Posts Tagged ‘rights’

Bahrain sentences medics who treated protesters

 

Bahrain sentences medics who treated protesters

A court in Bahrain has jailed 20 medics who treated protesters for up to 15 years each, after convicting them of incitement to overthrow the regime

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Posted 29 September 2011, by Staff, BBC News, bbc.co.uk

 

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They treated people injured when a protest movement calling for more rights for the country’s Shia majority in the Sunni-ruled kingdom was crushed.

But a spokesman for the government said the group was involved with “hardline protesters” who sought regime change.

The medics had been released on bail after many staged a hunger strike.

In a separate case, the special security court sentenced a protester to death for killing a policeman.

‘Surprise’ sentence

The Bahraini doctors and nurses were sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison on charges that include possessing unlicensed arms, seizing medical equipment, and provoking sectarian hatred.

All worked in the Salmaniya Medical Complex in Manama, which security forces entered on 16 March after forcefully clearing the nearby Pearl Roundabout of demonstrators.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Mubarak, of Bahrain’s information ministry, said protesters had used the hospital as a “co-ordination centre”, and that some of the medical staff had helped them.

“They should not have got themselves involved in choosing sides in a tragically dark period in Bahrain’s history,” he told the BBC.

“There is hard evidence that political rallies were taking place in the grounds of the complex and those seeking treatment were only allowed in on sectarian lines,” he added.

Human rights activists say the sentences against the medics come as a surprise.

They had been cautiously hopeful that the medics’ release on bail was a sign that the government was softening its approach.

One of the doctors charged, Fatma Haji, said she and her colleagues are currently saying goodbye to their families as they await arrest.

“I know that I am definitely, 100% innocent. Our crime – I’m talking about all the medics – was that we helped innocent, helpless people who were just protesting and got injured,” she told the BBC.

The medics and other suspects have been tried by a special security court

‘Tortured’

The medics were also accused of refusing to treat injured security officials.

Relatives of some of the medics said in June that they were tortured into making false confessions.

A wave of mostly peaceful protests swept the country in February and March, but they were put down by force by the government, which called in troops from neighbouring Gulf states.

However, skirmishes are reported regularly as protesters try to keep their movement alive.

Bahrain’s official news agency, BNA, said the protester sentenced to death, Ali Yusof al-Taweel, had killed a policeman in the Shia area of Sitra, south of Manama.

Earlier, the security court had sentenced two other protesters to death for killing a police officer.

On Wednesday, the court upheld life sentences for eight Shia activists convicted over their alleged role in protests.

It also upheld sentences of up to 15 years on 13 other activists.

 

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(Ed Note: Please visit the original site for two news videos associated with this article (“In a video recording for her son, one of the doctors, Fatma Haji, maintains her innocence” and “Sheik Abdulaziz Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa from Bahrain’s Ministry of Information: ”No-one is above the law””))

Bahrain Protests

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15105270

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Occupy Boston: Smart, Savvy, and Aiming to Emulate Wall Street Protests


Occupy Boston: Smart, Savvy, and Aiming to Emulate Wall Street Protests

About 200 people in Boston express their outrage at America’s economic woes – and promise to take up the protest baton

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Posted 28 September 2011, by Paul Harris, The Guardian, guardian.co.uk

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There were socialists, anti-poverty campaigners, students, anarchists, computer hackers, the unemployed, and workers ranging from a vet to an accountant.

And, numbering around 200 and meeting to plot until late in the night, a group of Bostonians have decided to recreate the anti-Wall Street protests that are gripping New York.

Unlike previous attempts, such as a march that fizzled out in Chicago with just 20 people, the people behind Occupy Boston showed a strong dose of media savvy and organizational skill on Monday night, as they drew a committed crowd of volunteers to their cause: to occupy a slice of the city. Local TV crews were in attendance at the evening mass planning meeting, and it had been flagged on the front pages of Boston’s newspapers.

