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Entries in United Nations Human Rights Council (25)


Syria Document: Report of UN Commission of Inquiry on "War Crimes"

Bodies in Taftanaz, April 2012Government forces and affiliated militia have committed murder, torture, rape, forcible displacement, enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts. Many of these crimes were perpetrated as part of widespread or systematic attacks against civilian populations and constitute crimes against humanity. War crimes and gross violations of international human rights law –-- including summary execution, arbitrary arrest and detention, unlawful attack, attacking protected objects, and pillaging and destruction of property --- have also been committed. The tragedy of Syria’s 4.25 million internally displaced persons is compounded by recent incidents of IDPs being targeted and forcibly displaced.

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Syria Today: Last Chance for Opposition "Unity" in Istanbul Talks

Opposition Representatives at This Week's Talks Oppositions Appeals for Help in Besieged Qusayr and Damascus Suburb

Insurgent commanders in the besieged town of Qusayr, near the Lebanese border, have appealed for help and warned of dire consequences if it does not arrive:

If all rebel fronts do not move to stop this crime being led by Hezbollah and Assad's traitorous army of dogs...we will soon be saying that there was once a city called Qusayr.

Malek Ammar, an opposition activist in Qusayr, said, "The town is surrounded and there's no way to bring in medical aid."

Ammar said about 100 of 700 wounded needed oxygen: "What we need [insurgent units] to do is come to the outskirts of the city and attack the checkpoints so we can get routes in and out of the city."

Qusayr has been under sustained shelling and attacks for almost two weeks. On Wednesday, the Syrian military captured the nearby airbase of Dabba, cutting off the town on all sides and bolstering their positions.

Elsewhere, insurgents blockaded in the eastern Ghouta, east of Damascus, appealed for help on Facebook, claiming Assad's forces were "preparing to commit more massacres".

The fighters said they held the opposition Syrian National Coalition, whose members have spent a week arguing in Istanbul over the orgnaisation of the leadership, responsible for their plight.

George Sabra, the acting head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, has confirmed that the group will not attend any international "peace" conference.

However, whereas the Coalition's formal declaration on Wednesday emphasised its demand that President Assad step down as part of any transitional government, Sabra's statement said the condition was the international community's intervention to end the Syrian military's siege of Qusayr, near the Lebanese border.

Then Sabra declared, "The National Coalition will not take part in any international conference or any such efforts so long as the militias of Iran and Hezbollah continue their invasion of Syria."

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Syria Live Coverage: Regime Rejects UN Human Rights Enquiry

Claimed footage of "liberation" of Saham near Golan Heights by insurgents on Saturday

See also Syria 1st-Hand: Life in Islamist-Controlled Raqqa
Syria Debate: Does the "Free Syrian Army" Exist?
Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: US Restarting Negotiations?
Saturday's Syria Live Coverage: Fighting in Aleppo and near Damascus

1749 GMT: Opposition Leader Resigns. The Syrian National Coalition has refused the resignation of its head, Moaz al-Khatib, asking him to go back to his work.

1719 GMT: Attacks in Damascus. Journalist Alex Thomson reports that insurgents have hit State television in the capital:

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Iran Live Coverage: Keeping an Eye on Human Rights

See also Iran Feature: Criticising President Ahmadinejad...with 11th-Century Poetry
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: Supreme Leader Strikes a Defiant Pose

2000 GMT: Threat of the Day. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament's National Security Commission, has repeated the Supreme Leader's warning that Israeli cities will be destroyed if West Jerusalem attacks Iran: “Although the Zionist lobbies are exerting great influence on the US administration, the (Israeli) regime will have no power of its own in the absence of the US support."

Ayatollah Khamenei used a New Year's address on Thursday to warn that Haifa and Tel Aviv would be "annihilated" following any Israeli military action against the Islamic Republic.

