Tag Archives: Solidarity

[Statement] Pahayag hingil sa karahasan sa Palestina | MHRDNet

#HumanRights #Palestine

Pahayag hingil sa karahasan sa Palestina

Mariing kinokondena ng Moro Human Rights Defender (MHRDNet) ang patuloy na garapalang pag-atake ng bansang Israel sa Occupied Palestinian Territory, partikular sa East Jerusalem at sa Gaza Strip. Ang walang habas na pamboboma ng Israel na target ang mga pook ng sibilyan ay patuloy na pumapatay at pumipinsala sa mga inosenteng buhay lalong lalo na sa mga kababaihan, matatanda at walang muwang na mga paslit.

Malinaw na ang pananalakay ng Israel sa mamamayan ng Palestina ay tahasang pagyurak sa mga International Laws partikular na sa mga Humanitarian and Human Rights Laws na karapatdapat kondenahin at singilin ng buong Mundo.

Nanawagan ang MHRDNet ng pakikiisa ng lahat lalo na sa Bangsamoro para suportahan ang panawagang itigil ng Israel ang Kriminal na pananalakay at panlulupig nito sa Palestina. Ganundin sumasabay ang MHRDNet sa malawakang panawagan upang umakto na ang United Nations Security Council para mamagitan at mapatigil ang walang pakundangang karahasan.

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[From the web] Thailand: More arrests amid ‘drastic’ emergency order banning gatherings -AI

#HumanRights #Solidarity Thailand: More arrests amid ‘drastic’ emergency order banning gatherings

Screen grabbed from http://www.amnesty.org

Responding to news that the Thai authorities have ordered a ban on gatherings of five or more people in Bangkok and on sharing information that “could create fear”, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns, Ming Yu Hah, said:

“This vague, drastic order will lead to more people unfairly arrested, detained and prosecuted.

“With further public assemblies expected to happen today, we urge the Thai authorities to engage in constructive dialogue with the protesters.

“The scale of today’s early morning arrests seems completely unjustified based on yesterday’s events. The assemblies were overwhelmingly peaceful. These moves are clearly designed to stamp out dissent, and sow fear in anyone who sympathizes with the protesters’ views. Peaceful protesters must be released immediately and unconditionally, and all those detained must have access to legal counsel.

Read complete article @ http://www.amnesty.org

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/10/thailand-more-arrests-amid-drastic-order/?fbclid=IwAR0E5j0DiSYOIGPerwKZnXz6Tvf8t55BobHMrhyZp3LG_RlZQL9uxx5IBYE

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[Press Release] Civil society launches #FreeThe5KH campaign in support of the imprisoned ADHOC staff and NEC official

Civil society launches #FreeThe5KH campaign in support of the imprisoned ADHOC staff and NEC official

Infographic _Free the 5_ENGWe, the undersigned civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations, launch today – 8 August 2016 – the #FreeThe5KH campaign in support of the five human rights defenders, who are currently in pre-trial detention and under judicial investigation for allegations of bribery.  The five face charges in regard to providing advice and legitimate reimbursement of food and transport costs to the woman alleged to have had an extra-marital relationship with the deputy opposition leader, Kem Sokha. The charges have all the hallmarks of being politically motivated, amounting to legal harassment. The five rights defenders have now spent over 100 days in prison (102 days as of today).

As part of the campaign, we call on all concerned citizens to send messages of solidarity to the five rights defenders via postcards, which we will collect and deliver to the detainees until they are released. In addition, to raise awareness of their continued detention we will release periodically a series of infographics on our Facebook page and Twitter with the hashtag #FreeThe5KH. This campaign will complement already existing advocacy efforts taken on a local, regional and international level. To find out more about the campaign and how to get involved, please visit http://www.freethe5kh.net.

The five human rights defenders – four senior staff members from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Ny Sokha, Mr. Yi Soksan, Mr. Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony, and deputy secretary-general of the National Election Committee (and former ADHOC staff member) Mr. Ny Chakrya – were detained on 28 April 2016. On 2 May, the four ADHOC staff were charged with bribing a witness, and Mr. Ny Chakrya was charged as an accomplice to the same crime. United Nations (UN) staffer Mr. Soen Sally was also charged as an accomplice; however, he remains free due to his immunity as a UN official. That same day, Mr. Ny Chakrya was transferred to Police Judiciare and the four ADHOC staff were transferred to Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison. The Appeal Court denied the detainees bail on 13 June. A final appeal against the bail decisions is pending before the Supreme Court.

The #FreeThe5KH campaign aims to garner support for the five detained human rights defenders, to remind them that the public has not forgotten about their cause and to help keep their morale high while they remain in detention.

This joint press release is endorsed by:

1.     ActionAid Cambodia

2.     Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT)

3.     Amnesty International

4.     Asia Democracy Network (ADN)

5.     Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

6.     ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)

7.     Bandanh Chaktomuk Community

8.     Boat People SOS

9.     Burma Partnership

10.  Boeung Kak Community

11.  Boeung Trabek Community

12.  Borei Keila Community

13.  CamASEAN Youth’s Future

14.  Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association (CIYA)

15.  Cambodia Volunteers for Society (CVS)

16.  Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)

17.  Cambodian Human Rights Action Coalition (CHRAC)

18.  Cambodian Women’s Development Agency (CWDA)

19.  Cambodian Youth Network (CYN)

20.  Cambodian Independent Teacher Association (CITA)

21.  Civil Rights Defenders

22.  Coalition for Integrity and Social Accountability (CISA)

23.  Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community (CCFC)

24.  Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)

25.  Community Legal Education Center (CLEC)

26.  Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC)

27.  Equitable Cambodia (EC)

28.  Former Boeung Kak Women Network Community

29.  Front Line Defenders

30.  Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)

31.  Heinrich Böll Stiftung/Foundation

32.  Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)

33.  Human Rights Watch

34.  Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)

35.  Indigenous Youth at Prome Commune, Preah Vihear Province

36.  Indradevi Association

37.  International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

38.  Kuoy Ethnic Community at Prame Commune, Preah Vihear Province

39.  Land Conflict Community, Krous Village, Battambang Province

40.  Land Conflict Community, Skun Village, Siem Reap Province

41.  Land Community, Prek Chik Village, Koh Kong Province

42.  Land Community, Village I, Sangkat III, Preah Sihanouk Province

43.  Lor Peang Community, Kampong Chhnang Province

44.  Phnom Bat Community

45.  Ponlok Khmer

46.  Railway Station, Tuol Sangkae A Community

47.  SOS International Airport Community

48.  Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

49.  Star Kampuchea

50.  Strey Khmer Organization

51.   Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA

52.  World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

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[Press Release] Internationally coordinated protest @ Australian embassy: Militants back East Timor demand for fair maritime border -PM

Internationally coordinated protest @ Australian embassy:
Militants back East Timor demand for fair maritime border

pmLogo1As part of an internationally coordinated series of protest actions, militants rallied at the Australian embassy today to demand that Australia establish a fair maritime border according to UNCLOS and international law. Similar to the dispute over the West Philippine Sea, East Timor is contesting claims by Australia on the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea.

Members of Partido Manggagawa (Labor Party-Philippines) and Philippine Airlines Employees Association-International Transport Workers Federation held a solidarity action at the Australian embassy in Makati today to signify support for the just demand of East Timor. The protesters shouted “Australia: Don’t be a bully in the Timor Sea like China in the West Philippine Sea!”

Similar actions at Australian embassies or Australian government bodies are slated in East Timor, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the US from March 22 to 24.

Just before East Timor gained independence as a country, Australia withdrew from the UNCLOS and thus there has been no maritime border fixed between the two countries except for provisional arrangements dictated by the latter.

At stake in the dispute is control over oil and resources which are currently exploited by Australia but which will lie within East Timor’s jurisdiction as per UNCLOS. East Timor demands control over the resources so it can be used for their national development.

Among the slogans highlighted in today’s protest are:
Hands off East Timor’s oil!
Australia: Median line now!
Australia: Heed international law, Draw maritime border with East Timor!
Australia: Be fair and just, Draw maritime border with East Timor!

Press Release
March 22, 2016
Contact Yuen Abana @ 09162811934

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[Statement] of Solidarity with the People and Government of Greece: “Your Struggle is Our Struggle”

Statement of Solidarity with the People and Government of Greece: “Your Struggle is Our Struggle”

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the people of Greece and the Syriza-led government as they prepare for a referendum on July 5, 2015 on whether to accept the continuation of the program of neoliberal austerity or chart a new course free from the debilitating stranglehold of the “troika” – the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission.

We support the call of Syriza for a ‘no vote’ as the only option for the people of Greece, especially the working classes, to assert sovereign control over the country’s economy and their own future.

We condemn the “troika” and their allied political institutions, for forcing their policies of neoliberal austerity, privatization, deregulation, and savage cutbacks dismantling the public sector. We, therefore, hold the “troika” responsible for the massive unemployment, increased poverty, greater social inequality, and a severe economic depression now being experienced by Greece. The irony of it all is that the huge debts the “troika” is demanding for repayment did not go to Greece but were used to repay private sector creditors such as French and German banks. In other words, these are onerous and illegitimate debts.

We had welcomed the election of the Syriza-led government on a program committed to ending the neoliberal-austerity policies imposed by the EU creditors and we stand in solidarity with them as they struggle to implement an anti-austerity program.

The austerity program has been assessed as a colossal failure by leading economists worldwide. Despite this, the insistence of the EU creditors and their political and economic allies to resuscitate this failed program, can only be construed as a cynical political maneuver whose real aim is to bring down the Syriza government, the first anti-neoliberal, anti-austerity government to be popularly elected in Europe.

Syriza was a product of the mass movements’ and working people’s struggles against neoliberal austerity promoted by unbridled capitalism. Similar political organizations have arisen across Europe, such as Podemos in Spain, a product of the anti-austerity ‘indignados’ movement.

The specter that haunts the European capitalist class is a ‘Syriza syndrome’ spreading to other parts of Europe, particularly in Spain, with the election of an anti-neoliberal Podemos government. By bringing down the Syriza government, the capitalist hydra aims to strangle such a movement at its birth.

Peoples from all over the world, in both developing and developed countries, have been struggling for the past decades against the imposition of a whole range of neo-liberal measures – liberalization, deregulation, and privatization, including neoliberal austerity programs imposed by capitalist governments led by the US and its allies, through the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial institutions.

There has also been a long history of struggles against debt repayments and for the cancellation of odious and illegitimate debts. The world has experienced how debt burdens and neo-liberal impositions have created havoc on economies, depleted natural resources, exacerbated inequalities, and impoverished peoples while siphoning off billions of dollars to global capitalist banks, giant corporations and imperialist governments.

We welcome the people of Greece into the struggle of peoples of the global South against neoliberalism, onerous debts and austerity.

Your struggle, is our struggle. Your victory, is our victory.

