UN: Iranian Forces ‘Shooting to Kill’ Protesters, At Least 7,000 Held

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

UN: Iranian Forces ‘Shooting to Kill’ Protesters, At Least 7,000 Held

Friday, 6 December, 2019 – 12:45
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Asharq Al-Awsat
The United Nations said Friday that at least 7,000 people have “reportedly” been arrested in Iran since mass demonstrations erupted last month, adding Iranian security forces were “shooting to kill” in their deadly crackdown against protesters in recent weeks.

In a statement, the UN human rights office said it had obtained “verified video footage” showing security forces firing on protesters, apparently with intent to kill.

The rights office added that it had “information suggesting that at least 208 people were killed” during the unrest, echoing a count also tallied by Amnesty International.

“There are also reports, which the UN Human Rights Office has so far been unable to verify, suggesting more than twice that number killed,” the statement added.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said video obtained by her office shows “severe violence was used against protesters.”

“We have also received footage which appears to show security forces shooting unarmed demonstrators from behind while they were running away, and shooting others directly in the face and vital organs – in other words shooting to kill,” Bachelet said.

Additional video material shows “armed members of security forces shooting from the roof of a justice department building” in the city of Javanrud, west of Tehran in Kermanshah Province, as well as gunfire from helicopters in Sadra, in Fars Province.

The protests began on November 15 following a surprise hike in fuel prices.

Iran has yet to give overall figures for the number of people killed or arrested when security forces moved in to quell the unrest that saw buildings torched and shops looted.

Bachelet’s office said it had received many reports of ill-treatment against people arrested, “including with the apparent aim of extracting forced confessions.”

She charged that “many of the arrested protesters have not had access to a lawyer,” while raising alarm over “reports of severe overcrowding and harsh conditions in detention centers, which in some cities include military barracks, sports venues and schools.”

“I urge the authorities to immediately release from detention all protesters who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty,” she further said.

The demonstrations show the widespread economic discontent gripping Iran since May 2018, when President Donald Trump imposed crushing sanctions after unilaterally withdrawing the United States from the nuclear deal that Tehran struck with world powers.

Brazil: 7 youths died at the scene and police changed crime scene, says human rights commission

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

Paraisópolis: 7 youths died at the scene and police changed crime scene, says human rights commission

“These bodies could not have been taken to hospitals. This changed the scene of the crime,” Sao Paulo State Council of Human Rights (Condepe) President Dimitri Sales told a news conference. “It was a massacre”, defines

(Photo: OSP / Playback)
 

247 – The president of the São Paulo State Council for the Defense of the Rights of the Human Person (Condepe), Dimitri Sales, informed on Tuesday 3 that, of the nine victims resulting from an action of the Military Police in Paraisópolis, south zone of São Paulo, seven died on the spot.

He also denounced the PM for altering the crime scene. “These bodies could not have been taken to hospitals. That changed the crime scene,” he explained. “What happened was a massacre,” he added.

In his view, the manner in which the killings occurred without firing may indicate a new pattern of police violence, which also makes it difficult for police officers to identify themselves.

The lawyer also criticized the position of the governor of São Paulo, João Doria, in defense of the PM. According to him, the governor’s statements stimulate the PM’s institutional violence.

This afternoon, while commenting on another video circulated on social networks that shows a police officer beating and laughing at teenagers in the same Paraisópolis, Doria said she demanded “exemplary punishment of aggression” and stated that “practices like this do not match the SP Police procedure and will be strongly condemned “.

“The rigorous investigation into the sad episode of this weekend continues and, whenever serious transgressions are identified, they will be punished. In SP, we are not committed to the mistake. Once again, I sympathize with friends and family of young people who lost their lives “he wrote further.

TV Globo report also revealed that a Fire Department soldier canceled a Samu distress call to Paraisópolis in the early hours of Saturday to Sunday claiming that the PM was already rescuing the victims. Witnesses say police prevented relief from victims. 

