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Published on July 4th, 2008 | by Impunity Watch Archive

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Arab Israeli Kills Three in Bulldozer Attack; Yemen Acts to Address HIV Stigma and Discrimination; HRW Urges Jordan to Withdraw Draft Laws

By Laura Zuber
Impunity Watch Senior Desk Officer, Middle East

EAST JERUSALEM, Occupied Palestinian Territories – On July 4, the Israeli military prepares to demolish the home of Hussam Dwayat, a Palestinian living in East Jerusalem.  This follows the legal opinion of Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz which stated: “In light of repeated rulings over the years by the Supreme Court, it cannot be said that there is a legal objection… to the demolition of houses in Jerusalem, but the move would create considerable legal difficulties.”

On July 2, an attacker, thought to be Hussam Dwayat, who works as a contractor in Jerusalem, used a bulldozer to ram a bus in Jerusalem.  At least two Israelis were killed and at least 14 people were hospitalized.  The attack stopped only after the driver was shot by an Israeli police officer.

In response to the anticipated demolition, B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, stated, “The demolition of houses is a clear case of collective punishment, which violates the principle that a person is not to be punished for the acts of another. Collective punishment is therefore illegal regardless of its effectiveness.”

It is reported that 20 family members live in the targeted home.  Dwayat had no known ties to any political or terrorists groups, and the attack is not thought to be politically motivated.  In addition, he had a history of drug abuse and violence, for which he spent a year in jail.

For more information, please see:

BBC – Israel to Destroy Attacker’s Home – 4 July 2008

AFP – Israel Looks at Demolition of Palestinian Attackers’ Homes – 3 July 2008

International Herald Tribune – Driver Rams Bulldozer into Jerusalem Bus, Killing at Least Two – 2 July 2008

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SANA’A, Yemen – On July 3, a Yemeni non-governmental organization, composed of members of parliament, prepared a draft legislation that would guarantee the rights of people living with HIV/IDS.  Abdul-Bari Dughaish, chairman of Parliamentarians to Prevent HIV/AIDS, said that while the constitution guaranteed people’s rights, this law would reinforce that protection.

The law prohibited discrimination against HIV-positive people looking for accommodation and services.  It would outlaw the dismissal of workers based on their HIV status.  It would also guarantee paid health leave for public employees living with HIV/AIDS.

One objective of this legislation would be for people with HIV to be treated in the same way as people with other chronic health conditions. “Those living with HIV can lead as normal lives as diabetics or hepatitis patients,” Dughaish said.

In addition, in June 2008, several workshops were held in Yemen to train 25 religious and health officials on how to combat the stigma and discrimination attached to HIV/AIDS.  Not only did the workshops aim to reduce the negative connotations associated with HIV, but also to prevent the spread of the disease by promoting education.

For more information, please see:

Zaywa – New Law to Guarantee Rights of People Living with HIV – 3 July 2008

Yemen Observer – Stigma and Discrimination Against HIV/AIDS People can be Reduced – 24 June 2008

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NEW YORK, United States – On July 1, Human Rights Watch called on the Jordanian prime minister, Nader Dahabi, to withdraw two draft laws from consideration by the parliament.  The first, regarding non-governmental organizations, would further expand the government’s wide control over establishing, operating, and funding NGOs.  The second, on public assembly, would continue to restrict Jordanians’ right to congregate, by requiring the Ministry of Interior’s approval for meetings that discuss “public policies.”

The two laws were introduced in an extraordinary session of parliament in May and June 2008, after Dahabi had withdrawn an earlier draft of the NGO law from parliamentary consideration in January 2008 and urged a revision of the assembly law.

The NGO law would give the government power to obtain an NGO’s future work plans, governmental approval for donations to an NGO, and allow the government to shut down an NGO for minor infractions. Also, the law allows the government to appoint a state employee to serve as temporary president of an NGO.

“These draft laws show Jordan’s intolerance for critical debate in a democracy,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

For more information, please see:

AHN – Jordan Criticized Over New  Laws, Urged to Withdraw Drafts – 1 July 2008

Human Rights Watch – Jordan:  Scrap New Laws that Stifle Democracy – 1 July 2008

Jerusalem Post – Jordan Enacts Laws Restricting Demonstrations, NGOs – 1 July 2008

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