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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 16.02.2024

Accused of atrocities, fired from army, elected president: Prabowo’s unlikely rise. Why don’t they seem to care?

From being accused of grave human rights violations and booted from the military to winning Indonesia’s presidency, Prabowo Subianto has come far and risen high. Reliable quick poll results announced on Wednesday showed that the former army special forces commander beat Ganjar Pranowo and Anies Baswedan, receiving around 58% of the vote. The win for Prabowo, who used to be seen as a symbol of dictator Suharto’s long rule, is a turning point for Indonesia.

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Syrian returnees face 'gross human rights abuses': UN

Syrians returning to their war-torn country often suffer severe rights abuses, including torture and sexual violence, the UN said Tuesday, warning that women were particularly vulnerable. A report published by the United Nations rights office, based on dozens of interviews with returnees and former returnees, depicts "an extremely bleak picture" they face once back in Syria.

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N. Korea threatens US envoy for NK human rights with insulting remarks

North Korea on Thursday released a barrage of harsh-worded insults against the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights who is visiting Asia on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of a landmark U.N. report on the North's rights abuses. The U.S. State Department earlier said Ambassador Julie Turner would visit South Korea and Japan from Monday through Feb. 22. Her visit came on the 10th anniversary of the release of the 2014 U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on the North's human rights violations.

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Pressure mounts on Volkswagen to exit China's Xinjiang region

German automaker Volkswagen said Wednesday it was discussing the future of its activities in China's troubled Xinjiang province, following fresh allegations of human rights abuses. The Handelsblatt financial daily reported that forced labor may have been used to build a test track in Turpan, Xinjiang in 2019. VW said it had seen no evidence of human rights violations in connection with the project but that it would investigate any new information that came to the light.

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Human Rights Center hosts UN high commissioner, launches digital open source investigations

The UC Berkeley Human Rights Center hosted United Nations, or UN, High Commissioner Volker Türk to officially launch the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations in all the languages of the UN. This groundbreaking set of international guidelines aims to shape the use of social media and online content in investigations of war crimes and human rights violations. In his lecture, Türk pulled focus to the regional significance of the Berkeley Protocol, underscoring the importance of leveraging digital advancements as a tool to access rich new sources of information.

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EU postpones decision on proposed supply chain due diligence law

European Union countries have today postponed a decision on a proposed law which would require large companies to check if their supply chains use forced labour or cause environmental damage after Germany indicated it would abstain. A "qualified majority" of 15 EU countries representing 65% of the EU population is needed for the corporate sustainability due diligence directive (CSDDD) to proceed to a final vote in the European Parliament, where politicians are expected to support it.

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Haiti: Human rights deteriorating as gang violence spreads

At least 806 people not involved in violent gang wars were killed, injured, or kidnapped in January – the bloodiest month in more than two years. Additionally, some 300 gang members were killed or injured, bringing the overall total of people affected to 1,108 – more than three times the number recorded in January 2023 – and each day brings more casualties. “Now, more than ever, Haitian lives depend on the deployment, with no further delay, of the Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti (MSS), to support the National Police and bring security to the Haitian population, under conditions that comply with international human rights norms and standards”.

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