Wednesday News Updates

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we will post updates on ongoing cases of torture, new opinion pieces in the media, or news stories or issues that emerge

Demonstrators protest outside the Burmese embassy on the 20th anniversary of 8-8-88, the day of the democratic uprising and murder of more than 3,000 by the military junta. Protesters reminded the public to not forget Burma and the estimated 2,000 political prisoners. Photo credit to totaloutnow via Flickr, 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

What has dominated my news feed the last two days has been the UN’s report from that detainees in Afghanistan detention facilities are routinely being tortured. Human rights organisations ask, what does this mean for U.S. involvement as international law forbids them from funding facilities that torture. Others question whether states with troops in Afghanistan hand over detainees while knowing this was happening? Some demand governments to further check on status of detainees they handed over.

Several separate cases of torture have emerged in India. The Asian Human Rights Commission has issued an Urgent Action release in two cases where police in West Bengal have tortured individuals after their arrest. In an unrelated case in Kerala, police allegedly illegally detained and tortured a 21-year-old man for two days. This case has spurned an investigation from the State Human Rights Commission.

More than 100 political prisoners have been released in Burma at the start of a general amnesty. Burma faces harsh sanctions, predominantly for their previously unrelenting detention of political prisoners, thought to include around 2,000 “journalists, pro-democracy activists, government critics, monks involved in anti-government protests in 2007 and members of Burma’s ethnic groups fighting for greater autonomy,” BBC News reports.

“Conflict had disproportionate impact on women, Ms. Pimentel said stressing that ‘women and girls’ bodies have become part of the battleground.’ An independent UN expert  explained the pervasiveness of violence against women and girls around the world and states obligations to prevent it.

 

UNAMA report: Mistreatment of conflict-related detainees in Afghan facilities (United Nations)
U.N. report finds ‘systemic’ torture in Afghanistan (New York Times)
Govt can’t rule out SAS link in Afghan prisoner torture (New Zealand 3 News)
Afghan Prisoner Abuse Could Trigger Some Aid Suspension (Voice of America)
Amnesty demands Canadian government check on Afghan detainees (CTV News)
Urgent Appeal India: Two persons Arrested and Tortured (Asian Human Rights Commission)
Kerala: Rights panel to probe ‘custodial torture’ (The Hindu)
Myanmar starts to release political prisoners (Al Jazeera English)
Burma prisoner release includes prominent comedian (BBC News)
Violence against women: Prevent, Protect and Provide Justice (United Nations)
UN expert urges States to fulfil obligation to prevent violence against women (UN News Service)

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