UN: China Being Grilled On Human Rights During Universal Periodic Review

UN: China Being Grilled On Human Rights During Universal Periodic Review

China’s human rights record is facing international scrutiny during the fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, taking place from January 22 to February 2.

This review is a unique opportunity for member states to hold China accountable for its human rights obligations, according to analysts and rights advocates.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a peer-review process under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, where UN Member States assess each other’s human rights records, their fulfilment of human rights obligations and commitments, and provide recommendations to the State under review.

This is China’s fourth appearance before this mechanism. The last one was in November 2018. At the time, countries called out the existence of mass detention camps for Uyghurs a few months after they were revealed by a UN committee.

During China’s 3rd UPR in November 2018, China received 346 recommendations from 150 countries, and accepted 284 of them, with many questionably noted as ‘accepted and already implemented.’

Despite a seemingly high acceptance rate, China broadly rejected recommendations on the rights of Uyghurs and Tibetans, cooperation with the UN and unrestricted UN access to all regions of the country, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, the death penalty and the ratification of international treaties.

Since 2018, mounting human rights abuses have been largely documented by a range of UN human rights bodies.

After the narrow defeat of a resolution calling for a debate on the situation in Xinjiang at the Human Rights Council, in September 2022, the UPR is one of the few spaces left where China’s record can be openly discussed, challenged and scrutinised on the basis of UN information.

This is also the first UPR session since the publication in 2022 of the UN ‘Xinjiang Report’, which found that Beijing’s actions against Uyghurs and other minorities could amount to ‘crimes against humanity’, and which Chinese diplomacy has worked hard to suppress.

In the absence of a UN Human Rights Council debate on the human rights situation in China, the UPR is a rare moment of global scrutiny of the country’s human rights crisis.

After the review, the government will review the recommendations it received, and decide which ones it commits to implement or not. During the June 2024 session of the Human Rights Council, China will have the opportunity to provide further information, and a limited number of governments and NGOs will be able to make comments. The Council will then adopt China’s UPR report.

The Chinese government is expected to implement accepted recommendations until its next UPR in 2029. The government is also encouraged by the UN to report on the status of implementation halfway through, by publishing a ‘mid-term report’; yet, China has never done it for past reviews. (ANI)

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Baloch Leader Questions Canada

Baloch Leader Questions Canada For Not Investigating Murder Of Baloch Activist

The President of Baloch Voice Association (BVA), Munir Mengal on Tuesday questioned the Canadian authorities for not investigating the “mysterious” death of Human rights activist, Karima Baloch and requested them to public the evidence they found in the case.

“To the Canadian government and particularly to the Prime Minister of Canada, we Baloch are looking to your organization and we are asking you please do reinvestigate the case of Karima Baloch and whatever facts your organizations, your authorities, your police has. Please publish that and give us under what circumstances she was killed and who was behind that killing,” Mengal said.

BVA President shared that a document was given to the Canadian government to seek response from them about the update in the case but he said they didn’t get any follow-up from the Canadian authorities.

He added, “We submitted a document to the Canadian embassy and they said that we will contact our government and we will reply you as soon as possible. Unfortunately, approximately three years passed. Till now, we have not received any information from the Canadian authorities when Karima was eliminated. And after that, we saw a statement by the police authorities that there’s no wrong doing in the case of her death.”

Claiming that his organisation has lots of evidence against the Pakistan security force ISI and alleged that ISI is behind the killing of Baloch based Human rights activists.

Mengal further said, “Baloch people, we as an organization, we have a lot of evidences that in such sort of cases there’s the Pakistani secret services that’s called ISI. And she’s very much notorious and she has a lot of experience with respect to this. And there are many cases and incidents that Pakistani security forces ISI has done this sort of killings where their hands are masked.”

Karima Baloch was a Baloch human rights activist and a dissident. She was granted asylum in Canada in 2016. She was found dead after having gone missing in Dec 2020 in Toronto.

She was slated to be buried on January 25, but, before the corpse could be transported from Karachi to Balochistan, Pakistani authorities forcibly took Karima’s body along with her family from the airport to her hometown, Balochwarna reported.

Later, she was buried under Army watch as thousands who came to pay their last respect weren’t allowed near her, the Balochistan Times reported. Prior to her burial, the mobile services were suspended in the district, and Tump and surrounding areas were put under strict lockdown.

Karima’s death sparked protests across Europe and North America as the Baloch diaspora took to the streets in Toronto, Berlin and Netherlands calling on the Canadian government to investigate.

