World Islamic human rights body condemns discrimination against Indian Muslims

A bulldozer is being used to demolish the residence of Javed Ahmed, a local leader who was allegedly involved in the recent protests against BJP  spokeswoman Nupur Sharma's remarks about Prophet Mohammed, in Allahabad on June 12, 2022. (AFP)
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A bulldozer is being used to demolish the residence of Javed Ahmed, a local leader who was allegedly involved in the recent protests against BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma's remarks about Prophet Mohammed, in Allahabad on June 12, 2022. (AFP)
World Islamic human rights body condemns discrimination against Indian Muslims
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Policemen with sticks locally known as "lathi" beat a protester during a demonstration against India's new citizenship law in Mangalore. (AFP file photo)
World Islamic human rights body condemns discrimination against Indian Muslims
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The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC)
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Updated 21 June 2022

World Islamic human rights body condemns discrimination against Indian Muslims

A bulldozer is being used to demolish the residence of Javed Ahmed in Allahabad on June 12, 2022. (AFP)
  • Rights body slams ruling BJP for bulldozing homes of Muslim activists

RIYADH: The human rights wing of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has strongly condemned discriminatory acts against Indian Muslims, calling on the international community to hold India accountable for violations of minorities’ human rights and to end their hostilities.

The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), one of the principal organs of the 57-member OIC, tweeted that it “condemns these brazen acts of discrimination, flouting all pluralistic ideals with impunity!! It calls upon the Intl. Community and relevant UN Special Procedures to urge Indian govt to protect the HR of its Muslim minority and immediately put an end to hostilities against them.”

The commission also shared an Al Jazeera clip of Arundhati Roy, a famous Indian activist and author, describing how India is becoming a “Hindu fascist enterprise.”




Security personnel stand guard on a road as a Hindu religious flag is seen on a minaret (C) of a burnt-out mosque following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India's citizenship law in New Delhi on February 26, 2020. (AFP)

Roy, best known for her award-winning book “The God of Small Things,” said: “The bulldozing of Muslim homes marks a moment in time where you are seeing a transition from a sort of fragile, flawed democracy transitioning pretty openly, pretty brazenly into a criminal Hindu fascist enterprise. Earlier Muslims were punished by vigilante mobs or the police. But when you say that you are going to bulldoze a house or a locality or a set of shops, then what you are doing is you are saying who are the people who are going to be involved in that.”

She added: “There are going to be the municipal authorities, there are going to be local magistrates, there are going to be people watching, there is going to be media beaming this into people's homes, and above all, there are going to be the courts that are looking away and not doing anything.




Police officials try to detain members and supporters of AISA during protest against what they say attacks on Muslims following clashes on June 13, 2022  triggered by remarks made by ruling BJP figures on Prophet Mohammad, at Jantar Mantar, in New Delhi. (REUTERS)

“In effect what you are doing is you are telling Muslims you are on your own. There is no help. There is no law for you. And all the institutions that were part of the checks and balances of that old democracy are now going to be used as weapons against you.”

Authorities in states governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have in recent months started bulldozing homes, shops and businesses that belong to Muslims, on suspicion of participating in anti-government protests.

Last week, after running bulldozers in Kanpur and Saharanpur, the Uttar Pradesh administration demolished the house of student activist Afreen Fatima in Prayagraj after serving just one day’s notice to vacate it, following protests against derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad by BJP spokespersons.

Rights activists have noted a trend of dual standards, where anti-government protesters from other communities are not targeted in a similar way.




A protester displays a placard during a demonstration against India's new citizenship law in New Delhi. (AFP file photo)

On June 16, tens of thousands of young men furious with the BJP government’s new army recruitment policy went on a violent rampage across India. They burned trains and vehicles, attacked police stations, blocked roads, and in one town they even burned the BJP’s offices, but their homes were not bulldozed in retaliation.

The IPHRC’s statement on anti-Muslim abuse in India comes after the commission endorsed condemnation and outrage expressed by the OIC and members of the international community over defamatory remarks made by BJP leaders against the Prophet Muhammad.

On June 6, it tweeted: “OIC-IPHRC urges the UN & intl’ HR community to pressurise India to squarely counter Islamophobia and blasphemous speech, prosecute those involved without impunity and deal with its systematic and systemic persecution of Muslim minority.”


