Tuesday, 30 August 2011

International day of the disappeared 2011

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:42 PDT

Relatives of people who disappear in connection with armed conflict or other violence suffer immensely as they struggle to find out what became of the missing person. More needs to be done to help the thousands of families of missing persons. On 30 August, the International Day of the Disappeared, the ICRC is highlighting their plight, and explaining what the organization is doing to help.

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All States must end ‘heinous crime’ of enforced disappearances, UN demands

Filed under: Human Rights — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:34 PDT

The United Nations today called on all States to end the “heinous crime” of enforced disappearances which has seen countless people vanish into secret prisons or worse, often never to be seen again, in cases of conflict and internal unrest.

“Over the last 30 years, the families of disappeared persons have brought to the attention of the international community the extent of this odious crime,” the UN working group on the issue said in a statement to mark UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

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Kashmiris protest disappearances

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:30 PDT

Hundreds of people have held a sit-in in Indian-administered Kashmir in protest against the disappearance of their loved ones during the past 20 years of unrest in the valley, Press TV reported.

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Hundreds still missing in Nepal years after end of war

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:27 PDT

Almost five years after the end of a decade-long insurgency in Nepal during which almost 14,000 people were killed, the status of more than 1,300 people who went missing is still unknown…

In 2006, the Maoists and the government signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the civil war. They agreed to prepare a list of those disappeared or killed during the civil war, make it public and inform families within 60 days of signing of the accord.

As families agonize over their missing members, they are frustrated in their attempts to get answers from government authorities. In June 2007, Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered the government to enact a new law to criminalize enforced disappearance and to establish an independent high level Commission of Inquiry on Disappearances. But it never took place.

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Philippines: Kin of victims mark Int’l Day of the Disappeared by calling for justice anew

Filed under: Human Rights — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:25 PDT

MANILA – Marking the International Day of the Disappeared, more than a hundred relatives and colleagues of missing activists gathered today in front of a mall in Quezon City where Jonas Burgos was taken.

Protesters put up a signage that read: “Mag-ingat sa mandurukot. Dito dinukot ng mga militar si Jonas Burgos.” (Beware of thieves. This is where the military abducted Jonas Burgos.) Jonas was abducted on April 28, 2007 inside the said mall while having his lunch. He remains missing to this day.

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Mexico Counts Missing on Day of the Disappeared

Filed under: Human Rights,Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:21 PDT

As the world marks the International Day of the Disappeared, Mexico counts more than 3,000 people who have disappeared since 2006, when President Calderon began his assault on organized crime.

Since 2006, the United Nations estimates that 3,000 people have disappeared in Mexico, a figure which includes at least 32 human rights advocates. Mexican investigative magazine Contralinea reports that there have been 300 percent more disappearances in the last four years than during the entirety of Mexico’s “Guerra Sucia” (dirty war) of the 1960s and 1970s. The country’s foremost human rights body, the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), has counted almost 5,400 cases since the election of President Felipe Calderon and his declaration of war on the country’s drug cartels in 2006.

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Mohawk chiefs blast Toews over suggestion vigilante gun violence ‘legitimate’ against smugglers

Filed under: Disarmament,Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:11 PDT

OTTAWA-Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ suggestion that citizens living near the Canada-U.S. border around Akwesasne could use armed, vigilante justice if they encounter smugglers has drawn rebuke from Mohawk chiefs.

Earlier this month, Toews told property owners along the St. Lawrence River in south-western Quebec that his government was planning to change laws to bolster the right of people to use self-defence to protect their property, according to a report.

He suggested they could use a gun if there was a “legitimate” reason, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne issued a statement Tuesday saying Toews’ comments were “disturbing.”

Akwesasne Grand Chief Mike Mitchell said the Conservative government should be promoting peace, not vigilante gun violence.

“Guns are not the answer,” Mitchell said, in the statement. “As we have learned in past years, we should be promoting peaceful resolution at all cost.”

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Russia Arms Deal With Bahrain Shows Why We Need an Arms Trade Treaty

Filed under: Disarmament — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:10 PDT

As Mark [Leon Goldberg] wrote earlier, a proposed UN Arms Trade Treaty has no authority over the internal sale of arms. But Russia’s recent deal with Bahrain does show how and why a potential arms trade treaty could help prevent weapons from landing in the hands of human rights abusers around the world.

