Nonviolent action around the world – 17 November 2009 (Part 2)

November 17, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Uzbekistan: Free human rights defender
By: Human Rights Watch, November 16, 2009
Uzbek authorities should immediately release the human rights defender and farmers’ rights activist Ganikhon Mamatkhanov, who is facing trial on politically motivated charges, Human Rights Watch said today. Mamatkhanov has regularly provided commentary on the human rights situation in Ferghana, in eastern Uzbekistan, to Radio Ozodlik, the Uzbek branch of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
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Azerbaijan: Reaction to lack of media attention on Azerbaijan bloggers’ trial
By: Dodka, Global Voices Online, November 15, 2009
Following last week’s sentence on two video bloggers in Azerbaijan, some blogs in neighboring Georgia have posted critical entries condemning the arrest, trial and imprisonment of Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli. This also extends to the relative lack of coverage on the case in the local mainstream media as Dv0rsky notes angrily.
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Council of Europe head ‘very concerned’about human rights in Azerbaijan
By: Eurasianet, November 14, 2009
A Baku court this week sentenced two young Azerbaijani bloggers, Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli, to two and 2 1/2 years in prison on hooliganism charges, in a case that has brought international attention to declining media freedoms in the oil-rich South Caucasus state. Western governments and international organizations like the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have strongly condemned the case against Milli and Hajizada.
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Barack Obama criticises internet censorship at meeting in China
By: Tania Branigan, The Guardian, November 16, 2009
Barack Obama criticised internet censorship as he spoke to students in Shanghai today and praised freedom of expression and political participation. The US president told the gathering of 400 young people that his country regarded such liberties as universal values. But he stopped short of direct reference to human rights abuses in China, as some activists had urged.
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China detains dissidents ahead of US visit
By: AFP, November 14, 2009
Chinese police have detained dozens of dissidents and political reform advocates ahead of US President Barack Obama’s first visit to China, according to family members and human rights activists. The crackdown comes as human rights groups worry that Mr Obama, who arrived in China on Sunday, will play down China’s poor human rights record in order to get cooperation from Beijing on issues such as climate change, trade and the economy.
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Open letter to President Obama by Chinese political dissident
By: Shao Jiang, Amnesty International, November 13, 2009
I am a former political prisoner from China living in exile in London. Learning that you are visiting Beijing in the near future, I ask you to take concrete actions and speak up against the deteriorating human rights record of the Chinese regime. I urge you to stand by your obligation to press the Chinese Communist regime to abide by its own promises regarding international human rights standards.
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The 5th Chinese blogger conference: Micropower and a broader world
By: Oiwan Lam, Global Voices Online, November 12, 2009
The 5th Chinese blogger conference took place last weekend in a rural county Lianzhou in northern part of Guangdong province. Despite the inconvenient traffic, there were around 150 participants from China and overseas attended the conference. The conference slogan this year is “Micropower and a broader world”, the organizing committee explained.
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Tibet: Response to China’s white paper
By: UNPO, November 13, 2009
On 27 September 2009, the Chinese government issued a white paper on its nationalities policy. This is the third white paper on the minority nationalities. The latest white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council, the Chinese cabinet, comes in the wake of the most sustained and widespread protests in both Tibet and Xinjiang in 2008 and 2009, respectively. These protests, growing out of economic marginalisation and racial discrimination, were mercilessly suppressed with unprecedented military force.
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Human rights situation inside Tibet
By: Free Tibet, November 4, 2009
China has 154 ethnic autonomous areas including five provincial-level autonomous regions, namely, Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Guangzi, 30 autonomous prefectures, and 119 autonomous counties. In response to pro-independence demonstrations in Tibet during the late eighties, the PRC authorities embarked on “economic and cultural integration of ethnic minorities”.
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Burma: Suu Kyi requests talks with junta chief
By: F. Wade and T. Soe, DVB, November 16, 2009
Detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has requested a rare meeting with the leader of the country’s ruling junta, Than Shwe, in a letter sent last week to the capital Naypyidaw. It is the second letter in a month that Suu Kyi has sent to Than Shwe, who has presided over the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) since 1992.
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Burma: Junta continues suppressing freedom of expression
By: Mungpi, Mizzima, November 14, 2009
An international and a Burmese press freedom watchdogs on Friday condemned Burma’s military regime for a recent arrest of journalists and bloggers and reminded the international community not to neglect the regime’s continued suppression of freedom of expression. Paris-based Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) and its partner, Burma Media Association (BMA), in a press statement, expressed concern for the recently arrested Burmese blogger Win Zaw Naing, saying he is facing a possible 15 years jail sentence for posting pictures of the 2007 September protests in the military-ruled Southeast Asian nation.
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Burma: Monks boycott junta chief in Sri Lanka
By: Htet Aung Kyaw, DVB, November 13, 2009
Burmese monks living in Sri Lanka have said they will enact a boycott of religious services for the visiting Burmese junta chief in protest against mistreatment of monks in Burma. Senior General Than Shwe, who has presided over the ruling military government since 1992, this week made a rare visit to Sri Lanka. U Awbartha, a member of the Burmese Scholar Monks Association in Sri Lanka, said that the normally apolitical monk community would deny religious services, a practice known as Pattanikkujjana, for Than Shwe.
