August 2012


North America

Guantanamo Attorneys Request Court Intervention
Source: Al Jazeera

Attorneys for Guantanamo detainees have made an emergency motion to stop a new policy that includes genital searches prior to and after meetings with counsel. The motion alleges that the new policy is in retaliation for ongoing hunger strikes and is designed to prevent detainees from meeting with their attorneys.

Obama to Limit Drone Use
Source: New York Times

In a speech at the National Defense University, President Obama discussed the use of drones and a new policy that will restrict their use, and shift control over them from the CIA to the Pentagon. In addition, the President called for limits on his own power, suggesting that an independent court review drone strikes.


Burma Imposes Muslim Child Limit
Source: The Irrawaddy

Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Northern Arakan region have been banned from having more than two children. The new measure applies only to Muslims. The stated primary objective is to prevent overpopulation, yet authorities do not believe the measure is needed for other populations within Burma.

China Continues to Remove Critical Blogs
Source: BBC News

The Chinese government enacted a stricter policy for online censorship. The stated purpose is to avoid false rumors that are harmful to the public. However, opponents believe it is a measure to erase critical opinions about the government. Bloggers do not know how long censorship will last or how severe punishment will be.


Latin America

Ex-Ford Employers Charged with Violations
Source: MercoPress

In Argentina, three former Ford Motor executives were charged with human rights violations. These executives alleged gave personal information about the union workers on the factory floor to security forces during the military coup. The workers were interrogated, tortured, and sent to military prison.

Former Guatemalan Dictator Conviction Overturned
Source: CNN

In May, ex-General Rios Montt was sentenced to 80 years in prison for the genocide of indigenous people in 1982–83. The Constitutional Court overturned this ruling based on procedural issues that occurred during the trial. Human rights groups want to appeal this decision.


African States Protest ICC Trial
Source: Daily Nation

African states are calling on the International Criminal Court to drop charges against Kenyan President Kenyatta, and to defer to the Kenyan national courts. Kenyatta was charged with crimes against humanity after the post-election violence in 2007 that killed over 1,000 people.

Child Trafficking Case Begins in Algiers
Source: BBC News

A child trafficking network composed of French and Algerian nationals has been brought to trial in Algiers. Thirteen people have been accused of trafficking children, which first became apparent in 2009. Security forces in Algeria were able to dismantle the network, but were unable to determine how many children were trafficked.



Religious Freedom in Turkey
Source: Cihan

Despite the country’s secular constitution, a US State Department report stated that religious minorities continue to face many obstacles to the free exercise of their religion. Only the Sunni majority is exempt from many of the administrative costs and challenges entailed in establishing religious schools and places of worship.

Russian NGOs Face Persecution
Source: Human Rights Watch

A new law in Russia forces all NGOs that receive foreign funding, however minimal, to register as “foreign agents;” a pejorative term which dates back to the soviet era and is equated with the word “spy.” While the law is facially neutral, it is only enforced against human rights organizations that are critical of governmental policy.

Middle East

Yemen Participates in Human Rights Conference
Source: SABA Net

Yemen took part in the activities of Political Transitions from a Human Rights Perspective. This conference was held by the International Federation of Human Rights. Activists representing the worst violations of human rights began the conference with a march demanding the release of detained human rights defenders around the world.

Qatar Pleads for Protection of Syrians

Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the UN is urging the international community to take an active role in the protection of civilians against the oppressive Syrian regime. Doha condemns the military operations in the Syrian city of Al Qusayr, where citizens are facing potential genocide.


Central Asia

Pakistani NGO Develops Anti-Child Marriage Bill
Source: Pakistan Today

HANDS, a Pakistani NGO, has proposed a bill to increase the legal age for marriage in Pakistan. In Pakistan, some young girls are forced to get married when they are still children because of cultural, social, and financial reasons. This bill is expected to help girls in Pakistan live healthy lives, and decrease the country’s maternal mortality rate.

Human Trafficking Obstacles in Nepal
Source: The Guardian

The Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) estimates that 200,000 women and children are working in Indian brothels, and approximately 7,000 more are trafficked each year. FPAN believes that lack of employment, education and awareness are key contributors to the problem. Many of the women and children being trafficked are sold to traffickers by people they know.

Upcoming Events

A Presentation By Judge Vagn Joensen
New York City Bar Association


The New York City Bar Association will be hosting a discussion with UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda President Judge Vagn Joensen. The discussion will take place Wednesday, June 12, 2013 from 6:30-8:30pm at the New York City Bar Association. The event is free of charge.