13 November 2017 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa democracy


Lebanon: New Torture Law Positive, But Incomplete
By Human Rights Watch, 13 Nov 2017

A new law criminalizing torture is a step forward for Lebanon, but falls short of civil society expectations and Lebanon’s obligations under international law, Human Rights Watch said today. Lebanese authorities should prosecute torture cases under the new law and Lebanese courts should interpret the law in line with Lebanon’s obligations under international human rights law.

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Assad regime's starve or surrender strategy 'a crime against humanity'
By The Guardian, 13 Nov 2017

Forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad in Syria have committed crimes against humanity through their “starve or surrender” strategy and sieges that have devastated areas controlled by the opposition, a report by human rights watchdog Amnesty International has concluded. The report, to be released on Monday, examines four “reconciliation” deals between the Assad regime and the opposition in Aleppo, Homs and Darayya as well as an agreement that included four besieged towns, two by the government and two by the rebels, and which led to the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians after years-long sieges and indiscriminate bombardment.

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Saad Hariri: Prime minister says he will return from Saudi Arabia 'within days' to confirm resignation
By The Independent, 13 Nov 2017

Lebanon's Prime Miniter Saad al-Hariri has said the country is at risk of Gulf Arab sanctions because of the Shia group Hezbollah's regional meddling and said he would return to Lebanon within days to formally confirmed he had resigned. In a television interview, the Saudi-allied Mr Hariri held out the possibility he could yet rescind his resignation if Hezbollah agreed to stay out of regional conflicts such as Yemen, his first public comments since he read out his resignation on television from Riyadh eight days ago.

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U.N. evacuates first group of refugees from Libya to Niger
By Reuters, 12 Nov 2017

A group of 25 refugees have been evacuated from Libya to Niger to have resettlement claims processed, in the first operation of its kind from the North African country, the United Nations said on Sunday. The move is part of efforts to provide protection for refugees and other vulnerable migrants who travel to Libya, often intending to attempt the dangerous sea crossing to Italy. 

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