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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 26.04.2024

Human Rights abuses continue unabated in South Sudan’- U.S. Department of State

The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2023 by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor released on Monday says there were no changes in the human rights situation in South Sudan during the year and gross abuses continue unabated. According to the report, significant human rights issues included credible reports of arbitrary or unlawful killings, including extrajudicial killings; enforced disappearance; torture, or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by security forces, opposition forces, and armed militias affiliated with the government and the opposition, and ethnically based groups.

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Burkina Faso: Army Massacres 223 Villagers

The Burkina Faso military summarily executed at least 223 civilians, including at least 56 children, in two villages on February 25, 2024, Human Rights Watch said today. These mass killings, among the worst army abuse in Burkina Faso since 2015, appear to be part of a widespread military campaign against civilians accused of collaborating with Islamist armed groups, and may amount to crimes against humanity.

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Killing of human rights defender Narciso Beleño

Narciso Beleño, president of the Agromining Federation of the South of Bolívar and a member of the National Agrarian Coordinator (CNA), was a campesino leader and human rights defender. For more than three decades, he worked to defend the territory and campesino community of the south of Bolívar from the presence of paramilitary groups that isolated and forcibly displaced communities in the region. He was one of the leading advocates of agrarian reform in the country, promoting land restitution and the sustainable use of natural resources in the territory. In all of these roles, he tirelessly worked toward peacebuilding from and for the territories.

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What happens when activists are branded ‘terrorists’ in the Philippines?

Inside an unlit bathroom, Windel Bolinget gently tips a pail of water over his head, careful to minimise the sound of splashing on the tiled floor. A well-known activist leader in the mountainous Cordillera region in the northern Philippines, the 49-year-old spends most of his days between several undisclosed refuges. Bolinget tries to stay invisible indoors, not leaving unless absolutely necessary and avoiding making any noise that might draw attention. At night, whether Bolinget is there or not, his wife and four children wake up whenever any of their six dogs bark.

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Honduras referred to UN human rights committee over total abortion ban

Honduras is being taken to a global human rights body for the first time over its total abortion ban, which campaigners say violates women’s fundamental rights and the country’s international commitments. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the Honduras-based Centro de Derechos de la Mujer (Center for Women’s Rights, CDM) filed a petition with the UN human rights committee this month on behalf of a woman known as Fausia, who underwent a forced pregnancy after being raped and denied an abortion under Honduras’ draconian laws.

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Ukrainian civil rights defender receives human rights award for documenting war crimes against children

27-year-old Mariia Sulialina, head of the Ukrainian human rights organisation Almenda, was awarded the Civil Rights Defender Award 2024 in Sweden for recording evidence of war crimes against Ukrainian children. This annual award is given for outstanding work in the field of defenсe of civil and political rights. The award recognises outstanding human rights defenders who risk their safety to fight for people's civil and political rights. The award has been given to human rights defenders from Venezuela, Türkiye and Burma since 2013.

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ECHR rules detention of UN judge breached human rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Tuesday that a UN judge was unlawfully detained in Türkiye in 2016. The Turkish court failed to recognise Aydin Sefa Akay’s diplomatic immunity when they arrested and detained him on terrorism charges following a failed coup d’État in 2016. Akay made his application to the ECHR in December 2016, arguing that his pre trial detention, searches of his home and person breached his human rights and “blatantly disregard[ed]” his diplomatic immunity. The court ruled in Akay’s favour and held Akay should have been “shielded from any form of arrest or detention” due to his diplomatic immunity.

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