South African police search bar for clues after 21 teens die

South African police search bar for clues after 21 teens die
Updated 22 sec ago

South African police search bar for clues after 21 teens die

South African police search bar for clues after 21 teens die
  • The fatalities bore no visible signs of injury, sparking initial speculation among local officials and politicians
  • Many of the victims are thought to have been students celebrating the end of their high-school exams
EAST LONDON, South Africa: South African police were on Monday combing a township tavern where 21 teenagers mysteriously died as survivors described a battle to escape the jam-packed premises and one reported a suffocating smell.
Most of the victims, some as young as 13 years, were found dead inside a popular bar in the southern city of East London.
Seventeen were died inside the bar, while four died in hospital.
Thirty-one others were hospitalized with symptoms including backache, tight chests, vomiting and headache, official said.
Most were discharged on Sunday, leaving two in hospital, they said.
The fatalities bore no visible signs of injury, sparking initial speculation among local officials and politicians that this was a case of under-age drinking that went tragically wrong.
But new details emerged Monday as survivors spoke of a strong and suffocating smell in the jam-packed double-story building.
Sinovuyo Monyane, 19, who was hired by the bar to promote an alcohol brand, said she was still “confused” but felt lucky to be alive.
She said she struggled to escape through a door gridlocked with people.
“We tried moving through the crowd, shouting ‘please let us through,’ and others were shouting ‘we are dying, guys,’ and ‘we are suffocating’ and ‘there are people who can’t breathe’,” she said.
“I passed out at that moment. I was running out of breath and there was a strong smell of some type of spray on in the air. We thought it was pepper spray,” she said.
She later regained her consciousnesses after someone sprayed water on her.
“I got up and realized that there were bodies lying around. I saw people being poured water, but those people did not even move,” she said in a phone interview.
“I could have died.”
Special investigators from Pretoria have been rushed to the scene.
“The detectives will be resuming their work at the crime scene today,” regional police spokesman Thembinkosi Kinana said.
Many of the victims are thought to have been students celebrating the end of their high-school exams, officials said.
Autopsies are being conducted to see if the deaths could be linked to poisoning.
“Post-mortems (were) completed by last night and the bodies will be released to their families today,” said Yonela Dekeda, provincial spokeswoman for the health department.
Forensic analysis will be conducted this week.
“Samples were taken and were on first flight today to Cape Town, where the tests will be conducted,” said Unathi Binqose, a government official on safety.
Drinking in South Africa is permitted for over-18s.
But in township taverns which are often located cheek-by-jowl with family homes, safety regulations and drinking-age laws are not always enforced.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is among those who have voiced concern.
The teenagers reportedly “gathered at a venue which, on the face of it, should be off-limits to persons under the age of 18,” he said.
A resident DJ, who was also celebrating his birthday on the night, spoke of a rush of revellers who forced their way into an already packed venue.
“We tried to close the door but people kept pushing. The bouncers could not handle the crowd that was pushing from outside the entrance door. There were so many people,” the DJ said.
He turned off the music to try discourage revellers, but to no avail.
The crowd was just “unruly and could not be managed,” he said, adding he was “traumatized.”
In a tweet, African Union Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed his thoughts and prayers “during this time of unspeakable grief and sorrow.”

NATO to massively increase high-readinees forces to 300,000

NATO to massively increase high-readinees forces to 300,000
NATO’s quick reaction force, the NATO response force, so far has some 40,000 troops. (AFP)
Updated 4 min 51 sec ago

NATO to massively increase high-readinees forces to 300,000

NATO to massively increase high-readinees forces to 300,000
  • NATO’s quick reaction force, the NATO response force, so far has some 40,000 troops

MADRID: NATO will increase the number of its forces at high readiness massively to over 300,000, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.
“We will transform the NATO response force and increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000,” he told reporters ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid later this week in Madrid.
NATO’s quick reaction force, the NATO response force, so far has some 40,000 troops.
At the Madrid summit, NATO will also change its language on Russia that in the alliance’s last strategy from 2010 was still described as a strategic partner.
“That will not be the case in the strategic concept that we will agree in Madrid,” Stoltenberg said.
“I expect that allies will state clearly that Russia poses a direct threat to our security, to our values, to the rules-based international order.” 


Seoul urges China, Russia to prevent North Korean nuclear test

Seoul urges China, Russia to prevent North Korean nuclear test
Updated 32 min 52 sec ago

Seoul urges China, Russia to prevent North Korean nuclear test

Seoul urges China, Russia to prevent North Korean nuclear test
  • Experts say North Korea could be planning to deploy battlefield nuclear weapons along its tense border with South Korea

