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UN rights expert urges international community to revive engagement with North Korea – JURIST

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The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea, Tomás Ojea Quintana, in his presentation at the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Monday, urged the international community to reactivate the engagement with North Korea because “leaving North Korea in isolation and maintaining the status quo do not offer solutions to help address the dire human rights situation there.” Ojea Quintana reported that North Korea’s full border closure and travel restrictions, in place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, have further isolated North Koreans and worsened the state’s oppressive control over North Korea. their lives. The state has issued shoot-on-the-spot orders at the borders to punish deserters and enacted an “anti-reactionary thinking” law that imposes the death penalty for accessing foreign content. human rights violations that, according to Ojea Quintana, may constitute crimes against humanity. The survival of North Korea’s oppressive political regime largely depends on these political prisons. At a press conference on Monday, Ojea Quintana highlighted a 2014 UN investigation that revealed that up to 120,000 people are incarcerated in these camps and that prisoners are being used for forced labor in coal and other mines. insecurity with nearly 40 percent of the population dealing with food shortages. This is compounded by the suspension of international trade due to border closures that can no longer be justified as a response to COVID-19. “Segments of the population, especially vulnerable populations, may be facing hunger and famine,” he added. In his report on the situation in North Korea to the UNHRC, Ojea Quintana recommended a long-term engagement with North Korea on issues of prison conditions and economic and social rights. “The North Korean authorities must know that sooner or later they have to answer for the crimes that are being committed,” he said. He urged North Korea to recognize his mandate as special rapporteur and facilitate his visit to the country. Ojea Quintana also pointed out that North Korea must also allow the return of UN agencies and international organizations to help with humanitarian and development activities. He further stressed the need to ensure that North Koreans maintain their right to health through sufficient COVID-19 vaccines. At the session, UN Deputy Secretary-General Ilze Brands Kehris implored the international community to acknowledge the existence of serious human rights violations in North Korea. and seek “accountability pathways, either through referral to the International Criminal Court, or the establishment of an ad hoc tribunal or . . . complementary approaches at the national level, including criminal proceedings in accordance with international standards under accepted principles of extraterritorial and universal jurisdiction, and relevant civil litigation.”

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US Supreme Court Rejects Prison Clerk’s Qualified Immunity Case – JURIST

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On Thursday, the US Supreme Court declined to consider whether jail officials who “unreasonably respond” to “obvious risk” are protected by qualified immunity. Derek Monroe was placed on suicide watch while in a Texas jail by jail administrator Mary Jo Brixey. Monroe attempted suicide. Sheriff Leslie Cogdill reportedly spoke with Monroe and reflected concerns about Monroe’s mental health on his intake form. However, Cogdill and Jesse Laws, the jailer on duty, placed Monroe alone in a cell with a 30-inch rope. According to court documents, “prison policy, prison training, and common sense directed officers not to isolate an inmate known to be suicidal in a cell with an obvious potential ligation.” monroe The petition states that “[c]Requesting emergency assistance was a precaution Laws knew he should have taken. A trial court held that defendants Law, Cogdill and Brixey were not entitled to qualified immunity. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. Justice Sotomayor dissented from the court’s denial, calling Laws’ inaction an “inexplicable and unreasonable decision” that showed a “deliberate disregard for Monroe’s life or death.” -medical necessities of death.”

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Uzbekistan: Protests in autonomous republic over proposed constitutional reform – JURIST

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Protests erupted in Nukus, the capital of Uzbekistan’s autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan, on Friday over a proposed constitutional reform. According to a statement from the government of the region: Despite the policy of openness and free expression of will followed by the Republic of Uzbekistan, on July 1, 2022 in Nukus, a criminal group of people organized illegal actions expressed in an attempt to take over the state. administrative bodies of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The demonstrators were protesting the planned removal of the section of the current constitution that allows Karakalpakstan the right to secede from Uzbekistan by referendum. This has caused outrage among the ethnic Karakalpak, who make up the majority of the population of Karakalpakstan. Karakalpaks from neighboring Kazakhstan held a round table discussion on the proposed change. One speaker, Rustem Matekov, stated that the day of the referendum on the new version of the constitution will be “the day of the funeral of the people of the Republic of Karakalpakstan”. However, the president of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has challenged this view, saying: We, two peoples, have become one, we are blood relatives. Previously, the regions did not know the streets of Karakalpakstan or Nukus, but now we work as one people, the youth of Karakalpakstan achieve great results. […] I respect the Karakalpak people with all my heart and I can proudly say that I am a son not only of the Uzbeks, but also of the Karakalpak people. Removal is not the only proposal on the table. Other proposals include strengthening civil rights and extending the presidential term from five to seven years, which would allow Mirziyoyev to run again despite having served two consecutive terms.

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US Supreme Court overturns lower court injunctions on state abortion laws – JURIST

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On Thursday, the US Supreme Court struck down three orders issued by lower courts in Arizona, Indiana and Arkansas that had invalidated abortion at the state level based on Roe v. Wade. This follows the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe last Friday. The now-overturned Arizona ruling had stopped a state law criminalizing abortions performed on fetuses with non-lethal genetic abnormalities, of which Down syndrome is one. The injunction targeted relevant portions of four clauses of Senate Bill 1457, which makes it a felony for a physician to perform an abortion “knowing that the abortion is sought solely because of a genetic abnormality of the child.” The law also requires the doctor to sign an affidavit stating that the abortion is not performed for this reason and to inform the patient of the illegality of abortions due to genetic abnormalities. Finally, it requires doctors to inform the State when a genetic abnormality has been detected. This law was challenged in Brnovich v. Isaacson in 2021, and the injunction was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Arkansas’s 2019 ruling in Little Rock Planning Services v. Rutledge passed three laws that prohibited abortion in various circumstances. Arkansas Code, Title 20, Chapter 26, Law 493 prohibits abortions after 18 weeks of gestation, with exceptions for medical emergencies and pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. Law 619 prohibits all abortions solely on the basis of having a reason to believe that the fetus has Down syndrome, with the same exceptions. Law 700 requires that the person performing an abortion be a doctor licensed in obstetrics and gynecology. The federal court order of these laws was upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In Indiana, a 2017 ruling in the case of Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky had mandated a law that prohibited abortions before 20 weeks in several cases. . The law, Indiana Code Chapter 16-34-4, prohibits abortions before 20 weeks if the abortion was for demographic, sexual, or fetal disability reasons. Specifically, abortion is prohibited if sought because of the possibility of a genetically inherited disease, defect, or disorder, whether or not it has been screened for or any risk is present. This includes, but is not limited to, Down syndrome and any mental, physical and intellectual disabilities. Abortions related to the sex of the fetus, or its race, color, national origin, or ancestry, are also prohibited. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the injunction. The three laws imposed by the precautionary measures will take effect immediately. These cases will be sent back to the lower court for further proceedings.

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