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Iran rejects US human rights critique as ‘biased by political objectives’


Bahram Ghasemi, the Spokesman of Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denounced, on Saturday, the latest report of Department of State on human rights as a partial, politicized, and rejected report. “The Human Rights report of US Department of State is partial, politicized, and unacceptable,” said Bahram Ghasemi, the Spokesman of Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Saturday. “The Islamic Republic of Iran sees the annual report issued by American Department of State and especially the parts of it with anti-Iran human rights claims as a particle document with political intentions to relay a distorted and unreal image of the conditions in our country,” reiterated the Iranian diplomat denouncing the claims in the report as baseless accusations. “The American government is not only the biggest violator of human rights according to credible reports issued by international entities, but also is the biggest supporter of notorious violator of human rights in our region like the Zionist regime and some reactionary countries of the region; countries whose crimes are still entangling the region,” asserted the spokesman.

Opposition politicians and human rights activists against MBS’s visit


The ongoing visit of Mohammad bin Salman in the UK is generating opposite reactions: the ruling Conservative Party and royal family are rolling out the red carpet for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince while opposition politicians and rights groups call on British Prime Minister Theresa May to use the trip to challenge the kingdom’s record on human rights. Boris Jhonson, british foreign secretary has underlined the importance of the social reforms put forward by MBS in Saudi Arabia (such as allowing women to drive and lifting a 35-year ban on cinemas). Furthermore, the minister praised the Saudi Vision 2030, in the light of possible economic investments in the project. However, human rights activists gathered outside Downing Street, calling to an end of arms selling to Saudis, responsible of huge bloodshed in Yemen. In addition, activists said the despite the economic and social reforms, Saudi Arabia still has a poor human rights records. On Tuesday, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, joined a chorus of activists, saying that May should tell the crown prince that Britain would no longer supply arms to Riyadh “while the devastating Saudi-led bombing of Yemen continues”. May should also “make clear Britain’s strong opposition to widespread human and civil rights abuses in Saudi Arabia”, he said. Caroline Lucas, former leader of the Green Party, tweeted on Tuesday: “Isn’t it time we stop giving the red carpet treatment to despots and dictators?” indeed, British arms companies are, mainly with the United States, the biggest suppliers of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the British government has approved billions of pounds in export licences over the past three years. Thus, by keeping the situation like this, the UK has been totally complicit in the abuse perpetrated in Yemen. Professor Paul Rogers from Bedford University’s Peace Department, told Al Jazeera: “The UK government recognises Saudi Arabia is very profitable for British arms exports and so the issue of human rights in the kingdom is not to the fore in current government thinking, in the sense of money talk.” It appears indeed easy to understand that UK government is willing to go along with the Saudis because there are good markets, thus, it turns a blind eye the human rights abuses and Yemen’s war.

Human rights activists call for social protection of civilians affected in Donbas


Human rights activists have stressed the need for legislative regulation of the rights of all civilians affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The head of the board of the Luhansk regional human rights center “Alternative”, Valeriy Novikov, said at a briefing in Kyiv on Monday that servicemen injured as a result of hostilities in Donbas were very carefully counted, but civilians are not taken into account. “Many who were in captivity and were illegally detained by illegal armed groups have injuries and disabilities. They need help from the state in regulating their status. Today it can be said that at the legislative level the status of civilians affected by the conflict is not regulated. There is no law on compensation or social protection for such people”, he said at a briefing in Kyiv on Monday.

CHR: Duterte’s ‘42 virgins’ joke strips women of dignity, human rights

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The Commission on Human Rights strongly denounced President Rodrigo Duterte’s joke of making virgins as a “come-on” to promote tourism in the country, calling it an appalling remark. In fact, Duterte, after declaring himself “half-Muslim,” during his last day in India, suggested in jest that the ISIS does not have a monopoly of making promises about virgins: claimed that Islamic State extremists lure followers with the promise of “42 virgins” in heaven; “The come-on is that if you die a martyr, you go to heaven with 42 virgins waiting for you. If I could just make it a come-on also for those who’d like to go to my country(..)” he said. CHR called on the government to uphold laws that protect women from violence and discrimination such as the Women in Development and National Building Act, Magna Carta of Women and Anti-Sexual Harassment Law. It also urged the public to stand up for women’s rights and reject violence and discrimination of all forms.

