Friday, 3 June 2011

A Human Rights Catastrophe in the Middle East

 

Syria

Yemen:

At least 20 protesters were killed and many others wounded, many with live rounds, in security gunfire and crackdown on protesters in Taiz, southern Yemen, on Sunday.

Republican Guard forces and plainclothes gunmen shot at protesters, who staged a sit-in outside Al-Cahira Directorate and demanded the release of some detained colleagues. Three protesters was killed and scores were wounded.

More 17 protesters were also killed and at least 200 others wounded, 37 with live bullets, when Republican Guards forces, Central Security Forces and plainclothes gunmen violently stormed al-Horiya Square where protesters stay since three months. Live bullets, armored military vehicles and trucks used in the attack that lasted 10 hours, eyewitnesses told News Yemen.

Bahrain:

A teacher in Hamad Town said she and 25 colleagues were hauled out of their school one morning last week by women police who came in two buses.

“They asked us if we went to the roundabout, did we want to bring down the government, and they hinted that they would abuse us sexually once we arrived at the station,” the teacher said.

“They made us sing the national anthem and say ‘the people want Khalifa bin Salman’,” the powerful prime minister of 42 years who is seen as a hardliner in the ruling family.

In the local police station some of the women faced sexual harrassment, the teacher said. “They sexually harrased most of us, but there are things I can’t say that they did,” she said.

“Some teachers never went to the roundabout but had to admit that they did. I was there and admitted that I was, but they wanted me to say I had got a mut’a marriage,” she said, referring to a Shi’ite form of temporary marriage.

“They said ‘Your loyalty is to Iran, let Iran take care of you’. They called us Zoroastrians and said we teach prostitution.”

Libya:

The Commission received accounts indicating that minors have been subject to sexual assault in Misrata, Ajdabiya and Ras Lanuf. Several sources, for instance, spoke about a
10 year old girl raped in Misrata by Government forces who was later treated at al Jamahirya Hospital in Benghazi. More speculative information repeated was that members of the Kata’eb were found with condoms and Viagra pills, leading those recounting these occurrences to suggest that troops were given instructions to engage in rape and that they were supplied with both the pills and the condoms.

That’s from page 73 of a UN Human Rights Council report on war crimes in Libya.

It seems almost to cliche to say it, but the Arab Spring is transforming into a very violent summer. For those of us on the side-lines, the least we can do is bear witness and push for accountability and justice.

http://www.undispatch.com/a-human-rights-catastrophe-in-the-middle-east

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