Protests follow denial of docking for ship carrying migrants, murder of migrant activist in Italy
- More than 600 migrants and refugees have been stuck abroad the Aquarius and two other Italian ships after the government refused to let them dock in Italy, with Spain having finally agreed to accept them.
- Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right League party, has pledged to expel undocumented immigrants, vowed to crackdown on immigration, and shared anti-immigrant memes on social media.
- Following his decision as well as the murder of migrant labor activist Soumayla Sacko, thousands of demonstrators mobilized in Rome to protest in solidarity with migrants.
“Italian official warns migrant ships not to dock as migrant supporters rally in Rome” (CNN | June 2018)
“Aboard the Rescue Ship Where Migrants Have Been Stuck for a Week” (The New York Times | June 2018)
“Italians march in solidarity with migrant workers” (euronews | June 2018)
Israel announces deportation plan for tens of thousands of African asylum-seekers
- Some 40,000 African asylum-seekers—many activists and other dissidents from Sudan and Eritrea—are facing expulsion or imprisonment in Israel, with fewer than 1% of applicants having been granted refugee status.
- The Israeli government announced that asylum-seekers will have 90 days to accept $3,500 and a plane ticket to a classified third country (speculated to be Rwanda or Uganda) or face incarceration.
- In response, a network of more than a hundred rabbis called the Anne Frank Home Sanctuary Movement has formed and pledged to protect asylum-seekers from deportation.
“Israel to tell African migrants: leave or face indefinite imprisonment” (The Guardian | January 2018)
“Mass expulsion under way as Israel begins deporting 40,000 Africans” (Middle East Eye | January 2018)
“Inspired by Anne Frank, Rabbis in Israel Plan to Hide African Asylum Seekers Facing Deportation” (Haaretz | January 2018)
“Inside Israel’s Secret Program to Get Rid of African Refugees” (Foreign Policy | June 2017)
The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants
New NGO law severely curtails capabilities of rights organizations and charities in Egypt
- President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a law limiting NGO work to developmental and social work activities and subjecting them to government regulation, with violators facing to up to five years of jail time.
- NGOs will have one year to come into compliance with the law or be dissolved.
- Human rights organizations accused the government of attempting to quell dissent, with officials long having accused NGOs of taking foreign money to destabilize national security.
“Egypt issues controversial NGO law, cracking down on dissent” (Reuters | May 2017)
“The Latest: Egypt’s president ratifies law restricting NGOs” (The Associated Press via ABC News | May 2017)
“Egypt’s NGO law aims to ‘erase civil society’” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)
(Image Credit: via Reuters)
Chinese feminist group’s social media accounts suspended
- The Weibo account for prominent feminist group Feminist Voices was recently suspended, with the group’s social media editor suspecting posts about anti-Trump demonstrations in the U.S. having spurred the gag.
- Weibo administrators indicated the group will be unable to post through the account for 30 days for “violating national laws.”
- Beyond the suspension, activists reported broadening crackdowns on feminist activity, including social media attacks by commentators paid by the government to support the Chinese Communist Party on social media.
“Chinese Feminist Group’s Social Media Account Suspended” (The New York Times | February 2017)
“Chinese Feminists Protest Gag Order on Social Media Account” (Radio Free Asia | February 2017)
“Women In China Are Protesting After A Feminist Account Was Shut Down For Posting About The Women’s March” (BuzzFeed News | February 2017)
(Image Credit: Feminist Voices, via The New York Times)
Travel bans trap Egyptian activists in “giant prison”
- Two prominent human rights advocates—Aida Seif al-Dawla and Azza Soliman—recently discovered they were barred from traveling in and out of Egypt as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi continues targeting civil society and human rights organizations.
- Human rights monitors report that 217 people have been subject to travel bans between 2014 and 2016, 115 of whom are critics of the Sisi-led government.
- Activists and journalists reported being met with deferral or radio silence when inquiring about the cause or origin of their bans, with the government denying a crackdown.
“Egypt is giant prison, activists banned from travel say” (Reuters)
“Egypt imposes travel bans on human rights activists” (The Financial Times)
“A Top Egyptian Human Rights Activist Banned From Travel” (AP via The New York Times)
Tensions escalate in North Dakota as protesters and police clash in Dakota Access Pipeline protests
- Protesters reported police wielding tear gas and water cannons in the 23-degree weather after claiming the protests had dissolved into a “riot,” heightening already pronounced concerns about hypothermia in the below-freezing conditions.
- Reports indicated that more than 150 were injured and at least seven hospitalized as a result of the confrontation.
- More than 400 activists have been arrested since the standoff began over the ongoing dispute over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
“Standing Rock protest: hundreds clash with police over Dakota Access Pipeline” (The Guardian)
“Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Soaked by Water Cannons in Clash With Police” (The New York Times)
“Police, Protesters Clash Near Dakota Access Pipeline Route” (NPR)
(Image Credit: Stephanie Keith/Reuters, via The New York Times)
Turkey halts activities of 370 NGOs as “purge” continues
- Following the failed coup attempt of July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has banned the activities of hundreds of organizations, including human rights and children’s organizations, arrested opposition lawmakers, and shuttered more than 100 media organizations on charges of collusion with terrorists.
- Of the suspended, 153 were allegedly connected to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen (whom Erdogan has accused of masterminding the coup), 190 with Kurdish militant group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), 19 to far-left militant group DHKP-C, and 8 to the Islamic State.
- More than 100,000 in the military, police, political administration, journalism, and academia have lost their jobs and tens of thousands have been arrested, prompting condemnation from human rights monitors and warnings from foreign governments.
“Turkey halts activities of 370 groups as purge widens” (Reuters)
“Erdogan Renews Putsch Purge With Targets in Media, Academia” (Bloomberg)
“Erdogan’s ‘One-Man Regime’ Sacks 10,000, Closes Kurdish Media” (teleSUR English)