Nonviolent action around the world – 12 March 2010 (Part 1)

March 12, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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FSI 2010
ICNC is now accepting applications for the 2010 Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict at Tufts University. This week-long Institute, now in its fifth year, will run from June 20 – 26 and brings together international professionals and journalists from around the world to learn from top practitioners and scholars about strategic concepts and present applications of civil resistance.
View the flyer…
Download the application form…

As Fiji regime stays silent, concern grows over politician seized by soldiers
By: Radio New Zealand International, March 11, 2010
The Australia-based Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement has expressed its concern about a former parliamentarian, Peceli Rinakama, who has not been seen since last Friday. Reports say he was seized by soldiers, but the military and the interim government refuse to comment.
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Gambia row over wave of arrests
By: BBC News, March 11, 2010
An opposition leader has criticised a wave of arrests in The Gambia, saying detainees – including a former minister – do not know why they are being held.
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Nigeria women protest at Jos killings
By: BBC News, March 11, 2010
Hundreds of women have taken to the streets of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and the central city of Jos in rallies against Sunday’s massacre near Jos.
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We will fight for the soul of Nigeria
By: Tolu Ogunlesi, CNN, March 11, 2010
Nigeria is a strange country, a veritable laboratory of ironies. We are simultaneously one of the world’s most corrupt and most religious countries. But that litany of woes is not the whole story, or even the real one. The real story is not about the severity of Nigeria’s woes, but about the audacity of its people. We have therefore resolved to actively participate in the offline battle for the soul of Nigeria.
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Nigeria: Young people power
By: Tolu Ogunlesi, March 11, 2010
Where two or three young people are gathered, there is bound to be incurable enthusiasm, or frustration, if those young people happen to be Nigerian. We watch, helpless, as masses of youngsters – who should be holed up in the laboratories and research institutes, creating the wonder drugs and environment-friendly cars of tomorrow – now see a future only in the seven-and-half minutes of fame that a reality TV show will bring.
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UN says Congo rights situation remains ‘problematic’
By: Michael J. Kavanagh, Business Week, March 10, 2010
The human-rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains “extremely problematic,” said Navi Pillay, the United Nations’ human-rights commissioner. Improvements, which are “critical to achieving a well- functioning democracy, have been limited,” Pillay said in an e- mailed report that will be presented to the UN’s Human Rights Council on March 24.
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The subjugation of the people of Zimbabwe for the sake of power
By: Ben Freeth, SW Radio Africa, March 2010
Are Zimbabwe’s “Land Reform program,” “the new Indigenisation Laws” and “Political Subjugation of the People for Power,” the same thing? And what should people do about breaking the dictatorship so that Zimbabwe can be rebuilt on the right foundations?
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Internet restrictions curtail human rights, says US
By: BBC News, March 11, 2010
Many governments have used the internet to curtail freedom of expression at home, the US state department says in its latest annual human rights report.
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U.S. recognizes Afghans, Iranian as among ‘International Women of Courage’
By: Heather Maher, RFE, March 11, 2010
Ten extraordinary women have been recognized by the U.S. State Department in a ceremony in Washington. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared alongside first lady Michelle Obama to praise the group of women that she and her staff have chosen as this year’s International Women of Courage.
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US: Human rights defenders receive the International Women of Courage Award
By: Amnesty International, March 10, 2010
Three women, whose courageous efforts to defend human rights were highlighted by Amnesty International, were honored today by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the annual International Women of Courage Award Ceremony.
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US: Students to ‘come out’ as undocumented
By: Chicago Public Radio, March 10, 2010
Today a group of undocumented Chicago students is trying to break a stalemate in the nation’s immigration debate. We report from our West Side bureau. The students are frustrated that President Barack Obama isn’t pushing harder for an immigration overhaul. They’re leading a march in downtown Chicago this afternoon.
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US: U.N. Security Council action required immediately
By: US Campaign for Burma, March 10, 2010
The United States Campaign for Burma today strongly denounces the military regime in Burma that has ruled the Southeast Asian country for nearly five decades, for its failure to release all political prisoners, including 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and banning them from participating in the upcoming election.
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Archival documentary evidence of Mexico’s human rights abuses
By: National Security Archive, March 10, 2010
A Mexican human rights activist who was orphaned in infancy when her parents disappeared at the hands of government forces filed a petition before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) yesterday, drawing on dozens of declassified U.S. and Mexican documents as evidence. Today the National Security Archive is posting a selection of the documents being used in the case, obtained by the Archive through the Freedom of Information Act and from the Mexican government.
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US lifts web sanctions on Cuba, Iran and Sudan
By: Daniel Nasaw, The Guardian, March 9, 2010
The US yesterday said it will allow export of instant messaging, web browsing and other communications technology to Cuba, Iran and Sudan, in an effort to facilitate the flow of information and promote freedom of speech.