Signatories:

Eduardo Ed Tadem, Ph.D., Professor, University of the Philippines
Reihana Mohideen, Ph.D., Transform Asia
Ric Reyes, Philippines
Sonny Melencio, Chair, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) – Philippines
Jean Enriquez, World March of Women
Mary Ann Meanne Manahan, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
Joseph Purugganan, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
Josua Mata, SENTRO, Philippines
Lidy Nacpil, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
Manarishi Dhital, Editor Janadesh Weekly and socialist activist, Nepal
Cora Valdez Fabros, STOP the War Coalition, Philippines
Isagani R Serrano, President, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
Amado Bong Mallonga Mendoza, PhD., Professor, University of the Philippines
Teresa Encarnacion Tadem, Ph.D., Professor, University of the Philippines
Joseph Anthony Lim, Ph.D., Professor, Ateneo de Manila University
Jafar Suryomenggolo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Kyoto University
Edru Abraham, Professor (ret), University of the Philippines
Jerik Cruz, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva
Teodoro Mendoza, Ph.D., Professor, University of the Philippines
Anuradha M. Chenoy, Ph.D., Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Ph.D., Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Darwis Khudori, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Le Havre
Annabelle Benedicto Bonje, De La Salle University, Philippines
Francisco Nemenzo, Former President and Professor Emeritus, University of the Philippines
Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, Campaign for a Life of Dignity for All (KAMP)
Edmund Landrito, Arya Progresibo
Mercy Fabros, WomanHealth, Philippines
Omi Royandoyan, Centro Saka, Inc. (Center for Rural Development Studies)
Michael Treen, national director Unite Union, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Marcela Olivera, Red Vida, Bolivia
Benjamin Quinones, Jr., Ph.D., Executive Coordinator, Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS-Asia)
Fatima Gay Molina, Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP-Philippines)
Janus Isaac Nolasco, University Researcher, University of the Philippines
Aries Arugay, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of the Philippines
Krishna Kumar KK, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP-India)
Maria Luisa Torres, PhD., Professor, Ateneo de Manila University
Maria Dulce F. Natividad, Ph.D., University of the Philippines
Nathan Gilbert Quimpo, Ph.D., University of Tsukuba
George Aseniero, Dapitan, Philippines.
Chibu Lagman, Independent journalist
Chris White, socialist, former Secretary of the United Trades and Labor Council of South Australia
Sam Wainwright, Socialist Alliance City Councillor for Fremantle, Western Australia
Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance City Councillor for Moreland, Victoria, Australia
Tim Gooden, Secretary, Geelong Trades Hall Council, Victoria, Australia
Darcey O’Callaghan, USA
Marta Harnecker, writer, Chile
Michael Lebowitz, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Canada
Saturnino Borras, Jr., Ph.D., Professor, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague
Nicole Curato, Ph.D., Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Canberra
Roland Simbulan, Professor, University of the Philippines
Francis Loh Kok Wah, Ph.D., Professor, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Samuel Lee, Ph.D., Secretary General, Korean National Commission for UNESCO
Kinhide Mushakoji, Ph.D., Professor, Osaka University of Economics and Law
Naruemon Thabchumpon, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chulalongkorn University
Carl Middleton, Ph.D., Lecturer, Chulalongkorn University
Eduardo T. Gonzalez, Ph.D., Professor (ret), University of the Philippines
Kho Tungyi, Ph.D., Lecturer, Lingnan University (Hongkong)
Wei Xiaoteng, Ph.D., Professor, South China Normal University
Temario Rivera, Ph.D., Professor (ret), University of the Philippines
Jean Franco, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of the Philippines
Fred Chiu, Ph.D., Professor, National Taiwan University
Rudi Hartono, editor Berdikari Online
Yvonne Miller Berlie, Third World Network
Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now, UK
Caroline Sy Hau, Ph.D., Professor, Kyoto University
Lisandro E. Claudio, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Kyoto University
Lin Shenjing, New International, Taiwan
Hansley Juliano, Lecturer, Ateneo De Manila University
Tyrell Haberkorn, PhD. Fellow, Australian National University
Arze Glipo, Executive Director, Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty
Woody Aroun, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa
Muto Ichiyo, People’s Plan Study Group, Japan
Arze Glipo. Exec Director, Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty
Tyrell Haberkorn, Ph.D., Fellow, Australian National University
Maria Victoria Marivic Raquiza, Asst. Professor, University of the Philippines
Elmer Malibiran, The New School for Social Research, USA
Gabriella Sanchez, Ph.D., Asst. Professor, Catholic University of America, USA
Koichi Hagimoto, Ph.D., Asst. Professor, Wellesley College, USA
Filomina Chioma Steady, Ph.D., Professor, Wellesley College, USA
Catia Confortini, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Wellesley College, USA
Eduardo Aro, Retired diplomat, Philippines
Anna Liza Magno, Far Eastern University, Philippines
Aditi Chowdhury, Media and Development Consultant India
Sumit Chowdhury, Documentary filmmaker, India
Shankhayan Arnab Chowdhury, India
Ricardo L. Penson, Philippines
Danny Carranza, National Coordinator, RIGHTS, Inc., Philippines
Dominique Caouette, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Université de Montréal, Canada
Muhammad Ariq, Vice President of political science, student organization, University of Padjadjaran
Sid Shniad, Trade union researcher, retired, Vancouver, British Columbia
Leo Panitch, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy, Distin-guished Research Professor of Political Science, York University
Herbert Herbie Docena, University of Berkeley, California
Richard G. Parker, PhD, Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinar de AIDS (ABIA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Vagner de Almeida, Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinar de AIDS (ABIA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Antoinette R. Raquiza, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of the Philippines

Organizations:
Focus on the Global South
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
Socialist Alliance, Australia
Marxist Student Federation, Philippines
Socialist Aotearoa/New Zealand
Alab Katipunan, Philippines
Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA)
Alternative ASEAN Network (ALTSEAN)
Liga Ng Makabagong Kabataan (LMK-Philippines)
Partido Lakas ng Masa-PLM, Philippines
Freedom from Debt Coalition
FDC-Southern Mindanao
Awami Workers Party, Pakistan
Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Philippines
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)
Resistance, Young Socialist Alliance, Australia
Blue Planet Project, Canada
Council of Canadians
Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
SANLAKAS, Philippines
SANLAKAS –Mindanao
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino-BMP, Philippines
Partai Rakyat Demokratik, Indonesia
Social Action for Change, Cambodia
SustainUs, USA
Global Justice Now, UK
Earth in Brackets
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE)
LDC Watch
Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
People’s Alliance in Central East India (PACE-India)
Bangladesh Krishok Federation
EquityBD, Bangladesh
Coastbd, Bangladesh
VOICE, Bangladesh
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
All Nepal Peasants Federation
Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN), Nepal
Joint Preparatory Committee on Tax and Fiscal Justice (JPCTFC), Nepal
Debtwatch Indonesia
KRUHA Indonesia
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
Our Rivers, Our Life ( OROL)-Philippines
Gitib, Inc – Philippines
MAKABAYAN-Pilipinas
Aliran, Malaysia
Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS)
RIGHTS, INC., Philippines
Solidarity, Australia

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Appeal] Thailand: Drop all charges against 16 student human rights defenders

 

OPEN LETTER

Attn:
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha
Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)
Government House
Pitsanulok Road,
Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand

Gen. Somyot Pumpanmuang
Royal Thai Police Commissioner-General
Royal Thai Police
Floor 7, Building 1, Rama 1 Road,

Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Chief of Judge Advocate General
The Judge Advocate General’s Office
Government Building

Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, Building 4, Chaeng Wattana Road,

Lak Si, Bangkok 10210, Thailand +66 2 575 6327

Subject: Drop all charges against 16 human rights defenders

Dear General Chan-ocha, General Pumpanmuang and Chief of Judge Advocate General,

We, the undersigned human rights organisations, write to you regarding the charges against 16 student and allied activists (7 from the Dao Din student group based at Khon Kaen University, and 9 from Bangkok), 14 of whom were detained from 26th June to 8th July 2015 in Bangkok. These 16 students have been charged for their role in peaceful public assemblies on 22 nd May 2015 commemorating the first-year anniversary of the May 2014 military coup.

The 14 who were detained for 12 days are facing additional sedition charges, which were used on 26th June 2015 to arrest them. These 14 students from the Neo-Democracy Movement were taken to Bangkok Military Court around midnight on 26th June 2015, when the Military Court granted the Royal Thai Police’s request for pre-trial detention ro a 12 day period. The 14 students are being held in the Bangkok Remand Prison and the Central Women’s Correctional Institution. The same Bangkok Military Court rejected the

Royal Thai Police’s request to extend the pre-trial detention on 7th July 2015. The 14 were released 24 hours after the decision on 8th July 2015, but they are still facing all the charges filed against them.

The 14 who were detained for 12 days include 7 members of a Khon Kaen-based student group: Mr. Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, Mr. Apiwat Suntararak, Mr. Payu Boonsopon, Mr. Panupong Srithananuwat, Mr. Suvicha Tipangkorn, Mr. Supachai Pukrongploy and Mr. Wassant Saetsit. All were initially arrested on 22nd May 2015 when they staged a peaceful protest in Khon Kaen against the effects of military rule on community rights, human rights and the poor in northeast Thailand. They were granted bail after having been charged by Khon Kaen Military Court for violating Order No. 3/2558 (3/2015) issued by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Similarly, the 7 Bangkok-based university students and allies – Mr. Rattapol Supasupon, Mr. Rangsiman Rome, Mr. Songtham Kaewpanpruk, Ms. Chonthicha Jaengraew, Mr. Apisit

Sapnapaphan, Mr. Pakorn Areekul, and Mr. Pornchai Yuanyee – staged a peaceful protest in central Bangkok on 22nd May 2015, have been charged with violating NCPO Order 3/2558. The sedition charges for all 14 students, under Section 116 of the Thai Penal

Code, follow the students’ peaceful demonstrations against your military government in Bangkok on 24th June and 25th June 2015.

We condemn the use and existence of Order 3/2558, because this order invokes all NCPO Orders issued between 22nd May 2014 and 1st April 2015, which have effectively suspended all civil and political rights and fundamental freedoms on unjustifiable grounds of “national security.” Article 116 of the Thai Penal Code is a severe and unacceptable restriction on freedom of speech which is used to criminalise political activists.

Order 3/2558, issued by virtue of Article 44 of the Interim Constitution 2557 B.E., gives sweeping powers and provides blanket immunity to your military government. It allows the militarization of all law- enforcement and state operations. For example, this Order enables the continued use of military courts and military personnel to carry out measures under the Criminal Procedure Code. Furthermore, officials exercising duties under this Order enjoy full immunity from both disciplinary and criminal justice procedures.