SEOUL: A top South Korean official said Monday that North Korea is increasingly targeting the South with its nuclear arms program, and urged China and Russia to persuade the North not to conduct a widely expected nuclear test.
Unification Minster Kwon Youngse’s comments came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un re-emphasized his nuclear ambitions in a key military meeting last week and approved unspecified new operational duties for front-line army units.
Experts say North Korea could be planning to deploy battlefield nuclear weapons along its tense border with South Korea. During a prolonged stalemate in nuclear diplomacy, North Korea has spent much of the past three years expanding its arsenal of short-range solid-fuel missiles that are potentially capable of evading missile defenses and striking targets throughout South Korea, including US bases there.
US and South Korean officials say that North Korea has all but finished preparations for its first nuclear test since September 2017, when it claimed to have detonated a thermonuclear warhead designed for intercontinental ballistic missiles. North Korea may use its next nuclear test to claim that it has acquired the ability to build small nuclear warheads that can be placed on short-range missiles or other new weapons systems it has demonstrated in recent months, analysts say.
Kwon, who oversees South Korea’s relations with North Korea, said at a news conference that the North is exploiting a favorable environment to push ahead with weapons development and overturn the regional status quo as the US-led West remains distracted over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said North Korea’s nuclear ambitions pose a “very serious and fundamental threat” to South Korea and that Seoul is preparing stern countermeasures in response to a possible North Korean nuclear test. He didn’t elaborate.
“North Korea’s transition in weapons development from long-range ballistic missiles to short-range ballistic missiles, from strategic nuclear weapons to tactical nuclear weapons, is obviously targeted toward South Korea,” Kwon said.
“It seems clear that North Korea is simultaneously pursuing an ability to attack the United States and to attack South Korea,” he said.
Kwon said North Korea could go ahead with a nuclear test at “any time.”
While the US government has vowed to pursue additional sanctions against North Korea if it conducts another nuclear test, the possibility of meaningful new punitive measures remains unclear because Russia’s war in Ukraine has deepened divisions among permanent members of the UN Security Council. China and Russia have vetoed US-sponsored proposals that would have increased sanctions on North Korea over some of its recent ballistic missile tests.
Kwon, who served as South Korea’s ambassador to China from 2013 to 2015, expressed hope that Beijing and Moscow will react differently to a North Korean nuclear test since both have maintained public support for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
“If North Korea goes ahead with a nuclear test at a time when the global security situation is as instable as it is now, the country will face enormous criticism from international society, and the response will be more than just words,” Kwon said.
North Korea has conducted more ballistic tests in the first half of 2022 than it has in any previous entire year, firing around 30 missiles, including its first tests of ICBMs in nearly five years. Kim has punctuated the tests with repeated comments that North Korea would use nuclear weapons proactively if threatened or provoked, which experts say is an escalation in its nuclear doctrine.
The US government has reaffirmed its commitment to defending allies South Korea and Japan with its full range of military capabilities, including nuclear, but there are concerns in Seoul that North Korea’s ICBMs could make Washington hesitant in the event of another war on the Korean Peninsula.
Experts say North Korea’s unusually heavy testing activity this year underscores Kim’s intent to advance his arsenal as well as pressure the United States into accepting North Korea as a nuclear power, thereby strengthening its position in negotiating economic and security concessions.
Talks have stalled since early 2019 because of disagreements over a relaxation of crippling US-led sanctions against North Korea in exchange for North Korean disarmament steps.


ASEAN envoy appeals to Myanmar junta to spare Aun San Suu Kyi jail

ASEAN envoy appeals to Myanmar junta to spare Aun San Suu Kyi jail
Updated 27 June 2022

ASEAN envoy appeals to Myanmar junta to spare Aun San Suu Kyi jail

ASEAN envoy appeals to Myanmar junta to spare Aun San Suu Kyi jail
  • Deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved to a prison in the capital Naypyitaw and kept in solitary confinement

PHNOM PENH: A special Southeast Asian envoy for the crisis in Myanmar on Monday urged its military rulers not to hold deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi in prison, appealing for leniency ahead of a visit later this week.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn will make his second trip to Myanmar from Wednesday, a spokesperson for his ministry said, as part of the junta’s peace commitment with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Suu Kyi, who has been on trial accused of at least 20 crimes since a coup against her elected government last year, has been moved to a prison in the capital Naypyitaw and kept in solitary confinement. She denies all charges.
The 77-year-old had until last week been spared jail and was held in an undisclosed location, despite having several convictions for relatively minor offenses.
Prak Sokhonn in a letter to the junta urged compassion.
“Aung San Suu Kyi is regarded internationally and by many in Myanmar as having a critical role in your country’s return to normalcy and national reconciliation through a peaceful political solution,” he wrote, according to a statement.
Activists denounced Prak Sokhonn’s last visit in March as a failure that favored the junta and overlooked its opponents, criticism that he said he understood.
In his letter, he said a successful peace process was impossible with one side excluded.
“A peaceful political resolution to a conflict, no matter how complex it is, must involve the sharing of political space by all involved,” he added.


Knife attacker kills 1, wounds 5 at German asylum shelter

Knife attacker kills 1, wounds 5 at German asylum shelter
Updated 27 June 2022

Knife attacker kills 1, wounds 5 at German asylum shelter

Knife attacker kills 1, wounds 5 at German asylum shelter
  • Attacker said to have knocked on the doors of the rooms of the building in Kressbronn, on Lake Constance
  • And when residents opened, he stabbed them

BERLIN: A knife-wielding attacker stabbed several people in a shelter for asylum-seekers in southern Germany, killing one man and wounding at least five people, German news agency dpa reported Monday.
The attacker, reportedly a resident of the shelter, is said to have knocked on the doors of the rooms of the building in Kressbronn, on Lake Constance, on Sunday evening. When residents opened, he stabbed them, dpa reported.
One man died of his injuries right away, one seriously injured man was flown to a hospital, and four other injured people were taken to the hospital by ambulance. It was not immediately clear whether other people were also wounded.
Police officers detained a 31-year-old man, whose name was not given in line with German privacy policy, in front of the asylum-seekers’ shelter. Forensic specialists were investigating the scene on Monday morning.