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Resources updated between Monday, May 22, 2017 and Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 28, 2017

An inauguration of a square named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist who killed dozens of Israeli civilians in a 1978 bus hijacking in Israel

UN Chief Pulls Support for Palestinian Women's Center Named After Terrorist Article

A representative of Turkey chairing a meeting of the UN NGO Committee

A UN Committee charged with allowing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to gain greater access to the UN continued its bi-annual session on May 25, 2017 by blocking NGOs that promote human rights from gaining UN accreditation. Members of the UN NGO Committee include countries where NGOs do not have freedom of association, such as Iran, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan, Turkey, and Nicaragua.

The United States representative pointed out at the end of the day that only 2 of 43 applications from the "Global North" list (that is, NGOs from mainly Western countries) were recommended for accreditation. Significantly, the applications considered were from NGOs that have had their applications already deferred at least once. Members of the Committee can, and often do, defer applications session after session with inappropriate, specious or repetitive questions and demands of the NGOs.

Among the organizations blocked:

  • Russia blocked the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, asking for a list of funding sources. The U.S. representative pointed out that such information was already available, but Russia insisted it wanted updated information for 2016, which the organization couldn't have provided since the application had been deferred from 2015.
  • Russia and Iran blocked a pair of organizations working in Syria, including the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation, to which Iran asked why it did not operate in areas controlled by the Syrian regime and only in areas controlled by "terrorists" and "armed rebel groups." The American representative pointed out that the question had already been asked and answered, with the organization explaining it had not received adequate security guarantees in regime-controlled areas. Iran ignored the response and demanded to know if the organization remained in areas now retaken by the Syrian regime forces.
  • Two Estonian NGOs were once again blocked by Russia, which continued accusing one of being connected with a "terrorist" and the other of promoting "separatism". An Estonian government representative, invited to speak as an observer, expressed their dismay about the repeated deferrals for unclear reasons - to no avail.
  • Russia blocked the "Andrey Rylkov Foundation" for a second time this year, as well as the "Interregional Non-Governmental Organization 'Committee Against Torture'", asking questions about the latter's connections with an organization deemed "undesirable" by the Russian government.
  • Cuba blocked the "National Democratic Institute for International Affairs" by asking a question on its activities in undemocratic Bolivia, even though the NGO does not list Bolivia as one of the countries in which it works. Last year, the organization's chairwoman, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, penned an op-ed discussing the politically motivated murders of a pair of Bolivian politicians.
  • Cuba also derailed accreditation for the "Database Center for North Korean Human Rights", asking if it had contacts with institutions and academics in North Korea (notwithstanding free human rights institutions don't operate in North Korea).

Russia, Iran, and Cuba Block Human Rights NGOs Critical of Syria and North Korea from UN Accreditation Development

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende (File photo)

Norway Condemns Use of UN Women Funds To Glorify Palestinian Terrorist Article

May 27, 2017

A meeting of the World Health Organization (File photo)

"Great Britain and the United States joined four other nations in voting against a World Health Organization resolution that they said singles out Israel for criticism.

The resolution, which passed by an overwhelming majority on Friday during the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, mostly speaks of the need to improve services provided to Palestinians and residents of the Golan Heights. It also mentions the health needs of 'prisoners and detainees' in Israel.

Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Pakistan, South Africa and five other Arab countries proposed the draft resolution this year...

The British delegate joined the United States, Canada, Australia, Guatemala, Togo and Israel in voting against the resolution. The United Kingdom was the only European Union member nation to oppose the resolution, which is a standing item at World Health Assembly meetings. Israel is the only country for which WHO has a standing item, according to UN Watch, which claims this is discriminatory..."

Britain, US oppose UN health body's resolution singling out Israel Article

The World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

The UN's health agency adopted a decision, co-authored by Syria, blaming israel for Palestinians' health problems - not 69 years of Arab war and terror attempting to annihilate the Jewish state. Syria's healthy choices include using chemical weapons and bombing a children's hospital in November 2016.

The decision, in addition to Syria, was sponsored by fellow Arab bloc members Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Libya, Pakistan, "Palestine", Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia, as well as South Africa and the Latin American regimes of Cuba, Ecuador, and Venezuela.

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 98 in favor, 7 against (Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Israel, Togo, United Kingdom, United States), and 21 abstentions (Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, DR Congo, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Malawi, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Timor-Leste, and Tuvalu).

UN Health Agency Singles Out Israel in a Decision Sponsored by Health Advocate Bashar al-Assad Document

May 26, 2017

Yasser Arafat speaking at the UN in 1988

"...Words matter. They are powerful weapons. Words can legitimize the criminal and vilify the just. Words can provide the fuel for hate and the alibi for persecution and violence. Libelous fabrications, like 'Israel Apartheid' and 'Zionist aggression,' are the pretext for the BDS movement, whose stated objective is the destruction of the Jewish State. Their false narrative has hijacked progressive hearts and minds and become gospel in politically correct circles. It feeds the new wave of Jew hatred sweeping across Europe, where, in many countries, synagogues and Jewish institutions can now only function under military protection. The false narrative thrives on our own campuses, where we must expose its lies and confront it with the most powerful weapon at our disposal, namely, the truth. Because as we know, and as Barbara Kay has written, 'what ends in law, often begins in academia.'