The use of military courts to try civilians is a blatant violation of international fair trial rights, as guaranteed by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand ratified in 1996, and is legally bound to implement. Article 14, Paragraph 1, enshrines the principle of trials being conducted by a “competent, independent and impartial tribunal.” This principle is violated by the use of military courts to try civilians; especially when the military controls all branches of state power, including the executive, legislative, and now, judicial branches. Article 14, Paragraph 5, explicitly guarantees the right to judicial review of any conviction and sentence by a higher court, which is a right denied to anyone tried in a military court in Thailand.

Furthermore, we decry the harassment and intimidation of the students and allies’ groups. The ICCPR imposes legally-binding obligations on State Parties to respect a number of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression (Article 19) and the right to peaceful assembly (Article 21).

We also call your attention to Article 17 of the ICCPR which guarantees the right to protection from “arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, [and] to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.” State authorities stand in direct violation of this right as they have carried out a constant campaign of intimidation and harassment of the students’ affinity groups. Uniformed officials (both police and military) have been photographing the students’ parents houses; authorities have been questioning parents on the upbringing of their children; Khon Kaen University has been pressured to call all the students’ parents in for a meeting where authorities lectured the parents on 11th June 2015; and soldiers, police and other authorities have been threatening repercussions if community-based Human Rights Defenders associate with the Dao Din student group again.

Finally, your Orders as head of the NCPO violate the rights and freedoms guaranteed by international human rights law, which continues to apply to Thailand under the Interim Constitution. Most directly, Article 25 of the ICCPR enshrines the right to participate in public affairs for people. The suspension of elections, community rights, community participation in environmental and natural resource management policy are all violations of Article 25. The absolute power you hold, as per Article 44 of the Interim Constitution, effectively guts this right.

The students and allies’ commemorative activities on the 22nd May 2015 and their pro-democracy demonstrations on 24th June and 25 th June 2015, expressed their opposition to these systematic and institutional violations of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It must be underlined that Article 19 of the ICCPR also guarantees the right to hold any opinion and express it by any media. Thus, students have throughout all their activities been peacefully exercising their own human rights and fundamental freedoms to decry your military government’s violations of the Thai people’s human rights. The legal persecution of these students and allies, and the authorities’ harassment of the students’ affinity groups are direct breaches of international human rights law. If these charges are pressed on against students and allies and the military court declares them guilty, they would be political prisoners of your repressive regime.

These civic-minded students and allies, and all community-based Human Rights Defenders they work with, deserve recognition, not criminalisation. Socially-conscious individuals, especially youth, who engage in peaceful actions to promote human rights are essential to an open and democratic society and contribute to social justice.

Therefore, we urge you to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally drop all charges and end all legal proceedings against the 16 students and allies;

2. Immediately stop the harassment of the students and allies’ lawyers by authorities;

3. Stop all harassment and intimidation of the students and allies’ affinity groups, including the students’ family members, fellow students, friendship groups, community-based support groups, citizen journalists, and academics;

4. Immediately revoke all NCPO Orders and Article 44 of the Interim Constitution and promptly return all executive and legislative branches of state power to democratically elected civilians.

Signed:

1. ALIRAN (Malaysia)
2. Article 19

3. Arus Pelangi (Indonesia)
4. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR, ASEAN)
5. ASEAN Youth Forum (ASEAN)

6. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters (Burma/Myanmar)

7. Arakan Observer Group (Arakan, Burma)

8. All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress (AASYC, Arakan, Burma)

9. Australian Burmese Rohingya Association (ABRA, Australia)

10. Australia Asia Worker Links (Australia)

11. Australian Unions (ACTU, Australia)

12. Cambodian Human Rights and Development (ADHOC, Cambodia)

13. Centre for Development Resources (CENFORD, Vietnam)

14. Cross-Cultural Foundation (Thailand)
15. Committee for Asian Women and Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (Malaysia)

16. De Nieuwe Universiteit (The Netherlands)

17. Democratic Commission for Human Development (Pakistan)

18. Focus on the Global South

19. Foundation for Media Alternatives( Philippines )
20. Globalization Monitor

21. INSTITUT PEREMPUAN ,Women ‘s Institute ( Indonesia )

22. Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section (KLSCAHYS, Malaysia)
23. Malaysia Support Group for democracy in Thailand (Malaysia)

24. Malaysian against Death Penalty & Torture (Malaysia)

25. Malaysian Youth and Students’ Democratic Movement (DEMA, Malaysia)

26. Migrante International

27. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization (MERHROM, Malaysia)
28. National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (Sri Lanka)

29. National Free Trade Union (Sri Lanka)

30. North South Initiative

31. Socialist Party of Malaysia (Malaysia)

32. Southeast Asia Women’s Caucus on ASEAN (ASEAN)

33. Pax Romana ICMICA Asia

34. Pax Romana International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Asia Pacific

35. People Like Us Satu Hati (PLUSH, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

36. People’s Empowerment Foundation (Thailand)

37. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Malaysia)

38. Protection International

39. Rohingya American Society (RARS, Milwaukee, USA)
40. Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee (RARC, Malaysia)

41. Rohingya Concern International (RCI, New York, USA)
42. Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF, Arakan, Burma)

43. Think Centre (Singapore)

44. Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (Vietnam)
45. Worker Hub for Change (Malaysia)

Individual endorsements

1. David Anthony

2. David Suber, co-President of the Students Union of the London School of Oriental and African Studies (United Kingdom)

3. Jonelle Twum, supporter from Sweden
4. K Aingkaran, Attorney-at-Law, supporter from Sri Lanka

5. Niza Concepcion, supporter from the Philippines
6. Dr. Paiboon Hengsuwan, Lecturer of Department of Women’s Studies, Faculty of

Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University (Thailand)

7. Rahmayana Fitri, Leader of Youth Development at The Leader and Peace activist in Aceh (Indonesia)

8. Dr. Ronald McCoy, Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility (Malaysia)

9. Shruti Upadhyay

10. S.K. Priya, 110 Law Chambers (India)

11. William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Defender and Freelance Journalist (United Kingdom)

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[Solidarity] Thailand: Junta Arrests 14 Student Activists -Sedition Charge Could Mean 7 Years in Prison for Peaceful Rally -HRW

Thailand: Junta Arrests 14 Student Activists –Sedition Charge Could Mean 7 Years in Prison for Peaceful Rally

(New York, June 27, 2015) – Thai authorities should immediately drop all charges and release unconditionally 14 student activists who peacefully expressed opposition to military rule, Human Rights Watch said today.

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On June 26, 2015 in Bangkok, police and soldiers enforced a military court warrant to arrest 14 students from the Neo-Democracy Movement for sedition and violating the military junta’s ban on public assembly. The students are now held in the Bangkok Remand Prison and the Central Women Correctional Institution for 12 days while awaiting trial in a military court.

“Thailand’s junta should immediately stop arresting and prosecuting student activists,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “While insisting they aren’t dictators, the Thai generals have used the military courts as a central feature of their crackdown against peaceful criticism and political dissent.”

On June 24 and 25 authorities arrested Rangsiman Rome, Wasant Sadesit, Songtham Kaewpanphruek, Payu Boonsopon, Apiwat Suntararak, Rattapol Supasophon, Supachai Pookhlongploy, Apisit Sapnapapha, Panupong Sritananuwat, Suvicha Pitungkorn, Pakorn Areekul, Chatupat Boonyapatraksa, Pornchai Yuanyee and Chonticha Chaengreo. The students took part in peaceful rallies calling for an end to military rule under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The army commander-in-chief, Gen. Udomdej Seetabutr, publicly accused the 14 student activists of being backed by anti-government groups and claimed their actions could lead to disturbances and violence.

If found guilty of sedition under article 116 of the penal code, the harsh provision criminalizing free expression under Thai law, the activists would face up to seven years in prison. In addition, they would face an additional six-month prison term and a fine of up to 10,000 baht (US$312) for breaching the NCPO’s public assembly ban.

These latest arbitrary arrests again demonstrate the military junta’s unwillingness to ease its oppressive rule, Human Rights Watch said. International human rights law, as reflected in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) ratified by Thailand in 1996, protects the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. However, since the May 2014 coup, the junta has banned political gatherings of more than five people. The authorities have arrested at least 80 people for organizing or taking part in such public gatherings.

The NCPO’s 37th order replaces civilian courts with military tribunals for crimes of national security and sedition, and for lese majeste (offending the monarchy). Individuals who violate the NCPO’s orders are also subject to prosecution in military courts. Hundreds of people, mostly political dissidents and critics of the NCPO, have been sent to trials in military courts since the coup.

International human rights law prohibits governments from using military courts to try civilians when civilian courts are functioning. The use of military courts in Thailand also fails to meet international fair trial standards under the ICCPR. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the international expert body that monitors state compliance with the ICCPR, has stated in its General Comment on the right to a fair trial that “the trial of civilians in military or special courts may raise serious problems as far as the equitable, impartial and independent administration of justice is concerned.” This is particularly problematic in Thailand where every element of military courts functions within the Defense Ministry’s chain of command.

“With each new arrest, Thailand’s path toward democracy is getting harder to find,” Adams said. “Governments around the world should press the junta to end repression and respect fundamental rights.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Thailand, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/thailand

For more information, please contact:
In Bangkok, Sunai Phasuk (English, Thai): +66-81-632-3052 (mobile); or phasuks@hrw.org
In San Francisco, Brad Adams (English): +1 347 463 3531 (mobile); or adamsb@hrw.org
In Washington, DC, John Sifton (English): +1-646-479-2499 (mobile); or siftonj@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @johnsifton

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[People] SE Asia: Home to Ethnic Cleansing, Slavery, and Hazardous Work By Walden Bello

SE Asia: Home to Ethnic Cleansing, Slavery, and Hazardous Work
By Walden Bello*

The sorry state of human and labor rights in the region was driven home by three events that captured the world’s attention in the last three months. In the late 20th century, Southeast Asia was seen as a region of “tiger economies” that were the envy of the world. That narrative has vanished. Today, the area is regarded by many as a site of ethnic cleansing, great inequality, and super-exploited labor.

Walden Bello word.world-citizenship.org

The sorry state of human and labor rights in the region was driven home by three events that captured the world’s attention in the last three months. Dominating the news was the appalling situation of several thousand Rohingya fleeing violent persecution in Myanmar or Burma. Hiring smugglers to carry them to safety by sea, the Rohingya found themselves floating in the high seas, unable to land as neighboring states refused to accept them.

As if the plight of the Rohingyas were not shocking enough, an island in Indonesia was revealed to have illegal fish factories operated with Burmese and Thai forced labor. Relatives of many those kept captive on the island of Benjina had given up hope that they would ever be found. The nightmare turned out to be merely the tip of a multimillion dollar industry built on the backs of slaves with the complicity of Thai and Indonesian authorities.