UN: ‘Credible’ Evidence of Houthi Torture of Detainees

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

UN: ‘Credible’ Evidence of Houthi Torture of Detainees Sentenced to Death this Week

Friday, 12 July, 2019 – 10:45
A general view of the old city of Sanaa, Yemen November 19, 2018. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The United Nations human rights office appealed on Friday to the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen to review their death sentence against 30 prisoners, citing credible allegations that many were tortured during three years of politically-motivated detention.

It urged the Appellate Court in the Houthi-held capital of Sanaa, which is due to review the ruling, to take into account the serious allegations and violations of their right to a fair trial and due process in the lower court.

The specialized first instance criminal court handed down the death sentences on Tuesday, UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said.

Most of the 30 men are academics, students and politicians.

“At no point were they given a proper chance to present a defense,” Shamdasani said.

“There is a high likelihood that many of these charges are politically-motivated. There are very credible allegations of torture and mistreatment, our teams have been able to speak to families,” Shamdasani added.

“Any politically-motivated charges should be dismissed and international fair trial standards fully complied with,” she stated.

The government has pleaded with the international community to save the detainees.

Yemen’s Human Rights Ministry condemned in the strongest terms on Tuesday these verdicts that were based on confessions that were extracted after “brutal psychological and physical torture committed by the Houthis against the captives.”

“They culminated in a farce trial by an illegal court,” it added.

It urged the international community and organizations and United Nations special envoy Martin Griffiths to intervene immediately to save them.

“The only crime they have committed is living in area held by the militias,” it said.

Amnesty International, in a statement this week, denounced what it called a “sham trial” where the 30 men faced “trump-up charges including espionage for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition”.

Egypt Launches Platform on Human Rights Conditions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt Launches Platform on Human Rights Conditions

Thursday, 11 July, 2019 – 11:00
Egyptian deputy of the human rights committee in parliament, Margaret Azer (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Cairo – Walid Abdul Rahman
Egypt launched a trilingual platform that provides information on the human rights conditions in the country.

The portal includes a database of all local, regional and international information about human rights, announced the State Information Service (SIS), adding that it is meant to promote a correct understanding of human rights, taking into consideration the economic, social, cultural and political aspects.

SIS also indicated that it will use the portal to confront attempts to politicize human rights’ conditions in the country.

The platform is part of a broad media activity being carried out to achieve Egypt’s goals in promoting and spreading the culture of human rights, according to SIS chairman Diaa Rashwan.

Egyptian deputy of the human rights committee in parliament, Margaret Azer told Asharq Al-Awsat that the new platform will use evidence to respond to “suspicious” organizations trying to politically exploit human rights issues in Egypt.

It will also respond to the questions and reports of international organizations on conditions in Egypt.

In March, Cairo responded to the US State Department’s annual report on the human rights situation in the world in 2018, saying it was “not objective” and makes unsubstantiated claims about the state of human rights in the country.

Egypt has repeatedly asked Human Rights Watch (HRW) to be accurate about its human rights reports.

Algerian Activists Slam Living Conditions of ‘Prisoners of Conscience’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI  NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Algerian Activists Slam Living Conditions of ‘Prisoners of Conscience’

Sunday, 2 June, 2019 – 11:15
Algerian man sprays water on policeman to ease the effects of high temperatures in the capital on Saturday, June 1, 2019 (Reuters)
Algeria – Bouallam Ghemraseh
Nongovernmental Algerian rights organizations prepared a list including 16 prisoners of conscience, four of whom have died over the past three years, and the last was activist Kamel Eddine Fekhar, whose funeral was held on Saturday.

Fekhar’s funeral was attended by mass of people, including activists from the popular movements that have taken place in the country since February 22.

One of the most controversial political prisoners is retired General Hussein Ben Hadid, 76, who suffers fractures in the pelvis after falling in Harrash prison in the eastern suburb of the capital.

His legal team told reporters on Saturday that his physical weakness has prevented a surgical operation in the injured area.

Bashir Mashri, a lawyer, said his injury “confirms that he hasn’t received his right to medical care in prison.”

