Human Rights Watch

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US AIDS Funding: The government is withholding aid from organisations which do not explicitly oppose all forms of prostitution. Many of the groups do not support prostitution but realize the best way to work with people is with them not against them and all deserve access to health services no matter what their circumstances are.

Classes have also been stopped in places like Cambodia, for fear of being seen to promote prostitution, and they actually helped people find another way out of sex work.

Israel: The Israeli Cabinet is due to discuss extending a law which prevents Israelis from living with their spouses from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The law ends at the end of May and many human rights organizations hope it will not be extended. It is believed that 16,000 to 21,000 families are prevented from living together at present.

The Cabinet has proposed an exception which would allow Palestinian women over the age of 25 and Palestinian men over the age of 35 to apply for family reunification with their Israeli spouses. However, bearing in mind the average age for marriage in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is 21.7 for women and 25.3 for men, this will still stop many families, often with young children from being together.

This law has been in place since 2002, causing separation for 3 years. In that time many people have left the country to be with their spouses instead.

Afghanistan: Violence has escalated recently in Afghanistan, including attacks on humanitarian workers, protests and political killings. The President Hamid Karzi is in the US for some of this period and people are asking for more help in providing stability and security.

One of the protests was in response to a Newsweek report of a Koran being desecrated by US interrogators in Guantanamo Bay. Sixteen were killed in these protests which are now found to be based on a false story. Will the US admit any kind of responsibility for this?

Libya: Human Rights Watch has made its first visit to Libya, heralding this as an important step towards human rights. They were escorted at all times and prevented from unauthorized contact.

The court and criminal system is being looked at and changes are being made. However the death penalty still stands if Colonel Qaddafi or the 1969 revolution which brought him to power is criticised. Members of The Muslim Brothers are on death row because of this, even though they did not advocate violence at all.

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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