Syria is Not Safe: Daily Brief

#StopTheBans: a day of action against abortion criminalization; Arbitrary detentions & disappearances in Assad's Syria; still no justice 10 years since end of Sri Lanka war; another Chinese activist leaves prison gravely ill; Equatorial Guinea should keep promises on human rights; new Ukraine president should set rights priorities; and don't miss our Facebook Live on extreme poverty and hunger in the United Kingdom.

Today, abortion rights advocates across the US are fighting back against recent attacks on women’s rights in the form of a number of state laws seeking to effectively bar women from accessing safe and legal abortions. We joined protesters in Washington DC to say #StopTheBans. HRW has seen first hand the damage done when abortion is criminalized. It's not a pretty picture. 

From earlier today: The security services in Syria are arbitrarily detaining, disappearing, and harassing people in areas retaken from anti-government groups. The abuse is taking place even when the government has entered into reconciliation agreements with the people involved.

On the 10th anniversary of the end of the civil war  in Sri Lanka and in the aftermath of the Easter bombings, the government should recommit itself to defending the human rights of everyone in the country.

All too often, unjust sentences handed down against peaceful critics of the Chinese government end up being death sentences. And now another activist has left prison only to go straight into an intensive care unit at hospital.

The United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review process is meant to give countries a chance to scrutinize the human rights records of fellow UN member states. But countries with awful human rights records, such as Equatorial Guinea, often respond to the scrutiny by resorting to the same script: claim to be a paragon of virtue, while in reality being an egregious rights abuser.

Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, should address several key human rights concerns as a central part of his administration’s agenda and make good on promises of reform, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House say in a public letter.

And finally, in modern Britain, hunger has become normal. This is a terrible situation for the country politically, socially, and morally.