This week in focus: Pause Rohingya Repatration Plans
After Burmese and Bangladeshi officials announced their intention to begin the repatriation of Rohingya refugees last week, many international actors including NGOs, state governments, and UN officials have called upon both countries to postpone the implementation of the plan. UN Special Rapporteur for Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, urged Bangladesh to postpone their repatriation, owing to the fact that the population is still in “high risk of persecution” upon their return.
Actors advocating with and on behalf of the population continue to reiterate that there is still a “widespread and well-founded fear that their lives, families, and communities will once again face further attacks once they are back in their homeland.” Furthermore, fundamental rights including citizenship, equal protection under the law, and non-discrimination cannot be ensured within the current political and socio-cultural environment, and Burma must address the protection, rights fulfillment, and root causes of mass violence in the country before it can be considered safe for the Rohingya’s return. Fear and mistrust persist not only from the Rohingya population, but also other marginalized ethnic and religious groups and experts on the situation in the country.
The ICRtoP continues to monitor the ongoing developments on the crisis in Burma, and had the pleasure to include Burmese activist and peacebuilder, Ms. Khin Ohmar, of Progressive Voice, as part of our event during the week of the UN Security Council open debate on Women, Peace, and Security. Ms. Ohmar’s work focuses on strengthening civil society and advocating for the protection of human rights and the end of military atrocities in Burma, particularly against ethnic and religious minorities, among others.
What to Watch:
Cameroon: Cameroon: Biya Sworn In, Challenger Arrested – Report (AllAfrica) This week Cameroonian President Paul Biya was sworn into his seventh term and delivered an inaugural address in which he promised to continue fighting until the “terrorists” in the Anglophone regions were defeated. Meanwhile, Maurice Kamto, one of the main challengers in the Presidential Election, was arrested and detained without cause given, and other separatist leaders began their military trial, possibly facing the death penalty for their roles to establish the Anglophone State of Ambazonia.
Iraq: ISIL’S ‘legacy of terror’ in Iraq: UN verifies over 200 mass graves (UN News)
The Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) discovered 202 mass graves in areas of Iraq formerly controlled by ISIL. The findings of the report will be crucial to conducting investigations and prosecuting actions by ISIL, which may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, stressed that the families of the victims “have the right to know what happened” and underscored the importance of justice and reparations. Furthermore, the report asks for a victim-centered approach and a transitional justice process created in consultation with Iraqis.
Syria: No fewer than Five Massacres in Syria in October 2018 (Syrian Network For Human Rights)
ICRtoP Coalition Member, Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) released its October atrocity data. SNHR documented no less than five massacres were committed in Syria in October, resulting in the deaths of 41 civilians, including 14 children, with four of these massacres committed by International Coalition Forces. Syrian-Russian alliance forces also allegedly violated Security Council Resolutions 2139 and 2254 by conducting indiscriminate attacks, according to the report. SNHR also documented 488 cases of arbitrary arrests, with 63% of the arrests made by Syrian Regime Forces. Arbitrary arrests and detention are frequent tactics employed by regime forces, with detainees being held in solitary confinement for extended periods of time, according to the SNHR’s findings.
But Also Don’t Miss:
Côte d’Ivoire: Prosecution Outlines Evidence on Gbagbo and Blé Goudé’s Alleged Criminal Responsibility
Despite continued efforts by former Côte d’Ivoire President, Laurent Gbagbo, and former Minister Blé Goudé, to be acquittal from the ICC, the Court still intends to prosecute them for crimes against humanity outlining the evidence to back its decision.
Gaza/West Bank: New Israel bill seeks expulsion of families of Palestinian ‘terrorists’ Israel is set to pass a new law that will allow the forced displacement of Palestinian families of suspected terrorists in the West Bank.
Libya: Statement to the United Nations Security Council on the Situation in Libya, pursuant to UNSCR 1970 (2011) International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, confirmed to the UN Security Council that Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi will be prosecuted for crimes against humanity in Libya despite his assertions that the case is inadmissible before the ICC.
Philippines: Independently Probe Police “Hitmen” Human Right Watch urged the Philippines to create an independent body to investigate the role of the police in Duterte’s war on drugs after an official said they were allegedly “responsible for many of the extrajudicial killings” of suspects.
Syria: French judges issue international arrest warrants against three high-level Syrian regime officials France issued international arrest warrants against three senior Syrian intelligence officials accused of complicity in acts of torture, enforced disappearances, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
Yemen: Yemen: UN chief hails ‘signs of hope’ in world’s worst man-made humanitarian disaster United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, welcomed recent discussions of possible peace talks to end the Yemen Civil War, urging all parties to end the violence and reach a political solution.
Yemen: As Famine Looms in Yemen, Saudi-Led Coalition Redoubles Attacks The Saudi-led Coalition has drastically escalated violence in Hodeidah, Yemen over the past week, targeting Houthi rebels and worsening the humanitarian crisis.
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