International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Floriane Borel and Mitch Paquette

Each week students at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre prepare an overview of the past week’s human rights related news stories from around the world. This summary contains news articles from 1-7 April 2019.

This week’s story in focus


UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

On Wednesday, the country of Brunei implemented a new Sharia Penal Code which introduces cruel punishments including death by stoning for homosexual acts, adultery, and abortion as well as amputation of limbs for stealing. Children who have reached puberty and are convicted of these offences may also be subjected to the same punishment as adults under the new penal code. Human rights groups including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN have all criticized both the crimes and brutal punishments included in Brunei’s penal code for violating basic human rights and have called for its repeal.

The move by Brunei to implement these new laws has led to international public outcry and multiple company boycotts of the country and properties owned by the Brunei’s leader, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. Celebrities including George Clooney, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sir Elton John have all contributed to calls for boycotts until the laws are repealed. The new penal code violates many of Brunei’s human rights obligations including the right to life, freedom from torture and other ill-treatment, expression, privacy, non-discrimination, among others.


The response to global hunger is tragically inadequate – Oxfam

UN highlights profound implication of population trends on sustainable development – UN News

UN Security Council: New Counterterrorism Measures Could Put Humanitarian Actors at Risk – FIDH


Belgium Apologizes for Kidnapping Children From African Colonies – New York Times

Sudan: Protesters Killed, Injured – Human Rights Watch


UK to pay up to £200m in compensation to Windrush victims – The Guardian

European Court of Human Rights elects Greek judge at its helm – Ekathimerini

Latin America and the Caribbean

Mexico: Migrants using WhatsApp can get advice on how to stay safe and avoid illness, sickness – ICRC

Venezuela’s Humanitarian Emergency – Human Rights Watch


Fears of Libyan civil war as militias capture 145 Haftar troops – The Guardian

Trump Designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a Foreign Terrorist Group – New York Times

Algeria’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigns after 20 years – The Guardian

North America

Guantanamo Trials Grapple With How Much Evidence to Allow About Torture – New York Times

Makeshift Volunteer Clinics Struggle To Meet Medical Needs At The Border – NPR News


New Zealand Shooting Suspect Is Charged With 50 Counts of Murder – The New York Times

Vegan protesters raid farms and stage blockades around Australia – The Guardian

South and South-East Asia

U.N. Condemns Violence in Western Myanmar – The New York Times

Malaysia: Don’t Quit International Criminal Court – Human Rights Watch

Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are the author(s) alone

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