Weekly update: 25 November- 2 December 2019
The following media round-up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 25 November- 2 December 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.
Turkey: 26 November 2019
The Prosecution call for a jail term of up to 15 years for six human rights defenders, including Amnesty International’s honorary chair and former director on terrorism-related charges. The allegations against the human rights defenders have been repeatedly disproven of the course of nine previous hearings and it is clear that they are on trial for nothing more than their human rights work. If convicted, they risk up to 15 years imprisonment. The next hearing is set to take place on 19 February 2020.
Russia: 28 November 2019
Police in Moscow have launched an audit of Theatre Doc, an independent theatre known for productions focusing on pressing societal issues in contemporary Russia. Authorities say they are looking for signs of promotion of terrorism, drugs and “gay-propaganda” in three Theatre Doc productions. Russian authorities are increasingly cracking-down on artistic expression, in many cases supposedly in response to complaints by members of the public. They ban theatre productions, films and exhibits they deem out of line with so called traditional values and patriotic sentiment.
Syria: 29 November 2019
The respective teams of Turkey and UN High Commissioner for Refugees convened in Ankara for the second time, following the first meeting in Geneva on 11 November 2019, to discuss voluntary repatriation of Syrian refugees. Both sides agreed on the importance and urgency of enhancing joint efforts in a result-oriented manner with a view to ensuring safe and voluntary returns of Syrian refugees.
Ecuador: 29 November 2019
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has denounced the “high human cost” of the recent unrest in Ecuador and has urged all actors in the South American country to engage in dialogue to prevent new conflicts and forge an inclusive society “with full respect for its multicultural nature”. After reviewing information that she had received from the UN Office of Human Rights, she stated that there was a need for an independent, impartial and transparent investigations into allegations of human rights violations and abuses committed during the protests from 3-13 October.
Sudan: 29 November 2019
The decision to repeal public order laws is a step forward for women’s rights, a step that was long overdue. Many women were arbitrarily arrested, beaten and deprived of their rights to freedom of association and expression under this discriminatory law; this includes repealing articles dictating women’s dress code, disbanding the public order police and abolishing flogging as a form of punishment.
Iran: 29 November 2019
Amnesty International calls for the international community to strongly condemn the use of lethal force by Iranian security forces that has resulted in the deaths of at least 161 protesters. The real death toll is likely to be significantly higher. The rising death toll is an alarming indication of just how ruthless the treatment of unarmed protesters has been by the Iranian authorities and reveals their appalling assault on human life.
Democratic Republic of Congo: 29 November 2019
As violence spikes in DRC, there is growing concern of for the safety and security of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the eastern Beni Territory, after deadly violence and mass protests have cut off humanitarian access to the troubled region. Tensions in this part of the DRC’s North Kivu province have been rising since the launch of a government-led security operation against the Allied Democratic Forces on 30 October. Armed forces have been targeting civilians and displaced populations in the region, killing scores of people.
Tanzania: 2 December 2019
The Tanzanian government has withdrawn the right of individuals and NGO’s to directly file cases against it at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This step will remove from the people and organisations of Tanzania, a vital avenue to justice in a country whose justice system is deeply flawed.
Iraq: 2 December 2019
At least seven people, including a boy of 16, are still missing since 7 October from or near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where they were participating in ongoing protests in Iraq’s capital. The families have visited police stations and government offices seeking information without success, and the government has failed to take any tangible measures to locate their missing relatives. It is unclear whether government security or armed groups carried out the abductions.
Mali: 2 December 2019
Security in Mali has become critical, with unprecedented incidents of communal violence and increasingly more deadly terror attacks. Along with the dire political, economic and social climate, a lack of State institutions, or their prolonged failure, are causing “more and more frustration and resentment among the population”. Civilians in many areas, particularly in central Mopti, are being denied basic human rights, including the right to life.