In the News

News Update

Published September 18, 2014

by Chelsea Matson, News and Policy Associate

Greece: The Greek Parliament approved a bill last week to criminalize the denial of the Holocaust, Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian genocides. The new law also punishes those who incite violence based on race, religion, or ethnicity. The punishment is 30,000 euros for inciting violence or three years in prison for a hate crime. Read More

The Hague: The International Criminal Court has rejected former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo’s appeal to dismiss charges of crimes against humanity. Violence erupted over Gbagbo’s electoral defeat and 3,000 Ivorians died at the end of Gbagbo’s term. No date has been set for the trial to begin. Read More

Libya: Human Rights Watch is accusing both rival Libyan militias of war crimes during the violence that tore the country apart this summer. HRW cites examples of detaining civilians, firing on civilian areas, burning homes, and issuing death threats. The country has devolved into civil war, with a self-proclaimed legislative body in Tripoli and the internationally recognized Parliament retreating to a city close to the Egyptian border. Read More

Somalia: Human Rights Watch reports that African Union troops have sexually abused or exploited 21 female Internally Displaced Persons since 2013. Five victims were under the age of 18, with the youngest a 12-year old girl. The incidents happened at bases in Mogadishu, and only two out of the 21 females have filed reports with Somali authorities. Read More

South Africa: A South African court sentenced four men, one Rwandan and three Tanzanians, to eight years in prison for the attempted murder of a former Rwandan general in 2010. The general accuses Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame of orchestrating two attempts on his life, as well as the murder of his friend and former colleague, Col. Patrick Karegeya. Both men fled to South Africa after falling out with the president in 2010. Read More

Sri Lanka:  The United Nations High Commission on Refugees is asking the Sri Lankan government to stop the arrest, detention, and deportation of asylum-seekers in the country. Since the beginning of September, 328 refugees have been arrested and detained, with 183 of  them being deported back to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Read More

Sudan: The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Darfur rebel leader Abdallah Banda. Banda stands accused of war crimes for his involvement in an attack on African Union peacekeepers in 2007, leaving 12 dead. His trial is set to begin November 18; the court issued the arrest warrant because they believe Banda will not voluntarily attend the trial. Read More

Thailand: Two human rights groups, Amnesty International and Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), are accusing the Thai government of torture in the early days of the regime. Since the coup in May, at least 14 people were tortured while being detained on weapons charges. TLHR had planned on presenting their findings to the public on September 2, but the Thai military pressured the group to cancel the event, directing all inquiries of torture allegations to interior ministry. Read More On September 9, Human Rights Watch reported that opposition supporter, Kittisak Soomsri, had been arrested four days earlier in Bangkok. A few days after the arrest, his family received a phone call confirming that Soomsri had been arrested under martial law and would be released after seven days if the family remained quiet. Read More


Legislative Update

Published September 18, 2014

By Chelsea Matson, News and Policy Associate

Human Trafficking

H.R.5411: To provide for the development and dissemination of evidence-based best practices for health care professionals to recognize victims of a severe form of trafficking and respond to such individuals appropriately, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] (introduced 9/8/2014)

Latest Major Action: 9/8/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.



H.R.5430: To direct the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, to establish processes for certain aliens located in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, or Syria to apply for admission to the United States as refugees, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Vargas, Juan [CA-51] (introduced 9/9/2014)

Cosponsors: Rep Castro, Joaquin [TX-20] – 9/10/2014
Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3] – 9/10/2014
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] – 9/10/2014
Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-50] – 9/10/2014
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-17] – 9/9/2014

Latest Major Action: 9/9/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.