labor

Argentina: state liable for 1924 massacre

A federal judge in Argentina's Chaco province on May 19 ruled that the national state bears responsibility for the 1924 massacre of some 500 indigenous laborers in the region, and ordered that reparation measures be instated. On July 19, 1924, national police and vigilantes linked to the area's landowners fired on a large group of indigenous protesters, who were marching over harsh conditions on the cotton plantations where they had been reduced to forced labor. A case seeking justice in the Napalpí Massacre was brought by Argentina's Secretariat of Human Rights and the local Chaqueño Aboriginal Institute. The verdict was read in the indigenous languages Qom and Moqoit as well as Spanish. (Secretaría de Derechos Humanos, BBC Mundo)

Belarus: 'partisans' sabotage rail lines to Ukraine

Belarus has served as a staging ground for one leg of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Kyiv officials warn that Belarusian forces may join Putin's war effort. But resistance to the Russian aggression is emerging in Belarus—apparently including acts of sabotage. Ukrainian Railways (Ukrzaliznytsia) announces that the rail links into Ukraine from Belarus have been effectively cut, preventing the transport of Russian reinforcements and equipment. Belarusian news site Zerkalo reports that "in the Mogilev, Gomel and Minsk regions three cases of destruction of signaling equipment, blocking of railways were recorded." Belarusian security forces acknowledge the sabotage was motivated by opposition to the war in Ukraine. Named as behind the sabotage are the banned groups Busly Lyatsyats, a pro-democracy social-media network ordered suppressed by the regime last year, and BYpol, a union of dissident Belarusian security officers. A representative of exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya saluted the work of these "partisans," adding: "Ukraine will win! Belarus will also be liberated!" (EuroMaidan Press)

Peru demands Repsol pay in coastal oil spill

Peru's authorities declared an environmental emergency on Jan. 20 after announcing that 21 beaches around the Lima area were contaminated by an oil spill at a refinery run by Spanish multinational Repsol, calling it the "worst ecological disaster" in the city's history. The Environmental Evaluation & Control Organism (OEFA) estimated some 6,000 barrels of crude had spilled—dramatically above the mere seven gallons that Repsol had initially reported to authorities when the disaster occurred five days earlier. Some 1,740,000 square meters of coastline and 1,1187,000 square meters of sea have been covered in sludge that has blackened beaches and killed marine life. Peru is demanding compensation from Repsol, accusing the company of trying to cover up the scale of the disaster and not having a contingency plan in place.

Kazakhstan president asks Russia to help quash uprising

Kazakhstan's President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev on Jan. 5 called participants in the protests that have swept the Central Asian nation this week "terrorists," accusing them of attempting to undermine his government at the behest of foreign powers. He also issued a call for Russia and the other members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to come to his country's defense.

Tunisia: uprising over waste disposal crisis

Anger over a regional garbage crisis in Tunisia exploded into street clashes Nov. 9 after a man died following exposure to tear-gas during protests against the reopening of a landfill site. Abderrazek Lacheheb, 35, died in the town of Aguereb in the coastal region of Sfax, punctuating weeks of demonstrations over a growing waste and public health crisis. The powerful UGTT trade union confederation announced a general strike for the day after his passing in Aguereb, condemning the "savage intervention by security forces."

Counter-revolutionary coup in Sudan

Sudan's interim prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and several senior government officials were arrested as the military seized full power in a coup d'etat and imposed a state of emergency Oct. 25. The two principal pro-democracy formations, the Forces for Freedom & Change and Sudanese Professionals Association, have called for a popular mobilization to overturn the coup, and thousands have answered the call, filling the streets of Khartoum, Omdurman and other cities. Troops fired on protesters outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, killing at least three and injuring more than 80. The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have also been mobilized to the streets. The military head of the now officially dissolved joint civilian-military Transitional Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, is apparently behind the coup and in control. The putsch follows days of rival demonstrations in Khartoum, with pro-democracy protesters demanding a full civilian government and pro-army counter-demonstrators demanding that the military take complete control. (Radio Dabanga, Middle East Online, NYT, AP, AP)

Uyghur Tribunal in UK hears testimony on abuses

The Uyghur Tribunal, an "independent people's court" convened by exile and human rights groups, concluded last week after months of hearings in London. Following a request from the World Uyghur Congress,  the Tribunal was organized last year by Sir Geoffrey Nice­, the lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The Uyghur Tribunal heard testimony from some 500 witnesses, including survivors of the detention camps in Xinjiang, on torture, sexual abuse, coerced labor, and forced sterilization.

Hong Kong: 'patriots' in, democrats out

The first "patriots only" vote under Hong Kong's new political system was held Sept. 19, to choose members for a 1,500-member Election Committee—although only some 360 of the seats were actually contested. Voting was restricted to some 5,000 individuals representing different professions and industries, chosen under a principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong." Members were vetted by the newly formed Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, appointed from Beijing. The Election Committee is tasked with electing 40 members of the enlarged 90-seat Legislative Council in December as well as choosing the city's new chief executive next March. The new and more controlled electoral system was adopted by an overwhelming majority vote at the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing this March. (HKFP, China Daily, China.org.cn, XinhuaKyodoRFA)

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