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Human Rights Watch
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Tuesday, December 28, 1999

Current Events
Focus on Human Rights

China: 10 Years After Tiananmen (December 22)

Chechnya: Renewed Catastrophe (December 21)

Crisis in Kosovo  (December 16)

Violence in East Timor  (December 16)

Cambodia: Focus on Human Rights (December 10)

Turkey: Focus on Human Rights  (December 10)

Indonesia: Transition and Regional Conflict (December 7)

Civil War in Sierra Leone (December 6) 

Central Asia Crossroads  (Decembe 3)

The Pinochet Decision  (October 21)

Violence in East Timor  (October 20)


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Latest Reports from Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch Deplores World Bank Decision on Russia Funds
(New York, December 28, 1999)The World Bank today set aside concerns about financing Russia's war in Chechnya and disbursed $100 million to the Russian government. "We are seriously disappointed by the Bank's decision,"declared Holly Cartner, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Europe & Central Asia Division.
United Nations Must Censure China For Rights Violations
(New York, December 27, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today condemned the harsh sentences handed down to four leaders of the Falun Gong movement on December 27, 1999, and called for the release of more than one hundred others who have been formally charged but not yet put on trial for their involvement with Falun Gong.
Letter to Putin Protests Forcible Repatriation of Chechens
(New York, December 23, 1999) In a letter sent yesterday to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu, Human Rights Watch protested the forced deportation of displaced Chechens to Russian-controlled areas of the Chechen Republic. The letter stated that federal authorities are denying them shelter and food as a means of pressuring displaced persons to return to Chechnya.
Nigerian Army Accused of Excessive Force, Rape in Niger Delta
(New York, December 22, 1999)—Human Rights Watch today called on the Nigerian government to initiate criminal proceedings against soldiers responsible for abuses in two recent incidents in the oil producing Niger Delta region. In a background paper based on recent research in Nigeria, Human Rights Watch condemned the razing of the village of Odi, Bayelsa State, by the Nigerian army, and confirmed allegations that soldiers committed rape in the nearby community of Choba, Rivers State.
EU-China Summit in Beijing Must Push on Human Rights
(Brussels, December 21) -- As the European Union and China meet for a summit in Beijing on December 21, Human Rights Watch called on the Prime Minister of Finland, Mr. Paavo Lipponen, and the President of the European Commission, Mr. Romano Prodi, to ensure that the development of economic relations is matched by consistent pressure on China to comply with its international human rights obligations.
U.N. Should Investigate Violations in Chechnya
(New York, December 21, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today called on the United Nations Security Council to appoint an independent commission of inquiry to investigate violations of the laws of war by Russian forces operating in Chechnya.
After Tudjman, Croatia Faces Democracy Deficit
(New York, December 21, 1999) -- In the run-up to important parliamentary elections, civil and political rights are seriously restricted in Croatia, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The report describes this political repression as the "human rights legacy" of the late President Franjo Tudjman, who died earlier this month. Parliamentary elections in Croatia are scheduled for January 3, 2000.
Chechen Refugees Pressured to Return
(Nazran, December 17, 1999) Camp authorities in Ingushetia are pressuring some Chechen displaced persons to return to their homes by depriving them of food rations, Human Rights Watch said today.
Belgrade Tries Ethnic Albanian Students For "Terrorism"
(New York, December 16, 1999)—Allegations of torture and a lack of evidence have marred a political trial against five ethnic Albanian students that resumed today in Belgrade, Human Rights Watch said.
No Financing for Russia's War in Chechnya
(New York, December 15, 1999)—The World Bank will be implicated in the human suffering in Chechnya if it releases the next installment of a major loan to Russia, Human Rights Watch said today.
Inquiry Urged In Israeli Killings
(New York, December 15, 1999) Human Rights Watch today called for an independent inquiry into Monday night's killings of two Palestinian men, `Iyad al-Battat and Nadir al-Massalmah.
East Timorese Still Trapped in Indonesia
(New York, December 15) -- In a new report released today, Human Rights Watch called for urgent efforts to separate militia members from civilian East Timorese in refugee camps in Indonesia. The refugees should also be allowed to choose freely whether to return from the camps in West Timor, the report said. An estimated 75,000 to 110,000 refugees are still in the camps, three months after most were forcibly expelled following a ballot on self-determination in East Timor.
Bribery and Abuse along New Escape Route out of Chechnya
(Nazran, December 14, 1999) -- Russian soldiers along the newly-opened escape route out of Grozny are forcing displaced persons from Chechnya to pay bribes in order to cross checkpoints, Human Rights Watch said today. Chechen displaced persons, as well as returnees seeking to go back to their homes, have been subjected to extortion, beatings, and insults along the two main exit routes from Chechnya--the northern route toward Russia, opened by Russian forces on December 11, as well as the western route toward Ingushetia.
Russian Troops Rampage in Chechnya Village
(New York, December 11, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today said that Russian troops went on a devastating rampage after capturing the village of Alkhan-Yurt, ten miles south-west of Grozny. According to the testimonies of three witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch, Russian troops looted and destroyed many of the remaining houses in the village, and summarily executed numerous civilians who resisted the looting.
Human Rights Watch Condemns Rearrest Campaign in Cambodia
