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Resources updated between Monday, June 01, 2015 and Sunday, June 07, 2015

June 7, 2015

Protests were held following the first flogging of Raif Badawi by the kingdom

On June 3, 2015, UN Human Rights Council President Joachim Rücker addressed a conference on "religious freedom" hosted by the 56 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in religiously intolerant Saudi Arabia.

His statement included not one word about freedom of religion in his host country. Nor did he call for Saudi Arabia to stop flogging or release its imprisoned religious dissidents.

Rücker legitimized Saudi Arabia as being seriously interested in religious freedom and human rights and then he left.

Just days later, Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court upheld the sentence of 1000 lashes and 10 years for blogger Raif Badawi. The UN human rights establishment shares the blame.

UN Rights Council President Legitimizes Saudi's Abysmal Rights Record by Attending Rights Conference in Jeddah Development

The family of Raif Badawi has been warned he could die if the 1,000 lashes are carried out

Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment on blogger Raif Badawi, despite a foreign outcry.

Speaking from Canada, his wife Ensaf Haidar told news agency AFP, "this is a final decision that is irrevocable."

In March, the kingdom expressed "surprise and dismay" at international criticism over the punishment.

At the time, the foreign ministry issued a statement saying it rejected interference in its internal affairs.

In 2012, Badawi was arrested and charged with "insulting Islam through electronic channels". For four years he had been running the Liberal Saudi Network, which encouraged online debate on religious and political issues.

Saudi authorities sent his case for review as global pressure to free Badawi mounted. Badawi received his first 50 lashes in January, but subsequent floggings have been postponed.

A shaky video taken on a mobile phone showed Badawi being lashed by a member of the security forces.

The footage prompted international protests which were repeated every Friday, the scheduled day for the beatings.

It is not clear why Badawi has not yet endured a second round though a medical report found he was not fit for the punishment.

Saudi Arabia enforces a strict version of Islamic law and does not tolerate political dissent. It has some of the highest social media usage rates in the region, and has cracked down on domestic online criticism.

Saudi Court Upholds Blogger's 10 years and 1,000 Lashes Document

June 6, 2015

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (file photo)

This week Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz have posed a challenge for would-be presidents and all Americans: if the United Nations criminalizes Israel's exercise of the right of self-defense it will pay a heavy price. The organization has no right to expect billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to be doled out every year when they are spent undercutting our deepest values and our national security.

Graham and Cruz's comments come after learning that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is now weighing whether to sign off on a report emanating from an Algerian U.N. "human rights expert" that analogizes Israel to ISIS, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda. Leila Zerrougui's rights expertise includes eight years (2000-2008) as legal advisor to Algeria's President-for-life Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Moreover, in the coming weeks, the U.N. will issue another report on Israel's "criminal" response to Hamas genocidaires in Gaza, commissioned by UN Human Rights Council authorities like Russia, China and Saudi Arabia.

These attacks on Israel are part of a concerted effort by the vast U.N. machinery to rewrite international law to the advantage of terrorists who use civilians as human shields – thereby encouraging the use of more civilians as human shields. What begins as the demonization of Israel, affects every democratic society forced to defend itself against Hamas or Hezbollah or ISIS or Boko Haram or al-Qaeda.

In the summer of 2014, Israelis were under fire from Palestinian terrorists in Gaza who are openly committed to genocide against the Jewish people and the destruction of the Jewish state. More than 70% of Israelis were within target range of Hamas' Gaza rockets. Once fired, half a million people had less than 60 seconds to find shelter. Underground tunnels were discovered that opened into Israeli territory, with terrorists emerging on their way to cause mass casualties among Israeli civilians.

In response, the United Nations launched a full scale assault on...Israel.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Third Reich's adoption of the Nuremberg laws. Now is the time to remember that the Holocaust was preceded by the subversion of law, the corruption of the judiciary, and the perfidy of lawyers. The Nuremberg laws – rules for Jews only – were interpreted, applied and enforced by masses of seemingly upstanding lawyers and judges.

