UN Rights Chief calls for independent probe into Spain's violent crack-down on Catalan independence referendum

The United Nations Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called for an independent probe into Spain’s violent crack-down on the Catalan independence referendum in a statement made on Monday. Calling for political dialogue to address the unrest, the human rights chief said, “I am very disturbed by the violence in Catalonia on Sunday. With hundreds of people reported injured, I urge the Spanish authorities to ensure thorough, independent and impartial investigations into all acts of violence. Police responses must at all times be proportionate and necessary. I firmly believe that the current...

Catalonia calls for international mediation following 90% vote for independence

Catalanonia’s president Carles Puigdemont called for international mediation in resolving his parliament’s independence dispute with Spain following a violent crackdown by Spanish authorities during the Catalan independence referendum. Announcing, in a televised statement, that “Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic,” Mr Puigdemont stressed “this European commission must encourage international mediation. It cannot look the other way any longer,” A spokesperson for the Catalan government said that initial counts indicate that 90% of the 2.26million...

Spanish police storm polling stations as Catalans vote in referendum 

Spanish police have stormed polling stations in Catalonia as voting began this morning in an independence referendum. Riot police have seized ballot papers and boxes and physically restrained people trying to vote. The referendum was declared illegal by the Spanish government, which has over recent months sought to do everythign in its power to prevent it from being held. The government is believed to have deployed 25,000 police officers in view of disrupting the poll. Thousands of Catalans slept overnight in the polling stations in order to ensure they would not be prevented from voting. The...

US calls on nations to suspend weapons supply to Myanmar until military accountability is ensured

The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called for nations to suspend weapons supplies to Myanmar until there were adequate accountability measures in place to deal with the ongoing military violence against the Rohingya Muslims. Speaking at the United Nations on Thursday, Ms Haley said, “We cannot be afraid to call the actions of the Burmese authorities what they appear to be – a brutal, sustained campaign to cleanse the country of an ethnic minority.” The US Ambassador further called on the UN Security Council to “shame senior Burmese leaders” for their involvement in...

UN Security Council condemns attack on peacekeepers in Mali

The UN Security Council this week condemned an attack on a UN convoy in Mali on September 24, killing three Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Council said its members "condemned in the strongest terms the attack" and added that "attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law". Calling on Mali's government to "swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice", the Council sressed that "involvement in planning, directing, sponsoring or conducting attacks against MINUSMA peacekeepers constitute a basis for...

Over 92% of Kurds in Iraq support independence

Kurds in Iraq have voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence, with Monday's referendum results showing 92.73% voted for secession. The referendum saw a large vote turnout at 72.61 percent. As the final results came through Kurds poured onto the streets of Erbil to celebrate. The result was however condemned by Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi. "The referendum must be annulled and dialogue initiated in the framework of the constitution. We will never hold talks based on the results of the referendum," Mr Abadi was quoted by AFP as saying. "We will impose Iraqi law in the entire...

Serbian-Australian jailed for war crimes

A court in Croatia has convicted a former Serbian paramilitary commander and Australian citizen iof war crimes, sentencing him to 15 years in jail. Dragan Vasiljkovic, known as Captain Dragan and Daniel Snedden, was found guilty of torturing and murdering civilians during his time as paramilitary leader during the 1991 to 1995 Croatian war. Mr Vasiljkovic holds dual Serbian-Australian citizenship and was working as a golf instructor in Perth. A lengthy legal battle had taken place to extradite him from Australia to Croatia, eventually resulting in the extradition in July 2015. Mr Vasiljkovic...

Sanctions and justice required for crimes against humanity in Myanmar - HRW

Myanmar’s security forces are committing crimes against humanity against the Rohingya population in Myanmar, said Human Rights Watch in a statement released Monday. The rights organisation said the military had committed forced deportation, murder, rape and persecution against Rohingya Muslims in the northern Rakhine State. Human Rights Watch called for the United Nations Security Council and governments to impose targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on the Burmese military to stop further crimes. The group further called on the council to discuss measures to bring those responsible for...

Australian soldier who severed hands of Taliban fighter cleared of war crimes

An Australian SAS corporal has been cleared of war crimes by the country’s federal police after it emerged he cut the hands off two suspected Taliban fighters during a military operation in 2013. The soldier was part of a joint Afghan national security service and Australian Special Operations Task Group operation to kill or capture a senior Taliban commander. The mission, in which the target was not captured, left four alleged insurgents dead. When the soldier in question searched the bodies, he went on to sever the right hands of the dead men with a surgical scalpel. A classified internal...

Dozens of skulls found at Bosnian mass grave site

At least 86 skulls have been uncovered by forensic experts in Bosnia last week as they exhumed the site of a mass grave. Forensic experts found the skulls alongside other body parts in Mount Vlasic, reports Reuters. Serbian security forces summarily executed dozens of Bosnian Muslim and Croat prisoners at the site on 21 August 1992. Survivors told of how they were lined up at the edge of the ravine before being shot. “We hope that the search for the victims of this massacre has completed today,” said Lejla Cengic from the Missing Persons Institute. A war crimes court based at The Hague jailed...

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