As the situation in Syria devolves, Russia and China should see that they have chosen the wrong side of history with their recent veto of a U.N. Security Council resolution designed to end the atrocities in Syria.
Over the last month, the Bahraini police have been using tear gas almost every night against protesters in residential areas. Specifically, the police have been targeting the Shi’a neighborhoods of Iker, Sitra, Nuwadrat, and Ma’ameer. While there are international guidelines for the proper use of tear gas, victims of such attacks describe the police using tear gas inappropriately – including firing into homes and other closed spaces. Such inappropriate use can have disastrous consequences. Since the start of the unrest in February 2011, at least 13 civilians have died from exposure to the tear gas, according to Bahraini civil society groups. They note that those who die from tear gas inhalation are usually people who are already vulnerable due to old age or disease, which make the gas’s effects more deadly.
Doctors in Libya are still under attack – even though the Libyan conflict officially ended last August. In December 2011, Qaddafi loyalists attacked the Director of Tripoli’s Central Hospital, holding him at gunpoint and forcibly detaining him and doctors went on strike after another doctor was assaulted on hospital property.
PHR welcomes the recent release of two Backpack Health Worker medics who were abducted by the Burma Army in Karen State, Burma in October of last year. The Backpack Health Worker Team is a community-based organization that provides medical care to civilians in war-torn Karen State.
Earlier this week, Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda was chosen to be the new Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. She will be the second person, and the first African, to hold this position. Bensouda was the likely choice for the position given her professional qualifications, including serving as Deputy Prosecutor to Luis Moreno-Ocampo during his nine-year tenure as Chief Prosecutor of the Court. Given the extent of the ICC’s work in Africa – all seven of the countries with cases before the court are African – the choice of an African prosecutor seems especially appropriate.