News Clips – May 23, 2010

  • Human Rights Watch urges new British government to reform counterterrorism strategies and investigate British agents’ complicity in torture and rendition. [HRW] Related cases decided by the British courts and ECHR include A & Others (indefinite detention of foreign nationals), Gillan and Quinton v. UK (power to stop and search), and the control order cases Secretary of State for the Home Department v. E and AnotherJJ and Others, and MB and AF.
  • Spain’s Judge Baltasar Garzón is temporarily suspended pending trial on misconduct charges in connection with investigation of Franco-era crimes against humanity. [Guardian]  See more on this story here.
  • Egyptian President Mubarak decreed a two-year extension of emergency laws, in place since 1981, allowing extraordinary police powers in terrorism and drug cases. [Impunity WatchBBC]
  • The IACHR completed its visit to Honduras to follow up on the human rights situation following last year’s coup d’etat, and expressed deep concern regarding continuing violations.
  • French parliament will consider fining women in full veil, now that President Sarkozy’s government has forwarded legislation that would impose a $185 fine on women in burqa and/or require them to attend citizenship classes, as well as allowing police to require women to lift their veils to identify themselves. [Washington Post]
  • Charles Taylor’s war crimes trial will move to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon facilities in The Hague, due to scheduling difficulties at the ICC, which had been the venue for the trial since 2006, although theSpecial Tribunal for Sierra Leone continues to prosecute Taylor. [Impunity Watch]
  • report commissioned by Canadian mining company Goldcorp shows its subsidiary violated workers rights and failed to properly consult with indigenous community in Guatemala. Another study published this month reports that individuals living near the mine have potentially toxic levels of heavy metals in their blood and urine. [BBCPhysicians for Human Rights]  The mine is located in the San Marcos department of Guatemala and is the subject of a pending complaint before the Canadian government, alleging violations of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises [CIEL]. Mineral mining has become a very heated issue in Guatemala as indigenous communities fight for a say regarding the location, practices, and environmental impact of such mines.  Review more information by Mining Watch CanadaCOPAE,and NISGUA. See Guatemala’s law and regulations on mining here.
  • Malawi sentences gay couple to 14 years’ imprisonment, generating strong criticism. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called the sentence “blatantly discriminatory” and urged reform of laws criminalizing homosexuality. [UN]
  • Six Somalis were sentenced to death by a Yemen court last week for the oldest international crime:piracy. [Impunity Watch]
  • The ACLU and other organizations filed a class action lawsuitFriendly House et al. v. Whiting, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, challenging the new Arizona immigration law as an unconstitutional infringement on federal powers and violating the constitutional amendments providing for equal protection, protection against unreasonable seizures and freedom of speech. [ACLU]

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