Then, on May 13, the nightmare of the horrific Bangladesh blaze in November 2012 that immolated scores of garment workers in a factory with no emergency exits, was repeated in the Philippines. Seventy-two workers perished in the Philippines’ worst factory fire, trapped in building with barred windows and no emergency exits. The tragedy exposed once more the extremely unsafe conditions in which unorganized workers are forced to labor for a pittance in the urban industrial belts of Southeast Asia.

Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar

The Rohingya diaspora in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea is the culmination of three years of riots and violent attacks directed at this Muslim minority, who make up 30 percent of the Myanmar state of Rakhine. Tensions between the Rohingya and the Buddhist majority have been building for years, but with the easing of military control as the country makes its jerky transition to democracy, friction has given way to violence, oftentimes sparked by wild allegations of Rohingya men raping Buddhist women. Considering the 1.3 million Rohingya as stateless intruders from neighboring Bangladesh, the military has largely left them to the tender mercies of Buddhist mobs that have often been led by monks. The result has been the region’s worst case of ethnic cleansing.

To escape brutal persecution, many Rohingya have increasingly resorted to flight, contracting smugglers and traffickers to bring them by sea and land to other countries. This option has turned out to be as perilous as staying. Traffickers have sold many Rohingya, along with other Burmese, as forced labor to the notorious Thai fishing industry. Some 7000 crammed into fragile boats have been floating aimlessly in the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea, their attempts to make landfall prevented by the navies of Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

With pressure exerted on them by other the United Nations and international bodies, Myanmar’s neighbors have recently softened their stance. The Philippines said it considered the Rohingya as refugees and offered to take some 3000 of them. Heavily criticized for turning away the Rohingya, Malaysia and Indonesia grudgingly agreed to also provide the refugees temporary shelter. Thailand, however, made clear it would not offer them asylum, a hardline stance that was also adopted by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Voices from all over the globe, including the United Nations General Assembly, have called on the Myanmar government to end the ethnic cleansing and give citizenship rights to the Rohingya. One voice, however, has been notably silent, that of Nobel Prize laureate Auung Sang Suu Kyi. Never in the last three years has she spoken on behalf of the Rohingya, even if only to ask her Buddhist compatriots to stop persecuting them. Owing to international pressure, her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has, finally and grudgingly, called for citizenship for the Rohingya, but the statement was not issued in her name. Much speculation on her silence centers on her not wanting to offend the country’s Buddhist majority whose votes her party needs in Burma’s coming electoral contests and she herself would need should she be allowed to run for president by the military. But the longer “Daw Suu,” as she is known in Burma, stays silent, the more people will come to the conclusion that she herself does not believe the Rohingya deserve to be citizens, the more she will be regarded as complicit in genocide, the more her status as a global moral icon will be eroded.

Slave Labor in Thailand’s Fishing Industry

What a superb Associated Press investigative report on forced labor in the Indonesian island of Benjina that appeared in March of this year did was to call world attention to what many in Southeast Asia regarded as one of the region’s dirty secrets: the dependence of the Thai fishing industry on slavery. The resort to slave labor, according to a report by the International Labor Organization and the Asian Research Center for Migration of Chulalongkorn University, stems from profits being squeezed by smaller catches, higher fuel costs, and the reluctance of Thais to be employed in what is increasingly perceived as low-paid hazardous work involving long periods at sea. Foreign workers, especially from Burma and Cambodia, have been the solution for Thai fishing and canning factories, and smuggling networks have sprang up to recruit workers in the two countries. Deception is almost invariably involved, with prospective workers told they will be hired in construction or agriculture at relatively high rates of pay only to find themselves at the end of the journey sold to fishing vessels working for a pittance or nothing.

Once in the hands of traffickers, undocumented workers are treated brutally, and recently discovered mass graves, reportedly containing the remains of hundreds of people along smuggling routes in Thailand and Malaysia are mute testimony to what happens to those who get sick, meet accidents, or resist.

Government officials are often worse than useless for exploited migrants. As the ILO-Asian Research Center for Migration notes, “The direct involvement and/or facilitation of law enforcement officials in these crimes is a significant problem that has remained inadequately addressed. Although authorities reportedly investigated several cases of complicity by law enforcements officials during 2011-2012, no prosecutions or convictions were carried through.” Not surprisingly, “rather than seeking out protection for abuses or filing complaints to the proper authorities, many migrant fishers will choose to keep quiet out of fear of blacklisting, arrest or deportation.”

The Philippines: A Decimated Working Class

Government complicity was also instrumental in the Philippines’ worst factory fire on May 13. An investigation carried out by the author, which included interviews with some 30 survivors, revealed that the factory, Kentex, was issued clearances for occupational and fire safety by the relevant national and local authorities despite the fact that it had no emergency exits, the windows were barred, no fire drills were conducted, and no serious fire inspections were carried out.

The obviously lax enforcement of safety regulations is not accidental, according to observers. Kentex incarnated the Philippine government’s stance of going easy on capitalists since they are seen to be the source of growth, wealth, and jobs.

The ruling ideology of neoliberalism, which would eliminate as much regulation of capital as possible, was also evident in the work force of the firm, which produced “Havanas” or flipflops and other footwear for the domestic market and for export. According to the survivors, some 20 per cent of the work force were casual workers or “pakyawan,” including some minors brought in by their mothers to earn some extra money for the family for the summer. They received 202 pesos (US$4.50) for a day’s work, or less than half the current minimum wage for the national capital region.

Another 40 to 60 per cent were contractual workers people recruited by a “manpower agency,” an organization devised to allow employers to avoid regularization of workers and their unionization. While these non-unionized workers received the minimum daily wage of 481 pesos ($10.8), the agency skimmed off the required social security, health, and housing benefits provided by the employer. “They don’t pay our monthly installments,” was the angry response of the survivors when I raised the issue.

At the most, 20 per cent of the workers were regular workers who were members of a union. But as one of the union members himself volunteered, cynically, “We are a company union.” Kentex is a microcosm of labor-capital relations in the Philippines and much of Southeast Asia today.

The trend toward contractualization, pushed by local and foreign investors, accommodated by government, and legitimized by economists, has led to the disorganization and de-unionization of the labor force. Today, only about 10 per cent of the Philippine work force is organized, with one prominent labor leader admitting that, “Ironically, labor unions are not as politically strong today as during the dictatorial regime of President Marcos.”

In his “State of the Nation” address in July of last year, President Benigno Aquino III boasted that there were only two cases of workers’ strikes in 2013 and only one in 2014. That the president considered this news as positive only showed how detached from workers’ reality he was, for the radical reduction of the number of strikes does not come from improving living standards but from the weakening of labor’s bargaining power owing to pro-management policies, government failure of enforce labor laws, and aggressive union-busting by employers.

Legislative efforts to reverse contractualization by limiting the number of workers a firm may hire to 20 percent or less have either died in committee or failed to make it to plenary deliberations in the Philippines’ House of Representatives. In a dialogue with labor leaders in 2013, Aquino himself said he opposed limits to contractualization since this would “eliminate 10 million jobs.” Challenged by the astonished labor leaders, the president could not name his source for his claim.

However, a growing number of economic analysts, like Jesus Felipe of the Asian Development Bank, are departing from this orthodox view. According to them, it is precisely the absence of a dynamic internal market owing to the lack of purchasing power by a large segment of the labor force that are doomed to low wages that accounts for the inability of the Philippine economy to achieve sustained take-off.

Some labor leaders see a silver lining in the Kentex tragedy. “The 72 lives lost were a terrible, terrible loss,” said Josua Mata, secretary general of the labor federation Sentro. “But if this tragedy brings to the national consciousness the unacceptable state to which management and government have reduced our workers and inaugurates an era of reform, then their sacrifice might not be in vain.” That remains to be seen.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is scheduled to become “one integrated regional economy” by the end of 2015. No one is celebrating the occasion except perhaps the diplomats that negotiated the agreement. Pundits remark cynically that instead of integrating dynamic tiger economies, ASEAN integration will pool together societies with unsolved, deep-seated social problems.

Until his resignation from the House of Representatives of the Republic of the Philippines two months ago owing to differences with the Aquino administration, Telesur columnist Walden Bello chaired the House Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs and was one of the principal authors of the Security of Tenure Bill designed to end contractualization.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/SE-Asia–Home-to-Ethnic-Cleansing-Slavery-and-Hazardous-Work-20150528-0052.html. If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. teleSUR English

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[Statement] Joint statement calling for the release of Vietnamese prisoner of conscience, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc

Joint statement calling for the release of Vietnamese prisoner of conscience, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc

24th May 2015

https://tranfami.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/joint-statement-calling-for-the-release-of-vietnamese-prisoner-of-conscience-tran-huynh-duy-thuc/

On 24 May 2009, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Vietnamese ICT entrepreneur and blogger, was arrested under the initial charge of “promoting anti-government propaganda” under Article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. On 20 January 2010, in a one-day trial, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc and his three co-defendants – Le Cong Dinh, Nguyen Tien Trung and Le Thang Long –
were prosecuted at the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City for “conducting activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” under Article 79 of the Penal Code. Thuc was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment followed by 5 years of house arrest, while Dinh, Trung and Long, were sentenced to 5 years, 7 years and 5 years’ imprisonment followed by 3 years of house arrest, respectively.

Contrary to being found guilty of aiming to “overthrow” the state, the activities for which Thuc and his co-defendants were prosecuted comprised only blogging that called for political reform and respect for human rights (e.g. https://tranfami.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/hewing_quest_for_democracy_and_prosperity/) They did not receive a fair trial and relatives of the defendants and foreign journalists were not allowed in the courtroom. The defendants’ microphones did not function when Thuc’s defense counsel tried to speak on his behalf or when Long attempted to inform the court that the defendants’ confessions were written under
duress. According to eyewitnesses, the judges deliberated for only 15 minutes before returning with the judgment, which took 45 minutes to read, suggesting it had been prepared in advance of the hearing.

On 29 August 2012, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) adopted the opinion that Thuc and his three co-defendants’ detention violated the right to freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as well as the right to liberty and security of person (Article 9) and the right to freedom of association (Article 21). Vietnam is a party to the ICCPR. Consequently, the WGAD requested the Vietnamese government to release them and provide them with compensation, in accordance with its international obligations. Although Vietnam accepted 31 of the recommendations calling for the respect and protection of freedom of expression at the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in 2014, the Vietnamese
government has still failed to resolve Thuc’s case.

