Rwandan genocide suspect on trial in Canada

A man suspected of participating in and leading killings in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 has gone on trial for his alleged crimes in Canada, becoming only the second person in Canadian legal history to have done so. Jacques Mungwarere faces four counts under Canada’s 2002 Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes act, which allows for prosecution regardless of where the alleged crimes took place. Mungwarere was arrested in November 2009 following a 6 year investigation, interviewing witnesses in both Canada and Rwanda. The trial commenced on Monday, with officials deciding not to elect a jury...

Obama presses China on human rights

US president Barack Obama has urged China to improve its human rights record. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Obama did not answer questions about the case of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who is thought to have sought refuge in the US embassy in Beijing, but said that China would be stronger if it improves on its human rights issues. "We think China will be stronger as it opens up and liberalises its own system," said Obama. "We want China to be strong and we want it to be prosperous, and we're very pleased with all the areas of cooperation that we've been able to engage in...

New UK immigration rules will exclude human rights abusers

The British Government has announced measures to exclude individuals who are thought to have committed human rights abuses. The new rules were announced in the Foreign Office’s annual Human Rights Report, which was released today. At the moment, only individuals who are viewed as a threat to national security are refused entry. Under the new measures, ‘credible’ evidence of current or past human rights abuses could allow ministers to ban non-EU citizens to enter the UK. The new rule will state that: “Foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area may only come to the UK if they...

Bahraini government tries to influence media poll

The Bahraini foreign minister, Khalid Al Khalifa, urged the people of Bahrain to vote against an Al Jazeera film - 'Shouting in the Dark' - in an online poll for the UK's Bafta Television Awards this year. 'Shouting in the Dark' is a documentary on the Bahrain's crackdown of anti-government protests in 2011. The film competes along side three other documentaries, including Channel 4's 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields', for the Current Affairs prize, determined by the results of an online poll conducted by the Radio Times. The two front runners have drawn in an unprecedented number of votes. At...

The (ir)relevance of Delhi in India

Declaring that the Indian central government is becoming less relevant to governance today, Manu Joseph writes in the New York Times, that “the very idea of “national” is also fading in a de-centralised India: “ The political supremacy of New Delhi and the central government is being challenged by state governments and other regional forces .” “There was a time when the chief ministers of the states would arrive in the capital like indebted peasants to plead for funds from the masters of Delhi, but now they simply raise a stink when they don’t get enough. It appears that every fortnight or so...

Ban Ki-moon visits Burma

The Secretary General of the United Nations is making a landmark visit to Burma. Mr Ban is due to meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and pressed the government for more democratic reforms. The Secretary General was denied a meeting with Ms Kyi during his last visit in 2009. Before arriving in Burma, Mr Ban said the country was "re-opening to the world". "The fresh start is still fragile," he said in New York before leaving for Burma. Recent democratic reforms by the Burmese government have seen increased diplomatic engagement by the international community. The EU confirmed on...

Chinese dissident ‘under US protection’

The Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is safe in US custody according to a human rights group. US-based ChinaAid confirmed that high-level talks between Chinese and US officials are underway. The group said in a statement it had "learned from a source close to the Chen Guangcheng situation that Chen is under US protection" in Beijing. "This is a pivotal moment for US human rights diplomacy,” said Bob Fu, ChinaAid President. "Because of Chen's wide popularity, the Obama Administration must stand firmly with him or risk losing credibility as a defender of freedom and the rule of law. If there...

Assad 'could face war crimes charges' - former peace envoy

A former peace envoy has said that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad could face war crimes charges over the brutal crackdown by his security forces on opponents of the Syrian regime. George Mitchell, the former US peace envoy to the Middle East, told a security conference in Dublin that Assad could face war crimes charges just like Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president, who was found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes by a tribunal in The Hague earlier this week. He added that further action should be taken to increase pressure on the Assad regime. "I think there are more actions...

Britain restricts military exports to Argentina

Britain has announced restrictions on exports to the Argentine military on Thursday. Business Secretary Vince Cable said in a statement to the House of Commons that the export controls will take effect immediately. "The government has reviewed this policy in the light of recent actions by the Argentine government aimed at harming the economic interests of the Falkland islanders," he said. "We are determined to ensure no British licensable exports or trade have the potential to be used by Argentina to impose an economic blockade on the Falkland islanders or inhibit their legitimate rights to...

China-Philippines standoff on territorial dispute

China and the Philippines have been involved in a standoff for two weeks at the Scarborough Shoal over territorial rights, raising concerns that miscalculation by either side could result in severe consequences to that region. The shoal is composed of 200 islands filled with fishing grounds and other natural resources which are claimed by Philippine, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and Vietnam. The recent dispute between Philippine and China comes as the Philippine navy was unable to arrest Chinese fishermen poaching as a result of Chinese vessels protecting the fishermen. Fishing stocks in...

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