October 20th, 2014
By Kayleen Jacobson, News and Policy Associate
Cambodia: Former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are on trial for the mass genocide of Muslim and ethnic Vietnamese minorities during the regime’s rule in the 1975-1979 where over 1.7 million people were killed. Survivors of the regime are protesting outside the trials, demanding individual reparations. Read more.
Burma/Myanmar: The Burmese government has introduced the Rakhine State Action Plan for ethnically- persecuted Rohingya Muslims who have been denied citizenship in the country. The plan requires the stateless minority of 1.1 million people to claim a derogatory name and continues to deny the 140,000 displaced Muslims any hope of returning to their pre-2012 residences. The plan has been deeply criticized as a “blueprint for permanent segregations and statelessness” by Human Rights Watch. Read more.
Haiti: The recent death of Jean-Claude Duvalier, “Baby Doc,” former Haitian leader known for brutality and corruption “…robs Haiti of what could have been the most important human rights trial in its history,” according to Human Rights Watch. Under Duvalier, extrajudicial killings, journalistic censorship, and political prisoner mistreatment were widespread. Duvalier’s war crimes case was re-instated in February 2014 but will not be completed. Read more.
Nigeria: Boko Haram, a terrorist group in northeast Nigeria, has agreed to a cease-fire deal with the government that is planned to involve the release of 200 of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls captured six months ago as part of Boko Haram’s efforts to enforce strict Islamic law throughout the country. The agreement has been greeted with both relief and skepticism. Read more.
Iraq: The Islamic State, or ISIS, is holding Yezidis and other religious and ethnic minorities in detention centers in Iraq and Syria while creating a Sunni-dominated caliphate. The terrorist group is responsible for “forced religious conversion, forced marriage, sexual assault, and slavery,” according to Human Rights Watch. Escaped detainees have reported more than 1,000 unlawfully-imprisoned people. Read more.
Syria: A former Syrian military officer who documented detainee deaths during the 2011 Arab Spring has smuggled out 27,000 photos and presented them to the U.S. State Department. The photos, which provide evidence to charge the Assad regime with war crimes, show “emaciated, bruised and burned bodies of Syrian torture victims…” Some of the photos are currently on display at the U.S. Holocaust Museum. Read more.