Human Rights Watch

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil and record fires: Bolsonaro government withdraws firefighters
Fires in the Pantanal region
Fires in the Pantanal region Credit: Sílvio de Andrade (Public Domain)

The Brazilian environmental authority IBAMA has recalled all the forces fighting forest fires and justified its drastic step with lack of money. "I am ordering the withdrawal of all forest fire brigades to their respective bases," said a letter quoted by the news portal G1.

At the end of August, IBAMA had already announced the complete cessation of fire fighting due to the blockade of financial resources.

Research by the organisation Human Rights Watch, recently showed that the environmental authority is imposing virtually no more fines on illegal loggers.

Regional News • Asia • China
NGO urges governments to take China to court over repression of Uighurs

Human Rights Watch estimates one million Uighurs were detained without any judicial process, solely based on their ethnic origin and religion. In the "political education" camps, the NGO members discovered and documented practices of torture, denial of access to basic health care, denial of the right to practice their religion, and forced political education.

A possible genocide by the Chinese government against the Uighur community is being discussed today since forced sterilization or contraception is considered a crime under international law.

Sending China to the International Criminal Court is not possible because China has refused to sign the ICC Statute. The International Court of Justice could be the right approach, says the NGO, but as it is a state-to-state process, a government would have to be willing to take China to court.

Regional News • Africa
Burkina Faso: 180 male bodies found in common graves in Djibo
Burkina Faso: 180 male bodies found in common graves in Djibo
Credit: Le Soleil dans la Main / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Multiple were discovered common graves in Djibo, Burkina Faso. The around 180 bodies were found in various location, including under bridges and in fields. Human Rights Watch believes government forces were behind the killings: "Available evidence suggests government forces were involved in mass extrajudicial executions."

The government said it would investigate these claims. Chérif Moumina Sy, the Minister of Defence, speculated that armed groups in stolen army uniforms and equipment could be behind the murders. He said: "It is difficult for the population to distinguish between armed terrorist groups and the defence and security forces."