Militarisation

Dr Shams Hassan Faruqi sits amid his rocks and geological records, shakes his bearded head and stares at me. "I strongly doubt if the children are alive," he says. "Probably, they have expired." He says this in a strange way, mournful but resigned, yet somehow he seems oddly unmoved. As a witness, supposedly, to the mysterious 2008 re-appearance of Aafia Siddiqui – the "most wanted woman in the world", according to former US attorney general John Ashcroft – I guess this 73-year-old Pakistani geologist is used to the limelight. But the children, I ask him again. What happened to the children?

Afghanistan’s hard-won post-Taliban human rights achievements are being eroded due to the persistent immunity from prosecution of powerful figures, the intensifying conflict, and the adoption of laws which undermine justice and human rights, a UN official warns. Norah Niland, the outgoing representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Afghanistan, called on the Afghan government to repeal a controversial law which gives blanket immunity to perpetrators of mass atrocities committed over the past three decades.

Clashes between government troops and Islamist insurgents have displaced more than 55,000 people from Mogadishu since the beginning of February, with many of them heading out of Somalia to neighbouring Kenya, according to the UN Refugee Agency. In the border town of Liboi, people told IRIN by phone that 300 to 400 Somali families were waiting there to be registered as refugees. In all, almost 570,000 Somalis are refugees and most of them live in camps in Kenya. "Staying in Mogadishu now is like a death sentence: you are not safe; your neighbour is not safe," Hawo Sheiikh Ali, one of the refugees, told IRIN on 22 March.

Le président par intérim du Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan devrait garantir l'ouverture dans les plus brefs délais d'une enquête exhaustive sur  le massacre d'au moins 200 villageois chrétiens dans le centre du pays le 7 mars, ainsi que l'engagement de poursuites judiciaires contre toute personne responsable, a déclaré Human Rights Watch aujourd'hui. Le président par intérim devrait également s'assurer que les militaires et la police agiront promptement pour protéger les civils - quelle que soit leur ethnie - contre tout risque de nouvelles attaques ou de meurtres commis en représailles, notamment grâce à la mise en place de patrouilles régulières à travers toute cette région vulnérable.

Nigeria's acting president should make sure that the massacre of at least 200 Christian villagers in central Nigeria on March 7, 2010, is thoroughly and promptly investigated and that those responsible are prosecuted, Human Rights Watch said today. The acting president should also ensure that the military and the police act swiftly to protect civilians of all ethnicities at risk of further attacks or reprisal killings, including by conducting regular patrols throughout the vulnerable region, Human Rights Watch said.

The Coalition of Women for Peace (Israel) endorses the European Parliament's resolution defending the Goldstone Report. The Coalition supports the call for follow-up investigations into war crimes committed by both sides (Israeli and Palestinian) during Operation Cast Lead. It additionally requests that the European Parliament take diplomatic and legal measures to ensure that the Israeli government will cease all attempts to restrict the work of civil society organizations in the region.

“War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” - George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four). Thus begins the Rajapakse era, with the arrest of Gen. Sarath Fonseka. I did not and do not consider Sarath Fonseka to be a hero, any more than I consider Mahinda Rajapakse and Gotabhaya Rajapakse to be heroes. Still I believe Fonseka’s arrest should be a matter of gravest and most intimate concern to all those who value democratic freedoms, because it symbolises the conclusive triumph of a new political commonsense which equates Mahinda Rajapakse (and his brothers) with the country and thus damns any opponent of Rajapakse rule as an enemy of the nation. A democracy which equates opposition to the powers that be with treachery to the nation is no longer a democracy but an autocracy.

The UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Dr. Shamsul Bari, issued a strong warning on the security, human rights and humanitarian situation in the country, including Somaliland and Puntland. Dr. Bari described as “extremely serious” the situation in South and Central Somalia, where civilians continue to bear the brunt of the fighting between forces of the Transitional Federal Government forces (TFG) and Islamist armed groups.

In this 2004 paper by Alana M. Morrissette (Brandon, Manitoba), the author begins by citing Sybil Milton: 'The study of women and the Holocaust has barely begun, and the complexities and contours of the subject... will keep historians and other analysts occupied for many years', and goes on to describe how women were physically and emotionally injured even before their deportation to Nazi death camps. You can read the full paper here: www.jhcwc.org/morrissette2004.pdf

Dublin war-crimes tribunal, conducted by Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) based in Milan, which held hearings on Thursday and Friday on war-crime charges on Sri Lanka from eye-witnesses and other material evidence, in the preliminary findings issued Saturday said, Sri Lanka Government is "guilty of War-Crimes" and "guilty of Crimes Against Humanity."

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