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Activists urge halt to Burma tourism
By: Yee May Aung, Democratic Voice of Burma, November 13, 2009
The debate over whether tourists should travel to Burma or not has reignited in Britain as Burmese activists yesterday demonstrated at the World Travel Market Exhibition in London. “We are staging this protest to oppose travelling to Burma,” said Leim Nu of the Free Burma Federation, adding that the demonstrations were joined by various groups, such as Burma Campaign UK. Advocates of a boycott of tourism to Burma say that there is evidence the Burmese government uses forced labour in the construction of tourist resorts.
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Global lobby for West Papua takes off
By: Ilya Gridneff, The Age, November 13, 2009
Three Papua New Guinea politicians have joined an international campaign to support West Papuans persecuted by Indonesian authorities. The PNG MPs reignited the controversial issue on Friday one week before the Indonesian government starts repatriating up to 700 West Papuans who live in PNG’s capital Port Moresby or towns along the shared border.
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Human rights group questions over extrajudicial killing of Papuan
By: Free West Papua, November 12, 2009
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is concerned that no one has been held accountable for the shooting of indigenous Papuan Mr. Opinus Tabuni over a year ago during a military operation, and no progress has been seen in the investigation. Mr. Tabuni was shot dead in Wamena during a celebration of the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, after a peaceful demonstration took place.
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Gabonese government suspends multiple publications
By: Ricci Shryock, VOA, November 16, 2009
Gabon’s National Communications Council has suspended at least six publications for what it says are ethical violations of journalism. Press freedom groups in West Africa and the United States have condemned the Gabon council’s actions. Less than three months after the election of president Ali Bongo, the government-controlled media-monitoring body in Gabon has suspended six private newspapers.
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Nigeria: Concern, anger over new anti-media bill
By: All Africa, November 16, 2009
Ten years after the Nigerian mass media survived brutal military dictatorships, a bill is now before the House of Representatives seeking to curtail press freedom and teleguide the practice of journalism in the country. Legislators claim the bill would enhance the practice of journalism but it has been roundly condemned by the Nigerian Guild of Editors which described it as totally unnecessary for the profession and the Nigerian public.
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Zimbabwe: Lawyers protest increasing state intimidation
By: Alex Bell, SWRA, November 16, 2009
Scores of lawyers gathered in Harare on Monday to protest the increasing intimidation tactics being used by the state against them, as they try to defend various human rights activists in the country. From the High Court the lawyers marched to Chinamasa’s offices to hand over a petition, calling for an end to the ongoing harassment of lawyers and rights defenders alike.
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Zimbabwe: Arrested unionists remain in custody

By: Patricia Mpofu, Zim Online, November 12, 2009
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Lovemore Matombo and four other unionists spent the fourth day in jail on Wednesday after police successfully applied to court for permission to keep the unionists in detention pending trial. Matombo, Michael Kandukutu, Percy Mncijo, Dumisani Ncube and Nhawu Ndlovu were last Sunday arrested in Victoria Falls while addressing members of the labour union for allegedly convening a public meeting without clearance from the police.
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New Greenpeace chief has fought apartheid, poverty
By: Donna Bryson, News9, November 16, 2009
An African took over as director of Greenpeace Monday, bringing experience honed as a teenage opponent of white rule in South Africa and a network of powerful contacts to the battle against global warming. Greenpeace was founded 38 years ago by activists who wanted to stop the United States from conducting underground nuclear tests in a region off Alaska that harbored endangered sea otters…
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International PEN marks Day of the Imprisoned Writer
By: RFE, November 15, 2009
International PEN — the worldwide association of writers — marks the Day of the Imprisoned Writer this time each year. Its aim is to recognize and support writers who resist repression of their basic human right to freedom of expression. While International PEN campaigns on behalf of hundreds of authors all year round, this November 15 the group is highlighting the cases of five authors in five countries, representing five geographical regions.
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World finally agrees to ambitious anti-corruption protocol
By: David Lepeska, The National, November 14, 2009
Corruption costs Africa US$150 billion (Dh550bn) every year, results in an annual $1.6 trillion in laundered money worldwide and threatens the very existence of Afghanistan. Yet gaining agreement from 142 nations on a common policing policy took six years, three conferences and more than a dozen days of talks in three countries. Only at the last hour on the last day of the most recent conference, Friday night in Doha, did countries agree on an anti-corruption protocol.
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A broader network for digital activism
By: Digi Active, November 12, 2009
The promise of digital activism is to crowdsource global political transformation by giving ordinary citizens around the world the ability to more effectively campaign for social and political causes. The collective result of these campaigns would be a global closing of the gap between the powerful and powerless and a fundamental shift in political life around the world.
