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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 31.05.2024

UN Trust Fund gives underrepresented countries a vital chance to participate

“Coming from a small island, being a person from the smallest percentage of the world, it's really important that our voices are the ones that speak about our issues. So, when I read about the LCDs/SIDS Trust Fund, I thought it would be a good idea to apply,” said Zachary Phillips. Phillips is from Antigua and Barbuda and a Crown Counsel for the Attorney General’s Chambers in the country. It was the first time Phillips participated in a Human Rights Council session.

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Clashes displace 15,000 civilians in western Myanmar

Fighting in western Myanmar has forced thousands of people to flee from their homes, left parts of a town in smoldering ruins and killed three civilians, residents told Radio Free Asia, as opponents of military rule try to defeat the junta that seized power in 2021. The clashes between junta troops and insurgent groups in Chin State, which is on the border with India, displaced 15,000 people in two days and led to the destruction of parts of Tedim town, they said.

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Meet Sheena - Indigenous Human Rights Advocate

From Norseman and Esperance, in southern Western Australia, to the United Nations in Geneva, Sheena Graham has been taking Indigenous human rights to the world stage. Sheena is a proud Ngadju woman who now leads BHP’s global policy settings for Indigenous rights. Growing up in Norseman, Sheena spent a lot of time exploring the different waterholes, trees, animals and small township. “We spent a lot of the time at a place we called the ‘slime dump’. And later, growing up as an adult, I realise now that we were playing in the remnants of an old tailings dam,” explained Sheena.

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UK Court Rules Anti-Protest Measures Unlawful

In a rare piece of good news for human rights and democracy in the United Kingdom, last week the High Court ruled that anti-protest measures introduced by the government earlier this year are unlawful. The case was brought by Liberty, a UK-based civil liberties organization, who hailed the decision as a “victory for democracy.” Last June, then Home Secretary Suella Braverman substantially increased police powers by lowering the threshold at which police could intervene in protests, from those causing “serious disruption” to causing “more than minor” disruption. As a result, hundreds of protesters have been arrested, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, who was acquitted of all charges in February.

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The Entire System Against Us: Criminalization of Women Justice Operators and Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala

Amnesty International has recorded instances of criminalization of justice operators in Guatemala since 2018 and has documented a pattern of harassment and criminalization against those who have acted in relevant cases to combat impunity and corruption. This report analyzes, from a gender perspective, the pattern of harassment and criminalization of former prosecutors, former judges, former members of the now defunct Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), as well as justice operators and human rights defenders who have contributed to the fight against impunity and corruption.

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Human Rights Watch reports systematic repression of Belarus human rights lawyers

Human Rights Watch (HRW) with the Belarusian Association of Human Rights Lawyers and Right to Defence released on Monday a report into the politically motivated crackdown on human rights lawyers in Belarus. The report examines the governmental control over the legal profession and highlights the political motivation behind six lawyers prosecuted and the 140 lawyers who were disbarred or had their license revoked, contrary to international human rights and the rule of law.

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UN working group calls on Japan to set up national human rights institution

A working group of the UN Human Rights Council calls on Japan to establish a national human rights institution, among a wide range of recommendations. The Working Group on Business and Human Rights has released a report based on its first survey conducted in Japan between July and August last year. The report says the group is deeply concerned about "the lack of a national human rights institution in Japan," and its absence "can substantially encumber access to justice and effective remedy." It calls for establishing such an institution.

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