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AITJ Weekly Digest is a flexible but effective report that focus on what is happening in the world in the areas of our interest and concern such as foreign affairs, human rights, enlargement, relations between Africa and Europe and so on. Every week, this press review intends to provide an overview of news, updates and all new developments concerning the defence of human rights, the fight against impunity and international relations in the broadest sense.

Russia: Statement by the Spokesperson on the regional and local elections in Russia and their non-applicability to the territories of Ukraine

EEAS News, 14 september 2020

Regional and local elections were held in the Russian Federation on 13 September. Gubernatorial elections also took place in Sevastopol. The European Union has not recognised the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and therefore does not recognise the holding of elections in the Crimean peninsula. Anybody elected in Russia-organised voting in the Crimean peninsula claiming to "represent" Crimea and Sevastopol will not be recognised by the EU as representatives of those territories, which are part of Ukraine.

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Iran: Statement by the Spokesperson on the execution of Navid Afkari

EEAS News, 14 september 2020

On 12 September 2020, Navid Afkari (aged 27) was executed in Iran, after being convicted of killing a security guard during anti-government protests in 2018. The European Union condemns this execution in the strongest terms. Human rights remain a central feature of our engagement with Iran. We will continue to engage with Iranian authorities on this issue including through the local EU representation in Teheran and also on individual cases such as this recent execution.

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Switzerland: Draft anti-terrorism law sets ‘dangerous precedent’, rights experts warn

UN News, 11 september 2020

A proposed new anti-terrorism law in Switzerland could set a dangerous precedent for the suppression of political dissent worldwide, a group of five independent UN human rights experts warned on Friday.The draft legislation, currently before the Swiss Parliament, expands the definition of terrorism and no longer requires the prospect of any crime at all, they said, in a plea for a last-minute reversal by legislators.

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Arms exports: Remarks by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the EP plenary

EEAS News, 15 september 2020

“Check against delivery!

I would like to start by thanking Ms [Hannah] Neumann and Members who have contributed to this important resolution on European arms export. I think it includes many useful suggestions that will help me to deal with a difficult subject like this on a more convergent, transparent and responsible way”

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Employment and Social Developments in Europe review: why social fairness and solidarity are more important than ever

European Commission, 15 september 2020

The Commission’s 2020 edition of the Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) review, titled “Leaving no one behind and striving for more: fairness and solidarity in the European social market economy” explains why social fairness and solidarity is more important than ever. The review provides evidence-based analysis on how to achieve greater fairness across the EU in the face of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and of long-term challenges arising from structural change due to demographic ageing, climate change and digitalisation.

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Bahrain/Israel: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the establishment of diplomatic relations

European Council News, 12 september 2020

The EU welcomes the announced establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and Israel. This follows a similar decision taken by Israel and the United Arab Emirates last month.

The EU recognises the role played by the United States in this regard and believes that these developments represent a positive contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East.

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Venezuela abuses amounted to crimes against humanity: UN-appointed panel

UN News, 16 september 2020

Grave rights violations against anti-government protesters in Venezuela, “amounted to crimes against humanity”, UN-appointed rights investigators said in their first report on abuses inside the Latin American nation.

In their findings published on Wednesday, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela cited evidence of unlawful executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture in the country since 2014.

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Governments urged to protect poor against modern slavery, step up development financing

UN News, 15 september 2020

Unless governments act now, millions of the world’s most vulnerable people could be pushed into contemporary forms of slavery and other exploitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a UN independent human rights expert has said. The warning comes from UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, who presented his first report to a virtual session of the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday 16 september.

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Iraq: High Representative/Vice-President Borrell meets Foreign Minister Hussein

EEAS News, 17 september 2020

On 16 September, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq, Fuad Hussein, in Brussels.

They discussed issues of common interest, including EU-Iraq bilateral relations, domestic reforms and plans for early parliamentary elections in Iraq, the work of the Global Coalition against Da’esh, as well as recent regional developments.

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Syria: Bombshell report reveals ‘no clean hands’ as horrific rights violations continue

UN News, 15 september 2020

Despite a reduction in largescale hostilities since a ceasefire in March, the UN Syrian Commission of Inquiry reported on Monday that armed actors continue to subject civilians to horrific and increasingly targeted abuse. The Commission’s 25-page report documented continuing violations by nearly every fighting force controlling territory across the country.

It also highlighted an increase in patterns of targeted abuse, such as assassinations, sexual and gender-based violence, and looting or appropriation of private property.  

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