Where does it come from? This quest, this need to solve life’s mysteries for the simplest of questions can never be answered. Why are we here? What is the soul? Why do we dream? Perhaps we would be better off not looking at all. Not delving, not yearning. That’s not human nature, not the human heart. That is not why we are here.
French police 'abuse' Muslims under emergency laws
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International report physical and psychological abuse as raids target Muslim minority.

France has carried out abusive and discriminatory raids and house arrests against Muslims under its current state of emergency, traumatising and stigmatising those targeted, including children and the elderly, human rights groups said.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International published separate research on Wednesday, pointing to cases where excessive force had been used, leading to human rights violations including violence.

Those targeted said the police burst into homes, restaurants, or mosques; broke people’s belongings; threw Qurans on the floor; terrified children; and placed restrictions on people’s movements so severely that they lost jobs and income, or suffered physically.

The raids were launched on November 14 in response toattacks in Paris a day earlier that left 130 people dead, and were later claimed by the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL) group.

ISIL’s claim triggered a backlash - not just in France, but across Europe and elsewhere - as Muslim communities were collectively “punished”.

There are between 5.5 million and 6.2 million Muslims in France, or roughly 7.6 percent of the total population - making the group the largest Muslim minority in Europe.

Declared by President Francois Hollande, France’s emergency laws approved warrantless searches.

Few results

Both human rights groups said the raids, of which there were at least 3,200, have yielded few results.

According to HRW, while between 350 and 400 people have been placed under house arrest, the counterterrorism unit of the Paris prosecutor’s office has opened only five terrorism-related investigations.

“France has a responsibility to ensure public safety and try to prevent further attacks, but the police have used their new emergency powers in abusive, discriminatory, and unjustified ways,” said Izza Leghtas, Western Europe researcher at HRW, calling for an immediate end to warrantless searches and house arrests.

“This abuse has traumatised families and tarnished reputations, leaving targets feeling like second-class citizens.”

More than 60 people Amnesty interviewed said police used excessive force and harsh measures with little or no explanation.

In January, HRW interviewed 18 people who said they had been subjected to abusive searches or placed under house arrest, as well as human rights activists and lawyers working in affected areas.

Terrified and shunned

In one house raid, HRW said, police broke four of a disabled man’s teeth before they realised he was not the person they were looking for.

In another case, a single mother’s children were transferred to foster care following a raid.

Amnesty cited a case in the country’s southeastern region of Rhone-Alpes in which a woman who was subjected to a search subsequently lost her job.

“I was dismissed just because of my supposed connections. They don’t have anything to complain about my work and I have been working with them for 12 years. I’ve completely lost my bearings,” said the woman, who was named only as D.

In another case recorded by Amnesty, police forced open the door of an elderly man with heart problems, causing him to faint. He was later taken to hospital in an ambulance, while his daughters - one of whom is disabled - were handcuffed and screamed at by officers.

“He was so terrified, he cried a lot when we visited him at the hospital the first days,” said Nadia, one of the 80-year-old man’s daughters.

Many of those interviewed said they were now scared of the police and have been shunned by their neighbours. Some said they were seeking to leave the country out of fear.

Emergency law extension

France’s government has said it will ask parliament to renew the state of emergency for another three months.

“But it has not provided compelling evidence that would justify the need to continue these sweeping measures,” said HRW.

“In a context of growing Islamophobia, the French government should urgently reach out to Muslims and give them assurances that they are not under suspicion because of their religion or ethnicity,” HRW’s Leghtas said.

“Freedom, equality, and fraternity have been badly damaged in the weeks since the November attacks. France should live by those words and restore their meaning.”

Both Amnesty and HRW also took aim at a proposed measure to strip convicted terrorists with dual nationality of citizenship, a controversial bill which France’s Justice Minister, the leftist Christiane Taubira, opposed and recently quit over.

According to Le Monde, some 3.3 million people have dual citizenship in France.

“Measures under a state of emergency must respect strict conditions: they must always be limited to what is strictly required by the exigencies of the emergency situation,” said the report by Amnesty, which has tracked the implementation of emergency law since it began.

“They [the measures] must never be applied in a discriminatory manner.”

O poligamia o cárcel: Eritrea quiere que los hombres se casen con al menos dos mujeres

Poligamia o cárcel. Lo que podría parecer un auténtico chiste es lo que supuestamente está ocurriendo en Eritrea si la carta publicada por los activistas en la que se muestra una orden del Gran Mufti (la autoridad religiosa más importante) es cierta. En ella los hombres eritreos tienen que tomar una importante decisión: o se casan con al menos dos mujeres o tendrán que afrontar cadena perpetua en prisión.

