Blog archive: All

  • 11th January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The story of Voiceless Victims, the fake human rights organisation that sought to "cooperate" with campaigns supporting migrant workers in Qatar, has taken a puzzling turn. A newly-created Twitter account using the Voiceless Victims logo has begun tweeting about rape and sexual assaults in...
  • 9th January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On a recent trip to Beirut I came across a stack of magazines that – judging by their cover photos – looked suspiciously like Arabic porn. Unambiguously titled "al-Jins" (Arabic for "sex") they were displayed on a newspaper stall in Hamra Street, for sale secondhand. Their less-than-pristine...
  • 7th January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There was exciting news from Oman last month when Sultan Qaboos – the Gulf state's despotic ruler for the last 46 years – was honoured with the 2016 Arab Human Rights Award. Previous winners have included the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president...
  • 4th January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The 2022 World Cup has turned into a mixed blessing for Qatar. What at first seemed like a brilliant opportunity to showcase the small Gulf state has instead brought a torrent of bad publicity – some because of the way Qatar was chosen by football's corrupt governing body, Fifa, to host...
  • 27th December 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Saudi police have detained six people for the "crime" of attending a mixed-sex party at an apartment in Jeddah, Okaz newspaper reports. The arrests – which were the result on some interesting detective work – reveal that the kingdom's police are in a high state of readiness "to deal...
  • 24th December 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A fake human rights group which apparently tried to gather intelligence about genuine campaigners is claiming that its strange behaviour was the result of threats from "the bad guys". The group, calling itself "Voiceless Victims", purported to be campaigning on behalf of exploited...
  • 23rd December 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A "non-profit" organisation which claimed to be campaigning on behalf of exploited construction workers in Qatar has been exposed as a fake.  Purportedly operating from France, where it used a false address, "Voiceless Victims" contacted several genuine organisations concerned about...
  • 22nd December 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A battle at the UN over the appointment of the Human Rights Council's first "independent expert" on LGBT rights appears to have been settled – for now. Vitit Muntarbhorn, the law professor from Thailand appointed in September to monitor "violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation...
  • 20th December 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    After a delay of more than six months Saudi Arabia finally admitted yesterday that its coalition forces have been using British-made cluster bombs in Yemen. A statement issued through the Saudi government news agency said the coalition had now "decided to cease usage" of those made in...
  • 19th December 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    After a delay of more than two years Lebanon finally has a new government and, for the first time, it includes a minister for women's affairs. He – yes, he – is Jean Oghassabian, a 62-year-old Armenian who has held posts in several previous governments. Reuters notes that the new...
  • 16th December 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Egyptian investigators announced yesterday that "traces of an explosive substance" had been found on the bodies of "some" victims of Egyptair flight MS804 which crashed into the Mediterranean sea last May. The claim, which hints at a terrorist attack, has been greeted with scepticism...
  • 14th December 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Amid concern about civilian casualties in Yemen, the United States is cutting back on arms sales to Saudi Arabia – at a time when the Britain, the kingdom's other main supplier, is trying to increase them. The US has decided not to go ahead with a $350 million sale of 16,000 guidance systems...

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