Roads brought to standstill as Catalans protest over detention of leaders

Roads in Catalonia were brought to a standstill on Wednesday as pro-independence demonstrators striked in protest against the Spanish government's arrest and detention of Catalan leaders. The strike was called by the CSC union and was supported by the Asamblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) and Omnium Cultural, Reuters reported. Sitting on the road, protesters called for "freedom for political prisoners". Senior figures within the Catalan government were arrested and detained accused of sedition and rebellion over independence referendum held last month.

UN report states ISIS should face 'international crimes' charges

A United Nations report said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has committed “international crimes” during the battle for Mosul in Iraq, and called for the prosecution of perpetrators. The report, compiled by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UN assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), was released following a nine-month military campaign by the Iraqi government and coalition forces to capture Mosul. “Thousands of civilians were subjected to shocking human rights abuses and clear violations of international humanitarian law,” said the UN High...

HRW calls on UN Security Council to refer Burma to ICC

The United Nations Security Council should refer Burma to the International Criminal Court because of its failure to investigate mass atrocities against ethnic Rohingya, said Human Rights Watch on Friday. The rights organisations further called on Member state of the UN to pursue processes for gathering criminal evidence to advance prosecutions in the ICC and other courts. Human Rights Watch field research found that Burmese military abuses amount crimes against humanity. The statement outlined concern over Burma’s capacity to prosecute for such crimes stating, “The Burmese government’s...

Suu Kyi visits Rohingya as threat of US sanctions grow

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi visited the Rakhine state this week, where the military is accused of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, as US lawmakers proposed sanctions against the country. Ms Suu Kyi made the brief trip for the first time since violence erupted in the state and was accompanied by the Burmese military. She reported met with Rohingya villagers of Pan Taw Pyin village, telling them “I hope everything will go fine as local villagers handle the rebuilding process”. “We all have to try our best to live peacefully,” she added. Her visit comes as...

Spain issues arrest warrants for Catalan leaders

A Spanish judge has issued an international arrest warrant for Catalonia’s president Carles Puigdemont and four other Catalan leaders as they were in Belgium on Friday. The move, comes after the judge took nine other members of the regional government into custody after the Spanish central government removed them from their posts. Mr Puigdemont responded to the warrants being issued by declaring he would turn himself in to Belgian authorities, "but not to Spanish justice". Belgium prosecutors have 24 hours to decide whether they paperwork for the warrants is in order and have a further...

KRG president Barzani to step down

The leader of Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government on Monday is to end his term of office on November 1 after his request not to renew his term was approved by parliament. The decision comes just weeks after a referendum on independence, which was led by President Masoud Barzani. Kurds voted overwhelmingly in favour of secession however, it took place amid international disapproval, most notably from the United States. Within two days of the referendum Iraqi forces took over territory that had been held by the Kurds, including Kirkuk. In a letter to the parliament on Sunday, Mr Barzani said, "...

Catalonia declares independence, Madrid votes to strip autonomy

The Catalan government voted on Friday to declare independence from Spain, following a referendum earlier this month. The decision came as over 2000 pro-indpendence supporters gathered outside the regional parliament in Barcelona. “Catalonia is and will be a land of freedom. In times of difficulty and in times of celebration. Now more than ever”, the Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont tweeted. Madrid responded within an hour however by voting to strip Catalonia of its autonomy and impose direct rule, the first time such a decision has been taken since the 1970s. France, Britain, Germany and the...

Kurdistan calls on international community to denounce Iraq's military offensive

Kurdish Peshmerga forces continued to fight against Iraqi security forces into Thursday, reports Rudaw news. Iraqi forces alongside Shiite paramilitary forces attached the Kurdish Peshmerga on several fronts. Commenting on the developments during the day the Kurdish Region Security Council called on the international communtiy to denoucne Iraq's actions, stating, “Frontline reporting confirms Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed PMF continue to use U.S. weapons given to Iraq for the anti-ISIL campaign, including Humvees, Armoured Personnel Carriers and Badger infantry vehicles. This is a blatant...

Kurdistan offers to 'freeze' independence results in favour of ceasefire and talks

The Kurdistan Regional Government offered to ‘freeze’ the independence referendum results in favour of a ceasefire and talks with Baghdad reports BBC News. The Kurdistan Regional Government condemned the Iraqi Security force’s offensive on Kurdish regions, stating “Continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country towards disarray and chaos, affecting all aspects of life. The KRG went on to call of ran immediate ceasefire and offered to “freeze the result of the referendum” and “start an open dialogue” with the government in Baghdad “on the basis of the...

US discusses accountability measures and targeted sanctions for Myanmar

The United States is discussing accountability measures to hold Myanmar’s military leadership responsible for the ongoing rights violations against the Rohingya community and will consider targeted sanctions. In a statement released Wednesday, the state department said, “We express our gravest concern with recent events in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and the violent, traumatic abuses Rohingya and other communities have endured. It is imperative that any individuals or entities responsible for atrocities, including non-state actors and vigilantes be held accountable. We are exploring...

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