Today, the United Nations is concocting another set of Nuremberg-like laws – rules for Israel only – which smug international lawyers and judges will elucidate and administer. Flying under the banner of "accountability," the travesty has the appearance of propriety. But make no mistake. The distance between so-called law and morality at the UN today is as great as it was 80 years ago in Nazi Germany.

Actual international humanitarian law requires that "the anticipated loss of life and damage to property incidental to attacks must not be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage expected to be gained."

In other words, civilian loss of life is legally anticipated in war. The legally recognized aim is to gain military advantage, that is, to win. The legal test is proportionality between the loss of civilian life anticipated and the military advantage gained.

The exception for the U.N.? Israel. In Israel's case, none is too many. We know that because when Israel killed Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, there were zero civilian casualties and then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan still said Israel had violated international law.

International law does not demand tallying Palestinian civilian casualties and comparing them to Israeli civilian casualties, a test that would promote mothballing Israel's Iron Dome or giving it to Hamas (as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay once suggested).

Nor does international law give Hamas – or ISIS or Al Qaeda – the power to block an otherwise lawful attack against military objectives by deliberately placing civilians in harm's way. When civilian casualties result from an illegal attempt to shield a military objective, their blood is on the party that abused them as human shields.

Watching ISIS increasingly seek to blend in among Iraqi civilians is the predictable result of ignoring this principle, intended to save civilian lives overall. Perverting the law in the case of Israel, therefore, has clear ramifications for America's defenses.

To date, painstaking casualty analyses by Israeli sources – Hamas is refusing to produce a full list of its fatalities – indicate approximately 1,100 civilian casualties in Gaza. This was accompanied at the time by an astounding 107 condemnatory U.N. resolutions, reports, statements, press releases, press conferences and emergency meetings – denouncing the aggressor's victims. UN focus on civilian killings in Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Iran, Nigeria, Venezuela, etcetera, is a fraction of this legal onslaught.

The U.N.'s Gaza reports present a challenge to all law-abiding citizens. When the law becomes an instrument of Jew-hatred, people of good will are called upon to discredit it, to reject its application, and to shield its Jewish targets from the legal artifice – lest we become the anti-Semites' willing executioners. The senators' challenge should resonate across the land.

UN Secretary-General Weighs Lumping Israel In With ISIS and Al Qaeda Article

June 5, 2015

Nigeria soldiers in abandoned village (file photo)

CALABAR, Nigeria - Modupe Ozolua spends most of her time working with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in northeastern Nigeria. She's seen a lot. But when she visited an IDP camp in Yola, Adamawa state, in April to distribute relief items to victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, she was shocked. Hundreds of women and children were preparing to leave. Nigerian officials were shutting down the camp.

"We couldn't believe it," said Ozolua, founder and president of the Body Enhancement Foundation, a Nigerian nonprofit organization that helps underprivileged Africans restore and rebuild their lives. "They [Nigerian authorities] don't really care where these people end up."

Most of Nigeria's over 1.5 million displaced persons are housed in overcrowded camps across the troubled northeast region under the supervision of the country's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), with additional aid in individual states from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). The camps are mostly school facilities and empty government buildings, with little or no basic amenities, some without running water and electricity. IDPs sleep piled onto donated mattresses and feed their children with the meals provided by the government and donors.

The weeks ahead will be tougher still. The government has decided to close down IDP camps, particularly in Adamawa statewhere over 100,000 IDPs, including women and children rescued just recently from Boko Haram's stronghold in Sambisa forest, are taking refuge. When that happens, government aid will be cut off, and the displaced women with mouths to feed and no income source will have to provide for themselves and their children as best they can. Even worse, they will have to return to their ravaged communities, where they will live with few or no social services, and face the possibility of new threats from Boko Haram.

Although the government said the camps would not be officially closed until school and hospital facilities destroyed by Boko Haram in IDP home communities are repaired, some camps such as Gerie 1 in Yola with over 1,200 IDPs (including two who tested positive for HIV), have been told to move out because the school facilities being used now are needed for learning. NEMA and SEMA officials in Adamawa meanwhile claim that all but two areas in the state-Mitchika and Madagali-are free from the insurgents, and are safe for IDPs to return.

