Nonviolent Action around the World – 12 June 2009 (Part 1)


Zimbabwe: US Senate says Mugabe sanctions remain
By: Hendricks Chizhanje, ZimOnline, June 11, 2009
The US senate has resolved to maintain targeted travel and financial restrictions on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party inner circle despite the formation of a coalition government. In a resolution passed unanimously on Tuesday, the US senate said targeted sanctions and an arms embargo will remain in place until there is sufficient proof that Harare was moving towards the restoration of the rule of law and upholding of human rights.
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Zimbabwe activists’ trial postponed
By: Reuters, June 10, 2009
Zimbabwe’s High Court on Wednesday postponed the trial of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists charged with attempting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe, in a case that has strained the new government. Four MDC members, part of a group of rights activists, including prominent campaigner Jestina Mukoko, were abducted and unlawfully detained between October and December last year, their lawyers say.
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Western Sahara: President calls UN to stop Moroccan repression
By: Bir Lehlu, Sahara Press Service, June 10, 2009
The President of the Republic (in exile) and the Secretary General of the  Polisario  Front called on Wednesday the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, to “undertake all necessary measures and sufficient measures to bring Morocco to stop its repression against defenseless citizens in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.”
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Bullets don’t stop Guatemala green activist
By: Ken Ellingwood, LA Times, June 11, 2009
Yuri Melini was shot seven times by an assailant nine months ago. The outspoken champion of environmental causes has made many enemies, and gained recognition too. The 47-year-old Melini is the lead agitator of a Guatemalan environmental advocacy group, the Center for Legal, Environmental and Social Action, or CALAS.
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Peru Congress suspends decrees that upset Indians
By: Franklin Briceno, AP, June 11, 2009
Peru’s Congress indefinitely suspended on Wednesday two key legislative decrees that spurred the Amazon Indian protests that erupted in bloodshed during a government crackdown last week. The suspension was widely seen as an attempt to re-establish negotiations with leaders of Peru’s 400,000 Amazon natives. But a leader of Peru’s largest indigenous group indicated the gesture wasn’t enough to halt protests, beginning with nationwide marches called for Thursday.
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Interview: U.S. official says ‘engagement’ best way to promote rights, democracy
By: RFE/RL, June 11, 2009
Engagement and dialogue will be the hallmarks of the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama in its approach to regimes struggling with democracy and human rights, according to Karen Stewart, the principal assistant deputy secretary at the U.S. State Department’s bureau of democracy, human rights, and labor.
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Venezuelan military targets Chávez critics in its ranks
By: Casto Ocando, Miami Herald, June 10, 2009
Venezuela is clamping down on criticism of Hugo Chávez that circulates through the military ranks. Officers and soldiers in the Venezuelan army must now report messages considered offensive, critical or contrary to the government, according to a recent official order.
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Gangs and the new insurgency in Latin America
By: Hal Brands, World Politics Review, June 10, 2009
Throughout the developing world, the post-Cold War era has seen the emergence of increasingly powerful and violent criminal organizations, often referred to as “third-generation gangs.” These groups have exploited the major international trends of the past 20 years — including economic and financial integration — to seize control over a myriad of illicit commercial networks.
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Peru: Indian leader forced into exile as President calls protesters ‘savages’
By: Survival International, June 10, 2009
The President of Peru’s Amazon Indian organisation AIDESEP has been forced into exile. Alberto Pizango sought refuge in the Nicaraguan embassy in Peru’s capital Lima after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Nicaragua has granted him asylum.
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Peru: Voices raised against violence
By: OneWorld, June 9, 2009
Following deadly clashes between indigenous protesters and the Peruvian military, one indigenous rights organization is urging the Peruvian government to withdraw all armed forces and recognize the rights of indigenous peoples to their land.
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Nicaragua: An independence claim
By: Blake Schmidt and Marc Lacey, NY Times, June 9, 2009
After declaring independence from the rest of Nicaragua in April, a group of indigenous activists from the Mosquito Coast readied a grand celebration to commemorate the occasion. Their feast would be ruined, however, when the regional government sent in the police to seize the main course.
