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Posts Tagged ‘Rights’

Rights group: Drop cases against Oman activists

July 21st, 2012 Comments off

An international human rights group is appealing to Oman to halt the prosecution of 10 people, including prominent bloggers, convicted of insulting the nation’s ruler.
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Syrian troops massacre more than 100: Observatory

July 12th, 2012 Comments off

Shaam news photo allegedly showing an anti-regime demonstration in Kfar Sousa on July 10Syrian government troops using tanks and helicopters Thursday massacred more than 100 people in the central province of Hama, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.

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Video on Syrian Gov’t Torture Centers (Human Rights Watch)

July 11th, 2012 Comments off

The courage of Matt Lee at the State Department: finally the US government admits it is not consistent

July 5th, 2012 Comments off
VICTORIA NULAND, spokesperson for State Department:
Listen, before we leave Syria, I just want to take the opportunity, if you didn’t see it, to draw your attention to the Human Rights Watch report that was released today that identifies some 27 detention centers that Human Rights Watch says Syrian Government intelligence agencies have been using since the Assad crackdown on pro-democracy protestors. The report found that tens of thousands of Syrians are in detention by regime security and intelligence agencies and that the regime is carrying out inexplicable, horrific acts of torture, including – well, I’m not going to repeat them here, but I’ll leave it to you to read the report. And in many cases, the Human Rights Watch asserts that even children have been subject to torture by the Assad regime.
MATT LEE: Do you see that report as credible and solid, and you’re putting – you’re endorsing it? I mean, you’re saying —
MS. NULAND: We have no reason to believe that it is not credible. It’s based on eyewitness accounts, and they’re reporting from a broad cross-section of human rights figures inside Syria.
QUESTION: So the next time Human Rights Watch comes out with a report that’s critical of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, I’ll assume that you’re going to be saying the same thing, correct; that you think that the report is credible, it’s based on eyewitness accounts?
MS. NULAND: As —
QUESTION: And you’re not going to say that it’s politically motivated and should be dismissed?
MS. NULAND: Matt, as you have made clear again and again in this room, we are not always consistent.” (thanks Austin)

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Syria ‘regime torture widespread’

July 3rd, 2012 Comments off

A detailed Human Rights Watch report accuses the Syrian government of a state policy of torture which it says amounts to a crime against humanity.
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Syria Spirals down

July 3rd, 2012 Comments off

The news out of Syria is bad and worse. The regime is being accused of widespread torture, and it is having to fight the rebels on the doorstep of the capital.

Human Rights Watch has mapped out the torture centers used by the Syrian government and identified the various techniques used on dissidents by the secret police. SMH has a good summary. Human Rights Watch says that the evidence is strong that the Syrian state is systematically practicing torture on a significant scale, and points out that this policy is a crime against humanity.

The Syrian military deployed helicopter gunships against Douma on Monday, a town on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus. Syrian troops had already stormed the town and there were bodies in the street, so the helicopters were involved in a mop-up operation.

In a one-day record, some 85 Syrian military personnel escaped to Turkey Monday, along with 300 family members. Six were officers, and one was a brigadier general (a one-star in American terms, i.e. not very high ranking).

Also on Monday, a television anchor for the regime news channel defected, and revealed that he had been for some time providing the opposition with the raw news stories

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This news item from Jordan won’t appear in Western media

June 23rd, 2012 Comments off
The Jordanian prime minister has said that he will no more allow insults against the Jordanian monarch and that security forces will now intervene to prevent that.  Upon hearing the news, Human Rights Watch called for tightening the sanctions against Syria.  

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Planned Israeli Detention Camps for Africans Draw Human Rights Protests

June 11th, 2012 Comments off

An Israeli law allowing the arrest and detention of illegal immigrants for up to 3 years without trial has been denounced as contrary to basic human rights by Human Rights Watch.

Israel has about 60,000 illegal immigrants from Africa, nearly 1% of the population. Some are from Darfur and South Sudan, and came because they heard that Israel is supporting their cause on human rights grounds. Others are simply looking for a job in one of the region’s most dynamic economies.

Israeli government strategy is to round up Africans in Israel and to hold them in detention centers before expelling them.

Aljazeera English reports on US State Department criticisms that Israel provides no services to asylum-seekers.

While in a recent poll a majority of Jewish Israelis were comfortable with Thai, Filipino or non-Jewish Eastern European immigrants in Israel, some 51% called African illegal immigrants a cancer on society; virtually none of the respondents said they lived near Africans. And, only 19% of Arab Israelis polled had such negative feelings toward the African immigrants.

It is hard to escape some unsavory conclusions here. One is that Israeli championing of human rights in East Africa is somewhat instrumental and that practical help to Fur people from Darfur, such as giving them asylum and jobs, is not on offer even while pro-Israel groups lead campaigns to criticize the Sudanese government. That is, all states have the right to control their borders and to deport illegal immigrants, but vocal championing of oppressed ethnic groups implies a willingness to establish basic procedures for acceptance of asylum-seekers from among them.

Another is that a lot of Israelis have more problems with African immigrants than with European or Asian ones.

The issue has come to a head recently, with a riot against illegal immigrants from Africa by Jews in Tel Aviv, and a demonstration on Saturday in the same city by Africans demanding rights.

Israel’s government is determined to round up and deport the estimated 1500 Africans from South Sudan, on the grounds that that country is now safe for them, since it seceded from Sudan. In fact, South Sudan is a mess.

But beyond the humanitarian and race issues raised by the Likud Party’s policy toward African immigrants, the problem is larger. The whole idea of an ethnically-based country in an age of globalization is under severe pressure.

The Israeli Right Wing constantly demands that the country be recognized as a ‘Jewish state.’ But 20% of its citizens are Palestinian-Israelis. In addition, some 300,000 citizens are acknowledged in the census as not Jewish (many of them Eastern European immigrants of Eastern Orthodox Christian heritage), and many demographers think that the number of non-Jews is actually much greater. The Grand Rabbinate has repeatedly refused to recognize these persons, whose mothers were not Jewish, as Jews. Guest workers from Thailand and the Philippines have been brought in to work on Israeli farms or serve as nannies. (Such immigrants have come in large numbers to Lebanon and the Gulf oil countries, as well).

In short, Israel is a multicultural society that refuses to admit to itself that it is multicultural, because such an admission flies in the face of Zionist aspirations for a monochrome Jewish state. Demography and globalization, however, tell against this nineteenth-century romantic-nationalist vision, which confuses nation-hood with an ethnic state. In fact, there are no nations of the sort early Zionist thinkers imagined. The French include Bretons, Alsatians, people of Provencale, Basques, and now substantial numbers of Arabs and Africans, not to mention descendants of a million Italian workers who came in the late nineteenth century. Israelis are similarly diverse, and even more diverse if the de facto annexation of the Palestinian West Bank were recognized, in which case Israel has a population of 10 million, not 7.5 million, and the Palestinian-Israelis are 3.5 million or 35%, not merely a fifth. That is, the actually-existing Israel is more like Malaysia than it is like Armenia. In a self-avowedly multicultural Israel, the Sudanese and other immigrants would not be a conceptual problem.

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Moroccan blogger arrested

June 9th, 2012 Comments off
A Moroccan blogger has been arrested.  Human Rights Watch swiftly responded and called on the Syrian regime to end its repression. (thanks Hassan)

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UN calls for Houla investigation

June 1st, 2012 Comments off

The UN Human Rights Council calls for an investigation into the killing of more than 100 civilians at Houla, and condemns Syria for the massacre.
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