El escrito, originariamente en árabe, asegura que el Gobierno va a pagar por las ceremonias y las casas, pero que es necesario que los hombres tengan más de una esposa debido a la escasez de los primeros tras la guerra con Etiopía entre 1998 y 2000. Se estima que en ella murieron miles de soldados eritreos y teniendo en cuenta que la población total del país apenas supera los 6 millones, según datos del Banco Mundial en 2013, es una cifra bastante significativa.

Un padre eritreo llega con su hija a Italia (AP).

El documento, que no ha podido ser verificado de forma independiente, dice lo siguiente:

“Basada la poligamia en la ley de Dios y teniendo en cuenta las circunstancias en las que vive el país en términos de escasez de hombres, el Departamento de Asuntos Religiosos de Eritrea ha decidido lo siguiente:

Primero, que todo hombre se casará con al menos dos mujeres y el que se niegue a hacerlo será sometido a cadena perpetua y a trabajos forzados. La mujer que trate de evitar que su marido se case con otra mujer será sometida a cadena perpetua”.

La poligamia aún hoy en día es un fenómeno frecuente en África, aunque las mejoras en la alfabetización de la población, el avance de la religión católica y la urbanización de las ciudades han provocado un visible retroceso.

Respecto a Eritrea, es uno de los países más férreos del mundo, con una dura represión gubernamental que ha provocado que miles de personas huyan del país. Ausencia de libertades, torturas o represión por motivos religiosos son algunos de los problemas a los que se enfrenta la sociedad, tal y como revela Human Rights Watch.

Javier Taeño (@javiertaeno)

As nove áreas em que o Brasil é criticado em relatório global de Direitos Humanos

O Brasil foi citado no Relatório Mundial 2016 da organização Human Rights Watch – que compila abusos de Direitos Humanos em 90 países – pela violência policial e pela superlotação do sistema prisional.

A 26º edição do relatório foi lançada nesta quarta-feira em Istambul. O documento afirma essencialmente que vários governos do planeta reduziram a proteção aos direitos humanos em nome da segurança – e por medo da disseminação de ações terroristas fora do Oriente Médio.

Segundo a organização, os governos europeus têm fechado suas fronteiras para o fluxo massivo de refugiados fugindo principalmente do conflito sírio, deixando a responsabilidade de lidar com a questão para países vizinhos à Síria.

Algumas das consequências são a islamofobia e a estigmatização de comunidades de imigrantes.

Segundo Maria Laura Canineu, diretora do escritório brasileiro da HRW, o Brasil adotou uma ação positiva na questão dos refugiados.

“O Brasil merece aplausos pela aceitação e pela abertura aos refugiados, principalmente sírios. Foram concedidos mais de 8 mil vistos humanitários. A questão agora é criar oportunidades de trabalho para eles”, disse.

O Brasil porém recebeu destaque negativo devido ao alto número de pessoas assassinadas pela polícia – 3 mil em 2014 – e pela superlotação das cadeias, que supera sua capacidade de vagas em 61%. Segundo ela, no campo de abusos de violência na área de segurança pública, o Brasil enfrenta um dos piores cenários na comparação com os outros países.

“A situação (de violência policial) não melhora, só piora. Acreditamos que isso acontece devido a um fracasso generalizado das instituições em combater a impunidade”, disse Canineu.

Segundo ela, a situação no ano passado foi agravada por esforços de grupos políticos em aprovar legislações que tentam “regredir” as conquistas na área de direitos humanos.

O documento da HRW critica o histórico do ano no país em 9 áreas sensíveis do ponto de vista dos direitos humanos. 

Leia os principais pontos.

The recent arrest of a human rights defenders like Nguyen Van Dai shows that reform remains elusive

Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch Asia Director

Arrests of activists have continued. An illustrative recent case is the December 2015 arrest of prominent rights campaigner Nguyen Van Dai, who was charged him with “conducting propaganda against the state.” Nguyen Van Dai’s fellow activist Le Thu Ha was also arrested the same day on an unknown charge. Nguyen Van Dai, 46, is a human rights lawyer who supported the formation of many rights groups including the Vietnam Independent Union and the pro-democracy 8406 Bloc in 2006. He was arrested in March 2007 and sentenced to five years imprisonment. In November 2007, the appeal court reduced his sentence to four years. Nguyen Van Dai received the prestigious Hellman Hammett award in 2007. Despite intrusive police surveillance and harassment, in April 2013, Nguyen Van Dai helped found Brotherhood for Democracy “to defend human rights recognized by the Vietnam Constitution and international Conventions” and “to promote the building of a democratic, progressive, civilized and just society for Vietnam.” In May 2014, thugs assaulted and injured him when he was chatting with fellow activists in a café.