Volker talks about Donbass


U.S. Special Representative on Ukraine Kurt Volker during a meeting with deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine said he thinks resuming pension payments to residents of areas controlled by Russian occupation forces in eastern Ukraine, as well as restoring mobile telephone communications, will help in during talks scheduled with Russian representatives, Rada human rights committee chairman and MP (Batkivschyna Party) Hryhoriy Nemyria has said. “Volker supported the position that defending human rights of persons living in areas controlled by Russian occupation forces is part of the solution to the problem, rather than a part of the problem. He supported my position and the position of the human rights committee on steps to pay pensions, restore communication and other steps because this will help him in his dialogue and talks with the Russian side”, Nemyria told the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

Duterte on Kuwait abuse: OFWs can all go home


Philippines President Rodrigo Duerte, following the new reports of rape against the Filipino workers in the State of Kuweit, invited to pull out all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait if one more incident of abuse against any of them should happen again. “The Kuweit must treat our fellow citizens as human beings with dignity” – he said. And he added that “this  is not a declaration of hostility, because Kuweit has always been an ally and is a state that can help our development, but it is necessary to take steps to prevent that such incidents happen again”. Duterte complained about how the human rights groups attacked him for his drug campaign, but he would not raise any alarm about the abuses against the OFW.

Bill on Donbass reintegration goes against Ukraine’s constitution, politician says

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Provisions of the bill on the reintegration of Donbass that will be given a second reading on Tuesday, run counter to the Ukrainian constitution and violate the rights of its citizens, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights told a news conference on Monday. “Passing the bill the way it has been drafted for a second reading will have considerable risks for the rights and freedoms of the people”, said Mikhail Chaplyga. Besides, some provisions, in particular on martial law, run counter to the country’s constitution, the spokesman added.

The EU- Egypt Association Agreement


In Cairo was held the fifth session of the Subcommittee on Political Matters, Human Rights and Democracy of the Association Agreement between Egypt and the European Union. The meeting took place within the framework of the Partnership Priorities 2017-2020 signed by Egypt and EU and was chaired by Ambassador Raouf Saad and Colin Scicluna. The members discussed about the Middle East peace process, the situations in Syria, Libya and the Arab region. Both sides recognised the necessity of strengthening dialogue and cooperation on all matters of mutual interest. They discussed also cooperation in human rights, rule of law and democracy in order to achieve stability and peace in the Mediterranean area.

IHCHR: Islamic State holding 10.000 individuals in Anbar


The Iraq’s Human Rights Organism announced that the Islamic State militants are holding 10.000 civilians at Anbar’s western town of Rawa in Iraq. The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights underlined its “concern for the fate of innocents besieged inside Rawa” and according to the detecting sources at the commission’s offices in Anbar, “Daesh (Islamic State terrorists) are still holding nearly 2500 families, about 10.000 individuals, to use them as human shields and hamper the advance of Iraqi forces”, as he said. IS members have prevented civilians from reaching Iraqi security forces’ safe routes for their evacuation. The Commission also urged to accelerate operations to liberate the town and provide humanitarian aids and needs from local and world organizations. Since 2014 the extremist group have occupied one third of Iraq, including Qaim and Rawa towns, to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “Caliphate”. Late October, operations were launched to liberate these two towns. Iraqi forces have managed, so far, to retake Mosul, Tal Afar’s town, Kirkuk’s town of Hawija and Anbar’s Annah and Qaim. Only Rawa is still in the militants’ grip.

Human rights in Egypt shouldn’t be judged from Western perspective: Sisi in US


The state of human rights in Egypt shouldn’t be judged from a Western perspective, President Abdel- Fattah El-Sisi told a group of former US officials in New York on Monday.Presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said El-Sisi discussed human rights with the “influential American figures”, stressing to them that Egypt is keen on respecting and boosting human rights.”The perception of human rights should not be shorthanded to political rights only, but has to be dealt with through a comprehensive perspective that also includes societal and economic rights, like the right to education, health, housing and work”, El-Sisi said according to his spokesman.When asked about the conditions faced by NGOs in Egypt, El-Sisi said that such organisations are “an important partner on Egypt’s path to development”, adding that the Egyptian parliament has approved a law that regulates their work “in light of fear within the society about the work conducted by such organisations in the past years. “The Egyptian president also tackled regional issues, including Palestine, Libya, Qatar, and Syria”.

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