US warns Iran of serious consequences unless detained Americans are released

The US has warned Iran of “new and serious consequences” if all unjustly detained American citizens were released and returned, said the White House in a statement made on Friday. The statement made on Friday said President Trump and is administration were “redoubling efforts” to bring back unjustly detained Americans abroad, reports Reuters. “Iran is responsible for the care and wellbeing of every United States citizen in its custody,” the White House added.

Poland's parliament approves law bringing Supreme Court under government

In a significant set back to judicial independence in the country, Poland's parliament on Friday approved a new law which brings the Supreme Court under the control of the ruling party. The move has been widely criticism by EU states and the US who have raised concerns over what is being described as Poland's shift away from liberal values. Protesters have also taken to the streets to voice their concern at the curtailment of judicial independence. The president of the European Council said, “it is my conviction that they are a negation of European values and standards, and that they put our...

Words ‘Kurdistan’ and ‘Armenian genocide’ banned from Turkish parliament

Turkey’s parliament has forbidden its lawmakers from using the certain phrases such as “Kurdistan” or “Armenian genocide” during legislative sessions following the passing of a bill package on Thursday night. Though the bill does not explicitly set out which words and phrases are banned from the Turkish parliament, terms that are “in violation of the administrative structure” as defined by the “indivisible wholeness” of the Republic of Turkey will now be banned. In effect, terms such as 'Kurdistan,' 'Kurdish provinces,' or the 'Kurdish region' are forbidden, reports Kurdistan 24. Turkish...

Cameroon using 'secret torture chambers' against Boko Haram fighters - Amnesty

Amnesty International condemned what it described as the Cameroon forces' "horrific use of torture" against Boko Haram fighters, saying investigations reveal wide spread war crimes, human rights violations and the use of secret torture chambers. In a report published on Thursday, the rights group said testimonies, satellite imagery, photographic and video evidence revealed at least 20 sites belonging to the security services where torture was used routinely and some detainees were even tortured to death. "We have repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the atrocities and war crimes committed...

Microsoft partners with OHCHR to produce digital human rights monitor

Microsoft Corporation and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights this month agreed to work together to build a digital human rights monitoring system and databank, reported Pass Blue. The agreement, which was bourne out of conversations between the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay and Microsoft in 2013, includes a $5 million grant from Micorsoft as well as pro bono technical support over five years. As part of the agreement, one project, known as 'Rights View' will comprise a 'human rights dashboard' which would be available to UN staff who are...

Rohingya situation has not improved under new government - UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar

The situation of the Rohingya has not approved as surveillance and questioning of journalists and activists continues under Myanmar’s new government said the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar Yanhee Lee at the conclusion of her visit. Speaking at a press conference at the conclusion of her 12-day visit, Ms Lee said that she had faced “increasing restrictions” on her access, adding that she was prevented from visiting the northeast of the country where the military is accused of abuses against civilians in its conflict with ethnic rebels. The Special Rapporteur on Myanmar added, that she was not...

US introduces new sanctions on Iran over ballistic missiles

The United States on Tuesday introduced new sanctions on Iran over the country's ballistic missile program, which the US described as "malign activities". "The United States remains deeply concerned about Iran's malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security, and prosperity," the state Department said in a statement. Eighteen people and entities were targeted for their alleged support of "illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity", Reuters reported. See here for more.

Macron admits French responsibility for role in Holocaust

French President Emmanuel Macron apologised for France’s role in the Holocaust during a speech in Paris today, as he called for acknowledge of the role the country played during the massacres. Mr Macron stated that “it was indeed France that organised this,” referring to the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews to Nazi camps during World War II. “France organized the roundups,” he said . “Not a single German participated.” And so France “in almost every aspect organised the death” of the victims. He also dismissed arguments that it was merely a single government that was responsible for...

Rwandan academic handed life sentence for role in 1994 genocide

A prominent Rwandan academic has been convicted of genocide and handed a life sentence, reports the Washington Post. Leopold Munyazakazi was convicted by a court in the south of Rwanda on Friday and will be held under solitary confinement according to the verdict. An ethnic Hutu, Mr Munyakazi was accused of playing a key role in the 1994 genocide in which over 800,000 Tutsis, and some moderate Hutus, were massacred. Having fled Rwanda in 2004, Mr Munyakazi taught at a college in Baltimore, USA until he was suspended in 2008 following his indictment by the Rwandan government. He was deported...

Benghazi's commercial airport open 3 years after war related closure

Benghazi’s international airport, Benina, has reopened for commercial flights after a three year closure due to fighting in the city. The first outward flights were from the airport to the Lybian capital Tripoli reports Reuters. Benina is just east of Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, where fighting escalated in the summer of 2014. Benina airport continues to facilitate military operations as well as commercial flights.

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