Ben Hadid was put in pre-trial detention two weeks ago on charges of “weakening the army’s morale.”

He published an article in a local newspaper criticizing Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gaid Salah and how he is handling the crisis.

Human rights activists criticized his detention and considered him a prisoner of conscience, accusing Salah of taking his revenge from him for personal reasons.

Ben Hadid described Salah five years ago as a “commander who is not respected by soldiers.” He was jailed for eight months two years ago and was released after discovering he was seriously ill.

Although Bouteflika stepped down from power on April 2, Abdellah Ben Naoum, a political activist, who was accused of “insulting the president,” remains in prison west Algeria, serving a two-year sentence.

His lawyers said his health condition is deteriorating because of a hunger strike that has lasted more than 80 days now.

Ben Naoum refuses to end the strike, telling his confidants that he was jailed for his positions on the former president.

Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH) has warned that he would end up like Fekhar, whose death has put the current authorities in great embarrassment.

Brunei Sultan backtracks on death penalty for gay sex

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NEWS)

 

Brunei sultan backtracks on death penalty for gay sex

AFP

AFP

 In this file photo taken on April 3, 2019, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers a speech during an event in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Brunei’s sultan has announced death by stoning for gay sex and adultery will not be enforced after a global backlash, but critics yesterday called for harsh sharia laws to be abandoned entirely.

In a speech late on Sunday, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said a moratorium on capital punishment that already applies to Brunei’s regular criminal code would also extend to its new sharia code, which includes death by stoning for various crimes.

The code, which also punishes theft with the amputation of hands and feet, fully came into force last month in the small sultanate on Borneo island, making it the only country in East or Southeast Asia with sharia law at the national level.

The move sparked anger from governments and rights groups, the United Nations slammed it as a “clear violation” of human rights while celebrities led by actor George Clooney called for Brunei-owned hotels to be boycotted. In a televised address, the all-powerful sultan made his first public comments about the furore and took the rare step of addressing criticism, saying there had been “many questions and misperceptions” regarding the sharia laws.

“Both the common law and the sharia law aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country,” he insisted, according to an official translation of his speech.

Some crimes in Muslim-majority Brunei including murder and drug-trafficking were already punishable with death by hanging under the regular criminal code, which is enforced alongside the sharia code, but no one has been executed for decades.

Scope for remission

Hassanal said that “we have practiced a de facto moratorium on the execution of death penalty for cases under the common law. This will also be applied to cases under the (sharia penal code), which provides a wider scope for remission.”

But rights groups said the announcement did not go far enough.

“It really doesn’t change anything,” Matthew Woolfe, founder of rights group The Brunei Project, said. “This announcement does nothing to address the many other human rights concerns about the (sharia code).”

The maximum punishment for gay sex between men under the sharia code is death by stoning, but perpetrators can also be sentenced to lengthy jail terms or caning. Women convicted of having sexual relations with other women face up to 40 strokes of the cane or a maximum 10-year jail term.

Whipping and jail terms, as well as severing of limbs for theft, under the new code were not affected by the sultan’s announcement.

It was not clear how far other sharia punishments would be enforced.

The sultan also vowed in his speech that Brunei would ratify the United Nations convention against torture which it signed several years ago.

Saudi woman facing the death penalty for peaceful protest

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Israa Al-Ghomgham, a Saudi woman facing the death penalty for peaceful protest

Human rights advocate Israa Al-Ghomgham is facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, for her non-violent human rights related activities.

Al-Ghomgham was arrested in 2015 along with her husband, activist Mousa Al-Hashim, over their roles in anti-government protests in Al-Qatif back in 2011, when pro-democracy protests spread across the Middle East and North Africa.

A #FreeIsraa campaign photo, circulated on Twitter.

Al-Qatif is located in the Eastern Province, where most of the country’s Shiite minority — who make up 10 to 15 percent of the population live. Shiite Muslims in the Sunni-dominated kingdom face ”pervasive discrimination”, including unfair treatment under the justice system, government interference with their religious practices, exclusion from public sector jobs, in addition to stigma and sectarian speech, according to Human Rights Watch.