Today, 24 May 2015, marks Thuc’s 6th year of imprisonment. Until now, Thuc remains in prison while his three co-defendants have been released early. As such, we would like to call on the Vietnamese government to abide by their international and domestic obligations by ensuring that Thuc is immediately released. Only when the relevant authorities have taken the necessary steps so that his conviction is overturned, will
justice to Thuc be restored. The international community and human rights organizations will be watching.
SIGNED:
1. Amnesty International – ENGLAND
2. Civil Rights Defenders – SWEDEN
3. Freedom House – USA
4. International Commission of Jurists – SWITZERLAND
5. California State Senator Janet Nguyen, Thirty-Fourth District – USA
6. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) – THAILAND
7. Asian Human Rights Commission – HONG KONG
8. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – BURMA
9. Burma Partnership – BURMA
10. Centre for Human Rights Education– PAKISTAN
11. Citizens for Justice and Peace – INDIA
12. Imparsial – INDONESIA
13. Justice and Peace Netherlands, The Hague – NETHERLANDS
14. Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders – HONG KONG
15. OT Watch Mongolia – MONGOLIA
16. Taiwan Association for Human Rights – TAIWAN
17. Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) – INDONESIA
18. Triangle Women’s Support Group – BURMA
19. Van Lang – CZECH REPUBLIC
20. Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment – PHILIPPINES
21. Association for the Protection of Religious Freedom – VIETNAM
22. Association of Former Political and Religious Prisoners of Vietnam – VIETNAM
23. Bach Dang Giang Foundation – VIETNAM
24. Bau Bi Tuong Than Association – VIETNAM
25. Canadian Youth for Human Rights Vietnam – VIETNAM
26. Civil Society Forum – VIETNAM
27. Chuong Bo Evangelical Protestant Church – VIETNAM
28. Evangelical Lutheran Church American and Vietnam – VIETNAM
29. Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience – VIETNAM
30. Independent Journalist Association – VIETNAM
31. No – U Mien Trung – VIETNAM
32. REM Defenders – VIETNAM
33. Vietnam Path Movement – VIETNAM
34. Vietnamese Bloggers Network – VIETNAM
35. Vietnamese United Buddhist Sangha – VIETNAM
36. Group of Nguyen Kim Dien Priest – VIETNAM

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[From the web] Philippine peace groups call for solidarity and support for Mindanao peace process at APF 2015 -GPPAC-SEA

Philippine peace groups call for solidarity and support for Mindanao peace process at APF 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, APRIL 24 – In a bid to generate broader regional solidarity for peace in Mindanao including support for the ongoing Bangsamoro peace process, peace groups from the Philippines launched a signature campaign at the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from April 22-24.

GPPAC

Malaysia is the Chair of this year’s ASEAN summit and host of the ACSC/APF from April 21 to 24. The ACSC/APF is an annual conference that started in Malaysia 10 years ago that has now attracted thousands of civil society participants working on various issues in the region.

The ‘DECLARATION OF SUPPORT FOR AN ALL-OUT-PEACE CAMPAIGN IN THE PHILIPPINES AND SOLIDARITY FOR THE PEACE PROCESS’, campaign calls for the ‘passage of a just and inclusive Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that is now pending at the Philippine Congress as an instrument that will start to address and rectify the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro and other inhabitants of Mindanao.’

‘With challenges now confronting the Mindanao peace process and the BBL in the Philippines, we believe that the support and solidarity of all peace-loving leaders and citizens of the region who see that a negotiated political settlement is the key in resolving the century-old problem in Mindanao is necessary. We have to salvage the peace process by showing that people not just in the Philippines but in the region are in solidarity and united for a just peace,’ said Gus Miclat, regional initiator of Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict-Southeast Asia (GPPAC-SEA) and executive director of the regional non-government advocacy and solidarity organization, Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID).

IID has spearheaded peace-building efforts in Mindanao and has been in the forefront of engaging the peace process in the Philippines including in other conflict prevention initiatives in the region. Miclat is also a member of the ACSC/APF 2015 Steering Committee representing regional organizations.

Miclat explained, ‘it is impossible for us to find a viable formula for peace in Mindanao if we base our judgments solely on biases and prejudices against the Moros and Muslims. If the House of Representatives and the Senate will pass the BBL, it should be on the premise of recognizing that the Bangsamoro, the indigenous peoples and other inhabitants of Mindanao have legitimate claims and therefore have the right to determine their own political future.’

Read full article @aseanpeople.org

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[Statement] Burmese government urged to cease the assault and arrest of students protesting in Letpadan and Rangoon

10 March 2015

Burmese government urged to cease the assault and arrest of students protesting in Letpadan and Rangoon

We, the undersigned organizations, strongly condemn the latest instance of brutal and indiscriminate assault by the police and vigilante groups against the students, monks, and residents in Letpadan who have been peacefully exercising their civil and political rights. We further call on the Burmese government to immediately stop the violent attacks, harassment, and arrest of students peacefully protesting against the National Education Law, which centralizes power over the education system, hampers academic freedom, and was approved without proper public consultation.

Since 20 January, hundreds of students have been marching from Mandalay to Rangoon to demand changes to the National Education Law, passed by Parliament in September 2014. The students’ 11 demands for changes to the law include ensuring the freedom to form student unions, mother-tongue language instruction in ethnic areas, greater autonomy for universities, and the allocation of 20% of the national budget to education.

On 2 March, students resumed their protests after the government failed to meet their demands to amend the law by 28 February. A group of students in Letpadan, Pegu Division, were subsequently blocked at a monastery and prevented from marching to Rangoon. In a show of solidarity, students and other supporters in Rangoon and other parts of the country also held peaceful protests at the beginning of March.

On 5 March, police in Rangoon violently cracked down on students peacefully protesting in front of Rangoon City Hall, injuring several and arresting eight protesters, including women’s rights activist Nilar Thein. On the morning of 6 March, police in Letpadan also violently dispersed the student demonstrators held near a monastery and their supporters. Police arrested five students. These detained protesters have since been released.

On 10 March, after the protesters in Letpadan were initially allowed to go to Rangoon, police and members of vigilante groups surrounded the peaceful and unarmed protesters and proceeded to brutally attack them. Injured students, monks, and Letpadan residents who had gathered to express their support were then taken away by the police.

We strongly condemn the use of excessive force and violence against the peaceful protesters by the police.[1] The government must take responsibility for the unlawful and aggressive actions of its security forces against the peaceful protesters. These aggressive actions are reminiscent of the tactics of past military regimes that have been infamous in using lethal violence against students and crushing any form of dissent. Of particular concern is the cooperation between police forces and vigilante groups, who participated in the crackdown and used excessive force against these young women and men.

If President Thein Sein is serious about making educational reform one of the priority measures of his government, it is in his interest to take an inclusive approach by having a dialogue with the students, including leaders of the National Network for Education Reform (NNER) and other student groups in the formulation of education policy.

The violent crackdowns against student protesters further intensifies the backslide on the government’s efforts to transition to full democracy and reveals the government’s continuing reliance on repressive actions. They substantiate the critique that the Burmese government is merely putting up a façade of democratic reform for the sake of gaining political legitimacy and economic engagement from the international community.

We, the undersigned organizations, urge the Burmese government to:

–  immediately cease and desist using excessive force and violence against the peacefully protesting students, monks, activists  and residents and ensure that security forces exercise the highest degree of restraint in any interactions with the protesters  who are exercising their civil and political rights.

–  continue to hold the next hearing sessions for the draft law amending the National Education Law with the representatives of the diverse student movement, including those from ethnic and religious minorities, and to provide the students with an effective avenue to voice their concerns and propose solutions on these matters.

–  prevent any actions that violently repress the right of the students to be heard on issues that directly affect them. This includes protecting the students from the violent actions of vigilante groups that have been harassing them. We condemn the Letpadan police’s threat of using the provisions of the Peaceful Assembly Law against the right of the student demonstrators to freedom of speech, and peaceful assembly.[2]

–  investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the violence, and institutionalize nationwide measures to prevent recurrence of similar incidents.

–  drop all charges against the arrested students, and unconditionally free any students still in detention.

–  amend without delay the National Education Law in line with students’ demands to ensure authentic educational reforms that address the needs and concerns of the stakeholders.

Signatories:

1.   Action Committee for Democracy Development, Burma/Myanmar
2.   Actions Birmanie , Belgium
3.   Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh
4.   All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress, Burma/Myanmar
5.   Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma
6.   Article 19
7.   ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights
8.   ASEAN Sogie Caucus
9.   Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development
10.  Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition
11.  Assistant Association for Political Prisoners, Burma
12.  Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters, Burma/Myanmar
13.  Association Suisse-Birmanie, Switzerland
14.  Ayerwaddy Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
15.  Backpack Health Worker Team, Burma/Myanmar
16.  Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha, India
17.  Burma Action Ireland
18.  Burma Campaign UK
19.  Burma Issues, Thailand
20.  Burma Link, UK
21.  Burma Medical Association
22.  Burma Partnership
23.  Burma-Initiative, Stiftung Asienhaus, Germany
24.  Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
25.  Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association- ADHOC , Cambodia
26.  Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia
27.  Child Rights Coalition  Asia
28.  Chin State Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
29.  Christian Solidarity Worldwide
30.  Civil Authorize Negotiate Organization, Myanmar
31.  Civil Rights Defender
32.  Coalition for Refugees from Burma (USA)
33.  Colorful Girls, Burma/Myanmar
34.  Directorio Democratico Cubano (Cuba)
35.  Empower Foundation Thailand
36.  Forum for Democracy in Burma
37.  Free Burma Campaign, South Africa
38.  Globe International Center, Mongolia
39.  HAK Association, Timor Leste
40.  Hong Kong Coalition for a Free Burma
41.  Hong Kong Committee for Children’s Rights
42.  Htoi Gender and Development Foundation, Burma/Myanmar
43.  Human Rights Foundation of Monland, Burma/Myanmar
44.  Human Rights Working Group, Indonesia
45.  Imparsial, Indonesia
46.  Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), Indonesia
47.  Info Birmanie (France)
48.  Interfaith Cooperation Forum
49.  International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), France
50.  Just Associates Southeast Asia
51.  Justice for Women, Burma/Myanmar
52.  Kachin Peace Network, Burma/Myanmar
53.  Kachin State Women Network, Burma/Myanmar
54.  Kachin State Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
55.  Kachin Women Peace Network, Burma/Myanmar
56.  Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
57.  Karen Community of Canada
58.  Karen Human Rights Group, Thailand
59.  Karen Women Organization, Thailand
60.  Karenni National Women’s Organization
61.  Kayan New Generation Youth, Burma/Myanmar
62.  Knights for Peace International, Philippines
63.  KontraS, Indonesia
64.  Lanna Action for Burma, Thailand
65.  Law and Society Trust (LST), Sri Lanka
66.  Magway Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
67.  Malaysians against Death Penalty and Torture, Malaysia
68.  Mandalay Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
69.  MARUAH, Singapore
70.  Migrant Forum in Asia
71.  Mindanao Action Group for Children’s Rights & Protection, Philippines
72.  Mon State Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
73.  Myanmar ICT for Development Organization
74.  National Youth Congress , Myanmar
75.  Natural Resources Accountability Myanmar
76.  Network for Democracy and Development, Burma
77.  Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma
78.  Norwegian Burma Committee
79.  Pago Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
80.  Palaung Women’s Organization, Burma/Myanmar
81.  Panzagar , Myanmar
82.  People’s Empowerment Foundation, Thailand
83.  People’s Watch, India
84.  People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), South Korea
85.  Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, India
86.  Pergerakan Indonesia, Indonesia
87.  Philippine Alliance for Human Rights Advocates
88.  PILIPINA Legal Resources Center, Philippines
89.  Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA), Pakistan
90.  Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, India
91.  Pusat KOMAS, Malaysia
92.  Radanar Ayar Rural Development Association, Myanmar
93.  Rakhine State Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
94.  Right to Know Campaign, South Africa
95.  SAARC Youth Association
96.  Sagaing Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
97.  Shan State Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
98.  Shwe Gas Movement, Burma/Myanmar
99.  Society for Threatened Peoples, Germany
100. South East Asian Committee for Advocacy
101.  Students and Youth Congress of Burma
102.  Suara Rakyat Malaysia
103.  Swedish Burma Committee
104.  Taiwan Association for Human Rights
105.  Taiwan Free Burma Network
106.  Tanintharyi Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
107.  Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
108.  Tavoy Women’s Union, Burma/Myanmar
109.  Tavoy Youth Organization, Burma/Myanmar
110.  Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, Thailand
111.  Thai Volunteer Service Foundation
112.  The Life Skills Development Foundation
113.  The Seagull, Myanmar
114.  Think Centre, Singapore
115.  Union of Karenni State Youth, Burma/Myanmar
116.  US Campaign for Burma
117.  Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights
118.  Voluntary Internship Program, Myanmar
119.  William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com, UK
120.  Women Peace Network Arakan, Burma/Myanmar
121.  Women’s League of Burma
122.  World Merit, Myanmar
123.  World Student Christian Federation – Asia Pacific
124.  Yangon Youth Network, Burma/Myanmar
125.  Yayasan LINTAS NUSA Batam, Indonesia
126.  Yayasan SEJIWA,  Indonesia
127.  Zo Indigenous Forum, India

