Belarus: tens of thousands arbitrarily detained
Tens of thousands of people—many of them peaceful protesters—have been arbitrarily detained in Belarus over the past two and a half years, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif said March 21. The charge came as Al-Nashif presented a report outlining rights violations in Belarus to the UN Human Rights Council, focusing on events leading up to and following the contested 2020 Belarusian presidential election and the ensuing protests. The report presents evidence of the unlawful deaths of at least five people, 100 or more cases of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as widespread unnecessary and disproportionate use of force, attacks on independent media, and unfair sentences that the report calls "politically motivated."
Libya: 'rampant crimes' by Hafar-aligned militia
Amnesty International on Dec. 19 accused armed group Tariq Ben Zeyad (TBZ) of committing "rampant" war crimes and human rights abuses to enforce the rule of the so-called Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) and its leader Khalifa Haftar. The report details incidences of forced disappearances, unlawful killings, torture, and mistreatment of detained migrants and refugees. The LAAF, previously known as the Libyan National Army, controls the eastern portion of Libya and several cities, including Benghazi, Derna, Sirte, Tobruk, and areas outside Tripoli. The TBZ is headed by Haftar's son Saddam, and Amnesty states that it exists primarily to enforce his rule through a campaign of terror. (Amnesty International, Jurist)
China: nationwide protests challenge dictatorship
Following weeks of sporadic protests against the recurrent draconian COVID-19 lockdowns in China, spontaneous demonstrations broke out in cities across the country Nov. 27. Street demos were reported from Shanghai, Nanjing, Chengdu and Wuhan as well as Beijing. In addition to slogans against the lockdowns and for freedom of speech and assembly, such verboten chants were heard as "Xi Jinping, step down" and "Communist Party, step down." Some called Xi a "dictator" and "traitor." Images have been circulating on social media despite the best efforts of authorities to contain them. Many images show demonstrators holding blank sheets of paper as an ironic protest against censorship.
Ukraine: Russia accused of forced transfer of civilians
Russian forces have committed war crimes and likely crimes against humanity by unlawfully transferring or deporting civilians from occupied parts of in Ukraine to Russia or Russian-controlled territory, according to an Amnesty International report released Nov. 10. Russian and Russian-backed authorities have also forced civilians through an abusive screening process known as "filtration," during which some were arbitrarily detained, subject to torture or other ill-treatment, and separated from their children.
Podcast: state capitalism and the Uyghur genocide
In Episode 149 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that the UN Human Rights Office determination that China may be guilty of "crimes against humanity" in its mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province is dismissed by the tankie-left ANSWER Coalition as "propagandistic." Meanwhile, it falls to Radio Free Asia, media arm of the US State Department, to aggressively cover the very real conditions of forced labor faced by the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of Xinjiang—and how Western corporations benefit from it. While the Western pseudo-left betrays the Uyghurs, US imperialism exploits their suffering for propaganda against a rising China in the Great Game for the Asia-Pacific region. Figures such as Australia's Kevin Rudd incorrectly portray a "Return of Red China," blaming the PRC's increasingly totalitarian direction on a supposed neo-Marxism. Fortunately, the new anthology Xinjiang Year Zero offers a corrective perspective, placing the industrial-detention complex and techno-security state in the context of global capitalism and settler colonialism.
Turkey: hundreds of refugees deported to Syria
Human Rights Watch on Oct. 24 reported that Turkish authorities arbitrarily arrested, detained and deported hundreds of Syrian refugee men and boys between February and July 2022. The report found that refugees are arrested in their homes, workplaces and on the street, then detained in harsh conditions, and forced over the border to Syria.
NYC: island emergency camp for asylum seekers
New York City workers have started erecting a series of sprawling tents in vacant parking lots on Randall's Island, between the East and Harlem rivers, to house undocumented migrants and asylum-seekers. The so-called "Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers" are to hold some 500, officially for no more than five days. At least two more tent cities are planned, with Orchard Beach in the Bronx named as another possible location. Gov. Kathy Hochul has ordered National Guard troops to help staff the centers. Since the spring, some 17,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in New York—many sent to the city on buses by authorities in Texas. The city has already opened 42 emergency shelters to deal with the influx, and on Oct. 7 Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency.
Uyghur Tribunal accuses China of genocide
The Uyghur Tribunal, a "people's tribunal" established in the UK, on Sept. 27 appended a December 2021 judgment, incorporating nearly 300 additional pages of historical background, legal definitions and evidence. The stated purpose of the tribunal is to investigate "ongoing atrocities and possible genocide against the Uyghur people" in the People's Republic of China, although the tribunal has no force of law.
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