EU sanctions Iranian officials over human rights abuses

The European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on eight Iranian militia officers and police chiefs over a deadly crackdown of protests in November 2019 by the Islamic Republic. Hossein Salami, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was amongst those who were sanctioned. “Hossein Salami took part in the sessions that resulted in the orders to use lethal force to suppress the November 2019 protests. Hossein Salami therefore bears responsibility for serious human rights violations in Iran,” the EU said. Three Iranian prisons also had their assests frozen by the EU for deliberately...

UK and US to withdraw forces from Afghanistan

Photo of US troop in Afghanistan Following the announcement of US President, Joe Biden, that America would withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by 11 th September, Britain has similarly stated that it will withdraw nearly all of its approximately 750 soldiers. The withdrawal of US forces would mark the end to a 20-year conflict that followed the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon. Under the Doha Agreement, US troops were set to have left Afghanistan by 1 May. Taliban leaders have stated that they will not participate in peace negotiations “until all foreign forces completely...

British House of Lords votes down controversial ‘war crimes’ bill

The British House of Lords has voted down the government’s proposed overseas operation bill which would establish “a presumption against prosecution” for service personnel accused of committing crimes overseas, except for sexual offences, if more than five years had passed since the alleged offence took place. In leading opposition to the bill, Labour peer George Robertson condemned the “naivety” of the government which had faced “almost universal and expert opposition”. He was able to successfully introduce an amendment that would ensure that the presumption against prosecution does not...

Turkey issues life sentence for former soldiers involved attempted coup

A Turkish court has jailed for life 22 former soldiers for their involvement in a coup attempt that sought to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A mass trial which concluded on Wednesday investigated nearly 500 soldiers and identified the ex-military personnel as guilty. The putsch attempt in 2016 involved a raid on the chief state media broadcaster in which the newscaster was forced to read out a statement from the military junta leaders. The failed coup attempt gave rise to a harsh crackdown by Erdogan against opposition and dissent in Turkey. “Critics accuse the government of using...

Myanmar’s military attaché ‘occupies’ London embassy

Addressing the media today, Former Myanmar ambassador, Kyaw Zwar Minn, said that staff were forced to leave Myanmar’s embassy and he was dismissed as the country’s representative by Myanmar’s military attaché. This follows the violent coup in Myanmar in which the military junta claimed power on 1 February and has since brutally suppressed peaceful protesters and continued the detention of the elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. An estimated 600 people, including dozens of children, have been killed so far in pro-democracy protests. Addressing the media, Zwar Minn stated; "There was a coup in...

UK imposes further sanctions on Myanmar and funds III-M

Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has announced further sanctions on Myanmar, targeting the military-linked conglomerate Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) following the military coup on the 1 February. In addition to this Raab announced a further half a million pounds of funding to “collect, investigate and preserve evidence of serious human rights violations” as part of an Independent Investigative Mechanism (IIM). Evidence gathered may be used in criminal proceedings. Responding to the ongoing suppression of dissent by Myanmar’s military, Raab stated: “Two months on from the start...

Over 100 killed in a single day in Myanmar as junta intensifies crackdown

The Myanmar junta killed at least 114 people across the country on Saturday, 27 March, in a brutal crackdown against people who are protesting the military coup on 1 February. Amongst those killed include a 13-year-old girl. Several other young children have been attacked by the security forces in different parts of the country. A one-year-old girl was reportedly shot with a rubber bullet and has incurred a severe injury in her eye. In another incident, a five-year-old boy was shot in the head. Live rounds of ammunition were opened at unarmed protesters in major cities including Mandalay and...

Former UN Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns passes away

The former United Nations Special Rapporteur on arbitrary executions and renowned human rights law professor Christof Heyns passed away this weekend. “It is with great shock, bereavement and sadness that the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria has received the news of the passing today of one of its internationally esteemed and stalwart colleagues and friends,” said a tweet from the university on Sunday. Heyns served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions from 2010 until 2016. In that role, he examined mobile phone footage of Sri...

Tributes for Nawal El Saadawi - Egyptian feminist, writer and campaigner

Tributes have flooded in around the world for Nawal El Saadawi, an Egyptian doctor, feminist and writer, who was a panel member in the 2010 Permanent People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka which acknowledged the “importance of continuing investigation into the possibility of genocide”. Nawal El Saadawi passed away aged 89-years-old, having been a prolific writer and campaigner throughout her life, speaking out against practices such as Female Genital Mutilation and gender-based oppression. See more from the BBC , Guardian and Al-Jazeera . She also took part in the 2010 tribunal on Sri Lanka. A 2013...

We must place a special focus on safeguarding minority rights - UN Secretary-General

Secretary-General of the UN António Guterres stressed the key role that the United Nationals plays in combating deteriorating human rights violations around the globe in his opening remarks at the 46 th session of the UNHRC session in Geneva. “Every corner of the globe is suffering from the sickness of violations of human rights,” he said, highlighting the ways in which democracies and fundamental rights of certain groups of people continue to be undermined since the COVID-19 pandemic. “Of course there are a number of extremely concerning country situations — some of them very prolonged – and...

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