Since its inception, the UN Human Rights Council has adopted 135 country-specific resolutions. Of those, 68 condemn Israel. The following is a list of some of the enlightened democracies that are current or past members of the UN Human Rights Commission: Sudan, Congo, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China, Russia. It is with these champions of human rights that today's left aligns itself: authoritarian regimes, which persecute the LGBTQ community, are intolerant of women's rights, of freedom of the press and of freedom of expression.

The so-called progressives who denounce Israel are unfazed by the jailing of dissenters in Iran, oblivious to the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia, blind to the incarceration and torture of gay men in Qatar, accepting of widespread female genital mutilation and unperturbed by the persecution of Christians in several Islamic countries. Their single fixation is on the Jewish state, a country whose laws treat all citizens equally, regardless of gender or religion and guarantee them education, healthcare and civil liberties. A country where freedom of expression is sacred.

It is time to stop kidding ourselves and to call all those with such selective social conscience the anti-Semites we all know they are. Hitler and the Nazis were vanquished but Jew hatred was not. It has found renewed vigour in an unholy partnership between the jihadists and the proverbial useful idiots, who hide under the progressive mantle..."

A false narrative about Israel has hijacked progressive minds Article

Sri Lankan peacekeepers training in Sri Lanka (File photo)

"When a Haitian teenager alleged that she had been raped and sodomized by a Sri Lankan peacekeeper, the government here dispatched a high-ranking general suspected of war crimes to lead the investigation.

He didn't interview the accuser or medical staff who examined her, but he cleared the peacekeeper - who remained in the Sri Lankan military...

It wasn't the first time that accusations against Sri Lankan peacekeepers were swept aside. In 2007, a group of orphaned Haitian children identified 134 Sri Lankans who gave them food for sex in a child sex ring that went on for three years, an Associated Press investigation found.

In that case, which was corroborated by U.N. investigators, the Sri Lankan military repatriated 114 of the peacekeepers, but none was ever jailed.

In fact, Sri Lanka has never prosecuted a single soldier for sexual misconduct while serving in a peacekeeping mission abroad, the AP found.

A culture of impunity that arose during Sri Lanka's civil war has seeped into its peacekeeping missions...

Despite those unresolved allegations, the U.N. has deployed thousands of peacekeepers from Sri Lanka. This is a pattern repeated around the world: Strapped for troops, the U.N. draws recruits from many countries with poor human rights records for its peacekeeping program, budgeted at nearly $8 billion this year..."

UN Peacekeepers: How a Haiti child sex ring was whitewashed Article

The scene following a bombing of a Coptic church (File photo)

Gunmen have attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt, killing at least 26 people and wounding 25 others, state media report.

The bus was travelling to the Monastery of St Samuel the Confessor, 135km (85 miles) south of Cairo, from Minya province when it came under fire.

No group immediately said it was behind the attack.

But Islamic State (IS) militants have targeted Copts several times in recent months, and vowed to do so again.

Two suicide bombings at Palm Sunday services at churches in the northern cities of Alexandria and Tanta on 9 April left 46 people dead.

Another suicide bombing at a church in the capital in December killed 29 people, while a Christian community was forced to flee the town of el-Arish in the northern Sinai peninsula after a series of gun attacks in February.

The Copts killed on Friday had been travelling to St Samuel's monastery to pray.

Their bus was in a small convoy that was stopped on a desert road near Adwa police station on the border between Minya and Beni Suef provinces.

Between eight and 10 gunmen wearing military uniforms attacked the convoy, officials cited witnesses as saying. The gunmen then fired at the vehicles with automatic weapons before fleeing in three 4x4 vehicles, they added.

Minya Province Bishop Makarios said many of the victims were shot at point blank range, the New York Times reported.

He said that children had been on the bus and were among the dead, adding that a pick-up truck in the convoy carrying workmen at the monastery was also targeted.

Minya governor Essam al-Bedawi said security forces had arrived at the scene and were fanning out along the road to the monastery and setting up checkpoints.

Copts make up about 10% of Egypt's population of 92 million.

Last month's attacks prompted President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to declare a three-month nationwide state of emergency and promise to do whatever was necessary to confront jihadist militants, most of whom are based in northern Sinai.

But many Copts complain that the Egyptian authorities are not doing enough to protect them, says the BBC's Orla Guerin in Cairo.

There is now a real sense of fear, and a feeling of being hunted, she adds.

What is the Coptic Christian faith?

