Egypt arrests activists protesting detention over coronavirus concerns

Egypt has arrested four leading intellectual female activists who have been campaigning for the release of prisoners during the midst of the coronavirus; they were arrested on charges of spreading false news and violating Egypt’s protest ban. The activists arrested were all part of the same family. Mona Seif is a prominent activist; as is her professor mother Laila Soueif; novelist aunt Ahdaf Soueif and professor aunt Rabab al-Mahdi; all of whom have been arrested for protesting outside the cabinet building. In a live stream for Facebook, Mona Seif was recorded saying; "We are in front of the...

Australian soldier caught killing unarmed Afghan civilian

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has released footage of an Australian soldier, from the Special Air Service (SAS), killing an unarmed Afghan civilian during a raid on a village. The attack has been described as a “straight-up execution”. The footage shows the soldier fire at an unarmed man at close range, three times, in the head and chest. The man died whilst holding on to red prayer beads. Australian forces have been implicated in 55 separate incidents of unlawfully killing non-combatants which the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force is currently examining. One of...

Two DRC war criminals released

Two former Congolese warlords have been released after serving sentences for war crimes which were issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The two warlords, Germain Katanga and Thomas Lubanga were found guilty of war crimes. Lubanga was found to have enlisted child soldiers under the age of 15 during a conflict in the Congo’s northeastern Ituri region which lasted from 1993 to 2003 and killed thousands of people. He was placed on trial in 2009 and sentenced in 2012 being was the first person arrested under the ICC. Katanga was sentenced to 12 years in prison for war crimes in an...

UN suspends refugee resettlement due to coronavirus

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR), as well as the International Organisation for migration, has suspended resettling refugees in permanent homes as coronavirus has caused significant travel disruptions. This suspension would take effect within the next few days however the UHCR has also called on the international community to enable movement where it is a matter of critical emergency. The UN children’s fund, UNICEF, has stated that European border restrictions have posed a severe impact on plans to transfer hundreds of children, which will put those in refugee camps in Greece in a “dire and...

UN and African Union plan fails Darfur – Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a statement criticising the United Nations and the African Union’s plan to limit the UN’s role in protecting civilians in Sudan, stating it will threaten civilians in Darfur. HRW has reported that Darfur continues to threaten civilians as government and rebel fighting continues in the Jebel Marra region when the UN peacekeeping force (UNAMID) had focused on protecting civilians since 2018. In this region, civilians are forced to flee for their lives, there are continued violence and heightened risks of sexual assault. UNAMID has proven effective in...

Taliban prisoner exchange delayed

A prisoner exchange in advance of peace negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government have been delayed due to disagreements over the number of detainees to be freed and guarantees that they will not return to the battlefield. Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, agreed to release 1,500 Taliban prisoners on Saturday with further releases to follow as conditions were met. In total 5,000 prisoners were set to be released so that peace negotiations could occur and an end to the 18-year conflict could come about. Read more here: Afghanistan government and Taliban engage in prisoner exchange...

India’s opposition party speaks out against Delhi violence

In response to violent anti-Muslim riots in New Delhi, which killed 52 people, mostly Muslims, India’s opposition party’s have called for the resignation of the Interior Minister. The violent riots coincided with a visit from US President Donald Trump, during the 24-25 February. The violence was preceded by weeks of peaceful demonstrations against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act which provides a pathway to citizenship for all minorities in South Asia except Muslims. Read more here: 42 killed during anti-Muslim riots in Delhi Kapil Mishra, a senior BJP leader, issued a stark...

India frees Kashmir independence leader

After being detained for 7 months, Kashmiri independence leader, Farooq Abdullah, has been released by Indian authorities. Abdullah had served as the chief minister three times and had a seat in parliament. He was detained on 5 August following the implementation of Article 370, which revoked the autonomy of Kashmir and Jammu. Abdullah was initially detained under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA) which permits India to detain a person for up to two years without bail. He was released on Friday following an order from Kashmir’s home secretary, Shaleen Kabra. Speaking to reporters...

Zambia cracks down on human rights activists

Zambia has arrested two human rights activists who protest against the arrest and harassment of hip-hop artist, Pilato. The two activists, Laura Miti and Bornwell Mwewa, have been charged with disorderly conduct and assaulting police officers and were arrested on the 21 December. This was after they travelled to Livingstone (also known as Fumba Chama), to protest the arrest of Pilato who was arrested for “unlawful assembly”. Amnesty International authorities have maintained that the criminal justice system cannot be used for partisan reasons or to silence dissent. Speaking on the matter,...

Human Rights Watch calls on UN to address Xinjiang abuses

Human Rights Watch (HRW), along with the International Service for Human Rights, (ISHR), to address continuing human rights abuses in Xinjiang by China’s government. This follows widespread international concern over China’s treatment of Xinjiang Muslim population which is routinely subject to harsh levels of surveillance and there have been reports of forced “re-education” camps and forced labour. This evidence is supported by leaked documents, including the November 2019 “China Cables” and “Karakax List” which was released in February 2020. These documents showed deliberate intent for...

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