[JURIST] Leading Monday's international brief, the European Union [official website] Council of Foreign Ministers has voted to suspend economic aid to the Palestinian Authority [JURIST news archive] on the grounds that EU law forbids the funding of terrorist organizations and recently elected political organization Hamas has failed to distance itself from its terrorist roots. The EU has pledged to aid the Palestinian government [JURIST report], but has required that Hamas renounce violence as a method of achieving political change, recognize the right of Israel to exist as a nation-state, and agree to abide by all previously accepted peace treaties. Hamas has been listed as a terrorist entity for several years in the EU and legal experts warned that Hamas' election as the ruling party [JURIST report] of the PA would jeopardize financial aid agreements under anti-terrorism laws. BBC News has more.
In other international legal news ...
- Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the largest political opposition group in Zimbabwe [government website], the Movement for Democratic Change [party website], has sent a challenge to current Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] to step down from office and allow internationally organized free elections in the struggling African nation. Mugabe has faced increasing international condemnation [JURIST report] concerning his policies in Zimbabwe, which is facing an agricultural crisis as a result of farm seizure policies Mugabe implemented when he came to power. Tsvangirai has alleged that free elections are impossible in Zimbabwe without international observers, but Mugabe refuses to allow UN, US, or EU election officials into the country during elections because he claims they are biased against his ruling Zanu PF party [party website]. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.
- Tony Leon, the head of the Democratic Alliance (DA) [party website], the leading opposition political party in South Africa [government website], has announced his intent to submit a bill [press release] to the South African Parliament [official website] on Tuesday that would amend the South African Constitution [text] to require that any politician who chooses to switch political parties while in office be forced to vacate their seat in the legislature. The DA has come out strongly against the recent government push to allow so-called 'floor crossing', calling it an attempt to legitimize bribery of elected officials into the ruling party. Floor crossing had originally been legalized in South Africa in response to the growing level of absolute control exercised by the heads of political parties, but Leon said that the abuse of floor crossing for political gain by the ruling African National Congress [party website] party had made the practice detrimental to the voters of South Africa. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of South Africa [JURIST news archive]. Read the DA official press release. South Africa's Mail & Guardian Online has local coverage.
- Informal Sector Service Center [advocacy website], a human rights agency based in Nepal [government website], released its annual Human Rights Yearbook [text] on Sunday covering the past year in Nepal. The report detailed over 1,500 deaths in Nepal in the last year due to violations of human rights of individuals, with the government's security forces responsible for 815 of the fatalities. The report also accuses the government of using the declaration of a state of emergency [JURIST report] as an excuse to crack down on all attempts at peaceful political gatherings and protests. The report also detailed ongoing human rights violations by the Maoist factions, including the documented abduction by Maoists of nearly 33,000 individuals in the past year, most of them children. The head of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal [official website] Ian Martin told gathered reporters and human rights workers that the UN was concerned about a perceived continuing failure of the Nepalese government to address human rights abuses by government entities. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. eKantipur.com has local coverage.