US coalition forces withdraw from Northern Iraqi base

US coalition troops have withdrawn from a military base in Northern Iraq. The US withdrawal follows the assassination of senior Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. This is the third site US troops have left this month as the US aims to consolidate its forces in two central locations in Iraq. As part of the exchange the US transferred $1.1m of military equipment was granted to the Iraqis whilst 300 coalition troops withdrew. Al Jazeera notes that figures from last months show 7,500 coalition troops were stationed in Iraq, 5,000 of which were US...

Prisons releasing vulnerable inmates globally to stem spread of Coronavirus

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began a number of countries around the world have released thousands of prisoners in order to stem a possible spread of the virus within prisons. According to public health experts , prisons are a ripe place for the spread of COVID-19 due to the close contact between prisoners, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.

HRW urges Nigerian security forces to respect human rights in response to COVID-19

Human Rights Watch has expressed caution with respects to Nigeria’s plans to deploy police and soldiers to enforce social distancing warning that they have been implicated in a number of human rights abuses including “arbitrary arrests, extortion, illegal detention, and use of excessive force”. Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police has directed police to enforce compliance with social distancing in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Nigeria has banned large gatherings and shut down schools in its capital, Abuja, the capital, as well as other key states. In Lagos, night clubs and...

Mali opposition leader held hostage along with his delegation

Militants are holding Mali’s main opposition leader, Soumaila Cisse, as well as 6 members of his delegation hostage following an attack on their campaign trail. Reuters reports that that the militants attacked Cisse during an ambush between villages in the northern region of Timbuktu. According to Demba Traore, a spokesman for Cisse’s party, there has not been a request for ransom yet. Reuters indicates that Militants with links to Al Qaeda and ISIL have frequently launched attacks in the region however no group has claimed responsibility yet. This attack precedes upcoming elections which...

Yemen enters truce as US withdraws aid

Following calls for a global ceasefire, Yemen’s warring parties have entered into a truce as coronavirus presents an unprecedented threat to public health however the US has began to withdraw aid. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has started to withdraw aid from the Iranian back Houthi controlled regions as they claim the group has actively hindered the delivery of aid. There have also been calls for the release of Baha’i prisoners who have been wrongfully imprisoned on grounds of their religious beliefs. Houthi political officials have said they were open to de-escalation...

HRW urges Australia to investigate alleged SAS war crimes in Afghanistan

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called upon Australia’s Defence Department to re-examine previously dismissed cases of alleged summary executions and other war crimes in Afghanistan in light of new evidence. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) broadcasted an episode on March 16 th reporting on the possible war crimes of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan and showed footage where an Australian soldier, from the Special Air Service (SAS), is shown to kill an unarmed Afghan civilian during a raid on a village in 2012.

Migrants at extra risk in Malaysia from coronavirus - HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that migrants, stateless people and refugees are at an “extra risk” of COVID-19 and has called on Malaysia took take actions to ensure healthcare services are readily available for these migrants without the risk of arrest or deportation. Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, warned that this was a matter of public safety stating; “Malaysia can’t effectively combat COVID-19 if migrants, stateless people, and refugees are unable to get health care because they can’t afford it, face discrimination, or fear arrest and deportation […] With many...

25 Sikhs killed by ISIL in Kabul

In an attack on Afghanistan’s minority Sikh community, which ISIL has claimed credit for, 25 people have been killed. According to Afghanistan’s Interior Minister, Tariq Arian, the Afghanistan security forces have killed all attackers. Earlier this March, attackers affiliated with ISIL killed a further 32 minority Shia Muslims in Kabul. Increasing religious tension in Afghanistan has forced thousands of native Sikhs to seek asylum in India and Pakistan. Prior to the civil war in the 1990s, there was an approximate 250,000 Sikhs and close to 70 gurudwaras across the country however over the...

Turkey charges 20 Saudis over Khashoggi murder

Turkey have charged 20 Saudi nationals over the murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul in 2018, The Guardian reports. Two of the men charged are allies of the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The former royal court adviser, Saud al-Qahtani and the former deputy head of intelligence, Ahmed al-Asiri were among the suspects charged. Both men are accused of having "instigated premeditated murder with monstrous intent." Arrest warrants have been issued, however as none of them are in the country, a trial in absentia will be opened. Turkey is...

Egypt engages in child detention and torture - HRW

Human Rights Watch in a joint report with the right group, “Belady: An Island For Humanity” have issued a report detailing worry horrifying abuses from Egypt’s security forces including but not limited to engaging in arbitrary detention and torture of children as young as 12. In a statement, Aya Hijazi, co-director of Belady, stated; “Egypt’s criminal justice system has failed to protect children from ill-treatment and could cause lasting harm […] Ending this routine detention and abuse is in the common interest of society as well as the child.” HRW has called on Egypt’s international allies...

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