Amnesty: detained Gaddafi forces subject to abuse

Amnesty International has stated that upto 2500 Gaddaffi forces being detained by Libya's National Transitional Council are beign subjected to beating, torture and abuse. In a report released on Thursday, Amnesty alleges that whipping and screaming could be heard from detention centres and those prisoners who have subsequently been interviewed by the human rights group have confirmed such reports. Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, said, "There is a real risk that without firm and immediate action, some patterns of the past might be repeated...

Kosovo key to Serbia EU membership

Serbia must re-engage with Kosovo and improve relations in order to become a candidate for joining the European Union said the European Commission in a report released today. Enlargement commissioner for the EU Stefan Fule said he recommended granting candidate status to Serbia "on the understanding that Serbia re-engages in the dialogue with Kosovo and is moving swiftly to the implementation in good faith of agreements reached to date." Membership talks will commence when further steps are taken to normalise relations with Kosovo, Mr Fule added. Serbia has handed over the last two war crimes...

Britain summons Syrian ambassador over diaspora intimidation

The British Foreign Secretary has summoned the Syrian ambassador and warned that Britain will not allow the intimidation of Syrian dissidents in the UK. William Hague told Parliament on Thursday, "The Syrian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office this morning and told that any harassment or intimidation of Syrians in our country is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. " British police are also launching an investigation into allegations that Syrian diplomats photographed pro-democracy protestors in London and sent them back to Damascus. It is alleged that these photos were then...

Canada is obliged to arrest George Bush – Amnesty

Amnesty International has called on the Canadian government to arrest former US President George W. Bush. Amnesty opines that enough evidence exists in the public domain to give rise to an obligation for an arrest by Canadian authorities if Bush arrives for a planned visit on the 20th of October. Former President Bush is accused of having authorised the CIA to conduct a secret detention programme where acts of torture were committed and of publicly stating that he himself authorised the use of waterboarding on individuals whose torture has been confirmed. As the former Commander-in-Chief for...

US hails dramatic change in Burma as Kachin complain of atrocities

Recent developments in Burma have been cautiously welcomed by western diplomats, while NGO’s accuse the Burmese government of war crimes. Burma has seen a shift in policy since the first elections in 20 years and the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in November last year. Talks between the Nobel Peace laureate and the government are thought to be behind positive steps taken by the government to address concerns of the Burmese population.

China calls on Assad to speed up reforms

In a sign that they may be losing patience with the Syrian regime, China called on President Assad to speed up with implementing reforms as anti-government protests continue to rock the country. Foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin gave a statement saying , “China is highly concerned about the situation in Syria, is against the use of violence, and we hope not to see any more bloodshed and casualties.” "We believe the Syrian government should move faster to honour its reform pledges and swiftly start to push forward the inclusive political process with the broad participation of all parties...

Hamas and Israel make deal to swap prisoners

Israel and Hamas have come to an agreement to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for over 1,000 Palestinian political prisoners. The deal, brokered by Egypt was met with jubilation on both sides of the border. 25 year old Gilad Shalit was captured in June 2006 in a cross-border raid by Hamas and has been held captive in Gaza since. 1,027 Palestinian detainees are expected to be released, said Hamas leader Khaled Meshal. The prisoners will be freed in two phases, with 450 released within one week and another 550 within two months, after the release of Gilad Shalit. Priority has been given to...

UN committee reaffirms Saharawi peoples' "inalienable right" to self-determination

The UN Decolonisation Committee reaffirmed its belief that self-determination and independence are the inalienable right of all people on Monday with particular reference to the people of Western Sahara, currently living under Moroccan rule. South Africa's representative condemned the UN's inaction over the issue, describing the UN as "paralysed". Highlighting the thirty year delay in the referendum, originally mandated by the UN Security Council, he called for a renewed affort to hold such a referendum. Timor-Leste's representative, comparing Western Sahara's struggle for self-determinatnion...

Pakistan pledges support to Kashmiri autonomy

Pakistani prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, reiterated the country's support for Kashmiri autonomy. Addressing a crowd gathered for a session of the Council of Pakistan controlled Kashmir, held in Islamabad on Wednesday, Gilani said, "The government and people of Pakistan will always stand by their Kashmiri brethren in their quest for self-determination and continue to extend their full political, moral and diplomatic support to them ." “The Kashmir cause was close to the hearts of every Pakistani and their commitment to their cause of self-determination was unwavering ,” he added. Gilani...

Govt. interference causes judge to quit Cambodia tribunal

A German judge has resigned from his role working in an UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Cambodia, citing interference from the Government of Cambodia. The judge, Siegfried Blunk, described "repeated statements which will be perceived as attempted interference by government officials". Whilst stating that he would not by swayed by such opposition, he said his "ability to withstand such pressure by government officials and to perform his duties independently could always be called in doubt." Pressure has been placed on the tribunal to halt proceedings by current Cambodian Prime Minister and former Khmer Rouge commander Hun Sen, who left the movement before its collapse. He allegedly said further trials, beyond what was currently taking place “was not allowed”. Blunk also quoted the Cambodian information minister, who he claimed said that judges who wanted to pursue further cases should “pack their bags and leave.” The move comes a week after criticism from Human Rights Watch for failing "to conduct genuine, impartial and effective investigations" into what are known as Case 003 and 004.

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