Human Rights

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]

Myanmar continues deadly crackdown

The military-backed government in Myanmar sentenced more critics to death this week, bringing the total to at least 139 since the junta seized power in February 2021. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volter Turk, said December 2 that at least seven university students were sentenced in a closed-door trial November 30 and that there were reports that four youth activists were sentenced the following day. [node:read-more:link]

Conspiracy theorist seeks bankruptcy protection

Alex Jones, the U.S. conspiracy theorist recently ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion for claiming that a mass school shooting in 2011 was a hoax, filed for bankruptcy December 2. Jones claims to have no more than $10 million in assets and to $10 billion in debt. A lawyer for the families he defamed families said “the bankruptcy system does not protect anyone who engages in intentional and egregious attacks on others and “like every other cowardly move Alex Jones has made, this bankruptcy will not work.” [node:read-more:link]

UN unveils record aid budget

The United Nations is asking its member states for a record US$51.5 billion in aid funding for 2023, some 25 per cent more than in 2022. Citing Russia’s war on Ukraine, drought in Africa and flooding in Pakistan, among other things, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said today that “humanitarian needs are shockingly high, as this year's extreme events are spilling into 2023.” [node:read-more:link]

26-hour-long moment of silence

On December 6th, a 26-hour long moment of silence will begin. Beginning on Finland's Independence Day, the conflict resolution organization CMI - Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation will hold a 26-hour long moment of silence in Helsinki, Finland to honour people who have lost their homes due to a conflict. [node:read-more:link]


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