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Israel, Blackwater and Arranged Marriage

Its all about the law today.

First up, Israel.

In response to rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip, the Israelis decided to tackle the problem at the source. A rational decision on the face of it. So what did they opt for? Dialogue, perhaps? A call for immediate arrests? Oh no, instead they chose to cut the power to the entire area.

Luckily, the United Nations is on hand. A report in The Independent today suggest that Karen Koning-Abu Zayd, head of the UNs refugee agency, will tell British ministers that Israels actions broke international law.

Its a welcome decision, if admittedly hardly mind-blowing as its hard to see how cutting off electricity supplies to a largely peaceful population is anything other than a violation of peoples basic human rights.

However, it is not just electricity that has been restricted in Gaza. Israel is also limiting the number of Palestinians allowed to leave Gaza to seek medical treatment elsewhere. Several have died or suffered irreparable or long-term damage.

Amnesty International today issued an Urgent Action on one case to illustrate the problem.

It will be interesting to see how Israel chooses to react.

Meanwhile, Blackwater is also back in the news.

The (in)famous private and military security firm has been accused of shooting dead 17 innocent Iraqis and the legal wranglings could be on course for another twist.

The guards responsible for the deaths, which Blackwater claim were self-defence, have, according to the New York Times, been offered partial immunity by the US State department.

The paper explains that the guards would be given limited-use immunity deals which protects them against prosecution for anything they might say in interviews with authorities.

Quite how the US State department should be able to offer a way out of a murder trial is bad enough. But when the case is not even in the US, it is nothing short of incomprehensible.

Staying with the theme of the completely incomprehensible, Sam Wollaston in The Guardian reports on the launch of a new BBC2 matchmaking programme. The title? Arrange Me A Marriage. The programme does pretty much what is says on the tin and is being marketed as an Asian version of Blind Date.

The shows presenter Aneela Rahman does try to defend the programmes ethos. But surely is it not just advocating forced marriage an issue Amnesty International has opposed for years?

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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