around the world, using algorithms, social platforms, and advertisements as a means of deceiving the public and undermining democracy.
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Even the meaning of the terms it is defined by are ambiguous. In fact, misinformation and disinformation are not synonymous. Misinformation refers the inadvertent spread of false information, while disinformation refers to the purposeful circulation of deceptive news stories by both state and nonstate actors. Disinformation plagues the modern world in increasingly sophisticated and pervasive ways largely due to widespread use of social media. Easy to Share The trickle-down effect of counterfeit news campaigns is massive.
A single fake story has the potential to reach millions, propagated by bots and trolls and manipulation of social media content algorithms. For example, a heavily edited interview from conservative CRTV portrayed a fictional conversation between one of their hosts and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez where the Congresswoman admitted to know nothing of the legislative process. This was not an isolated incident.
Thanks to the universality of social media, with Facebook and Twitter having a global presence economically and socially, cultures around the world are all susceptible to manipulation through such platforms. We must strive to be ahead of them. Difficult to Identify Several aspects of the communication space make disinformation hard to identify.
When reading content from a seemingly trustworthy source, even if there is no evidence of professionalism, most naturally consider the information to be trustworthy. However, that is not always the case and those creating and spreading propaganda are well-versed in mimicking reputable sources in structure and design. Moreover, the more specific the topic and narrow the scope, the easier it is for disinformation to spread as consumers lack the background and context to identify red flags, which are becoming ever harder to detect. According to Politifact, earlier this year a Facebook post about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, claiming he was trying to take away health care from millions of Americans, went viral.
This claim was a mischaracterization of his stance on federal funding for health care and falsified his personal history with the program. Regardless, the false narrative spread to thousands of people who lacked the in-depth background knowledge to recognize the inaccuracy. Disinformation is not limited to false news stories or phony websites; it also extends to doctored photos and videos, like the CRTV interview previously mentioned.
One doctored video appearing to show Nancy Pelosi drunk that was retweeted by President Trump, who shared the false narrative with more than Even content originating from seemingly trustworthy sources can be deceptive. Though the poster and campaign were widely condemned, it is impossible to measure the number of voters that may have been influenced. However, the very existence of such misleading material threatened the democratic integrity of the referendum.
The Kremlin has used sophisticated disinformation campaigns to justify its actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, interfere in the European Union elections, and attempt to influence the U.
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RT America, cited as a principle meddler in the presidential elections, aired a campaign of stories about health risks associated with 5G signals, none of which were supported by scientific facts. Impossible to Stop … or Not?
There is no global police force to defend against disinformation. However, with the amount of disinformation growing every day and no unified or cohesive approach from both the public and private sector to aggressively and actively combat online propaganda, these efforts are akin to putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg. Any attempts to regulate disinformation are constrained by the right to free speech. If the response is too broad—whether from a corporation like Facebook or a government entity—it quickly challenges the fundamental freedoms afforded to citizens. On the one hand, stopping false facts from spreading and inundating social media benefits democracy and freedom the world round.
Any meaningful efforts to battle disinformation must carefully balance the protection of the community against the protection of the individual. In addition, those with the best ability to fight against disinformation—private companies like Facebook and Twitter—have no true legal obligation to do so and may have alternative interests in terms of profit. Until Congress shined a light on this problem, there were no serious efforts on the part of social media platforms to fight against foreign influence.
As social platforms and their users maintain the right to freedom of expression, the ability of Congress to require them to undertake any specific efforts is lacking. There are other solutions. One is promoting better media literacy among citizens, so they can more easily identify false or misleading information. The content would still be available, but readers would have a better awareness of potential manipulation by outside actors.
To combat the ripple effect of disinformation, media self-regulation to verify sources and stories before publishing them is another effective tool. The most important and most effective way to confront disinformation is by understanding it. Disinformation is a disease to which no one is immune; the longer the virus goes untreated, the worse it becomes.
Unique about the HDIM is the inclusion and strong participation of non-governmental organizations. The United States has been a stout advocate for the involvement of NGOs in the HDIM, recognizing the vital role that civil society plays in human rights and democracy-building initiatives.
OSCE structures allow NGO representatives to raise issues of concern directly with government representatives, both by speaking during the formal working sessions of the HDIM and by organizing side events that examine specific issues in greater detail. Members of the U. Gilmore, U. Johnson, Chief of Staff, U. Helsinki Commission.
As modern technology has allowed political dissidents and human rights defenders to operate from almost anywhere on the planet, repressive regimes have searched for opportunities to reach those who threaten their rule from afar.
