Guantánamo Detainees Move to Illinois
The Obama Administration announced this week it would move selected Guantánamo Bay detainees to a maximum security prison in Illinois. Though closing the quasi-legal detention facility fulfills a campaign promise, Obama has not denounced the use of indefinite detention, which human rights groups say violates the Geneva Convention.
Mexican Journalist Murdered
A local Mexican man became the twelfth reporter in that country to be killed this year for consistently speaking out against local officials. The journalist investigated and reported corruption scandals and murder. An advisory human rights organization reports that Mexico is not safe for journalists at this time.
Challenge Thai Asylum Policy
Despite international opposition, the Thai government plans on removing over 4,000 ethnic Hmong from Thailand to Laos. The Hmong fear they will be persecuted if they are removed to Laos. Several U.S. senators are reprimanding the Thai government for failing to implement transparent repatriation protocols.
Villages Drowning in Politics
The World Bank seeks to investigate the Boeung Kak Lake development project due to allegations that local villagers have not been represented in the planning process. Most villagers have been forcibly evicted from their homes and have had no means of holding the government accountable for usurping their land titles.
against Human Rights Activists
Nicaraguan human rights activists such as Leonor Martínez have recently received threatening phone calls and have been the victims of assault. Martinez believes the violence stems from her work in Coalición de Jóvenes Nicaragüense, a civil society group. The attacks appear to be connected to the ruling Sandinista party.
Court Rules on Violent
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Mexican government did not appropriately respond to the violent murders of over 500 women in the Ciudad Juarez. The victims were mostly factory workers. Corruption is reported to have played a role in the lack of investigation. Scroll to the bottom of this newsletter to read an extended press release.
Report on Guinea Massacre Leaked
A leaked report by a U.N. commission investigating the September 2009 Guinea civilian massacre seeks to charge Guinean leader, Captain Moussa "Dadis" Camara, and others with crimes against humanity. The report details specific acts of violence committed by government soldiers against civilians, including rape and murder.
Calls for LRA Accountability
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report tracking Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (“LRA”). Over the course of ten months, the army reportedly murdered approximately 1,200 people, abducted nearly 1,400, and displaced around 230,000. The report calls for international cooperation with the I.C.C.’s pursuit of LRA leaders.
Memorial, a Russian human rights group, was awarded the European Parliament’s annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The prize is awarded to honor individuals or organizations that have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedoms. The organization proclaimed the honor a victory for the entire Russian human rights movement.
Deports Afghan Migrants
France has drawn criticism from humanitarian groups for its decision to deport another group of Afghan migrants. The deportations occurred following the recent closing of a refugee camp in Calais, an assembly place for Afghan migrants. The deported individuals expressed their uneasiness about returning to the dangerous area they had previously fled.
“Sorcerers” Sentenced to Death
Arabs Wait for Rights
A lack of quorum prevented Kuwait’s parliament from holding a session to approve a draft law granting full civil and social rights to the estimated 96,000 “Bidoons,” or stateless Arabs, in Kuwait. Some blame tight security and blocked roads as the reason why many ministers could not participate in the meeting.
On December 10, 2009, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued an important decision (in Spanish) in the Campo Algodonero case, concerning three in a series of hundreds of unsolved and poorly investigated disappearances, rapes, and murders of young (predominantly migrant) women and girls in Ciudad Juarez (on the US-Mexico border) over the past fifteen years. The Court found Mexico in violation of the American Convention of Human Rights and the Convention Belém do Pará (Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women) and ordered Mexico to comply with a broad set of remedial measures including a national memorial, renewed investigations and reparations of over $200,000 each to the families in the suit. Click here to read the decision and concurrences. The decision is important for a number of reasons, including the fact that, for the first time, the Court considers States' affirmative obligations to respond to violence against women by private actors, looks at the cases at issue in the context of mass violence against women and structural discrimination, and finds that gender-based violence can constitute gender discrimination.