Human Rights Watch

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Vietnam The US is presently in talks with Vietnam to improve its human rights record. Presently the record is described as dismal especially for its abuse of religious freedom. Unauthorized religions are viewed with suspicion and as subversives and include the Hmong Christians, the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and the Montagnard Christians. Membership of such a religion can result in prison, torture and even death.

USA The Pentagon in the USA intends deploying a new type of mine in Iraq although questions about the remote-controlled antipersonnel device have still to be answered. The new system called 'Matrix' will allow Claymore mines to be remotely detonated by radio signal from several kilometres away. Bearing in mind the blast radius can be up to 300 metres, questions are raised over how the soldier can be sure of a positive identification of the target. Original Claymores also had an over-ride system which meant the victim themselves could detonate the mine, could this happen with the new types? The USA refused to sign up to the Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the use of self-activating mines.

USA The US Supreme Court has ended child executions after being one of only 6 countries which officially allowed them. Amnesty International has, since 1990, been documenting child executions in 8 countries. These were the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA, China and Yemen. In that time there were 39 executions, 19 of which were carried out by the USA. Slightly different figures may come from the Human Rights Watch report, which just shows the difficulty in getting information on subjects such as this.

UK It's not often I see the UK on the pages of human rights websites, but the new bill to prevent terrorism is an attack on our human rights. It could also go against the European Court of Human Rights which guarantees the right to a fair trial. In the possibility of house arrest without trial, the UK is compared to Burma.

Sudan A top militia leader, Musa Hilal, has said that the Janjaweed attacks are backed by the Sudanese government. Musa is regarded as the top Janjaweed leader. He was interviewed in September 2004 and has refused all interviews since. The Sudan government has continually denied any involvement in what it terms as 'ethnic clashes'.

Tibet To keep up-to-date with the human rights issues in Tibet please refer to Tibet News by John–the-gardener.

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10.03.05 Front Page

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