Rohingya Villages Bulldozed in Burma: Daily Brief

Plus: War crimes in Syria and international inaction; civilian deaths in Turkish attacks; US backtracks on women’s rights, again; Supreme Court UK reaffirms importance of Human Rights Act; pregnant women won't await trial in Brazilian jails; India to protect transgender rights.

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  1. New satellite imagery reveals the Burmese government has been bulldozing scores of depopulated Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine State. “Many of these villages were scenes of atrocities against Rohingya and should be preserved so that the experts appointed by the UN to document these abuses can properly evaluate the evidence to identify those responsible,” says HRW's Asia director Brad Adams.
  2. Over 400 civilians have reportedly been killed in aerial attacks since Monday by the Russian-Syrian military alliance in Eastern Ghouta, a suburban area 15 kilometers from Syria's capital Damascus. “In Eastern Ghouta, we are experiencing déjà vu of the worst kind,” says Lama Fakih, HRW's deputy Middle East director.
  3. Turkish armed forces have allegedly failed to take necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties in northwest Syria. Three attacks in the area killed 26 civilians, including 17 children in late January. In February, Turkey started another offensive in Afrin, and President Erdogan said that Turkey would besiege the town center and cut external aid to it.
  4. This week the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom made a landmark judgment, applying the Human Rights Act against the London Metropolitan Police for failing adequately to investigate the John Worboys case. This may bring some belated relief to the women he drugged and raped. It also reaffirms the importance of this Act.
  5. The United States State Department backtracks once again on women's rights. It has now announced it will cut sections dealing with women’s reproductive rights and some types of discrimination, such as against LGBT people, in its annual human rights report. This adds to the global gag rule and reflects Trump administration’s approach to women’s rights as being disposable.
  6. Good news from Brazil, where pregnant women will no longer await trial in jails. The Supreme Court in the country has issued a landmark ruling that those women accused of non-violent crimes who are pregnant or mothers can await trial under house arrest and not in detention. This is a step forward towards ending reported illegal treatment of women in Brazilian prisons.
  7. India is taking steps to protect transgender rights. The government will introduce a new Transgender Persons Bill in parliament next month, promising to enshrine the hard-fought battle for legal recognition and access to social services for India’s transgender community, a long-neglected and marginalized minority.
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