ILO urges world leaders to guarantee workers' rights as robots cut jobs

UN agency’s call for living wage and union bargaining comes amid spread of automation

World leaders have been urged by an influential United Nations agency to sign up to a universal labour guarantee to bolster fundamental workers’ rights, including adequate living wages and collective bargaining through trade unions.

Designed to address rapid changes in the workplace triggered by the rise of the robot economy and technological automation, the International Labour Organization said a package of measures was required to put the world economy on a sustainable footing for the future.

Related: Workers’ rights? Bosses don’t care – soon they’ll only need robots | John Harris

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Factory that supplied Tesco compensated abused worker

The woman was robbed and told if she protested she would be ‘killed and put in box’

A Bangladeshi factory that produces clothes for Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Mothercare was forced to compensate an “outspoken” female worker after she was beaten up on the orders of management and threatened with being murdered, the Guardian has learned.

The woman claimed to have been “severely beaten up” by security guards and the HR and compliance management at the factory, which is used by the brand Stanley/Stella. She said she was robbed of her severance pay and told that if she protested she would be “killed and her body put in a cardboard box”, an industry watchdog report that endorses her account states.

Related: The Guardian view on Bangladesh: when charity goes wrong | Editorial

Related: Why are wages so low for garment workers in Bangladesh?

Related: 'Inhuman conditions': life in factory making Spice Girls T-shirts

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Former China envoys call on Xi Jinping to release two detained Canadians

Open letter says the arrests mean diplomats are more cautious about work in China

More than 140 former diplomats and leading China experts have called on Xi Jinping to release two Canadian citizens detained last month as a diplomatic stand-off between Ottawa and Beijing escalates.

In an open letter to the Chinese president, former envoys to China from Canada, the UK, the US, Australia, Germany, Sweden and Mexico described how the arrests of Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, have sent a chill through the diplomatic community.

Related: China expresses 'strong dissatisfaction' with Trudeau as countries spar

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Where are George Clooney and co now that Sudan needs them? | Nesrine Malik

The people are rising up. But the western celebrities and the human rights industry that fought for this are absent

In 2017, a US law firm signed a contract with the Sudanese government, to assist in efforts to lift the economic sanctions that had been suffocating the country since 1997. Within weeks, George Clooney and John Prendergast, veteran activists for human rights in Sudan, wrote a letter in Time magazine, objecting to this. They asked rhetorically, did the law firm’s senior ranks, filled with ex-senators and congressmen, not know that president Omar al-Bashir’s regime had committed mass atrocities? That it was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Darfur? That it persecuted Christians? “The question of their firm working in the service of such a brutal and vile regime can only be answered by the simplest of terms,” they concluded. “Probably, they just don’t know.”

The sanctions were lifted, but it made little difference. The world had forgotten Sudan and was in no rush to be reminded. All that was associated with the country, ticked off neatly in the Clooney/Prendergast letter, was unsavoury. So allow me to remind you. For the past four weeks, Sudan has been seized by a popular uprising on the part of a people that has been suffering under a brutal dictatorship for 30 years, and from the effects of the global human rights machine that cut them off from the world for 20.

Now, as people rise up to remove a government that western campaigns have failed to vanquish, the moral market is closed

Related: 'Change in people's hearts': anti-Bashir protests put Sudan at a crossroads

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Rwanda, rights and the Commonwealth | Letters

The Commonwealth’s core values are compromised by allowing Rwanda to host its next summit, says Richard Bourne

Michela Wrong (The long read, 15 January) writes that the inquest in Randburg into the murder of Patrick Karegeya, an opponent of President Paul Kagame, should be a “reality check for western governments, development agencies and philanthropic foundations”. It should also haunt the Commonwealth, which is none of the above.

In 2013, on behalf of all member states, the Queen signed a Commonwealth charter whose chapters on democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression the current Rwandan regime flagrantly defies. Yet last year in London,, which boasts of all these values, Commonwealth leaders accepted an offer from Kagame to host its next summit in 2020, making him the chair-in-office for the following two years.