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[Statement] Rights groups urge ASEAN to break silence on enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone

Rights groups urge ASEAN to break silence on enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone
15 December 2014

Wher is SombathOn the second anniversary of the enforced disappearance of prominent Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, we, the undersigned regional and international organizations, firmly condemn the Lao government’s ongoing refusal to provide any information regarding Sombath’s fate or whereabouts.

The Lao government’s deliberate silence on Sombath is part of a strategy that aims at consigning to oblivion the heinous crime of enforced disappearance. Regrettably, all other ASEAN member states have remained conspicuously silent on the issue of Sombath’s disappearance. Our organizations believe that ASEAN member states, as well as the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), must break the silence on this matter.

Instead of invoking the principle of non-interference into one another’s internal affairs, ASEAN member states must act as responsible members of the international community and uphold the 10-nation bloc’s key tenets enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, which recognizes the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms among the bloc’s purposes and principles.

As a result, we, the undersigned organizations, call on ASEAN member states to raise the issue of Sombath’s disappearance with the Lao government in all bilateral and multilateral fora. We also urge AICHR to exercise its power to “obtain information from ASEAN member states on the promotion and protection of human rights” in order to shed light on the disappearance of Sombath.

Sombath was last seen on the evening of 15 December 2012 in Vientiane. Lao public surveillance CCTV footage revealed that police stopped Sombath’s car at a police post. Within minutes after being stopped, unknown individuals forced him into another vehicle and drove away. Analysis of the CCTV footage shows that Sombath was taken away in the presence of police officers who witnessed the abduction and failed to intervene – a fact that strongly suggests government complicity.

Sombath’s enforced disappearance is not an isolated incident. To this day, the whereabouts of nine people arbitrarily detained by Lao security forces in November 2009 in various locations across the country remain unknown. The nine had planned peaceful demonstrations calling for democracy and respect of human rights. The whereabouts of Somphone Khantisouk are also unknown. Somphone, the owner of an ecotourism guesthouse, was an outspoken critic of Chinese-sponsored agricultural projects that were damaging the environment in the northern province of Luang Namtha. He disappeared after uniformed men abducted him in January 2007.

Our organizations urge ASEAN member states and the AICHR to call on the Lao government to immediately conduct competent, impartial, effective, and thorough investigations into all cases of enforced disappearances, hold the perpetrators accountable, and provide reparations to the victims and their families.

Signed by:

Adventist Development and Relief Agency Lao PDR
Ain O Salish Kendra
Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
Amnesty International
ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact
Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition
Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)
Boat People SOS
Burma Partnership
Cambodian Civil Society Working Group on ASEAN
Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
Cambodian Volunteers for Society
Center for Human Rights and Development
China Labour Bulletin
Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia
Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
Equality Myanmar
Equitable Cambodia
FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
Finnish Asiatic Society
Focus on the Global South
Forum for Democracy in Burma
Fresh Eyes – People to People Travel, UK
Gender and Development Initiative-Myanmar
Globe International
Hawaii Center for Human Rights Research & Action
Human Rights and Development Foundation
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Human Rights Watch
Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation
Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (IMPARSIAL)
INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre
Initiatives for International Dialogue
Interfaith Youth Coalition on Aid in Myanmar
International Rivers
Judicial System Monitoring Programme
Justice and Peace Network of Myanmar
Justice for Peace Foundation
Justice for Women
Kachin Peace Network
Kachin Women Peace Network
Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights and Development Association
Korean House for International Solidarity
Lao Movement for Human Rights
Law and Society Trust
League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran
LICADHO Canada
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
Madaripur Legal Aid Association
MARUAH
National Commission for Justice and Peace
Network for Democracy and Development
Odhikar
Olive Branch Human Rights Initiative
People’s Empowerment Foundation
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights
People’s Watch
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates
Potahar Organization for Development Advocacy
RTCC Research and Translation Consultancy Cluster
Sehjira Foundation for Persons with Disabilities
SILAKA
Social Action for Change
STAR Kampuchea
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Taiwan Association for Human Rights
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
Think Centre
Transnational Institute
United Sisterhood Alliance – Cambodia
Vietnam Committee on Human Rights
Women Peace Network Arakan
World Rainforest Movement

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[Campaign] Justice for the 43 Mexican Students! -AFAD

Justice for the 43 Mexican Students

We request fellow advocates to use this photo as (facebook) profile pic to show solidarity with our allies in Mexico. AFAD reiterates its call for justice with the following statement originally released on November 10, a month before the International Human Rights Day.

Justice for the 43 students!!!

AFAD

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http://www.afad-online.org/…/215-justice-for-the-43-mexican…

“Justice for the 43 Mexican Students! (Justicia para los 43 estudiantes mexicanos!)”

On September 26, a group of students travelling to Mexico City was attacked by police forces in the southern state of Guerrero. The incident left 6 dead and 43 missing. More than 40 days after the disappearance of the students, suspected gang members confessed to killing the missing students. Members of the said gang admitted to burning the bodies for 15 hours and throwing the remains in a nearby river.

This tragedy puts yet another punctuation mark on Mexico’s long history of human rights violations. It can only by presumed what kind of torture these students were exposed to after they were abducted and before they were handed over to the Guerreros Unidos cartel to be massacred. Hence, in one tragic incident, the Mexican state is potentially responsible for Enforced Disappearance, Extra-Judicial Killings, and possibly, Torture.

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) condemns this human rights atrocity!

AFAD reminds the Mexican government that it has signed and ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPAPED). Thus, it is under obligation to “take the necessary measures to ensure that enforced disappearance constitutes an offence under its criminal law” (ICPAPED Art. 4). AFAD calls on the Mexican government to bring the perpetrators to justice by serving the strongest possible conviction.

Furthermore, the Mexican government must affirm “the right of any victim to know the truth about the circumstances of an enforced disappearance and the fate of the disappeared person, and the right to freedom to seek, receive and impart information to this end” (ICPAPED Preamble). AFAD calls on the Mexican government to bring peace to the families of the victims by ensuring that DNA confirmatory tests are expedited within the soonest possible time and that further steps to ferret out the truth and provide justice be done without delay.

With exactly a month before international human rights day, may this be a reminder that the struggle to end the culture of impunity across the globe is far from over. Now that in Mexico, the expression “Ya me cansé del miedo” (Enough, I am tired of being afraid) has been adopted, we, AFAD members, declare that we are also tired of human rights violations. But no matter how tiresome the struggle, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Mexico.

Justice to the 43 students! Justice to all victims of enforced disappearances!

Signed by:
MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Secretary-General

[Campaign] We are students, not customers! #EducationNot4Sale! -Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition

We are students, not customers! #EducationNot4Sale!  -Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition

Vote for this campaign for the 5th HR Pinduteros’ Choice Awards

Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition

Students, Educators , Education advocates!

In Solidarity with the International Student Movement, The Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition is calling for a National day of Action to reclaim Education. We will UNITE in solidarity, because no matter where we live, we face the same struggle against profit-driven interests and their hold on education. Budget cuts, outsourcing, school closures, climbing costs of living and tuition fees among other phenomena, are all linked to an increasing commercialization and privatization of education. Uniting globally is our answer to these obstacles – fighting for emancipatory education for all.

Students across the globe especially in the Philippines are drowning in debt. These debts, supported by the individualistic notion of “investing in one’s own future”, must be re-paid by selling our future labor. The increasing pressure to perform is sickening; the restrictions on access to education must be resisted! Everyone should have equal access to education, regardless the socioeconomic status.

The logic of the market and corresponding nation-state requires that conformity, competitiveness and profits take PRIORITY over developing the capabilities for emancipatory thinking. Both depend on consumers, cheap labor and “consent of the governed” – not individuals living self-determined lives. Hence, this is not only a student’s issue, everyone is affected! The present system educates us solely within the boundaries of what is compatible with the capitalist paradigm.

As a result, education systems primarily consist of knowledge factories which seek to reproduce the logic of the market with all its consequences. This leads to the commodification of knowledge, precariousness, and fosters the ideas of consumer culture among students.

We strongly call for the allocation of 6% of the Country’s Gross National Product to Education.

We are all struggling against symptoms of the currently predominant economic system and will only be able to overcome it by uniting our efforts.

We encourage all Youth/Student and Civil Society Organizations to join us!

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The Action that will be done shall be decided on the Meeting this coming November 11,2014. Join the meeting http://goo.gl/vWUPhy
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Join the National Coordination online through a chat meeting simultaneous to the Meeting at PSLINK Solidarity homes. Enter here http://webchat.freenode.net/…
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For queries and Clarification please e-mail us at Sigawngkabataan@gmail.com or text us at 09396707619.
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Visit and like Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition @https://www.facebook.com/sigawko

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[Statement] Women’s Hearts Bleed for Gaza -KAISA KA

Women’s Hearts Bleed for Gaza
August 20, 2014

The announcement last Wednesday of an extended truce in Gaza between the State of Palestine and Israel is a welcome relief. But this truce is vey shaky. The US government, Israel’s main patron, and the big powers of Europe supporting Israel should press the Netanyahu government to junk its operation “Protective Edge,” and remove the blockade.

