Myanmar: Rohingya Crisis
Rohingya people have been a target of discrimination and enormous human rights violations by Myanmar for years. Almost a million people have ed to Bangladesh to avoid violence and persecution (UN, 2019). Even though Rohingyas have been residing in the Rakhine state, Western of Myanmar, for generations, they have been denied their rights and Myanmar citizenship, facing constant violence, discrimination and persecution. Repatriation plans for Rohingya refugees have currently been halted with Rohingya people expressing fear and unwillingness to return. Despite the numerous allegations for genocide and crimes against humanity, little action has been taken by the government of Myanmar and the United Nations to end it.
As an independent international fact- nding mission on Myanmar, established by the Human Rights Council, noted in its 2018 report, “While Myanmar was repeatedly identi ed as a crisis situation requiring a human rights-driven response by the “whole of the United Nations”, this approach was rarely, if ever, taken. Rather, many United Nations agencies have continued to prioritize development goals, humanitarian access and quiet diplomacy. That approach has demonstrably failed; and the United Nations as a whole has failed adequately to address human rights concerns in Myanmar”. Please see the full report here.
CRW urges the UN and the government of Myanmar to take immediate action for the protection of Rohingyas’ rights.
Iran: Free Nasrin Sotoudeh
Human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested in June 2018 and sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for campaigning for women’s rights in Iran.
This is not the rst time that Nasrin has been sentenced for ghting for human rights. In 2011, she served time for conspiracy and propaganda charges against the state. Nasrin has been often a target of threats due to her work on human rights as she noted when talking about her experiences (Tisdal, 2014).
“Worrying patterns of intimidation, arrest, prosecution, and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers, and labour rights activists signal an increasingly severe State response. [...] The prominent women human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was reportedly convicted of charges relating to her work and could face a lengthy prison sentence.” said Javaid Rehman, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran at the UN human rights council in March when Nasrin’s case was first raised. If you’d like to help Narsin, please sign the petition here.
CRW calls the government of Iran to free Nasrin immediately and urges the UN to protect activists’ rights!
Venezuela has been facing an enormous socioeconomic and political crisis that has led the country to shortages in food, medicine and other basic necessities and a rise in crime and violence rates within the country (UN News, 2019).
The crisis first started in 2010 under President Cha?vez’s “economic war” and escalated in 2015 under the presidency of Maduro (O’Grady, 2019). In 2016, the National Assembly declared a "health humanitarian crisis" which Maduro ignored by refusing to accept its very existence, leading further to blockages in any efforts for humanitarian aid.
In 2018, President Maduro who has been harshly criticised "for grossly mismanaging the economy and plunging the country into a deep humanitarian crisis" was re-elected after calling for early presidential elections. In 2019, the National Assembly noted Maduro’s reelection as invalid, declaring Juan Guaido? as Venezuela’s acting president which was described as a coup attempt by Maduro suggesting the United States’ involvement (Sanchez & Chavez, 2019). Russia, China, Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Cuba have supported the presidency of Maduro while the US, many Latin American countries and many European countries consider Guaido? as the legitimate president (Sanchez & Chavez, 2019).
In the meantime, the United Nations has reported that many have ed the country due to the massive scale of violence, crime and food and medical insecurity and shortages. “We estimate that the total number of Venezuelans outside the country will exceed 5 million by the end of the year,” said Eduardo Stein, the Joint Special Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration for Venezuelan refugees and migrants (UN News, 2019).
Earlier this May, UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Marta Hurtado expressed concerns over “excessive use of force security forces against demonstrators across Venezuela”, urging “all sides to show maximum restraint and on the authorities to respect the right to peaceful assembly.”
CRW calls for collective action to be taken, allowing humanitarian aid within the country and ensuring citizens’ rights protection!
Philippines: Duterte’s Drug War
On 30 June 2016, Rodrigo Duterte took office as President of the Philippines and almost immediately declared war on drugs. Since his inauguration, thousands have lost their lives over President Duterte’s so called “war on drugs”, raising global human rights concerns. In February 2018, the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a preliminary investigation aiming to examine reports of extrajudicial killings.
President Duterte responded with a written withdrawal notification from the Rome Statute of the ICC, stating further that the ICC “has no jurisdiction nor will it acquire jurisdiction”(Ghani, 2018).
In June 2018, during the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council in a joint statement 38 states called the government of the Philippines to give an end to war drugs’ killings “and cooperate with the international community to investigate all related deaths and hold perpetrators accountable”. In 2019, Philippines’ of cially withdrew from the ICC but in her statement Fatou Bensouda, ICC prosecutor said that they can and will continue investigating into the situation despite Philippines’ withdrawal.
“Pursuant to Article 127.2 of the Statute and based on prior ICC judicial ruling in the situation in Burundi, the Court retains its jurisdiction over crimes committed during the time in which the State was party to the Statute and may exercise this jurisdiction even after the withdrawal becomes effective,” explained Ms. Bensouda.
Early in March 2019, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights raised again her concerns, emphasizing that “up to 27,000 people may have been killed in the context of the campaign against illegal drugs since mid-2016”.
CRW urges the government of the Philippines and President Duterte to give an end to his so called “war on drugs” and protect citizens’ rights.
Ghani, F. (2018). Duterte’s war on drugs
to become ‘killing eld’ if goes on: CHR. AlJazeera. Retrieved from:https://www.aljazeera. com/news/2018/12/duterte-war-drugs-killing- eld- chr-181212011140766.html
O’Grady (2019).Confused about the crisis
in Venezuela? Here’s a primer. Retrieved
from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/ world/2019/05/01/venezuela-crisis-maduro- guaido-explainer/?noredirect=on&utm_term=. bd0202809bd7
Sanchez & Chavez, (2019). Maduro de ant as Venezuelan opposition leader declares himself acting president. CNN. Retrieved from: https:// edition.cnn.com/2019/01/23/americas/venezuela- protests/index.html
Tisdal (2014). Freed Iranian rights lawyer: 'I've a bad feeling about the women I left behind' Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/ world/2014/jun/01/iran-rights-lawyer-nasrin- sotoudeh
UN News (2019). Future of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh ‘hangs in the balance’ – UNHCR chief. Retrieved from: https://news.un.org/en/ story/2019/04/1037421
UN news (2019). Venezuela’s needs ‘signi cant and growing’ UN humanitarian chief warns
Security Council, as ‘unparalleled’ exodus continues. Retrieved from: https://news.un.org/en/ story/2019/04/1036441
Sui(2017) "LiuXiaobo: Censored by China, supporters take to social media" BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world- asia-china-40656483