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the main Christian Church in Egypt. While most Copts live in Egypt, the Church has about a million members outside the country.

Copts believe that their Church dates back to about 50 AD, when the Apostle Mark is said to have visited Egypt. The head of the Church is called the Pope and is considered to be the successor of St Mark.

This makes it one of the earliest Christian groups outside the Holy Land.

The Church separated from other Christian denominations at the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) in a dispute over the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ.

Egypt Coptic Christians killed in bus attack Document

Photos of the 12 children murdered by Dalal Mughrabi, for whom the center is named after

"In another show of admiration for terrorist murderers and according to the Palestinian Authority's policy of presenting them as role models for Palestinian youth, the Palestinian NGO "Women's Technical Affairs Committee" (WTAC) has named a youth center for women after the terrorist murderer who led the most lethal attack in Israel's history.

The Dalal Mughrabi Center is a joint initiative of the NGO, the PA, the UN, and the Norwegian government! The center's name sign prominently includes the logos of:
-The PA Ministry of Local Government
-UN Women
-The Norwegian Representative Office to the PA

The center, which was inaugurated last week, is named after the terrorist who in 1978 led a group of terrorists who hijacked a bus and killed 37 Israelis, among them...12 children[.]...

Worse still, it is not only the name that glorifies the terrorist murderer, the purpose of the center is to educate about her murderous terror attack to youth..."

The PA, UN, and Norway behind center named after terrorist who led killing of 37 civilians, including 12 children Article

Dolkun Isa, a Uyghur activist against Chinese repression of the Uyghur people (File photo)

"'A disease that is spreading – north, south, east, and west.' This is how United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this year described the lack of attention worldwide to human rights. But Guterres should also be concerned about pressure on human rights from within; notably the pressure that China, a permanent UN Security Council member, is putting on key UN bodies.

On April 26, Dolkun Isa – a well-known activist who campaigns from Germany on behalf of Uyghur Muslims, a community long repressed by the Chinese government – was attending a forum on indigenous issues at UN headquarters in New York. Although he was fully accredited to participate in the gathering, Isa said that after leaving proceedings in Conference Room 4, he was confronted by UN security in the hallway who told him to leave the premises immediately. He was given no reason for this, and although his accreditation remained valid, he was not allowed to re-enter the building later that day or when the forum resumed on April 28. When Human Rights Watch sought an explanation, the spokesperson's office said it had no information on the specific case.

This was not an isolated incident. In January, as the UN welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to its Geneva office, it sent home roughly 3,000 UN staff, citing 'logistical' needs – while also preventing nongovernmental organizations from entering the complex. In introducing President Xi, Secretary-General Guterres praised China for its commitment to multilateralism and to the UN, but raised no concerns about human rights violations..."

China's Rights Abuses Infect UN Article

May 25, 2017

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley at the United Nations (File photo)

"The United Nations Human Rights Council is preparing a blacklist of American and other companies doing business with Israel-and U.S. taxpayers are paying a quarter of the bill.

The council's move embraces the 'boycott, divestment and sanctions' campaign, which seeks to accomplish through economic strangulation what Israel's enemies have been unable to achieve through war and terror. How did the U.S. get on the wrong side of this battle?

When the Human Rights Council was created in 2006 as a 'reform' of the original U.N. Human Rights Commission, the Bush administration voted against, because no membership conditions required actually respecting human rights.

But Barack Obama jumped on board and, playing Gulliver at the U.N., allowed the American giant to be tied up by foes contributing a fraction of our moral and financial weight. In 2016 Americans sent the U.N. almost $10 billion.

On Thursday a U.S. Senate subcommittee will meet to 'assess' the Human Rights Council. Reconsidering U.S. membership and walking away-now-is the right choice. Successive White Houses have tried and failed to correct the entrenched anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias of the council (and commission) for decades Simply put, the Lilliputians have more votes.

The council has condemned Israel more than any of the other 192 U.N. states, notwithstanding 500,000 dead in Syria, starvation and mass torture in North Korea, and systematic, deadly oppression in Iran. Saudi Arabia and China have used their seats on the council to avoid condemnation altogether. Under a sanctions resolution adopted in March 2016, the council is creating a database of companies that 'directly or indirectly' do business with Israeli settlements. The blacklist is intended to be expansive: Even an ATM in Arab-claimed territory could be enough to land a bank and its business associates on this database. The blacklist threatens to tarnish business reputations, make companies targets for lawfare in European and U.S. courts, and provide fuel for the boycott-and-divestment machinery on college campuses and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the council has no boycott policy for the world's most ruthless regimes.

When Donald Trump became president, the U.S. did not promptly resign from the council but instead attended the March 2017 session. During this meeting, the resolution creating the Israel blacklist was reconfirmed over American objection. Then the U.S. was outvoted on 12 of 15 resolutions and backed into joining the consensus on various other resolutions, including one on 'cultural diversity' cosponsored by the likes of North Korea.

