Nonviolent Action around the World – 15 July 2009 (Part 2)

July 15, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
North Korea tightening its restrictions on markets, food aid
By: Blaine Harden, Washington Post, July 14, 2009
As it noisily goads the outside world with missiles and a nuclear test, North Korea is quietly tightening screws at home. State controls over the lives of North Koreans have become more onerous this year, and operations of international aid agencies have been shackled. The government of Kim Jong Il is moving aggressively to reel in private markets by limiting what they can sell, reducing their hours of operation and shutting some down.
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UN chief urges Burma to hold ‘fair’ election
By: CNN, July 14, 2009
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Myanmar authorities that they must deliver on a “free and fair” election in 2010. The statement came Monday as Ban briefed the U.N. Security Council about his recent trip to Myanmar. During the two-day trip earlier this month, the secretary-general met with authorities and asked them to immediately release all political prisoners, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
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Burma ‘to free some prisoners’
By: Al Jazeera, July 14, 2009
Burma’s military government is to free some political prisoners under an amnesty and allow them to participate in next year’s elections, the country’s ambassador to the UN has said. Speaking at the UN Security Council in New York on Monday, Than Swe did not say how many political prisoners would be released or when, or whether opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi would be among those freed.
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China: Photos – Increase in security in Uighur region
By: NY Times, July 14, 2009
The Chinese government visibly strengthened the police and military presence Wednesday on the streets of Urumqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Unrest on the region has grown since a riot on Sunday in which 156 people died.
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China: Unrest in Xinjiang – Where’s the Muslim outrage?
By: Matthew Clark, CS Monitor, July 13, 2009
Shhhh! I think I just heard a pin drop. Nope. It’s just more deafening silence from the Muslim Street in the wake of last week’s ethnic riot that killed more than 184 in China’s restive Xinjiang Province, home to the Uighurs, a Muslim minority group. According to the Chinese government, the majority of the victims in the riot were Han Chinese, attacked by Uighurs who’ve complained for decades about being marginalized, abused, neglected, and oppressed ever since former Communist leader Mao Zedong launched a campaign to flood Xinjiang with Han Chinese in 1960s.
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Burma: Face of the day
By: Chris Bodenner, The Atlantic, July 13, 2009
Shepard Fairey honors imprisoned Prime Minister-elect Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma: “Aung San Suu Kyi is the Nelson Mandela of Asia,” said Jack Healey, the head of the Human Rights Action Center. “Shepard’s tribute to her will remind the world she is the rightful leader of Burma in a powerful way.”
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China: Q&A with Uighur spiritual leader Rebiya Kadeer
By: Robert Marquand, CS Monitor, July 12, 2009
In a wide-ranging phone interview, the mother figure of some 20 million Uighurs says China’s official depiction of the ethnic group as terrorists after 9/11 is worse than its policies to restrict language and religion. She says Chinese leaders’ call for harsh measures, including execution of protesters, will have “dangerous consequences for China and for the Uighur people.”
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Injured toll from China riots raised to 1,680
By: AFP, July 12, 2009
State media says the Xinjiang government has raised the injured toll in last week’s riots in the restive Chinese region to 1,680. The official Xinhua News Agency said Sunday the number of people wounded during the ethnic violence that broke out July 5 in the regional capital of Urumqi has increased by nearly 600 from a previous total of more than 1,100, according to the government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
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China: The discovery of the Uyghurs
By: Henryk Szadziewski, openDemocracy, July 10, 2009
Anyone working on Uyghur human-rights concerns becomes used to a degree of surprise and unpredictability. I should have been ready, then, for the descent of the world’s media on our small offices at the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) – and, despite the tragic events in Urumqi, glad of the wave of attention to matters that are routinely neglected.
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Burma: Closed-door Suu Kyi trial resumes
By: Truthout, July 10, 2009
The widely condemned trial of Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi resumed on Friday, a week after the country’s military rulers ignored a plea from the United Nations chief to drop security charges against her. Yangon’s Northern District Court heard testimony from legal expert Khin Moe Moe, Suu Kyi’s one remaining defense witness, legal sources said.
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China: Clampdown on Uyghur cities
By: Radio Free Asia, July 9, 2009
Chinese security forces imposed an uneasy peace on several major cities in the restive Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) Thursday, with residents reporting a heavy security presence in Kashgar and Ili prefectures. Police and armored vehicles were patrolling the streets of Gulja (in Chinese, Yining), capital of the Ili Kazakh Prefecture, residents said. “Now the situation in Gulja city is very tense,” one Uyghur man said.