This widely criticized action by Nigerian authorities isn't new in any way. In February, the government shut down its official displacement camp in Gombe, where nearly 3,000 persons were taking refuge. The evicted IDPs were rumored to have been paid stipends either to return back home or rent a house wherever they desired. But not long after they were asked to leave their camp, IDPs complained that they were starving as they were yet to receive food items promised by government.

"These IDPs have not been provided the resources to survive outside these camps, and so many do not have anywhere to return to when the camps close," said Akor Jackson, an education campaigner based in Yola. "To be able to sustain themselves outside the camps, they need jobs and a place to live."

The Daily Beast learned that NEMA and SEMA officials in the region met with key stakeholders on April 27, where it was decided that a process will begin to close down camps in the northeast, and return IDPs to their communities. It was also decided at the meeting that on May 7, a committee would be appointed to go to the affected communities and assess damages done to government facilities, such as schools and hospitals, and ensure that the damaged government infrastructure are repaired. No time frame was stated for the repairs, and nothing seems to have been done since then. The IDPs are at a crossroads.

"I just returned from as far out as Michika, Borno State, and inquired from people there if any government officials have visited those areas and was told, no," said Ozolua, a Nigerian-American known for pioneering cosmetic surgery in West Africa. "The only recent sighting of any government officials was when NEMA visited Uba, Adamawa State, three months ago to give food items to the Nigerian army to assist them in distributing to the villagers."

To make things worse, NEMA said during the April meeting that the federal government wasn't responsible for the repair of IDP communities and homes, but if state governments or donor agencies wish to assist the IDPs rebuild their communities and homes, that will be at their discretion.

It was also decided during the meeting that IDPs will be given food and relief items along with transportation money to return to their villages. The transportation allowance will take them only to the government headquarters in their respective local areas. On getting there, it will be the responsibility of the leader of the local government to transport the IDPs to their villages. But as convenient as this unpopular plan sounds for both NEMA and SEMA, none of the displaced are benefitting from it.

"IDPs are leaving without that [any support] because they are fed up wasting their lives away at the camps knowing there isn't any plan from the government to help them rebuild their lives," said Ozolua, who has been counseling displaced women in camps in Borno and Adamawa. "Regardless of how damaged their villages are, IDPs are willing to return home, live in whatever conditions they find their villages, take their chances with security and take advantage of the rainy season to start cultivating their farms so they can be self-sufficient again."

They are doing this even as Boko Haram has intensified attacks in the northeast.

"We know Boko Haram can attack our communities at any time, but we have nowhere else to go to," an IDP leaving a camp in Yola said. "It is better we return home and cultivate our farms to survive, rather than get sick here."

Some IDPs even said they've faced worse trauma in camp than in the hands of Boko Haram. Indeed, that could be true.

A recent report published by Nigeria's Calabar-based International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) alleged that hundreds of young girls have been trafficked from IDP camps, although most victims were from unregistered, makeshift camps established when official camps could no longer cope.

The report quoted an unnamed nurse as saying many children were brought to her hospital after being raped in the IDP camps, and also alleged refugees were being sold as unpaid domestic workers, raped repeatedly, and in some cases burned and wounded with knives.

Children have to fight for is survival. Despite increased humanitarian efforts, thousands are still without an education, and many more are struggling with regaining their childhood.

"No one should write off these children," said Ozolua, whose Body Enhancement Foundation conducts medical missions, donation drives, educational programs and women empowerment in Nigeria. "Being displaced doesn't mean any child can't become highly successful."

Ozolua and her organization have paid huge attention to displaced women and children in the northeast, providing sewing machines and fabric, as well as money to start small businesses to generate a source of income, and creating an uncommon access to education for children in IDP camp.

"A woman is considered a weakling, and Muslims are even more disadvantaged," she said. "We want to touch the life of the people that have given up hope. It's so unfair the way they've been ignored."

