11 Feb 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy


Iran marks 40th anniversary of Islamic revolution
AlJazeera, 11 Feb 2019

Iranians have taken to the streets across the country to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1979 revolution, renewing their allegiance to the country's Islamic principles at a time of rising economic and political pressure amid the resumption of punishing US sanctions.
In his address to the demonstrators gathered at Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Square on Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani dismissed US efforts to isolate Tehran, saying US sanctions could not break the Islamic Republic.

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Why can't we talk about the UK sending arms to Yemen?
The Guardian, 11 Feb 2019

Seated in front of a tapestry embroidered with words from the lexicon of “British values” – freedom, equality, tolerance, liberty – ten MPs spent an hour last week taking evidence from NGOs on an issue that calls these values into question: UK arms export policy.
This is the Parliamentary committees on arms export controls (CAEC) in action: a body responsible for scrutinising government policy and holding it to account.
Their current inquiry, into UK arms export policy in 2017, covers both the technicalities of policy – different types of arms export licences and how they are reported on, for example – and larger political questions, such as what happens in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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What happened to prisoners at Bagram, 'Afghanistan’s Guantanamo'?
AlJazeera, 11 Feb 2019

Before there was Guantanamo, there was Bagram, a US detention site near its giant airbase in Afghanistan, which came to be synonymous with torture and prisoner abuse.
But when the US relinquished control of the prison, now called Parwan Detention Facility, to Afghan security forces in December 2014, Washington renounced responsibility for the men once held there.
The handful of prisoners left behind became the Afghans' problem, one of whom was a Tajik man, Said Jamaluddin, Internment Serial Number 4057, innocent collateral in the US' so-called "war on terror".

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Congo's election: a defeat for democracy, a disaster for the people
The Guardian, 09 Feb 2019

The major players in the international community have accepted the outcome of January’s elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the name of stability. In doing so, they have failed the Congolese people.
Moreover, they have fallen short of the aspirations of the UN’s sustainable development goals, which call for “accountable and inclusive institutions”.
The results compiled by the independent national election commission (CENI), leaked to the press, confirm those of the Catholic church, which fielded 40,000 observers across the country. They show that Martin Fayulu, the opposition coalition candidate, won the presidential election, not by a whisker, but by a landslide.

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Organ trafficking in Egypt: ‘They locked me in and took my kidney’
The Guardian, 09 Feb 2019

Wearing a baseball hat and smoking a shisha pipe in a cafe in Cairo, Dawitt tells me he is 19, but looks years younger. He explains that he escaped Eritrea aged 13 to avoid forced, indefinite conscription into military service.
His family helped him pay smugglers to travel via Sudan to Egypt. Struggling with debt and desperate to make the sea crossing to Europe, he looked in vain for regular work. Then he met a Sudanese man who suggested a “safe and easy way” to raise the cash – selling a kidney.
“I thought it would be a good way of getting money fast and travelling to Europe,” says Dawitt. “I was worried, but he convinced me that it is a very easy operation and you can live a normal life with one kidney. It was a lot of money. How [could] I say no to $5,000 when I have nothing and my family need help?”

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