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What Burma Doesn't Want You to Know: Daily Brief

Plus: Saudi blockade of Yemen; Disturbing plans of Austria's new government; Poland facing EU sanctions; Yugoslav tribunal a victory for justice; Civilians killed in US-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq; Flawed cybercrime law in Palestine; and a "Shot in the arm" for some modern-day heroes.


  1. Despite great challenges to human rights around the world in 2017, multiple improvements to children's rights give reason to be hopeful. Many countries changed laws or practices around issues like child marriage, juvenile justice, and child labor, among other things. Good news for kids in 2017 means better lives for hundreds of thousands of young people around the world.
  2. The United Nations high commissioner for human rights has announced he will not seek a second term, citing a global rights climate that makes his job "untenable." He says: “To [seek a second term], in the current geo-political context, might involve bending a knee in supplication; muting a statement of advocacy; lessening the independence and integrity of my voice — which is your voice.”
  3. It took years, but the Yugoslav court brought down the untouchables... The process was imperfect, slower than we would have liked and the tribunal made mistakes along the way. But it showed that justice is possible when there is political will. And that’s the legacy we should take forward.
  4. From earlier today: As Burma's ethnic cleansing rages on, the government is trying to prevent people from reporting on it internationally. They have cracked down on journalists covering the story, blocked a UN fact-finding mission, and have now also blocked a UN Special Rapporteur. But trying to hide its atrocity crimes won't work for Burma: their secrets are out.
  5. The Saudi blockade of Yemen is threatening millions of lives. Using starvation as a method of warfare is a war crime.
  6. The new Austrian government is posing a disturbing challenge to core EU values of human rights, particularly in its immigration policy proposals, which will include, seizing migrants’ cellphones and cash, and depriving them of medical confidentiality. Meanwhile, other far-right parties in Europe - including a Czech party that help keeps the new government there in power - are calling for a "Muslim ban" modelled on the appalling policy of the Trump Administration in the US.
  7. And speaking of right-wing populist governments in Europe... Poland is facing EU "Article 7" sanctions for undermining the rule of law. But the government has done more than attack the courts to make them more compliant; it has also cracked down on the media, civil society and the right to protest.