UNITED NATIONS: Civilians must not be exposed to “collective punishment” in disputes between two States, a United Nations human rights expert has said, calling for greater protection for ordinary people affected by punitive sanctions imposed by one country on another.
Idriss Jazairy, the UN Special Rapporteur on effects of sanctions on human rights, said that measures that seek to block a country’s trade altogether, amount to economic warfare against civilians, with devastating consequences. “Under economic sanctions, people also die but from lack of food and medicine, rather than from explosive devices,” said the UN rights expert in a statement on Thursday. This form of warfare that relies on starvation and disease “deserves the same concern” on the part of the international community as any other conflict, he added, noting protections guaranteed under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies during times of war.
Import of food, medicine, and other necessities must be protected and not subjected to lengthy and complex approval processes, he reiterated. “I am deeply concerned that it is the poor who are bearing the brunt of these actions,” Jazairy said, adding that Iran’s currency, the rial, had lost more than 70 percent of its value in the past year, and food prices had risen by half. Referring to Iran, Jazairy said that while US sanctions – fully re-imposed earlier this week – included humanitarian exemptions, aid is currently frozen as businesses await more clarification from the US Government. There are reports that the SWIFT mechanism of bank-to-bank money transfer could make such exemptions inoperative.
“More people are losing their jobs as the economy suffers,” he said. Jazairy went on to note that while States’ right to disagree with each other should be respected, civilians must not be harmed or used as means of “political pressure” on a targeted Government. “This is illegal under international human rights law,” he said, adding that he is ready to “serve as facilitator” to assist the US and Iran “in finding concrete ways to ensure that urgently needed humanitarian exemptions whose observance is unchallenged by the source country, are made effective and workable.”
Trump’s asylum ban blocked by US judge
NEW YORK: In a blow to US President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda, a federal judge has put a temporary halt to his administration’s order denying the possibility of asylum to people who enter the US illegally, according to American media reports.
President Trump issued the proclamation earlier this month as a matter of what he called national security as thousands of Central American migrants made its way through Mexico toward the US border.
US District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco issued on Monday night a temporary restraining order against the Trump proclamation, thus granting a request from human rights groups who had sued shortly after the order was announced.
Under the proclamation, Trump said only people who enter the US at official checkpoints – as opposed to sneaking across the border – can apply for asylum.
Judge Tigar said Trump’s anti-immigration policy likely violated federal law on asylum eligibility. The judge issued the temporary nationwide restraining order barring enforcement of the policy after hearing arguments in the case, according to the reports.
The Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security had earlier published a joint rule prohibiting certain people caught crossing the US southern border from Mexico between ports of entry from claiming asylum.
“Our asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources,” acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a joint statement at the time.
The rule was opposed by immigration activists and civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
“We don’t condone people entering between ports of entry, but Congress has made the decision that if they do, they still need to be allowed to apply for asylum,”
Imran Khan reaches Kuala Lumpur
KUALA LUMPUR: Imran Khan reached here today on a two-day official visit of Malaysia. It would be the first state visit by any foreign leader since Dr. Mahathir Mohamad assumed office in May.
Prime Minister Imran Khan reaches Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a two day visit. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar and PM’s Advisor on Commerce & Investment Abdul Razak Dawood are also accompanying the PM. #PMIKinMalaysia 🇲🇾🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/LbciZFUJQ5
— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 20, 2018
A relevant piece published earlier:
White House introduces new press rules amid CNN row
WASHINGTON: The White House has introduced new rules for journalists during administration news conferences following restoration of a press pass for CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
Under the new rules, a journalist will be permitted a single question before yielding the floor to other journalists, but a follow-up question or questions may be permitted at the discretion of the president of other White House officials taking questions.
After follow-up questions have been asked, the questioner will be required to yield the floor, which when applicable constitutes physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner. The failure to abide by any of the rules may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass. White House Press Secretary Sara Sanders said the rules were created with a “degree of regret”.
For years, members of the White House press corps have attended countless press events with the President and other officials without engaging in the behavior Mr. Acosta displayed at 7th November 2018, press conference, she said.
During the aforementioned press conference, Acosta challenged Trump for referring to a caravan of Central American migrants approaching the United States as an invasion. In the midst of a heated exchange, Trump called Acosta a rude, terrible person and ordered a White House aide to take the microphone from Acosta’s hand.
Acosta’s press pass was withdrawn the following day. Sanders also said the White House may institute further rules regarding press decorum if necessary.
It would be a great loss for all if, instead of relying on the professionalism of White House journalists, we were compelled to devise a lengthy and detailed code of conduct for White House events, she said.