The move raises the first serious prospect of the Wall Street protests spreading beyond New York and comes as other events are also being planned in Los Angeles and Washington.

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Organiser Marissa Egerstrom addresses the Boston general assembly
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The crowd of Bostonians listened and spoke about their anger at the ills in the capitalist system in general and the financial industry in particular.

Gathering in the center of Boston Common, in the heart of the city, they heard various speakers promise to copy the New York protests. “Tonight we begin to show the world how to live in freedom and peace. Right here, right now, a new life is starting,” said Marissa Egerstrom, one of the organizing forces behind Occupy Boston.

Those were big words to say in front of just 200 people. But Occupy Boston aims to emulate Occupy Wall Street protesters, whose seizure of a downtown Manhattan park was first ignored by most of the media but has now generated headlines around the world, especially after police used pepper spray against peaceful women demonstrators.

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Matthew Krawitz explains why he is joining the Boston protest
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Many of those gathered on the Common, including nearly all the key organizers, had been to New York to witness the protests. One organizer, Matthew Krawitz, who brought his two daughters to the Common, had been in Manhattan for the first day of the protests there. Now the unemployed IT expert was helping set up something similar in Boston. “I’m here to give them a better future,” he said, referring to his two children.

In style and substance, Occupy Boston closely followed that of Occupy Wall Street, which was itself inspired by recent social movements in Spain and Arab countries. After the speeches different tactical groups were formed – covering everything from legal affairs to food to medical to media outreach – to prepare for the coming occupation.

Potential sites to be occupied included the Common itself and Dewey Square in Boston’s financial district. Potential dates were also picked, with some as soon as this coming weekend. The separate groups operated in a “leaderless” style that dragged on in often circular debates but were impressive for eventually coming to collective agreement.

The meetings lasted for several hours in the park, as crowds listened to rabble-rousing speeches and critiques of capitalism. It promised a striking protest to come, but at times offered an incongruous vision of Boston. Ringing the common where the protesters met are some of the most upmarket streets in the city, lined with million-dollar townhouses. And on the park itself, virtually next door to where scores of people talked of forcefully bringing down American capitalism, fellow Bostonians enjoyed games of tennis on brightly lit late-night courts, seemingly oblivious to what was going on in the darkness just 50 yards away.

But what was never in doubt among the disparate participants was a sense of outrage and injustice at America’s current economic woes. Bob Norkus, 54, had been out of work for a year. He has one simple desire. “Things need to be realigned. It’s 99 percent of us versus one percent of them. This is still a democracy if we care to grab it,” he said.

There were people with jobs in the crowd, too, and they were equally angry. Cynthia Brennan, 41, is a veterinary nurse. She had been inspired to come to the common by watching the popular revolts of the Arab Spring. “I was fascinated by Egypt. I was in front of al-Jazeera all the time. It needs to happen here,” she said.

Local government accountant Tim Larkin, 28, agreed. But he wanted to improve on the New York protests in Boston. “We have to be better than New York and have a stronger set of demands,” he said.

© Guardian News and Media Limited 2011
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Displaced women from San Juan Copala forced to suspend peaceful sit-in

Displaced women from San Juan Copala forced to suspend peaceful sit-in

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Posted 29 September 2011, by , Intercontinental Cry, intercontinentalcry.org

 

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A group of displaced Triqui women from the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, have been forced by the government of Oaxaca to suspend their peaceful sit-in which began more than 12 months ago.

CREDIT: Municipio Autonomo De San Juan Copala

According to The Autonomous Community Council Of San Juan Copala, the government recently threatened to violently remove all women and children from the main plaza in Oaxaca city, where they have lived since August 2010.

San Juan Copala initially agreed to suspend the sit-in temporarily as part of a new agreement with Oaxaca government.

At the center of the new agreement, at least for the Triqui, is the right to return to the town of San Juan Copala, which Triqui Authorities evacuated just one month after the sit-in began.

