Category Archives: civil society

News Clips- April 28, 2017

The Foreign Ministers of Switzerland and Sweden at a United Nations event on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen
Credit: UN Photo/Violaine Martin

Civil Society

  • On Thursday, Palestinians organized a strike, which closed down schools, institutions, and transportation, to demonstrate solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strikes in Israeli jails. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Thursday, 30 people in Turkey were detained and charged with membership in an armed terror organization as a result of their ties to a newspaper that was run by a woman accused of leading a coup attempt in the country. [Washington Post]

Activities of International Bodies

  • On Tuesday, the United Nations and the governments of Sweden and Switzerland held a one-day conference in Geneva, Switzerland focused on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. [UN News Centre]
  • On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held that detention conditions in Romanian prisons violated the right to the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment. [Council of Europe]

Migrants, Refugees, & Asylum Seekers

  • On Monday, a migrant boat traveling between Greece and Turkey sunk, killing 16 people. [Washington Post]
  • According to European Union (EU) officials, 23,000 unaccompanied children in Greek and Italian refugee camps are at risk of child abuse, rape, and smuggling. [Guardian]
  • This week, 25,000 people were displaced due to a violent offensive in the Kodok region of South Sudan. [Washington Post]

International Criminal Law

  • On Thursday, an appeals court in Senegal upheld former Chad dictator Hissene Habre’s life sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during his presidency. [Washington Post]
  • On Monday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) unsealed the warrant of arrest for alleged war criminal Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled for crimes committed in Libya in 2011. [ICC Press Release]


  • On Wednesday, Venezuelan President Maduro announced Venezuela’s withdrawal from the Organization of American States (OAS) amid ongoing violent protests in the country. [BBC News]
  • On Monday, Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee approved a law that prohibits discrimination against, and expands protections for, individuals with HIV and AIDS. [Jurist]

News Clips- April 21, 2017

The United Nations and African Union sign the joint UN-AU Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security
Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Civil Society

  • On Wednesday, anti-government protesters marched in the streets of Caracas, Venezuela amid riot police while the government held counter-demonstrations. [Washington Post]
  • On Tuesday, the Human Rights Commission in Ethiopia reported 669 deaths resulting from anti-government protests in the country. [BBC News]
  • On Saturday, a United States aid worker was released from pretrial detention in Egypt after three years. [Washington Post] 

Violence & Humanitarian Crises

  • On Monday, the government of Turkey announced it would extend Turkey’s state of emergency for an additional three months. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Saturday, a suicide bomb attack in Syria killed 126 people; there are no claims of responsibility for the attack. [Guardian]

Migrants, Refugees, & Asylum Seekers

  • On Thursday, the Libyan coastguard reported at least 97 people missing after a boat transporting African nationals to Europe sunk. [Al Jazeera]
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated 8,300 migrants were rescued at sea from smugglers last weekend; eight migrants died. [Washington Post] 

International Criminal Law

  • On Wednesday, Uganda’s military ended its years-long search for Joseph Kony, a warlord charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, because his Lord’s Resistance Army was largely neutralized. [Washington Post]
  • The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated that the attacks in Syria over the weekend may amount to war crimes and recommended referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). [UN News Centre]


  • This week, the government of Tunisia signed a declaration that gives non-government organizations and individuals the ability to submit complaints directly to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) against Tunisia. [ACHPR Press Release]
  • On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull announced a plan to get rid of the country’s 457 skilled-worker visa program. [Washington Post]
  • On Wednesday, the United Nations and the African Union signed a joint UN-AU Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security. [UN News Centre]

Cuba Welcomes First Visit from UN Special Rapporteur in Nearly 10 Years

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, addresses the UN Security Council
Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

First the first time in nearly 10 years, a United Nations independent expert visited Cuba on an official country visit when the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, toured the country from April 10 to 14, 2017. The purpose of the Special Rapporteur’s visit was to assess the situation of victims of human trafficking, in particular for sexual and labor exploitation, and to assess measures that protect and provide victims with effective remedies. [OHCHR Press Release] Her visit concluded with a press conference in which she set forth criteria to combat human trafficking, including the establishment of awareness-raising programs regarding the perception of risk, and praised Cuba for its political will to combat human trafficking and its free healthcare, education, and social security systems, which help reduce vulnerabilities that can lead to trafficking. [Reuters; Cuba Debate (in Spanish)] The findings made during this visit will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2018. The last official visit to Cuba by a UN independent expert was conducted between October 28 and November 6, 2007, by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler. See Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, UN Doc. A/HRC/7/5/Add.3, 3 March 2008. Read more

News Clips – April 14, 2017

Russia blocks the adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution
Credit: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Civil Society

  • This week, Thai authorities warned that the online dissemination of information from two academics and a journalist critical of the government could violate Thailand’s Computer Crime Act. [Guardian]
  • On Wednesday, an Egyptian criminal court sentenced a human rights lawyer to ten years in prison for using Facebook to “harm national unity.” [Washington Post]
  • Last week, a TV reporter in Uganda was kidnapped, threatened, and beaten in relation to her coverage of the president of Uganda’s family. [Reporters Without Borders]
  • Last week, law enforcement officials opened fire on protesters, killing six, as thousands demonstrated at polling stations near Srinagar, India. [Guardian]

