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Arrests under China’s controversial national security law for Hong Kong sparks international concerns
Asia Pacific Focus

Arrests under China’s controversial national security law for Hong Kong sparks international concerns

On Friday, the United Nations rights office communicated concerns in its tweet regarding the national security law passed by China for Hong Kong. UN Representative Rupert Colville told journalists that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was continuing to examine the new law after it came into power and its conformity with global human rights laws.

According to official reports, first person was charged with inciting separatism and terrorism under China’s new security law for Hong Kong. He was carrying a “Liberate Hong Kong” sign in protest as he drove a motorcycle on Friday, the Reuters reported.

The law explicitly condemns “subversion, secession, perpetration, and organization of terrorist movements, and clash with a foreign nation or with external elements to jeopardize national security, The Washington Post expressed. 

The United States and the United Kingdom have also denounced the new national security law and warned Beijing to either prepare for more sanctions.

Chancellor Angela Merkel also expressed concerns over the new law and stated that Germany would raise China’s human rights situation during its administration of the EU that started this month, DW reported.

Despite severe international criticism and protests by Hong Kongers, Beijing passed the security law on the former British ruled state. 

UN representative Rupert Colville told reporters in a press briefing that he believes hundreds might be arrested since demonstrations started on Wednesday. We have heard that around ten people have been arrested under the new law. However, he didn’t have enough information to support the statement right now. 

 Colville expressed concerns about the “obscure and excessively expansive” definitions of certain offenses in the new law that had been received by China’s National People’s Congress. This may prompt oppressive or inconsistent analysis and sanction of the law, which could sabotage human rights security,” he added. 

The OHCHR High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet reiterated worries about constraints on the freedom of speech and expression. Such laws “never to be utilized in criminalizing expression and conduct that is secured under the international human rights law”, The UN News reported.

China’s Parliament took a major step by passing the national security law for Hong Kong
Asia Pacific Focus

China’s Parliament took a major step by passing the national security law for Hong Kong

On Tuesday, China’s Parliament took a major step by passing the national security law for Hong Kong, making way for the most extreme changes to the former British colonial law since it was returned to China after 23 years. 

China’s state news agency, Xinhua, affirmed that President Xi Jinping marked a presidential order proclaiming the law following its consent by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. Furthermore, it will be added to Hong Kong’s constitution. 

Amid tensions, the enactment will squash the global financial hub freedom and rights, and the heaviest punishment would be life detainment. The law has ignited protests in Hong Kong since it was declared by Beijing in May. China says it needs to tackle tensions and instability and refuse criticism and interference in its internal matters.

With the new national security law, Hong Kong would need a new office to deal with cases, however, would likewise beget additional controls such as overseeing education. The city will surely need to establish its own national security commission to execute the orders, with a Beijing-appointed councellor.

The law is planned for controlling incendiary, secessionist, and terror exercises, and foreign interventions in nation’s internal matters. Since long, Hong Kong has been witnessing protests that on occasion turned violent between police and protestors. 

In the previous year, police have arrested more than 9,000 demonstrators, including activists and lawmakers who have regularly campaigned to carry international attention regarding Hong Kong. 

China’s measure towards national security law for Hong Kong shocked the international community and the Hong Kong residents, when it was first introduced in May, building new diplomatic tensions as nations were denouncing Beijing’s move. 

Political analysts, state that the law denotes Beijing’s full takeover of Hong Kong, which was guaranteed 50 years of “self-governance” after the handover by British.

Turkey’s Erdoğan, EU leaders, and British PM held a video conference to discuss Syrian refugee crisis and corona pandemic
Middle East & Africa

Turkey’s Erdoğan, EU leaders, and British PM held a video conference to discuss Syrian refugee crisis and corona pandemic

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Britain’s PM Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, held a video call to talk about Libya, the Syrian refugee crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. The four leaders were initially supposed to meet in person in Istanbul. However, the summit was held virtually due to travel restrictions.

Turkey has urged the four leaders in the conference to make new cash pledges to keep thousands of refugees from leaving the nation and attempting to arrive in Europe amid a Russian-Syrian assault in north-west Syria.

After a severe shelling in Idlib area a month ago, Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, encouraged thousands of refugees in the nation to proceed towards the borders of Greek islands and the Baltic.

That push finished when the EU gave Turkey €6bn to dwell the displaced people in Turkey.

The leaders talked about the chances of a new refugee deal, ways to battle the continued Russian warning in Idlib, and the dread that coronavirus could spread the refugee camps flanking Syria in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, The Guardian reported.

The EU has likewise offered an enormous cash amount to the refugees to leave the Greek camps and come back to Turkey. About 13,000 refugees, as indicated by the UN, are stranded on the border with Greece and Bulgaria in Turkey’s Edirne region.

A couple of days back, Turkey announced that refugees inside its borders were free to go, and they accumulate along the Greek borders. The decision shocked the EU and compelled them to aid refugees and to help end the Syrian crisis.

