Human Rights

Aug San Suu Kyi’s sentence extended

Ignoring a UN Security Council resolution call for her release, a closed military court in Myanmar today extended an already lengthy prison term for former leader Aung San Suu Kyi whose government was toppled in a February 2021 coup. The latest of a series of trials widely derided as shams added seven years to the 26 years already imposed on the 77-year-old Nobel laureate. [node:read-more:link]

Israel’s right-wing government challenged

Nearly 1,200 Israeli military veterans, including several former senior officers, are pressing legal authorities to be “the final line of defence” in protecting their country against an alliance of religious and ultranationalist parties supporting Benjamin Netanyahu’s return as prime minister. “We come from all strata of society and from across the political spectrum,” they say in a December 26 letter. letter said. “What we have in common today is the fear that the democratic state of Israel is in danger.” [node:read-more:link]

Israel prioritizing West Bank expansion

Expanding Israel’s presence in the disputed West Bank is top priority for Benjamin Netanyahu's incoming coalition government, which needs the support of ultra-nationalists to hold on to power. To be sworn in December 29, the new administration said today it will legalize dozens of internationally-condemned settlements in the area and formally annex the occupied territory as part of its coalition deal. [node:read-more:link]

Return-to-work for public service

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier insists that the federal government’s return-to-office mandate, which begins taking effect January 16, is not to be decided in collective bargaining with public service unions. “It’s the right of the employer; it’s the management’s right,” she said December 27. At least two public service unions have called on the government to retract its directive. [node:read-more:link]

Iran stepping up capital sentences

A Norway-based human rights group says that at least 100 people have been sentenced to death or charged with capital offences in connection with the protests in Iran. It also says that the actual total is believed to be higher because families are pressed by the regime into remaining silent and that at least 476 protesters have been killed so far. [node:read-more:link]

NGOs suspend Afghanistan programs

Three major foreign aid groups said on Christmas day that they would suspend operations in Afghanistan, a day after the Taliban forbade Afghan women from working at the NGOs. The Taliban, contradicting earlier statements, had earlier banned women from attending university, sparking widespread protests. [node:read-more:link]

Britain okay to deport asylum seekers

The British government's plan to repatriate potentially thousands of Rwandan asylum seekers was declared legal today by the High Court in London. A deal struck with Rwanda’s government in April 2022 was immediately challenged but Judge Clive Lewis said it is lawful and that there are arrangements in place “to ensure that asylum claims of people relocated to Rwanda are properly determined there” and that repatriation ‘is consistent with the (UN) Refugee Convention and with the statutory and other legal obligations on the government.” [node:read-more:link]

Sweden’s NATO membership at stake

Turkey’s request for the extradition of an exiled journalist was rejected today by Sweden’s highest court. Bulent Kenes had been accused of using his position as editor of a Turkish newspaper to support calls for the ouster of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has identified him as one of the expatriates he wants returned if he is to support Sweden’s application for NATO membership. [node:read-more:link]

Iran booted from UN women’s group

The UN Economic & Social Council ousted Iran’s representative December 14 in response to Tehran’s violent crackdown on widespread protests over the death of a young woman. There were 29 votes in favour of a U.S. motion, eight against (including China and Russia) and 16 abstentions. Iranian Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani said the decision could be a “dangerous precedent with far-reaching consequences,” a view shared by some other delegates. [node:read-more:link]

Canada expands its sanctions list

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly confirmed today that Canada has imposed additional sanctions against Russia, Iran and Myanmar, citing human rights violations by their governments. “There is more work to be done, but Canada will never stop standing up for human rights,” Joly said. [node:read-more:link]

Hackers hit Amnesty International Canada

Amnesty International Canada disclosed December 4 that its English-language unit was targetted in October by hackers linked to China. “We are very aware that we may be the target of state-sponsored attempts to disrupt or surveil our work,” AIC Director General Ketty Nivyabandi said. “These will not intimidate us and the security and privacy of our activists, staff, donors, and stakeholders remain our utmost priority.” Secureworks, a U.S. cybersecurity company, said that forensics had established that “a threat group sponsored or tasked by the Chinese state” was the likely culprit. [node:read-more:link]

Court considers ISIL expats case

The Federal Court is due to begin hearings December 5 (Docket No. T-1483-1) of a Charter-based challenge of the federal government’s refusal to repatriate six women. 13 children and some men being held in northeastern Syria by Kurdish forces which reclaimed the war-torn region from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. However, Global Affairs Canada has recently reassessed the cases and decided the claimants meet a threshold for extraordinary assistance. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese “police stations” pervasive

A Spain-based human rights organization says China has set up more than 100 “police stations” around the world to monitor, harass and even forcibly repatriate Chinese citizens through agreements with European and African governments. Safeguard Defenders says four Public Security Ministry divisions are active in at least 53 countries, ostensibly to help the diaspora with things such as driver’s licences. China says they are staffed by volunteers, but Safeguard Defenders says one network hired 135 staff for its first 21 stations. [node:read-more:link]

Iran says morality police suspended

Iranian Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri is reported to have suspended operations by morality police after weeks of widespread rioting. There has been no corroboration of his order, whether it is permanent, or any indication that the law mandating women’s dress code would be terminated. [node:read-more:link]

Twisted logic in Tehran

Even as his own government continues to violently suppress growing public protests, including sentencing some protesters to death, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi today lauded his country as a champion of rights and freedoms and the rule of law. “Iran has the most progressive constitution in the world,” he said at one point during a speech, insisting that it “guarantees fundamental rights and legitimate freedoms.” [node:read-more:link]


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