Activities of International Bodies

  • On Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russian officials failed to act sufficiently in response to an impending terrorist attack in 2004, which resulted in more than 330 deaths. [New York Times]
  • On Wednesday, Russia vetoed the adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria and called for an investigation. [UN News Centre]

Violence & Humanitarian Crises

  • Four days of violence in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon resulted in six dead and 35 injured. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Sunday, Egypt declared a state of emergency in response to two attacks, claimed by ISIS, targeting Egypt’s Christian minority; the attacks caused at least 44 deaths and 100 injuries. [Washington Post]
  • On Monday, a large-scale fire broke out across the Dunkirk camp in France leaving 900 refugees and migrants displaced. [Guardian]

European Union

  • On Wednesday, the European Union warned it will take legal action if Poland and Hungary do not receive asylum seekers according to the region’s migration scheme. [Reuters]
  • This week, the European Union extended sanctions, initially applied in 2011, against Iran as a result of alleged human rights violations in the country. [Washington Post]

Trafficking in Persons

News Clips- March 10, 2017

Protesters march on International Women’s Day in Barcelona
Credit: Sarahmirk via Wikimedia Commons

Civil Society

  • On Wednesday, to mark International Women’s Day, women demonstrated around the world for equality. [Reuters]
  • On Tuesday, in Argentina tens of thousands joined in a march protesting job cuts and other policies initiated under President Mauricio Macri. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Monday, Israel passed a law denying entry visas to foreign nationals who support boycotts against Israel or its West bank settlements. [Washington Post]

Armed Conflict, Violence, & Humanitarian Crises

  • On Thursday, a human rights organization reported it is likely that a United States-led coalition is responsible for air strikes on an ISIL controlled village in Syria that resulted in 23 civilian deaths. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Wednesday, 21 Guatemalan girls were killed by a fire that occurred amid protests against alleged rights abuses at San Jose Pinula child centre. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Wednesday, gunmen disguised as medical personnel carried out attacks, claimed by ISIL, killing 30 people in a hospital in Afghanistan. [Reuters]
  • On Monday, rebels from Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army initiated an attack against law enforcement officials in the Kokang region near China; 30 people were killed. [Al Jazeera]
  • Last week, government officials in Zimbabwe reported 246 deaths and thousands homeless after recent floods. [Al Jazeera]

Migration, Refugees, & Asylum Seekers

  • This week, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq estimated that 450,000 internally displaced persons are expected to flee to camps as violence in western Mosul, Iraq continues. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Tuesday, Hungary approved a policy of detaining asylum seekers in guarded and enclosed camps as a way of deterring migration. [New York Times]
  • On Tuesday, the International Organization for Migration reported that violence between rival smuggling gangs caused 22 migrant deaths. [Reuters]
  • On Wednesday, the state of Hawaii filed for a temporary restraining order against United States President Trump’s revised executive order that temporarily bans citizens of Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from securing visas to enter the United States. [Al Jazeera]

Activities of International Bodies & Entities

News Clips- March 3, 2017

United Nations Security Council votes on imposing sanctions against Syria
Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Civil Society

  • On Wednesday, Russian security officials raided the home of well-known journalist and human rights defender Zoya Svetova. [Committee to Protect Journalists]
  • On Tuesday, hundreds protested the evacuation of settlers from homes in the West Bank settlement of Ofra, after courts found the homes were built on Palestinian land in violation of the law. [CNN]
  • Last Friday, United States President Trump blocked media organizations, including the New York Times, CNN, Politico, and Al Jazeera, from participating in a press briefing. [Al Jazeera]

Armed Conflict, Violence, & Humanitarian Crises

  • On Wednesday, a Russian airstrike accidentally targeted Syrian Arab fighters that were being trained by the United States. [New York Times]
  • On Wednesday, two attacks on security facilities in Afghanistan, for which the Taliban took credit, killed at least 16 people. [Washington Post]
  • On Monday, senior Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Salam Akhund was killed in a bombing raid led by the United States in northern Afghanistan. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Saturday, attacks in Hom, Syria linked to al-Qaeda killed 42 people. [Washington Post]

Activities of International Experts & Bodies

Migrants, Asylum Seekers, & Refugees

  • Over the last week and a half, at least 26,000 Iraqis have been displaced in response to security forces’ efforts to retake the city of Mosul from ISIL. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Sunday, an interior minister in Germany reported that there were 3,500 attacks against refugees, migrants, and their shelters within the country in the last year. [Al Jazeera]
  • On Friday, the International Organization for Migration reported that 366 migrants died at sea during attempted migration to Europe in the first months of 2017; this figure is down from 425 last year. [UN News Centre]


  • On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals in Trento, Italy held that same-sex parents should have equal parental rights and that the names of both parents should appear on their child’s birth certificate. [Jurist]
  • This week, United States President Trump removed federal guidelines put in place during the Obama administration that had required access to sex-segregated facilities be based on gender identity. [Al Jazeera]
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