(New York, December 10, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today condemned the widespread rearrests of people previously released from prison by the courts in Cambodia. The rearrests were ordered by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 3, 1999.
Rights Groups Urge Independent Inquiry into Lawyer's Murder
(New York, December 10, 1999)—Today, on International Human Rights Day, Human Rights Watch, along with other rights organizations, urged the U.K. government to establish an independent and impartial inquiry into all the circumstances surrounding the murder of human rights defender Rosemary Nelson.
E.U. Membership Process Could Bring Human Rights Reform in Turkey
(New York, December 10, 1999)--Human Rights Watch said today that the European Union's decision to begin membership discussions with Turkey was a significant opportunity for genuine human rights reform.
Human Rights Trump Sovereignty In 1999 In French  In Arabic
(Washington D.C., December 9, 1999) -- National sovereignty is now a less important obstacle to curbing serious human rights crimes than it has been in previous years, Human Rights Watch said today in its annual global survey.
Michigan Legislature Denies Inmates Have Rights
(New York, December 8, 1999) -- In an unprecedented move, the Michigan Legislature today passed a law declaring people detained in its jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers are not "persons" entitled to basic human rights protection.
Russian Ultimatum to Grozny Condemned
(New York, December 8, 1999) - Human Rights Watch today strongly condemned Russia's ultimatum to the inhabitants of Grozny, in which civilians have been told to abandon the city or be "exterminated" as "bandits."
South Africa Urged to Prosecute Ethiopian Dictator
(New York, December 6 , 1999)—Human Rights Watch today renewed its call on the government of South Africa to bring deposed Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam to justice for massive killings and torture during his rule. Mengistu, who has lived in Zimbabwe since 1991, arrived in South Africa in November for medical treatment.
Civilians in Grozny Facing Death, Possible Starvation
(New York, December 6, 1999) -- Civilians trapped in Grozny face death and possible starvation in the coming days, as Russian forces step up their attack on the city, Human Rights Watch said today. Following weeks of intensive bombing of the Chechen capital, which has resulted in an unknown number of civilian casualties, Russian forces have in recent days effected a full blockade of the city.
Civilians in Chechnya's South Trapped
(December 6, 1999) -- While war rages in Chechnya's lowlands, up to 20,000 civilians in mountainous Shatoi district are trapped under constant bombardment from Russia forces. There are no safe exit routes for the civilians to flee.
Sierra Leone Rebel Abuses Spreading
(New York, December 6, l999)_-— Rebel attacks against civilians are spreading to the northern parts of Sierra Leone, Human Rights Watch warned today. The group said that government troops and ECOMOG, the West African peacekeeping forces, have so far been unwilling to intervene to protect civilians.
Independent Panel Should Review Police at WTO
(New York, December 2, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today called on Seattle Mayor Paul Schell and Washington State Governor Gary Locke to appoint an impartial, independent panel to investigate the response of law enforcement to this week's protests at the World Trade Organization (WTO) conference. The panel should investigate allegations that the police used excessive force and city officials placed unwarranted restrictions on the rights to free expression and assembly of peaceful protesters in violation of constitutional and international standards. If the panel finds wrongdoing, those responsible for such abuses should be held accountable.
Displaced People in Ingushetia Face Life-Threatening Conditions
(New York, December 2, 1999) -- As freezing temperatures descend on the northern Caucasus, Chechen civilians who have fled to Ingushetia now face life-threatening situations, Human Rights Watch said today. During the month of November, at least two young children died in the Sleptsovsk-North railway-car camp because they lacked access to basic medical treatment.
Palestinian Arrests Condemned
(New York, December 2, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today condemned the Palestinian Authority for its illegal detention of eight public figures who criticized President Yasir Arafat's policies.  The international human rights organization also condemned pressures to lift the immunity of  Palestinian Legislative Council members who signed a petition criticizing his policies. 
Iran: Conviction of Hojatoleslam Nouri
Human Rights Watch is writing this open letter to express its condemnation of the five-year prison term handed down to Hojatoleslam Abdollah Nouri, publisher of Khordad newspaper, by a Special Court for the Clergy. 
Kuwaiti Parliament Criticized on Women's Vote
(Washington, DC, December 1, 1999)--Human Rights Watch today criticized the failure of the Kuwaiti parliament to pass a bill that would have granted women the right to vote and be elected to political office.
Chechen Rebels Shoot Unarmed Civilians in Gekhi
(New York, November 30, 1999) -- Unarmed Chechen civilians attempting to maintain a neutral zone in the town of Gekhi came under direct, point-blank fire from Chechen rebel fighters on Sunday, November 28, Human Rights Watch said today. At least five civilians were wounded in the attack.
Rights Group Calls for Safe Corridor for Civilians in Goyty
(New York, November 25, 1999) Thousands of civilians in Goyty need a safe exit from Chechnya, Human Rights Watch said today. The town, about fifteen kilometers south of Grozny, is swollen with displaced persons from elsewhere in Chechnya and may soon come under Russian attack. Russian forces shelled Goyty on November 21, reportedly killing at least seven civilians and raising fears that it could again be subjected to concerted aerial or artillery attacks.
Sharif Trial in Pakistan:Reform of Anti-Terrorism Law Urged
(New York, Nov. 25)— As a Pakistani anti-terrorism court prepared to hear the case against deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Human Rights Watch urged that the legislation creating the courts be amended and that the trial be conducted in full accordance with international fair trial standards.
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