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Abstract: The human rights situation deteriorated in numerous former Soviet republics. Independent
human rights monitoring groups, including several affiliates of the IHF, came under
attack. The Russian Federation, Belarus, and the Central Asian regimes promulgated
new legislation or changed their practices to allow these states arbitrarily to restrict the activities
of nongovernmental organizations. The leaders of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee
faced fabricated criminal charges, and in January 2006, state-controlled Russian media
falsely implicated the Moscow Helsinki Group in espionage.
Abstract: The United States has progressively woven a clandestine "spider's web" of disappearances, secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers - spun with the collaboration or tolerance of Council of Europe member states, the Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) said today. In a draft resolution adopted at a meeting in Paris, based on a report by Dick Marty (Switzerland, ALDE), the committee said hundreds of persons had become entrapped in this web - in some cases when they were merely suspected of sympathising with a presumed terrorist organisation. The parliamentarians said this knowing collusion of member states took several different forms, including secretly detaining a person on European territory, capturing a person and handing them over to the US or permitting unlawful "renditions" through their airspace or across their territory. "It# has now been demonstrated incontestably, by numerous well-documented and convergent facts, that secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving European countries have taken place, such as to require in-depth inquiries and urgent responses by the executive and legislative branches of all the countries concerned," the committee said. The committee called on Council of Europe member states to review bilateral agreements signed with the United States, particularly those on the status of US forces stationed in Europe, to ensure they conformed fully to international human rights norms. The report is due for debate by the plenary Assembly - which brings together 630 parliamentarians from the 46 Council of Europe member states - in Strasbourg on 27 June 2006.
Abstract: The United States of America finds that neither the classic instruments of criminal law and procedure, nor the framework of the laws of war (including respect for the Geneva Conventions) has been apt to address the terrorist threat. As a result it has introduced new legal concepts, such as "enemy combatant" and "rendition", which were previously unheard of in international law and stand contrary to the basic legal principles that prevail on our continent. Thus, across the world, the United States has progressively woven a clandestine "spider's web" of disappearances, secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers, often encompassing countries notorious for their use of torture. Hundreds of persons have become entrapped in this web, in some cases merely suspected of sympathising with a presumed terrorist organisation.
Abstract: In 1995, at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, governments specifically pledged to revoke all laws that discriminate against women. In 2000, at the five year review of the Beijing Conference, governments established a target date for the amendment or repeal of these laws by 2005. This is the year of reckoning. Yet, as Equality Now's report Words and Deeds: Holding Governments Accountable in the Beijing +10 Review Process illustrates, countries around the world regardless of geo-political status continue to discriminate against women and girls by keeping them unequal before the law. Taina Bien-Aimé Executive Director notes, "Changing the law is just the first step towards addressing violence and discrimination against women. How can governments claim they are committed to sex equality if they cannot even eliminate the most blatantly discriminatory laws?"
Equality Now, an international human rights organization with offices in New York, Nairobi and London, works to protect and promote the human rights of girls and women. Equality Now's Women's Action Network counts more than 25,000 groups and individual members in over 160 countries.