Ten days prior to his recent arrest, Nguyen Van Dai and three other fellow activists were attacked and beaten in Nghe An province by a group of about 20 men in civilian clothes wearing surgical masks to hide their identity. Earlier that day, Nguyen Van Dai had given a talk about the constitution and human rights. On the morning of the arrest, he was supposed to meet with representatives from the EU delegation who were in Vietnam to hold a bilateral human rights dialogue with Vietnam.

“The recent arrest of a human rights defenders like Nguyen Van Dai shows that reform remains elusive,” said Adams. “The party congress is a chance to show the Vietnamese people that the country is ready to modernize instead of remaining mired in one-party rule which suffocates free expression and aspirations for democracy. It is time for Vietnam to bring its laws into compliance with its international human rights commitments, not just with the interests of the Communist Party.”

HRW - Maroc : Des milliers de personnes sont exposées à des souffrances inutiles en fin de vie

HRW – Maroc : Des milliers de personnes sont exposées à des souffrances inutiles en fin de vie

Le rapport de 89 pages, intitulé « Douleurs déchirantes : Défis et progrès dans les efforts pour garantir le droit aux soins palliatifs au Maroc » estime que chaque année, plus de 62 000 Marocains ont besoin de soins palliatifs, qui visent à améliorer la qualité de vie de personnes atteintes de maladies limitant leur espérance de vie

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#NEW Video Channel: Human Rights Watch - Watch Videos Without Leaving Our Page #HRW

#NEW Video Channel: Human Rights Watch – Watch Videos Without Leaving Our Page #HRW

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World Report 2016: Ken Roth summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. The politics of fear led governments around the globe to roll back human rights during 2015.  Wikipedia Bio: Roth has stated that Jimmy Carter’s introduction of human rights as an element of US foreign policy in the…

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Politics of Fear Devouring Human Rights Worldwide

The politics of fear has consumed the world. Fear of terrorism and fear of refugees, which have grown alongside ongoing global conflicts, fueled many of the biggest human rights developments—and failings—worldwide in 2015, including in the U.S. and Europe, according to a new report released Wed…
Dispatches: Protecting Pakistan’s Girls Isn’t ‘Blasphemy’
Lifting minimum age for marriage called anti-Islamic

Published: January 19, 2016 at 12:19 am

Islamabad, Pakistan (HRW) – A female member of Pakistan’s parliament recently introduced legislation to set the minimum age for marriage at 18 for women as well as men. Under current Pakistani law, it’s 16 for women. On January 14, her proposal was withdrawn by a parliamentary committee after the Council of Islamic Ideology, a body established in 1962 to advise the parliament on Islamic law, denounced the change as “anti-Islamic” and “blasphemous.”

This decision keeps Pakistan on the wrong side of human rights protections in the Islamic world. Change is happening on child marriage, including in countries that, like Pakistan, are committed to upholding Islamic values. In 2009, Afghanistan, an Islamic republic, set tough new penalties for child marriage. The prime minister of Bangladesh, another majority Muslim country, has pledged to end all child marriage by 2041.

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Indonesia hands down prison sentences to IS supporters

Jakarta, Feb 9 (IANS) An Indonesian court on Tuesday began handing down sentences for seven men accused of supporting the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

Tuah Febriansyah, who was presented before the court Tuesday afternoon, was found guilty of sharing propaganda videos from the extremist group online and sentenced to five years in prison, EFE news reported.

Another defendant, Aprimul Hendry, was handed a three-year jail term for facilitating the travel of Indonesians to Syria, while Ahmad Junaedi also received three-year imprisonment for conspiracy and joining military training camps in Syria.

Helmi Muhammad Almudi was sentenced to three-and-half years in jail for training at a military camp in Syria for two weeks.

The verdicts for other accused persons were due to be handed down later in the day, officials said.

The hearings coincided with the release of a Human Rights Watch (HRW) statement calling on the Indonesian parliament to reject proposed amendments to its counter-terrorism law that are “unnecessarily broad and vague and would unjustifiably restrict freedom of expression”.

Indonesia’s parliament may consider the proposed amendments as early as this month. These include stripping Indonesian citizens, suspected of travelling abroad to fight for the IS, of their citizenship as well as criminalising any insult to the country.

HRW said some of the proposed amendments “clearly contradict Indonesia’s international human rights obligations and would lead to violations of fundamental rights.”

The proposed changes come in response to a January 14 bomb attack in downtown Jakarta, which left dead seven people, including five attackers. The attack was claimed by the IS.