The U. Helsinki Commission convened an expert panel to highlight how autocrats today use INTERPOL and other means such as surveillance, abduction, and assassination to punish dissent overseas. Witnesses suggested how the United States and other democratic nations can defend against these threats to the rule of law domestically and internationally. Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Sen. The United States must act to prevent this flagrant abuse and protect those who fight for freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.
This legislation would ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of defending the vulnerable against the long arm of state repression. These mechanisms, which function effectively as extradition requests, can be based on trumped-up criminal charges and used to detain, harass, or otherwise persecute individuals for their activism or refusal to acquiesce to corrupt schemes. Following reports that U.
The bill requires the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and State, in consultation with other relevant agencies, to provide Congress with an assessment of autocratic abuse of INTERPOL, what the United States is doing to counteract it, and how to adapt United States policy to this evolving autocratic practice. Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Helsinki Commission members Sen.
Marco Rubio FL , Sen. Cory Gardner CO , Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse RI , Rep. Steve Cohen TN , Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick PA , Rep.
Richard Hudson NC , Rep. Gwen Moore WI , and Rep. Marc Veasey TX John Curtis UT , Rep. Tom Malinowski NJ are also original co-sponsors. Hastings FL , Rep. Against the backdrop of recent European elections that included numerous xenophobic political parties, Chairman Hastings highlighted the importance of the hearing given the rise in prejudice and xenophobic violence in both Europe and in the United States including from far-right extremists.
MEP Dr. MEP Incir called for those who believe in equal, democratic societies to stand together to counter global nationalist movements being led by right-wing extremist organizations, while MEP Rafaela discussed the importance of representative politics in preserving democracies and the need to address current tensions in the transatlantic relationship. It may be specific to each individual community, but we have to understand that threat is together.
Vice-Chair Biidu recognized the U. Remarking on the vibrant Afro-descent population in Germany, Councilor Appiah called for Germany and other countries to provide statistical data on minorities and the African diaspora to assist in the fight against racism. In discussing French diversity resulting from colonialism and African enslavement, MP Obono highlighted the need for statistics on race to address continuing racial disparities. In addressing continuing disparities between French territories in the Caribbean and France, MP Serva called for teaching of the history of slavery in the French overseas territories, increasing minorities in French media, equality data, and addressing brain drain in the territories.
Other points discussed included complacency from both left and right parties in protecting western democracies, Russian exploitation of societal divisions, including utilizing racial prejudice, to disrupt democracy, and the need to strengthen efforts to address online hate while protecting free speech. Helsinki Commission personnel, joined by Congressional staff from several relevant offices, participated in a simulated security crisis in the Baltic region centered on the U. Mission to NATO, to better understand current and evolving security threats in the region.
Participants in the simulation. Ambassador ret. Mission to NATO, led the simulation. During the three-hour event, attendees played the roles of various regional actors, and debated possible actions in response to realistic scenario inputs. Participants were provided immediate feedback on their strategic decisions, knowing in real time the impact of their simulated actions.
The scenario underlined the challenges and opportunities inherent in any response to a security crisis in the Baltic Sea region. Participants from CSOs discussed the need for HIV programmes to have a consistent approach to working in the field with police. The development of this consistent approach would require internal protocols, engagement strategies with police embedded in programme design and the early participation of LEAs when programmes are starting on the ground.
Several participants also recommended that a national- or sub-national-level coordination committee or working group, consisting of representatives of LEAs, prison and health officials and CSOs be established to facilitate coordination and problem solving. Participants also described several collaborative opportunities that could be jointly organized including regular engagement focusing on mutual teaching, learning and situational analysis.
The potential for internships or secondments across sectors was discussed as was the need for joint agenda setting towards a sustained partnership effort. Critical to all of these suggestions was the need for the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework that would examine the progress of partnership from both LEAs and CSO perspectives. Advocacy efforts to enhance the role of police in support of HIV programming among key populations have increased over the past 15 years and have focused on police sensitization and training. These efforts have resulted in numerous police training workshops held at national and regional levels.
Whilst some of these efforts have resulted in increased police understanding of HIV and harm reduction, some support for HIV and harm reduction programmes at a policy level and the implementation of training curricula [ 31 ], rarely have these efforts actually brought local-level police and HIV programmes to resolve long-standing tensions that impact service provision and uptake of services for key populations in high-priority countries.
The proposed model roadmaps a process towards sustained partnership and depending on the context would require the input of some external resources and technical assistance, especially towards reforming national policies and developing police protocols. The resources required would be minor in comparison to the overall budgets of LEAs and health agencies at a national level, highlighting the cost effectiveness of partnership development. The model can be scaled to a local or national level.