Kaisa Ka b

KAISA KA, a grassroots-based feminist organization in the Philippines expresses its deep concern for the women and children in Gaza as the war principally impacts on them.

The bombarding of Gaza, which started on July 8 this year, purportedly started when Israel “retaliated” for the kidnapping and murder of three adolescents in June. Israel alleges that Hamas, an organization they consider terrorist and the majority in the Palestinian State, was behind the assault on the Israeli youth. Hamas denies it had a hand in that crime.

Obviously, Israel found a convenient excuse to unleash its deadly operation “Protective Edge” against the Palestinian people. Israel reasons out that it wants to destroy tunnels which allowed incursions into Israeli territory by Hamas terrorists. But along with its scheme at building settlements within Palestinian territories in the West Bank and in Gaza, in utter disregard of UN borders of 1967, the “Protective Edge” is clearly a war of reoccupation of Gaza.

Prior to the “Protective Edge,” Israel already had blockaded Gaza from the along the coastline and, with the help of Egypt, along the Gaza-Egyptian border, denying the population of Gaza such products as vinegar, chocolate, canned fruit, grain, nuts, crackers, sweets, fried potatoes, gas for soft drinks, dried fruit, fresh meat, plaster, asphalt, construction lumber, cement, iron, glucose, industrial salt, plastic/glass/metal containers, industrial margarine, cloth, fishing poles and nets, hoses, replacement parts for tractors, musical instruments, paper, writing instruments, notebooks, newspapers, toys, razor blades, sewing machines, horses, mules, goats and cattle, etc.

The “Protective Edge” and the Palestinian’s retaliation have taken its toll in the lives, primarily of civilians, on property and livelihoods. Israeli’s bombardment killed 1,980 Palestinians so far and wounded more than 10, 200, while Hamas attacks killed 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians. As the war raged on, at least 10 children in Gaza died daily. Israel attacked residential areas, even schools run by the United Nations.

KAISA KA calls on women to unite with the bereaved mothers in Gaza to work for a lasting peace. As it recognizes the call of the US and EU governments for a ceasefire, it challenges these governments to allow for dialogues and negotiations of the two sovereign sides to take place and to stop giving military aid to Israel.

Withdraw Israeli forces from Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem!

Dismantle illegal settlements! Allow the safe return of Palestinian refugees!

Save children from a life of terror and violence!

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[From the web] CSOs cry for justice for Marikana Massacre victims -www.sentro.org

CSOs cry for justice for Marikana Massacre victims

Photo by ATM

Photo by ATM

In solidarity with the Marikana Global Day Of Remembrance on August 16, social movements and Civil Society Oganizations (CSO) staged a protest in front of Glencore’s office in Ortigas to commemorate the brutal killing of 34 protesting miners who worked for Lonmin Platinum Mines, in Marikana South Africa. (http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/marikana-massacre-16-august-2012)

Glencore, a Swiss Transnational Corporation (TNC) is a major stakeholder of Lonmin Platinum Mines and has a mining project in, Tampakan, South Cotabato.

“We are one with the people of Marikana in remembering our brothers and sisters in South Africa whose fates have fallen ill to the dire reality of poverty and unjust labor systems and practices.” Said Josua Mata, Secertary General of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).

“Though Marikana is miles away from the Philippines, it is not a far reality from our labor forces’ situation if we let our guards down and let capitalism oppress our rights as a work force.” Mata added.

SENTRO, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Philippine Miserior Partnership Incorporated (PMPI), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Focus on the Global South, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) and Indigenous Women Group LILAK spearheaded the rally which began in ADB Avenue to Emarald Avenue, Ortigas.

The groups performed an awarding ceremony and recognized Glencore as a World-Class Human Rights Abuser and put crime scene tapes around the building.

“ The degradation of our environment and the rampant human rights abuse caused by the mining companies, in this case Glencore and Lonmin, has turned our world into a big crime scene.” Said Fr. Oli Castor of PMPI.

“Until when should we keep our silence to their atrocities? Until when should we let them destroy mother nature? We should not wait until they have extracted everything that they can from the earth and until another Marikina or Tampakan incident happen.” He added.

Recently, Glencore was in hot water when five (5) countries including the Philippines presented cases of human rights abuse against the mining company in the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“Mining areas are really hot spots for human rights abuses and violations. Time and again we have been witnessed to this and without the state’s recognition of this reality, things are just going to get worse.” Said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP.

Amistad also said that, “What we need is a system that serves justice and not impunity of abusive and greedy transnational corporations. Whether in Marikana in South Africa or in Tampakan in South Cotabato, the government should be pro-people.”

On June 26, 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council has approved the initiation of an international legally binding treaty that will hold TNCs accountable to corporate human rights abuse. (http://alyansatigilmina.net/2014/07/15/atm-press-release-csos-celebrate-hr-resolution-of-unhrc-urges-the-ph-government-to-follow-through/)

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator stressed the importance of such legally binding treaty to stop human rights abuses and violations committed by TNCs in different parts of the world.

“One of the reasons why TNCs are shamefully courageous on committing human rights abuses is the lack of a definitive and thoroughly monitored and implemented legally binding rules and regulations to protect the people, especially the work force.

“This has also become a gateway of human rights violations of states that prioritize capitalists instead of their people. This is what happened to Marikana, this is what’s happening to Tampakan. If we want justice for them, and for all the victims of human rights abuse and violations, we need to start setting a higher international standard to make this happen.” asserted Garganera.

On August 16, Saturday, the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel will also join the commemoration of the Marikana Global Day of Remembrance. A film showing of the Marikana massacre documentary Miners Shot Down (http://www.minersshotdown.co.za/) will be held at the Tampakan Parish to be followed by a candle lighting action.

SAC Marbel is a network of Alyansa Tigil Mina and the leading local organization opposing the operations of Glencore in Tampakan. It is also a member of the Tampakan Forum, an alliance convened by PMPI that works on mining and human rights issues in the area.

This entry was posted in Environment Destruction, news and tagged Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), Focus on the Global South, Glencore, LILAK, Marikana, Philippine Miserior Partnership Incorporated (PMPI), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) on August 15, 2014.

http://www.sentro.org/?p=250&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

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[Statement] “We are all Marikana.”

COLLECTIVE STATEMENT ON THE COMMEMORATION OF THE MARIKANA MASSACRE
Aug. 16, 2014 / Philippines

Teaser copy

“We are all Marikana.”

This is the call of the South African miners, workers, activists, as they commemorate the brutal killing of 34 miners who were in the picket line in the hills of Marikana, South Africa, two years ago. The slain miners were part of the 3,000 who walked out of their jobs to demand for wage increase from the Lonmin Mines. This was considered as the worst act of police brutality since the dawn of democracy in South Africa.

It was on the 16th of August 2012, when thousands of miners who were converging at a hill or koppie at the Lonmin Mine were fired at by the police. Recent evidence presented to the Marikana Commission showed that the firing was unprovoked. On site, there were 34 miners killed, and scores were injured. But the number of casualties increased even after, as the crackdown on the strikers and supporters went on. News reports in South Africa said that “people died, violently, before and after that date” http://marikana.mg.co.za/ The Marikana Commission, which was convened to investigate the killings, has not put any police or government official implicated in the murders, to prison.

As daughters and sons lost their fathers, and women were widowed, and mothers still grieved for their sons, Lonmin Chief Executive announced that after two years since the Marikana massacre, and after successive workers strikes, “we are making good and steady progress in terms of our plans to return to full production. . . I am pleased with the enthusiasm in our management and all employees to the re-building of our relationships and operational credibility.”

Lonmin Platinum Mines in South Africa has Glencore Xstrata, a Swiss transnational corporation, as one of its major shareholders. Glencore Xstrata is very familiar with us here in the Philippines, as it is the majority shareholder of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), the holder of the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) in the gold mines in Tampakan, South Cotabato. Glencore Xstrata is very familiar too with incidents of violence against community members. The infamous Tampakan Massacre happened within its mining concession, involving the family of known anti-mining B’laan tribal leader. The brutal killing of Juvy Capion, and her two children, by the military in October 18, 2012, happened the same year that the Marikana Massacre happened. And more B’laans who continued to oppose the gold mining in their ancestral domains, continued to be killed violently, even after the massacre.

Two years after the massacre, the SMI announced that the Tampakan gold project, “despite its delays and challenges, remains on track.” Meanwhile, the court marshall which was conducting the inquiry about the killings has not put any of the 21 soldiers who raided the Capion house, in jail.

The parallelisms are chilling. Even more so are the killings, the human rights abuses, and the impunity that the perpetrators enjoy. These mining companies continue to conduct their business as usual, with some challenges, and delays, coddled by the national government because of the so-called contributions to the economy. South Africa boasts of the largest platinum deposits in the world. The Philippines is ranked as the 3rd in having the largest deposit gold. That is why some of the biggest mining companies in the world such as Glencore Xstrata are present in these countries. They come, they ravage, they enrich themselves, and leave the peoples hungry, landless, poorer, orphaned, widowed, and grieving for their killed daughters and sons. South Africa and the Philippines are both rich in mineral resources. Yet these countries are homes to the poorest of the poor people.

Today, we remember the killings in Marikana. We condemn the human rights abuses by the corporations against poor communities. We demand justice for the miners who were killed for asking what were owed to them – just wage and housing. We also demand justice for the Capions, and for the 25 of community leaders and activists who were killed for standing up for their rights against large scale mining. We call for an international binding treaty that will make corporations accountable to human rights abuses, and break impunity.

Today, we affirm our continuing support to the struggles of the miners in Marikana, and the communities who oppose the encroachment of SMI and other mining companies into their lands, and in their lives.
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
Philippine Human Rights Advocate (PAHRA)
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
SENTRO
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)
Focus on the Global South

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Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Event] Film showing: “Miners shot down”

JOIN US IN A FREE FILM SHOWING OF “MINERS SHOT DOWN” On August 13 (Wednesday), 2 pm, @ Workers House (94 Scout Delgado) – This is part of the Marikana Global Day of Remembrance activities. For more information pls contact: Sentro 3321378 or ATM 4403211

Marikana


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“In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. Using the point of view of the Marikana miners, Miners Shot Down follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low-paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers.

