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Showing posts with label World News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World News. Show all posts

07 November, 2018

Australia calls on China to end its 'alarming' mass detention of Muslims

The Australian government has expressed "alarm" at China's crackdown against Muslim minorities and called for an end to the detention of up to 1 million people in indoctrination camps.
In the strongest Australian intervention yet on the Chinese government campaign, officials delivered a statement at the United Nations highlighting reports that minority groups and human rights advocates have been tortured or otherwise targeted by authorities.

Security personnel in Xinjiang.
"Australia shares the UN [Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination's] alarm at numerous reports of detention of large numbers of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim groups held incommunicado and often for long periods without being charged or tried, which exacerbates rather than prevents religious extremism," the statement said.
"Australia recommends that China cease the practice of arbitrarily detaining Uighurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang ... [and] immediately release individuals currently detained."
The remarks are contained in the government's submission to the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review, which examines member states' human rights records every five years. The submission also urged China to lift restrictions on minorities' freedom of movement and allow access to Xinjiang and Tibet for UN officials.

A growing body of reporting from Xinjiang, a large north-western province, has found the Chinese government has detained hundreds of thousands of Muslims in facilities as part of an effort to suppress religious practices and instil Chinese Communist ideology. Uighurs not in detention live in an increasingly advanced surveillance state.
After initially denying the existence of the mass detention camps, Chinese authorities have more recently sought to justify the sweeping campaign as necessary to stabilise the region and combat separatism and terrorism.
Global concern about the crackdown has grown just as the Australia-China relationship shows signs of healing, with Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Trade Minister Simon Birmingham visiting China this week.
Senator Payne's high-level meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi follows a period of tension centred around Australia's crackdown on foreign interference and influence, China's militarisation of the disputed South China Sea, and its growing influence in the Pacific.
Experts say the thaw is a sign Beijing is looking to improve relationships amid a deepening trade dispute with the United States.
"China is looking for friends in the face of the onslaught of Trump. They need friends and partners, particularly on trade, to reinforce their left flank," said Richard McGregor, a senior fellow at the Lowy Institute.
Australia's official submission at the UN follows comments from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten last week, the first on the sensitive issue from a leader of a major Australian political party.
"There's no doubt in my mind that we don't have all the information that people are asking for in terms of the treatment of the Uighur minority and that what we've seen is gravely disturbing," Mr Shorten said during an appearance at the Lowy Institute.
Senator Payne has previously said Australia has "serious concerns" about the situation in Xinjiang and promised to raise the issue during her meetings in Beijing.
In its contribution to the review, the United States urged China to "abolish all forms of arbitrary detention, including internment camps in Xinjiang, and immediately release the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of individuals detained in these camps".
Le Yucheng, the head of the Chinese delegation to the Geneva forum, dismissed the criticisms as "seriously far away from facts".
"We will not accept politically driven accusations from a few countries that are fraught with biases and in total disregard of the facts," he said.

28 August, 2018

Removing Myanmar Military Officials From Facebook

The ethnic violence in Myanmar has been truly horrific. Earlier this month, we shared an update on the steps we’re taking to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation on Facebook. While we were too slow to act, we’re now making progress – with better technology to identify hate speech, improved reporting tools, and more people to review content.
Today, we are taking more action in Myanmar, removing a total of 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account and 52 Facebook Pages, followed by almost 12 million people. We are preserving data, including content, on the accounts and Pages we have removed.
Specifically, we are banning 20 individuals and organizations from Facebook in Myanmar — including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the military’s Myawady television network. International experts, most recently in a report by the UN Human Rights Council-authorized Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, have found evidence that many of these individuals and organizations committed or enabled serious human rights abuses in the country. And we want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions. This has led us to remove six Pages and six accounts from Facebook — and one account from Instagram — which are connected to these individuals and organizations. We have not found a presence on Facebook or Instagram for all 20 individuals and organizations we are banning.
We have also removed 46 Pages and 12 accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook. During a recent investigation, we discovered that they used seemingly independent news and opinion Pages to covertly push the messages of the Myanmar military. This type of behavior is banned on Facebook because we want people to be able to trust the connections they make.
We continue to work to prevent the misuse of Facebook in Myanmar — including through the independent human rights impact assessment we commissioned earlier in the year. This is a huge responsibility given so many people there rely on Facebook for information — more so than in almost any other country given the nascent state of the news media and the recent rapid adoption of mobile phones. It’s why we’re so determined to do better in the future.
A sample of the content from these Pages and accounts is included below.