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US: Shell settles Nigerian human rights abuses lawsuit for $15.5m
By: David Usborne, The Independent, June 9, 2009
The son of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the social activist and poet who was executed by a former military regime in Nigeria, claimed victory against Royal Dutch Shell last night after the company agreed to pay $15.5m (£9.7m) to settle a lawsuit he and others had filed against it in a New York court.
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US: “Mud stencils” in Chicago
By: Wooster Collective, June 9, 2009
On Saturday, June 6th in Chicago, local artists partnered with the Tamms Year Ten coalition to protest state-sanctioned torture at the supermax prison in Southern Illinois. And they did it with mud. Jesse Graves, a Milwaukee artist, developed the technique and on Saturday more than 30 volunteers stenciled the message “End Torture in Illinois” on walls and sidewalks around the city.
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Brazil: Land reform or deforestation boost for the Amazon?
By: Thiana Biondo, GlobalVoices, June 4, 2009
National land will be donated to Brazilians in a program called ‘Terra Legal’ (Legal Land), a package of measures to boost the government-backed redistribution of land and to establish rules for those who have lived and cultivated national land without being its legal owners.
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Thousands of South Koreans stage anti-government protest
By: Channel Asia News, June 11, 2009
More than 10,000 South Koreans demanding President Lee Myung-Bak resign held an anti-government rally on Wednesday on the 22nd anniversary of a pro-democracy uprising. The rally was led by opposition parties, who accuse Lee of ordering a politically motivated probe into former president Roh Moo-Hyun, who leapt to his death on May 23 after being investigated in a corruption scandal.
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Impunity bars justice for Burmese ethnic groups
By: Aung Htoo, Democratic Voice of Burma, June 11, 2009
While the world has remained rapt by the trial of Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, the ongoing crisis over rights for ethnic minorities in the country has received little international attention. Burma’s ethnic minority groups constitute one-third of the population. This population has borne the brunt of the government’s well-documented and widely condemned human rights violations.
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Burma: Suu Kyi witness appeal goes to higher court
By: Naw Say Phaw, Democratic Voice of Burma, June 11, 2009
Lawyers for Aung San Suu Kyi have submitted an appeal to Burma’s central court to allow the remaining two witnesses disqualified last week to testify in her defense. Suu Kyi and her two caretakers met with the four defense lawyers yesterday to discuss taking the appeal to central court, following the readmittance on Tuesday of only one of the disqualified lawyers.
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Burma’s trial of Suu Kyi hinders cyclone relief
By: Tim Johnston, Washington Post, June 11, 2009
International donors have warned that the trial of Burmese opposition leader and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi has made it more difficult to raise money for the victims of last year’s cyclone, an official said Wednesday. “We should be scaling up our efforts, but political considerations are going to make that difficult,” a European diplomat said on the condition of anonymity. “It’s not only the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, it is the whole political situation in Myanmar.”
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A fugitive monk who defied the Burmese junta speaks out
By: David Calleja, Foreign Policy Journal, June 11, 2009
Many individuals from Burma living in Australia all have a story of survival to share in which the common theme evolves around being on the run from the military regime. U Tay Zaw lifts up his robe and shows his ribcage before recounting the first of many instances in which he escaped with his life.
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Dalai Lama takes his case to Chinese émigrés
By: Amy Yee, CS Monitor, June 11, 2009
When the Dalai Lama traveled to the Netherlands last week his Buddhist teaching was heard by 10,000 people and he was received by the mayor of Amsterdam. But the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader had another engagement that was less in the spotlight but equally important: a private meeting with Chinese pro-democracy activists.
