Basque separatists announce plan to lay down arms

The Basque separatist organisation, Eta on Friday announced its plans to lay down arms and reveal stockpiles of weapons, reported Le Monde . In 2011 Eta renounced its armed struggle for independence of a Basque homeland spanning across Northern Spain and Southern France. Eta plans to complete the disarmament by April 8, ahead of the first round of the French presidential election. The Spanish government reacted to the news with caution. “Eta has to do two things: disarm and dissolve itself,” a government spokesperson was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

Sturgeon criticises May's rejection of second Scottish referendum

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon criticised the British prime minister's rejection of a second independence referendum, stating that denying Scots a chance to decide on their future post-Brexit would be contrary to May's promise to work for all the people of the UK. “If the Prime Minister refuses to engage on the terms of a referendum before Brexit takes place then she is effectively trying to block the people of Scotland having a choice over their future. That would be a democratic outrage," Ms Sturgeon said. “It is for the Scottish Parliament – not Downing Street – to...

Rohingya Muslims facing crimes against humanity in Myanmar says UN official

The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar said the Rohingya Muslims were facing "crimes against humanity" by the Burmese people, security forces and police. In an interview to BBC Newsnight this week, Yanghee Lee said "I would say crimes against humanity. Definite crimes against humanity... by the Burmese, Myanmar military, the border guards or the police or security forces." Stating that such abuse was "systemic" within the Myanmar forces, Ms Lee said that the government lef by Aung San Suu Kyi must also be held responsible. "At the end of the day it is the government, the...

No independence for Taiwan or Hong Kong reiterates Beijing

China's Premier, Li Keqiang this month reiterated that Beijing would firmly oppose any moves towards independence in Taiwan and Hong Kong. “We will resolutely oppose and contain separatist activities for Taiwan independence,” Mr Li was quoted by Today Online as saying in a speech at the annual session of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC). “We will never tolerate any activity, in any form or name, which attempts to separate Taiwan from the motherland,” he added. Asked about the issue of Hong Kong independence, Mr Li was quick to dismiss it outright, stating, “the notion of Hong Kong...

Rwandan sentenced in US for lying about role in genocide

A Rwandan man who moved to the US was last week convicted of immigration fraud for lying about his role in the Rwandan genocide, the Jurist reported. The prosecution said Gervais Ngombwa was the leader of a Hutu party responsible for massacring Tutsis during the 1994 genocide. He was sentenced to 15 years followed by deportation to Rwanda where he will stand trial for genocide.

Sinn Féin makes significant gains against DUP in Northern Ireland

The Irish nationalist party, Sinn Féin made substantial gains in Northern Ireland's snap election this week, leaving the pro-union DUP with only a one seat advantage. In elections which saw the highest voter turn out since the initial, elections after the 1998 Good Friday agreement, Sinn Fein won 27 of the 90 seats, whilst DUP won 28. Previously the DUP had a 10 seat advantage over Sinn Féin. The elections were called after the power sharing agreement fell apart last month. Sinn Féin and DUP have three weeks to form a government to avoid direct rule from Westminster.

Court acknowledges crimes against humanity committed in Mutarule, DRC

The massacre committed in 2014 against the village of Mutarule, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been acknowledged to be a crime against humanity. However, none of the defendants were convicted for crimes against humanity. “One was acquitted. Another, Mr.Sheria, the alleged leader of an armed group, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for illegal possession of war weapons – but not for his direct involvement in the massacre of 6 June, which according to the Court has not been proven. The third defendant was Major Kayumba, a representative of the Congolese army, who was sentenced...

Military leaders in South Sudan resign accusing regime of mass atrocities

Two senior military leaders resigned this week accusing the South Sudanese president of war crimes, genocidal acts and ethnic cleansing against those not from the Dinka group. "Your regime committed sundry war crimes... genocidal acts and ethnic cleansing," Brigadier General Henry Oyay Nyago wrote in his resignation letter, which details specific crimes and atrocities committed. "I cannot continue to be silent or taciturn when you are finishing and slaughtering the innocent people of South Sudan," he went on to add. "Rape cases committed and being committed by your army and organised forces...

Bosnia to appeal UN ruling clearing Serbia of genocide

Bosnia will appeal a seven-year-old UN court ruling that cleared Serbia of genocide charges. Although the 2007 judgment by the International Court of Justice concluded that genocide had taken place in Srebrenica in 1995, when around 8000 Muslims were massacred by Bosnian Serbs, the court did not find Serbia directly responsible. The Muslim Bosniak member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, announced that the appeal request would be submitted before next week’s deadline, despite lack of consent from his Croat and Serb presidential counterparts. The decision may trigger a...

Merkel cancels summit with Israel due to Palestinian land-grab law

An Israeli government spokesperson has confirmed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel cancelled a joint summit with the government of Israel, with reports that it was partly due to Israel’s new law to seize private Palestinian lands. The official reasoning given for the cancellation was the scheduling constraints due to Germany’s elections in September. However, sources say that there was great dismay against Israel’s new law and that the German government has initiated a number of public and diplomatic steps to express their disapproval of the legislation. “Our trust in the Israeli...

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