Europe's Largest Human Rights Conference Begins: Daily Brief

OSCE participating states to discuss human rights & democracy in Warsaw; China separates Uyghur children from families; thousands detained without charge in Kashmir; Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters rally for support in UK & US; Zimbabwean doctor who called for strike disappears; killers of Rwandan exile critic finally charged; Indonesia moves closer to ending child marriage, and Liberia to addressing atrocities during its 14-year civil war.

The annual conference to discuss human rights & democracy in OSCE participating states, the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), kicked off in Warsaw this morning. The HDIM is Europe's largest annual human rights and democracy conference, and, amongst others, an important forum for civil society voices to be heard at a time where democratic values are increasingly under threat.

Chinese authorities have housed countless Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim children whose parents are detained or in exile in state-run child welfare institutions and boarding schools without parental consent or access.

Several thousand Kashmiris, including politicians and opposition activists, have been detained without charge or access to family members and lawyers since India revoked Jammu and Kashmir state’s special autonomous status.

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrators defied a police ban and marched again on the weekend, with some carrying the US flag calling for President Donald Trump to help Hong Kong, and others calling on the UK to come to the aid of the former British colony. The march marked the 15th consecutive weekend of mass protests. 

A Zimbabwean doctor who led a recent doctors' strike over poor government salaries disappeared on Saturday. Before he went missing, Dr. Peter Magombeyi, head of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, had received a chilling message threatening that he will disappear.

South Africa’s National Prosecution Authority has finally issued arrest warrants for two Rwandans accused of murdering Rwandan critic Colonel Patrick Karegeya. Karegeya was found dead in his hotel room in January 2014. No arrests had been made at the time even though the names and passport numbers of four suspects were known to the police.

Some good news: Indonesia has moved closer to ending child marriage after a parliamentary law committee agreed to a proposal on raising the minimum marriage age for girls to 19 from the current 16 years.

And more good news: Liberia’s President George Weah has taken an important step toward creating a war crimes court to address atrocities committed during  its 14-year civil war that killed an estimated 250,000 people and displaced more than a million.