Human Rights Watch

1 Conversation

UN Commission on human rights: The big story is the 61st UN Commission on Human Rights which started on the 14th March and will continue to 22nd April. The big topic is Sudan which was re-elected last year, and now faces many questions over the situation in Darfur. The Commission also needs to retain its credibility, which is now lacking in the UNs view.

Sudan is in the spotlight this month. The situation is not improving and more atrocities are being heard of. The UN and the US are trying to start action, but the US want further delays. They are trying to block the UN from referring this to the International Criminal Court. These delays will not be helping the women and girls who are being systematically raped and then stigmatized further by the police there. One 15-year-old was raped by 3 Janjaweed. Went she went to report it to the police, she was arrested for fornication. If she doesn't get the fine together she will be whipped as a punishment. Another woman, an 18-year-old, was told by the police she had a choice of paying the fine or being raped 40 times; a 16-year-old was fined and whipped as punishment.

Over 2 years at least 200,000 people have been killed. Just as many have been raped and, as you see, are then punished further whilst the UN debates and refuses to label this genocide. It is 10 years since the genocide in Rwanda when the UN refused to call it genocide and act appropriately. They have not learnt a thing from Rwanda. We will have to watch this again and again.

Congo: The president has put 4 warlords under house arrest for the murder of 9 peacekeepers. The warlords operate in the Itari province which they are in charge of, where tens of thousands of Congolese have also been killed. Rather than being arrested for those killings, they were promoted. In the Congo the lives of 9 foreign peacekeepers are certainly rated higher than the 60,000 plus of Congolese, but at least something got them under arrest.

Nepal: Following the Kings' proclamation on February 1st when he assumed all executive control, he made one of his first acts to prohibit any speech or act which criticized or 'hurt the moral' of the armed forces. Many people are being detained under this new law and one student who was being beaten was told by the captain of the Royal Nepali Army 'After the royal proclamation, we own the country for the next three years.' Ominous words where hundreds have already 'disappeared'.

Iran: An Iranian writer who has spent 17 of his 45 years behind bars has been awarded the Hellman/Hammett grant for persecuted writers. The grant is for expressing views which are against the government or for writing on topics banned by the government. Taqi Rahmani writes of religious modernism and criticizes the impact religion has on the present government.

Turkey: A decade ago the Turkish army forced 378,000 Kurds from their villages in Turkey. To gain European Union Membership, they had pledged to return the Kurdish people, and this has not been done.

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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