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Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: UN Declares Jewish Settlements in West Bank "Illegal"

2220 GMT: Egypt. The protesters in front of the Presidential Palace appear to be settling in for a long and drawn out battle:

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The Latest from Iran (10 November): Noticing the US-Iran Nuclear Talks 

See also Iran Feature: The Last Days of the Tehran American School
The Latest from Iran (9 November): So 2 Iranian Fighters Fired on a US Drone and Then....

1450 GMT: Human Rights Watch. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has called on the United Nations to suspend the US membership in the Human Rights Council: "It is obvious that the US administration with its negative record of human rights and its actions in violation of the criteria and standards of the UN human rights conventions and treaties is not qualified to be a member of the Human Rights Council which is the most important international human rights mechanism."

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Bahrain Timeline: The Regime's Path of Repression from 23 September to Today

Police arrest Said Yousuf Almuhafda of the Bahrain Center of Human Rights on Friday

See also Bahrain Special: Growing Concerns Amid Questions Over Bombs and A Tide of Repression

On 19 September, at the United Nations Human Rights Council, officials of the Bahrain Government made much of their purported commitment to human rights. The subsequent weeks tell a different story:

  • 23 September 2012: Pro-government newspaper AlWatan publishes pictures of the activists and opposition figures who attended the UN Human Rights Council UPR in Geneva, with their faces circled in red. The paper accused them of being on a "mission to defame and ruin the reputation of Bahrain". The red circling recalled the period at the height of last years violence where Bahrain state television broadcast images of opposition activists with their faces similarly circled in red, seen by many as inciting violence against them.

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Bahrain Feature: Today's United Nations Review of the Regime and Human Rights

The most dramatic moment of the hearing occurred when Dr Nada Dhaif --- sentenced to a long prison sentence in 2011 by a military court, with the term revoked this summer on appeal --- challenged the Bahraini Foreign Minister: "We hold you responsible in front of the [Human Rights Council today."

The Foreign Minister, "shaken from the speech", insisted no one was being detained "for free expression": "We had a human rights situation and we are dealing with it." He then made his headline announcement --- whether it was planned in advance or in response to the pressure in the hearing, we do not know --- that the regime will now accept the visit of a UN Special Rapporteur.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Grind of the Conflict

2148 GMT: Syria. The daily death toll has reached at least 150, according to the Local Coordination Committees:

72 of them were in Damascus and suburbs including 30 in Hajar Aswad, 20 were slaughtered in Jobar and 3 were field executed in Qadam. 32 martyrs in Aleppo most of them are in Manbej, 25 in Hama most of them are in Hwaija village and Masha' Arba'een neighborhood, 10 martyrs in Deir Ezzor most of them in Almohasan, 5 in Daraa, 3 in Idlib, 2 in Latakia and a martyr in Homs.

See our note on the casualty figures put forward by the Local Coordination Committees).

September is on track to be one of the bloodiest months in the recent history of the Middle East. August in Syria was the bloodiest of the last 10 years, even bloodier than any single month of conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan, even when using conservative numbers.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Regime "Fully Purges Aleppo District From Terrorists"....Again

Claimed footage of Libyans taking US Ambassador Chris Stevens --- unconscious or dead --- from a building in Benghazi on Tuesday night (see 0520 GMT)

See also Syria Feature: The Darayya "Massacre" and a Regime's "Slow, Steady Killing Strategy"
Syria Feature: "Insurgents Subjecting Detainees to Ill-Treatment, Torture, and Execution"
Iran Analysis: Tehran Hurts Itself With Muddled Messages on Syria
Sunday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Embassy Attacks Recede, While 164 Die Across Syria on Saturday

2106 GMT: Lebanon. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, has told a rally of tens of thousands protesting the US movie denigrating the Prophet Mohammad, “America must understand that releasing the entire film will have dangerous, very dangerous repercussions around the world.

The rally was in the Dahiyeh district of south Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold. Nasrallah said to the crowd that Western arguments over freedom of speech were “hypocrisy, deception, and double standards”. He called for “an international resolution criminalizing the defamation of heavenly religions".

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