UK Lambasts China For Persecution Of Uyghurs, Tibetans

UK Lambasts China For Persecution Of Uyghurs, Tibetans

The United Kingdom on Tuesday severly criticised China for the persecution, arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and Tibetans and asked Beijing to “guarantee an impartial judiciary” and implement measures to allow genuine freedom of religion without fear of surveillance and torture.

Simon Manley, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has delivered a set of four strong recommendations to China targeting various aspects of human rights violations, urging China to address key concerns.

Manley called to “cease the persecution, arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and Tibetans.”

He also urged China to “allow genuine freedom of religion or belief and cultural expression, without fear of surveillance, torture, forced labour or sexual violence and implement OHCHR recommendations on Xinjiang.”

The UK strongly called for the repeal of China’s national security law in Hong Kong, aligning with UN suggestions. Manley specifically called for the cessation of prosecutions, including that of media tycoon Jimmy Lai.

“Repeal the law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong as recommended by the UN and cease prosecutions including of Jimmy Lai,” he said, giving recommendations to China.

The UK representative also called for a “guarantee of an impartial judiciary,” demanding an end to “harassment of lawyers, the use of the death penalty, and residential surveillance in designated locations.”

UK’s Manley urged China to lift “restrictions on civil society and independent media,” while also calling for an immediate halt to forced repatriations and the cessation of targeting human rights defenders.

“Cease the restrictions of civil society and independent media and forced repatriations and stop targetting human rights defenders,” he also said.

A recent report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has shed light on a troubling pattern in China, where nearly half of the journalists imprisoned in 2023 were identified as Uyghurs.

As many as 44 journalists are in jail and about half of them are Uyghurs. This shows Beijing’s poor press freedom record and its human rights abuses against the majority-Muslim ethnic group, report added.

The data, offering a global overview of journalists incarcerated for their work as of December 1, paints a concerning picture of press freedom in China, especially concerning its treatment of the majority-Muslim ethnic group.

Notably, 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.

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.

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. (ANI)

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Rajnath Singh

Rajnath To Visit UK To Discuss Defence Issues

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will embark on a two-day visit to the United Kingdom on January 8, 2024 and will discuss bilateral issues with his counterpart Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in an official press release on Sunday.

The Defence Minister would be accompanied by a high-level Ministry of Defence delegation, comprising senior officials from DRDO, Service Headquarters, the Department of Defence, and the Department of Defence Production.

As per the Ministry, both leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of defence, security and industrial cooperation issues.

Rajnath Singh is also expected to call on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and hold a meeting with Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs David Cameron. He will also interact with the CEOs and industry leaders of the UK defence industry and meet with the Indian community there.

Earlier in November, Rajnath Singh held a telephonic conversation with his British counterpart Grant Shapps and discussed means to bolster closer defence relations as well as the security issues in the Indo-Pacific region.

According to the Defence Ministry, both ministers discussed a range of defence and security issues, with particular emphasis on the Indo-Pacific. They briefly reviewed the ongoing engagements and discussed possible cooperation in new domains.

The two leaders explored ways and means to develop closer defence relations. Grant Shapps also invited Rajnath Singh to visit the UK in the near future.

Singh also congratulated Shapps on his appointment as Secretary of State for Defence.

“Had a telephonic conversation with the UK Secretary of State for Defence Mr Grant Shapps. We discussed a range of defence and security related issues with particular emphasis on the Indo-Pacific,” Rajnath Singh posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Shapps was appointed as the new Defence Secretary of United Kingdom in August, after Ben Wallace resigned from his position.

Notably, India and the UK are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Talks for FTA between India and the UK started in 2022 and the 12th round of negotiations took place from August 8-31 this year.

The India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was launched in 2021 along with the India-UK Roadmap 2030, according to the Ministry of External Affairs. The Roadmap is a commitment to a partnership that delivers for both countries.(ANI)

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US, UK Imposes 3rd Round Of Sanctions On Hamas-Affiliated Individuals, Entities

Taking coordinated action along with the United Kingdom against the Hamas entities following their October 7 attack on Israel, the United States Department of Treasury has imposed a third round of sanctions targeting Hamas-affiliated individuals.

