Russia has launched a systematic effort to force residents of occupied areas of Ukraine to accept Russian citizenship as part of its program of consolidating authority, according to a new report. Residents of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya oblasts are subjected to threats, intimidation, restrictions on humanitarian aid and basic necessities, and possible detention or deportation—all designed to force them to become Russian citizens. These efforts parallel the "passportization" campaign that Russia has executed in Crimea and areas of Donetsk and Luhansk since 2014. Based on a comprehensive review of open source material, Yale Humanitarian Research Lab (HRL) has identified the laws and tactics used to make it impossible for residents to survive in their homes unless they accept Russian citizenship. These laws and tactics violate international law, including the prohibition on discrimination against people living under occupation based on nationality, and forcing people to declare allegiance to an occupying power, both illegal under the Hague Convention and the Geneva Conventions. (Conflict Observatory)
UNESCO released a statement July 23 condemning Russian strikes on the Ukrainian port of Odesa, and especially damage to World Heritage Sites, including the city's 18th-century Transfiguration Cathedral, which is within the Historic Centre of Odesa World Heritage Site.
UNESCO's Director-General Audrey Azoulay stated:
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan announced July 13 that the court has opened an investigation into human rights offenses committed by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and rival Rapid Security Forces (RSF), 90 days after the current conflict began in Sudan. Khan appeared before the UN Security Council to make the announcement.
Amnesty International on July 4 urged Cameroon's authorities to investigate human rights violations committed in the country's conflicted Anglophone regions, the North-West and South-West. According to a new report, armed separatists and the military alike are responsible for killings, torture, rape and destruction of property. In the North-West in particular, long-standing conflicts between Mbororo Fulani herders and sedentary farmers have been fuelling armed violence. As the situation has deteriorated over the past years, militias, mainly composed of Mbororo Fulani and supported or tolerated by the authorities, have committed atrocities against civil populations. The official security forces have responded to this situation with further rights violations.
A Hague-based international prosecutorial team launched preparation July 3 of case materials against Russia for the crime of aggression—an offense that is notoriously difficult to prosecute. The International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression (ICPA) was established within Eurojust, the European Union's agency for judicial cooperation. The new office will draw together prosecutors from various European countries, as well as from the International Criminal Court (ICC), to gather evidence of Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum in India's northeast state of Manipur announced June 26 that it has rejected "any offer of dialogue" with the state's Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. In a statement, the ITLF said the chief minister's stated intention of reaching out to stakeholders following a meeting with India's Home Minister Amit Shah "comes too late after the loss of so many innocent lives and properties and the untold hardships faced by the Kuki-Zo tribals; there is no point in talking about peace without a political solution." Singh, of India's ruling Hindu-nationalist BJP, is accused of inaction or outright collaboration in attacks during weeks of violence between the Hindu Meitei community and the mostly Christian and animist Kuki and Naga indigenous peoples. (The Wire)
Mali's ruling junta has requested the immediate withdrawal of the UN's peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSMA, citing a "crisis of confidence" and a failure to deal with security challenges. The junta has held power since 2020, and has sidelined various regional and international partners while forging close ties to the Russian mercenary Wagner Group. Military officials resent MINUSMA's human rights investigations, and have severely curtailed its access and mobility. The latest move comes a few weeks after the UN released a report on a massacre by Malian troops and their mercenary allies in the town of Moura.
Clashes, artillery fire and air-strikes again surged in Sudan's capital June 25, as the internal conflict between rival factions that has displaced 2.5 million people and caused a humanitarian crisis entered its 11th week. But with world media focusing on the fighting in Khartoum, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is raising the alarm about a dramatic escalation in western Darfur region, where members of the Masalit ethnic group are being targeted by Arab militias aligned with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). (Arab News)