GENEVA (Reuters) – For the first time, Syrians were the biggest group seeking asylum in industrialized countries last year, as the impact of fighting in the country spread beyond the turbulent region, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.
A record number of asylum requests by Syrians and Russians in 2013 raised the total number received in 44 rich countries to it highest since 2001, the agency said. The total of 612,700 claims rose 28 percent from the year before.
GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States and European Union (EU) accused China on Tuesday of using arrests and harassment to silence human rights activists, also voicing consternation at the death in custody of a prominent dissident.
During the debate at the U.N. Human Rights Council, China’s delegation responded that Cao Shunli had died in hospital last week of tuberculosis and that the Chinese people enjoyed the right to freedom of expression.
GENEVA (Reuters) – U.N. investigators said on Tuesday they had expanded their list of suspected war criminals from both sides in Syria’s civil war and the evidence was solid enough to prepare any indictment.
The U.N. inquiry has identified individuals, military units and security agencies as well as insurgent groups suspected of committing abuses such as torture and bombing civilian areas, it said in its report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations human rights investigators have added to their list of suspected war criminals from both sides in the Syrian civil war after a new round of atrocities in recent weeks, its head said on Tuesday.
The U.N. inquiry has identified military units and security agencies as well as insurgent groups suspected of committing abuses, Paulo Pinheiro told the Human Rights Council.
GENEVA (Reuters) – China dismissed a U.N. report alleging North Korea has committed crimes against humanity, effectively confirming the fears of human rights advocates that Beijing will shield its ally Pyongyang from international prosecution.
The report, published in February, accused the reclusive country of mass killings and torture comparable to Nazi-era atrocities and said officials, possibly even Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un himself, should face the International Criminal Court (ICC).
GENEVA (Reuters) – Western and Asian powers will begin pressing this week for North Korea to be held liable for crimes against humanity documented in a United Nations report, but concede that their chances of influencing the isolated country are slim.
North Korean security chiefs and possibly even Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un should face international justice for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings comparable with Nazi-era atrocities, U.N. investigators said last month.
GENEVA, March 14 (Reuters) – President Hassan Rouhani has
made only “baby steps” to improve human rights in Iran where
forces loyal to the supreme leader are “working to suppress the
rights of people,” a United Nations investigator said on Friday.
Ahmed Shaheed, U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in
Iran, said the country was holding almost 900 political
prisoners, “including people persecuted for religious
activities, lawyers and journalists.”
GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations human rights watchdog called on the United States on Thursday to release a report on a Bush-era interrogation program at the heart of a dispute between the CIA and a Senate panel.
Critics, including experts on the U.N. civil and political rights panel, say the CIA program set up after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States included harsh interrogation methods that constituted torture banned by international law.
GENEVA (Reuters) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has failed to fulfil campaign promises to allow greater freedom of expression and there has been a sharp rise in executions since his election, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday.
Rouhani, who won a landslide in June, led Iran to an initial nuclear deal with world powers. But, perhaps wary of further antagonizing powerful hardliners, he has not made significant reforms at home that moderate voters had hoped for.
GENEVA, March 10 (Reuters) – Three northeastern provinces of
Syria face an “alarming” food crisis, although access to relieve
the impact of civil war has improved somewhat elsewhere, a U.N.
aid agency said on Monday.
Western powers and U.N. human rights investigators have
accused the Syrian government of a policy of “starvation until
submission” to punish tens of thousands of civilians in
rebel-held areas. Opposition forces are besieging two Shi’ite
Muslim villages with a total of 45,000 people in Aleppo