This action identifies important Hamas figures as well as the channels by which Iran backs Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas.

The UK is also coordinating today’s designations in an effort to safeguard the global financial system from potential misuse by Hamas and others who support them.

“The United States will continue to work with our partners, including the UK, to deny Hamas the ability to raise and use funds to carry out its atrocities,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, according to an official press release of US Department of Treasury.

“Hamas’s actions have caused immense suffering and shown that terrorism does not occur in isolation. Together with our partners, we are decisively moving to degrade Hamas’s financial infrastructure, cut them off from outside funding, and block the new funding channels they seek to finance their heinous acts,” she added.

According to US Treasury release, Hamas has been empowered primarily through Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“Iranian support, primarily through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has enabled Hamas’s and PIJ’s terrorist activities to include the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in financial assistance and the furnishing of both weapons and operational training,” the release read.

“Nasser Abu Sharif serves as the PIJ representative to Iran, the group’s primary financier. Iran’s IRGC has trained PIJ fighters to build and develop missiles in Gaza,” it added.

The key Hamas officials that the US release mentions include senior member and co-founder of Hamas, Mahmoud Khaled Zahhar (Zahhar). He has worked closely with Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the organisation, and Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).

“Additionally, Mu’ad Ibrahim Muhammed Rashid al-Atili is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Hamas,” the release read.

All of the above-described designated individuals’ property and interests in property that are in the country or under the custody or control of Americans are blocked as a result of today’s decision and need to be reported to OFAC.

Any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

“In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person,” the US Treasury release stated.

Treasury will not stop providing funds to terrorists and other bad actors, but it will continue to facilitate the flow of legal humanitarian aid that meets the fundamental needs of disadvantaged communities. (ANI)

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Rishi Sunak Suella Braverman

Sunak Sacks Home Secretary Braverman

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has sacked his home secretary Suella Braverman over her sharp criticism of Police amid the ongoing Pro-Palestine rallies in the United Kingdom reported Reuters.

Sunak had been under pressure to get rid of Braverman after her article in the Times UK that criticised the Metroplitan Police for allegedly going soft on ceratin radical elements in Pro-Palestine rallies.

According to Reuters, the UK Home Secretary accused the police of applying a “double standard” to rallies, particularly pro-Palestinian marches, in an opinion piece published before a pro-Palestinian march on Saturday.

Braverman, a likely contender for the Conservative Party’s future leader, had consistently denounced the tens of thousands of demonstrators who have assembled in London since Hamas’s attack on Israel last month. The rallies have been dubbed “hate marches” and “mobs” by Braverman.

Braverman has been long known to make controversial statements for national security, or police, according to Reuters.

On October 10, Braverman issued a warning to police chiefs for displaying Palestinian flags on the streets of the UK. She stated that waving the flag “may not be legitimate” if it is viewed as a show of support for terrorism, according to Anadolu Agency report.

Suella Braverman even provided examples of protest actions that she believed could potentially be considered violations of public order, including targeting Jewish neighbourhoods, waving pro-Palestinian or pro-Hamas symbols, and chanting slogans that could be interpreted as anti-Israeli.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters have marched in London and across the UK, calling for an end to Israel’s attacks on Hamas. Notably, Israel launched a counter-offensive against Hamas after the latter launched an attack on the former on October 7.

On November 11, London saw one of the largest Pro-Palestine marches since the Israel-Hamas conflict began. Thousands of protestors marched from Marble Arch in Hyde Park through the capital down the Vauxhall Bridge Road, and crossed the River Thames en route to the US Embassy on Nine Elms Lane. The march ws in opposition to US President Joe Biden’s unwavering support for the Israeli military’s ground operation in Gaza in response to the Hamas attacks of October 7 that killed 1,400 Israelis and took 200 hostages.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the demonstration had witnessed pro Hamas slogans and anti-Jewish chants, antisemitic banners. (ANI)

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Jai Shankar To Visit UK From Nov 11-15 To Cement Ties

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will travel to the United Kingdom on an official visit from November 11-15, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced in a press release.

