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Trump Nominations; Saudi Arrests; Sri Lanka War Crimes: HRW Daily Brief

Plus: Chinese activists to "collect data on corrupt officials"; Kazakhstan closes independent trade union; Hungary wants to sweep some civil society groups out of the country; Slovakia signs Safe Schools Declaration; & Burma's brutal repression...

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  1. Senate confirmation hearings are underway in the US to confirm the cabinet nominees of President-Elect Donald Trump. His pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, claimed he could not pass judgement on certain abusive regimes, suggesting that he is either ill-informed or apathetic to human rights issues worldwide.
  2. The hearing wrapped up for his Attorney General nominee, Senator Jeff Sessions. Human Rights Watch urges the United States Senate to vote against his the confirmation, as his record raises fears that Sessions would be unwilling to enforce crucial US laws protecting rights, and might instead seek to undermine them.
  3. From earlier today: Senate confirmation hearings are underway in the US to confirm President-Elect Donald Trump's picks for cabinet. Human Rights Watch has asked the Senate to vote against confirming Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, and is urging tough questionning for some of the other candidates Donald Trump has proposed.
  4. Authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested two independent human rights advocates, most likely because of their peaceful activities, HRW said today. The news comes as another activist, Abdulaziz Al-Shubaili, was sentenced to eight years in prison.
  5. Chinese activists have launched a new group that will collect data on officials who are corrupt or who violate human rights.
  6. A court in Kazakhstan has ordered the permanent closure of an independent trade union body, a move described by HRW as "an egregious violation of the freedom of association" which should be quashed.
  7. There's alarming news from Hungary, where a vice chairman of the ruling Fidesz party has said that any civil society group with funding from billionaire George Soros should be "swept out" of the country.
  8. A task force on Sri Lanka has recommended that a war crimes court is set up - with both national and international judges - in order to help meet citizens' desire for truth and justice after decades of violence.
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