Prominent Belarusian opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova tears up passport to thwart deportation; Australian China correspondents rushed home; two Myanmar soldiers confess atrocities against Rohingya; EU governments’ bickering is failing people who seek safety; Turkey should release human rights defender; still no justice for murder of leading Indonesian human rights lawyer; and a new Human Rights Watch fellowship for emerging disability rights activists.

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Prominent Belarusian opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova, who was abducted on Monday by unidentified masked men in the capital, Minsk, was detained at the border with Ukraine after tearing up her passport to thwart her expulsion, Ukrainian media reports. Her whereabouts are unknown. For weeks, hundreds of thousands of  demonstrators have taken to the streets in cities across Belarus demanding democratic change.


Two Australian China correspondents have been rushed back home amid fears for their safety after having been questioned by China’s ministry of state security. The incident occurred amid growing tensions between China and Australia following the arrest of  Chinese-born Australian news anchor Cheng Lei last month and raises concerns about the safety of other reporters in China.

Two Myanmar soldiers have confessed to have been involved in massacres, rape, and other crimes against Rohingya.

The failure of EU countries to find a way to share responsibility for people seeking safety and opportunity in Europe is at the root of policies that allow people to drown at sea or to be returned to the nightmarish detention centers in Libya where they risk torture, rape and other abuses, writes Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director Ken Roth in Euronews.

Turkish authorities should immediately release human rights defender Osman Kavala.

The killing of Indonesia’s leading human rights lawyer  Munir Said Thalib by arsenic poisoning sixteen years ago prompted global news headlines and outrage. An investigation into the killing showed a sophisticated plot that indicated the involvement of a larger, well-organized group. None of the instigators were ever prosecuted, however.

And lastly, a Nigerian human rights advocate, Hauwa Ojeifo, has been selected as the recipient of Human Rights Watch’s inaugural Marca Bristo Fellowship. The fellowship honors emerging activists for their courageous leadership in disability rights.

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