Karima had campaigned vigorously against the disappearances and human rights violations in the troubled Balochistan province of Pakistan. (ANI)

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Wrestlers Justice

Forced To Run From Pillar To Post To Get Justice: Wrestlers

In a petition filed by wrestlers in the Supreme Court seeking registration of FIR against the Wrestlers Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan, said that they are being forced to run from pillar to post to get justice.

“The attitude of the police was shockingly rude towards the complainants and this is a grave injustice and a clear violation of their basic human rights”, stated the wrestlers in the petition.
The petition further stated that the police has taken the complaints and did not even issue a formal receipt of the complaint.

“As per print media, it is in circulation that the accused in fact has been given clean-chit in the matter and the committee report is lying at the Ministry of Sports and despite requests the report is not being made public”, the wrestlers further stated in the petition.

The wrestlers also added that even after being sexually, emotionally, mentally, and physically exploited by the accused and his close aids on numerous occasions, the Petitioners along with other wrestlers mustered up the courage to raise their voices before the appropriate authority against such acts and sat on protest (dharna) at Jantar Mantar seeking appropriate action against the perpetrators.

Pursuant to the same, the Ministry of Sports in the wake of such allegations against the accused person, vide Public Notice dated January 23, 2023, decided to constitute a 5 – member oversight committee to investigate the allegations on the receipt of the complaints received on the behest of the Petitioners.

The oversight committee took note of the allegations, and the statements of the victims were recorded. However, it is distressing to know that despite the committee being formed, no concrete steps have been taken to address this critical issue, the petition said.

“Petitioners are the Women wrestlers of this country who have dedicated their lives to bringing great pride to this nation through their constant hard work and dedication. But unfortunately, these female Olympians are being subjected to sexual harassment by individuals who are taking advantage of their vulnerable positions”, the petitioners said.

The petition said, “The accused person, in this case, is an influential person and is misusing the process of law to evade justice and further manipulating the legal system and obstructing justice.”

Despite filing complaints which ex-facie disclose the commission of a cognizable offence, the Delhi Police in complete disregard of the law laid down by the Constitutional Bench of the top Court has failed to register FIRS against the persons accused, the petition said.

“In spite of the lapse of 3 days i.e., from 21.04.2023 to 24.04.2023, no conclusive action has been taken by the Delhi Police. This clearly depicts a sad state of affairs and a clear violation of human rights. It is the responsibility of the police to ensure the safety of all citizens,” The plea said.

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the wrestler’s plea and issued notice to Delhi Police, asking the police to file a reply to the petition. The Supreme Court will hear the matter on Friday. (ANI)

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Haldwani Railway Land

Freedom Of Religion Doesn’t Include Fundamental Right To Convert Others To A Particular Religion: Centre To SC

The Central government on Monday told the Supreme Court that the right to freedom of religion does not include a fundamental right to convert other people to a particular religion.

It is “cognizant of the gravity and the seriousness” of the issue, said the Centre in its affidavit filed on a PIL claiming that fraudulent and deceitful religious conversion is rampant across the country.
Such issue of conversion shall be “taken up in all seriousness by the Union of India and appropriate steps shall be taken as the Central government is cognizant of the menace”, the Centre said in its affidavit.

“The right to freedom of religion certainly does not include the right to convert an individual through fraud, deception, coercion, allurement or other such means,” it said.

The central government further said that nine States over the course of the years passed enactments seeking to curb this practice. Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Haryana are the States which already have legislation in place on conversion, the affidavit added.

The affidavit stated that “such enactments are necessary for protecting cherished rights of vulnerable sections of the society including women and economically and socially backward classes.”

The right to freedom of religion, and more importantly, the right to the consciousness of all citizens of the country is an extremely cherished and valuable right that ought to be protected by the executive and the legislature, it said.

As the matter came up for hearing, a bench headed by Justice MR Shah said the issue of forced religious conversion is “very serious” and asked the Centre to file a detailed affidavit to make its stand clear.

It asked the Centre to file an affidavit with instructions from the State governments.

The bench has now posted the matter for hearing on December 5.

Earlier, the top court had remarked that forced religious conversion is a “very serious issue” and may affect the “security of the country” along with the freedom of conscience of citizens as far as religion is concerned.

It had said, “It is a very dangerous thing. Everyone has freedom of religion. What is this forceful conversion?”

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay claiming that fraudulent and deceitful religious conversion is rampant across the country, and that the Central government has failed to control its menace.

The plea sought directions to the Law Commission of India to prepare a report and a Bill to control “deceitful religious conversion”.

