05 March 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy

NPWJ press release

Side event on "Forcible Transfer of Population in Syria"
by NPWJ, 26 Feb 2018

On the occasion of the 37th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, No Peace Without Justice and the Euro-Syrian Democratic Forum are convening a side Event on "Forcible Transfer of Population in Syria", which will be held on Monday 26 February 2018 (from 10:30 – 12:00, Room XXV, Palais des Nations, United Nations Office in Geneva). The meeting is co-sponsored by the Governments of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Lichtenstein, Netherlands and Sweden. By focusing on the forcible transfer of population in Syria, this side event will review the fundamental issues of accountability and transitional justice as essential components of any future negotiation on Syria.
By focusing on the forcible transfer of population in Syria, this side event reviewed the fundamental issues of accountability and transitional justice as essential components of any future negotiation on Syria. The meeting also served as a reminder that the rights of IDPs and refugees need to be part and parcel of a political settlement and are addressed not exclusively through a humanitarian approach. Proper mechanisms and procedures need to be set up to protect and guarantee property rights and the return of homes and properties to their legitimate owners; to ensure the right to vote to those that have been forcibly removed from their homes and electoral constituencies; and halt resettlement operations that are being carried out in the cities and neighborhoods whose residents have been displaced.

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Libyan Organization for Human Rights rejects "dubious" western countries delegates' visits to Libyan cities
by Libya Observer, 05 Mar 2018

Libyan Organization for Human Rights (LOHR) rejected the repetitive visits of western ambassadors to Libyan cities, especially to Benghazi. “We have noticed that the receiving party of those ambassadors have always been the same and they are most of the time politicians who look for government positions, people who have links to municipalities and others who are supported by the House of Representatives or the two Libyan governments, besides others.” The statement reads.

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How the Middle East is sowing seeds of a second Arab spring
by Financial Times, 05 Mar 2018

“Friends were shot beside, in front and behind me,” remembers Mohammed Soghayer of the tumultuous days in 2011 when Tunisian security forces battled to crush mass protests that eventually ended the brutal rule of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. The events in Tunis proved a catalyst for the Arab spring as long-oppressed populations rose up against autocratic, corrupt regimes.
“Unless you come up with a new discourse politically and economically then a new version of Isis is going to emerge,” says Marwan Muasher, a former Jordanian foreign minister and vice-president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It [the fractures in society] is the biggest problem, and unfortunately very few leaders are paying attention to it.

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Syrian Authorities Give UN Green Light to Deliver Aid to Eastern Ghouta
by Voanews, 05 Mar 2018

United Nations aid agencies are gearing up for the first delivery in months of desperately needed humanitarian assistance to thousands of people trapped in the besieged Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta. Syrian authorities finally have given permission for the U.N. convoy to enter the enclave’s town of Douma on Sunday.

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Amazigh awakening: Libya’s largest minority wants recognition
by Al-Monitor, Jamie Prentis, 02 Mar 2018

The Amazigh, or Berbers, Libya's largest minority group, experienced harsh treatment under Moammar Gadhafi's regime. Gadhafi's so-called cultural revolution in 1973 criminalized Amazigh traditions, prohibited the use of their native tongue, Tamazight, and declared the Amazigh to be Arabs despite their being indigenous to the land.For Gadhafi, the Amazigh represented a separatist threat to his efforts to consolidate power and proclaim Libya an Arab nation. Today, the Amazigh are thought to comprise an estimated 10% to 15% of Libya's popultion of 6 million. While the Amazigh are dotted around Libya, they are concentrated in the northwest, with the town of Zuwara considered to be their unofficial capital.

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