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Windsor the envy of policing world

Filed under: Disarmament — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:01 PDT

WINDSOR, Ont. — Windsor’s long murder-free stretch has been the talk of police departments across North America, with chiefs from Toronto to Minneapolis scratching their heads trying to figure how to make it happen in their cities…

Windsor hasn’t had a homicide in the last 22 months. It’s the longest murder-free stretch Windsor has seen almost 50 years.

The city’s last murder was on Sept. 27, 2009, near Pelissier and Wyandotte streets. Mohamed Mohamed Yusuf, 23, was killed during a gunfight involving members of a notorious Toronto street gang called the Ardwick Blood Crew.

Blair said the city’s lack of murders has come up a number of times this week as chiefs from across Canada are in town for the conference.

“I believe it’s an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Blair. “And people ask why. We talk about the availability of guns. We talk about some differences in culture and society. But it’s also effective policing that I think is taking place in this community. I think it’s a tribute to the people of Windsor as well.”

He said it’s an “extraordinary contrast” to the level of violence seen across the river. The Detroit News has observed that city is on track to have it’s highest number of murders in a decade — possibly topping 350.

That stark difference was pointed out in USA Today. Blair said Dolan had called him as he tried to contrast the price of illegal guns on the streets of Toronto with the price of guns on Minneapolis streets.

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Monday, 29 August 2011

Hazare scores rare victory for fasting in India

Filed under: Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news,Religion and peacebuilding,South Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:37 PDT

Anna Hazare knows the power of fasting. Mahatma Gandhi used fasting as a form of political protest to help free India from British colonial rule more than six decades ago.

And Hazare, India’s best-known anti-corruption activist, effectively employed fasting to force the Government to tackle graft, which has become a problem at every level of Indian society.

Former army driver Hazare, 74, ended his hunger strike at the central Ram Lila grounds in New Delhi after 13 days on Sunday. It was his 16th and longest hunger strike, and struck a chord with millions of Indians disgusted with rampant and unchecked governmental corruption at all levels.

He took on India’s troubled Government by demanding it set up an anti-corruption ombudsman…

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Saturday, 27 August 2011

Journalist won Gadhafi gunman over: ‘In the end, we’re all human’

Filed under: Media and Conflict,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:13 PDT

The gunman showed that he was human.

Most of the others who stalked the lobby of Tripoli’s Rixos Hotel were young, brash, hostile Gadhafi diehards. Yet this man in his 50s, armed with a Kalashnikov, longed to see his children.

His kids were out there somewhere in the Libyan capital, he said, gunfire and explosions erupting around them.

“I really miss my family, too,” CNN producer Jomana Karadsheh told him in Arabic. “I really want to go out and see my family. They’re worried about me.”

Tears welled in the gunman’s eyes. Rebels were taking over the Libyan capital. And this man, who had known nothing but the Gadhafi regime for 42 years, wanted to go home, too.

It was in this moment that Karadsheh knew she had a chance. If the three dozen journalists being held against their will inside the five-star hotel for five days had a shot of being freed, it was now…

She’d come to Libya weeks before, meeting up with CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance. She’d built relationships with the government officials, media minders and security in the hotel, including this gunman. Now she and an Arabic-speaking cameraman from another news organization were negotiating to secure the journalists’ safe release.

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Friday, 26 August 2011

Security Council and Ban condemn deadly attack on UN compound in Nigeria

Filed under: Africa files,Human Rights,Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:12 PDT

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned this morning’s attack on the United Nations building in Abuja, in which a number of people have been killed or wounded, and said he is dispatching top officials to the Nigerian capital to respond to the emergency.

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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Real and Shadow Armies | Afghanistan and Iraq

Filed under: International Law: War,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:49 PDT

In addition to increased reliance on drones and other mechanical weapons systems, the US military has increasingly turned to private contractors to help fight their wars.

Based on open sources from the department of defense – which certainly do not include special forces – there are currently 384,926 personnel actively engaged in supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Think Again: Nonviolent Resistance

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East,Nonviolence,South Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:00 PDT

“Nonviolent Resistance Is Admirable but Ineffective.”