As the Senate subcommittee meets, it will hear the familiar refrain echoed whenever American blank checks to the U.N. are questioned: fight the good fight from the inside; don't cede the territory to enemies; the sole alternative is self-defeating isolationism.

But the answer is straightforward. Belonging to, and paying for, the U.N. Human Rights Council legitimizes those fighting to delegitimize Israel. Equal rights for some cannot be built on unequal rights for Jews. Reform from the inside has failed. America should choose its own partners and methods for making the world a better place. That's real leadership."

A Council America Shouldn't Keep Article

An anti-corruption protester arrested in Russia (File photo)

A UN Committee. charged with allowing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to gain greater access to the UN, continued its bi-annual session on May 25, 2017 by blocking access to NGOs that promote women's rights and anti-corruption measures. Members of the UN NGO Committee include Iran, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan, Turkey, and Nicaragua, all of which actively use their Committee membership to stymie applications for UN status from NGOs active in the field of human rights.

Using procedural ruses, members of the Committee can, and often do, defer applications session after session with inappropriate, specious or repetitive questions and demands of the NGOs.

Among the organizations blocked in this manner today:

  • Russia blocked a Russian NGO, the "Anti-Corruption Foundation," by asking the organization about any connections with the "Open Russia" movement, an initiative advocating democracy and human rights in Russia;
  • Turkey blocked the organization "World Without Genocide," which recognizes the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide
  • Pakistan attempted to demand the organization "Women Living Under Muslim Laws – International Solidarity Network" explain its position on existing legislation on homosexuality in the Muslim world. The U.S. expressed serious concern at the question, leading to the Pakistani representative simply rephrasing the question to address "sexual rights" instead of homosexuality;
  • Nicaragua continued blocking organizations dedicated to reproductive rights, including the American organization "White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood" and the British NGO "World Association for Sexual Health";
  • For the second time this year Iran blocked a pair of American organizations dedicated to women's rights, including "Women's Freedom Forum" and "Women's Voices Now," asking the latter why it only focuses on a "specific religion" in a "specific region," a similar question to what Iran asked the Women's Freedom Forum at the Committee's last session in February 2017; and
  • Azerbaijan blocked Armenian NGOs – "SEG" Civil Society Support Center NGO and the Society Without Violence – asking for information on projects they undertake in the Nagorno-Karabakh region (a region in dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan).

UN NGO Committee members Russia, Iran and Pakistan block UN access to women's rights and anti-corruption NGOs Development

President Trump at the Western Wall

Netanyahu: Trump Visit To Western Wall 'Destroyed UNESCO's Lies' Article

Mother of Ezra Schwartz with Danny Danon

Bereaved Mother to UN: Do Not Reward Murderers and Terrorists Article

May 24, 2017

A placard for civil society members at a meeting of the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations

A UN Committee charged with allowing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to gain greater access to the UN continued its bi-annual session on May 23, 2017 by blocking NGOs that promote human rights from gaining UN accreditation. Members of the UN NGO Committee include countries where NGOs do not have freedom of association, such as Iran and Cuba.

It was, therefore, no accident that Iran blocked accreditation for a British NGO called the International Organization to Preserve Human Rights Limited. According to the NGO's website, the organization conducts interviews, collects information, and reveals "information regarding the crimes committed by the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran" relating to "women's rights, rights of religious- and ethnic minorities and students." Iran blocked their application by asking what the reason was behind a recent name change; the mere question forces its application to be delayed at least another six months until the next session in January 2018.

Also blocked was the American Jewish World Service, which among its other areas of work, promotes civil and political rights to ensure government accountability. In a favorite tactic used by undemocratic states on the Committee against Jewish NGOs, Cuba blocked the application by asking a budgetary question. The question manufactured this time was how the NGO could carry out projects with a $3 million budget deficit. In fact, such a deficit amounts to less than 6% of the organization's more than $58 million in revenue, which happens to be less than that of Cuba's national deficit standing at over 8% of its national GDP.

Iran and Cuba Block UN Accreditation for NGOs Promoting Human Rights Development

A pipe bomb built by a Palestinian terrorist (File photo)

For the second time in a month, a minor arrived at the Samaria military court with pipe bombs strapped onto his body.

The minor and an additional suspect were arrested by Israel's Border Police and the military police, in the Menashe Division.

The two suspects aroused the officers' concern when they were required to pass through a security check. The metal detectors went off, and a search of the suspects' bodies found that one of the suspects carried two pipe bombs on his person.

A Border Police sapper was called to neutralize the explosives.

Both the minor and adult suspects are residents of the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jenin.

They have been arrested and taken for further questioning.

Two weeks ago, a suspect with two pipe bombs was caught at the same security checkpoint, attempting to enter the area and harm security personnel.