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Mother of alleged Isis killer loses legal fight against Home Office

Judges rule decision to share evidence with US without death penalty assurances not unlawful

The mother of an alleged hostage killer for Islamic State has lost her legal challenge against a Home Office decision to share evidence with the US without seeking assurances that her son and another suspected jihadist terrorist would not face the death penalty.

El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are accused of belonging to a group of Isis members, nicknamed the Beatles because of their British accents, responsible for killing a number of western captives.

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Nauru doctor wins global free speech award for speaking out on offshore immigration

Nick Martin’s medical attention and advocacy saw asylum seekers transferred to Australia for treatment, but ultimately cost him his job

A doctor on Nauru who blew the whistle on the deliberate medical neglect of refugees and asylum seekers on the island has been awarded a global award for free speech.

Dr Nick Martin, the former senior medical officer for International Health and Medical Services on Nauru, spoke out publicly against what he described as Australia’s “inflexible, unswerving, and shameless” offshore immigration regime, that deliberately harmed asylum seekers and ignored doctors’ recommendations to treat dangerously ill people.

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Related: As doctors working on Nauru, we thought we were helping. Now I know we were not | Nick Martin

Related: Australia is finally having a moral awakening on refugee policy | Daniel Webb

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A London DJ's punishment sheds light on Singapore's caning shame | Kirsten Han

It’s a fearful time for Ye Ming Yuen. But Singapore sees foreign lobbying to end corporal punishment as a threat to sovereignty

Any day now, 29-year-old Ye Ming Yuen could be escorted out of his cell at Singapore’s Changi prison and whipped 24 times with a rattan cane. This comes on top of the 20-year sentence he’s already serving after being convicted of seven drug offences in a country that takes pride in its uncompromising approach when it comes to law-breaking.

Related: Why the Singapore model won’t work for the UK post-Brexit

All human rights-related campaigns tend to be an uphill battle in Singapore

Related: Brexiteers want Britain to ‘look east’. But their idea of Asia is a fantasy | Jeevan Vasagar

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Dutton's citizenship-stripping plan attacked by Australian Human Rights Commission

AHRC says proposal to make it easier to remove citizenship from people convicted of terrorism could violate law

The Australian Human Rights Commission has warned Peter Dutton’s proposal to lower the bar for stripping people convicted of terrorism or related offences of Australian citizenship could render people stateless and would be retrospective in application – in possible violation of international law or the rule of law.

The warning echoes concerns of the Law Council of Australia about a bill likely to be a top Coalition priority in 2019, given Scott Morrison has nominated national security as the most important unfinished business before the federal election.

Related: Morrison to prioritise security and native species as he attempts Coalition rebrand

Related: Neil Prakash 'not a Fiji citizen': Dutton move to strip Australian citizenship in doubt

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The Guardian view on academic freedom: the right to be very wrong | Editorial

Sometimes it takes a true believer to make clear the absurdities of a faith. An Oxford professor’s view on sexuality discredit his church’s doctrine

Professor John Finnis is a devout and learned Catholic legal scholar, who is currently being attacked at Oxford University for his views on sexuality as expressed in a lecture to the Catholic University of Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1994 at the height of the culture wars. By reason of his religious commitments, his language, and indeed his beliefs, are profoundly homophobic. He believes himself to have a privileged access to reality which transcends the mere emotions of those who disagree with him. Homosexual acts, he writes, “cannot really actualize the mutual devotion which some homosexual persons hope to manifest and experience by [them]”. His only defence to the charge of homophobia is that he makes it clear that these strictures apply to everything but vanilla sex within the context of marriage. In this most charitable explanation, he is merely weird. He would not, for instance, ban contraception entirely: it would be allowed, but only for married couples, and it could not be advertised or advocated. That is the burden of the last footnote of his essay and what he argues the American constitution really teaches. Such reasoning is apparently the way to be known as a great legal scholar.

These absurd views are put forward with admirable clarity and precision. He writes much better than the popes whose teaching he expounds. The question is whether these repugnant views should disqualify him from any role in the University of Oxford. That they are wrong goes without saying. They violate our moral sensibilities as deeply as his are violated by the modern world. But will they corrupt the young, to use his own yardstick? Will graduate students leave his occasional seminars convinced that he is right and that their own experience has deceived them?

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