The POMED Wire

U.N. Special Envoy Announces Second Round of Libya Peace Talks

Nouri Abusahmain, the head of Libya's General National Congress meets with Bernardino Leon Special Representative United Nations for Libya in Tripoli Photo credit: Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

United Nations Special Envoy Bernadino Leon announced a new round of Libya peace talks due to start next week which are aimed at ending the country’s political crisis. The talks have been expanded to include not only Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni’s internationally recognized parliament, but also its rival government, the General National Congress. After meeting with GNC President Nouri Abu Sahmain, Leon said a recent Supreme Court ruling invalidating the House of Representatives “implied changes” in the country. “What is important is to have a dialogue where each one has its view and they accept the views of the others,” he said. Leon called on the main factions to initiate talks in a “spirit of objectivity and conciliation.”

Senior U.S. officials said they have “little faith” in U.N.-backed peace talks in Libya because of the fact that other countries in the Middle East have defied requests to end a proxy war in the country. They said Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar still continue to encourage local factions to fight rather than compromise. “It seems quite clear that the more foreign countries get involved in Libya, the more unstable the situation becomes,” an …

ISIE Sets Date for Tunisian Presidential Runoff to December 21

Tunisia - Canada Photo credit: AP Photo/Hassene Dridi

Tunisia’s ISIE  announced that the runoff presidential election will take place on December 21. Incumbent president Moncef Marzouki had originally lodged eight appeals against the results of the first round of voting, delaying expectations that the runoff would be held on December 14. However, the court dismissed these challenges to the previous round of elections, saying they wouldn’t have affected the final results. The runoff will take place against 88-year-old minister and parliamentary speaker Beji Caid Essebsi and veteran rights activist Marzouki. Both exchanged harsh rhetoric following the first round of elections, in which neither candidate received a majority. Essebsi received the most votes, at 39 percent, and Marzouki won 33 percent.

A tight race is expected, and both Essebsi and Marzouki are seeking endorsements from the other presidential candidates who didn’t continue beyond the first round. As of yesterday, the Islamist Ennahda movement revealed that it had not yet decided which candidate to back. “Ennahda will continue reassessing its position in the first round of the vote, given the importance of the election and the critical nature of the current phase,” said Fathi al-Ayadi, the head of Ennahda’s Consultative Council.

Ennahda leader Rached

Rezaian Sentence Extended to 60 Days; Kerry Calls for his Release

Photo Credit: Iran Human Rights

The detention of Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter in Iran, was extended for up to an additional 60 days, his family reported. Back in October, a senior Iranian official had said during an interview in Geneva for the New York Times that Rezaian’s charges were currently under review and might be dismissed by the judiciary. However, Rezaian’s family said that he had been shown a document last week signed by the judge in charge of his case that authorized the extension of his detention, and that the investigation against him was ongoing.

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary John Kerry stated the U.S. is “deeply disappointed and concerned by reports that the Iranian judiciary has charged Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian with unspecified charges” and distressed by the fact he was not allowed access to an attorney, ” which is a clear violation of Iran’s own laws and international norms.” He added he was “personally dismayed and disturbed at these reports as I have repeatedly raised Jason’s case, and the other cases of detained or missing U.S. citizens, directly with Iranian officials.” Finally, the statement called “on the Iranian government to drop any and all …

POMED Notes: “The Dire Human Rights Situation in Iran and the Need for Sustained Attention”

Seal_of_the_United_States_Senate.svgThe Senate Human Rights Caucus hosted a panel discussion entitled “The Dire Human Rights Situation in Iran and the Need for Sustained Attention” on Friday, December 5 at 2 pm. The panel was comprised of Executive Director of the International Campaign on Human Rights in Iran Hadi Ghaemi, Director of Public Affairs for Bahai’is of the U.S. Anthony Vance, and Human Rights Watch Iran Researcher Faraz Sanei.

For a full summary of the event, continue reading below or click here for the PDF.

Mr. Ghaemi opined that the outcome of the nuclear negotiations would have major effects on the domestic situation and repression in Iran. He explained that since domestic repression in Iran has historically been premised on the ideological justification that the U.S. is using civil society as an agent, it is likely that a nuclear deal with the U.S. would greatly decrease the number of human rights violations since their ideological rationalization will be rendered invalid. Mr. Ghaemi also underlined the importance of instituting targeted sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), which he was clearly being used as a tool against opponents of the regime.

Mr. Vance focused on the plight of …

Saudi Human Rights Activist Banned from Travelling to EU Human Rights Forum


Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State/Public Domain

Samar Badawi, a Saudi Arabian Human Rights activist, was banned by her government from travelling, as she was set to attend the European Union NGOs Forum on Human Rights held in Brussels on December 4 and 5. Badawi’s work focused on “defending people’s rights in Saudi Arabia” and in particular “the rights of prisoners of conscience.” While at the Passport Office at King Abdulaziz International Airport, she was informed that the Ministry of Interior had ordered her travel ban, without any reason given or any prior investigations.

According to the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), reports confirm that the ban was ordered after she spoke about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, where she also called for the release of her prominent human rights lawyer, Waleed Abu Al-Khair, currently sentenced to 15 years in prison. The GCHR also believed her ban “is a blatant attempt to prevent her from carrying out advocacy with international bodies such as the EU or the UN.” It urged the authorities in Saudi Arabia to “ensure that Samar Badawi is free to travel to and …

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