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China curbs, blocks websites
By: Radio Free Asia, July 8, 2009
Authorities in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have blocked access to certain key government Web sites around the region, which has been rocked in recent days by ethnic violence. The Web sites of the regional government and all regional state-run media were inaccessible from outside Xinjiang on Wednesday. Municipal Web sites and official radio, television stations, and newspapers in Urumqi, Kashgar, Ili, and Hotan cities were also offline.
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China’s silent crackdown on rights advocates
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, June 26, 2009
The stifling of independent voices through apparently administrative procedures instead of nakedly repressive measures is a common feature of the new authoritarians’ distinctive backlash against democracy. China’s communist state provides the latest example, targeting lawyers who have taken up – and even won – too many human rights, labor and religious freedom cases for the authorities’ liking.
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TOP
 

CENTRAL ASIA
Slain Kyrgyz journalist buried; probe likely
By: RFE/RL, July 13, 2009
Independent journalist Almaz Tashiev has been buried in southern Kyrgyzstan one day after succumbing to injuries suffered in a beating, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports. Tashiev, who worked for the independent newspaper “Agym” (Stream), was buried in his home village of Jar-Korgon in the Nookat district of the Osh region. Tashiev, 32, told RFE/RL while he was in hospital with massive internal injuries that he was severely beaten by drunken policemen after an argument.
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Azerbaijan: Youth activist, prominent blogger imprisoned after trial behind closed doors
By: Onnik Krikorian, Global Voices, July 11, 2009
In what might be the first case of a prominent blogger being assaulted and detained in the South Caucasus, two youth activists were yesterday imprisoned for two months pre-trial investigative detention in what many consider to be a travesty of justice. Denied access to the trial held behind closed doors, one Facebook status line update reported that the German Human Rights Ombudsperson, coincidentally in Baku at the time, considered its conduct to be in violation of Azerbaijan’s international commitments.
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Azerbaijani activists denied release before trial
By: RFE/RL, July 11, 2009
Two youth activists, Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada, have been ordered in a closed court hearing to be held in detention for two months until the next hearing in their trial, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service reports. Judge Rauf Ahmedov on July 10 also dismissed an appeal to allow journalists, human rights activists, and foreign diplomats to attend the trial, “in violation of international conventions,” according to their lawyer, Isakhan Ashurov.
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Azerbaijan: Civil society wins – for now
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, July 2, 2009
Azerbaijan’s civil society has won at least a temporary victory in blocking proposed amendments to the NGO and media laws that many feared would close political space and harden the Caspian state’s purportedly soft authoritarianism. The final draft dropped controversial provisions that significantly impeded foreign funding, required NGOs to disclose members; personal details, and prescribed harsh punishments for non-compliance.
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EUROPE
France: The new insurrectional thinking
By: Nicolas Truong, Truthout, July 7, 2009
Put on sale in March 2007 by the publishing house La Fabrique and with over 27,000 copies already sold, “L’insurrection qui vient” [“The Coming Insurrection”] (7 Euros), authored by the mysterious “Invisible Committee,” is poised to become a real best seller. Its popularity also owes much to the active complicity of the government which has taken this invitation to “block everything” and to “form communes” by a possible “take-up of arms” quite seriously.
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UK: Police handling of protests ‘needs national overhaul’
By: Paul Lewis, Sandra Laville and Peter Walker, Guardian, July 7, 2009
There should be a national overhaul of the policing of protests that reasserts the state’s obligation to allow lawful demonstrations, a scathing report into how the Metropolitan police handled the G20 protests recommended today. Advocating major reforms in the way such marches are handled, Denis O’Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, said national tactics for policing protest were “inadequate” and belonged to a “different era.”
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Hungary: Rallying for Iran – and for “Nothing, Never”
By: Marietta Le, Global Voices, July 2, 2009
On June 19, about a hundred of Iranian students studying in Hungary held a silent commemoration at Heroes’ Square in Budapest, the Hungarian capital. The rally had been organised via Facebook. A second demonstration, by Hungarian supporters, took place in front of the Iranian Embassy in Budapest on June 21: it was called the Green Flashmob.
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Wanted: A new approach to EU democracy assistance
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, June 10, 2009
When it comes to promoting democracy, Europe’s rich diversity can be a benefit, but also a bane. “There is a need for more coherence and complementarity among the various policies, instruments and pillars of the EU and the Member States in order to strengthen their impact,” notes the report of the recent Prague conference on developing a European consensus on democracy.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Saudi court sentences hundreds
By: Al Jazeera, July 14, 2009
A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced 323 people for links to anti-government groups in the first publicly reported trials in the kingdom since the attacks in 2003. The court gave verdicts against 289 Saudis and 41 foreigners, the state news agency SPA said on Monday, without disclosing their nationalities. Sentences ranged from a few months to 30 years.
