International brief ~ UN refugees chief calls for special Darfur peace force

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres [official profile] has called on the UN Security Council [official website] to create a UN peacekeeping force for the Darfur region [JURIST news archive] of Sudan [government website]. Guterres said that while the 7,000 troop African Union [official website] peacekeeping mission was helping enforce the peace throughout Sudan, the Darfur region - where some 2 million people have been subjected to a campaign of murder, rape, arson by Janjaweed militia - needed its own specific peacekeeping force, and that since refugees were fleeing over neighboring borders of Chad, the UN was needed to supervise the mission. Earlier this month, UN Envoy to Sudan Jan Pronk called for a presence of at least 20,000 troops in Darfur to maintain the peace. Augustine Mahiga [official website], Tanzania's ambassador to the UN and current president of the Security Council, told journalists that the Security Council agreed with Guterres' remarks and would consider a deployment. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. Read the official UNHCR press release. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • The Italian Parliament [government website in Italian] has passed a new self-defense law that will allow individuals to use properly licensed weapons to defend themselves and their property from attack. The law, which has generated a large amount of controversy, allows individuals to use force to protect their homes and workplaces if their lives or belongings are threatened. The act requires that there be "a danger of aggression" and that the "attacker does not desist". Critics of the law expressed concern that the provisions would lead to heightened violence in crime-heavy areas, but proponents of the act, including Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli, claim that it will put fear into criminals, ultimately lowering the amount of crime committed. BBC News has more.

  • Several NGO and human rights organizations have issued condemnations of the Nepalese crack-down on protesters which has resulted in over 100 arrests in the last three days [eKantipur.com report]. Amnesty International [advocacy website] issued the strongest statement, urging the Nepal government to release those it had arrested, especially journalists covering the protests, and to revoke the heavy restrictions on political assembly and protest currently in place in Nepal. The arrests came at the same time as several police officers, protesters, and at least four Maoist rebels were killed in a series of planned attacks, believed to be conducted by Maoist elements, on government centers. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. eKantipur.com has local coverage.

  • The Zimbabwe government has charged five more radio journalists with violating the country's harsh Broadcasting Act, which prohibits the use or ownership of broadcasting equipment without a license from the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, which has only licensed four radio stations in Zimbabwe, all of them state owned. The journalists work for the independent radio station Voice of the People [media website], which has been trying to work around the Broadcasting Act by employing journalists to gather news in Zimbabwe, and then transporting them to Madagascar to broadcast into Zimbabwe from there. If convicted, the five journalists could face up to two years incarceration each. Zimbabwe was recently ranked in the top three nations of most dangerous places to be a journalist by the World Association of Newspapers. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe. ZimOnline has local coverage.


 

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