Sunday, February 8, 2009

1st February 2009


  • Democratic Republic of the Congo = General Laurent Nkunda was arrested while on a recent trip to Rwanda. He is wanted for war crimes in Congo, and it is still unclear whether his Rwandadn captord will turn him over to Congolese forces or not. Refugees at camps in Rwanda have called for his release, calling his arrest illegal and citing entrapment. This prompted Rwandan forces to tighten security in the camps. (AT, BBC, 702)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo = There is concern about ongoing military operations to disarm the Rwandan Hutus in Eastern DRC. Rwandan and Congolese militia are forcibly “disarming” FDLR rebels. Rwanda sees this group as THE major threat to its security. These military operations will almost certainly create massive displacement of civilians in North Kivu. (UNHCR)
  • Somalia = There have been explosions and gunfire in Mogadishu, killing at least 5 people. This prompted Parliament to move to Djibouti for their presidential vote, where they extended the time for elections by five days. (AT, DN, BBC)


  • Iran = Two doctors focused on HIV prevention, Dr. Arash Alaei and Dr. Kamiar Alaei, who talk to their clients about sex, along with other methods of infection, were arrested in 2008 and charged with seeking to overthrow the Iranian government. They are currently awaiting a verdict in their case. The World Health Organization, btw, says that their efforts helped to give Iran one of the best HIV prevention programs in the world. (PHR)
    • *TO TAKE ACTION = Sign the online petition to the Government of Iran on behalf of Doctors Arash and Kamiar Alaei HERE.
  • Pakistan = the United States launched 2 airstrikes into Pakistan, with new President Obama’s approval. 20 people were killed, including 3 kiddos. (DN, GUA)
  • Gaza, Palestine = 8 Israeli human rights groups are calling for an investigation into Israel’s use of white phosphorous in its recent 22-day attack on Gaza Strip, accusing the Israeli military of war crimes. The human rights groups calls the number of women and children killed “terrifying” in its enormity. (DN, AI)


  • For a good mini-history lesson, check out John Prendergast’s podcast on the Eastern Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo, that is) for the United States Holocaust Museum. It’s 12 minutes of great background info for those of you who are new to this conflict area.
  • The BBC and SkyNews are refusing to broadcast an Oxfam appeal for Gaza, calling the recent attacks by Israel a “political crisis” and citing fears of being seen as endorsing one side over the other. Why suddenly quash this issue with political rhetoric? C’mon BBC. It seems pretty clear that—from a strictly human rights perspective—an Oxfam appeal certainly makes sense. Gaza’s resources were overstretched before the attacks – now there is even less food, water, and medical supplies available for Gazan civilians. And FYI: The BBC HAS aired politically charged Oxfam appeals before, including one for Darfur. You can find others here.(DN, PRI, BBC)


  • Democratic Republic of the Congo = Tomas Lubanga, a former militia leader in Eastern DRC is being tried at the International Criminal Court, in its first trial ever, for conscription and use of child soldiers. This is being prosecuted exclusively as a war crime for the first time. (AT, DN)

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