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Malaysia: Backtracking on Abusive Security Law

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government is breaking a key election pledge by proposing to amend rather ..

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government is breaking a key election pledge by proposing to amend rather than repeal an abusive national security law, Human Rights Watch said today. The government on April 9, 2019, put before Parliament a bill to amend the National Security Council Act, the latest reversal of promises made by the ruling Pakatan Harapan alliance prior to the 2018 elections.The Pakatan Harapan, in its election manifesto published in 2018, called for rescinding the National Security Council Act, which the previous Barisan Nasional government enacted in 2016. The act empowers the prime ministerto declare security areas where special powers would apply, and grants government officials new powers to make warrantless arrests, impose curfews, take possession of land, buildings and other property, and dispense with inquests following the use of lethal force.

“The National Security Council Act is a rights-abusing law that should be revoked rather than tinkered with,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “Keeping this law on the books betrays the human rights principles the government proclaimed it was committed to uphold.”

The Pakatan Harapan manifesto, entitled “Buku Harapan: Rebuilding Our Nation, Fulfilling Our Hopes,” condemned “tyrannical laws” adopted by the government, including the National Security Council Act, and promised to revoke such laws if it came to power.

The proposed law includes provisions that will worsen basic rights protections. Provisions remaining in effect will allow the National Security Council (NSC), a federal agency under the Prime Ministers Department, to issue mandatory directives to any government entity, including all ministries and agencies, the armed forces, and the Royal Malaysia Police.

A proposed amendment increases the powers of the NSC to collect information without limit from the general populace. This includes allowing the council, through the director of operations, to “request from any individual or entity … any information or intelligence in his or its possession.” The failure to comply with such a request is a criminal offense, subject to imprisonment and hefty fines.

Another proposed amendment increases the possible prison term for those found disclosing information relating to the affairs of the council from two years to five.

“Not only is the Malaysian government keeping this draconian security law, it is introducing amendments that will expand the National Security Councils ability to violate rights,” Robertson said. “The government should keep to its manifesto pledge to abolish this act, along with other repressive laws such as the Sedition Act, the Prevention of Crime Act, and the Printing Presses and Publications Act.”

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Deadly airstrikes and drone hits displace thousands of civilians in Libya

Intensifying clashes in the southern Libyan town of Murzuq involving air and drone strikes in recent..

Intensifying clashes in the southern Libyan town of Murzuq involving air and drone strikes in recent days have left at least 90 people dead and displaced thousands of “terrified” civilians, the UN said on Tuesday.

“Casualties on all sides of the fighting have continued as a result of airstrikes by planes and drones, indiscriminate rocket attacks and shelling, and direct fighting on the ground,” said Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

OCHAs warning over the small oasis town echoes concerns by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and other UN agencies.

The alert follows reports by local media that the clashes involved tribal opponents of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) of commander Khalifa Haftar, which began an offensive on the southern outskirts of Libyas capital, Tripoli, in April.

Asked about the identities of the victims in Murzuq, Mr. Laerke replied that they included children.

“It is a civilian area, its in a country where people tend – families tend – to be big and there are many children,” he said, before highlighting a deadly mortar strike on a house for displaced people in the Bendalwah neighbourhood earlier this month.

“We know for a fact at least (of) six children, two of them were killed, four of them were injured in a strike that hit a house, hosting internally displaced people on 8 August,” Mr. Laerke added.

According to the UN migration agency, IOM, 9,450 people have been displaced by the violence in and around Murzuq since the beginning of August.

At least 3,000 of them have been uprooted since violence intensified last week, IOM said.

“Most families previously displaced within neighbourhoods of Murzuq City have also left the town to nearby communities,” an IOM statement read. “Reported displacements include around 300 migrants from Niger, Chad and Nigeria.”

Families too terrified to seek safety

Nonetheless, many “are of course terrified that if they move, they will be perceived as affiliated to one side of the other and maybe targeted”, Mr Laerke said. “Some families are reluctant to leave the affected areas because they are afraid of reprisals.”

To respond to urgent needs, the UN and partner humanitarian organizations “are responding with emergency health care, food distribution, shelter and non-food items”, Mr. Laerke added, noting that access remains difficult, “due to the active fighting”.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) shipped medical supplies to support health facilities in Murzuqs conflict zone, with enough supplies to help 60,000 people for three months and 600 surgical procedures.

Access is far more limited inside Murzuq itself, “with many roads damaged and many roadblocks,” Mr. Laerke said.

Amid growing humanitarian needs, the OCHA spokesperson appealed to all parties involved in the fighting to “allow people to leave if they so wish, so they can reach a place where they can be assisted, and of course to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure in the first place, according to international humanitarian law.”

Additional support from the international community is needed to help the vulnerable, Mr. Laerke said, noting that the $202 million Humanitarian Response Plan for Libya is currently only 30 per cent funded.

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Euro-Med and HUMENA: Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem amounts to ethnic cleansing

Geneva – The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and HUMENA for Human Rights and Civil Participa..

Geneva – The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and HUMENA for Human Rights and Civil Participation said in a statement that the systematic destruction of Palestinian homes and property in occupied East Jerusalem is approved by the US administration, which legalized these crimes by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel amid international silence that amounts to complicity.
In a report that monitored human rights violations in Jerusalem during July 2019, the Euro-Med and HUMENA said that Israeli authorities have stepped up their arbitrary violations against Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem. Last month witnessed the largest mass destruction in a single day since 1967 as Israeli authorities demolished 11 residential buildings (72 apartments) in a crime amounting to ethnic cleansing.

The report, entitled “Wadi al-Hummus in Jerusalem; facing Israeli ethnic cleansing,” said that the destruction of Palestinian buildings resulted in the displacement of 22 people, including (14) children, and deprived more than (70) families from their apartments, most of which were still under construction.

