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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 17.05.2024

Sudan: UN Human Rights Chief horrified by escalating violence in El-Fasher

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk is horrified by the escalating violence in El-Fasher, in Darfur, where hostilities between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces backed by their respective allied armed groups are having a deeply devastating toll on civilians. At least 58 civilians are reported to have been killed and 213 others injured in El-Fasher since fighting dramatically escalated in the North Darfur town last week.

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UK ‘taking back control’ of its borders risks rolling back human rights protections

The High Court in Belfast has ruled that key elements of the UK’s Illegal Migration Act are incompatible with the Windsor framework and should not be applied in Northern Ireland. Once again, Northern Ireland appears to be a block on the Brexit ambition to “take back control of our borders”. This time, though, the implications go beyond the island of Ireland. The judgement reaches across the Irish Sea to the core of the UK’s post-Brexit immigration policy. The court found that parts of the act, which gave the government expansive powers to remove asylum seekers, violate the human rights of those seeking refuge in Northern Ireland.

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Council of Europe adopts first international treaty on artificial intelligence

The Council of Europe has adopted the first-ever international legally binding treaty aimed at ensuring the respect of human rights, the rule of law and democracy legal standards in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The treaty, which is also open to non-European countries, sets out a legal framework that covers the entire lifecycle of AI systems and addresses the risks they may pose, while promoting responsible innovation. The convention adopts a risk-based approach to the design, development, use, and decommissioning of AI systems, which requires carefully considering any potential negative consequences of using AI systems.

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Human rights activists targeted in Kimsuky malware campaign

The North Korea-linked Kimsuky hacking group has launched a new social engineering campaign targeting activists in the North Korean human rights and anti-North Korea sectors, The Hacker News reports. According to a report by South Korean cybersecurity firm Genians, the attack diverges from typical email-based phishing tactics, instead using fake Facebook accounts to approach targets via Messenger. Posing as a public official in the North Korean human rights field, the attackers trick victims into opening malicious documents hosted on OneDrive.

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Tunisia – Concern at increased targeting of migrants

We are very concerned by the increased targeting in Tunisia of migrants, mostly from south of the Sahara, and individuals and organisations working to assist them. At the same time, we are witnessing a rise in the use of dehumanising and racist rhetoric against Black migrants and Black Tunisians. Our Office has recorded incidents of arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists critical of the Government, as well as its migration policies. Reported raids in the past week on the Tunisia Bar Association undermine the rule of law and violate international standards on the protection of the independence and function of lawyers. Such actions constitute forms of intimidation and harassment.

Read more: ohchr.or

N. Korea, China appear to respond to criticism about human rights abuses in seafood factories

North Korea and China have taken surprising steps to respond to The New Yorker’s coverage of the severe human rights abuses suffered by North Korean workers at seafood processing plants in China. The New Yorker article was based on a report released in late February by the Outlaw Ocean Project, a nonprofit investigative journalism outlet. While North Korea and China focused on ways to minimize the economic fallout of international efforts to block imports of Chinese products made by North Korean workers, the two countries also seemed to be responding to criticism about human rights abuses.

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Democratic Values Guide U.S. Engagement With Vietnam

Speaking in Washington at the 30th commemoration of Vietnam Human Rights Day, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya noted that in 2023 the U.S.-Vietnam relationship was upgraded to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership: “While we seek to deepen our economic partnership and people-to-people ties with Vietnam so that we can work together to address today’s global challenges, this engagement remains guided by our democratic values and the protection of human rights.” In that regard, the United States continues to be seriously troubled about the state of human rights in Vietnam, said Under Secretary Zeya.

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