Alongside many other Saudi Shiites, Al-Ghomgham and her husband were protesting these injustices and demanding that the Saudi government uphold their human rights.

Al-Ghomgham faces eight charges including “preparing, sending and storing material that would harm the public order” under Article 6 of the Cybercrime Act of 2007. She also stands accused of “inciting rallies and young people against the state and security forces on social networking sites”, and posting photos and video of these protests online. State prosecutors for her case are seeking the death penalty.

She was put on trial in early August 2018 before the counter-terrorism court, the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC). A second hearing took place on October 28, but neither her nor the other defendants in the case were brought to court, the Gulf Center for Human Rights reported. The next hearing is scheduled for November 21.

#IsraaAlGhomgham #إسراء_الغمغام@IsraaAlGhomgham

Today second court hearing did take place, but neither Israa nor the other activists being trialled alongside her were present.

It is unknown why the Saudi authorities failed to transport them to the courtroom

Third court hearing will be Wednesday 21st November

In addition to Al-Ghomgham, five more individuals are standing trial before the SCC this week for charges related to exercising their peaceful rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, according to Amnesty International. The human rights organisation documented eight cases where activists are facing the death penalty:

The Public Prosecution’s recurring calls to resort to the death penalty in the past three months for at least eight individuals raises the alarm about the fate of dozens of activists who are currently detained without charge or trial and for those currently on trial before the SCC.

Among those who stood trial this week was religious cleric Salman al-Awda. State security officials arrested him in September 2017 and charged him with a litany of offenses, including calling for reforms and regime change in the Arab region. He also faces the death penalty.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s attorney general Saud al-Mujib arrived in Turkey on Monday to join an investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Al-Mujib has often been sent after political rivals of the monarchy, and those who challenge the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Leaders around the world have pointed at Bin Salman, accusing him of playing a role in the journalist’s murder.

Many are wondering how Bin Salman can endeavor to bring justice to Jamal while at the same time seeking the death penalty against those practicing their rights to freedom of expression.

د. عبدالله العودة

@aalodah

The same Saudi Attorney General who sought death penalty against my father @salman_alodah and others because of their peaceful activism, is going to Turkey to discuss the death of who was killed because of his peaceful activism!
🤔

Myanmar sentences Reuters journalists to 7 years in prison

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘GLOBAL VOICES’)

 

Myanmar sentences Reuters journalists to 7 years in prison

One of many online campaigns’ images demanding the release of wrongly accused journalists.

Two Myanmar reporters who were covering the killing of Rohingya in Rakhine state last year were sentenced to seven years prison on September 3 for violating the Official Secrets Act of 1923 after a nine-month-long trial.

Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were working for Reuters when they were arrested in December 2017 for possessing state documents regarding military operations in Rakhine state. In court proceedings earlier this year, police testified that they had handed the documents to the reporters without explanation, shortly before the arrest.

The two reporters were investigating the killings of 10 Rohingya villagers by the military in Inn Din village in the northwest of Rakhine on the aftermath of the clashes between the army and Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in August 2017. The clashes were followed by the displacement of more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh.

Myanmar’s government does not recognize Myanmar-born Rohingyas, most of whom are Muslim, as citizens or as an ethnic group living in Myanmar. The government designates ARSA as a terrorist organization.

In April 2018, police captain Moe Yan Naing testified in court that he and a colleague were ordered to entrap the reporters. He was sentenced to one year in prison after that testimony for violating the Police Disciplinary Act. He told reporters after the hearing that sentenced him: “Putting me in prison stops other police officers from saying the truth”.

Immediately after the court decision, Free of Expression Myanmar (FEM), a local civil society group, released its statement denouncing the state for its failure to protect journalists.

The conviction shows the lengths to which the Myanmar state is willing to go to hide its wrongdoing. In the past, the state has mostly bullied and jailed local journalists, but now it has picked on one of the most renowned media houses in the world.”