UN: Netherlands, Kuwait support charges against Myanmar

UN: Netherlands, Kuwait support charges against Myanmar

By Umar Farooq
UN representatives of the Netherlands and Kuwait said Monday they support the organization’s demand for genocide charges against the Myanmar army for their persecution of Rohingya Muslims.
"We are very concerned about the atrocities committed there and call for accountability and to refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC," Netherlands' permanent representative to the UN Karel van Oosterom said before a UN Security Council meeting.
Kuwait's permanent representative to the UN Mansour Al-Otaibi also said his country supports the establishment of an international mechanism to punish those responsible for the crimes committed in the Rakhine state.
"Today's report is a very documented report with pictures and videos of these atrocities," Otaibi said. "We support accountability and I will talk about this at the UN Security Council meeting on Myanmar tomorrow."
The UN Security Council will meet Tuesday to discuss the situation in Myanmar and the report by the UN fact finding mission.
The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar called on top Myanmar’s top military officials, including commander-in-chief Staff Min Aung Hlaing, to be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide committed against Rohingya Muslims.
"Military necessity would never justify killing indiscriminately, gang-raping women, assaulting children, and burning entire villages. The Tatmadaw’s [Myanmar's armed forces] tactics are consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats, especially in Rakhine State, but also in northern Myanmar," the report said.
On Aug. 25, 2017, Myanmar launched a major military crackdown on the Muslim ethnic minority, killing almost 24,000 civilians and forcing 750,000 others including women and children to flee to Bangladesh, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In its report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

11 August, 2018

Myanmar to ICC – Rohingya jurisdiction request ‘should be dismissed

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar said on Thursday a request by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to seek jurisdiction over suspected deportations of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh was “meritless and should be dismissed”.
Judges at the court had asked Myanmar to respond to the request by July 27. The office of government leader Aung San Suu Kyi outlined reasons why Myanmar has declined to engage with the court on the matter and why it would not submit a response.
“The request by the prosecutor may be interpreted as an indirect attempt to acquire jurisdiction over Myanmar which is not a State Party to the Rome Statute,” the office said in a statement, referring to the ICC’s founding treaty.
Reuters was not able to immediately reach the ICC for comment.
The jurisdiction of the world’s first permanent war crimes court is limited to crimes committed on the territory of member states, or in cases referred to it by the U.N. Security Council.
But ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked the court to look into the Rohingya crisis and the court has sought the views of Bangladesh on the “exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh”.
Suu Kyi’s office said Myanmar was “under no obligation to enter into litigation with the prosecutor” and setting the jurisdiction over the case would “set a dangerous precedent whereby future populistic causes and complaints against non-State Parties … may be litigated.”
Myanmar has also alleged procedural irregularities and lack of transparency on the court’s part.
Bensouda has said that, given the cross-border nature of the crime of deportation, a ruling in favour of ICC jurisdiction would be in line with established legal principles.
However, she acknowledged uncertainty around the definition of the crime of deportation and limits of the court’s jurisdiction.
About 700,000 Rohingya Muslims, according to U.N. estimates, fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar to Bangladesh after a military crackdown in August 2017 that the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing.
Refugees have reported killings, rape and arson on a large scale, but Myanmar has denied nearly all of the accusations, saying it waged a legitimate counter-insurgency operation after coming under attack from Rohingya militants.
Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Robert Birsel

20 July, 2018

ICC Is Now Needed More Than Ever – Buhari (Full Speech)

President Buhari in a group photo with Judges of the Criminal Court ahead of his Keynote address at the 20th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands on 17th July 2018.
President Buhari in a group photo with Judges of the Criminal Court ahead of his Keynote address at the 20th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands on 17th July 2018.

