Middle East

The Malala interview: Send books, not guns  

MSNBC - The 17-year-old Pakistani advocate for female education, Malala Yousafzai, is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Watch her incredible story right here.
 
BBC - One year ago schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen - her "crime", to have spoken up for the right of girls to be educated. The world reacted in horror, but after weeks in intensive care Malala survived. Her full story can now be told.
 
She is the teenager who marked her 16th birthday with a live address from UN headquarters, is known around the world by her first name alone, and has been lauded by a former British prime minister as "an icon of courage and hope".
 
She is also a Birmingham schoolgirl trying to settle into a new class, worrying about homework and reading lists, missing friends from her old school, and squabbling with her two younger brothers.

 She is Malala Yousafzai, whose life was forever changed at age 15 by a Taliban bullet on 9 October 2012.

Read more: Malala: The girl who was shot for going to school

Human Rights - The Jihad to convert Hindu girls is continued unabated under the indifferent attitude of Pakistani authorities. In recent months, seven Hindu girls have been targeted in the conversion to Islam campaign. Of the seven, five have been abducted and converted by Muslim goons. One Hindu girl was abducted and forced to convert to Islam, but she has been subsequently recovered by the police. In one case, the attempted abduction was foiled by the passer-byes.

The Muslim abductors have also begun using new modus operandi. In one case, a Muslim man first became the ‘brother’ of a Hindu girl, and also observed the Rakhi Bandhan, a custom cementing the bond between brothers and sisters. Later, the same ‘brother’ abducted his ‘sister’. After the abduction, he married her. Perhaps, as the prevailing understanding goes, he will be extra pleased with the idea that he will be rewarded after death for converting one Hindu girl to Islam.

Incidents of abduction of teenage Hindu girls are of no concern to the Sindh provincial government. And, such abductions are music to the ears of Muslim fundamentalists and powerful local elements that operate freely within and around the local administration.

Read more: Pakistan: Jihad to convert Hindu girls to Islam rages on

Free Peaceful Demonstrators Arrested in Baku
Human Rights Watch (Berlin) – Azerbaijani authorities should ensure that everyone detained in connection with riots and protests in the city of Ismayilli has access to a lawyer and that no one is ill-treated in custody. The authorities should free everyone detained in Baku, the capital, who did no more than peacefully protest events in Ismayilli, and ensure independent monitors enjoy unimpeded access to Ismayilli.

Violence erupted in Ismayilli, a regional center about 200 kilometers northwest of Baku, on January 23, 2013. A seemingly minor car accident led to riots and mass protests calling for the local governor’s resignation. Numerous news media reports described several waves of clashes between law enforcement and protesters. Police used teargas and rubber bullets to quash the riots and restore order. In the aftermath, dozens of people were arrested in Ismayilli, though authorities say that as of January 30 only 12 remain in custody, facing criminal charges of looting and organizing riots. Many others have been fined and released.

Read more: Azerbaijan: Ensure rights for Ismayilli protesters

UN News - The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has strongly condemned the executions on Wednesday of seven people in Saudi Arabia, saying that “they clearly violate international safeguards in the use of the death penalty.”

The seven men were reportedly arrested in January 2006 and charged with organizing a criminal group, armed robbery and breaking into jewellery stores. They were sentenced to death by a court in Asir province in August 2009, and the sentences were carried out yesterday by firing squad.

“I strongly condemn the execution of these seven men,” High Commissioner Navi Pillay said in a news release.

 

“Under international safeguards adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and reaffirmed by the General Assembly, capital punishment may be imposed only for ‘the most serious crimes’ and only after the most rigorous judicial process. As I pointed out to the Government of Saudi Arabia before the men were executed, neither of those fundamental criteria appear to have been fulfilled in these cases.”

Read more: Saudi Arabian executions violate international standards – UN Human Rights Chief

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