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Minorities News

Syria's Kurds reject regime-imposed 'reconciliation'

Beirut - A Kurdish-led Syrian force said Friday it believes in dialogue with the government but warned a settlement on the future of territory it controls cannot arrive through a Damascus-prescribed "reconciliation" agreement.

UN chief tells China to uphold rights in Xinjiang

New York - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres raised the plight of ethnic Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang region during talks with Chinese leaders and stressed that China must fully respect human rights, his spokesman said Monday.

Seoul seeks to capitalise on Stalin's Korean deportations

Seoul - South Korean president Moon Jae-in meets ethnic Koreans in Central Asia this week as he looks to capitalise on the enduring legacy of Joseph Stalin's mass deportations more than 80 years ago.

Netanyahu party criticised over cameras in polling stations

Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced election day criticism Tuesday after activists from his right-wing Likud party brought cameras into polling stations in Arab-majority neighbourhoods.

To vote or not to vote? The question facing Arab Israelis

Akko - In the days ahead of Israel's April 9 elections, activists in the country's north were not trying to convince some residents who to vote for -- but just to vote.Israel's Arab citizens, who account for some 17.

Gas explosion kills 16 in Myanmar's remote Wa state: Wa army

Yangon - A gas explosion in a secretive enclave run by the ethnic Wa in Myanmar's eastern borderlands has killed 16 people and injured dozens, the United Wa State Army (UWSA) said Sunday.

Muslim former detainee tells of China camp trauma

Istanbul - For Muslims in China's re-education camps, indoctrination starts with early morning patriotic songs and sessions of self-criticism, and often ends with a meal of only pork, according to one exiled former detainee.

Turkey treads tricky path with China's Muslim minorities

Istanbul - When Abdulweli Ayup, a Chinese ethnic Uyghur, fled his home in 2015 after he was jailed, he found refuge like other exiles in Istanbul where Turkey's government prides itself as a defender of oppressed Muslim minorities.

Post-IS, north Iraq's minority mosaic blown apart by trauma

Sinjar - For decades, his land was his life. Now, like other Sunni Arab farmers in Iraq's diverse north, Mahdi Abu Enad is cut off from his fields, fearing reprisal attacks.

'Wonder Woman' urges calm in Israeli civil rights fight

Jerusalem - Hollywood star Gal Gadot has leapt to defend a fellow actress who was chided by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for challenging his party's treatment of Arab citizens.

Fear reigns in heart of separatist Cameroon region

Buea - In the capital of Cameroon's Southwest Region, people drily say the streets are so dangerous that even the dogs are too scared to go outside.

Libyan strongman force takes key oil field in south: spokesman

Tripoli - A force loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar announced Thursday it had taken control of a key oil field in the conflict-wracked country's south.

Families of missing Uighurs demand 'proof of life' videos from China

Bejing - Ethnic Uighurs have launched a global campaign to press China for video proof that their missing relatives are alive, turning the tables on Beijing's use of video to counter claims that a renowned Uighur had died in custody.

China rejects Turkey criticism on Uighurs, denies poet died

Bejing - China hit back on Monday at Turkish criticism over its treatment of Uighurs and denied Ankara's claim that a renowned poet from the Muslim minority had died in custody, calling it an "absurd lie".

Kosovo leaders at odds over Serbia border changes

Pristina - Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj on Wednesday resumed their public dispute over possible border changes to end one of Europe's most volatile territorial disputes.

UN watchdog says Finland violated indigenous Sami rights

Geneva - Finland has breached the political rights of its Sami population, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled Monday, charging that Helsinki had violated the indigenous people's right to "internal self-determination".

Indigenous people protest for their rights in Washington

Washington - Hundreds of members of indigenous communities protested in Washington on Friday, denouncing injustices they are facing and demanding that their rights be respected.

Justice at last for Kosovo's 'second-class victims'?

Pristina - Twenty years after the war for Kosovo's independence, victims of alleged war crimes committed by ethnic Albanian guerrillas have all but given up hope of justice.Now, finally, relief may be on the horizon.

Border plan sparks fear in Kosovo's Serb enclaves

Gracanica - A possible land swap between Serbia and Kosovo, suggested by their leaders to end one of Europe's most volatile territorial disputes, has sparked concerns that the border could be redrawn along ethnic lines and reignite festering communal ethnic animos...

Deal with Syria regime 'inevitable': Kurdish commander

Oguz - A deal between Damascus and Syria's Kurds over their autonomous region in the country's north is "inevitable", a senior Kurdish military official said on Saturday, insisting that Kurdish forces should remain in the area.

Myanmar army announces ceasefire against armed groups

Myanmar's military announced Friday it would suspend "all military movements" in the troubled northern and eastern regions for four months, an unprecedented step observers say could coax ethnic rebel groups into the country's fractious peace process.

Austria court gives hope to those caught in nationality row

Vienna - An Austrian court gave hope to thousands of citizens of Turkish origin caught in a row over dual nationality Monday, handing down a favourable decision in a key test case.

Turkey court orders Kurdish leader to remain in custody

Ankara - A Turkish court on Thursday ordered the continued detention of Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas despite a European rights court ruling calling for his release, an official from his political party said.

Kurdish leader tells Turkish court he is a 'political hostage'

Sincan - Jailed top Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas said he was a "political hostage" on Wednesday during his first court appearance in Turkey since a European rights court demanded his release.

Suu Kyi to be stripped of freedom of Paris award: mayor's office

Paris - Paris city will strip Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary freedom of the French capital over her failure to speak out against a crackdown on Myanmar's Rohingya minority, a mayor's spokeswoman said Friday.

South Tyrol debates dual Italian-Austrian citizenship

Bolzano - The Austrian government has angered Italy with plans to offer dual citizenship to the majority German-speaking population of South Tyrol province.

Italy, Austria at odds over South Tyrol dual-citizenship

Bolzano - A diplomatic row threatens to disrupt Italy's Alpine province of South Tyrol: over the question of national identity and whether some of its inhabitants should have the right to Austrian citizenship.

Moscow-backed land swap opens old wounds in volatile Caucasus

Russia - Looking at the lush green hills around his native village in Russia's Ingushetia region, 59-year-old Ruslan says that even if this does not seem like much, it should still belong to his people, not their neighbours in Chechnya.

Kazakhstan denies asylum to China 're-education camp' whistleblower

Moscow - Ex-Soviet Kazakhstan has refused asylum to an escaped Chinese national whose court testimony helped expose a secretive network of re-education camps in China's restive Xinjiang region, her lawyer said Friday.

In ethnically split Bosnia, 'others' are on the outside

Sarajevo - In a country where political power is formally shared by three ethnic groups, Bosnians who identify as "ostali" -- or "others" -- are second-class citizens.
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