President Muhammadu Buhari has called for support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in jurisdiction over serious cases of corruption noting that the International court is now needed more than ever.
The President made this call on Tuesday while delivering a keynote address at the 20th anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.
President Buhari believes that the ICC also needs increased cooperation and financial resources from its member states.
He said, “with the alarming proliferation of the most serious crimes around the world, the ICC, and all that it stands for is now needed more than ever, in ways that were unforeseeable to its founders.”
Read Full text of his address below…
I am honoured to be with you here today to celebrate the anniversary of this vital global institution. I say “vital” because the world needs the ICC.
2. Let me start by congratulating you, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, on your election as President of the International Criminal Court, and also thank the judges of the Court for electing you, a cherished son of Nigeria. Nigeria is very proud of you, Mr. President.
3. Let me also express my gratitude to the International Criminal Court for inviting me to speak on this occasion.
4. As we know, the International Criminal Court was established twenty years ago as a global court, inspired by the Nuremberg trials of World War II war criminals, to hold people accountable for crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of genocide and aggression.
5. In addition to preventing impunity, promoting adherence and respect for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms worldwide and to punishing those in leadership positions responsible for the most appalling crimes and atrocities, the ICC has given hope for justice to so many, by demanding strict adherence to the rules of international humanitarian law.
6. With the alarming proliferation of the most serious crimes around the world, the ICC, and all that it stands for, is now needed more than ever, in ways that were unforeseeable to its founders. The ICC may have been created at a time of optimism that it would not need to be utilized frequently, but, unfortunately, the increase in international crimes has only increased the Court’s relevance.
7. Indeed, while limits on the ICC’s jurisdiction mean that it cannot presently act with regard to some of the dire crises of the day in states that are not parties, by acting where it can, the ICC reinforces the demand for justice far beyond its own cases.
8. A strong and effective ICC has the potential to send a powerful message about the international community’s commitment to accountability, a message that will be heard by both victims and perpetrators. Equally, a strong and effective ICC demonstrates the international community’s commitment to the rule of law.
9. A strong and effective ICC can also act as a catalyst for other justice efforts, expanding the reach of accountability. These could include serious cases of corruption by state actors that severely compromise the development efforts of countries and throw citizens into greater poverty. These could also include cases of illicit financial flows where countries are complicit and obstruct repatriation of stolen assets. As the African Union Champion on Anti-corruption, these are issues dear to my heart.
10. The Rome Statute created more than a court; it created the outline for a system of justice for horrific crimes rooted first in national courts doing their job, and where they fail to do so, the ICC stepping in only as “the court of the last resort”
11. The ICC also needs increased cooperation and financial resources from its member states. State parties should express their commitment to increasing efforts in these areas, including pledging concrete assistance.
12. The twenty years of the Court’s existence have witnessed several challenges, some of which had threatened the very existence of the Court itself. Most notable were the withdrawals and threats of withdrawals of membership of the Court by some States, as well as accusations of bias in the exercise of the jurisdiction of the Court. Thankfully, the Court has addressed these challenges in a dignified and commendable way.
13. Nonetheless, the Court needs to take on board all constructive criticisms and allay lingering fears and concern through targeted messaging, awareness raising and possible modification of some legal provisions. If properly articulated, communication and awareness raising would surely engender trust and encourage greater cooperation of Member States with the Court and even encourage non – Member States to decide to become Members. It must avoid even a hint of bias or political motivations.
14. The goals and responsibilities of the Court are no doubt very challenging and daunting but with the cooperation of all, coupled with the high calibre of Judges and staff of the Court, the challenges are not insurmountable. I, therefore, urge all States not to politicize the decisions of the Court but to always bear in mind the rationale for the establishment of the Court in the first place.
15. I urge all States that have not yet done so to, as a matter of deliberate State policy, accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court so that it can become a universal treaty.
16. Nigeria has cooperated with, and supported the Court at all times. This, we have demonstrated by our full and transparent cooperation on matters on which we are being investigated and also in our several Country statements at the sessions of the Court. Our cooperation with the Court is borne out of our strong belief in the respect for the rule of law and human rights, and in our firm commitment to the sanctity of fundamental freedoms at international and domestic levels, as ingrained in the objectives for establishing the Court.
17. In conclusion, let me intimate you that Nigeria is preparing to conduct general elections in 2019. Contrary to the tragic incidents that characterized the 2011 general elections in Nigeria which necessitated preliminary investigations by the International Criminal Court, I assure you that all hands are on deck to prevent any recurrence of such tragic incidents. We shall do everything possible to ensure that Nigeria witnesses the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections in 2019.
18. Again, I congratulate the Court on its 20th Anniversary and wish it continued growth, relevance and success in the years to come in its vital role as a bulwark against man’s inhumanity to man.
Thank you for your attention.