Nigeria's Government Turns Its Back on Boko Haram Victims Document

President Barack Obama

"Betrayal: Slamming Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama threatens to withhold America's U.N. veto against Palestinian statehood. He obviously wants Israel as 'respected' as he claims to have made the U.S...

'Already, the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two-state solution,' Obama added. What the international community does know, however, is that in Netanyahu Israel has a leader serious about the defense and survival of his much-hated country against threats of various stripes.

One of those threats, unfortunately, is the current president of the United States...

When an ex-White House political operative has to reveal the president's 'inner Jew' to conduct damage control for the most anti-Israel administration ever, as he mulls betraying Israel in the U.N., we've entered the realm of black comedy..."

Warning Of A U.N. Betrayal, Obama Treats Israel As An Enemy Article

An armoured personnel carrier belonging to UN peacekeepers is stationed outside the presidential palace in the Central African Republic capital Bangui (AFP Photo/Pacome Pabamdji)

"The UN mission in the Central African Republic is investigating a new case of child sex abuse involving one of its peacekeepers, the UN spokesman said Thursday.

The head of the MINUSCA mission [UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic], Babacar Gaye, launched an investigation after allegations surfaced on Tuesday that a peacekeeper serving in the east of the country had raped a girl under the age of 16...

The fresh allegations came a day after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ordered an independent external review of the UN's handling of allegations of child sex abuse by French and African troops from December 2013 to June 2014.

The United Nations has been badly shaken by accusations that it failed to act quickly to respond to serious claims that the troops had sexually abused children at a camp for displaced civilians near Bangui..."

New Case of UN Soldier Accused of Child Sex Abuse in Central African Republic Article

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

"U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today sent a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon regarding his outrage that the State of Israel may be added to the U.N.'s list of 'parties to conflict who commit grave violations against children.'

'This designation would falsely and shamefully equate Israel with some of the most barbaric terrorist organizations around the world,' Sen. Cruz wrote. 'Mr. Secretary-General, I submit that, should you determine to add more parties to your list, you should focus on those who actually exploit their own children as human shields, indoctrinate and raise their children to glorify violence and martyrdom, and target the children of others to achieve their destructive goals who should receive priority consideration, such as Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad. There is absolutely no moral equivalence between radical Islamic terrorists, who are motivated by these factors, and Israel, which is justifiably motivated solely by the defense of her people....

As the largest contributor to the United Nations, Congress will have no choice but to reassess the United States' relationship with the United Nations and consider serious consequences if you choose to take this action.'..."

Sen. Cruz to U.N.: Israel is Not a Terrorist Organization Article

June 4, 2015

Palestinian policemen loyal to Hamas guard outside the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City. (photo credit:REUTERS)

On June 2, 2015, the UN held a full-day high-level conference honoring the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on its 65th anniversary. UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl used the occasion to commend himself for UNRWA's performance under his leadership. He made no mention of the findings of the UN Secretary General's own Board of Inquiry that UNRWA failed to secure weapons in their schools and even gave weapons back to Hamas - thereby facilitating the commission of war crimes.

The meeting consisted of a day of hate speech and blood libels directed at the UN member state of Israel. Contributions included:

The Permanent Observer of the League of Arab Nations: "...the atrocities of this Israeli war...brutal Israeli shelling..."

Hanan Ashrawi, speaking on behalf President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas: "...massive devastation and carnage inflicted on the Palestinian civilian population...merciless killing, injury and maiming by the Israeli occupying forces..."

Faris Shehabi, refugee representative from Syria: "...I have a question to the representatives of the occupying forces who are sitting here in this room...Are you enjoying listening to our sufferings? I think that your place is not among us...Your place is in the tribunals prosecuting terrorism, and you should be among Da'esh and other terrorist groups."

Itidal Muammur of Voice of the Land: "We're afraid every day that we're living in these areas in the Arab quarters under the judification of Jerusalem because it is becoming a large Jewish city..."

UN Celebrates Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA) that Turned Over Weapons to Hamas During 2014 Gaza War Development

President Obama (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

"President Obama took a step toward a tougher line with Israel in an interview released Tuesday, raising the possibility that the U.S. will allow a United Nations vote on issues related to the Palestinians if the two sides make no meaningful movement toward peace.