It further sought a declaration from the Court that fraudulent religious conversion and conversion by intimidation, threatening and through gifts and monetary benefits offends Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Indian Constitution.

The PIL said, “There is not even one district which is free of religious conversion by hook and cook and the carrot and the stick.”

“If such conversions were not checked, Hindus would soon become a minority in India. Thus, the Centre was obligated to enact a country-wide law for the same,” it added.

Earlier, the apex court had dismissed a similar petition filed by Upadhyay. (ANI)

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Afgh: Taliban Publicly Flogs Boy, Girl For Having Pre-Marital Affair

The Taliban authorities in Bamyan province on Friday publicly flogged a boy and a girl for having a pre-marital affair, Khaama Press reported citing local sources.

Earlier, a local court in Bamyan province in Afghanistan had ordered public flogging on November 17.
Arezoo and Mohammad Essa have been sentenced to thirty-nine public floggings as they were allegedly in love and had a premarital affair. According to Khaama Press, around 1,000 people witnessed when the couple was being publically punished.

The couple had traveled to Bamyan for casual reasons when they were forcefully detained by Taliban officials.

Taliban Supremo Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada previously in a meeting with court judges said that they must not hesitate in giving Hadd and Qisas punishments as per Islamic law, according to Khaama Press.

Hadd crimes are punishable by death or amputation of limbs and other harsh punishments and Qisas are ruled as per the eye for an eye law of retributive justice.

Since the Taliban’s hostile takeover of Afghanistan, similar incidents have been happening frequently.

A similar incident happened in the Ghor province of Afghanistan. A girl had committed suicide just before the Taliban had planned to publicly stone the woman on October 16 as she had been found guilty of running away from home with a man. The man whom she had run away with was executed on October 13 this year.

Not only this, human rights situation in Afghanistan has also deteriorated. Prior to this, Mahmood Shah Habibi, the former Afghan Aviation Authority Chief had recently traveled to Afghanistan and is missing since August 10 this year.

After the Taliban’s hostile takeover, the social and economic status of the country’s girls has also deteriorated.

The report, titled Breaking point: Life for children one year since the Taliban takeover, shows that 97 percent of families are struggling to provide enough food for their children and that girls are eating less than boys. (ANI)

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Afghan Supreme Leader Orders

Afghan Supreme Leader Orders Full Enforcement Of Islamic law

Amid the growing concern over the human rights situation in Afghanistan, Taliban supreme leader Mawlawi Hebatullah Akhundzada, has ordered judges to fully implement Islamic law.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the command from Haibatullah Akhundzada came after the leader met with a group of judges.
“Alaiqadar Amirul Momineen in a meeting of judges: Investigate the cases of thieves, kidnappers, and seditionists. Those cases that have met all the Shariah conditions of limitation and retribution, you are obliged to issue the limitation and retribution, because this is the order of the Sharia and my order and it is obligatory to act,” Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted on Sunday.

A Taliban spokesperson said the order of the leader of the Islamic Emirate will be implemented throughout the country. “Those who are involved in murder, kidnapping, and theft must be punished for their actions,” Taliban spokesperson Yousef Ahmadi told TOLOnews.

The Afghan news agency said this is the first time the Taliban leader issued a formal order to fully implement all aspects of Islamic law throughout the country since the Islamic group came to power.

The Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021 and imposed policies severely restricting basic rights–particularly those of women and girls, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The Taliban have dismissed all women from leadership posts in the civil service and prohibited girls in most provinces from attending secondary school. Taliban decrees prohibit women from traveling unless accompanied by a male relative and require women’s faces to be covered in public–including women TV newscasters.

The Taliban have censored broad, limiting critical reporting, and detained and beaten journalists.

According to rights groups, Taliban forces have carried out revenge killings and enforced disappearances of former government officials and security force personnel. They have summarily executed people deemed affiliated with the Islamic State. (ANI)

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Mehbooba Alleges House Arrest, Police Says She Is Free To Travel

Amid Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday claimed that she was under house arrest and was prevented from attending a wedding in Pattan town in the Baramulla district. Srinagar Police, however, refuted the allegation.

“While HM is going around Kashmir beating drums of normalcy, I am under house arrest for simply wanting to visit Pattan for a worker’s wedding. If an ex-CM’s fundamental rights can be suspended so easily, one can’t even imagine the plight of a commoner,” Mufti wrote on Twitter.

Responding to Mehbooba Mufti’s tweet, Srinagar Police posted on its Twitter handle: “It is clarified that no restriction of any kind travel to Pattan, travel to Pattan was at 1 pm as intimated to us. The picture tweeted by her is of the inside of the gate with its own lock of residents who stay in the bungalow. There is no lock or any restrictions. She is free to travel.”

