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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 7.06.2024

Rwanda Policy Advice on Human Rights Court Unlawful, Union Says

A UK minister’s order to override a European Court of Human Rights ruling and send asylum seekers to Rwanda would be unlawful, lawyers argued at the latest challenge over the government’s controversial immigration policy. The FDA, a trade union that represents civil servants, said in a London court on Thursday that government workers are duty bound to comply with orders from the Strasbourg-based court and an instruction by a minister cannot disregard the obligation.

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South Korean group floats anti-North balloons over the border

South Korean activists flew large balloons carrying propaganda leaflets towards North Korea on Thursday, a few days after the North threatened to send more trash-filled balloons across the border in response to such campaigns. The group, Fighters for a Free North Korea, led by North Korean defector Park Sang-hak, said it floated 10 balloons tied to 200,000 anti-Pyongyang leaflets, USB sticks with K-pop songs and South Korean television dramas, and one-dollar U.S. bills, from a border town.

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US: Order Limiting Asylum Will Harm People Seeking Protection

An executive order United States President Joe Biden issued on June 4, 2023, that would effectively block access to asylum for people entering the US-Mexico border under certain conditions risks exposing thousands of people to harm, Human Rights Watch said today. The order is unlawful under international human rights and refugee law. The order enables border officials to rapidly remove people who arrive in the US without a hearing when border “encounters” or arrivals have surpassed a 7-day average of 2,500 people. This would effectively shut down the border to asylum seekers.

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In congratulatory message to Modi, Justin Trudeau invokes ‘human rights, diversity, rule of law’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his win in the Lok Sabha elections. A message posted by Trudeau’s office on X quoted him as saying, “Canada stands ready to work with Modi’s government to advance the relationship between our nations’ peoples—anchored to human rights, diversity, and the rule of law.” Trudeau’s congratulatory message comes amidst strained diplomatic ties between India and Canada, which broke down last year after the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar near Vancouver.

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Telling the Truth Comes at a Cost for Indian Journalists and Human Rights Defenders – Could a Whistleblowing Framework Help?

WNN exclusive series “Protecting Whistleblowers is Key to Protecting Democracy in India” reporting on efforts within India to incorporate different categories of whistleblowers within a whistleblower protection law that is on the horizon. At the Constitutional and Unity Conference in Bangalore in February, participants in a closed-door session on whistleblowing emphasized the need to incorporate human rights defenders and journalists, among other groups, into whistleblower-organizing efforts and a comprehensive whistleblower protection law. Human rights defenders and journalists often act as whistleblowers by conducting independent investigations or leading campaigns against the violation of fundamental rights.

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Troubling state of human rights in Malaysia

The state of human rights in Malaysia, as separately reported recently by the US Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Bureau and global rights group Amnesty International, is disconcerting as it is a blot on the country. Both reports indicated that there was not much human rights improvement in 2023, while in some cases there were alarmingly further restrictions or violations. This scenario suggests that the “Madani” (civil and compassionate) government has to some extent reneged on its commitments to reforms that were promised to Malaysian voters.

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Saudi Arabia, Likely World Cup Host, Slammed With Workers’ Rights Abuse Claims

Saudi Arabia, FIFA’s top choice for the 2034 World Cup, has been slammed with allegations of severe human-rights abuses concerning the treatment of migrant workers. Building and Wood Workers’ International, a federation of trade unions, filed two complaints Wednesday with the International Labour Organization, a United Nations human rights agency, alleging “rampant” signs of forced labor. It says at least 21,000 migrants in Saudi Arabia, were kept from their wages and passports, charged illegal recruitment fees, restricted from being able to freely leave their job, forced to work to pay off debts, and suffered psychical and sexual violence, especially among women and domestic workers.

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