Weekly update: 12- 19 August
The following media round up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the week of 12- 19 August 2019.
The Guernica Group will provide weekly media updates from the International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, European Union and other sources. Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Nenad Vucijak for consideration.
Hong Kong: 14 August 2019
Human Rights Watch calls upon the Hong Kong Police to stop using excessive force against pro-democracy protesters and abide by international standards governing the policing of assemblies, as the mass demonstrations calling for democracy and complete withdrawal of the extradition bill enter their 10th week.
Saudi Arabia: 14 August 2019
Prominent Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul rejects a proposal to secure her release from prison in exchange for a video statement denying she was tortured in custody. Hathloul who recently marked her 30th birthday in jail, is among approximately a dozen prominent female activists who are currently facing trial after being detained last year.
Yemen: 15 August 2019
Ethiopians undertaking the perilous journey by boat across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden face exploitation and torture in Yemen by a network of trafficking groups. Authorities in Ethiopia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia have taken few, if any, measures to curb the violence migrants face, to put in asylum procedures or to check abuses perpetrated by their own security forces.
Northern Ireland: 15 August 2019
Lawyers representing a man from Northern Ireland, who sued a bakery for refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage message, are taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights, to challenge a Supreme Court ruling that its evangelical Christian owners had a right to refuse to bake it.
Russia: 16 August 2019
Russian Authorities raid human rights offices and confiscate vital documents. Without a court warrant police searched the office of Russia Justice initiative and seized confidential documents, including legal contracts in a clear attempt to intimidate and silence the organization’s staff.
Jammu and Kashmir: 16 August 2019
Ahead of a closed-door consultation of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the Security General of Amnesty International declares that the “population of Jammu and Kashmir must not be treated as pawns in a political crisis and that the international community must come together to call for their human rights to be respected”.
Zimbabwe: 16 August 2019
Armed anti-riot police in Zimbabwe forcibly dispersed hundreds of protesters using teargas, batons and whips. Whilst international human rights standards do not bar police from breaking up an unlawful demonstration, they do require police to avoid or at least minimize the use of force when those demonstrations are peaceful.
Libya: 16 August 2019
Fears mount for the safety of Siham Sergiwa, a Lybian member of parliament, vocal in criticising the current offensive in Tripoli, who was abducted by armed gunmen in a night-time raid on her home in Benghazi one month ago.
Bangladesh: 16 August 2019
In a report marking two years since the arrival of around 745,000 Rohingya civilians in Bangladesh, the UN calls for urgent investment in education and skills training. Without adequate learning opportunities, the report stated; “youngsters can fall prey to drug dealers and traffickers”.
Sudan: 16 August 2019
Amnesty International calls for Former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to face justice for crimes under international law, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes that he allegedly committed in Darfur whilst in power, ahead of the start of his trial on corruption charges on 18 August in Khartoum.
Democratic Republic of Congo: 16 August 2019
Briefing journalists in Geneva, UN humanitarians warned that armed militia continue to make the safe return of thousands of people impossible.
Iran: 16 August 2019
Three women protesting the strictly enforced wearing of veils in Iran have received decades-long prison sentences, drawing alarm due to the fact that the arrest and lengthy sentences are directly related to the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom and expression.
Colombia: 16 August 2019
Friday 16 August 2019 marked the signing of a landmark agreement aimed at better protecting vulnerable human and environmental rights defenders and their families as the UN Environment Programme committed to strengthening its cooperation with the OHCHR. A report released by the UNEP stated that on average, more than three human rights defenders were killed every week last year.