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Calais Migrants at Risk as Cold Arrives: Daily Brief

Plus: Another 40 Rohingya villages burned; Kuwait convictions for assembly and speech; French legislators rebuked; Torture in Rwanda; Iraqi parliament rejects marriage for 8-year-old girls; Pakistan shuts down rights groups; Saudi sisters risk forced return; and Will Russia block Twitter?

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  1. Increased conflict around the world, as well as threats of persecution and economic instability, have driven millions from their homes. And people looking for better lives risk being sent back, as governments are failing to respond to the pressures. On International Migrants Day, we are again calling for swift action to ensure that all vulnerable people are provided the safety and security they deserve.
  2. From earlier today: Migrants and asylum seekers in Calais are facing desperate living conditions, especially as temperatures drop. Police in the northern French city employ excessive force against asylum seekers and other migrants, and frequently confiscate or destroy their sleeping bags, clothing, and other possessions.
  3. Analysis of satellite imagery reveals new destruction of 40 Rohingya villages during October and November in Burma, increasing the total to 354 villages partially or completely destroyed since August 25. Dozens of buildings were burned the same week Burma and Bangladesh signed an agreement to begin returning Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh within two months.
  4. Some of the more than 60 people recently convicted for their involvement in demonstrations at Kuwait’s parliament in 2011 have been convicted for assembly and speech. Kuwait’s judiciary should vacate the convictions that punished peaceful speech or assembly and repeal laws criminalizing peaceful speech and protest.
  5. France’s legislators have again been reminded that imprisoning people who look at websites perceived as glorifying or inciting terrorism is not acceptable in a democratic society – not least because France already has an extensive legal arsenal to go after those using the internet to incite violence.
  6. Rwanda is bound by both national law and international treaty obligations to act on allegations of torture and enforced disappearances, and to take steps to prevent such abuses. Instead of denying these abuses exist, it should demonstrate that it is ready to meet those obligations.
  7. In a positive development, Iraq’s parliament has rejected proposed amendments that would allow religious judges to impose discriminatory law on family matters, allowing girls to be married as young as age 8.
  8. The Pakistani government has shut down at least 10 organizations, including prominent groups working on human rights, humanitarian assistance, and development issues, without providing valid reasons. The decision violates rights to freedom of expression and association, and shows disturbing disregard for the well-being of ordinary Pakistanis who benefit from these organizations.
  9. Two Saudi sisters in Turkish police custody are at risk of forced return to Saudi Arabia, where they could face serious harm from Saudi authorities or family members. The women said they fled Saudi Arabia in late February to Turkey to escape abuse from male family members, ranging from beatings to being locked in their room and deprived of food.
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