The report added that since the beginning of 2019, Israeli authorities destroyed more than 59 houses in East Jerusalem until mid-2019. While 2018 witnessed 215 demolitions.

In addition to Wadi al- Hummus neighborhood, Israeli occupation forces destroyed a car park, a garage, a warehouse, a car wash and five shops in the last month.

The Euro-Med and HUMENA monitored five complex violations as part of crimes of settlement expansion and Judaization of the occupied city, most notably the seizure of a Palestinian house and a building evacuation by force in order to hand both over to Israeli settlers. Moreover, at the same time of the demolition of Palestinian homes, Israeli occupation authorities approved the establishment of 216 new housing units in the Gilo settlement.

Several parties, including the Israeli government, municipal authorities of Jerusalem or judicial authorities, collude to carry out systematic demolitions aimed to forcefully displace Palestinians. Which falls within the occupation’s efforts to change the demographic reality in the occupied city.

This systematic policy pursued by Israel takes place without any regards to the principles of international law, which reflects Israels pursuit of demographic change in East Jerusalem by employing all its government, political and security arms.

On the other hand, the two organizations documented two incidents that signify the Israeli occupation’s disregard for Palestinian childhood; such as the summoning of 4-year-old Mohammed Rabi ‘Alayyan, and the 6-year-old Qais Firas Obeid, under the pretext of throwing stones at their forces.

The report also documented 43 Israeli raids on different towns and neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem; which entailed the arrest of 102 civilians, including 19 children, a woman, a girl and a female journalist.

For instance, in five raids that included shooting and direct assault in the neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli forces injured seven civilians, including a child, a journalist and an elderly.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and HUMENA called on the international community to break their silence and undertake serious actions to retribute the crimes of the occupation and its serious violations of the international law and the international humanitarian law.

The report warned that the silence of the international community after said home demolitions in Wadi al-Hummus – which amounts to a war crime of ethnic cleansing – would essentially encourage the Israeli occupation to continue and escalate the policy of house demolitions and forceful displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. The Israeli policy of handing notifications of imminent demolition to Palestinians in the city continues, especially amidst rumors of Israeli plans to destroy more than 25 Palestinian houses under the pretext lacking permits, which Israel rarely grants to any Palestinian properties in the city.

The report also called on the international community to assume its responsibilities towards protecting East Jerusalem and its Palestinian population as inhabitants of an occupied territory, in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, particularly resolution 181.

The two organizations stressed the need for ending the policy of racial discrimination between Palestinians and Israelis through advancing necessary investigations, prosecution and trial procedures to put an end to such violations. They finally called on international organizations concerned with childhood to urgently intervene to protect Palestinian children in East Jerusalem from Israeli arbitrary arrests, summons and house arrests.

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Transitional government in Sudan must address repressive policies to stop deterioration of life conditions

London – The Sudanese transitional government must address repressive laws and policies to stop the ..

London – The Sudanese transitional government must address repressive laws and policies to stop the deterioration of life conditions in the country in light of the signing of the Constitutional Declaration, a new paper published by ImpACT International for Human Rights Policies concluded.

The London-based thinktank called on the Sudanese authorities to amend the laws of 2009 and 2013 that give the government the right to impose a ban on newspapers whose publications contain contrary content to the states policies.“In an attempt to control the mass media in the country, the security forces continued arresting dozens of journalists and chief editors of local newspapers, and then facing them with trumped up charges,” said Martha Gardiner, a researcher at ImpACT.

“Such governmental violations of journalists, rights were justified by contrived excuses such as threats on national security and distortion of the prestigious image of the country”

Dire prison conditions [hhmc]

According to the paper, although Article (5) of the National Prison Regulation Act 2010 states that Prison conditions should be compatible with human dignity and acceptable standards in the community, prison environments are unhealthy, with lack basic health services, qualified medical staff, and essential medications and materials which allow prisoners to have access to adequate medical care.

Also, prisoners are usually not provided with a meal with sufficient nutritional value. In spite of the large number of prisoners inside the prisons, there are no ventilation facilities inside the rooms during sweltering summer, nor heavy blankets or clothing to protect them in extremely cold weather.

With the prison infrastructure being “primitive”, prisons in Sudan continue to spread disease and infection among prisoners, according to the paper.

In addition, Sudan continues to detain dozens of activists and opponents because of their political views without clear charges or any access to lawyers or family visits. The detainees, by the National Security and Intelligence Service, face the risk of ill-treatment, physical torture, sexual assault, severe beatings and electrocution. Moreover, prison administrations manipulate detainees using psychological destruction methods by deluding them that a final pardon has been issued, until the specified period expires, so they become frustrated. Then they subject them to another form of torture and force them to confess.

Wasteful economic policies[hhmc]

According to the paper, the policies of the Ministry of Finance basic work on closing the budget gap are “very wasteful”.

Large funds are allocated to spend on the large numbers of executives in the country; this is considered as an increasing and wasteful government expenditure at the expense of the citizen. At the same time, the unemployment rate in Sudan is expected to reach about 12.8% at the end of the third quarter of this year.

This is mainly due to the post-separation period of the South, political and security instability and internal conflicts, as well as wars, financial corruption, natural disasters and the deterioration of the infrastructure that the country has seen in recent decades.

ImpACT International called on the transitional government in Sudan to implement the Prisons Regulation and Treatment of National Prisoners Act of 2010 to ensure the rehabilitation and reform of prisoners and organizing prisons in a manner that respects their human dignity.

In addition, the thinktank recommended that the Sudanese authorities reduce budgets allocated for spending on officials and executives in the government, and raise budgets allocated for supporting education, agriculture, health and other service sectors.

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