2022-11-29

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Good News on Conflict Kids – Daily Brief – Human Rights Watch

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Every weekday, get the world’s top human rights news, explored and explained by Andrew Stroehlein. See today’s issue on this page.
In today’s Daily Brief: Kids Freed from Detention in Syria Thriving Back Home India’s Long List of Problems Communist Killings in the Philippines Take Note Weekend Protests: Iran, France Quote of the Day: Colorado
Here’s the good news: children who had been trapped in squalid detention camps in northeast Syria for years are now thriving back in their home countries.
It says something wonderful about the resilience of the human spirit generally, and of children’s ability to adapt specifically, that, despite years of suffering in life-threatening conditions, the children of ISIS suspects and their families are reintegrating into society.
A new report looks at the stories of some 100 kids saved from soul-destroying stagnation in Syrian camps and brought home in recent years to France, Germany, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan.
They’ve gone from situations where they had almost nothing – insufficient water, no fresh food, no health care, and little or no access to education – to normal lives, playing football, skating, cycling, and dancing. Our research and an accompanying survey show they are adjusting positively, making new friends, and performing well in school.
Their stories are inspirational, but their success needs to inspire governments to act further.
Because here’s the bad news: some 56,000 people, nearly all women and children, are still detained in al-Hol and Roj, two locked camps in northeast Syria. These are primarily the wives and kids of male ISIS suspects.
More than 18,000 are from Syria, approximately 28,000 from neighboring Iraq, and more than 10,000 are from about 60 other countries.
Most were detained in 2019, when regional fighters backed by a US-led military coalition toppled the last remnant of the self-declared ISIS “caliphate” in northeast Syria.
Their detention is clearly unlawful. None of them have been brought before a court to determine the necessity or legality of their detention.
Most importantly, more than 60 percent of them are children – children who, we now know, could be thriving back home instead of languishing in a detention camp.
Over the past five years, India has undergone a serious regression in human rights. 
That’s the key takeaway from the country’s recent “Universal Periodic Review” at the UN Human Rights Council, where 130 member states made 339 recommendations highlighting the most urgent human rights concerns in India.
Under the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government has escalated a crackdown on independent and democratic institutions.
It has been using draconian counterterrorism and national security laws to prosecute and harass human rights activists, journalists, students, government critics, and peaceful protesters.
Since Modi’s BJP came to power in 2014, it has taken various legislative and other actions that have made it lawful to discriminate (!) against religious minorities, particularly Muslims. Attacks, discrimination, and incitement against religious minorities are increasing.
The long-marginalized Dalit and Adivasi communities have been denied justice and equitable protection.
The Indian government has said that the UN review, “is an important mechanism that India fully supports” and “as the world’s largest democracy, India is committed to the highest standards of human rights.”
If they truly believe this, they need to listen to the many recommendations and take immediate steps to change course.
After a sham trial in a “People’s Court” in the Philippines, three “counter-revolutionaries” were declared “enemies of the people” and given “revolutionary justice.”
The communist jargon was tedious, but the meaning was brutally clear: murder.
Using these words, the communist New People’s Army (NPA) recently executed three men in the central Philippines province of Negros Occidental, citing a range of offences including spying for the Philippine military and rape. The NPA did not provide many details about the trials; just the verdict.
Sadly, this is nothing new in the region. As my colleague and Philippines expert Carlos Conde says, “The New People’s Army has a long history of executing people following trials that don’t meet the most basic standards of fairness.”
They issue sparse information, couched in stale language, to announce their unlawful killings and other abuses that may amount to war crimes.
(compiled by Lisa Maier)
Iran: As protests continue, rights groups are warning of a military crackdown in the Kurdish city Mahabad. The regime also arrested two women actors for not wearing hijabs, as well as the country’s football captain, who spoke out at the World Cup. (DW
France: Protesters highlighted gender-based violence, calling for women’s lives to “no longer be filed away and forgotten about.” (Le Monde, International
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