Human Rights

Greece suspends controversial trial

The trial of more than 20 aid workers who helped migrants reach Greece between 2016 and 2018 was suspended shortly after it began Nov. 18 when the presiding judge ruled that the court was not competent to hear it The defendants in the trial, which human rights groups had called “farcical”, faced an array of charges, including espionage, forgery and unlawful use of radio frequencies. The case will now be heard by an appeals court. [node:read-more:link]

Polish border tensions renewed

Poland accused Belarus today of trucking hundreds of migrants back to the border and pushing them to attempt to cross illegally, a day after clearing camps at the frontier. European governments accuse Belarus of flying in thousands of Middle Easterners, some of whom have died as winter set in, as part of President Alexander Lukashenko’s push back against EU sactions. [node:read-more:link]

Britain sees Hamas as terrorists

The Hamas organization in Palestine is outraged by a British proposal that it should be banned as a terrorist group and its members liable for long prison terms. British Home Secretary Priti Patel said today that it is impossible to distinguish between the “fundamentally and rabidly anti-Semitic” organization’s military and political wings. Hamas countered that Britain “supports the aggressors at the expense of the expense of the victims.” [node:read-more:link]

Forced-labour goods blocked by CBSA

The Canada Border Services Agency recently prevented two shipments of imported goods linked to forced labour from entering the country. It was the first time the federal government has activated a tariff which took effect in July 20210 with ratification of the latest North American trade pact. [node:read-more:link]

Russia’s hopes for Aghanistan outlined

Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s special representative for Afghanistan, says his country wants to work with regional partners to prioritize humanitarian aid while also empowering the more moderate elements of the Taliban. “Our best hope and our endeavor is for Afghanistan to become a normal state living in peace with itself and the neighborhood,” the seasoned diplomat says, adding that “the major concerns are international terrorism and drugs coming out of Afghanistan.” [node:read-more:link]

Cuba continues dissident crackdown

Faced with continued unrest over its authoritarian rule, Cuba’s communist party has been cracking down on organizers of a planned pro-democracy rally by confining organizers to their homes. Hundreds of arrests followed a July protest and the latest gathering was described as part of a U.S. plot to overthrow the government. [node:read-more:link]

Biden and Xi virtual summit

U.S. President Joe Biden used a virtual meeting to press Chinese President Xi Jinping on human rights and trade but Xi, who has not left his country in nearly two years, warned against what he said is continued U.S. provocations over Taiwan. Xi likened the two countries “giant ships sailing in the sea” which needed steady hands to avoid a collision. [node:read-more:link]

Journalists jailed in Myamar

A Myanmar military court has sentenced a U.S. online journalist to 11 years in jail, ruling that he had broken immigration law and associated unlawfully with critics of the junta which seized power last February. Danny Fenster, one of dozens of detained locally-based journalists, also faces trial on charges of sedition and terrorism, which carry a life sentence. [node:read-more:link]

Pakistan hosts Afghanistan multilateral

Diplomats from the U.S., China and Russia have been meeting in Pakistan to discuss the growing humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Afghanistan which has forced many Afghans to migrate to neighbouring countries since the Taliban takeover in August. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, warned before the meeting that Afghanistan is “at the brink of economic collapse” and the international community must urgently resume its support. [node:read-more:link]

UN fires whistleblower

A UN Human Rights Commission employee, Irish human rights lawyer Emma Reilly, who said UN officials had given China the names of dissidents was fired today. “Fundamentally, the entire story is about breaking the UN rules for China,” the whistleblower said after alerting her superiors about the development. [node:read-more:link]

Tories’ coronavirus campaign expanding?

A Conservative “mini-caucus” in Parliament plans to seek out advice on constituents’ complaints about COVID-19 vaccination requirements infringing on civil liberties. “People are asking things about losing their jobs, vaccine mandates,” explains Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu, adding that parents worry about long-term effects from having children vaccinated. There also were “people that are concerned because they haven't taken the vaccine that they can't leave or enter the country.” [node:read-more:link]

Israeli company blacklisted by U.S.

NSO Group Technologies, an Israeli company known primarily for it Pegasus spyware, has been added to a U.S. trade blacklist after it was reported that it had been used by some countries to target human rights advocates and journalists. “Dismayed” by the decision, the company insists that its software helps to prevent “terrorism and crime” and is sold only to countries with good human rights records [node:read-more:link]

Coronavirus reticence mixed

Results of a new Angus Reid Institute poll indicate that concerns about personal health and freedoms are the most common reasons for refusing COVID-1`9 vaccination. Men in the 18-34 cohort were most likely to refuse and the highest incidence is among the most well-off households. [node:read-more:link]

First Nations appeal on hold pending talks

The federal government announced Oct. 29 that it will appeal a Federal Court decision that upheld a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal order that it compensate First Nations children and their parents or grandparents for the children’s removal from their communities since 2006. However, the government also put its legal challenge on hold, hoping to negotiate a financial settlement by the end of the year. [node:read-more:link]

Pandemic restrictions upheld in court

A Manitoba judge has ruled that provincial COVID-19 restrictions imposed last year did not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Ruling on a suit filed last December by seven rural Manitoba churches and three individuals, Justice Glenn Joyal said that while fundamental freedoms should not disappear in a pandemic, the government had to make swift, decisive decisions to save lives. [node:read-more:link]


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