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Impasse with China erodes Dalai Lama’s patience
By: Robert Marquand, CS Monitor, June 10, 2009
China’s ramped up criticism of Europe’s embrace of the Dalai Lama hasn’t effectively blunted popular support here for the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. And European politicians are still giving him a platform. During a visit to Europe that ended in Paris Monday, the Tibetan offered a new and more urgent plea for help as well as a break with decades of a “turn the other cheek” policy.
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China defends mandatory web filter
By: Press Association, June 11, 2009
China’s state media has issued an unprecedented defence of newly required internet filtering software that must be packaged with every computer sold in China starting next month. There has been a massive public outcry over the issue at home and abroad. Although the government says the software is aimed at blocking violence and pornography, users who have tried it say it prevents access to a wide range of topics.
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China: Call for Tiananmen burial site
By: Radio Free Asia, June 11, 2009
The mother of a 17-year-old student killed during the armed crackdown on student-led protests in Tiananmen Square two decades ago has called for a burial site for the victims. Retired university professor Ding Zilin said her son Jiang Jielan’s ashes had been in her Beijing apartment since his death in the western Beijing district of Muxidi on the night of June 3, 1989.
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China: Tibetans held after gathering
By: Radio Free Asia, June 10, 2009
Chinese authorities in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, detained six Tibetans this week after more than 100 gathered and marched in what they told police was an exercise of their right to practice Tibetan Buddhism, authoritative sources said. Residents say it was the first large public gathering of Tibetans in Lhasa since massive protests against Chinese rule ignited there in March 2008, spreading to three neighboring provinces and prompting a dramatically increased presence of Chinese security forces in the region.
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China bans parts of gay festival
By: Chris Hogg, BBC News, June 10, 2009
The organisers of China’s first Gay Pride Festival have been told to cancel two of their sessions. The news came on the very day a state-run newspaper described the Shanghai festival as of “profound significance.” The festival’s organisers are confused and frustrated, but it could be that this is more the result of the authorities’ nervousness about public events they do not control than about the official attitude to homosexuality.
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Philippines: Thousands march in Manila in anti-Arroyo protest
By: Reuters, June 10, 2009
Thousands of people gathered in the heart of Manila’s financial district on Wednesday, accusing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s allies of trying to amend the constitution and scrap next year’s presidential election. Opposition groups warned of more frequent and bigger street protests in the days ahead until Arroyo and her allies in the lower house of Congress abandon the plan to convene a constituent assembly with the power to change the constitution and lift term limits of elected officials.
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Sri Lanka’s stubborn war
By: Brian Calvert, World Politics Review, June 9, 2009
Velupillai Prabhakaran, the deceased leader of the Tamil Tigers, once likened himself to a spider in the center of a web, comfortably in control of a sprawling network. But over the past two years, the Sri Lankan military methodically, unflinchingly pulled his web apart, ultimately dismantling one of the most sophisticated insurgencies in the world.
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India: Kashmir hit by renewed protests
By: BBC News, June 9, 2009
Students in Indian-administered Kashmir have held further demonstrations to protest against the alleged rape and killing of two women. Their protests took place as businesses re-opened after a separatist leader called for an end to eight days of strikes, which paralysed the Valley.
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Kyrgystan: Harassment of journalists mounts in run-up to next month’s presidential election
By: Reporters Without Borders, June 8, 2009
“The increase in harassment of the media in the run-up to the 23 July presidential election is worrying,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Every political crisis and turning point since the 2005 Tulip Revolution has been accompanied by violence in which journalists have often been targets. We urge the authorities to issue clear instructions that media diversity should be respected and that journalists should be able to work safely.”
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Uzbekistan: Political persecution prompts rise in refugees
By: Ahror Ahmedov, EurasiaNet, May 28, 2009
The number of refugees and asylum seekers from Uzbekistan has risen significantly over the past three years — since the Andijan events of May 2005, when security forces opened fire on mostly unarmed demonstrators in the Ferghana Valley city. EurasiaNet asked rights activist Nadezhda Atayeva about conditions in Uzbekistan and the difficulties encountered by Central Asian refugees and asylum seekers abroad.
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