As seen onFavicon for

Daily Brief: What's Behind Your Valentine's Bling?

Plus: Ethnic cleansing rages on in Burma; ICC examines alleged crimes against humanity in Philippines; Authoritarian slide in Kenya; Crackdown on opposition in Bangladesh; Repression against religious activists in Vietnam; the Winter Olympics; the EU and Azerbaijan; and Syria. Remember Syria?


  1. Meanwhile, the ICC has also said it will open investigations into crimes in Venezuela. Thousands of people have been arbitrarily arrested by security forces who have responded violently at times to protests against the government's failures to respond to the country's worsening human rights and humanitarian crisis.
  2. The United States Senate voted this week to seek new legislation addressing Burma's horrific ethnic cleansing campaign against the country's Rohingya Muslim that began in August of last year. This move by Congress is one step closer to holding those responsible to account.
  3. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is urging Indonesia’s government to scrap clauses in a new draft criminal code that would discriminate against LGBT people. Indonesia's LGBT community has been under siege since August 2016.
  4. From earlier today: It's a bling thing... At least, for many people, Valentine's Day is a moment to buy that special someone that special gift. But where do the gold and diamonds come from? And how can you ask your jewelers about it? And what can you do to help?
  5. The authoritarian direction of Kenya’s government is accelerating alarmingly...
  6. Bangladesh authorities should stop the arbitrary arrests and detention of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) supporters and others. Hundreds have been arrested or placed under preventive detention ahead of today's guilty verdict on the corruption case against BNP chairperson, Begum Khaleda Zia, and five others, including her son.
  7. Vietnam should suspend charges against six Hoa Hao Buddhist followers and investigate whether police actions against them were taken for discriminatory reasons or religious persecution, Human Rights Watch said today. Criminal trials for the six on public order charges are scheduled for February 9, 2018, before the People’s Court in An Phu district, An Giang province.
  8. The Winter Olympics open tomorrow in PyeongChang, South Korea. What do you know about that country's human rights record?
  9. Tomorrow, the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, will welcome her Azerbaijani counterpart, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, for a ministerial level dialogue between the EU and Azerbaijan. While Azerbaijan will be eager to discuss energy cooperation, human rights should top the agenda from the EU side.