During his visit, Jaishankar will hold a meeting with his UK counterpart James Cleverly. He will also meet several other dignitaries.

India and the UK have a “growing bilateral partnership”, the MEA stated in its release, noting that the two countries launched a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2021.

MEA noted in its release, ” India and the UK share a warm and thriving relationship. The India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was launched in 2021 along with the India-UK Roadmap 2030.”

“The Roadmap is a commitment to a partnership that delivers for both the countries. EAM’s visit will give a new impetus to the friendly ties between the two countries,” it added.

Significantly, India and the UK are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement. Talks for FTA between India and the UK started in 2022 and the 12th round of negotiations took place from August 8-31 this year.

Earlier, on November 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart Rishi Sunak discussed the progress on the Free Trade Agreement during a telephone conversation.

Sunak also congratulated PM Modi on Team India’s dazzling performances in the ongoing Cricket World Cup.

“Turning to the friendship between the UK and India, the leaders discussed recent progress on Free Trade Agreement negotiations. They agreed on the importance of securing an ambitious deal that benefitted both sides,” the UK government stated in an official release.

“The leaders discussed the ongoing Cricket World Cup being held in India. The Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Modi on the strong performance of the India team and said he hoped England would have more luck during their test series in India in January,” it added.

PM Modi and Sunak also discussed the conflict in West Asia, especially in the context of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The two leaders condemned Hamas’s attacks on Israel and reiterated that the terror group “did not represent” the Palestinian people.

The two leaders also reflected on the need to de-escalate tensions in the wider region.

PM Sunak underscored the importance of protecting innocent civilians in Gaza and ensuring aid was able to flow into the country, the statement added. (ANI)

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India Glasgow Gurudwara

India Condemns Disgraceful Incident Of Glasgow Gurudwara

India’s High Commission to the United Kingdom on Saturday said it has reported to authorities in the UK the “disgraceful incident” at the Glasgow Gurudwara where elements from outside Scotland “deliberately disrupted” a planned interaction organised for the Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami.

“On September 29, 2023, three persons- all from areas outside Scotland-deliberately disrupted a planned interaction organised by the Gurudwara Committee for the community, the High Commissioner and the Consul General of India. This interaction was to discuss community and consular issues”, the High Commission of India, London said in a statement today.

The High Commission further said that it has reported “this disgraceful incident to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the Metropolitan Police.”

Multiple community organisations including the organisers, comprising senior community leaders, ladies and Committee members and a member of the Scottish Parliament, have formally regretted the incident and have urged the authorities to take action against the culprits, the statement read.

“They were threatened and abused by these elements. In an effort to prevent any potential altercation, the HC and CG decided to leave the premises shortly upon their arrival,” it said.

The Indian Mission also stated that one of the non-local extremist elements attempted to violently force open the High Commissioner’s car door – “a matter that will require suitable police consideration.”

The Indian mission in London also said that due to the quick reaction of one of the organisers, who physically intervened at the car door, “a bigger incident was avoided.”

The statement was released after purported social media videos showed Doraiswami being accosted near the parking area of the gurdwara located on Albert Drive in Glasgow reportedly by pro-Khalistani elements who blocking the Indian envoy from entering the gurudwara.

Government sources earlier today said that India had raised the issue with the United Kingdom foreign office and the police.

“Doraiswami was on Friday stopped by a few radicals from entering a gurdwara in Glasgow. The Indian High Commissioner decided to leave instead of getting into an argument,” the sources had said.

The latest incident comes amid a diplomatic row between India and Canada over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar this June outside a gurudwara in Surrey, British Columbia. (ANI)

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Indian Oxford

First Indian To Head Students’ Union Bares Dark Side Of Oxford Univ

After scripting history by becoming first Indian to be elected as the President of the Oxford Student Union (SU), Rashmi Samant has now come out with a tell-all book, the baring the dark side of an inistution that is spoken of in glowing terms across the world.

In her book, titled ‘A Hindu in Oxford,’ Samant detailed her harrowing experience of being allegedly targeted and singled by her professors at the university, claiming that they questioned her holding the office of president citing her religious and ethnic backgrounds.

