Category Archives: military and humanitarian intervention

News Clips – August 26, 2016

Rana Plaza before the collapseCredit: Sean Robertson

Rana Plaza before the collapse
Credit: Sean Robertson

Civil Society

  • A member of the United Democratic Party, an opposition political party in Gambia, died while in detention last Saturday, prompting the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to condemn the death and conditions of detention. [UN News Centre]
  • The Ethiopian government announced this week that it will not prosecute the Olympic athlete who publically protested against the government during the Olympic Games in Rio. [Washington Post]

International Criminal Law

  • Admitting to the war crime of destroying historic buildings in Mali, Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi became the first person to plead guilty before the International Criminal Court. [International Justice Monitor]
  • A former Argentine general and 28 co-defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, including hundreds of forced disappearances, committed during the Dirty War. [TeleSUR]

Policing, Protest & Excessive Use of Force

  • The National Human Rights Commission of Mexico has found that 22 civilians killed during a drug raid in 2015 died due to excessive use of force and arbitrary execution. [JURIST]
  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights this week condemned the killings of black individuals in the United States by police officers using excessive force and expressed concern over the impunity in the killings. [IACHR Press Release]
  • Three human rights experts of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights sent a joint letter of appeal to the government of Ethiopia on allegations of killings, beatings, excessive use of force, and arbitrary arrests associated with recent protests. [ACHPR Press Release]

Business & Human Rights

  • The trial of 18 people accused of construction code violations associated with the collapse of Rana Plaza was postponed this week after defendants petitioned the high court to challenge their charges. [Al Jazeera]

Counter-terrorism & Human Rights

  • Following the enactment of local bans prohibiting burkinis, a full-body swinsuit, in several towns in France, the French Council of State ruled that such bans are unenforceable after police this week enforced the ban in Nice by ordering a woman to remove her clothing. [Guardian; CNN]

Asylum & Refugees

  • Kenya announced this week that it will not close the Dadaab refugee camp, a home for over 320,000 Somali refugees, until Somalia is at peace. [International Business Times]
  • The European Union and Turkey have reinitiated diplomatic talks to reach an agreement on migration management. [Guardian]

LGBTQ Rights

  • A federal judge in the United States recently issued an injunction on the Obama administrations guidelines that state transgender students may use the bathrooms they choose to use. [Reuters]
  • Belize repealed a law that criminalized same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults. [IACHR Press Release]
  • The Constitutional Court of Indonesia held a fifth hearing this week on the constitutionality of several provisions in the criminal code that criminalize same-sex behavior. [HRW]
  • After the recent killing and rape of an LGBT activist and transgender woman, hundreds demonstrated in Istanbul. [Washington Post]

Conflict and Humanitarian Crises

  • A peace deal between the Colombian government and Farc, a rebel armed group, was reached this week after 52 years at war. [Guardian]
  • As part of an operation called Euphrates Shield, Turkish tanks and warplanes have entered Syria in an effort to combat ISIS’s hold of Jarablus. [Guardian]
  • The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report identifying alleged violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in the conflict in Yemen, and calling for a formal inquiry. [UN News Centre]
  • After thousands of cholera victims brought suit in United States courts against the United Nations for its involvement in the epidemic, the U.S. court hearing the case upheld the UN’s immunity from the claim. [Washington Post]


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News Clips- August 12, 2016

SC Votes on Temp Extension of Mandate for South Sudan Mission 15-0-0

The United Nations Security Council discusses South Sudan
Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

International Criminal Law

  • Nada Kiswanson, a permanent representative at the International Criminal Court who works on evidence of war crimes in Palestine, has received death threats. [MEMO]
  • The International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh issued sentences to eight individuals for crimes against humanity. [Jurist]
  • German investigators have identified eight individuals who they suspect of war crimes during the Nazi era. [The Local]

Civil Society

  • The government of Ethiopia rejected the United Nations request that observers be allowed into the country to investigate the killings of protesters. [Al Jazeera]
  • Kenya’s High Court ruled that the late human rights lawyer, Willia Kimani; his client, Josphat Mwendwa; and a taxi driver were all forcibly disappeared. [Amnesty International]
  • The LGBT Pride parade schedule for August 13, 2016 in Odessa, Ukraine was canceled by the Odessa City Council, citing possible conflict and criminal activity that could arise around the event. [Human Rights First]
  • Pakistan passed its Electronic Crimes Bill, which activists claim could violate the rights to freedom of speech and privacy. [Jurist]
  • A Brazilian judge upheld protestors right to freedom of expression by ruling that they may peacefully criticize the interim president while at the Olympic venues. [BBC]
  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed concern that opposition party members were removed from the Nicaraguan legislator pursuant to a judicial decision. [IACHR Press Release]

Migrants and Refugees

  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over the treatment of refugees in Bulgaria, claiming they are often subject to detention and trials that do not meet international standards. [UN News Centre]
  • The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees expressed concern over the high numbers of South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries and the limited funds available to support them. [UN News Centre]
  • The UN again expressed concern that Australia and Nauru continue to hold migrants and refugees offshore where they are often exposed to violence and sexual abuse. [UN News Centre]

Violence and Conflicts

  • Several bombs exploded in Thailand at the end of the week in a resort town, Hua Hin. [UN News Centre]
  • Rebel groups in Syria announced that they intend to take the city of Aleppo. [Al Jazeera]
  • South Sudan has refused to accept a proposal to allow UN troops to enter the country. [Al Jazeera]

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Attacks on South Sudanese Civilians, Humanitarian Workers Prompt International Response

Security Council visits South Sudan. 12 August 2014 Arrival of SC Delegation at Juba International Airport.

