August 3rd, 2012

UN calls for independent probe into violence that killed eight people in Darfur

Posted on 03 Aug 2012 at 10:38am

The United Nations today urged Sudan to launch an independent investigation into the reported use of excessive force by Government security forces during a protest in Darfur on Tuesday, which resulted in eight deaths and injured more than 50 people.

According to eyewitnesses, security forces opened fire at demonstrators in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, and used tear gas, killing eight people, five of whom were young students aged 17 and below.

“We urge the Government to promptly launch an independent and credible investigation into the violence and the apparent excessive use of force by security forces,” the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),…

UN and partners boost efforts to tackle ‘alarming’ health situation in South Sudan camps

Posted on 03 Aug 2012 at 10:17am

The United Nations refugee agency and its partners are scaling up efforts to reverse the “alarming” rates of malnutrition, disease and death in two camps hosting Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, even as they struggle to cope with logistical problems amid the rainy season.

There are some 170,000 Sudanese refugees currently in South Sudan, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with more arriving from Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states every day after fleeing conflict and food shortages.

Today UNHCR will begin distributing more soap, jerry cans and blankets to over 8,200 families with children under the age of five in the Yida camp in South Sudan’s…

Liberia: UN speaks out against draft law that would criminalize homosexual behaviour

Posted on 03 Aug 2012 at 10:11am

The United Nations human rights office today voiced concern about draft legislation currently being considered by Liberian lawmakers that would broadly criminalize homosexual behaviour, adding that it will negatively impact vulnerable populations in the country.

The legislation, which has already been passed by the Liberian Senate but is still being considered by the House of Representatives, makes homosexual behaviour a second degree felony for which people can be fined and imprisoned for up to five years.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the proposed legislation would impose penalties for a person who “seduces, encourages, or promotes another person of the same gender to engage into…

UN concerned at shrinking space for freedom of expression in Viet Nam

Posted on 03 Aug 2012 at 10:04am

The United Nations human rights office today voiced concern at reports of the ongoing persecution of bloggers and people who use the Internet and other means to freely express their opinions in Viet Nam.

“We are concerned by what appears to be increasingly limited space for freedom of expression in Viet Nam,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva.

The office voiced particular concern that the upcoming trial of Nguyen Van Hai (also known as Dieu Cay), Pan Thanh Hai and Ta Phong Tan for “conducting propaganda” against the State is directly linked to their legitimate exercise of freedom of…

Sudan: Security forces must stop using live rounds against demonstrators

Posted on 03 Aug 2012 at 9:40am

Sudanese security forces must stop shooting protesters with live ammunition, Amnesty International said after confirming that at least eight demonstrators killed on Tuesday had bullet wounds in their chests, some inflicted at close range.

At least 10 people, many of them high school students, were killed on July 31 when Security services and paramilitary police opened fire in Nyala, South Darfur, during a demonstration against fuel prices and the cost of living. Dozens more were injured.

Medical staff at Nyala Public Hospital told Amnesty International that the wounds inflicted on the eight bodies admitted to their morgue were consistent with those caused by 5.56mm and 7.62mm automatic rifles.

“Any individual members of…

USA: Texas man due to be executed despite evidence of mental disability

Posted on 03 Aug 2012 at 9:31am

The Texas authorities should commute the death sentence of a prisoner assessed as having a mental disability but facing execution in under a week, Amnesty International said today.

Marvin Wilson, a 54-year-old African American man, is due to be put to death by lethal injection on 7 August for a murder committed in 1992. A clinical neuropsychologist has concluded that he has “mental retardation”.

A decade ago, in Atkins v. Virginia, the US Supreme Court prohibited the execution of offenders with “mental retardation”, but left it up to the individual states as to how to comply with the ruling.

“While a majority of countries have stopped executing anyone, let alone…

Sri Lanka: Massacre of Aid Workers Goes Unpunished

Posted on 03 Aug 2012 at 8:58am

Six Years On, Government Fails to Prosecute Responsible Military, Police

(New York) – The Sri Lankan government’s failure to hold accountable those responsible for the execution-style slaying of 17 aid workers six years ago is indicative of its deeper unwillingness to prosecute soldiers and police for atrocities, Human Rights Watch said today. Despite compelling evidence of participation by state security forces in the killings, government inquiries have not progressed and no one has been charged with the crime.

On August 4, 2006, gunmen executed the 17 Sri Lankan aid workers – 16 ethnic Tamils and one Muslim – with the Paris-based international humanitarian agency Action Contre La Faim (Action Against Hunger,…

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