Grupo HRW: Rusia y Siria lanzan bombas de racimo a diario

BEIRUT, Líbano (AP) — Fuerzas del gobierno sirio y soldados del ejército uso lanzaron bombas de racimo en ataques perpetrados en las últimas semanas, según denunció un grupo internacional derechos humanos.

El informe de Human Rights Watch (HRW), publicado el lunes, dijo que este tipo de munición, prohibida internacionalmente, se empleó en al menos 14 ataques en cinco provincias del país desde el 26 de enero.

En estas acciones murieron al menos 37 civiles, entre los que había seis mujeres y nueve niños. Además hubo decenas de heridos.

El Grupo de Apoyo para Siria, que se reunirá el jueves en Alemania, “debería convertir en prioridad la protección de civiles y dejar de patrocinar ataques indiscriminados”, explicó el grupo.

El ISSG está formado por 17 potencias regionales y globales que buscan terminar con el conflicto en Siria, que se cobró más de 250.000 vidas desde marzo de 2011.

HRW Annual Report: 'Fear a Key Factor in 2015'

Human Rights Watch launched its annual World Report on January 27 in Istanbul, in which it summarized the main human rights issues faced in the past 12 months. HRW says that fear was the main driving force behind many of the human rights challenges in 2015. Human rights in Europe in particular were scaled back, it says, because of the fear of terror attacks and of the influx of refugees.

HRW also says autocratic regimes like China, Ethiopia, India, and Russia introduced oppressive communication laws because of a fear of social media and its ability to energize political movements. HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth says that the preservation of human rights and push for peace in Syria in particular must be prioritized.

Underneath the video the text reads:

“World Report 2016 summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. It reflects investigative work that Human Rights Watch staff undertook in 2015, usually in close partnership with human rights activists in the country in focus.

“In his keynote essay, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth details how fear drove global developments of 2015. Fears of terror attacks and potential impact of refugee influx led to a scaling back of rights in Europe and other regions. In China, Ethiopia, India, and Russia, fears that social media will energize social and political movements helped to drive a disturbing global trend: the adoption of repressive new laws and policies targeting civil society.” Credit: YouTube/HumanRightsWatch

HRW tilda de "ficción" versión oficial de caso Iguala tras peritaje en Cocula

México, 9 feb (EFE).- El director para las Américas de Human Rights Watch, José Miguel Vivanco, calificó hoy de “ficción” la versión oficial del Gobierno mexicano que establece que los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa fueron incinerados en el basurero de Cocula.
El informe del Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense (EAAF) divulgado hoy “refuerza la conclusión de que la llamada ‘verdad histórica’ sobre lo que ocurrió con los 43 estudiantes desaparecidos fue una ficción”, señaló en un boletín.
Este martes el EAAF reveló que en el peritaje que realizó entre octubre y noviembre de 2014 en el basurero de Cocula no se hallaron evidencias científicas ni biológicas que prueben que los 43 fueron incinerados en ese lugar.
“Lo que México necesita no es solo que se esclarezca el paradero de los estudiantes desaparecidos (en septiembre de 2014), sino también que se investigue la actuación de las autoridades que presentaron la versión oficial infundada”, consideró Vivanco.
Ello incluye investigar el proceder “del propio exprocurador general de la República (PGR, fiscalía), Jesús Murillo, para que responda por su papel en perpetuar la impunidad”, añadió.
Según la “verdad histórica” proclamada por Murillo en enero de 2015, los 43 estudiantes fueron detenidos por policías corruptos en Iguala, en el sureño estado de Guerrero, y entregados a miembros del cártel Guerreros Unidos, quienes los asesinaron e incineraron en el basurero del municipio aledaño de Cocula.
Un mes después Murillo dejó la fiscalía tras recibir duras críticas por la investigación del caso, entre ellas de los familiares de los jóvenes, quienes nunca creyeron en su versión.
El EAAF dijo hoy que hay indicios de varios incendios registrados en la zona principal del basurero en años recientes, pero la presencia de plantas prueba que estos no acontecieron en los 30 días anteriores a su análisis sobre el terreno.
El informe también destacó que a partir de casquillos y proyectiles localizados en el basurero se identificaron hasta 39 armas, en su mayoría largas, cuando los supuestos responsables de la desaparición declararon que “solo utilizaron armas cortas”.
Asimismo, en el peritaje se detectaron restos óseos de al menos 19 individuos, si bien estos no se pueden relacionar con los 43 jóvenes y ni se pueden analizar genéticamente por su estado de fragmentación y alteración térmica. EFE