What emerges is collusion at the top, spiralling violence and the country’s first post-apartheid massacre. South Africa will never be the same again.” Source: http://www.minersshotdown.co.za/

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[Around the World] Cambodia : Sentence of 2 former Khmer Rouge leaders to life imprisonment is historic -FIDH

Cambodia : Sentence of 2 former Khmer Rouge leaders to life imprisonment is historic

FIDH and ADHOC, welcome the ECCC landmark decision condemning Khieu Samphan, former Head of State of Democratic Kampuchea, and Nuon Chea, former President of the Assembly of People’s Representatives of Democratic Kampuchea and ideologist of the Khmer Rouge regime, to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity related to forced movements of population and the execution of former Khmer Republic soldiers and officials.

fidh

It is the first time that high-ranking officials of the Khmer Rouge regime are convicted by an independent Court. The ECCC trial judges also decided to order collective measures of reparation for Civil Parties.

“Although this decision is issued almost 40 years after the Khmer Rouge crimes, it is a historic victory for Civil Parties”, said Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President and Civil Parties lawyer. “We hope this decision will contribute to the Cambodian society’s work towards sustainable peace and independent justice”, added Mr. Baudouin.

“Now that the high-ranking officials of the Khmer Rouge regime have been found guilty, we will finally be able to mourn our relatives”, declared Civil Parties from France represented by FIDH, who attended the verdict hearing today. “It was important for us to see those who planned and ordered these crimes be held to account”, they added.

“The decision issued by the Trial Chamber of the ECCC represents an important step against the impunity of former Khmer Rouge high-ranking officials. It is also a positive message for younger generations that these crimes cannot go unpunished”, said Latt Ky, ADHOC representative.

Read full article @ www.fidh.org

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[Blog] The Shooting down of MH17 is a Terrorist Act and a Crime Against Humanity. By Jose Mario De Vega

The Shooting down of MH17 is a Terrorist Act and a Crime Against Humanity: The bastard Americans must back off from the on-going international investigation
By Jose Mario De Vega

I am writing with regard to the catastrophic event that happened to MH17 concerning the horrible fate of the said ill-fated flight and the gruesome and horrendous deaths suffered by its 298 passengers.

It was sudden, totally unexpected and horrific way to die, to say the least!

I condemned, on behalf of humanity to the highest possible extent the evil and heartless perpetrators of these unmistakably demonic and dastardly acts of inhumanity and utter barbarism.

Mario De Vega

What they did, whoever the hell they are without the slightest shadow of doubt is an act of terror and incontestably a crime against humanity.

I am holding all of those bastard murderers responsible for this despicable and utterly disgusting international felony of universal scale.

The reports are pointing the blame to the so-called pro-Russian rebels who are fighting Ukraine in order for them to secede from the latter and eventually rejoin Russia.

Other reports are claiming that Russia is responsible by virtue of the fact that they are supporting those rebels and they are the one who had supplied them of sophisticated weapons.

While Russia is saying that it is not them or those rebels but Ukraine who carried out the attack.
They even stated that it was carried out by Ukraine in order for the said act to be blame on them.

The US and its Western allies are specifically pointing to Moscow as the ultimate brains behind this horrible event. They even offered some satellite map to back up their allegation. However, a Russian general from the Defense department categorically stated that the said map was a hoax.

Now, in the absence of clear, credible and convincing evidences, it is my view that we cannot jump the gun so to speak and immediately draw our conclusions.

It is on this great sense that I am supporting the call of both the Dutch government and the Malaysian authorities for an international, impartial and independent investigation to ferret out the whole truth with regard to this matter.

Said inquiry will collate all the pertinent data, relevant information and necessary and indispensable evidences that shall reconstruct the whole truth and reveal eventually who the real perpetrators are.

If after the said investigation, it will be validated that it was indeed those rebels, then the whole worlds must condemn them and hold them responsible.

The same is true, if the culprit is no other than Russia. They must answer for their murderous act.

Yet, if I may ask, what would be the reaction of the world if it turns out that it was Ukraine who fired that fatal shot, bomb or missile?

Will the world condemn Ukraine and hold them responsible?

What if the evidence further revealed that it was not only Ukraine, but they did their evil act with the help and/or connivance of USA, will the world condemn America and hold it responsible?

Barely 24 hours after the said tragedy, the Americans with their allies, are already telling the world that they have proof that it was the rebels who committed the said despicable act with the active participation of Russia.

Question:

How certain are they that their allegation is correct, accurate and indisputable?

May I remind the world of George Bush’s Mother of All Lies with regard to the so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction allegedly being hidden by Saddam!

Does the bloody world still remember?

Bastard America with its allies, the so-called “Coalition of the Willing” (murderers and killers) begun the so-called War on Terror base on a lie!

That lie plunged the Middle East and in a great part, the world into chaos, division, mistrust, distrust and hate!

We are still reeling from the said fiasco!

A warning to the international community and the whole war

Never again believe directly, on the spot and point blank range what the Americans are saying, because history will clearly shows that they have a consistent history of lies and calumny to justify their act of going to war. Incontestably, they love to kill people, because they are war freaks!

To quote from the article of David Redick, “13 Lies: An Abbreviated History of U.S. Presidents Leading Us to War”, The Activist Post, December 15, 2010:

“Below are the facts on how we got into a few major wars. Each one could be (and has been) a book, and many other smaller wars also could be shown, so please forgive the brevity. The format is: war name; the lying President and the year it started; the stated reasons/lies for the war; and the real reasons.

“1. War of 1812 (Madison, 1812) — Lies: In 1812, Congress declared war on England based primarily on their kidnapping (‘impressment’) of our sailors at sea. Truth: To drive England out of N. America, so the war started with our failed invasion of Canada at Detroit. DC “expansionists” took advantage and started incursions to acquire Spanish Florida, and Mexican Texana territories.

“2. Mexican-American (Polk, 1845) — Lies: Fight to defend our Texas border with Mexico. Truth: The disputes started when residents stole The Republic of Texas from Mexico. We invaded and took the northern half of Mexico, now our entire SW region of five states.

“3. Civil (Lincoln, 1865) — Lies: Fight to end slavery and preserve the union. Truth: The South got tired of economic abuse by the North and had a perfect right to secede. It was not a civil war and it was unconstitutional, illegal, and immoral for the North to start a war to stop them. The Northern states who had the votes to control Congress, wanted to retain the South as a source of cotton and a customer for their manufactured goods (hence the high tariffs on imports in southern ports). Slavery was ended later by the Emancipation Proclamation, but only in Southern states, because the Union wanted the slaves as soldiers. Lincoln was a tyrant beholden to the railroad and canal interests; he jailed journalists and draft resisters who opposed him. Yet, to this day he is revered as a great President who saved the Union.

“4. Spanish-American (McKinley, 1898) — Lies: Spain blew up the US battleship Maine in Cuba’s Havana harbor. Truth: Hearst publicized, and Teddy Roosevelt mobilized, to use the accidental explosion to take over Cuba by starting a war in April, 1898. We then invaded the Philippines in May and annexed Hawaii in July. A busy time for the beginning of Empire-USA!

“5. WWI (Wilson, 1917) — Lies: Join Europe to “Make the World Safe for Democracy.” Truth: Wilson was convinced to join by US and European industrialists who wanted to sell munitions and guns to the allies, and get paid when they won.

“6. WWII (FDR, 1941) — Lies; Defend the US from unprovoked attacks by Japan. Truth: FDR poked Japan until he got his “incident.” because he wanted to be in the war and prevent Germany from winning and emerge as a superpower (with 1. England and France under his control, and 2. Japan and Italy as buddies). FDR wanted the USA to be the only post-war superpower (with 1. Germany under our control, and 2. France and England as buddies)

“7. Korean (Truman, 1950) — Lies: Defend America. Truth: Truman and the Generals wanted a reason to have troops in the Far East area of our Empire.

“8. Vietnam (Kennedy, Johnson, 1964) — Lies: Johnson said Vietnam attacked our ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in August, 1964. Truth: The US didn’t want to lose the Southeast Asia region, and its oil and sea lanes, to China. This “attack” was convenient. Kennedy initiated the first major increase in US troops (over 500).
“9. Gulf War (G.H.W. Bush, 1991) — Lies: To defend Kuwait from Iraq. Truth: Saddam was a threat to Israel, and we wanted his oil and land for bases.

“10. Balkans (Clinton, 1999) — Lies: Prevent Serb killing of Bosnians. Truth: Get the Chinese out of Eastern Europe (remember the “accidental” bombing of their embassy in Belgrade?) so they could not get control of the oil in the Caspian region and Eastward. Control land for bases such as our huge Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, and for the proposed Trans-Balkan Oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea area to the Albanian port of Valona on the Adriatic Sea.

“11. Afghan (G.W. Bush, 2001) — Lies: The Taliban we’re hiding Osama. Truth: To build a gas/oil pipeline from Turkmenistan and other northern ‘xxstan’ countries to a warm water (all year) port in the Arabian Sea near Karachi (same reason the Russians were there), plus land for bases.

“12. Iraq (G.W. Bush, 2003) — Lies: Stop use of WMDs — whoops, bring Democracy, or whatever. Truth: Oil, defense of Israel, land for permanent bases (we were kicked out of Saudi Arabia) to manage the greater Middle East, restore oil sales in USD (Saddam had changed to Euros).

“13. Possible Iran War (Obama, 201?) — Lies: They almost have an atom bomb; they are a threat to Israel; major killer of our troops in Iraq. Truth: Control their oil, defend Israel, and restore oil sales in USD only (they changed to add Euros and others). We created the regional conflict and shouldn’t be surprised that all neighbors (including our “friends” in Saudi Arabia) are helping Iraq. We exaggerate the threat to Israel, especially as Iran has allowed inspections and Israel has not.

“If you approve of the current Bush-Obama wars, but are resting safely at home, you should join the Army’s Chicken Hawk Brigade. There is no restriction on age or sex, and you will get an exciting front-line assignment promptly. Then, you won’t feel badly about sending others to fight your wars for oil, religion, and Empire-USA.”

If I may add, how about the US lies with regard to Cuba? Why is it that up to now, the bloody embargo is still there?

Question: Why is it that the Americans are so afraid of the Cubans?

Warning to the American public

The world has is much aware of the tricks, the lies and the methods of dramatics of your empire.
You can no longer fool or dupe the international community.

If it is true that you have evidence against Russia and those rebels, then why don’t you handed them to the international investigation?

Stop irritating Russia and forcing them to the bloody wall, because we don’t know what the hell is going on in Putin’s head and we don’t know what the hell he is thinking.

To the Americans, may I remind you that Russia is not Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, etc. if you will not stop from charging Russia and they give in to your provocations and hostilities erupt, then that conflict may lead to a full scale war, sad but true, then that war will be World War III and that may be that will be the end of all of us!

Suggestion:

It would be better if the bastard Americans will back off from this issue and not interfere with the on-going investigation by virtue of the undeniable fact that they do not have any credibility, civility and moral ascendancy!

Hence, to the US government: Back off!

Solidarity

My sincerest condolences and solidarity to all the love ones and families of all the victims of the ill-fated MH17!

May you all live forever!!!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy and Social Science lecturer
Polytechnic University of the Philippines and Unibersidad de Manila

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