Resources updated between Monday, January 30, 2017 and Sunday, February 05, 2017
February 5, 2017
February 3, 2017
February 2, 2017
"Lawmakers at a hearing Thursday called on the U.S. to get tough with the United Nations in response to a recent Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlement activity.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) called the UN a 'politicized tool' at a hearing on Israel, the Palestinians and the UN before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittees dealing with the Middle East and on international organizations.
Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, said she would reintroduce legislation to bring about tougher U.S. oversight of the world body.
Her bill, the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act, first introduced in 2015, demands greater oversight of U.S. contributions to the UN and affiliated organizations...
Some lawmakers wanted to go further, with Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) calling for the U.S. to cut off UN funding..."
"This may come as a shock: It's possible, not likely but possible, that a committee of officials from the Defense, State and Justice Departments, as well as the National Security Council, will conduct a review of the disproportionate funding the United States provides to the United Nations and, hold onto your hats, come to the conclusion that American taxpayers should spend less on an organization that is inefficient, corrupt and inimical to American interests.
Nikki Haley, the newly confirmed American ambassador to the U.N. hinted at this radical departure from tradition when she said on Jan. 18 that while she would oppose 'slash and burn cuts' to the U.N., she did want to ensure that the U.S. 'gets what it pays for.'
One week later, The New York Times reported that it had 'obtained' (in other words, someone in the government had leaked) copies of a 'draft' executive order (in other words, an unapproved working document) that would 'clear the way to drastically reduce the United States' role in the United Nations and other international organizations.'
Serious question: Is The New York Times correct to assert that paying less means playing a reduced role? The United States gets one vote on the Security Council - just like Russia and China. The U.S. gets one vote in the General Assembly - just like Iran and Venezuela. How much money we fork over doesn't change that..."
February 1, 2017
January 31, 2017
January 30, 2017
"US officials say that Iran has conducted a ballistic missile test in violation of the UN resolution put in place after the Iran nuclear deal.
Officials told Fox News on Monday, that the test occurred outside Semnan, about 140 miles east of Tehran, on Sunday.
The missile in question was the Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile, which the officials said flew 600 miles before exploding, in a failed test of a reentry vehicle.
The test was in direct violation of UN resolution 2231, which stated that Iran could not conduct such acts...
The United States and Europe lifted sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program when the deal went into effect in January 2016."
Two juvenile offenders were executed in Kerman (southeastern Iran) and Tabriz (northwestern Iran) prisons. This is in addition to the more than 70 people who have been executed since the beginning of 2017. Iran Human Rights calls for international reactions to the wave of executions and in particular juvenile executions in Iran.
"We want abolition of the death penalty, and as a first step abolition of the death penalty for all offences committed while under age of 18. We are calling on the international community, especially the United Nations and the European Union, to place abolition of the death penalty, in particilar the death penalty for juveniles, at the top of their talks with the Iranian authorities," says Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesperson of Iran Human Rights.
The Iranian authorities lead the world in the most executions of minors, despite the revisions made to the Islamic Penal Code and that child executions violate Iran's international obligations.
Arman Bahr Asemani - Convicted of murder at age 16
Iran Human Rights has received confirmation on the execution of a a juvenile prisoner who was convicted of murder at the age of 16.
"Arman Bahr Asemani, born February 10, 1997, convicted in November 2012 of murdering his cousin, was hanged on Sunday January 15, 2017 at Kerman's Shahab Prison," a close source tells Iran Human Rights.
"Bahr Asemani, who was 20 years old at the time of his execution, had also been condemned to 74 lashings on the charge of consumption of alcohol. Hs lawyer had attempted to argue that if [Arman] was drunk, then he should not have been charged with first degree murder, but the lawyer never got anywhere," says the close source.
Iranian official sources had announced an execution at Shahab Prison of a 23-year-old prisoner charged with murder; however, there was no mention of Bahr Asemani's execution.
