US, Russia, China united on Iran issue: Obama

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit, US President Obama has said that China, Russia and the US are united over the need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms. The talks with his counterparts resulted in an agreement on a major objective. "All three of us entirely agree on the objective, which is making sure that Iran does not weaponize nuclear power and that we don't trigger a nuclear arms race in region," he said. He added that the three countries will work closely together to explore available options to exert pressure on Iran and resolve the issue diplomatically. He however...

Oxfam to leave South Sudan amid escalating violence

International aid group, Oxfam, announced its decision to remove its staff from the South Sudan border on Sunday, citing worsening violence and fears for the safety of Oxfam's twenty-two staff present. The announcement follows the bombing of a refugee camp in South Sudan on Thursday. Both the UN and South Sudan have accused Sudan of launching the attack. The Oxfam aid workers had been providing clean water for 64,000 people. In a statement, the aid group said, "Oxfam teams were about to start an assessment in Upper Nile to provide aid to new refugees. They have fled attacks and walked for...

‘Brutal’ occupation of Kashmir must end – Arundhati Roy

Speaking at the Asia Society in New York, Indian novelist Arundhati Roy called on India to withdraw its troops from Kashmir and respect their right to self-determination. "Kashmir is one of the most protracted and bloody occupations in the world, and one of the most ignored," she said in at the event entitled ‘'Kashmir: The Case for Freedom'’. “ I think that the people of Kashmir have the right to self-determination. They have the right to choose who they want to be, and how they want to be. The first step would be to demilitarise, to withdraw this absolutely unbelievable law the Armed Forces...

Foreign embassies attacked as Arab League suspends Syria

Tens of thousands of pro-government protesters have taken to the streets in Syria to protest against the suspension of the country from the Arab League. Protesters attacked embassies of Arab League members and other countries, including France and Turkey, with the latter withdrawing all diplomatic staff and their families from Damascus. 18 of the 22 members of the pan-Arab organisation voted for the suspension of Syria, after it did not implement proposals by the Arab League, which were initially supported by Syria. Iraq abstained from the vote, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon voted against the...

Dutch parliament passes genocide bill

The Netherlands earlier this week passed a bill that allowed them to extend the possibly of detecting and prosecuting genocide suspects. The bill, which now needs to be approved by the Senate, allows prosecutors to consider cases of genocide further retrospectively than currently allowed and also permits greater co-operation with international courts. Currently, only genocide cases with crimes committed after the 1st of October 2003 can be considered before Dutch courts, a loop hole that has allegedly allowed many suspected war criminals to flee to the country. The new bill though allows cases as far back as the 18th of September 1966, when the Genocide Convention Implementation Act in the Netherlands came into force, to be prosecuted for. Former Minister for Justice, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, who proposed the bill said , "It is unacceptable that an alien who is otherwise guilty of genocide is immune from prosecution, because the Netherlands, before the time of the crime, had no jurisdiction. This sends an undesirable signal to victims and their families." The move has been welcomed by many groups, including those seeking justice for victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and have urged other European countries to emulate the bill.

UN committee endorses peoples' right to self-determination

The UN committee responsible for social, humanitarian and cultural affairs adopted a draft resolution on a peoples' right to self-determination on Tuesday. The draft resolution, entitled 'Universal Realisation of the Right of Peoples to self-determination' was written by Pakistan and co-sponsered by over 50 countries including China. The resolution states, " the universal realisation of the right of all peoples , including those under colonial, foreign and alien domination, to self-determination is a fundamental condition for the effective guarantee and observance of human rights and for the...

US soldier convicted of killing Afghan civilians

US soldier was convicted of three counts of murder, of conspiring to commit murder and other crimes, including assaulting a fellow soldier and taking fingers and a tooth from the dead, on Friday. Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, sentenced to life in prison for his crimes, was the leader of the US army unit responsible for the killing of three Afghan civilians last year. In all five soldiers have been charged with killing civilians. Some soldiers took pictures posing with the dead and took body parts as trophies. Witnesses stated that Gibbs had orchestrated scenarios after the murders to give the...

Air strike on South Sudan refugee camp condemned

The United Nations has confirmed reports that Sudan has bombed a refugee camp in South Sudan after a flare up of tensions between the two nations, leaving twelve dead and more than 20 wounded. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for an “independent, thorough and credible investigation” and said , “If indeed it is established that an international crime or serious human rights violation has been committed, then those responsible should be brought to justice.” The bombings were denied by Sudan, who labelled them as “fabrications”. This was strongly contested by U.S...

Kosovan politician pleads not guilty to war crimes

A former Kosovo Liberation Army commander turned Member of Parliament, Fatmir Limaj, has pleaded not guilty to charges allegedly torturing and executing Serb prisoners during the 1998-99 Kosovo war. See report by the Associated Press here . Limaj is also the deputy president of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo and his case marks the first time a high-ranking KLA commander is being tried for war crimes before the local judiciary, chaired by British judge Jonathan Welford-Carroll. He stands accused of running a detention centre on Klecka, where Serb prisoners of war were kept and faces a...

Human rights groups urge Arab League to back Syria's referral to ICC

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on the Arab League to endorse the UN Security Council motion to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court on allegations of crimes against humanity. In a report, 'We Live as in War' , released on Friday, the Human Rights Watch said, "Human Rights Watch believes that the nature and scale of abuses committed by the Syrian security forces across the country indicate that crimes against humanity may have been committed. "The similarities in the cases of apparent unlawful killings, including evidence of security forces shooting at protestors without warning in repeated instances, arbitrary detention, disappearances, and torture, indicate the existence of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population which has the backing of the state." “ The Arab League needs to tell President Assad that violating their agreement has consequences, and that it now supports Security Council action to end the carnage.”

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