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Weekly update: 26 June – 3 July 2023

The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 26 June to 3 July 2023.


Guernica 37 will provide weekly media updates from the International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, European Union and other sources. Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Ned Vucijak at nenadv@guernica37.com for consideration.



WORLD - 29 JUNE 2023

HRW, ‘Cluster Munitions and the Impact of International Law’


‘Over the past year, cluster munitions—weapons banned by a majority of the world’s countries—have killed or injured hundreds of civilians in Ukraine. Their use, which began the first day of Russia’s full-scale invasion, is also creating a deadly legacy of explosive remnants that will endanger the local population for months and even years to come. Russian armed forces are responsible for the vast majority of attacks with cluster munitions, but Ukrainian forces appear to have used them several times.


Cluster munitions are large weapons that contain dozens or hundreds of smaller weapons known as submunitions and do not discriminate between soldiers and civilians. They harm civilians at the time of an attack, particularly when used in populated areas, because their submunitions spread over a wide area. To make matters worse, many of the submunitions do not explode on impact but remain a threat like landmines until they are disturbed.'


SYRIA - 2 JULY 2023

Al Jazeera, ‘The ICJ can slow down Assad’s normalisation drive’


The case filed against the Syrian regime may not immediately result in justice for its victims, but it will undermine attempts to rehabilitate it.’



MALI - 30 JUNE 2023

HRW, ‘UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali to End. MINUSMA Exit Raises Serious Concerns for Rights Monitoring, Accountability’


The United Nations Security Council voted today to dissolve its beleaguered stabilization force in Mali, a serious blow to the future of human rights monitoring and protection of civilians in the conflict-torn region.


The Security Council said the withdrawal of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali’s (MINUSMA) approximately 15,000 armed and civilian personnel will begin in July and end by December 31. The Malian transitional military government will assume responsibility for the protection of civilians after the withdrawal. The announcement was expected after Mali revoked its consent to host the mission on June 16.



KAZAKHSTAN - 1 JULY 2023

Astana Times, ‘UNDP Kazakhstan Unveils Findings of Baseline Assessment on Business, Human Rights'

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presented the first outcomes of the ongoing Business and Human Rights project on June 30 in Astana, reported the UNDP Kazakhstan’s press service.

The UN Human Rights Council urged all member states to develop National Action Plans to follow the UNGP. Prior to making any decisions, however, a National Baseline Assessment is conducted to examine the negative impact of business and thereby identify the most pressing human rights issues.

According to Acting Director of the Legal Policy Research Center Tatiana Zinovich, Kazakhstan’s first National Baseline Assessment revealed numerous gaps in existing corporate policies and national legislation regarding safeguarding human rights.

“We employed various methodologies, including desk analysis and field research, which encompassed six interviews and four focus groups with representatives from government agencies, businesses, and civil society. Additionally, an online survey was conducted involving 278 enterprises to analyze their business practices. Furthermore, we screened and monitored 60 company websites to assess the extent to which the UN Guiding Principles were incorporated into their business policies, utilizing the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark methodology,” said Zinovich.

PHILIPPINES - 29 JUNE 2023

HRW, ‘Killing of Family Sparks Inquiry in PhilippineS. Massacre on Negros Island Latest in Series of Abuses’

The killing of a family on June 14 on Negros in the central Philippines is the latest in a decades-long cycle of violence, human rights abuses, and impunity on the island.

That night, unidentified armed men raided a hut in Buenavista village, Negros Occidental province. The next morning, neighbors found the bodies of Roly Fausto, 55, his wife Emelda, 50, and their children Ben, 15, and Ravin, 12.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killings. But both government forces and the communist New People’s Army (NPA), who have been fighting each other for more than 50 years, have a history of committing abuses on the island.

DRC - 29 JUNE 2023

HRW, ‘Intercommunal Violence in Western Congo Kills Scores. Latest Attack by Mobondo Militia Highlights Failure to Address Customary Dispute.’

‘Gunmen massacred at least 20 people in an ambush in western Democratic Republic of Congo, the latest in a spiralling cycle of intercommunal violence that has forced thousands to flee amid a deepening humanitarian crisis.

On June 26, Mobondo militiamen with firearms ambushed a truck carrying mostly Teke traders by the village of Mulunu in Kwamouth territory, just northeast of Kinshasa, the capital. The attackers then set the vehicle ablaze.

The conflict over land and customary claims erupted in June 2022 between so-called “native” and “non-native” communities; hundreds have been killed. The simmering dispute escalated into widespread violence after many farmers, mainly Yaka, rejected an increase of customary royalties by “native” Teke chiefs.

Groups calling themselves “Mobondo” after mystical amulets, mainly recruited among the “non-native” Yaka, Suku, Mbala, Ndinga, and Songo communities, have targeted Teke villagers with machetes, spears, hunting rifles, and military assault rifles. Congolese security forces have conducted operations, most recently in May, but failed to quell the violence. Multiple attacks have happened this year and the latest deadly incident is a reminder of the urgency of the crisis.’

JAPAN - 30 JUNE 2023

HRW, ‘Ending Japan’s ‘Hostage Justice’ System. Government Needs to Act Against Abuses in Pretrial Detention’

Today, Human Rights Watch and Innocence Project Japan, a Japanese nongovernmental group, launched a joint project to end the practice of “hostage justice” in Japan. The project will advocate with policymakers for legal reform and inform public opinion through events and discussions.

In Japan, criminal suspects face severe abuses in pretrial detention. Authorities routinely strip them of their right to remain silent, interrogate them without a lawyer, coerce them to confess to crimes through repeated arrests, and deny them bail – resulting in detention for prolonged periods under constant surveillance in police stations. More than 99 percent of trials result in convictions.

Shinobu Yamagishi, the founder and former President of Pressance Corporation Co., a major Japanese real estate company, is among the few that have been acquitted.

See here: https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/06/30/ending-japans-hostage-justice-system

RUSSIA/UKRAINE - 1 JULY 2023

The Guardian, ‘Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 493 of the invasion.’


‘Ukraine’s counteroffensive hobbled by a lack of firepower, says military chief; Belarus president says Russian nuclear weapons in his country will not be used’



UK - 28 JUNE 2023

Sky News ‘Illegal Migration Bill: Government accused of ignoring international law during House of Lords defeats’


‘Peers put forward four amendments on the government's Illegal Migration Bill, with votes on more expected next week. Conservative MPs will get the opportunity to overrule the upper chamber when the legislation returns to the House of Commons but the government will have to explain itself.’


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