In an interview with an Israeli television station, Obama noted that his administration has 'up until this point' quashed such efforts at the U.N. while insisting that the Israelis and Palestinians must negotiate a resolution. But he said it is a challenge for the U.S. to keep demanding that the Palestinians negotiate in good faith if no one believes the Israelis are doing the same...

Obama told Dayan that the U.S. assistance to Israel on security, intelligence and military matters 'doesn't go away' because it is part of a 'solemn commitment that I've made with respect to Israel's security.'

But there may be a 'practical consequence' if there are new resolutions introduced in the U.N., he said..."

Obama Raises Possibility of Allowing U.N. Vote on Palestinian Statehood Article

Israeli Ambassador to the UN David Roet

On June 2, 2015, the UN held a high-level conference honoring the 65th anniversary of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The conference featured 25 listed speakers, all praising UNRWA's work and many condemning and demonizing the State of Israel.

Despite featuring an entire day's worth of anti-Israel presentations, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness attempted to cut off the remarks of Israeli Ambassador Roet, the sole pro-Israel voice. In his remarks at the conference, Ambassador Roet had harsh words for UNRWA.

Ambassador Roet's remarks included:

"UNRWA has a political agenda which casts a long shadow over its humanitarian agenda...

When UNRWA was established, their mandate included hundreds of thousands of refugees. Today, UNRWA asserts responsibility for over 5 million refugees.

How did the number of refugees increase so dramatically when the purpose of a UN agency is to decrease it?

In 1950, the UN established the High Commissioner for Refugees to assist men, women, and children in dire situations around the world... According to the UNHCR, you lose your refugee status if you become a citizen of another country. But in the Palestinian case, this restriction does not apply. UNRWA – and UNRWA alone - allows refugees to pass their refugee status to their children and now grandchildren.

If we were to apply UNHCR's standards to count the number of Palestinian refugees worldwide, the figure drops significantly. But the Palestinian refugees aren't counted using the UNHCR standards; they are counted using UNRWA's double standards.

If this politicization of the refugee issue was not enough, recently, UNRWA left no doubt about how deep its 'political mission' goes. UNRWA's spokesperson clearly stated that one of UNRWA's goals is to validate the Palestinian narrative. I repeat- to validate the Palestinian narrative.

Is 'validating' the Palestinian narrative within UNRWA's mandate? Is this what funding for humanitarian assistance is intended for?...

UNRWA must choose the right path. It must choose people over politics, neutrality over bias, and truth over propaganda. Only this path can solve the refugee problem rather than perpetuating it."

Israel Says UN's Palestinian Refugee Agency Perpetuates Refugee Problem Article

A camp for Syrian refugees in Turkey(Getty Images)

"Several Middle Eastern refugees set to be granted asylum in Norway under a UN scheme were found to have ties to the jihadist groups Islamic State (Isis) and Al Nusra Front.

'Unfortunately, there are people who try to exploit and abuse the refugee system. We have uncovered some quota refugees with links to the Nusra Front and the ISIL,' police superintendent Svein Erik Molstad told Norway's Dagbladet newspaper...

The migrants were part of the 'quota' refugees cleared by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for resettlement in Norway.

The PST [Norway's police intelligence unit] did not reveal the methods it employs to conduct background checks, or how it discovered the group's terror links. It said it could not rule out if other people with terror links had managed to secure residence in Norway..."

UN Designated "Refugees" Include Islamic State and Al Nusra Terrorists Article

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Reuters)

"The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist group's Palestinian National Council (PNC), tasked with managing ties with the International Criminal Court (ICC), is preparing to deal with lawsuits against Palestinian Arabs submitted by Israel at the ICC.

On April 1 the Palestinian Authority (PA) joined the ICC in The Hague in breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords which formed the PA, seeking to use the court to attack Israel and accuse it of "war crimes" - however, the move also opened up the PA and those living under it to lawsuits at the court, such as terrorists of the leading Fatah faction who fired rockets at Israeli citizens in Hamas's terror war last summer... According to the PNC member the legal battle against Israel will consist of two stages, with the first involving submitting documents meant to convince the ICC to launch an investigation of 'war crimes.'