Mehbooba Mufti then responded with the tweet, “I was informed last night by SP Baramulla Rayees Mohammad Bhat that I wouldn’t be allowed to travel to Pattan. Today Jammu and Kashmir police have themselves locked my gates from inside & are now lying through their teeth. Sad that law enforcement agencies are brazenly trying to cover up their tracks.”

Amit Shah arrived in Jammu on Tuesday and offered prayers at the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Katra.

This is the second visit by Amit Shah to Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 by the Modi government in August 2019.

Meanwhile, Shah met people from different communities including Gujjar-Bakarwal, Rajput, Pahari, and Jammu Sikh Community on Tuesday.

On the second day of his visit today (October 5) Shah held a meeting with senior officials to review the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir. (ANI)

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Support Punjab Farmers Protesting Against Central Laws

‘Films To Farms, It Has Been A Strong Learning Curve’

Monica Gill (32), an American model, actress and beauty pageant title holder left her flourishing career in glamour world to support Punjab farmers protesting against central laws

I started off my career in modelling at a very young age. I took a break during college years and after that I re-joined pageantry. I won Miss India Massachusetts, Miss India USA in 2013, and Miss India Worldwide 2014 after which I was picked up by Tips Industries to do Punjabi films.

I did Ambarsariya opposite Diljit Dosanjh, Kaptaan with Gippy Grewal. I made my Hindi film debut with the film Firangi. I then did Sat Shri Akaal England with Ammy Virk. My second Hindi film was a J P Dutta movie titled Paltan opposite Harshvardhan Rane. My last Punjabi film was Punjabi-language period drama Yaara Ve in 2019.

It was on the spur of an emotional moment that I decided to drop behind tinsel world and took up the cause of Punjab farmers battling against implementation of new Agri Laws. The single most important thing that led me to this decision was my grandma and her reaction. The farmers’ protests started in June in Punjab and was going on for a while before the farmers moved to Delhi and pitched makeshift tents on various state borders.

When in November they moved from Punjab through Haryana towards Delhi, they faced unprecedented police and paramilitary brutality. Such was the intensity of police force that for my grandma it brought forth deep traumas within her from 1947, and from 1984, when Sikhs had faced largescale massacres. I knew that we had to win this battle for her; for those traumas heal. Otherwise she was going to die with this burden: “Is this world safe for my grandchildren?”

Once active in the glamour industry, Gill has found fulfilment in the field of human rights

I wanted her to know that this isn’t the same world that it was in 1947 or in 1984. This world is a better place. Yes, as Sikhs we are minorities but we are not helpless. We have people in so many powerful positions across the world that we can make a difference, and that is exactly what happened and I am grateful for that.

Leaving behind camera flashbulbs, I joined the Sikh Human Rights Group, an NGO with special consultative status at the UN. It has been a strong learning curve. I struggle at times because I am not an academic. I am not someone who come from a different background but my boss is quite patient with me and for that I am grateful. I have found a sense of peace working in the field of Human Rights. It is extremely fulfilling.

ALSO READ: Farm Laws – Winners, Losers and Future

I consider myself lucky to have found this organisation which was willing to take me and give me a chance to learn and give me an opportunity to fight for my community. My family was supportive of me in making this career switch and I hope to stay in this field for a while.

My mantra in life is: your voice matters, you matter. If it wasn’t for the diaspora and the youth waking up, the voice of the Indian farmers wouldn’t have gone as loud as it did. One of my friends says that there is a Pakistan Punjab and there is an India Punjab but there is a third Punjab that lives throughout the world. And when Punjab is in turmoil that third Punjab rises up. And that voice cannot be shut down.

That is what the Indian government didn’t understand. That third Punjab stood up and it was beautiful to see. So to all the youngsters reading this I just want to say: You matter, your voice matters. Rise up, speak up and create chaos.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan)

Watch – Joginder Ugrahan Denies Discord With Other Unions

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) leader, in an interaction with LokMarg, has denied news reports that several farmer unions have distanced themselves from Ugrahan faction after it raised human rights issues at their protest site. The farmer leader also refuted Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s claim that an agreement with farmers was in sight. “There is a deadlock,” Ugrahan says firmly. “The talks have reached a stalemate. I have no idea where is Tomar’s solution in sight.”

He also explained how human rights issues are in cohesion with a farmer’s rights, a writer’s right and a poor man’s right to protest.

Watch the detailed conversation here: