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UN Human Rights Body Slams Force-Feeding Of Detainees, Including Indians

Force feeding at a processing centre in the US drew strong reaction from Indian-American groups

United Nations: 

Amid concerns over the force-feeding of immigrant detainees, including Indians, at a “processing centre” in the US, the UN human rights office said forcible feeding of prisoners on hunger strike is “inhuman” and “unacceptable” and may amount to torture in violation of a UN convention.

At least six immigrant detainees, including Indians, were force-fed through nasal tubes by the immigration authorities after they went on a hunger strike to protest conditions at a processing centre in Texas.

The situation has drawn strong reaction from Indian-American groups that described it as violation of human rights.

Spokesperson for the Geneva-based Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, said that according to the World Medical Association, forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable.

“Even if intended to benefit, feeding accompanied with threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment. Equally unacceptable is the force feeding of some detainees in order to intimidate or coerce other hunger strikers to stop fasting,” she said in an email to PTI.

She added that the UN Committee Against Torture has considered that feeding against the will of persons deprived of liberty on hunger strike, who are able to take informed decisions, “may amount to torture or ill-treatment in violation of the Convention.”

The committee considered that force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike in the US constitutes ill-treatment in violation of the convention, she said.

“On a more general point, US authorities need to reinforce their efforts to ensure that judicial cases relating to migration status, including asylum requests, are dealt with in an expeditious manner. We have seen reports that show that the conditions for those having to wait in detention facilities pending judicial resolution are not always adequate,” Ms Shamdasani said.

In a statement earlier this month, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had said that 11 detainees in El Paso had refused to eat and four other individuals at different ICE detention centres across the country were also on hunger strike.

Of the 11 people starving themselves in El Paso, six were being hydrated and force-fed under court orders issued by a federal judge in mid-January – about two weeks after those detainees stopped eating, ICE said.

Ruby Kaur, a lawyer for two of the detainees in Texas, had said that her clients, like the majority of those taking part in the hunger strike there, are Indian immigrants who entered the US through southern border more than six months ago and turned themselves into officials.

“They have tubes that have been shoved through their noses and IV’s giving them fluids. It’s extremely painful and it’s against their will,” Ms Kaur had told National Public Radio.

The detainees began the hunger strike at the start of the new year to call attention to what they say are inhumane conditions, repeated verbal threats of deportation and debilitating angst created by a total absence of information about their impending asylum cases.

The Indian-American community has expressed concern over reports that federal immigration officials are force-feeding Indian detainees. North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) in a statement had said 11 Indian detainees at the El Paso Processing Center in Texas have been refusing food.

“Force-feeding to any immigrant is a violation of human rights,” NAPA executive director Satnam Singh Chahal had said.







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French Police Hit With Poo Bombs At “Yellow Vest” Protests

Saturday marked the 16th straight weekend of “yellow vest” demonstrations in France since November.

France: 

French police are facing a new form of weapon during “yellow vest” protests — bags of fecal matter thrown bomb-like by demonstrators.

On Saturday “bags filled with faeces were thrown at police and exploded. Three policemen were soaked through with it,” Rudy Manna from the Alliance police trade union in the southern port city of Marseille told AFP.

One policeman also suffered an elbow injury when hit by “a poop-filled projectile”, Marseille police headquarters said.

Similar incidents took place in the southern city of Montpellier, police trade union representatives said.

Police said there had been calls on social media ahead of Saturday’s demonstrations for demonstrators to arm themselves with ‘Caca-tovs’ — after Molotov cocktails but filled with “caca”, the French term for poo.

“The policemen were deeply humiliated,” Manna said, adding that none of the perpetrators, hidden in a crowd of about 1,000 demonstrators in Marseille, had been identified.

Saturday marked the 16th straight weekend of “yellow vest” demonstrations in France since November, which have often seen security forces targeted with stones and other projectiles. 

Authorities said nearly 40,000 people took part.

A total of 11 people have died during the demonstrations which began over fuel taxes but mushroomed into a revolt by people in rural and small-town France against French President Emmanuel Macron.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)







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Weeks After Ban Announcement, Hafiz Saeed’s Outfits Still Operate In Pakistan

Hafiz Saeed’s Jaamat-ud-Dawa had been kept on watchlist of the Pakistan’s interior ministry. (Reuters)

New Delhi: 

 

Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation have not been banned by Pakistan despite its announcement about 14 days ago. The two terror outfits continue to be only in the list of groups under watch, according to Pakistan government’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NCTA).

On February 21, Pakistan government had announced that it had banned the JuD and FIF, amid intense global pressure to rein in the terror groups following the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers lost their lives.

“This implies that Pakistan has lied on the ban on Jud and FIF. In fact, it has just altered the date of the watch list placement to fool the world,” a senior security official said.

A spokesperson of Pakistan’s Interior Ministry had said on February 21 that the decision to ban these two groups was taken during a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“It was decided during the meeting to accelerate action against proscribed organisations,” the spokesperson had said in a statement.

“It was further decided that Jamat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation be notified as proscribed organizations by the Ministry of Interior,” he added.

According to officials, JuD’s network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance service.

The US Department of the Treasury has designated its chief Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for any information.

The NCTA has so far banned 69 terror groups. A sizeable number of these groups are based in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).







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British PM Theresa May’s Lawyer Seeks Legal Fix To The Brexit Riddle

Ms May promised to seek “legally binding changes” to the Withdrawal Agreement.

LONDON: 

Prime Minister Theresa May’s top lawyer will try to clinch a Brexit compromise with the European Union this week in a last ditch bid to win over rebellious British lawmakers before crunch votes that could delay the divorce for three months.

The United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29 but Ms May is hoping to win over at least 115 more British lawmakers by agreeing a legal addendum with the EU on the most controversial part of the deal – the so called Irish border backstop.

Concerns about the backstop, an insurance policy aimed at preventing a return to hard border controls between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland, helped prompt lawmakers to reject Ms May’s deal on Jan. 15 by 432 to 230 votes.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, Britain’s top government lawyer, is due back in Brussels on Tuesday and will seek legally binding changes to the Irish border backstop.

“The attorney general continues with his work to ensure we get legally-binding changes to ensure that we are not locked in the backstop,” Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said. “The negotiations are at a critical and sensitive point.”

Brokenshire said the aim was to address lawmakers’ main concern: that Britain could be trapped in the backstop – and thus EU rules – indefinitely.

As Brexit goes down to the line, investors are watching to see if Ms May can win over enough lawmakers to her deal: if she cannot, then the exit date is almost certain to be delayed by lawmakers eager to avoid a potentially disorderly no-deal exit.

Ms May promised to seek “legally binding changes” to the Withdrawal Agreement, though the EU has refused to reopen the draft treaty. Parliament will vote on her tweaked deal by March 12.

If it rejects the deal, lawmakers will have a vote on whether to leave without a deal and then on whether to delay Brexit, probably by a few months until the end of June.

LEGAL FIX

In a bid to win over opposition Labour Party lawmakers, Ms May will on Monday set out plans for a 1.6 billion pound ($2.11 billion) fund to help to boost economic growth in Brexit-supporting communities.

The Labour Party’s finance spokesman, John McDonnell, said the fund was “Brexit bribery”.

“This towns fund smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing Members of Parliament to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation,” he said.

As Ms May seeks to win over lawmakers, a group of prominent Brexit rebels set out the changes they want to see to her agreement in return for their support: it must be legally binding, clear and set out an exit route.

But the Daily Telegraph newspaper said Cox had abandoned attempts to secure a hard time-limit or unilateral exit mechanism for the backstop.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday that the bloc was ready to give Britain more guarantees that the backstop was only intended to be temporary and used for a “worst-case scenario”.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)







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