In the second stage, he said that the allegations of Palestinian Arabs claiming to have testimony against Israel will be submitted in detail to the court..."

PLO Prepares to Face Israeli Lawsuits at International Criminal Court Article

Quentin Sommerville of BBC News interviewing Ahmed, the torture victim

A graphic mobile phone video obtained by the BBC appears to show militants from Islamic State (IS) torturing a 14-year-old Syrian boy.

The footage, filmed by a defector from the jihadist group, shows the boy being beaten while he hangs by his wrists.

The UN has accused IS and other armed groups in Syria and Iraq of torturing and killing children.

Children have also been recruited, trained and used on the battlefield.

Another teenager told the BBC how he fought and killed for the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front at the age of just 15, and that when he switched to IS he found 13-year-olds being indoctrinated.

Electrocution The mobile phone footage shows Ahmed hanging a foot or so off the ground.

He is blindfolded, and two masked men, dressed head to toe in black, pace the ground in front of him. One has a knife and a pistol; the other strides around the room with an AK-47.

They hung Ahmed from the ceiling by his arms and then the beating started. He was just 14 when IS captured and tortured him.

From the safety of neighbouring Turkey, he relived the nightmare.

"I thought about my parents. I thought about my mum," he said.

"I thought I was going to die and leave my parents, my siblings, my friends, my relatives all behind. I thought I was going to die."

"They started lashing me, electrocuting me in order to confess. I told them everything".

Nightmares

In the IS-controlled northern Syrian city of Raqqa, Ahmed had sold bread to make a living.

Two men he knew asked him to put a bag near an IS meeting place. Ahmed had been duped into planting a bomb.

His age was unimportant to his torturers. The abuse lasted two days.

"When they electrocuted me, I used to scream calling for my mother," he said. "But as soon as I did, [one of the torturers] used to up the voltage even more. 'Don't bring your mother in it,' he used to say."

"They pretend they're religious, but they're infidels. They used to smoke. They pretend to be enforcing the rules of Muslims, but they're not. They hit and kill people".

From prison, Ahmed was sentenced to death. But his executioner took pity on him, and allowed him to escape.

"It's rare that I'm able to sleep," he explained. "When I first came to Turkey, I used to have nightmares all the time. I got some treatment. But I couldn't sleep - I used to dream about it all the time.

"Whenever I closed my eyes, I used to have nightmares then stay up all night."

I met the man who filmed Ahmed's beating. He has since defected from IS and says he is full of remorse.

The film was made for propaganda purposes, he said.

The fate of the two other men filmed being tortured at the same time as Ahmed is not known.

"I am regretting every moment," the man said. "When I joined IS, I wasn't convinced of it but I had to."

"Although I wasn't particularly heavy-handed with people, I hope that the people I hurt will forgive me."

Corruption of a generation

Inside its self-declared caliphate, Islamic State has ended secular education and instead created military-style schools which indoctrinate children and train them to kill.

The UN has accused IS of instrumentalising and abusing children on a massive scale.

An IS propaganda video shows children, some barely teenagers, undergoing drills and learning to shoot.

Children are shown in beheading videos, and also taking part in killings.

Khaled - not his real name - is now 17, but just two years ago he fought and killed for al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra front.

Later, he was forced to join IS. He has since defected, but for him entering battle was a rite of passage to manhood. He said that children were being specifically targeted to fight.

"Adult fighters of the Islamic State are a minority. My graduation class was full of 15 and 16 year olds," he said. "There were even many as young as 13 or 14. Those are more eager to fight and wage jihad for the sake of God."