Local voices demand justice

The case has attracted outrage not only internationally, but inside Myanmar too.

Many people in the country, including civil society organization and activists, have been speaking out against the journalists’ arrest since last year.

Last month, A-than (Voice), a local civil society group working for the abolition of Myanmar’s online defamation law, launched a video campaign on social media featuring several activists from Myanmar calling for the release of the journalists. The statement message of the campaign posts read as:

Reuters Journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested and detained when they were doing their investigative report on the killings in Inn Din village committed by Ta-ma-taw [Army]. Inn Din village killings were admitted by Ta-ma-taw and seven army officers have been convicted by war court already. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were acting ethically in order to get reliable information for people. Captain Moe Yan Naing has already testified that [the reporters] were set up by the police because of the news that they were covering.

A few days before the hearing on September 3, many marched in the city of Yangon, Myanmar’s economic capital, to demand journalists’ release.

For some, the case reinforces the growing disappointment with the government of the National League for Democracy (NLD), headed by noble peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Peace activist Moe Thway expressed his disappoint for Aung San Suu Kyi for not speaking out to protect the journalists.

The fact that Wa Lone (and Kyaw Soe Oo) were given unjust prison sentences is not because of the court alone.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her government are also responsible for approving their arrests and saying that they were guilty.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has clearly revealed her characteristic of a dictatorship.

In a statement [pdf] condemning the verdict, organized by A-than and signed by 63 local NGOs, supporters wrote:

We believe that the decision by the court is irrational and the case was brought against the two journalists….to justify [their] arrest and imprisonment…We take this as a crackdown on the right of access to information and media freedom, and an oppressive gesture [against] all concerned people of Myanmar who are aspiring [to]….a society characterized by rule of law, accountability, freedom and justice.

The court decision was also condemned by the international community, including statements released immediately by US Embassy in Myanmar and EU Union in Myanmar.

‘They Wanted To Kill Us All’: Nicaragua Reels After Bloody Church Siege

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

‘They Wanted To Kill Us All’: Nicaragua Reels After Bloody Church Siege

A student who had taken refuge at the Church of the Divine Mercy amid a barrage of armed attacks is embraced by a relative on Saturday after he was transported to the Managua Metropolitan Cathedral.

Cristobal Venegas/AP

Nicaragua saw another weekend of deadly violence, as forces in support of President Daniel Ortega besieged student protesters in a church and attempted to assert control over several areas outside the capital.

Students have been at the center of anti-government demonstrations since they began April 18. What started as a “protest against now-rescinded changes in public pensions” became “a full-fledged call to end the authoritarian rule,” reporter Maria Martin tells NPR. The government has responded with brutal force.

Overnight Friday, protests at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua in the capital took a dramatic turn, ultimately leaving at least two people dead and several others injured.

For two months, students at the university in Managua have set up barricades during protests that have drawn the wrath of pro-government forces. On Friday, about 200 students on the sprawling campus were pinned down by police and paramilitaries into a nearby Catholic church that they had been using as a field hospital.

The Washington Post’s Joshua Partlow, reporting on the protests, was trapped in the Church of the Divine Mercy along with the students. He described what he saw:

“Not long after 6 p.m., with several high-pitched cracks, the mood took a dark turn. The faraway shooting was suddenly nearby. The paramilitaries had appeared, cutting off the only exit from Divine Mercy and firing at the remaining barricade just outside the church.

“It became clear that everyone inside — dozens of students, at least two priests and two doctors, neighbors, volunteers and journalists, including me — would not be going anywhere.

“Most of the students accepted this realization with stoicism and remarkable calm. Many had been taking sporadic fire on and off for the past two months, and they seemed accustomed to it. They carried the wounded into the Rev. Raul Zamora’s rectory and put them on chairs or on the blood-spattered tile floor. Outside, at the barricade, other students shouted and fired their mortars against the unseen ­assailants.

“Over the next hours, the fighting ebbed and flowed. A flurry of gunfire would force everyone indoors, then people would drift into the courtyard. At times, they chanted ‘Viva, Nicaragua,’ shot their mortars in the air and vowed to never leave their posts. Around sunset, dozens of them knelt in a circle, held each other and prayed.”

The siege stretched on for some 15 hours, ending when members of the clergy negotiated for the students to be allowed to leave. They were transported to the Managua Metropolitan Cathedral, according to the Post.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes said two students were killed during the confrontation, according to The Associated Press.

Mourners attend the wake of Nicaraguan university student Gerald Vasquez who was killed over the weekend when police forced students out of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua in Managua.

Cristobal Venegas/AP

“It was a really hard night. They discharged their entire heavy arsenal against stones and mortars,” a sobbing young man who was afraid to given his name told the AP. “They wanted to kill us all.”

Sunday saw more violence, just outside Managua, Reuters reported. The Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights said at least 10 people were killed when security forces and paramilitary groups loyal to Ortega attacked people in the city of Masaya and communities of Monimbo.

In Masaya, pro-government forces were trying to take down barricades and reassert control over the area in what the government was calling “Operation Clean-up,” according to the BBC. The government says the “blockades are harming businesses and disrupting the lives of Nicaraguans,” the broadcaster reports.

The weekend violence is part of a brutal crackdown that human rights groups say has resulted in the deaths of nearly 300 people.

Human rights groups have criticized the Nicaraguan government for its tactics. For example, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has accused the government of “excessive and arbitrary use of police force,” as well as using paramilitary groups called “shock groups” to put down protests. It has called for the groups to be dismantled.

The BBC described “hooded and masked men opening fire on protesters” during recent protests, and says that “the government says the protesters are trying to stage a coup d’etat against Mr Ortega.”

Kim had a great summit he didn’t give anything away

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Kim had a great summit. And he didn’t even need to give anything away

But the real reward was five hours with US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, when the two leaders signed a document that essentially reiterated promises North Korea has already made, extracted no new or concrete concessions to demonstrate Pyongyang was committed to denuclearization, and further, spoke of “security assurances” the dictator had long sought from the United States.
“The only thing that Kim has done is suspend testing of weapons, that’s not giving them away,” said Bruce Bechtol, a professor of political science at Angelo State University who has authored several books on North Korea.
There was certainly nothing in the vague final statement that might result in potential blowback from his cadre of loyalists watching his every move from Pyongyang.
North Korea had declared earlier this year that since the country had satisfactorily achieved all it wanted with regard to its nuclear program, it would suspend its tests. Since then, it has closed down two test sites. Trump announced on Tuesday that Kim had informed him that he would be shutting down a third, one that tested missile engines.

Stunning press conference

But perhaps the most stunning moment of the summit came after Kim had left the summit venue. In a freewheeling press conference lasting more than an hour, Trump was pressed by reporters to elaborate on the security guarantees he could provide to North Korea. In response, Trump pointed to the presence of nearly 30,000 US troops in South Korea, something that has long irked not only North Korea, but also its biggest backer: China.
“I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home,” Trump said.
While the US President qualified that a troop withdrawal was “not part of the equation right now,” he made it clear that it could be, in the future.
And to the apparent surprise of South Korea, Trump promised to halt what he called “the war games” — joint military exercises with South Korea — that North Korea has long regarded as a provocation. They were expensive, inappropriate — and “provocative,” he said.
Trump: We will stop 'war games'

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Trump: We will stop ‘war games’ 01:21
To Korea-watchers, the commitment to suspend these regular training drills would raise questions about the continued presence of US forces in the region.
“If we have a force of 28,500 military personnel that does not conduct training, then we may as well bring them home and this is what I fear from President Trump’s comments that war games cost a lot of money and South Korea does not pay sufficient funds,” said David Maxwell, a retired US Army Special Forces colonel and a fellow at the Institute of Korean American Studies. “A force that does not train is of no value to deterrence and no value to war fighting and does a disservice to those military personnel and our national security.”