The evacuation was ordered after paramilitaries threatened to execute all supporters of the autonomous municipality. Having already endured seven months of violence and inhumane treatment at the hands of the same paramilitaries, the Triqui simply couldn’t take the chance of ignoring the threat.

In addition to the right to return home, the newly formed agreement with Oaxaca included an understanding that the Triqui would suspend their sit-in for two days to make way for the “Grito de Independencia” celebrations on September 16. In exchange for this, the government promised to give the Triqui women and children temporary lodging; after which they could return to the plaza.

“But as is well-known of those who fail to govern this country, if anything distinguishes them it is their lack of honor… police fenced in the palace corridors preventing us from sitting in, and we were called again by the same officials who bring lies and deceit in order to present us with the offer of another round table,” said the Community Council in a Sept. 20 statement. The officials also asked the Triqui for ten days to respond to their principle demands.

“Not being capable of more resistance actions, and because our movement is one of peace and dialogue we again agreed with the warning [of returning to reinstate the camp]” said the Community Council.

However, they also decided to issue their a deadline of September 30th, giving the government more than enough time to adequately respond to the demands.

If the government fails to do so, the Triqui say they are going to reestablish the sit-in “at any cost” and where everyone “will take responsibility for what might happen.”

For news and updates on this situation, keep an eye on municipioautonomodesanjuancopala.wordpress.com, sanjuancopalaoaxaca.wordpress.com, cdefensayjusticiamasjc.blogspot.com (links in Spanish only)

September 20, 2011

[Unofficial translation courtesy of www.projectisd.org. You can view the original statement here.]

The displaced people of San Juan Copala may return this September 30th to the main plaza in Oaxaca if there is no response to their demands from Gabino Cué

TO THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF OAXACA AND MEXICO
TO FRIENDS IN SOLIDARITY
TO SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS
TO THE “OTRA CAMPAÑA”
TO THE HONEST MEDIA

Sisters, brothers we wanted to take a few days before sending word to let you know the reason why, after more than one year, we suspended the sit-in in the corridor of the government palace.

We did this in response to the hateful and false statements towards our dignity which some people have expressed in anonymity, which is the mask of cowards, and once it was known that the sit-in was suspended they started spreading an account that some of our people received money in exchange.

Throughout the resistance that has been principally sustained by women and children displaced from San Juan Copala, we have received a helping hand from many friends who selflessly decided to discretely walk with us in our fight, always respecting our decision.

As a result, we have received the cooperation that helps us with expenses, medical care and the company of brothers and sisters that have been with us at all times enduring the difficult conditions under which you live when you have no home and you live practically out in the open, and as if this were not enough there was the constant threat of eviction, especially with the prior government during which we were displaced on two occasions with the police force, to all of these friends we extend our heartfelt appreciation and promise that we have not sold out nor have we surrendered, simply that confronted with the threat of violent eviction of the sit-in on the part of the government, our Autonomous Community Council which are a part of our authorities, and that were here to strengthen our sit-in, made the decision that we do not have the ability in this moment to resist a violent eviction, because we do not want to jeopardize the physical integrity of anyone that is a part of our sit-in.

It is for this reason that on the evening of September 14th, we agreed to leave, accepting in only return a place to spend two nights because the agreement with the government’s representatives was that on the morning of September 17th we could reinstate the sit-in, but as is well-known of those who fail to govern this country, if anything distinguishes them it is their lack of honor and if they don’t have honor, then even less so do their words and that is why on September 17th we intended to reinitiate the sit-in, but police fenced in the palace corridors preventing us from sitting in, and we were called again by the same officials who bring lies and deceit in order to present us with the offer of another round table, then asked us for a period of 10 days to respond to our principle demands, not being capable of more resistance actions, and because our movement is one of peace and dialogue we again agreed with the warning on our part that if it didn’t happen before the 30th of this month, we will sit-in at whatever cost and that each individual will assume the responsibility of what happens to them, for this we call on those who have stood with us to await for the 30th, and to those who are interested in antagonizing and creating division we tell you that your words may create doubt in another of our friends who are not evil without realizing it, thus helping those you claim to be fighting.