Hardly. In the current geopolitical moment, it may seem hard to argue that a nonviolent uprising is a better tool for uprooting a dictator than the violent kind. Armed rebels, backed by NATO air power, are on the verge of ending four decades of despotic rule by Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya. Meanwhile to the east, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has killed with impunity more than 2,200 members of a mostly nonviolent resistance to his family’s long-lived rule.

Arguing in favor of the Syrians’ tactics, and against the Libyans’, would seem counterintuitive — but for the evidence. The truth is that, from 1900 to 2006, major nonviolent resistance campaigns seeking to overthrow dictatorships, throw out foreign occupations, or achieve self-determination were more than twice as successful as violent insurgencies seeking the same goals. The recent past alone suggests as much; even before the Arab Spring, nonviolent campaigns in Serbia (2000), Madagascar (2002), Ukraine (2004), Lebanon (2005), and Nepal (2006) succeeded in ousting regimes from power.

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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Jasmine Revolution in SE Asia: Facebooked, Twittered and Recapped

With the war in Libya reaching its conclusion, it now looks as if Colonel Gaddafi will be the next authoritarian leader in North Africa to fall as a result the remarkable events dubbed the Arab Spring or Jasmine Revolutions. As I noted back in March many both within Asia and beyond have asked whether such ‘blossoming’ of dissent and revolt could occur in the authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes of Northeast, Southeast and Central Asia. This week the Center for Asian Democracy at the University of Louisville will host a workshop that will explore precisely that question. Entitled “The Jasmine Revolution and the ‘Bamboo’ Firewall: The impact of the Internet and new social media on political change in East Asia.”, the workshop will host 13 scholars from prestigious academic institutions and non-profit organizations around the country to participate and explore the potential impact of technology on democracy in Asia. Next week I hope to share some of the workshop’s findings with you, but for this week I am reposting the original blog entry from March…

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U.S. Institute of Peace targeted for funding cuts

Filed under: Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:09 PDT

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Institute of Peace has been a target for elimination from all federal funding by some in Congress but institute officials say the organization saves the government money.

The institute is a small organization created by Congress during the Reagan administration. Paul Hughes, director of USIP special initiatives, calls it an independent, bipartisan conflict management center.

However, critics say it’s an expense the country can’t afford in tight budget times and, if needed, should be handled by the private sector.

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Women hit back in peace plan

Filed under: gender — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:07 PDT

Community comment has been invited on a proposed national plan for greater protection of women and girls in conflict situations.

Launching the Draft Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis said the draft plan was a response to a call from the United Nations Secretary-General for all UN Member States to develop national action plans to better implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325).

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Women in Bawku schooled on peace building process

Filed under: Africa files,gender — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:04 PDT

Bawku, Ghana – Thirty participants drawn from women groups in the Bawku Municipality were on Tuesday educated on peace building to enable them to effectively participate in bringing lasting peace to the area.

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Lawsuit targets ’60s scoop’ of aboriginal children

Filed under: Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:03 PDT

SASKATOON — A class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of some of the thousands of First Nations people adopted out during the “60s scoop.”

So far, 57 plaintiffs from across the country have joined the suits filed against the federal government in various cities by Regina lawyer Tony Merchant…

He said the Adopt Indian Metis (AIM) program took thousands of aboriginal children out of their families and communities. They were often placed in faraway non-aboriginal homes and “forced to be white.” Some of them were subjected to physical or sexual abuse, Merchant said.

Merchant said the AIM program was heavily advertised by the federal government. Many families thought they were doing the right thing by adopting a child and assimilating him or her…

Merchant said adoptees need to be compensated, even if most people involved in the AIM program had good intentions.

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Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:02 PDT

… The tenuous bond between the ruling military council and the protest movement now seems broken. In late June the Egyptian police were scrambling to reassert authority. The country’s former Interior Minister, Habib el-Adly, was arrested and has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption. But many other officials have not been charged and there is a growing concern in the protest movement that the military will ignore grievances over corruption and brutality.

Without the military’s commitment to accountability for past abuses and misrule, the protest movement fears Egypt transformation to democracy will stall. The military is in many ways the last institution standing. Gone is the once-powerful National Democratic Party that Mubarak and his son led. The charred carcass of the party’s headquarters, burned by protesters, lies just off the square.

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