US District Judge Alia Moses of the Western District of Texas on Oct. 30 granted a temporary restraining order enjoining the federal government from interfering with fencing erected by Texas state authorities at the US-Mexico border. As part of Operation Lone Star, the Texas Military Department has deployed concertina wire fencing to deter illegal crossings at the border. The suit, brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, alleged that since Sept. 20, federal agents have implemented a policy of destroying the state-erected fencing. The complaint links to several videos posted on X, which purport to show federal agents cutting or lifting the fencing, and providing support to those attempting to cross after swimming the Rio Grande. The complaint alleged that from Sept. 21 to Sept. 28, federal agents allowed at least 400 migrants through.
The Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, announced Oct. 19 adoption of Decision Number 8371, which bans religious organizations found to have "colluded with armed aggressors" from operating within the country. The measure is clearly aimed at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has been accused of collaborating with Russia. More than 250 Rada members approved the measure, which required only 226 votes.
On Oct. 18, unknown assailants targeted a Berlin synagogue with Molotov cocktails, while rioters in Tunisia burned down the historic El Hamma synagogue. Berlin police reported that two unidentified persons threw the Molotov cocktails at the Kahal Adass Jisroel synagogue in the center of the city. No casualties or significant property damage were reported. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the attack and promised to protect the country's Jewish communities, saying, "Anti-Semitism has no place in Germany." He also noted in later comments that the legacy of the Holocaust means Germany must be extra vigilant. The Kahal Adass Jisroel community was resolute, with the synagogue's chairperson saying, "We will live on, we will be strong, we will stay."
Colombia recorded the world's highest number of killings of environmental defenders in 2022, with 60 individuals murdered, according to a report released on Sept. 12 by activist group Global Witness. The organization, which has been documenting environmental defender deaths since 2012, found that the number of environmental defenders slain in Colombia nearly doubled in 2022, compared to the previous year. These killings have pushed Colombia's environmental defender death toll to 382 since 2012.
Hong Kong District Court judge Ernest Lin Kam-hung handed down a judgment Aug. 31 sentencing Tommy Yuen Man-on, a former Cantopop boy-band member, to 26 months imprisonment. Yuen was convicted of "acts with seditious intention" among other charges. Lin found that Yuen made seditious statements on Facebook and Instagram in 2021, including posts about the death of a marine police officer, injuries suffered by then Chief Executive Carrie Lam after a fall, and cases of officer misconduct. Lin asserted that Yuen had been insulting Hong Kong's government and implicitly advocating for Hong Kong independence.
The Council of the European Union announced sanctions Sept. 8 on six Russians it says committed rights violations in Crimea. The six individuals were singled out for participating in legal proceedings against Ukrainian journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko, who was targeted by Russia for his outspoken opposition to the Russian occupation of Crimea. Federal Security Service (FSB) agent Vitaliy Vlasov was sanctioned for his investigation of Yesypenko. Denis Korovin, another FSB agent, was sanctioned for allegedly participating in Yesypenko's torture.
The US Department of State has announced visa restrictions on Chinese officials linked to the systematic "forced assimilation" of over a million Tibetan children in state-operated boarding schools. This decision is part of a broader strategy by the Biden administration to address China's treatment of its ethnic minorities, with a particular focus on the Tibetan and Xinjiang Uighur regions.
Switzerland's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) announced Aug. 29 that it has formally charged former Algerian defense minister Khaled Nezzar in relation to war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during Algeria's civil war. In the indictment submitted to Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court, prosecutors said "Nezzar is accused of violating the laws of armed conflicts in accordance with the Geneva Conventions between 1992 and 1994 in connection with the civil war in Algeria and of committing crimes against humanity." The OAG alleges that Nezzar "condoned, coordinated or ordered" acts of torture committed by his subordinates.