Former Chilean president appointed as next UN human rights chief

The former Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet has been appointed as the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to serve from September 1. Ms Bachelet, who was hailed by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres as a "pioneer", said she was "deeply humbled and honored". “Michelle Bachelet brings unique experience to the United Nations and to all of us, and is strongly committed to keeping human rights at the forefront of the work of the United Nations,” Mr Guterres told reporters following the announcement of her appointment. “She has my full confidence and support, and I ask all...

Colombia becomes last South American country to recognise Palestine

Colombia has become the last country in South America to recognise the state of Palestine, a decision made by the previous president during his last few days in office. Former Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos announced the decision in a letter to the Palestinian representative in Colombia last week, stating he had decided to recognise Palestine as a “free, independent and sovereign state.” Although the government of the new president Ivan Duque, who took office on Tuesday, said that it would review the decision, it acknowledged that the decision was legal. The Israeli Embassy in Bogota...

Zimbabwean opposition official arrested after being refused asylum in Zambia

Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe’s former finance minister and one of the leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been arrested under charges of inciting post-election violence as well as “possession of dangerous weapons” and “subversive material”. The arrest comes after the MDC contested last Friday’s election result which yielded a victory for Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Zanu-PF candidate, who took power in a military coup that ousted Robert Mugabe in November 2017. The MDC had planned to file a court case, which would delay Mnangagwa planned inauguration for Sunday. Mr Biti,...

Indian Supreme Court defers hearing on Article 35A

India's Supreme Court has deferred a hearing on repealing article 35A, which enables the Kashmir state legislature to define who are “permanent residents” and to safeguard special rights for these residents in public sector jobs, social schemes, property ownership and state aid. State legislature is also immune from legal challenges on grounds of “violating the Indian constitution or any other law of the land”. Critiques of the article 35A such as “We Are the Citizens”, an NGO backed by the right wing Hindu group, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), argue that it violates the “very spirit of...

Mass protests force Bangladesh to toughen sentences for driving offences

The Bangladeshi cabinet was forced to toughen sentences for those convicted of dangerous driving after mass protests by students overwhelmed the capital for the ninth day. Riot police have attempted to quash the protests with rubber bullets and tear gas being fired into the crowds. The protests were sparked by the killing of two teenagers in Dhaka by a bus travelling above the speed limit. “As per the proposed law, an accused has to face five years of jail for negligent driving,” the country's Law Minister Anisul Huq was quoted by Reuters as saying after the cabinet meeting, chaired by the...

Protests erupt in Kashmir after shooting of fighters

Twelve Kashmiri fighters have been killed in gun battles with Indian army officers in the disputed Himalayan region, as violence in the region continues to escalate. Clashes have taken place between locals and Indian army soldiers after soldiers descended on a funeral in the neighbouring village, which was being held for 5 of the fighters who were killed in Shopian. Soldiers fired at residents who threw stones during the funeral. One person was killed and two wounded. The Indian government has responded to protests with the firing warning shots, shotgun pellets, and tear gas. Channel News...

KRG Prime Minster commemorates Yazidi genocide

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) marked four years since the assault on the Yazidi people by the Islamic State (IS), labelling it “one of the most barbaric genocides of the 21srt Century”. "Today is the anniversary of another genocide committed against the Yezidis by the Daesh terrorist organization,” said Nechirvan Barzani. “This genocide entered the history of the people of Kurdistan and humanity as one of the most barbaric genocides of the 21st century.” The KRG says that on the first day of the IS attack alone, approximately 1,193 Yazidis were killed. "These...

Canadian Museum for Human Rights to remove image of Aung San Suu Kyi

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights announced that it will be removing Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi from a display, over her government’s treatment of the Rohingya Muslims. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been displaced and thousands killed after Myanmar launched a massive military offensive last year. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees said the crisis was a form of “ethnic cleansing”, whilst other leading academics have called it a genocide. "She's not a human rights icon,” said Anwar Arkani, president of the Rohingya Association of Canada. “Why is she there?...

Egyptian poet jailed accused of mocking security forces

An Egyptian poet, Galal El Behairy, was sentenced to thee years in jail and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds on Tuesday, for “insulting the military establishment”. Mr Behairy was initially arrested on March 3, after the release of the song Balaha, which is allegedly to have mocked President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and appeared on Egyptian media. During his first court appearance on May 6, he showed signs of torture and beating. A panel of UN human rights experts have expressed concern over the sentences. “We are very worried at the reported criminalisation of the legitimate exercise of artistic...

US announces sanctions on Turkey over detention of pastor

The United States announced sanctions on Turkey's ministers of justice and interior over the detention of an American pastor Andrew Bunson. Turkey's Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu, who the US government state played “leading roles” in the arrest of Mr Bunson, have been hit by US Treasury sanctions. "We believe he's a victim of unfair and unjust detention," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders of Mr Bunson. Turkey accuses the pastor of having links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Gulenist movement and faces up to 35 years...

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