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Fresh Action Needed Six Years After Gui Minhai’s Kidnapping

This week marks the sixth anniversary since Chinese authorities abducted Gui Minhai, a Swedish book publisher, from his home in Thailand in 2015. After enduring a forced confession on state media and a sham trial, Gui was briefly freed in 2017, before…
Protesters stick photos of Gui Minhai, left, and other missing booksellers outside the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong on January 3, 2016.
News

Authorities Suppress Dissenting Voices Amid Covid-19 Crisis

Thai people are once again taking to the streets despite a new Covid-19 outbreak throwing the country into lockdown. This time, confrontations between protesters and the police are growing increasingly violent. Gone are the familiar images of the…
A crowd of protestors amongst teargas
News

Governments Should Bolster Respect for Landmark Arms Ban

Governments should reinforce the global ban on chemical weapons by suspending the rights and privileges of Syria, a party to the treaty that has violated it with impunity for years.  This week, states that are parties to the Chemical Weapons…
A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017.
News

All Countries Should Urgently Repatriate Citizens

On the surface, it seems like a happy ending: a 4-year-old Canadian girl is flown home to Canada on Sunday after living the first half of her life under the Islamic State (ISIS) and the second in a squalid detention camp in northeast Syria. But her…
A 4-year-old Canadian girl after her rescue from a detention camp
News

Limited Community Outreach Blunts Impact of Accountability Efforts

A German court in the town of Koblenz this week will render its first verdict in a historic trial of two former Syrian officials for atrocities during Syria’s decade-long brutal armed conflict. The two accused in the case are an alleged former…
Photos of Syrians who have been detained or disappeared set up by Families for Freedom, as part of a protest in front of the court in Koblenz, July 2, 2020. 
News

Follows Netherlands Government’s Decision to Halt Adoptions

A recent inquiry in the Netherlands into intercountry adoptions uncovered such damning abuses that the government froze all overseas adoptions. Following the Dutch investigation, the Swedish Family Law and Parental Support Authority, the agency…
Vy över Sveriges parlament (riksdag) i Stockholm den 9 april 2006.
News

Floundering Government Finds New Ways to Confiscate Wealth of Syrian Citizens

On February 2, Syria’s Ministry for Media and Information posted a video in which Colonel Elias al-Bitar, head of the army’s Exemptions and Reserves Branch, informed the country of an amendment that allows authorities to seize the property of “…
A Syrian flag flies in the city of Maarat al-Numan, near Idlib, Syria, February 12, 2020.
News

Draft Law Falls Short of 2020 Constitutional Court ruling

Thailand's parliament is set to pass a law to permit abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The law represents some progress in a country that currently threatens to imprison people who have abortions at any stage of their pregnancy but falls…
Protesters led by the Woman Help Woman group, the Free Feminist and other women's rights groups march to Parliament to protest Thailand's abortion law, Bangkok, December 23, 2020 
News

A Positive Step, but Thousands Still Held Incommunicado

On November 4, local news outlets reported that the Syrian government had released over 60 individuals from detention facilities in southern Syria and Damascus. While not the first such release, the news is a positive development in an area where…
A checkpoint in the Syrian city of Daraa.
News

Ottawa Should Repatriate 46 Others Held in Northeast Syria

After months of inaction, the Canadian government announced Monday that it had repatriated a 5-year-old orphan, Amira, who was trapped in a camp for Islamic State (ISIS) suspects and family members in northeast Syria. Amira’s overdue rescue should not…
A girl stands in front of a chainlink fence
News

New Government Policy Prevents Syrians from Returning Home

The Syrian government insists that each Syrian national entering Syria must exchange US$100 for Syrian pounds at the official rate. The policy was put in place in July, ostensibly to help the government replete its foreign currency reserves amid an…
Members of the Lebanese General Security Directorate oversee Syrian refugees boarding a bus to take them home to Syria, in the northern Beirut suburb of Burj Hammoud, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. © 2019 AP Photo/Bilal Hussein
News

Encouraging Signs They Are Set to Take More Leading Role

The Nordic countries proudly express steadfast commitment to human rights as a priority in foreign policy, but have been disappointingly inconsistent in practice. Sweden launched a feminist foreign policy in 2014 – a laudable approach that failed…
An Icelandic flag hangs outside a shop in Reykjavik, October 27, 2016.
News

Education Not Prioritized at Annual Donor Conference

June 30 was possibly the most important day of 2020 for Syrian refugee children. At the annual pledging conference for the “Future of Syria and the Region,” dozens of governments and multilateral donors pledged US$7.7 billion in humanitarian aid for…
Hanan, a Syrian refugee in Jordan, created learning ‘blocks’ for her children from discarded cigarette cases.
News

Ensure EU Donor Relief Reaches Vulnerable Communities

Today, the ministerial phase of the fourth Brussels Conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region” begins, presenting an important opportunity for donor countries to support humanitarian efforts in Syria and neighboring countries. But…
Medical workers oversee the disinfection of streets to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Qamishli, Syria, March 24, 2020.
News

Government Should Bring Home All Children and their Mothers from ISIS Camps

The French government this week announced it had returned 10 children from camps for families of Islamic State (ISIS) suspects in Northeast Syria. The children were reportedly handed over to officials from the French foreign ministry who traveled to…
A girl stands in front of a chainlink fence
News

Russia Should Support Medical Aid via Syria-Iraq Border to Prevent Covid-19 Spread

The UN Security Council – including Russia – needs to act quickly to reauthorize medical aid deliveries from Iraq to Syria’s northeast to prevent further spread of Covid-19 that could devastate the region.    The council needs to move…
A medic checks the temperature of a man inside a health isolation centre which has been established on the Syrian-Turkish borders in order to place people coming from Turkey to Idlib as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19.
News

No Protection for Speaking Out Against Military Corruption

Thailand’s army chief Gen. Apirat Kongsompong has promised repeatedly to crack down on abuse, corruption, and exploitation in the military’s ranks. To make good on that pledge, a 24-hour hotline with the slogan “Everything is secret, everything…
Thailand Army Chief General Apirat Kongsompong speaks during a press briefing in Bangkok, Thailand, February 11, 2020.
News

Emergency Powers Used to Silence Critics

Thai authorities are using Covid-19 regulations as a convenient rationale to silence peaceful critics of the government. On the evening of May 13, Bangkok police arrested prominent pro-democracy activist Anurak Jeantawanich for violating the…
Supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship — known as the “Red Shirts” — held a remembrance service in Bangkok on May 13, 2020 to demand justice for those killed and wounded by the military during the crackdown on the 2010 political protests.
News

Policymakers, Officers Escape Accountability for Nearly 100 Deaths

On the evening of May 10, activists in Bangkok used laser projectors to display the message “Searching for the Truth” onto walls of many downtown buildings. These symbolic actions popped up in locations where, 10 years ago, I witnessed one of Thailand…
Thai activists use laser projectors to display the message “Searching for the Truth,” in remembrance of the 2010 military crackdown on the “Red Shirts” protest, May 2020.
News

Covid-19 Infections Spread Like Wildfire in Squalid Lockup

At least 65 detainees in Thailand’s Songkhla immigration detention center – including 18 ethnic Rohingya women and children – tested positive for Covid-19, raising serious concerns about the health and safety of refugees and migrants held in…
A photo showing Bangkok Immigration Detention Center taken in January, 2020. At least 65 detainees in Thailand’s Songkhla immigration detention center have tested positive for Covid-19.