69 killed in Nigerian peaceful protest police brutality

Amnesty International has reported that 12 people have been killed during peaceful protests against police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria. 69 people have been killed by Nigeria’s security forces whilst protesting police brutality since October, The protests broke out on Wednesday despite a state-imposed curfew. Whilst demonstrators were setting up a blockade and singing the national anthem, Nigeria’s police opened fire into the crowd and used tear gas. Lagos, the Lekki toll plaza, and several other Nigerian cities reported gunfire at their demonstrations. Two private TV stations were forced off...

French teacher beheaded after sharing controversial cartoons

Samuel Paty, a French teacher was beheaded last Friday near Paris after sharing caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad with his class. The suspect, 18-year-old Chechen man, was shot dead by police. The images were part of a lesson on freedom of speech held in October. The controversial cartoons were originally published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2012. And were cited as the motivation behind the killing of 12 people by Islamist extremists at the magazine's offices. Responding to the attack the rector of the Lyon mosque, Kamel Kabtane, said the slain teacher "did his job" and...

China threatens to detain Americans if US prosecutes scholars

Chinese officials have warned the US that they will detain Americans if the Justice Department prosecutes Chinese scholars who are affiliated with the Chinese military, The New York Times reported . US law enforcement officials report that five recently arrested Chinese scholars did not disclose their military affiliations on their visa applications, therefore accusing that China may be conducting industrial espionage in their research centres. The Trump administration announced it was barring Chinese students at the graduate level or higher from entering the US if they had ties to military...

Thai authorities restrict access to messaging app to curb protests

Thailand authorities have ordered internet providers to block Telegram, a messaging app, which has been used by pro-democracy protesters. An official with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission confirmed reports on Monday that they had been ordered to block access to the messaging app which has been used Deputy police spokesman Kissana Phataracharoen confirmed an order signed by the chief of police that could allow officials to block access to news sites citing “distorted information”. Another ministry requested court orders to censor content on four media outlets and...

Bolivia’s socialist party claims massive victory a year after ‘US-backed coup’

Bolivia’s elections on Sunday saw the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), claim a victory after securing 52.4 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls. This election follows the ousting of former Bolivian President, and leader of MAS, Evo Morales, in 2019 following controversial protests led by Bolivia’s military and allegations by the Organisation of American States (OAS) of irregularities in the electoral process. Supporters of Morales has described the outing of Morales and the appointment of US-backed interim president, Jeanine Áñez Chavez, as a “US-backed coup”. Morales was forced into...

China passes amendment that criminalises insulting the national flag

The Standing Committee of China’s congress passed amendments to a law which will criminalise insulting the national flag and emblem. The amendment which will come into effect on January 1, 2021, will criminalise those who intentionally burn, paint, deface, discard or display the flag upside down and will be prone to investigation for criminal responsibility. Amendments to the law were proposed after pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong last year desecrated the Chinese flag resulting in controversy in China. In Tuen Mun, protestors asked for the reclamation of Hong Kong and some took down a...

China and Russia election to the UN Human Rights Council causes outrage

China and Russia's appointment as members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has caused outrage amongst human rights campaigners. It "is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade”, commented UN Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring group. Fifteen countries were elected to the 47-member state council. Each country had to gain 97 affirmative votes by secret ballot by the majority of the UN General Assembly to secure a three-year term seat at the UNHRC starting on 1 st January. The elected members are Bolivia, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, France, Gabon, Malawi, Mexico,...

British company sued over alleged systematic human rights abuses in Kenyan avocado farm

Allegations of systematic violence against a local community in Kenya by guards working for an avocado farm, Kakuzi, that supplies UK supermarkets have resulted in a lawsuit against the farm’s British parent company, Camellia. 79 claims of “extreme violence”, dating from 2009 to January 2020 were found. Claimants include former employees of Kakuzi. It is reported that the alleged violence, include the rapes of 10 women, and attacks on villagers walking on paths through the farm. Among the victims is a 28-year-old man who was battered to death by the farm’s security guards for allegedly...

Nigeria to abolish notorious Special Anti-Robbery Police Squad but continues their deployment

Following days of violent protest against the alleged killing of a man by the Nigerian police’s notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Nigeria’s government has announced that all SARS with be abolished and officers will be redeployed to other roles. SARS is a branch of the Nigeria Police Force founded in 1992 that was meant to deal with crimes related to armed robbery. However, SARS has since been accused of many human rights violations that have been documented and circulated on social media with the hashtag #EndSARS. These crimes include kidnapping, extortion, torture, and murder. In...

Taiwan to modernize its defence capabilities as pressure from China increases

On Taiwan’s National Day president Tsai Ing-wen promised to strengthen Taiwan’s defence and alliances with regions partners as China tensions heighten. During her speech, she called for ‘meaningful dialogue’ with China however she added that “this is not something Taiwan can shoulder alone; it is the joint responsibility of both sides.” Tsai Ing-wen further said Taiwan would continue to modernize its defence capabilities and enhance its capacity for asymmetric warfare, designed to make any Chinese attack difficult and costly. While also reaffirming the island's commitment to democracy and...

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