Resources updated between Monday, August 31, 2015 and Friday, September 04, 2015
September 3, 2015
The grief-stricken father of the migrant brothers whose bodies washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean phoned relatives after the tragedy but only managed to utter the words: 'My wife and two boys are dead'.
Little Galip, five, and Aylan Kurdi, three, were on an overcrowded dinghy filled with refugees fleeing the war in Syria when it capsized shortly into the crossing to the Greek island of Kos.
Pictures of Aylan's limp body in the sand and of it being carried by a local gendarme has come to epitomise the crisis engulfing Europe as a tide of humanity flees the horrors in the Middle East.
Both boys died in the sea alongside their mother, Rehan, while their father Abdullah survived.
Now the boys' aunt has spoken for the first time of the moment a grief-stricken Mr Kurdi called relatives after the tragedy.
The news comes as heartbreaking new photographs emerged of Galip and Aylan - who fled the ISIS-besieged Syrian city of Kobane to start a new life in Europe - including one showing the boys smiling and laughing as they sit together next to a large teddy bear.
Aylan and Galip, who were not wearing lifejackets, did not stand a chance when the boat overturned in the dead of night, some 30 minutes after it set off from the holiday resort of Bodrum in Turkey.
All 17 passengers were flung into the Mediterranean, and despite the calm water, Galip and Aylan drowned.
Their lifeless bodies, still clad in tiny T-shirts and shorts, washed up on Ali Hoca Point Beach in Bodrum today and boatmen alerted the authorities.
The boys' aunt has spoken of the moment a heartbroken Abdullah Kurdi telephoned relatives to tell them about the tragedy.
'I heard the news at five o'clock in this morning,' Vancouver-based Teema Kurdi told National Post.
She said that learned of the tragedy through a telephone call from Ghuson Kurdi, the wife of another brother, Mohammad, who had spoken with the bereaved father.
'She had got a call from Abdullah, and all he said was, "my wife and two boys are dead",' she explained.
According to Mr Kurdi's Facebook page, he was originally from Damascus in Syria but had been living in Istanbul, Turkey. He uploaded a photograph of himself in Turkey in August 2014.
The aunt said an application to sponsor the family to go to Canada was rejected in June.
'I was trying to sponsor them, and I have my friends and my neighbours who helped me with the bank deposits, but we couldn't get them out, and that is why they went in the boat,' she added.
She added that Mr Kurdi now plans to return to the family's war torn home town of Kobane in order to lay the boys and their mother to rest. He said he wants to be buried alongside them.
Canadian legislator Fin Donnelly told The Canadian Press he had submitted a request on behalf on the boys' aunt, but that it was turned down by Canadian immigration officials.
A heartbreaking photograph of a Turkish gendarme cradling one of the boys in his arms emerged shortly after the tragedy and video footage showed the body of the second.
In total, 13 passengers - including the Kurdish brothers, their mother Rehan, 35, and another three children - are believed to have died. The boys' father Abdullah made it back to shore.
According to local reports the boats were part of a flotilla of dinghys that were boarded at an inlet before puttering out to the sea off Akyarlar – the nearest point from Turkey to the Greek island of Kos.
Another dinghy among the flotilla, which was carrying a further 16 refugees to Kos, also capsized.
Turkish authorities reported that eight were confirmed as drowned, four more were still missing and just four had managed to survive.
The fisherman who found the brothers' bodies told the BBC: 'I came to the sea and I was scared. My heart is broken.'
September 2, 2015
A report issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development predicts that Israel's blockade to prevent weapons entering Gaza and the creation of an Iranian arms depot on the Mediterranean, will render Gaza "unlivable" in five years. The report, "Developments in the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory," does not mention Hamas - even once. Hamas's misappropriation of millions of dollars of donor funds and equipment to purchase weapons and construct terror tunnels to kill Israelis - instead of development - is also never mentioned. The report also dismisses out-of-hand the well-documented accounts of Palestinian mismanagement and corruption. Israel is wholly to blame for the economic shortcomings in the West Bank and Gaza, not mere "inadequacy of Palestinian National Authority policies or poor donor coordination."
September 1, 2015
An Afghan man and woman found guilty of adultery received 100 lashes on Monday in front of a crowd who filmed their punishment, TV footage showed.
Public lashings and executions were common under the Taliban, who enforced a strict interpretation of Sharia law from 1996-2001. The Islamist militant group was ousted from power by a U.S.-led coalition and such punishments are now rare.
The footage, taken in the western province of Ghor, showed a woman wrapped in a head-to-toe burqa and a man each receive the punishment from a man in a turban wielding a leather whip, watched by a group of mostly seated men.
The two remained in a crouching position throughout and did not appear to cry out.
The sentencing was backed by the government in Ghor province, where the trial took place.
"They had relations a long time ago but were arrested early this month," a spokesman for governor Seema Jowenda said. "Their punishment is based on Sharia law and will teach others a lesson."
A local judge said the penalty was in line with the constitution and criminal law. A spokesman for the justice ministry was unavailable for comment.
The foreign-backed government does not enforce Sharia law and generally condemns the practices of beating and stoning when they occur, particularly in areas under insurgent control.
Earlier this month, five people were arrested in the north for beating a man and his daughter for robbery. In May, a woman was beaten to death by a mob in the center of Kabul after being falsely accused of burning a Koran.
That attack was widely condemned by rights groups and some of those involved in the killing have been imprisoned.