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Read Department of the Treasury’s press release…

US: Web firms under fire to protect human rights
By: Amy Schatz, WSJ, March 2, 2010
U.S. technology companies came under fire on Capitol Hill Tuesday for bowing to pressure by foreign governments to censor or block Internet sites in countries like Iran or China. Companies argue that the laws of the countries in which they operate sometimes require censorship or Web-site restrictions.
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US: Philadelphia activists rally and risk arrest to tell the EPA no more mountaintop removal mining
By: Ruckus Society, March 1, 2010
This morning activists in Philadelphia descended upon their Regional EPA branch to put an end to Mountaintop Removal mining (MTR). Decisions made here in Philly have devastating consequences for Appalachian communities and our country as a whole.
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Journalist shot dead in Honduras
By: Monster and Critics, March 12, 2010
Honduran journalist David Meza was gunned down in his hometown of La Ceiba, according to local media reports. The 51-year-old radio and television journalist was shot in his car late Thursday as he tried to escape his attackers while metres from his house in the coastal town about 200 kilometres north of the capital, Tegucigalpa, the online edition of La Tribuna reported.
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Lula irks friends and foes by comparing Cuban dissidents to criminals
By: Brazzil Mag, March 12, 2010
The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has become entangled in a controversy for having compared Cuban political prisoners with jailed criminals and was even severely criticized by members of his own party.
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Cuban dissident seeks “humanitarian gesture” from Raul Castro
By: Latin American Herald Tribune, March 12, 2010
Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas, who has been on a hunger strike for the past 14 days, on Tuesday asked President Raul Castro to make a “humanitarian gesture” in favor of ailing political prisoners.
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Ailing Cuban hunger striker refuses treatment again
By: AFP, March 11, 2010
A Cuban dissident journalist on a hunger strike for two weeks was diagnosed as suffering from heart arrhythmia and severe dehydration but again refused hospitalization, a spokesman said Wednesday.
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Honduras opposition calls for day to mark coup anniversary
By: Morning Star, March 10, 2010
Honduras’s National People’s Resistance Front (NPRF) has declared that the opposition would organise a referendum calling for a constitutional assembly to mark the anniversary of the coup that ousted former leader Manuel Zelaya.
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Exposed: Chevron’s cover-up of gross environmental abuses in Ecuador
By: AlterNet, March 8, 2010
What is a lost culture? Is it just some intangible time before? Is it an economy? Can you inventory a lost culture in the number of lives lost or rivers polluted? Chevron claims it’s not responsible for dumping 18 billion gallons of industrial wastewater into the Amazon. A local leader says otherwise.
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A consolidation of democracy in Colombia
By: David Schoeller-Diaz, International Affairs Review, March 7, 2010
Over 10,000 phone messages reportedly arrived at the Colombian Presidential Palace within 24 hours of the long awaited Constitutional Court ruling, which barred President Álvaro Uribe from seeking a second reelection. Coming from the Press Chief, we can accept the figure as embellished, but nonetheless, it points to the strong emotions involved.
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Venezuelan official disputes report on human rights abuses
By: CNN, February 25, 2010
Venezuela’s top human rights official on Thursday disputed findings of a report issued by an Organization of American States commission, and accused the panel of unfairly distorting statistics to show a pattern of political repression and abuses by the government.
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Ukraine’s election and the future of democracy
By: Washington Note, March 10, 2010
Like the Iraqi vote, the Ukrainian one was closely watched by international observers and domestic officers. For Ukraine, the elections were peaceful and smooth. International monitors declared the poll clean and observers around the world applauded Viktor Yanukovich’s peaceful transition to power, hailing his inauguration on February 25, 2010, as a symbol of Ukraine’s strengthening democracy.
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Russia: Grozny, rebuilt, fearful and (almost) forgotten by the West
By: Tanya Lokshina, Open Democracy, March 10, 2010
Downtown Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, is ablaze with lights and full of chic shops now. But the paralysing fear remains. Human Rights Watch’s Tanya Lokshina and her Memorial colleagues tell a rare visitor from the West about the kidnappings, about the relatives too fearful to complain.
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Tide of protest engulfs more Russian cities
By: Claire Bigg, RFE, March 10, 2010
Tatyana, a 50-year-old preschool teacher in the central Russian city of Penza, must now spend 5,000 rubles ($168) per month on water, gas, and electricity. This leaves her with just 2,300 rubles ($77) to feed her two teenage children and her husband, an invalid whose health problems prevent him from working. Panicked, Tatyana decided to take to the street. She joined a rally in Penza organized by the opposition this past weekend to protest worsening living conditions and call for the ouster of local leaders. As many as 10,000 people rallied in Kaliningrad in January.
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Turkish reporters unite to protest YouTube ban
By: Clothilde Le Coz, PBS, March 9, 2010
The Turkish courts banned YouTube in May 2008, and now a new protest campaign launched by the editorial team of the Milliyet newspaper is drawing attention to how long the country has been prevented from using the website.