A United Nations Security Council delegation visits South Sudan
Credit: UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

In South Sudan, opposing armed forces backing President Kirr and Vice President Machar may have committed war crimes by attacking civilians and humanitarian personnel and facilities in recent weeks, according to UN representatives, prompting a decision by the African Union to send additional troops to join the UN peacekeeping force there. [NPR; UN News Centre: Juba; OHCHR Press Briefing] Renewed outbreaks of violence in South Sudan have displaced tens of thousands and killed hundreds of civilians and humanitarian aid workers, amid widespread hunger and a suspected cholera outbreak. [UN News Centre: Juba; OHCHR Press Release; Reuters] While a ceasefire that began on July 11 has held, civilians continue to deal with the aftermath. [OHCHR Press Briefing; Guardian] International bodies have condemned the fighting and the targeting of civilians, UN peacekeepers, and UN compounds. [OHCHR Press Briefing; OHCHR Press Release; UN News Centre: Juba; UNICEF Press Release: Violence; ACHPR Press Release]

The recent fighting implicates South Sudan’s commitments under international law. As the UN Security Council reminded the State, civilians may not be targeted during armed conflict and humanitarian aid workers must be able to access those in need of their services. [UN News Centre: Juba] South Sudan is further obligated to respect and protect the rights to freedom from torture, the life of the child, and access to medical care for women and children, pursuant to the international human rights treaties it has ratified. Read more

News Clips – July 8, 2016

Human Rights Bodies’ Activities

  • The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution supporting online users’ human rights and criticizing internet shutdowns. [Access Now; TechCrunch]
  • The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women met with civil society representatives from the Philippines, Myanmar, and France ahead of those States’ interactive dialogues with the CEDAW Committee, which also took place this week as it began its 64th session. [OHCHR Press Release]
  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has suspended its planned July (and October) sessions amid an ongoing, critical financial crisis. [IJRC]
  • The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights held a special meeting this week in Thailand to review its work, complete its annual report, and address new areas of work, including its Judicial Colloquium on the Sharing of Good Practices regarding International Human Rights Law and Human Rights Cases in Domestic Courts. [AICHR Press Release]

Conflicts & Humanitarian Crises

  • The UN Security Council agreed to reauthorize the deployment of African Union troops in Somalia for an additional year, to improve stability and reduce the security threats posed by Al-Shabaab and other armed groups. [UN News Centre]
  • Amnesty International this week criticized the lack of investigation into war crimes committed by the Israeli military and Palestinian armed groups during the 50-day siege of summer 2014, when approximately 1,500 civilians died in the Gaza Strip. [Amnesty]
  • More than 280 people were killed as a result of last Saturday’s bombing in Baghdad, the worst such attack in Iraq since 2003. [Al Jazeera]
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross called on the parties to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine to stop attacking infrastructure on which civilians depend. [ICRC]
  • Many thousands have fled the South Sudanese city of Wau amid fresh fighting. [Al Jazeera]
  • An independent inquiry into the United Kingdom’s role in the Iraq war has culminated with the release of the so-called Chilcot report, which finds serious flaws in decision making by British intelligence and politicians, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair. [Washington Post; NYT]
  • A terrorist attack in Dhaka killed 20 people and prompted increased calls for the government of Bangladesh to improve justice and accountability while respecting human rights, particularly of civil society and members of the political opposition. [FIDH]

Human Rights Defenders & Civil Society

  • As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visits Beijing, China’s year-long crackdown on civil society has come under increased scrutiny. [AP; Amnesty]
  • Another Honduran activist, a colleague of slain environmentalist Berta Cáceres, has been killed. [The Guardian]
  • In Zimbabwe, citizens stayed home and businesses closed to protest government corruption and shortages. [The Guardian]
  • The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights joined other human rights bodies this week in condemning the murders of Kenyan human rights lawyer Willie Kimani and his companions. [ACHPR Press Release]
  • The human rights community mourns the death of Elie Wiesel, a Nobel Laureate, advocate, and Holocaust survivor, who died on July 2, 2016. [NYT; Enough Project; UN News Centre]

International & Domestic Courts

  • Following investigations and pressure from UN actors and civil society, Sri Lanka has agreed to establish, within a year, a special Sri Lankan court to try those responsible for human rights violations and war crimes committed during its internal armed conflict. [NYT]
  • A legal challenge to Brexit will proceed before a British court, which will be asked to determine whether parliament alone can initiate Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. [The Guardian]
  • Unconfirmed – and contested – reports are circulating that Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has been released from custody in Libya, where he had been held in secret detention awaiting execution. [The Guardian; JiC]
  • A French court sentenced two former Rwandan mayors to life imprisonment on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide for their roles in the massacre of 2,000 people in a church, during the country’s 1994 genocide. [BBC]

Police Violence

  • Following the police killings of two black men, in Louisiana and Minnesota, earlier this week and the killing of five police officers by snipers at an otherwise peaceful protest against police brutality, in Texas last night, the United Nations Working Group of Experts on Persons of African Descent called on U.S. authorities to address the persistent lack of accountability for police killings. [OHCHR Press Release]
  • New Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is making good on his promise to violently crack down on the drug trade, with 45 people reportedly killed by police and civilians during his first week in office. [Al Jazeera]


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