Arbitrary detentions amid Egypt protest wave

Egyptian security forces have detained 119 people, including at least one child, since the start of the month for participating in anti-government protests, Amnesty International reported July 18. In recent weeks, frustrations over price hikes and power cuts have spurred demonstrations and calls for revolution against the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The arrests have spanned six governorates, with some prominent activists being detained in raids on their homes. Several detainees are in the hands of the elite Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP), where they are being investigated on dubious charges that include "joining a terrorist group, publishing false news, and misuse of social media."

ICJ: Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory illegal

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on Juy 19 that Israel's occupation and settlement of Palestinian territory breach international law. The decision came after the UN General Assembly requested an advisory opinion from the body on Israel's practices in the occupied territories. The ruling held that Israel's practices violate a number of international agreements including the Hague Convention of 1907, the Fourth Geneva Convention, the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Russian playwright gets prison for 'justifying terrorism'

A Russian military court on July 15 convicted a playwright and a theater director and sentenced them each to six years in prison over a play that was found to "justify terrorism." The judge found writer Svetlana Petriychuk and director Yevgeniya Berkovich, who had been in pre-trial detention since May 2023, guilty under Article 205.2 of the Russian Criminal Code. This provision makes the offense of "justifying terrorism" punishable by up to seven years imprisonment.

China and Russia launch joint naval exercise

Chinese and Russian naval forces have begun a joint exercise at a southern Chinese military port, China's Ministry of National Defense announced July 12. The "Maritime Joint-2024" exercise is taking place off Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, on the South China Sea. Its stated objectives include demonstrating the the two nations' ability to address maritime security threats, maintain regional stability, and deepen their strategic partnership.

UN experts: famine spreads throughout Gaza Strip

United Nations experts affiliated with the Human Rights Council declared July 9 that famine has now undoubtedly spread throughout the Gaza Strip. The expert determination follows the deaths of three more Palestinian children in May and June. Six-month-old Fayez Ataya, 13-year-old Abdulqader al-Serhi, and nine-year-old Ahmad Abu Reida were all found by the experts to have died from malnutrition. The experts stressed that inaction by the international community amounts to complicity, adding: "Israel's intentional and targeted starvation campaign against the Palestinian people is a form of genocidal violence and has resulted in famine across all of Gaza."

Ecuador court rules that river in capital has rights

A court in Quito ruled that the Machángara River, which runs through the city, possesses rights under the Constitution of Ecuador, making the municipal government responsible for keeping it free from pollution, a local civic advocacy group reported July 5.

The court recognized the river as a living entity, subject to rights under Chapter 7 of the Constitution, which establishes that nature possesses a right to protection, promotion and restoration. The provision states that "all persons, communities, peoples or nations are able to call on public authorities to enforce the rights of nature." The Constitutional Court of Ecuador in January 2022 recognized that rivers are protected under Chapter 7.

Ukraine: Russian strikes hit largest children's hospital

Russian missile attacks on Ukraine killed dozens of people, injured hundreds, and damaged the country's largest children’s hospital, UN and Ukrainian officials announced July 8. Numerous commercial and residential buildings were struck in the wave of strikes on cities including Dnipro, Kramatorsk, Pokrovsk, Kryviy Rih and Kyiv, leading to the death of at least 36 and injuries to no less than 140 people. Kyiv's Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital was damaged with at least 16 injured, including children and medical staff, and two adults dead.

Protesters march in Israel to demand hostage deal

Anti-government protesters marched July 7 across Israel's major cities, aiming to pressure the authorities to instate a ceasefire in Gaza and reach a hostage deal with Hamas. Demonstrators blocked roads and gathered in front of the homes of government officials. The protesters marched to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, calling for immediate elections to replace his government. Simultaneously, thousands assembled in Tel Aviv, where Einav Zangauker, whose son is being held in Gaza, staged a symbolic protest by isolating herself in a cage suspended from a bridge over Begin Road. Addressing the crowd below, Zangauker described the entire region as being held hostage by Netanyahu and Yahya Sinwar, Hamas' leader in Gaza.

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