"Once again, the officers' alertness brought about the arrest of those who wanted to harm the security forces," a Border Police spokesman said. "Together with the IDF and other security agencies, we are investing many resources into securing the court."

Two Palestinians with Pipe Bombs Strapped on, Including a Minor, Arrested Before Entering Israeli Court Document

May 23, 2017

Russians protesting a court order shutting down a Russian human rights organization, February 2016

Russia, China, Other Non-Democracies Block Human Rights NGOs from Acquiring UN NGO Status Development

A memorial to the victims of the Manchester terror attack

Manchester Bombing Highlights UN Hypocrisy on Terror Article

UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, November 2016

The U.N.'s Complicity in a Congo Murder Article

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan shakes hands with North Korean No. 2 leader Kim Yong Nam (File photo)

"As the World Health Organization struggled to coordinate vaccine production during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, its director-general met with Vladimir Putin, then Russia's prime minister, during an official visit to Moscow.

Dr. Margaret Chan commended Russia's public health achievements and asked if the country might be willing to make a cheap vaccine for use in developing countries. WHO could test it and if approved, the shot would help the poor and vulnerable, Chan suggested.

Putin hesitated, saying he wasn't sure there would be a sufficient market. He then noted a precipitous drop in the number of Russians employed by the United Nations health agency, from 52 to 17. Could Chan look into the situation, the prime minister asked?

Chan promised to consider the matter, according to internal notes of her June 2009 trip obtained by the Associated Press.

'She admitted that very few Russian nationals are now at senior positions in WHO,' the notes state, going on to refer to 'a need to discuss how to encourage them to apply.'

During her decade-long tenure as WHO's leader, Chan has often described herself as a 'servant' of the agency's 194 member countries. She says she accomplishes more with stern, behind-the-scenes diplomacy than with public criticism. But confidential notes detailing her work trips show that even in private, Chan, whose successor will be chosen Tuesday, sometimes was more inclined to appease heads of state than to challenge them on health issues...

Chan's multiple visits to authoritarian countries have raised some eyebrows, since no obvious health crises prompted the trips and spending time with leaders with patchy human rights records might have compromised the agency's integrity.

In April 2010, she led a delegation to Pyongyang, North Korea. After applauding the government's 'notable public health achievements,' including its 'excellent' tuberculosis treatment and 'good immunization coverage,' Chan opened the telemedicine facilities at the Kimanyu hospital that WHO helped support.

She also extolled North Korea's 100 percent literacy rate during the visit and said the country had enough doctors and nurses..."

Outgoing UN health agency head practiced art of appeasement Article

The Czech Republic parliament in Prague (File photo)

"The Czech parliament adopted a resolution condemning UNESCO's politicization and the decisions against Israel, and even recommended that the Czech government stop payments to UNESCO.

Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, said in response: 'Another welcome decision and another sane voice against the series of delusional decisions regarding Jerusalem. Certainly a beautiful gift from Prague to the people of Israel on Jerusalem Day.'"

Czech parliament condemns UNESCO's politicization and anti-Israel decisions Article

The stabber after being neutralized

Israeli Police Officer Stabbed in Netanya Terror Attack Document

Wang Quanzhang, who was detained in August 2015 by Chinese authorities and has not been heard from since then

In August 2015 Wang Quanzhang was detained by the Chinese authorities.

In that he was not alone. The nationwide series of raids that summer saw more than 200 lawyers, legal assistants and human rights activists brought in for questioning.

But almost two years on, Mr Wang is the only lawyer from whom nothing has been heard at all.

"I don't know whether he's alive or dead," his wife Li Wenzu told me. "I have had no information at all. He has simply disappeared from the face of the earth. It is so scary, so brutal."

China's "709" crackdown as it's now known - a reference to 9 July, the date it began - is widely seen as a sign of a growing intolerance of dissent under President Xi Jinping.

Of the large number of people initially detained, around two dozen have been pursued as formal investigations. Over the past year or so those cases have gradually been reaching some kind of a conclusion.

Some of the accused have been given long jail terms, of up to seven and a half years, for the crime of subversion.

Others have been given suspended prison sentences or released on bail, but still remain under constant surveillance.

But of the lawyers arrested in that initial 2015 sweep, Mr Wang is unique. Apart from one brief written notification of his arrest, the family say he has disappeared into a black hole.

"For these two years, he hasn't been allowed to meet the lawyer that we have employed for him, and he has no right to communicate with the outside world," his wife Ms Li said. "He has been deprived of all rights."

There have been allegations that some of the lawyers have been tortured during their detention, force-fed drugs, shackled, beaten and kept in stress positions for long periods of time.

Their admissions of guilt, either in court or in the televised confessions that have been broadcast by state-run TV, should not be taken at face value, their supporters argue, but rather as the inevitable consequence of the pressure they've been under.

They now fear that Mr Wang's continued incarceration might be because he is holding out.

