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International Legal News

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

Weekly update: 28 October- 4 November 2019

The following media round-up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 28 October- 4 November 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 it to Nenad Vucijak for consideration.

European Court of Human Rights: 29 October 2019

In the case of Baralija v Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Court found that there had been a violation of the general prohibition on discrimination (Article 1 of Protocol No.12). The case concerned a legal vacuum that had prevented the applicant, a local politician living in Mostar, from voting or standing for election.

Iraq: 30 October 2019

The UN’s most senior official in Iraq, visited protesters in central Baghdad on Wednesday, calling for “national dialogue to identify prompt, meaningful responses to break the vicious cycle of violence” which ricocheted through the country. Secretary-General, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert visited Tahrir Square to engage with the people, and listen to their concerns, as part of the UN’s continuous efforts to promote dialogue with the Government.

Syria: 30 October 2019

Work on drafting a new foundational text for war-torn Syria officially began on Wednesday 30 October with representatives from the Syrian Government and opposition sitting face to face and preparing to discuss the country’s future for the first time in the nearly nine-year conflict.

Turkey: 30 October 2019

Hundreds of people have been detained in Turkey for commenting or reporting on Turkey’s military offensive in northeast Syria and are facing absurd criminal charges as the government intensifies its crackdown on critical voices.

European Court of Human Rights: 31 October 2019

In the case of Papageorgiou and Others v Greece, the Court unanimously held that there had been a violation of Article 2 of Protocol NO.1 (right to education) interpreted in the light of Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience, and religion). The Court stressed that the authorities did not have the right to oblige individuals to reveal their beliefs, in light of the fact that the current system in Greece for exempting children from religious education classes required parents to submit a solemn declaration saying that their children were not Orthodox Christians.

Sri Lanka: 1 November 2019

Six months after they were violently forced out of their homes, there has been no police investigations into and no accountability for the threats and violence faced by refugees and asylum-seekers in Sri Lanka.

Russia: 1 November 2019

1 November 2019, Russia’s Supreme Court granted the Justice Ministry’s demand to shut down one of the most prominent rights groups in the country- the Movement for Human Rights. The ruling, in keeping with government policy, delivers another severe blow to Russian human rights defenders, who have been increasingly under attack in recent weeks.

Lebanon: 1 November 2019

Amnesty International has called for investigations to take place following use of excessive force by the Lebanese army, including live fire, to disperse protests in northern Lebanon, seriously injuring at least two people. The army opened fire against dozens of protesters staging a sit-in the Beddawi area of Tripoli on 26 October.

Egypt: 2 November 2019

The prominent human rights lawyer Gamal Eid has been the target of threats, physical assaults and vandalism since 30 September 2019, such incidents indicating government involvement. On 10 October, two armed men in civilian clothes physically assaulted Eid, leaving him with several cracked ribs and injuries to his arm and leg. Most recently, on 30 October, Eid received calls and a text warning him to “behave”, and the next morning found a car he had borrowed had been vandalised.

Bangladesh: 3 November 2019

The Bangladesh government has called for a migrant work’s repatriation from Saudi Arabia after her video alleging sexual abuse highlighted the exploitation faced by Asians working abroad. In a video which has been shared thousands of times and prompted protests in Dhaka against workers’ conditions, Sumi AAkter alleged “merciless sexual assaults” by her Saudi employers.

China: 3 November 2019

There is compelling evidence that Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, and Vietnam have become source countries for a brutal business- the trafficking of women and girls for sale in China as brides. Researchers estimate that China now has 30 to 40 million “missing women”, an imbalance caused by a preference for boys and ongoing restrictions on women’s reproductive rights.

Uganda: 4 November 2019

The Ugandan police and military gave cracked down on student protests over fee increases at Makerere University in Kampala on multiple occasions since October 22, 2019. The security forces have fired teargas into student residences, raided dormitories and beaten and arrested students, before detaining dozens for days without charge. The police have also arrested journalists and prevented them from entering the university to cover the protests.

Bolivia: 4 November 2019

Bolivia’s Interior Minister warns of violence as opponents plan his removal. The government has accused its rivals of plotting deadly violence against it after an opposition figure vowed to overthrow leftist President Evo Morales and called for the military’s support. Deadly unrest has gripped the South American country since Morales was named the winner of the October 20 election, giving him a fourth term.

United Arab Emirates: 4 November 2019

Prison authorities in the UAE are denying non-national HIV positive detainees in at least one UAE prison regular and uninterrupted access to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment. Detainees living with HIV are also segregated from the rest of the prison population in an isolated area and report facing stigma and systemic discrimination.

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