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Palestine: ‘Revolution until victory’
By: Al Jazeera, July 13, 2009
Filmmaker Omar al-Issawi spent five years making his documentary on the history of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. In that time, he conducted 150 hours of interviews on four continents – including the last ‘historical’ interview with Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader, and the first interviews with key operatives from the Black September Organisation. In the following account, he discusses the making of PLO: History of a Revolution.
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Palestine: A campaign like never before
By: Ayesha Saldanha, Global Voices, July 12, 2009
A campaign was launched earlier this year, at the time of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, to promote the concept of taking pride in Palestinian resistance, and to focus on Palestinian rights not victimhood. Called the Never Before Campaign, it is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has produced a series of videos to convey its message. Global Voices Online has interviewed the Never Before Campaign to find out more.
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Syrian jail riot causes concern
By: Human Rights Tribune, July 10, 2009
Rastanawi, a prominent member of a Syrian human rights organisation serving four years in jail for the offences of spreading false news and insulting the president, is believed to be in poor health, according to one human rights advocate. Some activists even say that he might have been killed during the violent mutiny at the jail that took place a year ago, said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the extreme sensitivity of the topic. Officials have given no explanation of why Rastanawi is still in custody.
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Israeli army raids on Bil’in village
By: Tadamon!, July 9, 2009
Israeli army forces are launching night-time military raids on a Bil’in village in Palestine. “Almost every night the Israeli military is invading our village and arresting people, especially the youth who are participating in the demonstrations. They are attempting to punish us Palestinians for demanding our rights, for our popular movement in Bil’in,” explains Mohammed Khatib, of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in.
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Biden Israel-Iran statements cause storm of regional responses
By: Stuart Whatley, Huffington Post, July 7, 2009
The effects of Vice President Joe Biden’s recent remarks during an interview –where he implied that Israel has a sovereign right to defend itself against a nuclear-inclined Iran, irrespective of US demands or guidance–continued to ripple through the region with statements from a leading Iranian official. According to Al Jazeera, Iranian Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani made clear Monday that the US, more so than Israel, would be the one held in censure for an Israeli attack, and he vowed a “decisive and painful” Iranian response.
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OCEANIA
Al Jazeera pulls film about nonviolent struggle in West Papua
By: Jason MacLeod, Scoop, July 10, 2009
Recently, I watched Pride of Warriors, a documentary about resistance in West Papua. The film maker, Jono Van Hest had asked me to comment on the film’s content as he prepared it for public broadcast by Al Jazeera. Then, after an article about the film appeared in the Jakarta Post it was suddenly pulled-off air, allegedly under duress by the Indonesian government, only days before the film was about to premiere.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Las mujeres iraníes, en primera línea
By: Thomas Muller, Diario de Jerez, July 13, 2009
Tienen una buena formación y especialmente mucho que perder: desde el inicio de las protestas contra la controvertida victoria electoral del presidente ultraconservador iraní, Mahmud Ahmadineyad, han sido sobre todo las mujeres las que han dado un nuevo impulso a la resistencia contra el régimen de los ayatolás. La joven Neda Agha-Soltan, que murió ante las cámaras, o la esposa del político reformista Mir Husein Mousavi, Sahra Rahnaward, ponen cara a la oposición.
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Golpe por golpe
By: Diego García-Sayán, Inter-American Dialogue, July 3, 2009
Lo occurrido dias despues del golpe de Estado en Honduras tiene tremenda inportancia para la defensa de los principios democraticos y las relaciones interamericanas. Tema aparte, y distinto, es si en el ejercicio de su funcion como presidente de Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, pudo haber incurrido en excesos.
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NOTICES
Call for essays: Human rights essay award 2010
By: Craig Zelizer, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, deadline February 1, 2010
The Human Rights Essay Award is an annual competition sponsored by the Academy and seeks to stimulate the production of scholarly work in international human rights law. Participants have the flexibility to choose any subject related to the assigned topic. The Honor Jury deciding the Award will be comprised of professionals with a recognized expertise in international human rights law. The best articles may be published in the American University International Law Review.
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IN PAST NEWS
Arab states drag human rights council to the brink of disaster
By: Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, June 19, 2009
The 11th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), from 2-19 June, witnessed a barrage of attacks leveled at the Council’s credibility and effectiveness, which were largely initiated or lead by Arab League and Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) member states, said the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) today. “I am afraid such attacks, while exceptionally strong this session, are not surprising,” said Moataz El Fegiery, Executive Director of CIHRS.
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Israel: Boycott, divest, sanction
By: Naomi Klein, Naomi Klein.org, January 8, 2009
The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions-BDS for short-was born.
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