“A Huge Blow to Civil Society”: Egypt Arrests Leading Human Rights Monitors in Latest Crackdown

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, the Quarantine Report. We end today’s show in Egypt, where the executive director of the leading human rights group in the country was arrested Thursday night in an unprecedented crackdown. Gasser Abdel-Razek was arrested at his home just days after two other staffers for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights were also arrested. The move signals a major escalation of repression from the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who has imprisoned thousands of activists and journalists since he came to power after the 2013 overthrow of the late…

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"A Huge Blow to Civil Society": Egypt Arrests Leading Human Rights Monitors in Latest Crackdown

In Egypt, the executive director of the country’s leading human rights group has been arrested as part of an unprecedented crackdown on activists and journalists. Gasser Abdel-Razek was arrested at his home just days after two other staffers for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights were also arrested. The move signals a major escalation of repression from the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who has imprisoned thousands of people since he came to power after the 2013 overthrow of former President Mohamed Morsi. “These arrests are a huge blow to civil society in Egypt,” says Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Democracy Now! correspondent and reporter for Mada Masr, the…

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Human rights watchdog claims that thousands were detained unlawfully in Belarus, including its staff.

Human rights centre Viasna has stated that its staff were detained unlawfully for a second time by Belarus authorities. The centre, which is responsible for monitoring elections and protests, claims that its staff were first illegally detained in May and have now been detained again, with some remaining in custody. The statement comes alongside the 100th day of protests in Belarus, which came off the back of president Lukashenko’s’ re-election. Viasna stated: On October 30, 2020, a member of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and independent journalist Maryna Kastylianchanka was detained by representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in a cafe in Minsk. Responding to the police report,…

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Protesters killed in Peru after Amnesty International warns of a ‘human rights crisis’

Human rights organisations have warned that Peru police used excessive force against protesters as two people were confirmed dead. Police used firearms and tear gas against protesters, according to Amnesty International. It also reported evidence that police injured protesters by beating them. On 14 November, two protesters died of gunshot wounds. Marina Navarro, executive director of Amnesty International Peru, said: This political crisis is generating a human rights crisis due to the violent repression of the protests. The authorities must prioritize the protection of the population over any political interest. A controversial impeachment The protests began after Peruvian president Martín Vizcarra was impeached on 9 November. 105 congress…

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Europe’s ‘last dictator’ has assets frozen as investigation finds election fraud and human rights violations

The latest in The Canary‘s #FollowTheMoney series focuses on the UK’s freezing of the assets of the president of Belarus, Europe’s ‘last dictator’. The UK has frozen Alexander Lukashenko’s assets on the grounds of human rights violations. An investigation into the Belarusian presidential election by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has also concluded that it was not genuine and did not comply with basic standards. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights stated: The observations by local monitoring organizations and citizens, as well as international observers with good reasons found the presidential election fell short of fulfilling the basic international requirements for genuine…

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MPs and peers call for urgent action to protect the human rights of Black people

Urgent action must be taken to ensure Black people’s human rights are protected equally to those of white people, MPs and peers have said. The calls come after the findings of an inquiry by the Joint Committee on Human Rights. It suggested that Black people in the UK were in “no doubt” the protection of their rights was “inferior” to those of white people. “Commissioning reports and apologising is not enough” The government, NHS and police must now “take action to end the stark inequalities in the protection of human rights of the black community”, the committee said. It also recommended automatic voter registration. This is due to…

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Covert human intelligence sources have already been used to ‘sabotage’ the course of justice

In 2012, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton were convicted of the 2009 murder of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll in County Armagh. Their campaign team, who call them the Craigavon Two, believe their conviction is a miscarriage of justice. Currently the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) bill is making its way through parliament. And the use of an MI5 agent in the Craigavon Two case underlines, again, how dangerous this legislation can be. A revelation On 21 October, Channel 4 News broadcast its investigation into the use of MI5 agents in Ireland. It revealed that MI5 agent Dennis McFadden could have been undercover in Ireland “for up to…

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Human rights clauses in ‘spycops’ bill are worthless, leaked document reveals

A confidential police document seen by The Canary reveals that instructions to ‘spycops’, or undercover police officers (UCOs), regarding adherence to the Human Rights Act are not worth the paper they’re printed on. Similar instructions form part of the Covert Human Intelligence (CHIS) bill, heavily denounced by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.The billThe Tory government is progressing a bill to legalise the criminal activities of Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) who work with the police, MI5, and other state agencies. The bill passed its third reading on 15 October with Labour, under Keir Starmer, mostly abstaining.Meanwhile, in response to Starmer’s hardline stance, eight Labour MPs have resigned from…

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Under-fire Tories launch inquiry into war crimes investigations after human rights committee hammering

Defence ministers have ordered a new inquiry into how war crimes are investigated, after their new combat zone immunity bill was ripped apart by the human rights committee. Since the second reading of the Overseas Operations Bill on 23 September, the legislation has been attacked by members of the human rights committee. With the proposals proving deeply unpopular and controversial, panicked Tories have launched a judge-led inquiry into how war crimes are investigated. Panicked In a press release on 13 October, defence secretary Ben Wallace said: Nobody wants to see service personnel subjected to drawn-out investigations, only for the allegations to prove to be false or unfounded. At…

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Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) types 1 and 2

Overview Human T-cell lymphotropic virus types 1 and 2 (HTLV-1 and HTLV-2) are retroviruses found worldwide. Of the 2 viruses, HTLV-1 has been more often associated with human disease. It is the causative agent of a form of blood cancer (adult T-cell leukaemia or lymphoma, called ATL) and of a progressive disease of the nervous system (HTLV-1 associated myelopathy, or HAM, also known as tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP)). Epidemiology HTLV-1 infects at least 5 million to 10 million people worldwide, although information is unavailable for many countries, so this figure is likely to be an underestimate. The virus is endemic in: Caribbean South America Romania Iran much of…

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