Islamic State Militants 'Filmed Torturing Syrian Boy' Document

June 3, 2015

Negotiators of Iran and six world powers face each other at a table in the historic basement of Palais Coburg hotel in Vienna, April 24, 2015. (Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a Report by the Director General on May 29, 2015. The report states that the IAEA remains concerned about a military dimension of Iran's nuclear program, including the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. It notes that the Agency had previously found Iran had undertaken activities related to developing a nuclear explosion device and it said the organization continues to stand by that conclusion. The Agency further reports that Iran's response has been to dismiss the IAEA's concerns. Moreover, the IAEA reports that Iran is actively undermining the Agency's ability to conduct verification.

The IAEA report is a huge red flag in the midst of the ongoing American-Iran talks. Having discovered past evidence of the militarization of Iran's nuclear program, and in light of Iran's current lack of cooperation, the Agency is refusing to verify that Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful.

Portions of the report are as follows:

"Possible Military Dimensions

Previous reports by the Director General have identified outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme and actions required of Iran to resolve these. The Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. Iran is required to cooperate fully with the Agency on all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the Agency.

The Annex to the Director General's November 2011 report (GOV/2011/65) provided a detailed analysis of the information available to the Agency at that time, indicating that Iran has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. This information is assessed by the Agency to be, overall, credible. The Agency has obtained more information since November 2011 that has further corroborated the analysis contained in that Annex.

In February 2012, Iran dismissed the Agency's concerns, largely on the grounds that Iran considered them to be based on unfounded allegations, and in August 2014, Iran stated that 'most of the issues' in the Annex to GOV/2011/65 were 'mere allegations and do not merit consideration'....

Since the Director General's previous report, at a particular location at the Parchin site, the Agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment and probable construction materials, but no further external changes to the buildings on the site. As previously reported, the activities that have taken place at this location since February 2012 are likely to have undermined the Agency's ability to conduct effective verification. It remains important for Iran to provide answers to the Agency's questions and access to the particular location at the Parchin site...

...[T]he Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."

International Atomic Energy Agency Still Unable to Verify Iran's Nuke Program is Peaceful Development

An abandoned migrant detention camp used by people-smugglers is seen in a jungle near the Malaysia-Thailand border, in Genting Perah (AFP Photo)

Muslim Rohingya women who were held at human-trafficking camps in Thailand and Malaysia were subjected to gang rapes by their captors, assaults that left at least two of them pregnant, a Malaysian media report said.

Malaysia's state-run Bernama news agency quoted a Rohingya survivor of the camps, Nur Khaidha Abdul Shukur, as saying young women would be taken away nightly from the jungle post where she was held near Padang Besar in Thailand.

She passed through the camp last year, according to the report released late Monday. "Every night, two or three young and pretty Rohingya women were taken out from the detention pens by the guards to a clandestine place," she was quoted saying.

"They would be gang raped by the guards. Two young women at the camp became pregnant after the gang rape."

The report also quoted her husband Nurul Amin Nobi Hussein saying he witnessed similar crimes taking place at nearby camps on the Malaysian side of the border.

The discovery last month of human-trafficking camps -- and scores of nearby graves -- first in Thailand and then over the border in Malaysia has caused shock and revulsion in Southeast Asia.

Seven camps were uncovered in Thailand beginning in early May and 33 bodies found in mass graves.

In late May, Malaysian police announced they had found 28 camps on their side of the border and 139 graves, which are still being exhumed.

The camps are believed to have been used by people-smuggling syndicates who move large numbers of impoverished Rohingya out of Myanmar, where they face systematic repression, with most heading for Malaysia.

Speaking from the northern Malaysian town of Alor Setarm, Nur Khaidha told Bernama that she entered the country illegally late last year after paying the smugglers to release her from the camp.

She said women sometimes were taken away by guards for several days to be used as sex slaves. Her husband, who said he transited the Malaysian camps earlier in 2014, told Bernama the same occurred there.

"In the night, several of the guards would go to the pens housing the women and take them to a nearby place," he said.

"We heard the shrieks and cries of the women because the place they raped them was very close to our pens, but as the incidents were at night, we could not see what was happening." AFP was not immediately able to confirm the claims with authorities.

Thai police have arrested nearly 50 people, including some local officials, since launching a crackdown in early May.

Malaysia has said 12 of its police officers are among those being investigated for possible involvement in the camps on its side.

