Monthly Archives: March, 2013
The 15-year-old refused to give his name, his eyes cast down as he sat in an empty room in the children‘s correction centre in Kabul.
Slowly, he began to open up and tell his story. An orphan, he left his home province of Sar-e Pol a year ago and came to the Afghan city to study at an Islamic school. One day while out in the city, he saw a man struggling to carry two bags of groceries.
“I went to help him, and I took one of the bags and carried it to his home,” he said. “The man invited me to come inside for lunch since I’d helped him, but when I entered the room, he attacked me sexually. I jumped out of the window to escape, but he came outside and shouted out that I was a thief. The local police arrested me for robbery. They wouldn’t listen to me…. I’ve been in prison for seven months, and I don’t know what I’ve done wrong.”
As in other societies, sexual abuse of children is a highly sensitive issue in Afghanistan. The judicial system is not set up to cope, and the victims often end up being placed in juvenile detention centres under the catch-all terminology of “moral crime”, while their adult assailants go unpunished.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, AIHRC, lists numerous recorded cases of sexual abuse of girls and boys, but it underlines that many others are never reported because of concerns about shame and honour, and because people have little faith in the justice system. (more…)
Do children understand borders? Perhaps not.
But borderguards surely dont understand that.
In an unusually insensitive act of border policing, six Bangladeshi children have been taken away by the Indian Border Security Force from the Parsuram-Belonia border at Feni.
The children were taken on Thursday and have not yet been returned.
Locals say they are all below 10 years of age. (more…)
WAY FORWARD IS TO SHIFT FOCUS FROM ACCOUNTABILITY TO RECONCILIATION
A resolution titled “Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka” was passed at the conclusion of the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 21, 2013. This US-sponsored resolution was opposed by Sri Lanka which lost the vote by 25 to 13 with 8 abstentions. This is the second such resolution to be passed in the UNHRC calling on Sri Lanka to improve its performance with regard to post-war accountability and reconciliation.
The international community presently seems more concerned with accountability than reconciliation nearly four years after the end of conflict. The resolution signifies a hardening of the international community’s stance on human rights issues in Sri Lanka. In comparison to last year’s resolution there is a shift in the present resolution away from a primary focus on reconciliation to a focus on accountability for past human rights violations and war crimes. The resolution specifically calls upon the Government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable. (more…)
Two separate Public Interest Litigations (PILs) were filed at the Supreme Court (SC) today challenging the recently promulgated Truth and Reconciliation Commission Ordinance‚ which introduced blanket amnesty to serious human rights violations that occurred during the decade-long Maoist insurgency.
Advocates Madhav Kumar Basnet‚ Bishnu Prasad Pokhrel and a group of victims — chairman of Social Justice Committee Ram Kumar Bhandari and chairman of Terrorist Victims Orphan Society Suman Adhikary filed the cases — demanding the apex court to quash the provisions which are against the rights of the victims.
International rights institutions including the Office of the High Commissioners for Human Rights‚ Human Rights Watch and International Commission of Jurists have already objected to the ordinance.
The petitioners said Section 23 (4) of the ordinance was the most objectionable as it gave leverage of blanket amnesty to serious human rights violations including rape without the victims’ consent. (more…)
An online petition calling on the Maldivian government to end the practice of flogging women and children for the crime of fornication has been signed by more than one million people worldwide.
The Avaaz.org petition, titled ‘Horror in Paradise’, follows the sentencing of a 15 year-old rape victim to 100 lashes and eight months house arrest, for confessing to a separate instance of fornication during the investigation into the alleged murder of her baby. The child was found buried in an outside shower area.
“Let’s put an end to this lunacy by hitting the Maldives government where it hurts: the tourism industry,” declares the Avaaz petition.
“Tourism is the big earner for the Maldives elite, including government ministers. Let’s build a million-strong petition to President Waheed this week, then threaten the islands’ reputation through hard-hitting ads in travel magazines and online until he steps in to save her and abolish this outrageous law,” it states. (more…)
Today, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council gave a strong response to the increasing trend of curtailing – when not criminalizing – the activities of human rights defenders by limiting their right to access funding, especially when they come from foreign countries. The Council adopted by consensus an unprecedented resolution, introduced by Norway and co-sponsored by 62 States, affirming that “no law should criminalise or de-legitimise activities in defence of human rights on account of the origin of funding”.
“This is a strong signal of support sent by the United Nations to the defenders around the world who are prevented from funding their activities, de-legitimised and often criminalised for their human rights work”, declared Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.
“We welcome the adoption of this important resolution, through which the UN Human Rights Council is calling for stronger protection for those actors for change and the guarantors of a free society”, said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General. “States have the responsibility to abide by the resolution and ensure that human rights NGOs are enabled to access funding, as such restrictions clearly aim at silencing them”, he added. (more…)