Blog archive: All

  • 7th July 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The OPCW has now issued an interim report on the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, last April. Although the investigation is not yet complete, laboratory tests so far have found possible evidence of chlorine use but no evidence of sarin or a similar nerve agent. The OPCW also...
  • 27th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Following a vote earlier today the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is now authorised not only to investigate chemical attacks but also -- crucially -- to identify whoever was responsible. The decision came from a special session of states parties to the Chemical...
  • 27th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claimed yesterday there is no evidence that the Assad regime has been using chlorine as a chemical weapon. Numerous chlorine attacks have been documented in Syria and according to OPCW investigators the chemical has been used "...
  • 25th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A three-day conference on "upholding the global ban against chemical weapons use" is due to take place in The Hague this week. The conference, officially a special session of states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, has been called at the request of 11 countries – Australia, Bulgaria...
  • 20th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In the midst of a furore over the Trump administration's policy of separating the children of detained migrants from their parents, the United States has announced that it is pulling out of the UN Human Rights Council. While these two developments are not directly connected many people will...
  • 13th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In Yemen, the long-expected military assault on the port city of Hodeidah began this morning. Hodeida is currently held by the Houthis who control much of northern Yemen. According to local reports it is being attacked from the south by the Amaliqa ("Giants") Brigades – a surviving section...
  • 8th June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Growing up in Lebanon during the civil war, Karl Sharro had a happy childhood and, he says, especially enjoyed "the long absences from school because of the fighting". He must have learned something, though, because he went on to university and became an architect. But perhaps it was...
  • 3rd June 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Jordan has had 12 prime ministers since King Abdullah came to the throne in 1999. Their average survival time in office is one year and seven months but the current prime minister, Hani al-Mulki, has fared rather better. Last week he passed the two-year mark though his future is now...
  • 25th May 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Qatar has finally joined two of the key international treaties on human rights: the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).  It is the third Arab Gulf state to join, following Kuwait (which did so more than 20 years ago...
  • 23rd May 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    News from Saudi Arabia about the arrests of ten or more rights activists has been viewed with a mixture of shock and surprise in western media. Just a few years ago, though, no one would have been surprised: it was simply the way the Saudi regime behaved. But that was before Mohammed bin...
  • 22nd May 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In a recent post on Twitter, British member of parliament Chris Williamson urged anyone interested in "proper journalism" to watch what he described as an "excellent" programme on RT, the Russian propaganda channel. The programme was a 25-minute interview with veteran...
  • 17th May 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Loai Deeb, former head of the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), has been formally charged with a series of financial crimes which include embezzling more than a million dollars from the organisation that he founded. He is said to have disguised his embezzlement through a fake...

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