Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Eritrea: Government Accused of Human Rights Abuses

Reuters at The New York Times Africa  June 19, 2012

The United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, on Monday accused Eritrea of carrying out torture and summary executions. Ms. Pillay told the United Nations Human Rights Council that there were 5,000 to 10,000 political prisoners in Eritrea, which holds a strategic stretch of the Red Sea coast and has been ruled by a single party and president since independence from Ethiopia in 1993. “Credible sources indicate that violations of human rights include arbitrary detention, torture, summary executions, forced labor, forced conscription and restrictions to freedom of movement, expression, assembly and religion,” Ms. Pillay said. She said the Eritrean government had not responded to requests to discuss her concerns.

June 19, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Eritrea, Journalists, Politics, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eritrea: Free Political Prisoners 10 Years On – President Isaias in New York to Demand UN Respect His Rights, Denies Them to His People

“Instead of lobbying the UN, President Isaias should allow people to speak freely, to worship as they please, and to leave Eritrea if they want,” said Bekele. “Eritreans will continue to face prolonged, indefinite national service, repression, and torture unless President Isaias changes his abusive policies”

All Africa Human Rights Watch Washington DC   September 22, 2011

Ten years after President Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea ordered the detention of 21 senior government members and journalists who criticized him, his government should release the detainees or reveal their fate, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today. Eritrea should also open its jails to international monitors, Human Rights Watch said.

Isaias is visiting New York for the United Nations General Assembly in an attempt to rehabilitate his country’s image even as his government labors under UN sanctions for its role in supporting the Somali insurgent group al-Shabaab.

In the past 10 years, Isaias has closed all independent media outlets and turned Eritrea into a country where arbitrary arrest, torture, disappearance, and death are rife and where it is almost impossible to leave. The paper, “Eritrea: 10 Long Years, A Briefing on Eritrea’s Missing Political Prisoners,” outlines what is known about the political prisoners, none of whom has been seen by outsiders since being detained in September 2001.

“Eritrea is effectively a giant prison, and international pressure should continue on Eritrea until President Isaias frees political prisoners and restores the rule of law,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “To start with, President Isaias should end the inhumanity of prolonged secret, silent detention and allow family members and international monitors to see the prisoners.”

In mid-September 2001, Isaias ordered the arrest of 11 high government officials who had written open letters criticizing his rule. He also arrested 10 journalists who had published the letters and other information critical of him and his policies, and closed all independent newspapers.

The 20 men and one woman have never been seen again by anyone outside the penal system, including their families, lawyers, or prison monitoring groups. They have never been afforded a hearing; rather, all 21 were incarcerated in secret detention facilities in solitary confinement. According to former guards whose reports Human Rights Watch has not been able to confirm, 10 of the 21 have died in prison and the remaining 11 are physically or mentally incapacitated and emaciated.

The 21 are the most prominent victims of Isaias’s denial of basic rights, but hundreds of thousands of others in the country of 5 million have been victimized during the past decade. The briefing paper recounts that thousands of Eritreans are incarcerated because they are suspected of not fully supporting the regime or have attempted to flee Eritrea’s compulsory and indefinite national service. They are given no access to a court and no means to appeal to any impartial body. Thousands more Eritreans are incarcerated because they are members of religious groups that the Eritrean government refuses to recognize as legitimate: Jehovah’s Witnesses, evangelical Christian churches, and reformist wings of the Eritrean Orthodox Church.

Please read the entire press release here

September 23, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Eritrea, Journalists, Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DOJ Appeals Ruling In Torture Suit Against Rumsfeld

Blog of the Legal Times  August 26, 2011

The U.S. Justice Department wants a federal appeals court in Washington to overturn a judge’s ruling that said an American contractor detained in Iraq can sue former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for alleged abuses.

U.S. District Judge James Gwin this month ruled for the contractor, an American civilian and former Army veteran who provided translation services to the military in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. Gwin said Rumsfeld is not entitled to qualified immunity. The judge’s decision is here.

The contractor, whose name is confidential in the suit in Washington federal district court, “has a right to be free from conduct and conditions of confinement that shook the conscience,” Gwin said.

Gwin of Cleveland federal district court took over the case in January 2010 from Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Gwin is sitting by designation in Washington to hear the suit, filed in 2008.

A Justice Department lawyer, James Whitman of the Civil Division’s torts branch, said in a court filing (PDF) this week that Rumsfeld is entitled to the interlocutory appeal because Gwin rejected Rumsfeld’s qualified immunity argument

Please read the entire post at the Blog of the Legal Times

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Legal Jurisdictions, Pentagon | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan extends US man’s remand over shootings

 

LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) A Pakistani court on Thursday defied pressure from Washington and extended the detention of a US government employee for eight more days pending investigation of a double murder in Lahore.

The US consular employee, whom Pakistani police have identified as Raymond Davis, was arrested a week ago and said that he shot dead two motorcyclists in self-defence, fearing that they were about to rob him.

A third Pakistani was run over and killed by a vehicle from the local US consulate that tried to come to Davis’s assistance.

Washington demands the man’s release, saying he has diplomatic immunity, as tempers run high in Pakistan over the incident.

About 250 demonstrators marched on the US consulate on Thursday, demanding the “Blackwater agent” be sent to the gallows and the release of a Pakistani woman jailed for the attempted murder of US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Blackwater is the former name of a US private security company, now called Xe Services, which was accused of firing on Iraqi civilians in 2007.

Please read the entire story here

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Pentagon, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , | 1 Comment