"I think it might be because my husband hasn't compromised at all," Ms Li said. "That's why his case remains unsolved."

Wang Quanzhang is certainly no stranger to pressure. His work representing the persecuted followers of China's banned spiritual movement, Falun Gong, as well as human rights activists, has attracted the ire of the authorities before.

In this interview, he recounts being beaten in the basement of a court building for challenging the order of a judge.

Jerome Cohen is a professor at New York University School of Law and a long-term expert on the Chinese legal system. He knows some of the detained lawyers personally.

"They are in the lead, they are the ones who have really gone public. There are many other lawyers who are quietly working, they hope, within the limits allowed by the party," he said.

"But they too are feeling the pressure and are watching very carefully how these lawyers, who were up front as it were, are being abused."

"Of course this deters a lot of people, which is the whole aim of the party... to try to keep the lawyers in line."

President Xi Jinping has spoken of the dangers that liberal ideals, like constitutional rights enforceable in the courts, pose for Communist Party rule.

China, it seems, wants lawyers to help it "rule by law", not keep its rulers in check through the "rule of law".

The lawyers whose cases have gone to trial appear to be those who have consistently taken on the most politically sensitive cases, as well as those who have advocated for the need for a justice system beyond party control.

"The party knows it needs lawyers, it wants them for economic development," Mr Cohen said. "But essentially, the party would like lawyers to behave like dentists, like technicians."

"I admire dentists very much but I don't expect them to annunciate the values of my society," he added.

"So this is what the party is trying to do, and it is doing so with extreme cruelty."

But if that is the plan then, on one level, it isn't working. The "war on law" has prompted the wives of the detained lawyers to work together and advocate very publically for their husbands' release.

Despite facing continuing intimidation and harassment by plain-clothes policemen, they have refused to be silenced.

Some of them even addressed a US Congressional hearing on the issue this week, including - via recorded video evidence - Li Wenzu.

Other Chinese lawyers have come to the defence of those caught up in the crackdown, visiting detention centres to demand information or mounting legal challenges, only then, subsequently, to be detained themselves.

And the wider community of Chinese defence lawyers has made public its opposition to the alleged mistreatment of members of the profession.

Meanwhile there is mounting concern about the fate of Wang Quanzhang. If he really is still holding out against the odds, his loved ones fear the consequences.

Lawyer and friend Ge Wenxiu recorded this video message that was posted on Twitter this week. "Lawyer Quanzhang, are you still alive?" he asks. "We don't mind if you make a damn confession on Chinese TV and come home. Come home."

Wang Quanzhang: The detained Chinese lawyer who simply vanished Document

One of the Indonesian men being caned for homosexuality on May 23, 2017

Two men were caned 83 times Tuesday as a punishment for having homosexual sex in Indonesia's ultra-conservative Aceh province.

Hundreds of people turned out to see the public punishment, held at a mosque in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, filming the caning on their phone cameras. It is very rare, even in Aceh, which follows strict Islamic law, for two men to be caned for having sexual relations.

The men, aged 20 and 23, were arrested in March by vigilantes. Neighbors had barged into an apartment with the men and filmed them naked with camera phones, according to rights groups. The videos were shared widely in local media.

They were subsequently found guilty of violating Aceh's strict Islamic laws and were sentenced to 85 lashes. On Tuesday, two lashes were taken off because the men had already served two months in prison.

The punishment site was under tight security. The young men were caned alongside four other couples, who had been found guilty of being intimate outside of marriage.

The beatings began at 9 a.m. local time and finished four hours later.

Aceh's strict Islamic laws

Unlike the rest of Indonesia, Aceh follows strict Islamic laws, which make sexual activity outside marriage and same-sex relations illegal.

The rattan cane used to whip the men.

During sentencing, Khairil Jamal, the lead judge, said both defendants were clearly guilty. "No evidence was found to justify and forgive them. Therefore, they shall be punished according," he said.

LGBT activists and human rights groups condemned the punishment.

"These young men are two Indonesians who wanted nothing more than to live their lives and have their privacy respected," Kyle Knight from Human Rights Watch wrote about the case last week.

The public punishment comes just days after more than a hundred men were arrested at a gym and sauna in North Jakarta, accused of participating in a gay sex party.

Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono told CNN Monday there were huge concerns among Indonesia's LGBT community.

"So much fear, I meet them almost every day, if not every other day. I've been helping many of them to escape arrest or to deal with abuses, give them counseling," he said.

Two men caned 83 times in Indonesia for homosexual sex Document

Israeli police secure the site of a stabbing attempt near the East Jerusalem village of Abu Dis, November 10, 2015 (File photo)

Border Police officers shot dead a Palestinian man as he attempted to stab them at a guard post in the Palestinian town of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, police said Monday.

No officers were reported injured, a police spokesperson said.

