Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

Boko Haram has abducted many hundreds, if not thousands, of girls and boys across the region, forcing them to fight, to cook, to clean and even to bear children. To much of the world, the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls from their school dormitory in the town of Chibok three years ago was the seminal moment in the crisis, followed by another horror: children, as young as 7 or 8, being used as suicide bombers.

NY Times

 


Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic was established on 22 August 2011 by the Human Rights Council through resolution S-17/1 adopted at its 17th special session with a mandate to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law since March 2011 in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Commission was also tasked to establish the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and, where possible, to identify those responsible with a view of ensuring that perpetrators of violations, including those that may constitute crimes against humanity, are held accountable.

UN

Aleppo aerial campaign deliberately targeted hospitals and humanitarian convoy amounting to war crimes, while armed groups’ indiscriminate shelling terrorised civilians – UN Commission

Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

Arabic

GENEVA (1 March 2017) – The brutal tactics used by the parties to the conflict in Syria as they engaged in the decisive battle for Aleppo city between July and December 2016 resulted in unparalleled suffering for  Syrian men, women and children and amount to war crimes, according to a UN report released today.

In their report based on 291 interviews, including with residents of Aleppo city, and the review of satellite imagery, photographs, videos and medical records, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic documents daily Syrian and Russian airstrikes against eastern Aleppo over several months which steadily destroyed vital civilian infrastructure resulting in disastrous consequences for the civilian population.

By using brutal siege tactics reminiscent of medieval warfare to force surrender, Government forces and their allies prevented the civilian population of eastern Aleppo city from accessing food and basic supplies while relentless airstrikes pounded the city for months, deliberately targeting hospitals and clinics, killing and maiming civilians, and reducing eastern Aleppo to rubble, the report states.

By late November 2016 when pro-Government forces on the ground took control over eastern Aleppo, no functioning hospitals or other medical facilities remained. The intentional targeting of these medical facilities amounts to war crimes, the Commission concludes.

In the report, mandated by the Human Rights Council at its 25th special session in October 2016, the three-person Commission also notes how armed groups indiscriminately shelled civilian-inhabited areas of western Aleppo city with improvised weapons, causing many civilian casualties. A number of these attacks were carried out without a clear military target and had no other purpose than to terrorise the civilian population.

“The violence in Aleppo documented in our report should focus the international community on the continued, cynical disregard for the laws of war by the warring parties in Syria. The deliberate targeting of civilians has resulted in the immense loss of human life, including hundreds of children”, said Commission Chair Paulo Pinheiro.

In one of the most horrific attacks investigated by the Commission, Syrian Air Force deliberately targeted a United Nations/Syrian Arab Red Crescent humanitarian convoy in Orum al-Kubra, Aleppo countryside. The attack killed 14 aid workers, destroyed 17 trucks carrying aid supplies, and led to the suspension of all humanitarian aid in the Syrian Arab Republic, further aggravating the unspeakable suffering of Syrian civilians.

“Under no circumstances can humanitarian aid workers be targeted. A deliberate attack against them such as the one that took place in Orum al-Kubra amounts to war crimes and those responsible must be held accountable for their actions”, said Commissioner Carla del Ponte.

The repeated bombardments, which also destroyed schools, orphanages, markets, and residential homes, effectively made civilian life impossible and precipitated surrender. The report further stresses that Syrian aircraft used chlorine – a chemical agent prohibited under international law – against the civilian population of eastern Aleppo, causing significant physical and psychological harm to hundreds of civilians.

As it became clear that eastern Aleppo would be taken by pro-Government forces, all parties continued to commit brutal and widespread violations, the report states. In some districts, armed groups shot at civilians to prevent them from leaving, effectively using them as human shields. Pro-government forces on the ground, composed mostly of Syrian and foreign militias, executed hors de combat fighters and perceived opposition supporters, including family members of fighters. Others were arrested and their whereabouts remain unknown.

