Tagged: Human Rights

Foreign Observers Arriving in Bilaspur for Binayak Sen Hearing

IANS | Yahoo News | 24/01/2011

An-eight member delegation of the European Union (EU) is expected to arrive in Bilaspur town Monday to attend a bail plea of rights activist Binayak Sen that is to be heard by the Chhattisgarh High Court. The EU delegation members who landed Sunday night in state capital Raipur amid protests of ‘Go Back’ by somebinayak-sen local groups left for Bilaspur town Monday by car to attend the hearing. The high court is based in Bilaspur town, 110 km from here.

Sen, 60, who is a People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) leader, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a district and sessions court in Raipur Dec 24 on sedition charges and his links with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal. The court verdict has been widely slammed by human right activists in India and abroad who say he was victimised by the Chhattisgarh government for highlighting human right abuses.

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Social Activists Condemn Using Force against Protesting Stone Throwers in Kashmir

Even women Kashmir women to protest against police killings

Using live ammunition against protesting stone throwers in Kashmir valley is strongly condemned by social activists, working in various fields in India, in a conference held in Mumbai on Friday 3rd September. They demanded the government to immediately halt the use or arms by security forces against stone throwers to end the turmoil in the Kashmir valley that is raged as a consequence of killing innocent people of Kashmir for last 3 months. The conference is convened by Peace Mumbai, a network of several social organisations. The meeting also called for an immediate withdrawal of security forces from the civilian areas of Jammu & Kashmir. At least 70 people have been killed in firing by security forces, including boys and girls below the age of 15 years, only in August.

Resolution
The conference is held throughout the day on the issue titled “Kashmir at Crossroads: The Way Forward”. The meeting passed a resolution demanding all parties of various perspectives, to return immediately to the negotiating table that also said the solution can be obtained only by initiating the political process. The conference expressed concern over naked violations of human rights for the Kashmir people and urged the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to implement his promise of zero tolerance for all human rights violations in Kashmir. The Prime Minister is asked to repeal the draconian laws such as ‘the Armed Forces (Special Powers Act) and ‘the Public Safety Act’ that provided the security forces every power to kill innocent people at their free will in Kashmir.
Draconian Laws
The Armed Forces (Special Powers Act) has attracted wide condemnation even in North-East states like Manipur. Some 12 middle-aged Manipur women protested without a single piece of cloth on their bodies in front the headquarters of the army forces displaying a banner reading “Indian Army, Rape Us” in protest against brutal rape and killing of a Manipuri woman aged about 30 years, named ‘Thanglam Manorama’. The Indian Army and security forces have been given extraordinary powers under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 to search, seize, arrest and even kill anyone suspected of being an insurgent in order to "maintain the public order." Armed with these acts along with guns the security forces are causing enormous miseries and humiliation daily for Kashmiris.

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Kremlin human rights adviser quits amidst retrograde rights climate

Deutsche Welle | 30.07.2010

The Kremlin’s top human rights adviser has stepped down in the face of hostility from a pro-Kremlin, nationalist youth group. Ella Pamfilova had fought to make Russia more just, but often came up against a brick wall. The chairman of Russia’s presidential council on human rights resigned Friday in a move widely seen as a protest against the deteriorating rights situation in Russia. Ella Pamfilova, the activist who chaired President Dmitry Medvedev’s council on human rights and oversaw the development of civil society, resigned amidst heavy fire from the Nashi nationalist youth group, as well as strong disagreement with Medvedev’s human rights policies.

Accused of slander

The pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi had threatened to sue Pamfilova for slander after she criticized the group for an exhibition staged at its annual summer camp on Lake Seliger. The exhibition featured images of the heads of Russian liberal leaders, such as 83-year-old human-rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva, stuck on stakes in Nazi helmets. When images of the exhibition surfaced after President Medvedev’s visit to the camp, Pamfilova told the Echo of Moscow radio station she was "frightened" to realize "that these guys will come to power in a number of years." "That will be terrible," she said, adding, "That is intolerable – more so because the president has been there, at Seliger.” If these cynical guys who don’t care about anything, allow themselves anything, persecute people, because they know that adult men in high positions protect them, then that is terrible for the country," she warned. 

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Burma leader’s India visit draws rights criticism

BBC News | 25 July 2010 | 08:43 GMT

Burmese military ruler General ‘Than Shwe’ has arrived in India for a controversial five-day visit, which has been condemned by rights groups. The junta leader is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a trip that marks India’s desire to strengthen trade links with its neighbour. Rights groups have written to Mr Singh saying it was "unbecoming" of a democracy to welcome Gen ‘Than Shwe’. Burma’s junta is accused of widespread human rights abuses. Until the mid-1990s, Delhi was a supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s imprisoned pro-democracy leader. But analysts say India’s desire to do business with Burma, reputed to have large reserves of natural gas and precious stones has since outweighed concerns over human rights.

The BBC’s Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta says some Indians welcome what they see as a pragmatic approach to foreign policy, but many others support Burma’s pro-democracy movement and accuse their country of not doing enough to support it. Gen ‘Than Shwe’ began his trip in Bodh Gaya, a Buddhist pilgrimage site, and he is due to visit information technology and pharmaceutical businesses in Hyderabad before meeting Mr Singh. But officials told the BBC that they are unlikely to discuss Burma’s forthcoming election – the first parliamentary vote in two decades, which the military is almost certain to dominate. "It is crucial for India to cement its relationship with Myanmar [Burma] to deal with the insurgency that plagues the north east and to counterbalance China’s influence," an unnamed Indian official told the AFP news agency.  

