Oppression

Iran’s Judiciary Threatens Executions for Economic ‘Crimes’

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Implementing the Death Penalty is Wrong Response to Economic Crisis Tara Sepehri Far HRW Iran’s senior officials are attempting to head off a looming economic crisis – triggered by the return of US sanctions – with threats of new rights-abusing policies. Tehran’s prosecutor, Jafari Dolatabadi, on Wednesday warned that importers who abuse government subsidies could be charged with “corruption on earth,” which carries a possible death sentence. Several hardliner newspapers and parliamentarians have echoed Dolatabadi’s call to execute people found ... Read More »

Are Turkey’s Christians as ‘fine’ as they say?

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As tensions simmered between Ankara and Washington over detained American pastor Andrew Brunson, the leaders of Turkey’s non-Muslim minorities issued a joint statement July 31 to deny that they faced any oppression in the country. Fehim Tastekin Al-Monitor The timing of the move was rather remarkable, and for Garo Paylan, an ethnic Armenian lawmaker for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the issuance of such a declaration was “in itself a proof that we are not free.” The 18 Christian and Jewish community leaders ... Read More »

Namibia’s long fight for justice

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Over a century later, descendants of the Herero and Nama peoples, victims of Germany’s forgotten genocide, are demanding reparations – and an apology. Gouri Sharma reports New Internationalist ‘Justice now,’ they shouted. ‘Give us an apology’, they said, ‘genocide is genocide,’ they declared. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in the German port city of Hamburg. Activists, students and journalists from Germany and the African continent had gathered outside St. Michael’s church, the city’s largest, to begin their protest march ... Read More »

Sexual Violence by the Burmese Military Against Ethnic Minorities

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Testimony of Skye Wheeler at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Co-Chairmen Representatives McGovern and Hultgren and members of the commission, thank you for the opportunity to testify at today’s hearing on human rights and the use of sexual violence by the Burmese military against ethnic minorities in Burma. HRW Human Rights Watch has conducted research on the human rights situation in Burma for more than 25 years, focusing on abuses against political dissidents and media, as well as laws-of-war ... Read More »

How to reduce slavery in seafood supply chains

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Seafood is one of the most-traded foods in the world. The sector employs at least 260 million workers globally, and some 3 billion people rely on seafood as a primary source of protein. Trevor J Ward The Conversation The US State Department and other credible sources have consistently identified the seafood sector as a significant contributor to the global incidence of modern slavery. Widespread forced labour has been reported in the seafood industry in 47 countries. Part of the problem ... Read More »

Patriotic songs and self-criticism: why China is ‘re-educating’ Muslims in mass detention camps

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China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies their existence. But extensive reporting by international media and human rights groups indicates upwards of hundreds of thousands of Uighurs — a… The Conversation By Michael Clarke ABC The camps are not only massive, with some exceeding 10,000 square metres, but have also been likened to prison-like compounds, with, “reinforced security doors and windows, surveillance systems… The US Congressional-Executive Commission on China calls it, “The largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the ... Read More »

Torture is ‘Systemic and Endemic’ in Azerbaijan

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Torture Prevention Body Publishes Damning Reports Torture in Azerbaijan by police and other law enforcement agencies is “systemic and endemic,” according to a report from the Council of Europe’s torture prevention body. Giorgi Gogia HRW The report by The Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), based on six visits to Azerbaijan from 2004 through 2017, documented repeated cases of “severe physical ill-treatment” of… The cases appeared to follow a consistent pattern: mostly ... Read More »

Rare witness to horror of Stalin’s Gulag prisons dies

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A rare survivor of the harshest Stalin-era labour camps has died aged 89 in Russia’s far east. BBC Vasily Kovalyov had survived icy punishment cells and beatings in the USSR’s notorious Gulag prison system. During an escape attempt in 1954 he spent five months hiding in a freezing mine with two other prisoners. Kovalyov’s story was featured in Vesma, a news site based in Magadan. The communist regime shipped thousands of “enemies” to prison camps via Magadan. In 1950 Kovalyov, ... Read More »

