This Monday, we cover: a record high number of civilian casualties in Kashmir this year; a new UN study showing that more people die due to homicide than war; how neo-Nazis target children online to expand their ranks; and condemnation by the UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, over detention conditions for migrants in the USA.
Civilian casualties in Kashmir likely highest in over a decade, says UN report, noting lack of ‘concrete steps’ by both India and Pakistan
Civilian casualties sustained in both India-Administered Kashmir, and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir for the year up to the end of April, “are believed to be the highest number in over a decade”, according to a new report published by the UN human rights office (OHCHR), on Monday.
The report also notes that “neither India nor Pakistan have taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns” which were outlined in an earlier UN report from last year, said a press release accompanying the OHCHR report.
The report describes how tensions over Kashmir – which rose sharply after a deadly suicide bombing in February, targeting Indian security forces in Pulwama – are continuing to have a severe impact on civilians’ human rights, including the right to life.
Local civil society data indicates that “around 160 civilians were killed in 2018…Last year also registered the highest number of conflict-related casualties since 2008 with 586 people killed, including 267 members of armed groups and 159 security forces personnel.”
The report notes India’s Ministry for Home Affairs has published lower casualty figures, citing 37 civilians, 238 terrorists and 86 security forces personnel killed, in the 11 months up to 2 December 2018.
Of the 160 civilian deaths reported by local organizations, 71 were allegedly killed by Indian security forces, 43 by alleged members of armed groups or by unidentified gunmen, and 29 were reportedly killed due to shelling and firing by Pakistani troops in areas along the Line of Control, said OHCHR.
According to the Government of Pakistan, a further 35 civilians were killed and 135 injured on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control, due to shelling and firing by Indian forces during 2018.
Some 464,000 people across the world were victims of homicidal violence in 2017, more than five times the number killed in armed conflict over the same period, UN researchers said on Monday.
According to a study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Central America is the most dangerous region to live, where the number of homicides – or unlawful killings - rises in some “hotspots”, to 62.1 per 100,000 people.
Neo-Nazi groups actively seek to recruit children online: UN Special Rapporteur
Neo-Nazi ideology is becoming more widespread in Europe and North America, a UN independent rights expert said on Monday, warning that recruitment for hate groups is “predominantly online and often targets children”.
According to a report by Special Rapporteur Tendayi Achiume, in the United States alone since 2014, there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of such organizations, to more than 1,000.
There’s also been a 182 per cent increase in white supremacist propaganda in the US in the last five years, Ms. Achiume said, noting that the typical neo-Nazi or hate group follower, is generally young, white and male.
Conditions in which migrants and refugees are being held in the United States are appalling, said the UN human rights chief on Monday, underscoring that children should never be held in immigration detention, or separated from their families.
“As a pediatrician, but also as a mother and a former head of State, I am deeply shocked that children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities, without access to adequate healthcare or food, and with poor sanitation conditions”, said High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
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‘Beyond reasonable doubt’, international court convicts notorious DR Congo rebel leader of war crimes, crimes against humanity
The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, found former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda guilty “beyond reasonable doubt”, of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the volatile Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), between 2002 and 2003.
The judgement was made during a public hearing in The Hague, Netherlands, after the Chamber reviewed all the evidence submitted during the trial, including documents and eye witness testimony.
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