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‘Sri Lankan Model’ is no model

T J S George | MSN News | 21/06/2010

If it takes a thief to catch a thief, can we say it requires terrorism to defeat terrorism? That is the theory Mahenda Rajapakse put into practice in Sri Lanka. Because he succeeded in crushing Prabhakaran’s LTTE, the “Sri Lankan Model” is now attracting the attention of other governments that face internal insurrections. Perhaps the most notable example is the not widely publicised visit Burma’s military dictator ‘Than Shwe’ paid to Colombo recently. ‘Than Shwe’ rarely travels outside his country, yet he was impressed by the "victory against terrorism" in Sri Lanka. He went there to see if he could employ some of the techniques against the ethnic groups that have been fighting the Rangoon government for long. Thailand faces a Muslim rebellion in its southernmost areas. But Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva is facing a threat from political opponents in Bangkok itself and there is serious talk of a possible civil war in the country. The tactics Sri Lanka used against the LTTE won’t work against the political opponents or the Muslims in the South because the circumstances are vastly different. Even so, he found time to exchange notes with Lankan leaders. Bangladesh sent a military delegation to Colombo to see what lessons it could learn from the "war for peace" Sri Lanka fought.

For all we know, P.Chidambaram himself must have secretly wished that he could do in Dandewada what Rajapakse did in Elam territory. But, thank God, he can’t. What Rajapakse did, no democratic country can do. His military operations elicited serious charges of war crimes by Western governments. Besides, the campaign against the LTTE was part of a larger political agenda that would perhaps suit Burma, but not others. For one thing, Rajapakse only defeated Prabhakaran’s LTTE, not solved the wider cause of Lankan Tamils, an integral part of Lankan polity. Prabhakaran was a cruel extremist who eliminated several Tamil leaders and his own eventual elimination was welcomed by large sections of Tamils themselves. But Rajapakse did not have the wisdom to see Prabhakaran as separate from the Tamils of his country whose claims for fair play were, and remain, legitimate.  

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G20: No charges over Ian Tomlinson demo death

BBC News | 22 July 2010 | 15:36 GMT

A police officer who was filmed pushing a man to the ground during the G20 protests will not face charges over his death. Ian Tomlinson, 47, died after being caught up in the clashes on 1 April 2009 in the City of London. Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said there was no prospect of conviction because experts could not agree on how Mr Tomlinson died. Mr Tomlinson’s son Paul King described the decision as "outrageous". The officer who was filmed pushing Mr Tomlinson has been named as Pc Simon Harwood from the Metropolitan Police territorial support group. Mr Starmer said there was a "sharp disagreement between the medical experts" about the cause of death, which led to three post-mortem examinations being conducted on Mr Tomlinson. The first examination by Dr Freddy Patel – currently under investigation for alleged misconduct over four unrelated post-mortem examinations – found he died of natural causes linked to coronary artery disease. The second pathologist, Dr Nat Cary, found he died of internal bleeding as a result of blunt force trauma, in combination with cirrhosis of the liver. The third examination agreed with the findings of the second test. It was conducted on behalf of the officer.

Mr Starmer said there were irreconcilable differences between the evidence from Dr Patel and the two subsequent post-mortem examinations. Dr Patel already faces disciplinary proceedings, and could be struck off, by the General Medical Council over alleged failings in his handling of four separate post-mortem examinations between 2002 and 2005. Mr Tomlinson, a newspaper seller who was not involved in the protests, was walking home when he was caught up in the demonstration. The video footage showed him being apparently struck by a baton and then pushed to the ground. He was seen moving away after the incident but was found collapsed 100 metres away in Cornhill. Mr Starmer also said that Mr Tomlinson was bitten by a police dog shortly before the clash.

Setting out the details of the decision, Mr Starmer said: "After a thorough and careful review of the evidence, the CPS (the Crown Prosecution Service) has decided that there is no realistic prospect of a conviction against the police officer in question for any offence arising from the matter investigated and that no charges should be  

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US man arrested in North Korea

BBC NEWS | 2009/12/29 | 04:05:14 GMT

North Korean authorities have said they have arrested a US man who crossed into their territory. The North’s official KCNA news agency said the man had entered the country from China on 24 December. There is no official word on the man’s identity. However, there have been reports that Robert Park, a US Christian activist, recently crossed into North Korea. Colleagues say he wanted to highlight the country’s human rights record and demand the release of prisoners. “On December 24, a US citizen illegally entered the country across the North Korea-China border and has been detained. The person is currently undergoing questioning by a related agency,” KCNA news agency said.

Visions

Associates of Mr. Park reported that he had walked into North Korea from China across the frozen Tumen River on Christmas Day, 25 December. Mr. Park, a US citizen of Korean ancestry from Tucson, Arizona, claimed he had seen a vision from God of North Korea’s liberation and redemption, his colleagues said. They said he walked across the border shouting: “I am an American citizen. I brought God’s love. God loves you and God bless you.” South Korean activists supporting Mr. Park say he carried a letter urging the North’s leader, Kim Jong-Il, to free political prisoners and improve human rights in the communist state. Earlier this year North Korea detained two US journalists on the border with China. Laura Ling and Euna Lee were sentenced to 12 years’ hard labour but were freed as part of a diplomatic mission spearheaded by former US President Bill Clinton in August after four months in captivity.