The report also notes that the eastern Aleppo evacuation agreement forced thousands of civilians – despite a lack of military necessity or deference to the choice of affected individuals – to move to Government-controlled western Aleppo whilst others were taken to Idlib where they are once more living under bombardments. In line with the precedents of Moadamyia and Darayya, this agreement confirms the regrettable trend whereby parties to the conflict in Syria use civilian populations as bargaining chips for political purposes.

“Some of these agreements amount to forced displacement. It is imperative that the parties refrain from similar future agreements and provide the conditions for the safe return of those who wish to go back to their homes in eastern Aleppo”, said Commissioner Karen AbuZayd.

Background
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, which comprises Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Chair), Ms. Carla Del Ponte, and Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd has been mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate and record all violations of international law since March 2011 in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The full report and supporting documentation can be found on the Human Rights Council web page dedicated to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/IICISyria/Pages/IndependentInternationalCommission.aspx

The report is scheduled to be presented on 14 March during an interactive dialogue at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council.

– See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21256&LangID=E#sthash.l48EGFJw.dpuf

 


Human Rights Watch: Myanmar army soldiers and Border Guard Police took part in rape, gang rape, invasive body searches and sexual assaults while conducting counter-insurgency operations in the western state of Rakhine from October through mid-December against members of the Rohingya.

N Y Times

Human Rights Watch

OHCHR

Devastating cruelty against Rohingya children, women and men detailed in UN human rights report

GENEVA (3 February 2017) – Mass gang-rape, killings – including of babies and young children, brutal beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by Myanmar’s security forces in a sealed-off area north of Maungdaw in northern Rakhine State have been detailed in a new UN report issued Friday based on interviews with victims across the border in Bangladesh.

Of the 204 people individually interviewed by a team of UN human rights investigators, the vast majority reported witnessing killings, and almost half reported having a family member who was killed as well as family members who were missing. Of the 101 women interviewed, more than half reported having suffered rape or other forms of sexual violence.

Especially revolting were the accounts of children – including an eight-month old, a five-year-old and a six-year-old – who were slaughtered with knives. One mother recounted how her five-year-old daughter was trying to protect her from rape when a man “took out a long knife and killed her by slitting her throat.” In another case, an eight-month-old baby was reportedly killed while his mother was gang-raped by five security officers.​

“The devastating cruelty to which these Rohingya children have been subjected is unbearable – what kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother’s milk. And for the mother to witness this murder while she is being gang-raped by the very security forces who should be protecting her – what kind of ‘clearance operation’ is this? What national security goals could possibly be served by this?” High Commissioner Zeid said, noting the report suggests the recent level of violence to be unprecedented.

“I call on the international community, with all its strength, to join me in urging the leadership in Myanmar to bring such military operations to an end. The gravity and scale of these allegations begs the robust reaction of the international community.”

After the repeated failure of the Government of Myanmar to grant the UN Human Rights Office unfettered access to the worst-affected areas of northern Rakhine State, High Commissioner Zeid deployed a team of human rights officers to the Bangladeshi border with Myanmar, where an estimated 66,000 Rohingya have fled since 9 October 2016.

All the individuals interviewed by the team had fled Myanmar after the 9 October attacks against three border guard posts, which had prompted intense military operations and a lockdown in north Maungdaw. The military indicated that it was conducting “area clearance operations” in the region.

The report cites consistent testimony indicating that hundreds of Rohingya houses, schools, markets, shops, madrasas and mosques were burned by the army, police and sometimes civilian mobs. Witnesses also described the destruction of food and food sources, including paddy fields, and the confiscation of livestock.

“Numerous testimonies collected from people from different village tracts…confirmed that the army deliberately set fire to houses with families inside, and in other cases pushed Rohingyas into already burning houses,” the report states. “Testimonies were collected of several cases where the army or Rakhine villagers locked an entire family, including elderly and disabled people, inside a house and set it on fire, killing them all.”

Several people were killed in indiscriminate and random shooting, many while fleeing for safety. Those who suffered serious physical injuries had almost no access to emergency medical care, and many of the people interviewed remained visibly traumatized by the human rights violations they survived or witnessed. People who did not know the fate of loved ones who had been rounded up by the army or separated while fleeing were particularly distressed.

