US prepared to have direct talks with Taliban in Afghanistan

A senior US commander has confirmed that the United States is prepared to have direct talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, in an effort to reach a peace deal in the country. General John Nicholson, who leads the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, said that, "Our secretary of state, Mr [Mike] Pompeo, has said that we, the United States, are ready to talk to the Taliban and discuss the role of international forces". "We hope that they realise this and that this will help to move the peace process forward," he added. The Taliban have long sought direct talks with the Americans...

At least 8 killed in Southern Iraq protests

In Southern Iraq protests have spread over issues of corruption and a failure to provide basic services for people, including electricity and water shortages. The protests initially erupted in Basra on July 8th, to which security forces cracked down on protestors and killed one person. Following this protests have continued to spread to the eastern province of Diyala and southern city of Nasiriyah. During the protests, demonstrators marched outside the headquarters of political parties across the south and some set fire and tore up political posters. Protestors say that leaders and public...

Iraq govt approves plans for Yezidi genocide museum

The government of Iraq has approved a proposal by Yezidi activists to convert a village school in to a museum commemorating the genocide of Yezidis by ISIS. In 2014 ISIS launched an attack on Shingal, Kurdistan and its surrounding areas, kidnapping more than 6500 Yezidis. 1202 residents of Kocho, a village near Shingal, were gathered in the village school. 395 were shot and buried in 22 mass graves. 600 residents of the village remain missing. Many of the women are believed to have been sold into sexual slavery. The Iraqi government approved the proposal to convert that school into a genocide...

Spanish government to set up truth commission for Franco crimes

The new Spanish government is to set up a truth commission to investigate crimes against humanity committed under the former dictator, Francisco Franco. The government has pledged to search for those disappeared during his rule, including carrying out public exhumations every year and recording the number of people found. The commission is part of a new historical memory law, which also seeks to prohibit support for Franco and annul the convictions of those accused of committing crimes against his regime. Those seeking justice remain sceptical however, stressing that those who committed the...

Connecticut to officially mark Sikh Genocide Day

The US State of Connecticut will officially mark ‘Sikh Genocide Day’ on November 30 to commemorate the anti-Sikh pogrom in 1984 which saw around 3000 Sikhs in Delhi killed by Hindu mobs, aided by Indian law enforcement and government officials. The bill declaring Sikh genocide day was signed in to law by the Governor of Connecticut. Last year the government of the Canadian province of Ontario also recognised the pogrom as genocide.

Indian police arrest 32 after Muslim man lynched

As many as 32 people have been arrested in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, after the murder a Muslim man on Friday – reportedly sparked by rumors circulating on WhatsApp. Mohammad Azam, a 27 year old Google employee, was lynched by villagers, who accused him of abducting children. This follows a worrying trend in India in which more than 20 people, mostly non-local, have been killed due to accusations of child abduction in the last two months. The killings have taken place amidst a backdrop of growing nationalism across the country, which will go to the polls next year. Police Chief...

Iceland replaces USA at UN Human Rights Council

Iceland has been elected to replace the USA on the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The UN General Assembly elected Iceland as the replacement effective immediately until the end of next year. The US announced its decision to withdraw from the UNHRC last month, citing anti-Israel bias and hypocrisy. The US was a key partner in passing the Resolution 30/1 on accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, which Sri Lanka co-sponsored. Despite pulling out of the council, the US Embassy in Sri Lanka has stressed that the US government is still committed to holding Sri Lanka to its obligations...

Homes of Sinn Féin figures attacked with explosives

In Belfast, the homes of two prominent Sinn Féin members, former leader Gerry Adams, and Bobby Storey, were attacked with explosive devices last night. Both men reported that no-one was hurt in the attacks, although Northern Ireland police said they discovered the remnants of large industrial firework-type devices, capable of causing serious injury, at both scenes. Mr Adams was the leader of Sinn Féin from 1983 until earlier this year, and was a key figure in the resistance against British rule in Northern Ireland. The attacks come amidst a resurgence of violence in Northern Ireland, with...

UN Security Council approves an arms embargo on South Sudan

On Friday the UN Security Council approved an arms embargo on South Sudan which will last until May 2019. The decision was narrowly passed retaining the minimum nine ‘yes’ votes but having six ‘abstentions’ from China, Russia, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Bolivia. The resolution also supports a travel ban and asset freeze of Malek Reuben Riak and Paul Malong Awan, South Sudanese military officials, who have been accused of threatening peace within the region. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 but has seen constant conflict since December 2013. This was when a...

Indian defence minister dismisses UNHRC Kashmir as 'baseless'

India's defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman dismissed the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report on Kashmir as "baseless", ANI reported. "The report was prepared while sitting somewhere else. The assessment made by UNHRC has no basis. They are not aware of the ground realities in Kashmir," Ms Sitharaman said. "The army is able to eliminate terrorists on the borders itself," she added. The report published last month by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that "in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from July 2016 to April 2018 over which period...

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