Nonviolent action around the world – 19 January 2010 (Part 1)

Burma torture now ‘more widespread’
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, January 18, 2010
Torture in Burma is “now more widespread than at any time in recent decades”, according to an open letter sent by an Asian rights group to the UN’s torture rapporteur.
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Burma’s Supreme Court hears final Suu Kyi appeal
By: BBC News, January 18, 2010
Burma’s Supreme Court has heard a final appeal against the extended house arrest of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Her sentence was extended by 18 months last year after a US man swam uninvited to her lakeside home in Rangoon.
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Hong Kong approves China rail link
By: Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, January 19, 2010
The government here won a tough battle to fund a controversial railway project, but an ugly showdown Saturday between protesters and riot police wielding pepper spray could signal more conflict to come over highly contested political reforms.
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Chinese attack on Google seen as cybertheft
By: Tom Gjelten, NPR, January 18, 2010
Google’s carefully worded announcement last week that it had experienced “a highly sophisticated and targeted” cyberattack in China caught the attention of both human-rights advocates and industrial espionage experts, though for quite different reasons.
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Journalists in China face e-mail hijacking
By: CNN, January 18, 2010
Foreign correspondents in at least two Beijing, China, bureaus of news organizations have had their Google e-mail accounts attacked, with e-mails forwarded to a mysterious address, according to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China.
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China: Leading human rights attorney is missing
By: JD Journal, January 18, 2010
The Chinese government claims that prominent human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gao Zhisheng “went missing” last year while in their custody. Gao was taken into custody by security forces last February. In 2001 Gao was named one of China’s top 10 lawyers but later ran afoul of the government for providing legal services to victims of government abuses.
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China appoints ex-soldier as Tibet governor
By: BBC News, January 15, 2010
China has chosen a former soldier as the new governor of Tibet after the previous one resigned unexpectedly. The new governor, Padma Choling, is an ethnic Tibetan who served 17 years in China’s army before joining the regional government, state media said.
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Scaling the digital wall in China
By: Brad Stone and David Barboza, NY Times, January 15, 2010
Just as Mongol invaders could not be stopped by the Great Wall, Chinese citizens have found ways to circumvent the sophisticated Internet censorship systems designed to restrict them. They are using a variety of tools to evade government filters and to reach the wide-open Web that the Chinese government deems dangerous.
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Censors back on Google as China defends internet actions
By: CNN, January, 14, 2010
The Chinese government was defending its Internet practices Thursday, even as censorship of Google results — which had briefly been lifted — appeared to return.
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China: Human rights activists tell of cyber attacks
By: Tania Branigan, The Guardian, January 14, 2010
Well-known human rights advocates in China and a Tibetan rights activist in the United States have disclosed that their Gmail accounts have been compromised. They came forward after Google’s announcement of a sustained cyber attack on activists and other illicit accessing of accounts, but stressed that the problem goes back much further.
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Tibet: Stanford student was targeted in Google cyberattack
By: Mike Swift, Mercury News, January 14, 2010
When Tenzin Seldon, a 20-year-old sophomore at Stanford, logged onto her Gmail account from New York over winter break, she may have helped Google understand the widespread penetration of its network by unidentified hackers in China.
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South Korea’s “comfort women” stage 900th weekly protest
By: Bryan Farrell, Waging Nonviolence, January 14, 2010
Every Wednesday since 1992, a group of South Korean former World War II sex slaves and their supporters gather outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul to demand compensation and an official apology from Japan, which ran a system of military brothels before its surrender in 1945. At yesterday’s gathering, many people carried signs with the number 900, signifying the landmark number of protests these so-called “comfort women” and their supporters have staged over the last 17 years.
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China: Do no evil
By: Yang Jianli, Foreign Policy, January 13, 2010
Google’s announcement on Tuesday that it had detected “highly sophisticated” attacks on the email accounts of Chinese human rights activists clearly illustrates the consequences of a policy toward China based on a long-standing but faulty argument. For 30 years, Western commentators have argued that expanded human and political rights for Chinese citizens will automatically flow from increased engagement with China on economic and security issues, and other areas of mutual interest. But this thesis is not supported by history.
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South Korea: Seoul gives in to Beijing and expels Uyghur dissident
By: Asia News, January 12, 2010
The South Korean government is complying with Chinese requests at the expense of human rights, South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo warned as it reported the unjustified detention of Dolkun Isa, a German citizen who is also secretary general of the World Uyghur Congress.
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India can move the needle on Burma
By: Kelley Currie, WSJ, January 18, 2010
Burma is back in the news amid reports that the ruling military junta has set its upcoming “elections” for October 2010 and is making serious efforts to secure short-range ballistic missiles. Taken with the lack of results from the Obama administration’s attempted engagement with the junta, these developments highlight the need for stepped-up regional activism in favor of democracy in Burma, especially from its democratic neighbors.
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Free Papua Movement appoints new military commander
By: Radio New Zealand International, January 19, 2010
The Free Papua Movement, or the OPM, has approved the appointment of a new Supreme Commander of its military wing to replace the late Kelly Kwalik. Jeck Kemong has been appointed head of the West Papuan National Liberation Army, or the TPN, and will also take over the regional command of Nemang Kawi.