INDIGENOUS DIGNITY CANNOT BE CHEAPENED OR SOLD
MORE DETERMINED THAN EVER TO ACHIEVE PEACE WITH JUSTICE AND DIGNITY
AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY COUNCIL OF SAN JUAN COPALA

September 20, 2011

Published on Sep 29, 2011 at 12:14am Some Rights Reserved
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Winona LaDuke on Redemption

Winona LaDuke on Redemption

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Posted 26 September 2011, by Sacred Land Film Project, Vimeo, vimeo.com

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Winona LaDuke on Redemption from Sacred Land Film Project on Vimeo.

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Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe activist) speaks on the process of apology, redemption and healing; through the story of the Pawnee tribe and their return home to their native land in Nebraska.

This interview bite was conducted as part of our Sacred Land Film Project series, featuring indigenous communities fighting to save their sacred sites.

Learn more at sacredland.org

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http://vimeo.com/29633865

A Message From Occupied Wall Street (Day Eleven)

A Message From Occupied Wall Street (Day Eleven)

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Posted 27 September 2011, by , Occupy Wall Street, occupywallst.org

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This is the eleventh communiqué from the 99 percent. We are occupying Wall Street. We will not be moved.

On September 27th, 2011, many friends participated in our democratic process.

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We are seeing change in our world, block by block – city by city.

Join our conversation.

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https://occupywallst.org/article/day-eleven/

Saudi Women Granted Right To Vote (And Save Planet)

 

Saudi Women Granted Right To Vote (And Save Planet)

Why women’s right to vote is important not only for gender equality but for the planet

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Posted 26 September 2011, by Arwa Aburawa, Green Prophet, greenprophet.com

 

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It been a political roller-coaster of a year for the Middle East and it doesn’t look set to stop just yet. Yesterday, an event many thought would never happen in their lifetime finally happened- Saudi women were granted the right to vote. Not only did this de-bunk claims made by ‘Ethical Oil’ that Canadian tar sands were better than Saudi oil due to the latter’s gender bias but it also meant that women in the country were strengthening their ability to fight climate change and better resist the devastating impact it could have on them.

It is widely accepted that women will be worst affected by climate change and troubling phenomenons such as land grabs due to gender inequality which means they are less equipped to secure their own protection. For example, in the case of land grabs a recent report by Oxfam highlights their particular vulnerability as they lack the same land rights as most men and so they are more likely to be mistreated. Consequently, the recent move in Saudi to grant women an equal voice in the political sphere by 2015 is an important step to achieving gender equality which is vital if women are to tackle the impacts of climate change.

Saudi Women Gain Green Political Voice

Not that Saudi women weren’t working to tackle environmental problems facing the country prior to the vote. I spoke to the pioneering green women-led Saudi intiative Naqa’a around a year ago and they showed great concern about the need to stop climate change and deal with environmental issues in Saudi such as water shortages and wastefulness.

Although a women-led group, they also highlighted the fact that the need to protect the environment was a duty required of every Muslim – man and woman. However, the right to vote means that eco-friendly women in the country now have a stronger voice and will be able to express their views at the polls and at government policy level.

Building on protests demanding women’s right to drive in Saudi, it finally looks like the establishment (who are probably keen to avoid full-scale protests such as those in Syria and in Bahrain by pushing through these much-needed reforms) are paying attention to their citizens and their demands for change.

Clear Restrictions Which Need Challenging

Even so, there are some clear limitations to the recent news. For one, the law won’t take effect till another four years and some have criticized the overall democratic nature of governance in Saudi stating that the vote doesn’t really have an influence on the way the country is run. What’s more, women still cannot drive or travel abroad alone so there is still some way to go for gender and political equality.