Many witnesses and victims also described being taunted while they were being beaten, raped or rounded up, such as being told “you are Bangladeshis and you should go back” or “What can your Allah do for you? See what we can do?” The violence since 9 October follows a long-standing pattern of violations and abuses; systematic and systemic discrimination; and policies of exclusion and marginalization against the Rohingya that have been in place for decades in northern Rakhine State, the report notes.*

Reports suggest that operations by security forces in the area have continued into January 2017, although their intensity and frequency may have reduced.

“The killing of people as they prayed, fished to feed their families or slept in their homes, the brutal beating of children as young as two and an elderly woman aged 80 – the perpetrators of these violations, and those who ordered them, must be held accountable,” High Commissioner Zeid said. “The Government of Myanmar must immediately halt these grave human rights violations against its own people, instead of continuing to deny they have occurred, and accepts the responsibility to ensure that victims have access to justice, reparations and safety.”

The report concludes that the widespread violations against the Rohingya population indicate the very likely commission of crimes against humanity.

ENDS

* To read the full report, please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/MM/FlashReport3Feb2017.pdf

* See also the June 2016 report by the UN Human Rights Office on the situation of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session32/Pages/ListReports.aspx  . The report was mandated by the UN Human Rights Council.

For more information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org) or Liz Throssell  ( +41 22 917 9466/ ethrossell@ohchr.org)

Tag and share – Twitter: @UNHumanRights and Facebook: unitednationshumanrights

– See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21142&LangID=E#sthash.kDdthvCK.dpuf

 


Myanmar (Burma): Reports by human rights organizations that the military entered Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine State shooting at random, set houses on fire with rocket launchers, and systematically raped girls and women.

NY Times

 

  • “….More than one million people in Myanmar identify as Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim group living mainly in Rakhine State on the country’s western coast.
  • The Myanmar government says the Rohingya are not a genuine ethnic group but are Bengali migrants whose presence is a legacy of colonial times. In a country where anti-Muslim sentiment is widespread, the Rohingya are often persecuted.
  • Rohingya are denied citizenship, freedom to travel, accesses to education and other benefits in Myanmar.
  • According to human rights groups, the Myanmar military has entered Rohingya villages and shot people at random, razed houses, and systematically raped girls and women. The government denies allegations of genocide.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya live in squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh. The government there denies that Rohingya from Myanmar are ethnic Bengalis and has tried to close its borders to the migrants……”

 


Myanmar has detained 4 border police officers after a video surfaced online that appears to show two of them beating unarmed men, possibly Rohingya.

NY Times

RVISION is the first Rohingya TV channel that enact as the
watchdog of the Rohingya’s issues, translates Rohingya’s grieves
and inspires through its various programs. It has been pioneering
in amplifying the voice of the most persecuted and deprived
people to the concerned quarters and all over the world by using
online TV programs, news portals and social media.

Reporting the actual ground situation daily
Raising the voices of the voiceless
Creating awareness in the people
Connecting Rohingya Communities in
Arakan and diaspora
Educating the people through media
Empowering the Community
Supporting the national issue


Rohingya and Counter-Insurgency

Reuters

The International Crisis Group’s Thursday report, Myanmar: A New Muslim Insurgency in Rakhine State, said the new group, which led attacks on three Border Guard Police outposts in Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships that claimed the lives of nine security officers, calls itself Harakah al-Yaqin (Faith Movement).

 

 


An estimated one million stateless Rohingya have been stripped of their citizenship in Myanmar and forced to live in modern-day concentration camps, surrounded by government military checkpoints.

TIME

Credit:  UNHCR

 


“…As the Myanmar Army unleashes a brutal counterinsurgency campaign against the Rohingya in the north, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s leader, has remained nearly silent, putting her status as an exemplar of democratic values and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate in a different light….”

NY Times

 


South Sudan: At Juba’s sprawling displacement camp on the outskirts of the capital, women risk starvation and/or sexual assault.

NY Times

 


Human rights groups accuse Australia of deliberately ignoring the alleged abuse of asylum seekers being held at a remote Pacific island detention facility

Washington Post

 


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