EU leaders criticized the move as blackmail even as they scrambled to pacify Erdogan, The Guardian published.

Article Credit: The Guardian/Al-Monitor

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Turkish Defence Ministry confirms the killing of five senior PKK members via airstrikes in northern Iraq
Middle East & Africa

Turkish Defence Ministry confirms the killing of five senior PKK members via airstrikes in northern Iraq

On Thursday, five senior members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were killed in an airstrike in Northern Iraq, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported.

Prior in the day, the Defense Ministry announced that three PKK individuals were killed in the Metina and Gara districts after being identified by observation and surveillance devices. It is unclear if the two episodes are connected. The announcement said one of the slain individuals was a female.

The declaration goes ahead the impact points of heightened Turkish air attacks in the area, with the Defense Ministry certifying yesterday their tasks against the PKK will proceed “unflinchingly.”

One day earlier, four PKK members were killed by Turkish airstrikes in northern Iraq‘s Hakurk district as Turkey has been carrying weekly airstrikes on PKK targets, The National reported.
Turkey and the PKK have been caught in a progressing insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule for more than 30 years. A dispute that has resulted in the demise of over 40,000 people on both fronts. The Kurdish PKK group is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union, and the U.S.
On Monday, a Turkish court condemned the ex-mayor of a famous Kurdish city to over nine years in jail after sentencing him for “membership in an armed terror organization,” The National reported.

Turkish authorities expelled 31 mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) a year ago over supposed connections to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), only months after they won local polls in March.

Analysts state the suspensions were planned for evacuating political restriction to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party in the nation’s southeast following lousy election results.

Article Credit: The National

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Global watchdog blacklisted Iran after it failed to follow FATF norms
Middle East & Africa

Global watchdog blacklisted Iran after it failed to follow FATF norms

On Friday, The global watchdog put Iran on its blacklist after it failed to follow the global anti-terrorism funding norms, a step that will advance the nation’s disengagement from the financial market.

The decision came after over three years of forewarning from the Paris-based Financial Action Taskforce (FATF), pressing the Islamic Republic to either order militant financing conventions or see its pardon from the blacklist lifted and some forced counter-measures.

The group’s 39 members stated in an announcement following a week-long meeting, “Given Iran’s inability to authorize the Palermo and Terrorist Financing Conventions following the FATF Standards, the FATF completely lifts the suspension of counter-measures and approaches its individuals and urges all jurisdictions to apply successful counter-steps,” The Reuters revealed.

These would involve more scrutiny of dealings with Iran, harder external evaluating of financing firms working in the nation, and additional stress on foreign banks and organizations continuing business with Iran.

The United States recognized the team’s action after what it said was Tehran’s inability to follow FATF’s norms.

Iran “must face ramifications for its continued failure to submit to global standards,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an announcement.

Iran’s central bank chief rejected FATF’s decision as “politically driven and not a professional decision,” the state news agency IRNA cited Abdolnasser Hemmati as stating.

“I can guarantee our country that it will not affect Iran’s stability and foreign trade,” Hemmati added.

US sanctions have disabled Iran’s economy, wrecking its oil exports and, to a great extent, closing it from the global financial system. Washington has since long forced a policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran, The National reported.

Article Credit: The National

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Turkey seeks U.S. Patriot Missiles to secure troops in Syria
Europe

Turkey seeks U.S. Patriot Missiles to secure troops in Syria

On Thursday, Turkey expressed it doesn’t want any trouble with Moscow over Syria’s offensive near borders, yet guaranteed it might accept U.S. Patriot missiles to secure Turkish forces.

Pressure has mounted in recent few months amid Turkey, which backs a portion of the rebels and Syrian ally Moscow over President Bashar Al Assad’s assault in north-west Idlib.

In the month of February, 14 Turks were killed in two different episodes of regime shelling in Idlib, the rebels’ last grip in Syria, The National published.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar spoke to CNN Turk, “We have no desire for an altercation with Russia.” Talks would proceed with Russian authorities. One of the matters addressed is of airspace above Idlib, and Turkey expects Russia doesn’t get affected, Akar included.

As per The National, there has been no solid understanding among Turkey and Russia after two rounds of discussions between their delegations in Moscow and Ankara this month.

Ankara demands that it needs to maintain a strategic distance from a humanitarian fiasco yet additionally needs to deflect a surge of refugees into Turkey, which is now home to 3.6 million Syrians.

Turkey has 12 observation stations in the Idlib region, set up following an agreement marked with Russia in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in 2018 to forestall a regime assault.

The Syrian regime attacks have left several hundred dead in Idlib and constrained 900,000 individuals to escape their homes since December.

Akar stated, “There could be ‘Patriot’ support as there is the danger of airstrikes and missiles against our nation.”

He was pointing towards the US-made missile named Patriot, which is capable of destroying airplanes and different rockets. Akar later renounced any U.S. troop support, the National reported.

Article Credit: The National

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