Weekly update: 17 to 23 September 2019
The following media round-up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 17-23 September 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.
China: 17 September 2019
Calls are made for Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, to publicly and unequivocally condemn the Chinese authorities’ abusive policies in Xinjiang and demand the immediate closure of camps containing an estimated one million Turkic Muslims.
Eritrea: 17 September 2019
The Eritrean government must release the 11 politicians and 17 journalists who were arrested in 2001 after criticising President Isaias Afwerki’s rule and have not been seen or heard from since. The 11 politicians were arrested for writing an open letter to President Afwerki, urging him to respect the constitution by holding elections and upholding the rule of law, while the 17 journalists were arrested for reporting on the politician’s letter.
Mozambique: 17 September 2019
The elections period in Mozambique has been clouded by attacks on civil society leaders, activists and journalists. In a human rights briefing published by Amnesty International, a shocking catalogue of abuses carried out against human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other members of civil society were revealed.
ECHR: 17 September 2019
In the case of Akdag v Turkey (application no.75460/10) the European Court of Human Rights held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 6(1) and 3(c), this right being that of the right to a fair trial and access to a lawyer. The case concerned access t a lawyer in police custody, the applicant alleging that she had confessed to being a member of an illegal organisation after being threatened and ill-treated by the police, without access to a lawyer.
ECHR: 17 September 2019
The European Court of Human Rights has given notice to the Government of Poland of the applications in the cases of Broda v Poland and Bojara v Poland, asking them to submit their observations after the non-contentious phase. The case concerned the recent changes to the Polish judiciary, which had the effect of entailing the premature discontinuance of the 6-year terms of office of two judges who had been appointed as vice-presidents of Kiecle Regional Court.
ECHR: 18 September 2019
A Grand Chamber hearing was held in the case of Selahattin Demirtas v Turkey (no.2) in a case that concerned the arrest and pre-trial detention of the applicant, who at the time of the events was one of the co-chairs of the People’s Democratic Party, a left-wing pro-Kurdish political party.
United Nations Human Rights Council: 19 September 2019
In a new report from the UN Human Rights Office, it is evidenced that cases of intimidation and retaliation against victims, civil society and activists who cooperate with the United Nations are on the rise. Reported cases include individuals or organisations being charged with terrorism, blamed for cooperation with foreign entities or being accused of damaging the reputation or security of the State.
Hong Kong: 19 September 2019
An alarming pattern has been identified within the Hong Kong Police force as they deploy reckless and indiscriminate tactics such as arresting people at protests, as well as exclusive evidence of torture and other ill-treatment in detention.
Israel: 19 September 2019
The Offices of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association were ransacked in the early hours of 19 September. During the raid, computers, hard drives, files and equipment were seized. The raid is seen to be part of a wider crackdown on Palestinian human rights and civil society organisations and their staff.
Honduras: 20 September 2019
Arrest of a member of the military on suspicion of criminal responsibility for the death of 17-year old Eblin Noel Corea Maradiaga could be a first step towards justice for the death of the young man. The Public Prosecutor’s Office has identified a member of the army who used lethal force against protesters.
Egypt: 22 September 2019
Security forces in Egypt have clashed with hundreds of protesters in the port city of Suez, firing tear gas and live rounds to disperse crowds calling to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to quit. The unrest came aday after thousands of people took to the streets in several Egyptian cities in a rare show of dissent against el-Sisi.
Syria: 23 September 2019
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the creation of a constitutional committee on Syria that will include members of President Bashar al-Assad’s government and opposition representatives.
European Union: 23 September 2019
Interior Ministers from five European Union countries have agreed a new scheme to distribute migrants rescued on the Mediterranean in a deal aimed at relieving the pressure on southern EU states. Whilst details have not been released, Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said that the idea was for rescued migrants to be sent to various EU states within four weeks of being brought ashore.
France: 23 September 2019
A landmark trial is expected to take place in France to settle one of the country’s biggest healthcare scandals. Privately-owned Servier Laboratories and regulator Agence Nationale du Medicament et des Produits de Sante, and 21 defendants will face more than 4,000 plaintiffs who believe the drugmaker of the weight-loss pill deliberately misled patients for decades believing that the pill could have triggered killer side-effects to hundreds of patients.