18 July, 2018

ICC marks 20th anniversary with plea for help fighting war crimes

© ICC judges deliver a decision in the case against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir at The Hague on July 6, 2017.
Text by FRANCE 24
Latest update : 2018-07-17

The International Criminal Court marked its 20th anniversary on Tuesday with a plea for all nations to help it seek justice for victims of war crimes, weeks after the acquittal of a former Congolese militia chief dealt a blow to its credibility.

“Two decades after the Rome conference, the system of international justice created by the Rome Statute continues to make waves towards building a culture of accountability,” said chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Even though the tribunal, based in The Hague, faced many challenges “its work is increasingly shaping norms, casting a deterrent shadow across the globe”, she said.
The tribunal’s guiding Rome Statute was agreed in July 1998, and it opened its doors in 2002 as a court of last resort, to prosecute those behind the world’s worst atrocities in places where national authorities could not or would not step in.
In 16 years, it has sentenced three people: two Congolese militia leaders and a Malian jihadist.
Other cases have collapsed. In some instances wanted suspects remain at large, including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and four trials are currently underway.
And last month, former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, initially sentenced to 18 years in prison for war crimes, was acquitted on appeal in a blow to the prosecution.
‘Not an easy task’
The court has been repeatedly criticised, accused of unfairly targeting African nations, even though complex initial probes are also underway in the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan, the Philippines and Ukraine.
In 2017, under investigation for suspected crimes against humanity in which 1,200 people were said to have died, Burundi became the first country to withdraw from the tribunal.

Bensouda acknowledged the court’s work “is not an easy task given the complex environments” in which it operates.
She highlighted “large scale criminality on the ground, changing political climates, with dwindling resource capacity, and varying degrees of cooperation” despite “ever-increasing demands for the court’s intervention”.
But she stressed: “Attacks on the court to undermine its important work, or in the service of Machiavellian schemes to shield the culpable, must continue to be met with the determined and unequivocal voices of support from principal states parties and civil society.”
All had a responsibility “to ensure we don’t disappoint the victims embroiled in devastating conflicts all over the world, past or present”, she added.
Nigerian leader hails ‘vital’ institution
Giving a key-note speech, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said he was honoured “to celebrate the anniversary of this vital global institution. I say ‘vital’ because the world needs the ICC”.
Buhari said the ICC had “given hope for justice to so many, by demanding strict adherence to the rules of international humanitarian law”.
The Nigerian leader urged states “not to politicise” the court’s decisions, insisting that “the ICC, and all that it stands for, is now needed more than ever”.
He added: “I urge all States that have not yet done so to […] accede to the Rome Statute of the ICC so that it can become a universal treaty.”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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