'It's torture': critics step up bid to stop US school using electric shocks on children

The Judge Rotenberg Center has been shocking young people with special needs to control their behavior. Now opponents are demanding action to end ‘state-sanctioned child abuse’

The world’s only known school for children and young adults with special needs that inflicts electric shocks to control their behavior is facing international pressure to have the controversial practice banned.

For almost three decades the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts, outside Boston, has been zapping many of its special-needs residents with a custom-designed electric shock machine known as the GED. Students are required to carry the devices in backpacks that deliver charges of up to 41 milliamps – 10 times the amperage used in most stun guns – to their legs, arms, hands, feet, fingers or torsos via electrodes on the skin.

Related: UN calls for investigation of US school's shock treatments of autistic children

It wasn’t acceptable in Guantánamo Bay, but it’s apparently acceptable in a special-needs school in Massachusetts

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Bangladesh admits no Rohingya willing to take repatriation offer

Buses standing ready to return refugees to Myanmar but no one is willing to board

Bangladesh has conceded that it will be unable to voluntarily repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar as it had planned because it cannot find anyone willing to go back, though efforts to “motivate” people to leave will continue.

Four trucks and three buses were stationed at Unchiprang camp in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday morning, ready to carry refugees who have been “approved” to a transit camp by the border, but not one refugee was willing to board them. Most refugees on a list of those approved to return have gone into hiding.

Related: Rohingya refugees flee camps to avoid return to Myanmar

Related: The Guardian view on returning the Rohingya to Myanmar: don’t make them go | Editorial

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Boy held at remote Queensland police station for 11 days as Amnesty warns of crisis

Exclusive: More than 40 other children held in police custody for undetermined periods because there’s no room in youth detention system

A 17-year-old boy was detained in a remote Queensland police station for 11 days, Guardian Australia has confirmed, while more than 40 other children are being held for undetermined periods in police custody because there is no room in the state’s youth detention system.

Amnesty International said the state of Queensland youth detention was “creeping towards a human rights crisis”.

Related: Amnesty urges Queensland to raise age of criminal responsibility to 14

Related: 'People will continue to die': coroners' 'deaths in custody' reports ignored

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F1 finally admits concern over woman jailed for Bahrain Grand Prix protests

• Najah Yusuf jailed for three years over 2017 protests
• F1 says it is making ongoing enquiries in Bahrain

Formula One chiefs have admitted for the first time that they are “concerned” that an activist who protested against the Bahrain Grand Prix on Facebook was jailed for three years by the country’s authorities.

F1 has traditionally been reluctant to intervene on politics and human rights cases but has made a rare exception in the case of Najah Ahmed Yusuf, who claims she was beaten, sexually abused and imprisoned following a series of posts in April 2017 that were critical of the race and the regime.

Related: Hanoi hosting the Vietnam Grand Prix fits the bill for F1’s owners | Giles Richards

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Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny flies out of Russia after ban lifted

Opposition figure allowed to leave to attend European court of human rights case

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been allowed to fly out of Russia to attend the finale of a case he filed at Europe’s top human rights court, a day after border guards stopped him leaving the country.

Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, wants to be in Strasbourg on Thursday when the European court of human rights is due to rule on whether his numerous detentions by police in Russia have been politically motivated or not.

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A journal for anonymous ‘controversial’ ideas will only fan the flames | Nesrine Malik

A new publication follows a damaging pattern of provocation followed by rejection of criticism as hysteria

We live in a time when certain words function as a kind of cover, as a vehicle for sometimes sinister purposes. The call for “freedom of speech” tends to be used as a demand for “freedom from consequence” for the speaker. Calling someone a “contrarian” is often a way of validating a professional bigot.

Subtext, rather than context, is everything. One of these new words is “controversial” and its derivatives. “Provocateur” is another. “Provocateurs” have “controversial” opinions that inspire “robust” debate. You see how there is no clue or indication as to the value, quality or intent of these ideas; their entire merit is that they are polarising. In this system, “controversial” has itself become an attribute that imbues an opinion with value. Not only is orthodoxy a bad thing in an advanced civilisation, this implies; it is boring. Controversial now means different, unique, titillating, perhaps even quite brave. It does not matter what idea travels in the controversy vehicle, it will be entertained. In fact, it must be entertained, because to do otherwise is to be politically correct and conformist and very likely resident in a bubble.

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How love and a taste of honey brought one Indian woman’s 16-year hunger strike to an end

Force-fed through a nasal tube, human rights activist Irom Sharmila was revered by supporters. But she grew disillusioned. Then a suitor arrived from England…

Journalists from around the world watched expectantly. Irom Sharmila peered at the smear of honey in her hand. Her face was twisted in anguish. She wept. Then, with a glance at the sky, she scooped a finger of honey on to her tongue.

And that was how it ended. On a cloudy morning in August 2016, in Imphal, the capital of the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, the world’s longest hunger strike was over. Sharmila had eaten for the first time in nearly 16 years.

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Amnesty criticises Manchester City over ‘sportswashing’

Human rights group attacks club’s sponsorship deal with Emirates firm

Amnesty International has accused Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi owners of brazenly trying to “sportswash” their country’s “deeply tarnished image” by pouring money into the Premier League club.

The human rights group’s intervention is likely to increase the pressure on football’s governing bodies to investigate a series of incendiary allegations against the club, including a deal for sports rights involving a shell company controlled by a major donor to the Tory party via a series of companies and trusts operating in tax havens.

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Twenty years on, the Human Rights Act has proved its worth | Scott Dawes

For soldiers’ families, Hillsborough relatives and victims of John Worboys, the act has been vital in their quest for justice


Do you remember 1998? On many fronts a forgettable year, but allow me to take you back. Across the world people were morbidly glued to the televised unravelling of President Clinton’s “sexual relations” denial, as he faced a very public impeachment inquiry over the Monica Lewinsky affair. Construction was under way on the Millennium Dome, stamps featuring Diana’s face went on sale to mark a year since her death, Cher released the hyper-processed earworm Believe, Armageddon was the biggest-grossing film worldwide.

Those things seem horribly dated now, of course, and most of them have been confined to the bonfire of history. But it’s worth remembering that 1998 was also notable for something that had a far bigger impact on Britain than Cher – the passing into law of the Human Rights Act.

Related: We must protect the European Convention on Human Rights like it protects us | Adam Wagner

Related: MPs condemn Home Office over detained Windrush pair

Related: Britain flouting human rights over Grenfell-style cladding

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Bahrain election condemned after opposition ban

UK and EU call on Bahrain to end repression and allow ‘free and fair elections’

Upcoming parliamentary elections in Bahrain have been deprived of any legitimacy by a ban on opposition parties, legislators in the US, UK, Ireland and the European parliament have declared in four separate letters calling on the country to end the repression.

Bahrain, a former British colony ruled by the Sunni al-Khalifa royal family, is due to hold elections on 24 November for the Council of Representatives of Bahrain’s national assembly, one of the Gulf’s few democratic institutions.

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