(Beirut) – The Iranian government should immediately reverse policies that place unnecessary restrictions on academic freedom for university students, in particular women. Some of these “Islamicization” measures are to be introduced for the new academic year, which begins on September 22, 2012. Others have been put in place in recent years and adopted by universities across the country.
The measures include bans on female and male enrollment in specific academic fields in many universities, but with the greatest number of restrictions on women. They also include quotas that limit the percentage of women students in certain fields of study, and segregation in classrooms and facilities.
Mali: Islamist Armed Groups Spread Fear in North.
(Nairobi) – Three Islamist armed groups controlling northern Mali have committed serious abuses against the local population while enforcing their interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch in recent weeks has interviewed some one hundred witnesses who have fled the region or remain there.
The three rebel groups – Ansar Dine, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) – have recruited several hundred children into their forces; carried out executions, floggings, and at least eight amputations as punishment; and systematically destroyed numerous religious shrines of cultural and religious importance.In April 2012, the rebel groups consolidated their control over the northern regions of Kidal, Timbuktu, and Gao.
Honduras debe investigar homicidio de abogado de derechos humanos.
(Washington, D.C.) – Las autoridades de Honduras deberían asegurar que se efectúe una investigación oportuna, exhaustiva e imparcial del asesinato del abogado Antonio Trejo Cabrera, señaló hoy Human Rights Watch. Abogado de profesión, Trejo se dedicó a la defensa del derecho de los campesinos y se opuso públicamente a la creación de zonas autónomas especiales de desarrollo. El 22 de septiembre de 2012, Trejo murió al ser alcanzado por disparos tras asistir a una boda en el sur de Tegucigalpa.
“Las autoridades deben actuar sin demora para llevar ante la justicia a los responsables del homicidio de Trejo y enviar un mensaje firme de que la respuesta ante eventuales ataques contra defensores de derechos humanos será contundente”, señaló José Miguel Vivanco, director para las Américas de Human Rights Watch.
Russia's civil society crackdown continues.
(Moscow) – The Kremlin’s announcement last week that it was kicking USAID out of Russia is the latest step in a crackdown on foreign-funded civil society groups. It’s a trend that has intensified since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in May, with the parliament hastily adopting new restrictive rules for non-governmental organizations. Groups that get even a kopeck of foreign money in their budget will be required to officially register as “foreign agents.” In Russian, that is pretty much understood to imply “foreign spies,” making many here in Russia believe the law aims to marginalize and discredit groups that advocate policy change.
The new law won’t enter into force until late autumn, but you can already see it in action. At least, I did, during a recent trip to Russia’s provinces. While the Justice Ministry is still working out the new law’s implementing regulations, regional officials are apparently already trying to please their federal bosses by exhibiting exemplary exuberance for the new provisions.