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UK: Environmental activists may soon benefit from “paradox of repression”
By: Bryan Farrell, Waging Nonviolence, March 9, 2010
According to The Guardian, the head of a right wing group known as the Young Britons’ Foundation has called for trespassing environmental activists to be “shot down” by police. His words are more than just bluster, however, considering that the Young Britons’ Foundation is in the business of training Tory parliamentary candidates.
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Azerbaijan court rejects ‘donkey video’ bloggers’ appeal
By: Emil Guliyev, AFP, March 10, 2010
An Azerbaijani court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by two bloggers jailed after satirizing the government with an Internet video that showed a donkey giving a press conference, their lawyer said.
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Tajikistan: Independent newspapers prosecuted
By: Suhrob Majidov, CACI Analyst, March 3, 2010
On February 23, a preliminary hearing took place in a lawsuit against three independent weekly newspapers and a lawyer that were accused of libel for publishing the content of a press conference.The judges demanded to defend their honor and dignity and to recoup moral damage at a total amount of 5,5 million somoni (approximately US$1,2 million).
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Transparency International calls for protection of civil society organisations in Sri Lanka
By: Transparency International, March 11, 2010
Transparency International (TI) is alarmed by the intimidation tactics and public allegations threatening civil society organisations in Sri Lanka, and in particular those against the TI chapter, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL). Transparency International appeals to the Government of Sri Lanka to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of Weliamuna and all other officials and staff of TISL.
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Six killed in attack on World Vision office in Pakistan
By: BBC News, March 10, 2010
Militants have attacked the office of a Western aid agency in north-western Pakistan, killing six people, police and the agency have said. The victims, including two women, were all Pakistani nationals working for World Vision in Mansehra district.
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Burma’s leaders annul Suu Kyi’s 1990 poll win
By: BBC News, March 11, 2010
Burma’s leaders have formally annulled the National League for Democracy’s 1990 election win, under laws enacted for polls expected later this year.
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Burmese opposition displeased with electoral law
By: Mizzima, March 11, 2010
Burma’s military rulers on Tuesday announced the Electoral Law for its planned general election to be held later this year. But the country’s main opposition party, National League for Democracy (NLD), said the Electoral Law is yet another set of rules to ensure the election is neither free nor fair and instead conducted primarily to further the regime’s interests. Mizzima was able to contact NLD legal advisers Nyan Win and Aung Thein to gain further insight into the position of the political opposition.
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Vietnam: Dissident lawyer detained, freed
By: Cathnews Asia, March 11, 2010
A Vietnamese Christian lawyer, detained for four hours shortly after her release from three years in prison, has been freed, Church sources say.
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Vietnam dissident vows to carry on struggle after prison
By: AFP, March 10, 2010
A Vietnamese lawyer and dissident vowed on Wednesday to carry on her struggle for democracy days after leaving jail, where she spent three years for challenging the Communist authorities.
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Burma, frozen in tyranny
By: Financial Times, March 10, 2010
The end of the cold war unfroze deadlocked political situations all over the world. But political freedom did not advance everywhere in 1989. Most obviously that was the year that the Chinese government sent the tanks into Tiananmen Square. And 1989 was also the year that Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest in Burma. Who would have believed that twenty-one years later, this heroic woman would still be a political prisoner?
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New law barring Burma opposition leader condemned
By: AP, March 10, 2010
A decision by Myanmar’s military junta to bar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from upcoming elections drew sharp criticism from around the world, with one of the country’s Southeast Asian allies Thursday calling it “a complete farce.”
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Burma: Election laws may shut down opposition parties
By: Human Rights Watch, March 10, 2010
Newly issued laws in preparation for 2010 elections in Burma are designed to exclude the main opposition party and ensure a victory for the ruling military, Human Rights Watch said today.
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Burma bans imprisoned dissidents from up-coming elections
By: Mizzima, March 9, 2010
In preparation for the upcoming national election set to take place this year, Burma’s military regime has issued a political party registration law which severely restricts the rights of political parties.
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Burma: Meet the badass group battling a monstrous regime responsible for waging the world’s longest-running war
By: Mac McClelland, AlterNet, March 9, 2010
Mac McClelland went to Thailand to volunteer and ended up living with refugees from Burma. They turned out to be survivors of a nearly unreported genocide the Burmese army is currently waging against an ethnic minority, in retaliation for ethnic insurgents’ fighting a war against the government for the last sixty years.
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Burma: Citizen-journalist sentenced to 13 years for non-existent illegal video footage
By: Asian Human Rights Commission, March 4, 2010
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has obtained the details of the case against a journalist who has been imprisoned in Burma for sending video footage abroad. Ngwe Soe Linn was sentenced to 13 years in jail for supposedly sending illegal clips and going illegally into Thailand, even though there was no evidence against him for either of the charges, and despite the fact that he was tried in a closed court in violation of the domestic law.
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