The series of consultations from which this model is proposed are very much preliminary efforts at each of the national levels and clearly a sustained and supported engagement mechanism is needed. The main focus of the consultations was on enhancing partnerships in the context of creating an enabling environment for scaling up access to the comprehensive package of HIV interventions for people who use drugs [ 32 ]; however, many of the workshops discussed the need for partnerships between LEAs and CSOs in the context of HIV among other key populations.
The workshops were designed for 30—40 participants, drawn equally from the LEAs and CSOs active at the country, or sub-national, level. Advocacy conducted with high-level police leadership is required to not only conduct consultations of this kind but also to ensure that the right levels of police attend the consultations; this paper recognizes that in many countries this process can be difficult.
While some countries are more advanced in the pursuit of either HIV-related police policy and practice reform or the engagement of CSOs with police, there is a significant amount of work to be done to be able to truly verify sustained partnerships and measure a consequential impact on HIV-risk behaviour and service access and uptake. The analysis emanating from these consultations have enabled the development of the proposed roadmap model which is both scalable and fundable.
The roadmap provides a platform for donor partners and host governments to actually cost and evaluate the partnership effort. The model outlines the need for sustained and ongoing dialogue between LEAs and CSO-led HIV programmes working with key populations, the provision of contextualized yet standardized technical assistance and the development of an increasingly sophisticated partnership agenda. In combination, these documents provide standardized materials for contextualizing and implementing the relevant activities at the country level. The model builds in a significant component of evaluation which includes the need to first understand at a country context level the current interaction between LEAs and CSOs working on HIV programmes.
Second, this model recognizes the need for baseline evaluations that build an understanding of the pre-intervention situation on the ground by conducting knowledge, attitude, behaviour and practice surveys covering a sample size that would give enough power depending on the proposed geographical scope of the roadmap intervention. In addition, HIV-risk behaviour should also be surveyed over time to assess the impact of the partnership intervention. Process evaluation of the roadmap, its facilitation and its agenda setting should also be considered.
The implementation of such a roadmap would be best accompanied by an implementation science research design. The need to build collaborative partnerships between LEAs and CSOs in countries where concentrated epidemics of HIV persist among key populations is critical towards ending HIV and would have positive flow on effects to a range of other health and community safety indicators. Despite the opportunities presented through the availability of combination HIV prevention services, it is the access to and uptake of these services which are of equal importance.
The pursuit of partnerships between LEAs and CSOs is a goal that should be equally resourced by donor partners and multilaterals from across both the security and health sectors. Similarly, police reform in the context of development assistance has rarely been supported with an HIV agenda in mind.
A coordinated donor response to police reform is warranted. This paper has highlighted some initial efforts to overcome conflict with collaboration and provides a roadmap to pursue this goal and to sustain this work. It provides policy makers and donor partners with a fundable and scalable model that places the responsibility for creation of an enabling environment firmly within a partnership model on the ground and across the donor environment.
The authors are grateful for the support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which supported the regional- and national-level consultations between law enforcement agencies and non-government organizations working on HIV programmes from which this commentary has drawn much of its analysis. The other authors declare that they have no competing interests and received no financial support in writing this paper.
NT drafted the manuscript. JC incorporated feedback and editing into the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final version. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Published online Jul Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Discussion While the context varies, this paper highlights that there are commonalities that drive a persistent dynamic of conflict and therefore also common methods for resolution of conflict and forging partnerships.
Conclusions This paper seeks to highlight that critical resources are required to support ongoing development and harnessing of partnerships between LEAs and CSOs and argues that these resources should not just come from global HIV funding mechanisms but should be part of a more mainstreamed security sector reform agenda that understands the mutual benefits that programming for human rights—based policing reform would have on HIV, development and security. Introduction In the global fast track pursuit towards ending HIV by , universal access to combination HIV prevention and treatment services, and an end to discrimination, are considered critical components [ 1 ].
Discussion The conceptual model describes the need for regular facilitated dialogue and the practical steps that each sector would need to take to ensure they are upholding their commitment to building partnerships Figure 1. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Related to policy, protocols and training Participants from across LEAs in many of the national and regional consultations described a confusing policy environment for the provision of harm reduction and other HIV-related services for PWIDs.
Crime, Insecurity and Police Reform in Post-Socialist CEE
Related to programmes and community engagement Participants from LEAs described some of the challenges related to the formation of partnership as the expectations of community on the role of police in relation to drug use. Conclusions Advocacy efforts to enhance the role of police in support of HIV programming among key populations have increased over the past 15 years and have focused on police sensitization and training.
Acknowledgements The authors are grateful for the support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which supported the regional- and national-level consultations between law enforcement agencies and non-government organizations working on HIV programmes from which this commentary has drawn much of its analysis. References 1.
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