The Thai crackdown threw the human flow into disarray, causing a humanitarian crisis by trapping thousands of starving migrants on boats at sea.

US Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard, who is on a tour through the region to address the migrant issue, told reporters late Monday that she had met some women boat people now in Malaysia and many had endured harrowing experiences.

"It was very clear to me... they had gone through terrible, terrible experiences. They are not in good shape," she said.

Rohingya Migrants Raped at Thai-Malaysia Border Camps: Report Document

June 2, 2015

Majed al-Zeer (second from right), senior Palestinian Return Center figure, with Ismail Haniya (center), head of de facto Hamas administration in Gaza Strip

On Monday, June 1, 2015, Israel condemned the decision of the 19-member UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations to approve the application of a British organization with ties to Hamas, the Palestinian Return Center.

In his statement, Israel's UN ambassador, Ron Prosor, said, "until today, the UN has given Hamas discounts and let it strengthen its activities...Now, the UN went one step further, and gave Hamas a welcoming celebration at its main entrance, allowing it to be a full participant... According to this script, one day we may find Hezbollah sitting at the Security Council and ISIS (Islamic State) voting at the Human Rights Council...This is the peak season for the UN's Theater of the Absurd."

The Israeli statement said 12 countries voted in favor, including Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey, Venezuela, China and Cuba, and three voted against, the United States, Uruguay and Israel. India, Russia and Greece abstained, and Burundi was absent.

Israel Says UN Grants NGO Status to Hamas-Linked Group Article

Iran hanging (file photo)

Twelve of the prisoners who were transferred from Unit 2 of the Ghezelhesar prison (Karaj, west of Tehran) were executed Monday morning, reported Iran Human Rights (IHR) sources from Iran. The report has been confirmed by several independent sources. All the prisoners were charged with drug offences. Identities of the prisoners will be published later.

On Saturday IHR reported about the transfer of 13 death row prisoners to the quarantine of Ghezelhesar prison. Later reports show that the actual number of the prisoners who were transferred was 14. Two of the prisoners were for reasons IHR will publish later, not executed.

In less than one month 56 prisoners from Unit 2 of Ghezelhesar prison have been executed. 34 of the executions has taken place after the prisoners gathered peacefully in the prison yard carrying handwritten banners asking the Iranian Supreme leader for forgiveness.

More than 2000 death row prisoners are held in Unit 2 of Ghezelhesar prison. All the prisoners are sentenced to death for drug-related charges. IHR has received several testimonies on unfair trials, torture and forced confessions.

According to reports collected by IHR at least 450 people have been executed in the first five months of 2015 in Iran.

IHR strongly condemns the arbitrary mass-executions of Ghezelhesar prison and calls for the international community to react. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: " Hundreds of prisoners might be executed in Ghezelhesar prison if the international community continues its silence. Iranian authorities' use of the death penalty can only be compared to the ISIS. Unfortunately the arbitrary executions don't seem to have any consequences for the Iranian authorities".

Ghezelhesar Prison: 12 Prisoners Executed- 56 Executions in Less Than One Month Document

June 1, 2015

French soldiers patrol in Bangui, Central African Republic. Photograph: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

"The United Nations (UN) appears completely clueless on how to proceed about multiple instances of child sex and juvenile molestation cases that happened a year ago. Despite being chronicled by its own staff, the U.N. doesn't appear inclined to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.

For a year now, U.N.'s senior human rights officials were aware of the allegations of child abuse committed by French soldiers in Central African Republic. But there appears to be complete inactivity on the organization's behalf. Even as the French authorities are struggling to piece together the various pieces of the puzzle, there appears to be little or no help coming from the U.N.... This incident starkly exposes the weakness of a global organization which considers human rights as one of its three main pillars. Shockingly, the U.N. doesn't seem to have strong guidelines on how to handle allegations of sexual abuse and doesn't have accountability for the poor manner of handling such cases."

Child Sex Abuse Cases Lost In Red-Tape? Even After A Year, The United Nations Is "Clueless" Article