International Legal News
Updated: Nov 25, 2019
European Court of Human Rights: 14 November 2019
In the case of N.A v Finland (application No 25244/18) the European Court of Human Rights unanimously held that there had been a violation of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment) owing to decisions to deport the applicant’s father to his country of origin, Iraq, where he was subsequently killed. The Finnish authorities’ decision to expel the father, who had a conflict with a Shia colleague in his place of work as an investigator for the Interior Ministry, had ultimately forced him to agree to return voluntarily to Iraq, where he had been shot and killed soon after his arrival.
Lebanon: 15 November 2019
Lebanese authorities have been increasing their reliance on insult and defamation laws to silence journalists, activists, and others critical of government policies and corruption. Powerful political and religious figures have increasingly used the country’s criminal insult and defamation laws against those leveling accusations of corruption and reporting on the country’s worsening economic and political situation. Convictions under these laws can lead to prison terms of up to three years.
Vietnam: 15 November 2019
Prominent activist Dinh Thao was taken into custody upon her arrival at Hanoi Noi Bai on the morning of 15 November. Thao is a medical school graduate and human rights defender who left Vietnam in March 2016 to work for VOICE, a Vietnamese civil society organisation which campaigns for human rights in Vietnam from abroad. Dinh Thao had not set foot in Vietnam for more than three years and her arrest shows how aggressively the authorities go after anybody who has criticised their actions.
Nigeria: 15 November 2019
The Nigerian authorities are still holding Omoleye Sowore, a former presidential candidate and democracy activist, in detention despite a bail order by an Abuja Federal High Court made on 6 November. Security officials arrested Sowore, publisher of the New-York bases Nigerian news website Sahara Reporters in August, accusing him of planning an insurrection aimed at a forceful takeover of the government through his calls for nationwide protests tagged, “Revolution Now.”
Sudan: 17 November 2019
Calls for justice for victims of the planned fatal attacks in June that could amount to crimes against humanity. In a 59-page report titled “They were shouting “Kill Them”: Sudan’s Violent Crackdown on Protesters in Khartoum”, documents Sudanese security forces’ attacks on the protesters’ sit-in camp in Khartoum on 3 June 2019. Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 60 people, including victims of a range of crimes including sexual violence.
Myanmar: 18 November 2019
Satirical poetry troupe, Peacock Generation, convicted of more ludicrous charges demonstrates the relentless assault on freedom of expression by the Myanmar authorities. Seven members of the group were arrested in April and May 2019 after they performed a traditional performance art akin to slam poetry. They were wearing military uniforms and criticized the military. Five members of the group were each sentenced to one year in prison under s505(a) of Myanmar’s Penal Code, an additional year being added following the latest convictions.
Libya: 18 November 2019
Diplomatic missions express concern over the welfare of MP who disappeared after following a critical interview of Khalifa Haftar in July. Diplomatic missions have called for the “immediate release” of Siham Sergiwa a politician and prominent women’s rights activist who was kidnapped in Benghazi four months ago.
Hong Kong: 18 November 2019
Following the most violent confrontations of the Hong Kong protests so far during a police siege at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Police are urged to de-escalate the situation rather than fanning the flames of violence. Examples have been provided of the police arrested the medics attempting to treat the wounded rather than assisting those injured and trapped at the University.
Sri Lanka: 18 November 2019
Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been sworn in as the Sri Lankan president a day after he was declared the winner in the closely fought election in the South Asian island nation. Rajapaksa, who is the first retired military officer to assume the top office, appealed to the minority Tamils and Muslims to rally around him. In his address to the nation, Rajapaksa pledged to give national security priority and follow a neutral foreign policy.