Editor’s Note: Rights & Wrongs is a weekly column covering the world’s major human rights-related happenings. It is written by regular WPR contributor Juliette Terzieff. CAMBODIA TRIBUNAL MAKES MORE ARRESTS — Cambodian authorities arrested the former foreign minister of the Khmer Rouge regime and his wife Nov. 11. They will face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at a United Nations-backed tribunal. Ieng Sary, also the regime’s former social affairs minister, and his wife Ieng Thirith stand accused of involvement in the murder of political opponents. Ieng Sary is also to be tried on charges that he directed […]

BANGKOK, Thailand — Refugees from the horrors of Burma face legal limbo and police harassment inside Thailand. Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia complain of mistreatment amid police attempts to lock them in their workplaces at night. The Hmong minority in Laos are hunted like animals by their country’s repressive communist regime. In “sophisticated” Singapore it’s illegal to congregate and raise a voice of protest in public. Against this depraved everyday background, the Association of Southeast Nations is about to create some form of human rights agency as part of its dream to become the European Union of Asia. Fat chance, […]

“Is the Romanian bogeyman destined to become Italians’ new nightmare?” This was the question raised by Maria Luisa Agnese in a Nov. 1 column in the Italian daily the Corriere della Sera, suggestively titled “The Specter of the ‘Monsters’ from Europe.” Two days earlier, on Oct. 30, Giovanna Reggiani, the 47-year-old wife of a navy officer, was found half-naked and barely alive in a ditch near the Tor di Quinto train station on the outskirts of Rome. Reggiani had been robbed and savagely beaten. Taken in a coma to the Sant’Andrea hospital, she would subsequently die there of her injuries. […]

Rights & Wrongs: Egypt, Mauritania, Turkey and More

EGYPTIAN POLICE PAY PRICE FOR ABUSE — Two Egyptian police officers were convicted Monday for their abuse of a Cairo bus driver, raising some hope among Egyptians that impunity for the country’s security forces could become a thing of the past. The two officers — Capt. Islam Nabih and Corp. Rada Fathi — each received sentences of three years. While their representatives indicated the officers would appeal the sentence, few expect the decision to be overturned given the damning evidence. The officers detained, beat and sodomized 22-year-old Emad Mohammad Ali in January 2006 before releasing him without charge. They recorded […]

Yahoo Apologizes, But Are Journalists Any Safer?

Yesterday, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, led by Tom Lantos, slammed Yahoo’s disclosure of the identity of journalist Shi Tao to the Chinese government. Lantos also criticized the company’s failure to acknowledge its role in the disclosure when questioned in a 2006 House hearing. Shi used his Yahoo email account to forward a Chinese government memo prohibiting journalists from covering the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. After Yahoo disclosed his identity to Chinese authorities, Shi was jailed with a 10 year sentence for revealing state secrets. Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, and General Counsel Michael Callahan appeared to represent […]

SARKO’S HEFTY PAYRAISE — French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is on an official visit to Washington this week, wants the French to work harder and earn more. Since his election six months ago, the energetic Sarko has put his ideas into practice by working hard himself — and earning 172 percent more. That’s how much the French parliament has voted to increase the president’s salary, which will now amount to the equivalent of $337,756 a year. This brings Sarkozy’s paycheck close to that of his American host, President Bush, who is paid a comparatively modest $400,000; but not as close […]

Rights & Wrongs: Gender Selection, Child Labor and More

BURMA JUNTA ACCUSED OF USING CHILD SOLDIERS: Human Rights Watch claimed Oct. 31 that the Burmese army is forcibly recruiting children as young as 10 to make up for a dearth of adult recruits. Burma’s military junta and the country’s various militia groups have long been accused of employing child soldiers, but Wednesday’s HRW report “Sold to be Soldiers: The Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers in Burma,” says increased military action, combined with higher rates of desertions and lower numbers of willing adults, has resulted in a de facto marketplace for child soldiers. “Military recruiters are literally buying and […]

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan — Bolstered by a European Union decision to lift travel restrictions on senior officials, the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan is moving towards elections set for December amid concerns that the reelection of President Islam Karimov would be an inexorable setback for democracy in the country. Though he is technically ineligible to stand as a candidate in the polls set for Dec. 23, the Liberal Democratic Party announced this month that Karimov, in power since the Soviet era, would stand for another seven-year term in order to “secure stability, peace and prosperity” for the nation. The announcement came […]