Human Rights

World Bank suspends Afghanistan funding

Concern about how the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan will affect its “development prospects, especially for women”, has prompted the World Bank to halt support for projects. “We are exploring ways we can remain engaged to preserve hard-won development gains and continue to support the people of Afghanistan,” an official said Aug. 24. [node:read-more:link]

Venezuelan critic released from jail

Two days after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro met with members of his country’s political opposition, authorities released Freddy Guevara. A close ally of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, he had been charged in July with treason and terrorism. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian’s death penalty upheld in China

A Chinese court today upheld the death sentence imposed on Canadian Robert Schellenberg for drug smuggling even as a B.C. judge is expected to rule on the requested deportation of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to face fraud charges in the U.S. Schellenberg originally was sentenced to 15 years but an appellate court imposed the death penalty in 2019, a month after Meng was detained at the request of the former U.S. administration. [node:read-more:link]

First Afghans arrive in Canada

The first “of a number of flights” carrying Afghans who helped the Canadian military in Afghanistan arrived late Aug. 4 at Toronto International Airport. The government did not say how many evacuees were aboard the RCAF’s Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport but at least three dozen were observed. [node:read-more:link]

Bosnian Serbs upset by genocide ruling

The UN High Representative for Bosnia has sparked more ethnic tension by trying to block Serbian denials that the killing of 8,000 Muslims during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina was a genocide. Valentin Inzko wants to stop glorification of Serb commanders convicted of war crimes but their current political leaders are boycotting efforts to amend the criminal code to accommodate Inzko. “I followed my conscience,” the Austrian diplomat says. [node:read-more:link]

Feds settle First Nations drinking water class action

The Canadian government has reached an agreement in principle to settle class-action litigation regarding clean drinking water for First Nations communities. Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller said it includes “$1.5 billion in compensation for individuals deprived of clean drinking water, the creation of a $400-million First Nation economic and cultural restoration fund to support community-level efforts, a new commitment to Canada’s action plan for the lifting of all long-term drinking water advisories in public systems on reserve.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada’s problematic Afghan rescue plan

Afghan interpreters and others who helped the Canadian Armed Forces mission in Afghanistan “absolutely have the right to come to Canada,” says Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, but bureaucratic issues evidently persist. She was responding to criticism that the system proposed effectively made it difficult for prospective refugees, notably a 72-hour window for submitting paperwork, but the government now says that was a mistake and no applications would be rejected. [node:read-more:link]

First Afghans arrive in U.S.

The first flight evacuating Afghans who worked with the U.S. in Afghanistan arrived early today at Dulles International Airport near Washington. Fleeing Taliban reprisals, the 221 evacuees included 57 children and 15 infants. President Joe Biden called the flight “an important milestone as we continue to fulfill our promise to the thousands of Afghan nationals who served shoulder-to-shoulder with American troops and diplomats over the last 20 years.” [node:read-more:link]

Afghan rescue plan frustrating

A three-day deadline for Afghans who assisted Canadian forces to be brought Canada, coupled with complicated English-only online applications forms, are frustrating the humanitarian program. “The plan sounded good,” a CAF veteran said July 28. “As of this morning . . . the deadlines are completely unreasonable.” [node:read-more:link]

Suspected Daesh member repatriated

A woman with dual Australian and New Zealand citizenship who is believed to have been involved with the Islamic State is being permitted to return to New Zealand with her two children after Australia refused to take her back. She had left for Syria on an Australian passport in 2014 and was caught entering Turkey from Syria with her children. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision was not “taken lightly” and she accused the Australian government of “abdicating its responsibilities.” [node:read-more:link]

War crimes “apparent” in Gaza conflict

Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of attacks that "apparently amount to war crimes" during an 11-day war in May against Hamas militants in Gaza. The accusation July 26 flows from an investigation of three air strikes that it says killed 62 Palestinian civilians. It also accuses the militants of apparent war crimes for launching more that 4,000 unguided munitions against Israeli communities. [node:read-more:link]

BBC maps out Taliban progress

The Taliban have taken control of more territory in Afghanistan in the last two months than at any time since they were ousted from power 20 years ago. Emboldened in recent weeks by the ongoing withdrawal of western forces, they now have a strong presence n many regions and are closing in on major cities. [node:read-more:link]

New Governor General sworn in

Mary Simon, an Inuk from northern Quebec, was sworn in as Canada’s 30th Governor General, the first indigenous vice-regal appointee. In a ceremony held in the Senate chamber, she pledged to use her role to work against climate change, advocate for mental health and work toward reconciliation. “I have heard from Canadians who describe a renewed sense of possibility for our country and hope that I can bring people together," she said. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Myanmar junta targets doctors

During months of unending turmoil after their April coup d'état, Myanmar security forces have killed more than 900 people, including shooting protesters and detaining thousands. An already fragile health care system has collapsed and now physicians and other health care providers have become targets. [node:read-more:link]

Aluminum industry’s human-rights challenge

The global automobile industry is being called on to address alleged human rights abuses in its aluminum supply chains. A Human Rights Watch researcher says the metal “is really a blind spot for the car industry” due to mining practices and their impact on its workers and the environment. [node:read-more:link]


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