Despite these restriction, it is encouraging to hear that women in Saudi have been granted the right to vote and stand for elections. It’s a step in the right direction and these are really exciting time we are living through at the moment in the Middle East – let’s hope that they will be just as green.

: Image via en_el_houston/flickr.

For more on Saudi and the environment see:

King Abdullah Gives Saudi Women Right To Vote

Interview With Naqa’a: Saudi Women Fight For Environment

Saudi Spring For Women Drivers In Saudi Begins Now!

Browse topics: , , , ,

 

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http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/09/saudi-women-vote-save-planet/

Adieu, Earth Mother, Wangari

Adieu, Earth Mother, Wangari

Wangari Maathai

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Posted 28 September 2011, by Editor, Vanguard, vanguardngr.com

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ON Sunday, September 25, 2011, one of the most famous African women in modern times took her exit from the planet earth which she served with distinction.

Her name was Professor Wangari Muta Maathai (April 1, 1940 to September 25, 2011). She succumbed to the scourge of cancer in a Nairobi hospital.

Since her transition was announced by her family, tributes have poured from various quarters, high and low from around the world. From President Barack Obama of the USA to the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon; from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to former US Vice-President, Al Gore all the way down to many non-governmental interest groups devoted to earth conservation, such as the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, The National Geographic organisations and the so many websites and blogsites committed to conservation, the world has been unsparing in its tributes to the first female Nobel Laureate from Africa.

According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, Achim Steiner, “Wangeri Maathai was a force of nature. While others deployed their power and life force to damage, degrade and extract short-term profit from the environment, she used hers to stand in their way, mobilise communities and to argue for conservation and sustainable development over destruction.”

Wangari was an extraordinary woman, who ensured that her high quality education was not just for her own benefit but for the rural communities in her native Kenya and the world at large. She was an evangelist for the preservation of the environment. As far back as the early 1970s when she was but a young woman, she founded the Green Belt Movement, with which she mobilised thousands of women to plant trees and raise environmental consciousness. The Movement enlisted over 900,000 women to establish tree nurseries and over the years planted about 45 million trees.

She was also a women rights activist. As the first East African woman to be awarded the Ph.D. when she graduated from the University College of Nairobi in the field of Anatomy, she was a female pioneer in most of the posts she worked. While she taught in the university, she fought for equal status for both male and female staff of the university and would have formed the first academic staff union (similar to our own Academic Union of Universities, ASUU) in the institution had the courts not turned the effort down.

She was a fierce force against the long dictatorship of Daniel Arap Moi, who made sure she never emerged as the President of the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK) until one of her opponents favoured by Moi, Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, suddenly withdrew for her to emerge unopposed. She went on to join partisan politics and win a seat as a member of her country’s parliament. Her Right Livelihood Award of 1984 served as an appetiser for the Nobel Peace Prize, which she won in 2004.

Unfortunately, Prof. Wangari Maathai fell victim to cancer, one of the major consequences of pollution and deforestation, which she fought against in over 40 years of her lifetime.

The life lived by this amazing woman is worthy of emulation, especially by other African women. In spite of her divorce a few years into her marriage, she devoted the rest of her life to battles to save the earth, banish autocracy from her country and advance the cause of women.

Africa will honour her memory adequately if African countries take seriously the challenge of continuing the struggle to save the environment, especially in the face of rapid advance of the Sahara Desert, intensification of coastal erosion and gradual disappearance of fresh water resources around the continent and the globe at large. Africa must join hands to make the continent “the last man in defence” against deforestation by massive planting of trees, especially economic trees.

It is heroes and heroines of Africa like Prof. Maathai Wangari that we want our leaders to honour (not sit-tight dictators) as we celebrate a life of uncommon achievements.

Adieu, Earth Mother, Wangari Maathai. Rest in peace.

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http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/09/adieu-earth-mother-wangari/