Low expectations on human rights

There were few expectations that Trump would confront Kim on the many issues North Korea faces, like its appalling human rights record, the North Koreans who slave in labor camps, the kidnapped foreign nationals from South Korea and Japan, and beyond, its arsenal of medium and short range missiles.
Trump: North Koreans in prison camps are 'winners'

Trump: North Koreans in prison camps are ‘winners’
Those have been high on the list of priorities for North Korea’s neighbors including Japan and South Korea. The leaders of both countries spoke to Trump while he was in Singapore before he met with Kim to ensure their fears were firmly in Trump’s mind when he spoke to Kim Jong Un.
As he spoke to reporters, Trump rejected the suggestion that even by meeting with Kim, he’d given the young leader a win.
“It’s not a big deal to meet,” he insisted.
Experts watching the talks disagreed.
“Throughout the tenure of Kim Jong Il [Kim Jong Un’s father], a meeting with a sitting US president was the ultimate sign of the country’s international recognition,” said Catherine Dill, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
kim jong un CSR 3_00004717

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How North Korea got its nuclear program 01:16
“Through parsing North Korean state media during Kim Jong Un’s tenure, North Korea plainly seeks the legitimacy that a summit might confer. I think it would only be more priceless for Kim Jong Un if President Trump was coming to North Korea.”
That, by the way, was a possibility Trump told reporters he would consider. He also said he would “absolutely” invite Kim Jong Un to the White House.
On the North Korean laborers, Trump said: “I think I’ve helped them,” adding: “Not much I can do right now, but at some point. I think they are one of the great winners today.”
On human rights, Trump steered the conversation to the matter of the remains of American servicemen missing in action and presumed dead from fighting during the Korean War. About 5,300 of the nearly 7,800 U.S. troops who are still unaccounted for from the 1950-53 war were missing in North Korea. “Human rights were discussed and will be discussed in the future,” Trump said. “What was also discussed in great detail and I must have had countless calls and letters, they want the remains of their sons back. I asked for it today and I got it.”

Little that wasn’t in past statements

The document Trump and Kim signed had little of the detail that past agreements with North Korea had laid out. It echoed statements already agreed to by North Korea when Kim Jong Un met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last April.
Tuesday’s communiqué said that North Korea “commits to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
North Korea, South Korea Meet to discuss summit

North Korea, South Korea Meet to discuss summit
In contrast, the agreement signed in 2005 between North Korea and the US, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea, committed Pyongyang “to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards.”
The North Koreans have given no indication that they are seeking to abide by international conventions or admit independent experts to verify the extent of their nuclear program.
“The North Koreans have given nothing so far, while the Americans on the other hand have given Kim Jong Un a summit with the US president,” said Andrew O’Neil, the dean of research at the Griffith Business School in Australia.
“Whatever happens from now, Pyongyang comes out of this looking like it’s scored a major victory. It’s an instructive and compelling lesson on how weak states can achieve asymmetrical outcomes if they are prepared to stand tough against materially stronger powers,” he said.
South Korea: North Korea committed to denuclearization

South Korea: North Korea committed to denuclearization
The White House told reporters Tuesday that it had largely agreed to North Korea’s demand for parity in all aspects of the summit, from the number of officials during the bilateral meetings to the number of US and North Korean flags side by side during the arrival ceremony. The images of the six US and six North Korean flags in the background of the Trump-Kim handshake will undoubtedly be used by North Korean propaganda to suggest the US and North Korea are on level footing, another boost to Kim’s legitimacy at home.
The North Koreans have spent decades negotiating with the West, and have studied the Trump White House and were prepared for this meeting, and it showed, said Jean H. Lee, director of the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy.
“To see President Trump and Kim Jong Un shaking hands warmly and chatting so easily was both stunning and chilling,” she told CNN. “It’s a powerful moment that augers a change in the tense relationship between these two countries. But it also legitimizes the path Kim took to get here: Building and testing illicit nuclear weapons that have the potential to wreak unimaginable destruction.”
For Kim Jong Un, this momentous day was one for North Korea’s history books that won’t require exaggeration.