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Mar 16, 2015

U.N. expert to probe conditions of North Korean workers abroad

GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.N. human rights investigator for North Korea said on Monday that he would probe allegations of an estimated 20,000 North Koreans working in slave-like conditions abroad, mainly in China, Russia and the Middle East.

Marzuki Darusman, U.N. special rapporteur on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), told Reuters that some of the North Korean workers are reported to be in Qatar helping build facilities for the 2022 World Cup.

Mar 16, 2015

UN rights envoy hopes nuclear deal would spark reforms in Iran

GENEVA, March 16 (Reuters) – Repression of Iranian women and
activists has worsened under President Hassan Rouhani despite
his reformist agenda, but Iran could act to improve its record
if it clinches a nuclear deal with major powers, a U.N. rights
investigator said on Monday.

Some 252 people have been executed in Iran already this
year, on top of 753 executions throughout last year that was the
highest annual figure since 2002, according to Ahmed Shaheed,
the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Iran.

Mar 16, 2015

U.N. rights envoy for Iran hopes for improvement if nuclear deal clinched

GENEVA (Reuters) – Human rights in Iran have worsened under President Hassan Rouhani despite his reformist agenda, but Tehran may take steps to improve its record if a nuclear deal is concluded, the U.N. rights investigator on Iran said on Monday.

More than 200 people have been executed in Iran already this year, in addition to 753 known executions last year, the highest annual figure since 2002, said Ahmed Shaheed, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Iran. About half of the executions are for drug offences.

Mar 13, 2015

Interview: Islamic State-controlled parts Syria, Iraq largely out of reach – Red Cross

GENEVA (Reuters) – The Red Cross has only sporadic access to areas of Iraq and Syria held by Islamic State, despite huge needs of 10 million people living under their control, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday.

Peter Maurer, in an interview marking the start of the fifth year of war in Syria, also voiced hope that a ceasefire can be clinched in Aleppo to allow more aid to be distributed in the shattered country’s second largest city.

Mar 13, 2015

Islamic State-controlled parts of Syria, Iraq largely out of reach: Red Cross

GENEVA (Reuters) – The Red Cross has only sporadic access to areas of Iraq and Syria held by Islamic State, despite huge needs of 10 million people living under their control, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday.

Peter Maurer, in an interview marking the start of the fifth year of war in Syria, also voiced hope that a ceasefire can be clinched in Aleppo to allow more aid to be distributed in the shattered country’s second largest city.

Mar 12, 2015

Syria war criminals will face justice, U.N. rights boss vows

GENEVA (Reuters) – Suspected war criminals in Syria will face justice for gross violations against civilians someday as the evidence against all sides grows, the U.N. human rights chief said on Thursday.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, speaking on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the start of the conflict, denounced the “bloodlust” of Islamic State forces controlling large parts of Syria and Iraq who have beheaded Western hostages and burned alive a Jordanian pilot.

Mar 12, 2015

U.N. rights investigator denounces abuses in Iran

GENEVA, March 12 (Reuters) – A U.N. human rights
investigator called on Iran on Thursday to revoke laws
restricting freedoms of the press and expression, free some 30
detained journalists and bloggers and halt satellite jamming and
blocking of websites.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has failed to create a
freer society since his landslide election on a progressive
platform in 2013 but has urged patience in bringing about
liberalisation, something resisted by the powerful security
services and judiciary.

Mar 11, 2015

U.N. torture investigator accuses U.S. of delaying prison visits

GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.N. torture investigator accused the United States on Wednesday of stalling on his requests to visit its prisons where 80,000 people are in solitary confinement and to interview inmates at Guantanamo on his terms.

Juan Mendez, special rapporteur on torture, has sought for more than two years to enter U.S. prisons, including maximum-security facilities, to check on conditions. U.N. human rights experts have asked to visit Guantanamo since 2004.

Mar 9, 2015

U.N. expert wants North Korea to answer for decades of abductions

GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations human rights investigator recommended an international strategy on Monday to press North Korea to clarify the fate of hundreds of foreign nationals allegedly abducted over decades, mainly from Japan and South Korea.

Marzuki Darusman, an independent expert, laid out the strategy in a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council saying that the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague was “competent for prosecuting these perpetrators”.

Mar 6, 2015

Snowden says he’d like to return to Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) – Edward Snowden has made a public appeal for Switzerland to grant him asylum, saying he would like to return to live in Geneva, where he once worked undercover for the Central Intelligence Agency.

The fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor, wanted by Washington for leaking details of U.S. mass surveillance programs, spoke from Moscow by video link to a Geneva audience after a viewing of “Citizenfour”, an Oscar-winning documentary about his case.