To questions about racism that natives often have to experience on foreign shores, Samant said “Bharatiya students” face a lot of discrimination and hatred which is not discussed openly in public and neither are the victims and silent sufferers given any platform to bring their concerns into the public domain.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, she said when she stepped down from her post in February of 2021, the matter would have reached the stage of “conviction” (for the professors she accused of harassment and the university authorities) “if they had not found somebody who looked an Indian to take over (from her)”.

On her successor Avnee Bhutani saying Rashmi didn’t face any discrimination on grounds of her nationality and ethnicity, she said, “Avnee is doing a disservice to the movement (on campus) by playing down the trauma that somebody else has lived through.”

“She has no proof to back her claim. It was an act to defame me and to play down the seriousness of racism abroad for ulterior motives. During the British era also we saw a lot of people from Bharitya origin who used to defend the British as it was something positive for the Indian people. All they are doing is lying and lapping up to the expectations of the British,” she said.

Asked if Indians in the UK could look forward to a brighter future, sans racism, with an Indian-origin Prime Minister in Rishi Sunak at the helm, she said, “Our people are fighters and Sunak, too, became the Prime Minister after overcoming serious odds. However, he earned the respect and trust of fellow politicians and world leaders and is now working to take the country forward with full support of the people.”

“Our people are treated very badly and are always discriminated against. We never take it as an excuse not to excel. We do not cry. We do not become crybabies. Instead, we fight it and give it back to their face,” she said.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising or enhancing India’s global position and prestige through his leadership, Rashmi heaped praise on him for making the African Union a permanent member of the G20 at the recent summmit in the national capital, New Delhi.

She said PM Modi has stepped up to being a global leader by giving countries that are seldom spoken of the recognition they truly deserve.

“Finally, we have a seat with the Western countries. America and the UK respect us, Canada fears us, and we have great relations with Europe. What we often neglect to see is how Modi ji has also brought the African Union. That is the mark of a true leader who is willing to uplift so many. We should take pride in that we took G20 to G21,” she said.

On whether she will consider joining politics, she said service holds utmost importance in her life and she would be happy to serve people in any role.

“I don’t mind doing it in any way, being an author, commentator, writing about it, speaking about it. That is of utmost importance for me,” she added. (ANI)

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Twinkle Akshay Sunak

Twinkle, Akshay Pose With Sunak In London

Power couple Twinkle Khanna and Akshay Kumar met UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during their London visit.

Twinkle took to Instagram on Wednesday to post a video of their visit to London. She captioned the post, “As much as I dislike wearing heels and dressing up, this evening was worth all the damaged toes. @sudha_murthy_official remains my hero, but it was pretty cool meeting her son-in-law, the prime minister 🙂 @rishisunakmp Also put the sound on and hear @andreabocelliofficial Congratulations @anusuya12 and”

The video starts with a performance of Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli at an event.

At the end of the video Twinkle and Akshay can be seen posing with UK PM Rishi Sunak.

Akshay and UK PM Sunak chose a formal suit while, Twinkle wore a white dress with a leopard design jacket.

Earlier this month, Rishi Sunak along with his wife Akshata Murty arrived in New Delhi to attend the G20 Summit hosted by India under its Presidency. He along with his wife also offered prayers at Akshardham Temple in New Delhi during the visit.

Meanwhile, on the work front, Akshay will be seen in the drama film ‘Mission Raniganj: The Great Bharat Rescue’.

Apart from this, Akshay will also be seen in the Hindi remake of the Tamil drama ‘Soorarai Pottru’ which is all set to hit the theatres on February 16, 2024.

He also has an action thriller film ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ alongside Tiger Shroff and a comedy film ‘Housefull 5’ in his kitty. (ANI)

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Sunak India G20

Sunak Calls India Visit For G20 Important

As the G20 Summit culminates, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calls the visit to India “important” and shared some glimpses of his two-day visit on social media. 

Sharing the video on his social media ‘X’, he stated, “An important trip to India for the G20, delivering for the UK on the world stage.”