The alleged attack outside Jerusalem occurred as US President Donald Trump was in the capital for an official state visit with security significantly ramped up in and near the city.

The name of the Palestinian man has yet to be released, but he was identified as a resident of the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Police recovered the knife used in the attack. It was a cheap stainless steel blade that appeared to have bent out of shape.

Some 11,000 police and security forces are taking part in the operation to secure Trump's visit. On Tuesday, he is slated to travel to Bethlehem.

Palestinians have taken part in violent protests across the West Bank throughout Monday, clashing with Israeli troops.

According to the Red Crescent, three Palestinians were hit by gunfire during protests in the city of Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem, and in the town of Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah. They were in stable condition.

Another 26 Palestinians are also receiving treatment for lighter injuries, the Red Crescent said.

Attempted stabbing attack thwarted near Jerusalem Document

Eight-year-old Saffie Roussos and Georgina Callander, believed to be 18, are among the dead

Twenty-two people, including an eight-year-old girl, have been killed and 59 were injured in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, at the end of a concert by US singer Ariana Grande.

A man set off a homemade bomb in the foyer at 22:33 BST on Monday, in what Theresa May called a "sickening" act.

Armed police have arrested a 23-year-old man in Chorlton, south Manchester, in connection with the attack.

Saffie Rose Roussos was a pupil at Tarleton Primary School, in Lancashire.

Her head teacher, Chris Upton, said she had been "simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word" and was "loved by everyone".

Student Georgina Callander, believed to have been 18, has also been named as among the dead.

She had been studying health and social care at Runshaw College in Leyland, Lancashire.

Sixty ambulances went to Manchester Arena after the attack and the wounded are being treated at eight hospitals around the city.

Among them are 12 children under the age of 16.

In a statement in Downing Street, the prime minister said it was "now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack" that targeted "defenceless young people".

She said the security services believe they know the attacker's identity but are not yet able to confirm it.

It is the worst terrorist attack in the UK since the 7 July bombings in 2005, in which 52 people were killed by four suicide bombers.

So-called Islamic State has said it was behind the attack, via IS channels on the messaging app Telegram.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said it was "the most horrific incident" the city had ever faced, and the "fast-moving investigation" was now working to establish whether the attacker "was acting alone or as part of a network".

Officers have carried out raids at two properties, one in Whalley Range and one in Fallowfield, where a controlled explosion was carried out.

In other developments:

  • Relatives are using social media to hunt for missing loved ones, and an emergency number - 0800 096 0095 - has been set up.
  • The explosion happened shortly after Ariana Grande had left the stage and the 23-year-old actress-turned-singer, tweeted: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words"
  • Flags are flying at half mast outside Number 10 and political parties have suspended general election campaigning.
  • Theresa May chaired a meeting of the government's emergency Cobra committee and is now visiting Manchester
  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the police presence in the capital would be stepped up
  • World leaders have expressed solidarity with the UK, including US President Donald Trump, who called those behind the attack "evil losers"
  • Exam boards are telling schools directly affected by the attack that they can re-arrange GCSE and A-level exams in the wake of the attack
  • Police have established a help centre at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, access Gate 11, for anyone who needs assistance in tracing loved ones
  • The Queen has expressed her "deepest sympathy" with all those affected, adding that "the whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury"
Witnesses at the arena described seeing metal nuts and bolts among the debris of Monday's bomb, and spoke about the fear and confusion that gripped concert-goers.

Andy Holey, who had gone to pick up his wife and daughter, said: "An explosion went off and it threw me about 30ft from one set of doors to the other set of doors."

Emma Johnson, who went to pick up her children, aged 15 and 17, said: "The whole building shook. There was a blast and then a flash of fire afterwards. There were bodies everywhere."

Teenager Abigail Walker, who was at the concert, told the BBC: "I had to make sure I had my sister. I grabbed hold of her and pulled hard. Everyone was running and crying.

"It was absolutely terrifying."

Charlotte Campbell's daughter Olivia is among those who have been missing since the concert. "She's only a 15-year-old girl, she's out there on her own because her friend has been found," she told the BBC.

The blast happened close to the entrance to Victoria railway and tram station. The station has been closed and all trains cancelled.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the city would "pull together", adding: "That's what we are. That's what we do. They won't win."

The Manchester Arena is the city's largest indoor venue with a concert capacity of about 21,000. Police are encouraging anyone with footage from the scene to upload it at or Other information can be reported to the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

22 dead, 59 injured in UK suicide terror attack targeting the young Document

May 22, 2017

Sudanese President Bashir. Sudan was elected as Vice-Chair of the UN NGO Committee on May 22, 2017 despite its abysmal record on freedom of association (File photo)

The UN committee tasked with providing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) a voice in UN meetings silenced civil society voices in the Committee itself. The Committee voted against allowing Amnesty International to deliver a statement on behalf of itself and other NGOs, as Russia accused the proponents of the statement of "trickery."

The UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations is mandated with determining whether to recommend UN accreditation for NGOs. NGOs seek UN accreditation because it permits them to attend meetings, to circulate documents, and on occasion to hold events inside the UN and address UN sessions. The NGO Committee is composed of 19 UN Member States, including repressive anti-NGO regimes like China, Iran, Sudan, Venezuela, Russia, and Cuba. Such countries outnumber Western members of the Committee.

May 22, 2017 was the first day of the second of two annual sessions and general statements about the Committee's work on opening day are standard. However, within minutes of the start of the session, China objected to the word "statements" contained in the Committee's draft "programme of work." China's concern was that without a qualification of "by Member States and Observer States," the reference to "statements" could allow NGOs to speak. The Committee then spent nearly an hour-and-a-half debating the word, with Russia, India, Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran supporting China's objection, while the U.S., Israel, and Greece argued against such a qualification. The Committee then finally agreed to delete the word "statements," which, according to the Chair of the Committee, made no substantive difference.

Shortly thereafter, the representative of Uruguay attempted to cede her right to make a statement to a representative of Amnesty International. Amnesty sought to make a statement on behalf of a number of civil society organizations. Although last May the Committee had heard a general statement from an NGO, China immediately objected. This set off a second round of fighting in the Committee that lasted several hours. The representatives of China, Cuba, Nicaragua, and India voiced their opposition to allowing an NGO to make a statement, along with Russia who accused Uruguay and the United States of "trickery" in seeking to facilitate a voice for civil society. Russia went so far as to claim Amnesty International had been forced to speak by government goons.

In the words of the Russian representative:

"We begin within our little family, our little UN body, we begin with some kind of trickery... Russian experts in recent years have noted...member states pay NGOs, using grants and grant support systems...paying out money to NGOs so that those NGOs could then do what these states want.... I don't know where else... a member state can cede the floor to an civil society organization... but it is categorically unacceptable as we said earlier to employ any sort of gimmicks or trickery... What is this phenomenon when a member state gives the floor to an NGO?...This is part of a broader planned agenda... I suspect that this is all planned and I suspect that it's not the NGO itself that wishes to take the floor, but that someone else has brought it here and asked it to take the floor or even forced it to take the floor and I have already explained how this works before, including through grants. So I have suspicions on this matter... We're against any sort of manipulation, any sorts of gimmicks"

The Committee eventually took a vote against allowing Uruguay to give its speaking time to Amnesty International. The vote was only 4 states in favor of allowing Amnesty to speak (Uruguay, United States, Israel, Greece), 14 against (Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Burundi, China, Cuba, India, Iran, Mauritania, Nicaragua), and 1 absent (Guinea).

Later in the day, the United States made a final attempt to enable Amnesty International to speak, formulating a different question to be voted on. However, instead of proceeding to a vote, Russia moved to close debate on the entire subject, shutting down any further discussion with a procedural motion to take "no action." Russia's no action motion was adopted with 13 in favor (India, Iran, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Burundi, China, Cuba), 4 against (Israel, Greece, United States, Uruguay), 1 abstention (Turkey), and 1 absent (Guinea).

Thus, Amnesty International never got to speak.

Also decided on opening day: Sudan was elected a Vice-Chair of the NGO Committee. Sudan's President has been indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, and there is no freedom of association of non-governmental organizations in the country. Turkey and Azerbaijan - also not open societies - were elected to serve as the other two Committee Vice-Chairs during the last session in January 2017.

UN NGO Committee Doesn't Want to Hear from NGOs Development

Men arrested for homosexuality earlier this month in Indonesia

Indonesian police have arrested 141 men attending what they called a "gay sex party" at a sauna in the capital Jakarta late on Sunday.

Police said attendees, including a Briton and a Singaporean, paid 185,000 rupiahs ($14; £10) to attend.

Indonesia has witnessed increasing hostility towards its small and low-profile LGBTQ community. Homosexuality is not illegal under Indonesian law, except in conservative Aceh province.

But Jakarta police spokesman Raden Argo Yuwono said some of those detained could be charged under Indonesia's harsh anti-pornography laws.

"There were gay people who were caught strip-teasing and masturbating in the scene," he told BBC Indonesian.

Under the ambiguously-worded laws, putting on a live strip show for the enjoyment of the public could be construed as "pornography".

Last week, two men were sentenced to public caning in Aceh after being convicted for engaging in gay sex - in the first such ruling since tough anti-homosexuality laws were introduced there in 2014.

Earlier this month, Indonesian police arrested 14 people in the city of Surabaya for allegedly holding a gay party. They could also face charges under anti-pornography laws.

Indonesia police arrest 141 men for homosexuality Document

Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp, UN investigators killed after being sent into the Congo with little training

For 2 Experts Killed in Congo, U.N. Provided Little Training and No Protection Article