Landmines placed decades ago by the Turkish military have killed at least three civilians trying to flee Syria and injured at least nine others. The landmines, in a restricted zone along the border with Syria, threaten thousands more Syrian refugees.
The Iranian government’s December 13, 2014 announcement that it will grant a six-month visa extension to 450,000 Afghans is a helpful move to prevent their imminent deportation. However, the visa-extension plan is no substitute for an asylum system that will allow newly arriving Afghans to lodge refugee claims.
The kafala visa-sponsorship system that is widely, though not uniformly, used across the Gulf bars most migrant domestic workers from moving to a new job before their original contract ends without their employer’s consent, trapping many in abusive situations. The kafala combined with inadequate labor law protections, create conditions ripe for exploitation and abuse of domestic workers.
Egyptian authorities have referred hundreds of civilians to military courts based on an October 2014 decree by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. At least 820 civilians have been referred to military prosecutors in the past six weeks based on the unprecedented extension of military court authority, according to news reports compiled by Human Rights Watch.
The United Nations agency charged with combating illicit drug trafficking should withdraw its support for counter-narcotics police operations in Iran until the death penalty for drug offenses is abolished, six rights groups said in a letter published today. The groups made the plea after Iran’s judiciary hanged 18 alleged drug traffickers within 24 hours on December 3, 2014, bringing the number of drug offenders executed in the country during 2014 to at least 318.
Any approach to Syria should be judged by its ability to stop the daily abuses against civilians. Advocates of local ceasefires must strive for a balance between immediate relief from the daily suffering and commitment to basic rights and the aspirations of Syrians.
Ongoing impunity for serious crimes committed during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has undermined the trust needed to bring about a durable, just peace. But a move by Palestine or Israel to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) could ensure access to international justice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity on both sides.
Chairman Wolf, Chairman McGovern, members of the Commission: thank you for inviting me to testify today. This is an important hearing. I would like to share some insights from my recent trip to Iraq where the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, is one, but not the only entity, perpetrating gross and widespread violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.