In the video message, he highlighted Russian President Putin’s absence in the G20 Summit, and said that “Isolation is the policy that Vladimir Putin has chosen.” 

“Global issues matter. They impact all of us. We saw that during Covid and we have seen the devastating consequences of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, both on the Ukrainian people and the rise in global energy prices. But we are under no illusion these issues can’t be solved in isolation. Isolation is the policy that Vladimir Putin has chosen, ripping up the Black Sea Grain Deal, which has provided a lifeline for millions,” the message said. 

Along with the videos of his meeting PM Modi, he added that although Putin was not there at the G20 to face the world but we were there to address some of the biggest issues in the world. 

“Putin wasn’t at the G20 to face the world. But we were, working with our allies, our partners from around the world to address some of the biggest challenges that we face. Stabilising the global economy, isolating Putin and strengthening our international relationships. And by doing that, delivering the jobs, growth and security that the British public rightly expect from their Prime Minister,” he added in the video. 

The video shared on his social media also showed the moments of joy he shared with other world leaders. He further shared a glimpse of his meetings held with global leaders. 

Sunak departed on Sunday after attending a successful G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi. 

Sunak who arrived in the national capital on Friday, accompanied by wife Akshata Murty also offered prayers at the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham temple before paying his respects to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

Earlier on Friday, Sunak had in an interaction with ANI called himself “a proud Hindu” and said he wished to visit the Mandir during his stay in the capital.

During the G20 Summit, the UK PM has called on leaders to work together ahead of the COP28 Summit this December to both reduce their countries’ own carbon emissions and support vulnerable economies to deal with the consequences of climate change.

The UK has led international efforts to help developing countries tackle climate change, including by pledging to spend 11.6 billion pounds on international climate finance between 2021 and 2026.

In a significant announcement, the UK PM also announced a USD 2 billion to the UN-backed Green Climate Fund – the biggest single funding commitment the UK has made to help the world tackle climate change. (ANI) 

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Iran Israel Rishi

Moon Mission, G20, Cricket WC…Great Year For India: Sunak

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday said 2023 is shaping up to be a great year for India, with the Moon mission, G20 and the cricket World Cup.

“In India, just this year, the moon mission, what an extraordinary success, this G20, which is going to be a huge success and, of course, the Cricket World Cup to come as well. So this is shaping up to be a great year for India,” the British Prime Minister said.

Sunak added that this demonstrates India’s place on the global stage and its importance to geopolitics. “I know everyone here will be incredibly proud of the year that India is having,” he said.

Meanwhile, on his arrival in India on Friday, the UK PM met students and staff at the British Council in Delhi.

Sunak said India’s youth represent its future and India’s trajectory over the coming years and decades inspires confidence.

“The schoolchildren I spent time with today, with Akshata, are so bright, so confident. They are going to ensure that India has an incredibly important role to play in world affairs for years to come. Because their energy, their confidence, their intelligence is fantastic. And it’s an inspiration to see,” the British PM said.

Taking to his official handle on X, Sunak posted, “Before meeting the world leaders of today I’ve been meeting with the world leaders of tomorrow. It’s been fantastic to visit students and staff here at @inBritish- a reflection of the living bridge that exists between the UK and India.”

He further called the little ones “a living bridge between the UK and India”. 

Rishi Sunak arrived for his maiden India visit on Friday to attend the G20 Summit scheduled to be held in New Delhi on September 9 and 10. He was received by Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ashwini Choubey.

On his arrival at the national capital, the British PM said the G20 has been a huge success for India and it is the “right country at the right time to be hosting this”.

The UK PM said that he will make sure that the G20, under India’s presidency, achieves success.

“G20 has been a huge success for India. India is the right country at the right time to be hosting this.I feel we are going to have a very good couple of days of deliberations and decisions made,” the British Prime Minister said, adding that the coming two days will witness hectic deliberations.

Referring to the theme of the 18th G20 Summit, ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, UK PM said, “I think it’s a great theme. I am an example of the incredible living bridge that Prime Minister Modi described between UK and India.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a bilateral meeting with Sunak on Friday, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, sources said. (ANI)

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