"The United Nations was under fire last night for sending a Costa Rican human rights lawyer to Britain to investigate 'absurd' claims that Government welfare reforms have violated the rights of the disabled.
Catalina Devandas Aguilar is expected to visit the UK in the coming months to spearhead an inquiry into claims that Britain is guilty of 'grave or systematic violations' of the rights of the disabled.
The inquiry, by the UN's Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, will report back on a range of issues, including whether welfare cuts have harmed disabled people. Other members of the committee include representatives from Uganda, Kenya, Tunisia and Thailand.
Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger last night described the inquiry as 'the most absurd and offensive nonsense'.
He added: 'We have a proud record in this country for the way we treat disabled people.
'I am not an expert on disability rights in Costa Rica, but I suspect Miss Devandas Aguilar might be better off focusing her efforts much closer to home. The UN should keep their noses out.'..."
August 31, 2015
SOHR could document execution of 91 people in the 14th of declaring IS alleged caliphate. The executions carried out in different areas in Syria in the period from July 29 to August 29, where "Islamic State" executed 32 civilians, including 2 women, 39 of its own militants, including a journalist, 11 fighters from the rebel and Islamist factions and at least 9 members from the regime forces and allied militiamen, most of them beheaded.
The executions carried out for sorcery, insulting God, sodomy, adultery, banditry, joining and cooperating with the awakening movements, sorcery, cooperating with crusader coalition, mischief on earth and cooperating with the Nusayri regime forces.
Thus, the number of civilians, rebels, IS militants, members of the regime forces and allied militiamen who were executed by IS since the declaration of its alleged caliphate in 6/29/2014 until this morning has risen to 3156, where It executed 1841 civilians, including 76 children and 95 women, by shooting, beheading, stoning, throwing off high place and burning in the provinces of Damascus, Rif Dimashq, Deir Ezzor, al- Raqqa, al- Hasakah, Aleppo, Homs and Hama. They executed more than 930 Arab Sunni civilians of al- Shaitat tribe's people in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, 223 Kurdish citizens by shooting them and by bladed weapons in the city of Ayn al- Arab and village of Barkh Botan and 46 civilians by burning and beheading in the village of al- Mab'ojah inhabited by people of Alawi, Ismaeili and Sunni sects in the east of the city of Salamiyyah.
Meanwhile, the number of fighters of YPG, Jabhat al- Nusra, rebel and Islamic battalions who were executed after arresting them by IS due to the ongoing clashes among these parties reached to 236.
IS also executed 182 members of its own militants for "exceeding the limits in religion and spying for foreign countries", most of them executed after arresting them during their attempt to come back home.
897 officers and soldiers of the regime forces were also executed by IS. They were arrested during clashes between IS and the regime forces.
SOHR appeal UN Security Council, all countries and organization that claim the respect of human rights to work urgently in order to stop the crimes and violations, committed against the Syrian people by IS, Bashar al- Assad regime and all other parties, and establish specialist courts to sentence them. We also call them to support the Syrian people in order to reach to the state of freedom, democracy, justice and equality that preserve the rights of all components of the Syrian people regardless of their sects, religion and ethnics who have coexisted for better future for Syria although there are some media campaigns that work on destroying the social structure of our home Syria.
Four Iraqi Islamic State prisoners were burned to death by being suspended over flames in an ISIS execution video that was released in late August 2015.
The video, which according to the British news site The Daily Star is titled "Punish (Them) Equal With Which You Were Harmed," was released by the Islamic State's propaganda wing onto ISIS-linked social media accounts on Monday morning.
The footage purports to show four chained Iraqi men, believed to be Shiite Muslims, being forced to watch a video of an IS militant being burned alive by anti-IS forces only to suffer the same fate moments later.
The prisoners, who are believed to be part of an Iraqi IS opposition militia, are shown in the video wearing orange jumpsuits. Each man individually faced the camera, introduced himself and explained what his responsibilities were in the battle against IS.
The men were then forced to watch the Iraqi militia video that was released over the weekend that purported to show an IS fighter being burned alive.
The militia video then shows Ayyub al-Rubaie, a well known fighter for the Iranian-backed anti-IS Ali Brigade known as the "Angel of Death," using a sword to mutilate the burned corpse. Al-Rubaie turns to the camera and says, "IS, this will be your fate. We will cut you like shawarma [a cooking method involving the carving of well-cooked meat]."
After watching the militia video, the men were then led through the desert at gunpoint by IS militants until they approached a swing set-like apparatus. IS fighters used the apparatus to hoist the men by their chained wrists and ankles so that their stomachs and faces faced the ground.
Underneath the suspended prisoners was a fuel line and some straw to to help the flames rise. The Daily Mail reports that as the fuel line was lit, the video showed slow motion footage of the flames approaching the prisoners' bodies.
The final seconds of the video show the four men squirming until the flames engulf their bodies and burned them alive.
In the last few months, the IS militants have come up with new and barbaric ways to carry out videoed executions.
Although it was reported in mid-July that IS' leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, had banned militants from releasing any more sickening execution videos because of how the videos hurt the group's image, that didn't stop fighters from releasing an execution video in August where 10 men accused of apostasy in Afghanistan were forced to kneel over bombs buried in the ground as militants detonated explosions.
In June, IS released a video showing another barbaric killing in which caged prisoners were lowered into a swimming pool and drowned to death.
In the last month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that IS executed at least 91 people, including 39 of its own fighters for various crimes. The killings included those of at least 32 civilians and two women.