Watch Peabody Award-Winning Program Borgen on Link TV!  Close

Mosaic Blog

Syrian Opposition Unites, Rohingya Groups Speak Out, and More Top News This Week

REUTERS/Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham/Handout


US-approved Syrian opposition group forms governing body

After US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a "more trustworthy" Syrian opposition last week, New TV reported that a leader in the Free Syrian Army announced that the Free Army is reorganizing its ranks to gain the trust of the international community, adding that his leadership has started to settle inside Syria. The Syrian opposition also announced during its ongoing meetings in Doha that it accepted a proposal to establish a transitional government headed by opposition member Riyad Saif. The initiative, headed by Saif, stipulates creating a unified leadership dubbed the Syrian National Initiative, from which a government in exile will be formed.

World groups organize global day of action in support of Myanmar's Rohingyas; Suu Kyi under fire for ignoring violence

Myanmar's Rohingyas are fleeing Rakhine State after a new wave of attacks from the Buddhist majority. Press TV reported that Rohingya groups around the world held a global day of action for the Rohingyas on November 8. International rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, have also criticized Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence on the issue. The president of Arakan Rohingya National Organization, Noor al-Islam, added in an interview during a rally in London that if the persecuted had been Rakhine's Buddhists, Suu Kyi would have spoken out. Additionally, the aid group Doctors Without Borders says its workers have been threatened and stopped from reaching violence-hit areas in Myanmar. The group says thousands are left without medical care in the western Rakhine State as a result, adding that many of the victims are extremely vulnerable.

Tens of Thousands Demand Nobel Peace Prize for Malala Yousafzai

 

BBC Arabic reported that over 60 thousand people signed a petition calling for Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The 15-year-old girl is recovering in The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Britain, after suffering an armed attack by the Taliban movement in Pakistan. Malala and her campaign for education gained notoriety around the world after she wrote her memoirs in the Urdu section of the BBC about life under the teachings of the extremist Taliban movement that rejects girls' right to an education.

Oil Giant Shell Undercuts Iran Sanctions with $1.4B Grain Barter

 

Dubai TV reported that the Royal Dutch Shell Company aims to circumvent international sanctions imposed on Iran by concluding a swap through which it would pay its USD 1.4 billion debt to the Iranian national oil company with a grain barter deal through the American agribusiness Cargill. Through the deal, Shell would deliver grain to Iran worth USD 1.4 billion, or what amounts to nearly 80 percent of Iran's yearly grain imports. Sources also revealed that the Royal Dutch Shell company, Tehran's second largest customer, imports 100,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day, and continued to purchase oil until the sanctions went into effect on July 1st.

 

Image: Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai talks to her father, Ziauddin Yousufzai, as she recuperates at the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, in this undated handout photograph released to Reuters on November 8, 2012. REUTERS/Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham/Handout

 
 

Comments (1)

 
Digg it!Add to RedditAdd to Del.icio.usShare on Facebook
 
Bahrain Jails Medics for Treating Injured Protestors

BBC Arabic reported that a Bahraini military court sentenced one protestor to death for killing a policeman during an anti-regime protest in March. The court also issued harsh prison sentences to 20 medical professionals working at al-Salmaniya Hospital in Manama during the protest movement. Thirteen medics were sentenced to 15 years in prison. According to the Bahrain News Agency, the medics are being charged with "forcefully occupying Salmaniya Medical Centre…possessing unlicensed arms and knives, incitement to overthrow the regime, seizing medical equipment, detaining policemen, and spreading false news." Several written testimonies of the sentenced doctors indicate that they were physically and psychologically abused, tortured, beaten, sexually harassed, and humiliated while in custody.  

Doctors form a human chain at Salmaniya Hospital fearing an attack by riot police in Manama

 

On June 14, after Bahrain started the trial of 48 medics, journalist Robert Fisk dispatched an eyewitness account from the hospital to The Independent. He wrote that he saw doctors desperately trying to save the lives of injured protestors shot by Bahraini forces, describing the charges as "a pack of lies."

 

One of the sentenced doctors, Dr. Fatma Haji, told the BBC that the medics' only crime "was that we helped innocent, helpless people who were just protesting and got injured." In a video to her three-year-old son, she maintained her innocence and expressed hope that when he is old enough to understand, he will be proud of her.

 

Amnesty International condemned the Bahraini regime for its harsh sentences against the health practitioners. Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme described the charges against the medics as "ludicrous." The Dublin-based human rights organization Front Line also condemned the sentencing after a "deeply flawed and unfair trial." It declared that medical care has been "criminalized" in Bahrain.

 

In July, Human Rights Watch issued a 54-page report documenting the government's abuses against citizens since February, and called on the Bahraini regime to immediately end its systematic policy of arresting and abusing medical personnel and patients.

 

(Photo: Doctors form a human chain at Salmaniya Hospital fearing an attack by riot police in Manama, on March 15/ Reuters)

 
 

Comments (0)

 
Digg it!Add to RedditAdd to Del.icio.usShare on Facebook
 
Tonight on Mosaic: Bahrain accused of systematic torture inside hospitals

Bahrain: Doctors Without Borders released a report today alleging that Bahraini government forces have tortured injured demonstrators in hospitals around the country. The report focused on Manama’s Sulaimaniya hospital, where Doctors Without Borders volunteers documented several methods of torture used against patients. The head of the organization’s mission in Bahrain, Jonathan Whittall, said that all patients suspected of participating in peaceful protests were taken to the hospital's sixth floor, where they were severely beaten on a daily basis. Twenty Bahraini doctors are being prosecuted for “disrupting public order” for treating injured demonstrators.

 

Libya: The humanitarian situation in Libya is deteriorating as clashes continue between the revolutionaries and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's loyalists. Thousands of people have been killed or injured, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced, since fighting began five months ago. Sources say fierce battles against Gaddafi’s forces continue, especially in western Libya, as the revolutionaries make their way to Gaddafi-controlled Tripoli. The International Committee of the Red Cross expects 850,000 people to be affected by the war by the end of the year. 

 

Syria: In his third speech since unrest broke out three months ago, President Bashar al-Assad said his country is the victim of a conspiracy and that anti-regime protestors are working for a foreign agenda. He added that the people’s demands for reform are legitimate but that they must be differentiated from the demands of the “vandals.” Assad called for a comprehensive national dialogue to end the current crisis. Protestors and activists were quick to reject the president’s statements and immediately took to the streets vowing that the revolution would continue. 

 

 
 

Comments (0)

 
Digg it!Add to RedditAdd to Del.icio.usShare on Facebook