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Euro-Med reviews regional crises for new European Parliament members

The European-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor urged newly elected members of the Parliament of the..

The European-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor urged newly elected members of the Parliament of the European Union to play a more active role in the humanitarian crises in the Middle East and to respond to the humanitarian challenge posed by the plight of refugees in Europe. The memos also described serious human rights violations by governments and non-state actors across the Middle East.

Euro-Med urges European Parliamentarians to focus on ending conflicts in the region and easing the suffering of the millions of civilians, as well as ending the supply of weapons to all parties involved in the conflict.

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In a series of memos sent after the ninth set of parliamentary elections, the Geneva-based organisation stated that refugee crisis that began in 2015 constituted the most serious humanitarian challenge for member states thus far. Euro-Med highlighted that the policies pursued by some member states deprived refugees of their rights under various international treaties.

The memos reminded European parliamentarians of the reasons that so many people in the Middle East were being forced to flee their homes, including serious human rights violations, and of the need for increased European influence to address these reasons.

In particular, the memos highlighted the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, described by the United Nations as the worst humanitarian disaster in the world that has resulted in untold suffering for civilians.

Parliamentarians were reminded that indiscriminate airstrikes by the Saudi-led military alliance and the repeated use of cluster munitions against civilians constituted a flagrant violation of the laws of war and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The memos also addressed the actions of Houthi forces, such as the use of landmines and the indiscriminate firing of rockets from positions in Yemen into civilian areas of Saudi Arabia, as well as arbitrary arrests and torture being practiced by both parties.

Euro-Med highlighted government repression in Sudan. Since mid-December last year, the regime in Sudan has responded violently to peaceful popular protests. Government forces have used live ammunition against peaceful protestors, killing dozens, and have arrested and unlawfully detained hundreds more, including members of political parties, students, doctors, journalists and human rights activists.

Also highlighted in the memos was the deteriorating human rights situation in Saudi Arabia over the past two years, most notably the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Despite the international pressure, the perpetrators have yet to be brought to justice and no measures have been taken to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Saudi authorities have also arrested peaceful human rights activists and critics of the government for no reason other than criticising the government or demanding their basic human rights, the memos noted.

Parliament members were also informed of the situation in Syria. Since 2011, more the civil war has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 people, and the Syrian Government has repeatedly used internationally banned weapons against civilians in areas under rebel control, including chemical weapons, in a clear violation of international humanitarian law.

More than 1.5 million Syrian refugees are now living in Lebanon. Here they face discrimination, and more than 74% lack official legal resident status. As a result, Syrians face serious impediments to their ability to work, to access healthcare and education, and to travel freely throughout Lebanon. Additionally, they are subject to racist campaigns directed against their presence in the country.

Euro-Med also called attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt. Here, the government have used anti-terrorism laws to carry out large-scale arbitrary arrests to prosecute political opponents and disrupt peaceful gatherings and civil society organisation.

The memos highlighted the actions of the Israeli government in the Palestinian territories, noting Israels unequal and systematic discriminatory treatment of Palestinians, the repeated use of excessive force and prolonged detention by security forces.

The memos also condemned the actions of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and Hamas in the West Bank, which included arbitrary detention and restrictions on political opposition groups.

The memos also informed EU parliament members of the situation in Libya, where armed clashes continue between the internationally recognised Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, and the forces of retired General Khalifa Hafter, based in Benghazi. The civil war has resulted in the internal displacement of tens of thousands and widespread disruption to basic services including healthcare and electricity.

Furthermore, instability in Libya facilitates the abuse of migrants and asylum seekers, many of whom are children, by people traffickers and the Libyan Coast Guard. Those who attempt the crossing risk torture, sexual abuse and forced labour.

Euro-Med also raised concerns about the political climate in Algeria, where civilians are being prosecuted for insulting the president, insulting state officials, and defaming Islam, despite the constitutional amendment of 2016 that guarantees freedom of expression.

The situation in Iraq was also highlighted in the memos, where journalists and members of the judiciary continue to be harassed and detained arbitrarily. Peaceful demonstrations throughout the country have also been met with excessive force by government forces, including in the Kurdistan region.

The memo also contained a summary of the human rights situation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the government has carried out arbitrary arrests and disappearances of political opponents. There are reports of detainees being poorly treated while in state custody. The government also maintains oppressive labour relations, denying the rights of workers. The Gulf state is also a member of the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen, and so is complicit in the war crimes being committed there.

Euro-Med concluded the memo by urging European Parliamentarians to focus on ending conflicts in the region and easing the suffering of the millions of civilians, as well as ending the supply of weapons to all parties involved in the conflict.

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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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Impacts of the Rohingya Refugee Influx on Host Communities

Integration of humanitarian efforts into longer-term development essential for Coxs Bazar

Nearly tw..

Integration of humanitarian efforts into longer-term development essential for Coxs Bazar

Nearly two years after the start of the massive Rohingya influx, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in association with the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) and the local administration of Coxs Bazar unveiled the findings of a joint impact assessment study in the capital on July 25, 2019.

The report titled “Impacts of the Rohingya Refugee Influx on Host Communities” explores the socio- economic effect on host community, covering prices, wages and poverty incidence. It also discusses the impact on environment and livelihood. The study further explores the impact on public service, public goods delivery, social safety net and social cohesion in host communities.

The findings of the report emphasises that the stress resulting from such a huge influx has created the need for increased focus on host communities. The report advances a case for integrating humanitarian efforts into a longer-term development perspective for the whole district, that will benefit the local community as well as refugees, who in most likelihood will stay in the area for a protracted period.

The report suggests better coordination and collaboration among the government and agencies working in Coxs Bazar in widening livelihood support programmes for the host community.

“The findings of the impact assessment study will help the government and other development organisations including UN agencies to design longer-term development programmes in Coxs Bazar and Bandarban districts,” Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen pointed out.

“We hope that it would allow us to adopt a robust mitigation strategy and action plan for maximising welfare of people from all spectrums in a larger area.”

“The massive influx of refugees immediately emerged as a severe humanitarian crisis, followed by a long-term development need for the host community in Coxs Bazar. This potentially offers an opportunity to build back better,” said Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh.

He further added, “It is needed to not only transition smoothly from the humanitarian phase to the post-crisis era but also to seize opportunities for: accelerated development; strengthened resilience and self-reliance; and for them to enjoy universal access to quality services, restored natural resources and decent livelihood opportunities. And for that displaced Rohingya women and men need to be equipped with essential skills.”

Chairperson of PRI, Dr Zaidi Sattar pointed out, “Bangladesh has done more than its share of providing a global public good.” He added that the Rohingya influx has impacted almost every aspect of life for the host community – prices of daily essentials have risen by 50 percent since the refugee influx, wages of day labourers have decreased, over 2500 households fell below the poverty line, and 5500 acres of reserved forests and 1500 hectares of wildlife habitat have been destroyed.

“The global community must continue their pressure on the Myanmar government for the safe, secure, and dignified repatriation of Rohingyas,” he concluded.

M A Razzaque, research director of PRI delivered the keynote presentation on the report, followed by a panel discussion with Dr C R Abrar, professor of international relations at Dhaka University, and Dr Meghna Guhathakurta, executive director of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh. Dr Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of PRI also spoke at the event among others.

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