Human Rights

Dutch coalition government collapses

Disagreement within the four-party Dutch coalition government over asylum policies resulted in its collapse today. Prime Minster Mark Rutte expected to formally resign July 8, setting the stage for elections likely in November. [node:read-more:link]

Gitmo detention called “inhuman”

A UN investigator who visited the U.S. detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, says that despite some “significant improvements”, its 30 remaining detainees are subject “to ongoing cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law.” Irish law professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin aired her concerns in a June 26 report about her unprecedented visit, but the U.S. disagreed “in significant respects with many factual and legal assertions” in her report to the Human Rights Council. [node:read-more:link]

Syria repatriation mission

A civil delegation which is to include a Senator and the former head of Amnesty International plans to visit Syria in August to assess Canadians detained after travelling to join Islamic extremists. The Federal Court of Appeal last month overturned a judicial ruling that four Canadian men were entitled to government support for their repatriation. [node:read-more:link]

Israeli occupation condemned by Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wanyts Israel to “cease all settlement activities” in occupied Palestinian territory because ongoing construction of settlements remains a major obstacle to peace. He was reacting to an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee June 19. [node:read-more:link]

Refugee policy ruled constitutional

The 2004 Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the U.S. was ruled fundamentally constitutional today by the Supreme Court of Canada (Docket No. 39749). Advocacy groups had argued that Canadian officials were wrong to indiscriminately refugee claimants’ entry without considering their safety or the state of U.S. facilities. [node:read-more:link]

Assad regime taken to ICJ

Canada and the Netherlands are taking Syria to the International Court of Justice on grounds that Syria “has committed countless violations of international law. “Since 2011, Syrians have been tortured, murdered, sexually assaulted, forcibly disappeared and subjected to chemical weapon attacks on a mass scale,” Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and her Dutch counterpart said in a joint statement today. “Twelve years on, human rights violations at the hands of the Syrian regime persist.” [node:read-more:link]

Canadian imprisoned in China

Amnesty International Canada is stepping up its campaign for the release of a Canadian human-rights activist imprisoned in China since 2006. Huseyin Celil fled China after being arrested for supporting Uyghur rights but was arrested during a family visit to Uzbekistan in 2006. Amnesty says “they refused to recognize Huseyin’s status as a Canadian citizen, and they did not allow Canadian officials to attend his trial.” [node:read-more:link]

Social media scrubbing war crimes

Some social media platforms have been erasing posts about potential human rights abuses I what one executive has acknowledged may be an “overcautious” policy of deleting offensive content. YouTube and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, say they try to balance the duties to bear witness while also blocking possibly harmful posts. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian healthcare under seige

The World Health Organisation has verified 1,004 attacks on Ukraine’s healthcare system since Russia’s invasion began in February 2022. The WHO representative in Ukraine says the attacks have “wide-ranging, long-term consequences” and violate international law. [node:read-more:link]

More sanctions against Russia

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the other G7 leaders kicked off their summit in Japan today by announcing new sanctions against 17 Russian individuals and 18 “entities” due to human rights abuses in Ukraine. They also announced new funding they said will help to guard against nuclear weapon proliferation. [node:read-more:link]

Middle East tops death penalty list

Amnesty International reports that the number of executions confirmed globally in 2022 was the highest in five years, with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt accounting for 90 per cent of the total. A total of 883 executions were performed across 20 countries, up 53 per cent from 2021, but AI notes the exclusion of China, which is thought to execute thousands each year. There were five in the U.S. [node:read-more:link]

India wants Canadians extradited

Two Vancouver residents face extradition to India in connection with the case of four Indian nationals who froze to death last winter while trying to cross into the U.S. from Manitoba. “We need to interview them,” said a deputy police commissioner in Gujurat state. Two other suspected members of a human smuggling operation were arrested earlier this year in India. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese diplomat declared PNG

A Toronto-based Chinese diplomat has been given five days to leave the country after the government declared him persona non grata. “We will not tolerate any form of foreign interference,” Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said today, confirming that Zhao Wei had sought to target Toronto Conservative MP Michael Chong for having condemned China’s repression of its Uighur minority. China promised “countermeasures,” likely a reciprocal expulsion. [node:read-more:link]

UN official defended against attacks

University of Western Ontario associate professor Peter Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territory until a year ago, has joined other former rapporteurs in defending his successor against a “slanderous” campaign to have her fired. The U.S. and Israel are among the critics of Italian lawyer and academic Francesca Albanese who has said there is “zero accountability” for human rights abuses in the disputed territory. [node:read-more:link]

Gitmo prisoners ageing rapidly

Detainees at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay are showing signs of “accelerated ageing,” says a senior official at International Committee of the Red Cross who visited the facility in March. Many have spent two decades in detenions, usually without being charged, and the official says the situation must be addressed “as a matter of priority.” [node:read-more:link]


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