Vietnam: Clean Up Abysmal Rights Record

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Past UN Member Recommendations Ignored © 2018 Reuters/Kham HRW (Geneva) – Vietnam’s government should release all political prisoners and uphold its pledges to respect basic civil and political rights, Human Rights Watch said in a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Vietnam will be appearing before the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in January 2019. During its 2014 UPR review, Vietnam accepted 182 out of 227 recommendations it received from UN member countries. Since then, the Vietnamese government ... Read More »

Indonesia’s Papua Cover-Up Reflex Prompts Police Dormitory Raid

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Authorities Cite ‘Hidden Activities’ to Cancel Screening of Papuan Film Michelle Winowatan HRW Dozens of Indonesian military and police personnel raided a student dormitory in Surabaya on July 6 to stop the screening of a documentary about security force atrocities in Papua. It’s the latest example of the government’s determination not to deal with past abuses in the country’s easternmost province. Security forces carried out the raid following social media postings about the planned screening of “Bloody Biak.” The film documents the ... Read More »

‘Collective punishment’: Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza

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Israel further tightens its blockade on the strip while rights group denounces measure as ‘morally depraved’. AlJazeera Israel has further tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip, preventing gas and fuel deliveries through its only commercial crossing with the Palestinian besieged enclave a week after Israeli authorities announced the closure of the crossing. The Kerem Shalom crossing, known to Palestinians as Karem Abu Salem, was shut down on July 9 and initially, only items deemed as “humanitarian” would be allowed to enter Gaza, ... Read More »

British colonial forces ‘raped a teenager and tortured civilians during 1950s Cyprus uprising and then covered it up’, court papers claim

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British colonial forces raped a 15-year-old girl and tortured civilian detainees with beatings and mock hangings during the Cyprus uprising in the 1950s, papers lodged at the High Court reveal. By ANGELLA JOHNSON FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY The devastating claims have been made in damning eyewitness reports by 31 elderly men and two women who are suing the Government for human rights abuses. The evidence comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed in April that senior British officers had seen ... Read More »

Outspoken Aberdeen University academic arrested in Turkey for criticising the government

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An outspoken Aberdeen University academic has been arrested in Turkey for posting critical commentary online about the country’s leader. Kieran Beattie The Press and Journal Lawyer Hanifi Baris, who graduated from Aberdeen University’s Centre of Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law with a PhD last year, was yesterday arrested by police in Istanbul for “posting items with criminal content on Facebook and Twitter accounts”. Mr Baris, who moved to Turkey after leaving Aberdeen last year to be with his ... Read More »

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the political giant with a cane

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On June 24, Turkish citizens voted in presidential and parliamentary snap elections, with a huge turnout. Authors: The Conversation As expected, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected president while his Islamo-nationalist bloc allies – the Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) – obtained a parliamentary majority. While both victories were won by narrow margins, Erdoğan took 52.5% of the vote, coming out well ahead of his opponents. The main opposition candidate, Muharrem İnce, obtained 31%, followed by the ... Read More »

Saudis arrest another women’s right activist

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The arrest of Hatoon al-Fassi is part of Riyadh’s crackdown on activists in the kingdom. AlJazeera Saudi Arabia has arrested Hatoon al-Fassi, a Saudi women’s rights activist and writer, as part of its crackdown on activists in the kingdom, a human rights group said. ALQST, a UK-based rights group focusing on Saudi Arabia, confirmed to Al Jazeera on Wednesday al-Fassi’s arrest. Considered a leading figure in women’s rights in the region, and the kingdom, in particular, al-Fassi has long been fighting for the… ... Read More »

Turkey resists Erdoğan on social media as snap election approaches

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Turkey will soon go to the polls for the fifth time in less than four years. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced them on the same day that parliament extended the national state of emergency for the seventh time since the… Rabia Karakaya Polat The Conversation Erdoğan brought these elections forward to June 24 for his own political ends: to pre-empt an expected economic downturn, to take his rivals by surprise, and to ride a surge of nationalism stirred up by ... Read More »