Hassan Hassanzadeh - Convicted of murder at age 15
The human rights news agency HRANA reports on the execution of a juvenile prisoner at Tabriz Prison on Wednesday January 18. The prisoner, identified as Hassan Hassanzadeh, was reportedly around 15 years old when he was convicted of murder. He was reportedly jailed for about two and a half years before he was executed at the age of 18.
Two Palestinians were sentenced to time in prison on Monday after being found guilty of planning a terror attack inspired by the Islamic State organization (ISIS).
Musab Aliyan and Samir Abed Rabbo, both residents of east Jerusalem, built an explosive device and planned to use it against an Israeli security forces vehicle in the capital.
Aliyan was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while Abed Rabbo was sentenced to nine years.
According to the indictment, the two conspired to carry out the attack in the name of ISIS.
Aliyan, 24, began supporting the organization in 2014. He attended a religion study group, where he was introduced to the ISIS ideology.
He saw himself as part of the extremist organization, identified with it, and supports it, the indictment notes.
In October 2015, Aliyan tried to join the ISIS ranks in Syria. He left for Jordan to issue a Jordanian passport with which he could travel to Turkey and thence to Syria, but he was arrested by authorities in Jordan and deported back to Israel several days later.
After returning to Israel, Aliyan began gathering funds so he could ask the Turkish consulate for a visa to the country. He also looked into the possibility of getting to ISIS in Syria through the Sinai Peninsula.
During that time, the second defendant, Abed Rabbo, followed ISIS's activities via the web and learned more about the group.
In late 2015, Aliyan decided to carry out an attack and sought Abed Rabbo's help, as he knew the other man had experience in building bombs.
According to the indictment, the two purchased a cell phone to be used as a remote control to detonate the explosive as well as a coffee grinder to grind the materials needed to create the explosive. They also bought an ammeter and iron oxide powder, also for the bomb.
Later, they also met to discuss the additional materials they needed to complete the bomb as well as how to carry out the attack.
Two Pakistani bloggers who vanished earlier this month have left the country fearing for their safety, relatives told AFP on Monday, following a virulent media campaign painting them as blasphemers.
They were among five men who went missing from various cities in Pakistan. Four of the five who had stood against religious intolerance and criticised Pakistan's military have been freed, their families said.
They would not comment on where the men had been held.
Their disappearances triggered nationwide protests and raised concerns of government involvement -- claims denied by officials.
Allegations on social media networks Facebook and Twitter and by right-wing TV hosts that the missing men were blasphemers has triggered a flood of threats despite denials from their worried families.
The allegation can be fatal in deeply conservative Muslim Pakistan, where at least 17 people remain on death row for blasphemy.
Liaqat Ali Goraya, the father of blogger Waqas Goraya, confirmed to AFP that his son was safe and had left the country. But his nephew Abdur Rahman Cheema, whose disappearance at the same time as his son was not reported to the media, was still missing.
"Waqas has gone, we've sent him abroad," said his father, declining to comment on who had held him. Before he went missing, Goraya was based in The Netherlands and had returned to Pakistan for a family wedding.
A source close to the family of blogger Asim Saeed confirmed he too had left the country.
His father, Ghulam Haider Akbar, told AFP the family had received death threats purporting to come from the anti-Shiite Laskhar-e-Jhangvi group.
"You who have blasphemed deserve death. You are out of Islam and should be ready for a painful punishment, which will be remembered by your generations to come," a text message said, according to Akbar.
A relative of a third blogger, who asked to remain anonymous, said both he and his family had left their home town and were in hiding.
"We are going to think about it for a few days and assess the situation. If it seems ok, we'll return, else we'll try to go abroad," the relative said.
Zeeshan Haider said his brother, poet and activist Salman Haider, was "fine and safe".
The whereabouts of the fifth man remain unknown.
Rights groups have long criticised the colonial-era blasphemy legislation as a vehicle for personal vendettas as even unproven allegations can result in mob lynchings.
A number of NGOs and observers say the online campaigns are to silence progressive voices and are carefully coordinated.
Pakistan has had a history of enforced disappearances over the past decade, but this has mainly been confined to conflict zones near the Afghanistan border or to Balochistan province where separatists are battling for independence.