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Fiji cancels pensions of regime critics
By: Radio Australia, January 13, 2010
Fiji pensioners who criticise the coup installed interim government will have their pensions stopped. Interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama made the announcement on Radio Fiji on Wednesday morning.
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Fiji expels ‘apolitical’ Canberra woman
By: Markus Mannheim, Canberra Times, January 13, 2010
A Canberra economist who was expelled from Fiji this week believes the country deported her to retaliate against her husband. Padma Lal, whose husband Professor Brij Lal was expelled two months ago, was placed under guard in a Fiji hotel after she arrived at the airport on Monday night.
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Fiji regime bans church conference until 2014
By: AP, January 12, 2010
Fiji’s military-led government banned the country’s powerful Methodist Church on Wednesday from holding their annual conference until 2014, accusing church ministers of spying on the nation’s military for the government ousted in a 2006 coup.
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Guinean human rights group hails junta leader’s stand on elections
By: Africa News, January 19, 2010
The chair of the Guinean Human Rights Organisation (OGDH), Thierno Madjou Sow, has expressed satisfaction at the speech delivered last week-end in Ouagadougou by junta leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, urging his compatriots to support the acting president, Gen. Sekouba Konate.
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Human rights trainings in Nigeria
By: Vijaya Tripathi, Benenblog, January 18, 2010
As outreach coordinator for Martus, Benetech’s secure software application, I travel to many countries where human rights defenders need tools to gather, organize and back up information about human rights violations. Over the past few years, I have seen human rights groups become much more sophisticated about how they use technology to document human rights abuses.
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Africa ‘bleakest’ in freedom: survey
By: VOA, January 18, 2010
The US human rights monitoring group Freedom House says Africa ranks as the “bleakest” region in a bleak year in terms of political rights and civil liberties in 2009. But positive developments did take place in Burundi, Malawi, Togo, and Zimbabwe one country often cited as among the world’s least free.
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Kenya: Muslim youth group denied license to demonstrate
By: Galgalo Bocha, Daily Nation, January 18, 2010
Police in Mombasa on Monday turned down an application by a group of youths to hold a peaceful demonstration on Friday over the detention of Jamaican cleric Sheikh Abdallah Ibrahim Al-Faisal.
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Angola arrests a third rights activist in Cabinda
By: Henrique Almeida, Reuters, January 17, 2010
A leading human rights activist was arrested in Cabinda on Sunday, a lawyer said, as Angolan authorities continue their investigation into an attack there on Togo’s soccer team last week.
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Kenya protest turns deadly
By: Al Jazeera, January 16, 2010
At least six people have died after Kenyan police fired on protesters demanding the release of a Jamaican Muslim cleric, Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal, hospital sources have said. The demonstration was blocked by police as it approached the heart of the capital, Nairobi, after Friday prayers at a central mosque.
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UN rights chief criticizes proposed Uganda legislation against homosexuality
By: Steve Czajkowski, The Jurist, January 15, 2010
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday strongly criticized proposed legislation in Uganda which would implement harsh punishments for homosexual behavior, including the death penalty in some circumstances.
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Uganda: Demonstration not bad for democracy
By: The Observer, January 6, 2010
Government is subtly perfecting the art of suppressing the right to demonstrate against any form of injustice or disgruntlement. Freedoms of assembly, especially political rallies organised by the opposition, are almost outlawed.
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US: Bernard Lafayette – Rekindling the spirit of MLK
By:  Kristin Collins, News Observer, January 19, 2010
Just hours before his death, King told LaFayette that he wanted to take the philosophy of nonviolent resistance beyond the American civil rights movement, to institutionalize it around the world. More than four decades later, LaFayette is director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which has taught the tactics of peaceful resistance to militants in Nigeria, prisoners in Colombia and police officers, gang members and students across the United States.
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Martin Luther King Jr. built on American tradition of organization and protest
By: Johann N. Neem, Seattle Times, Jauary 17, 2010
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other Americans who participated in the civil-rights movement had to defend their right to organize and to speak in the face of intense, often violent resistance, writes Johann Neem. A free civil society is critical for citizens in a democracy.
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US: Thousands protest sheriff’s immigration efforts
By: Jacques Billeadap, Washington Post, January 17, 2010
Thousands of immigrant rights advocates marched in front of a county jail in Phoenix Saturday in a protest that was aimed at Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration efforts and was marked by a clash between a small group of protesters and police officers.
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US: A new immigrant revolution takes shape
By: Jane Guskin, Huffington Post, January 12, 2010
On January 1, five residents of South Florida stopped eating in a protest action. They are demanding that the Obama administration take measures now to put an end to the deportations that are separating families — at least until Congress can provide more permanent relief by fixing our harsh immigration laws.
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US: Jail for soldier writing rap song to protest his deployment to Iraq
By: Dave Lindorff, First Ammendment Coalition, January 10, 2010
In the ironically named Liberty County Jail since December 11 sits Army Specialist and Iraq War veteran Marc Hall, a rap musician who had the audacity to write a song attacking the Pentagon for subjecting him to a so-called stop-loss order after he had finished his Army tour and had returned from a posting in Iraq.
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