In Syria, thousands of troops are assaulting the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour where the government claims 120 of its soldiers and police were killed last week. Leaving aside exactly how they died, the government in Damascus is making it lethally clear that in future its opponents, peaceful opponents or not, will be treated as if they were armed gunmen. An extraordinary aspect of the Syrian uprisings is that people go on Read more…
27 May 2011 – The United Nations human rights office today voiced alarm at the escalating violence in Yemen, which it said may push the country to the brink of civil war, and called on the Government to stop its deadly crackdown.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it is trying to confirm reports it has received of dozens of civilian casualties, including women and children, in the fighting over the past few days, as well as reports of shelling by Government troops in residential areas.
The death toll has reportedly approached 100 since fighting began Monday after Yemen’s President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, refused for a third time to sign a deal to transfer power amid the pro-democracy protests that began earlier this year.
“The dangerous escalation of violence in Yemen over the past few days is very Read more…
The deadly clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo, in Egypt and unrest in Tunis region, spark fears of renewed sectarian violence in Egypt, and insecurity in Tunisia. In Egypt, a religious leader warns against a “civil war”, while police is accused of inaction.
- The Egyptian government has promised to use all available legislative arsenals to prevent further clashes after those in the neighbourhood of Imbaba Saturday night having made 12 dead and 232 wounded.
- On Monday, the press was concerned about an expansion of violence: “The fire of religious fanaticism threatens Egypt,” headlined the daily Al-Ahram, while the independent Al-Masri al-Yom emphasized: “extremism burns the revolution.”
- Newspapers and the power blamed the “cons-revolutionaries” and “extremists” for the violence orchestrated by these followers of former President Hosni Mubarak ousted Feb. 11 by a popular revolt. The army has provided since the country’s leadership.
- Quoted by Al-Masri al-Yom, Mufti Ali Gomaa, one of the highest Muslim authorities in Egypt, has warned against “a possible Read more…
CASABLANCA, Morocco, Apr. 24, 2011 (Reuters) — Thousands took to the streets of Morocco on Sunday in peaceful demonstrations to demand sweeping reforms and an end to political detention, the third day of mass protests since they began in February.
Desperate to avoid the turmoil that toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, authorities have already announced some changes to placate demands that King Mohammed cede more powers and limit the monarchy’s extensive business influence.
Some 10,000 people joined the protest in Casablanca, the largest city in one of the West’s staunchest Arab allies. Marchers in the capital Rabat also denounced corruption and torture as well as unemployment, very high among youths.
Policing has been low-key for protests by the February 20 Movement, named after the date of its first march, particularly compared to the turmoil elsewhere in North Africa.
“This is more about the young ones than it is about us,” said Redouane Mellouk, who had brought his 8 year-old son Mohamed Amine, carrying a placard demanding “A New Morocco.”
“Our parents could not talk to us about political issues. They were too afraid. This must change,” said Mellouk.
Although levels of popular anger have risen, ratings agencies assess Morocco as the country in the region least likely to become embroiled in the type of unrest that toppled Tunisian and Egyptian regimes and led to the conflict in Libya.
In Rabat, several thousand people marched through poor districts with high levels of unemployment and away from the center, where the previous monthly demonstrations have been held. There was no sign of trouble.
A 74 year-old man in Casablanca who gave his name only as Ahmed said Morocco’s youths were right to protest. Read more…
An eyewitness describing to Amnesty International an attack on a protest camp in Sana’a on 18 March 2011 which reportedly left 52 people dead.
The first few months of 2011 have seen a rapid deterioration in the human rights situation in Yemen. The most shocking manifestation of this has been the brutal repression of protests calling for reform, and increasingly for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down, fuelled by frustration at corruption, unemployment and repression of freedoms in the country and partly inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt. Scores of protesters have been killed and hundreds injured after security forces have repeatedly used live ammunition to break up demonstrations.
The response of the authorities has been woefully inadequate. While investigations have been announced into some of the killings, they inspire little confidence. In some cases, almost no details have been made public about the nature and scope of the investigation. In others, information revealed about the nature of the investigating body raises serious questions about its ability to conduct thorough, independent and impartial investigations. As far as Amnesty International is aware, the judicial authorities have launched only one investigation – into the killings of protesters on 18 March. No judicial proceedings against members of the security forces are known to have been opened.
The track record of the authorities in investigating allegations of serious human rights violations by the security forces is very poor. Crucially, they have failed to adequately investigate reports of massive violations committed in the context of the unrest in the south Read more…
As we watch the Egyptian government concede to the demands of their citizens and closely follow the unraveling of the North African governments, one must acknowledge the millions of youth who are courageously going against the grain by breaking down social and political barriers. The global disenfranchisement of youth in underserved communities is creating a perfect storm for additional revolutions to occur around the world.
As a South African, I wonder how South Africa’s leadership might respond if it were to reach a similar tipping point with its disenfranchised youth — where conservative estimates tell us that more than half of South Africans under the age of 25 are unemployed. I do believe it would be foolish for South African leaders to think that these unemployed and disconnected youth may not one day ignite a revolution.
As signs of discontentment emerge at Read more…