UN envoy meets with Polisario Front in Algeria

The UN's Western Sahara envoy, Staffan de Mistura met with representatives of the Polisario Front. De Mistura met at a Sahrawi refugee camp with Khatri Addouh, the Polisario’s chief negotiator, and Omar Sidi Mohamed, the group’s permanent representative to the United Nations. The camp is located in Tindouf, where the Polisario Front is based in far southwestern Algeria near the borders with Morocco and Western Sahara. Announcing the visit on Friday, a UN spokeswoman said de Mistura was “looking forward to deepening consultations with all parties concerned on the prospect of constructively...

Chile rejects new constitution

Chileans have voted against a new, progressive constitution that had been drafted to replace the 1980 document written under Gen Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. In 2020, an initial plebiscite saw nearly 80% of voters opt to draft a new constitution, but after an arduous year of negotiations, people appear to have expressed their dissatisfaction with the end product. The proposed constitution included a long list of social rights and guarantees that had appeared to respond to the demands of that vast social movement. It enshrined gender parity across government and other organs of the state...

Catalan Parliament leaders' political rights violated by Spain - UN

The UN Human rights Committee have ruled that the suspension of former Catalan government and parliament members from public duties prior to their conviction, following an independence referendum in 2017 was a violation of their political rights by Spain. The findings by the group of independent human rights experts were published after revision of a complaint filed by Oriol Junqueras i Vies, former Vice-President of Catalonia, and three former ministers, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Josep Rull i Andreu and Jordi Turull i Negre. The Parliament of Catalonia passed a law authorising a referendum on...

Taiwan tycoon to fund 3.3 million civilian defence force

A Taiwanese tycoon has announced his plan to train 3.3 million “civilian warriors” and marksmen to defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion via the Kuma Academy, using one billion Taiwan dollars ($32m) of his own money. Robert Tsao, a Taiwanese businessman and founder of United Microelectronics Corp said at an announcement that he pledges to train "three million people in three years". Working in tandem with the island civilian defence organisation, the Kuma academy, Tsao said 60% of the fund would go to building an army of "warriors" and 40% to training another 300,000 in how to shoot. “If we...

China accused of 'serious human rights violations' in UN report on abuses in Xinjiang province

The UN has released a long-delayed report into conditions for Uighurs in China's northwestern Xinjiang region. The report details serious rights abuse against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and states that such treatment by China may amount to “crimes against humanity”. The 45-page report released by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) late on Wednesday found that serious violations have been committed in Xinjiang under China’s application of measures to counter “terrorism” and “extremism”. China has described the UN report as a “farce”. Defending its policies...

One-third of Pakistan may be under water before calamitous 'climate-induced' floods recede

UN Photo/Evan Schneider Pakistan's top climate scientists warned on Sunday that one-third of the country could plunge under water before the deadly floods that have thus far killed over 1,000 people begin to recede. An estimated 33 million people - one in seven - have been affected by the flash floods, since monsoon season began in June. Almost 300,000 homes alongside critical infrastructure such as roads, crops, and bridges have been destroyed. Nearly 10 million people have been displaced as far-reaching electricity outages affect millions and countless roads have been obstructed. Pakistan's...

Political turmoil in Pakistan as ex PM charged under anti-terror laws

Pakistan's Police have charged the country's former Prime Minister, Imran Khan under anti-terror laws. A judgment was not immediately available, but officials from the former prime minister’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said he had been granted “interim bail” until September 1. Police announced the charges after the cricketer-turned-politician accused authorities of torturing his close aide, who is himself being detained under sedition charges. His court appearance is the latest twist in months of political wrangling that began when he was ousted from power in April by a confidence...

German prison camp guard charged with war crimes over murder of Soviet soldiers

Prosecutors in Germany have indicted a Wehrmacht soldier who manned watchtowers in a prisoner of war camp in the Second World War in what could be the start of a new series of prosecutions for Nazi war crimes after the focus has previously been on concentration camps. The Berlin state prosecutor’s office has charged the 98-year-old Berlin man with alleged complicity in the murder of 809 Soviet prisoners at the “Stalag 365” POW camp in the city of Volodymyr-Volynskyy in what is now western Ukraine. The POWs were among the 3 million Soviets who died by execution, forced labour, starvation,...

Jagtar Singh Johal British spy agencies tipped off Indian authorities who 'tortured' Briton

A British Sikh is facing a possible death sentence after the UK intelligence services passed information about him to Indian authorities. Lawyers for Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton, Scotland, say he was tortured, including being given electric shocks, after his unlawful arrest in Punjab in 2017 where he was travelling for his wedding. Successive British prime ministers have raised his case but India's government denies he was tortured or mistreated. Mr Johal is currently being held in a Delhi prison. He has alleged that, following his arrest, he was held incommunicado, was brutally...

Free imprisoned Papua activists - HRW

Indonesian authorities should drop politically motivated treason charges and release Papuans detained for the peaceful exercise of their rights, Human Rights Watch said. Human Rights Watch, reported that in 2019 "racist security forces" and members of militant groups attacked students at a West Papuan University, firing tear gas into dormitories across the campus. They then arrested 43 indigenous Papuan students for allegedly failing to raise the Indonesian flag outside the dorm to celebrate Indonesian Independence day. Widespread protest ensured in at least 30 cities following the police...

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