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Media relations and good practices in awareness-raising campaigns
By: Fumiko Nagano, World Bank, November 11, 2009
Yesterday, CommGAP and UNODC co-hosted a side event during the Third Conference of the State Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption, taking place this week in Doha, Qatar. Entitled, “Media Relations and Good Practices in Awareness-Raising Campaigns,” the event consisted of two sessions, focusing on the importance of media relations for an anti-corruption agency to get its message across to the public and generate public support, and of awareness raising campaigns to engage the public in the fight against corruption.
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Nonviolent struggle and religious pacifism not wed together
By: Philippe Duhamel, New Tactics, November 9, 2009
“An apostle of nonviolence.” “Preaching nonviolence”. We hear these expressions so often, we don’t question them. But there is a crucial difference between soporific preachifying and nonviolent action. So let’s clear this up. The fact that people come to struggle using nonviolent methods has nothing to do with faith or a hardcore belief in nonviolence as a panacea for the world. Most of those who have used nonviolent tactics successfully didn’t even call them nonviolent.
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Honduras: “L’attitude de certains médias lors du coup d’État a jeté le discrédit sur l’ensemble de la profession”
By: RSF, November 13, 2009
Geovanny Domínguez, directeur de la rédaction du quotidien Diario Tiempo à Tegucigalpa, a accordé un entretien à Reporters sans frontières au cours d’une mission effectuée au Honduras du 1er au 7 novembre 2009, rassemblant au total sept organisations internationales de défense de la liberté de la presse. Cette initiative commune donnera lieu à la publication d’un rapport, le 23 novembre prochain.
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Columbia: Bailaron “Thriller” para protestar en Universidad Tecnólogica de Pereira
By: City TV, November 10, 2009
Un total de 300 estudiantes disfrazados de zombies se manifestaron en contra de lo que, para ellos, es la muerte de la educación pública. Martes 10 de Noviembre de 2009.
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Espacios culturales que acomodan el activismo y refuerzan el compromiso dentro de sus comunidades
By: New Tactics, October 22, 2009
El diálogo de New Tactics llamado “Espacios culturales que acomodan el activismo y refuerzan el compromiso dentro de sus comunidades” se centró en los varios mecanismos que estos centros emplean para apoyar a activistas en peligro, integrar ideas de derechos humanos dentro de nuestros entendimientos teóricos del activismo, y tomar contacto con sus comunidades. El diálogo comenzó con una conversación sobre lo que constituye el activismo.
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People Power and Unarmed Resistance (Review)
By: Stellan Vinthagen, Resistance Studies, November 15, 2009
Transnational solidarity can be crucial for movements of nonviolent struggle- in helping them emerge, in accessing contacts and resources, and in applying leverage on a regime or corporation. However, some “transnational advocacy networks” have been criticised for “taking over” from local organisers and ultimately having a disempowering impact.
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Iranian memoir by freed prisoner Haleh Esfandiari
By: Claire Messud, Huffington Post, November 12, 2009
Extraordinary events in Iran over the past six months have brought us images, voices, and narratives until recently unimaginable; they reveal, among other things, how little we understand about quotidian life in that country since the revolution. In the United States, we are nevertheless aware, with a dark tremor, of Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, the black hole of the hard-liners’ repressive system. Emblematic of the regime, it is a site of torture and interrogation, of isolation, and of emotional as well as physical violence.
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Ten tactics is translated into ten languages
By: Information Activism, November 2009
A team of volunteers has been busy translating 10 tactics for turning information into action into Arabic, Burmese, French, Georgian, Hindi, Indonesian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai. VJ pixel, who works for the Laboratório Brasileiro de Cultura Digital in Brazil, was one of the first friends of Tactical Tech to offer to translate the film. He says: “I think it’s important to show this film in Brazil. I’ll use It to inspire people in the use of new technologies for activism.”
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US-WS Foundation calls for release and end of violence against Sahrawi rights defenders
By: Suzanne Scholte and  Carlos Wilson, U.S. Western Sahara Foundation, November 13, 2009
The following letter has been transmitted to the Moroccan Embassy calling for the release of Aminatou Haidar and other Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders and calling for the Moroccan government to end its violence against the Sahrawi people and allow their disagreements with them to be resolved peacefully and justly in conformance with international law. The text of the letter follows below.

Your Excellency,
We are writing on behalf of the U.S.- Western Sahara Foundation, a bipartisan group of American citizens, over concern over the recent arrest and detention of Aminatou Haidar in the Laayoune Airport.  Ms. Haidar was recently visiting the United States to receive the Civil Courage Prize from the Train Foundation in recognition of her peaceful advocacy for human rights for the Sahrawi people.  As you know, she also won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award last year.  These United States based organizations recognize and applaud her peaceful, non-violent advocacy work. While we appreciate the long-standing friendship the Kingdom of Morocco enjoys with the United States, we cannot ignore the violations being committed against the Sahrawi people by the Kingdom of Morocco. We urge you to call upon your government to immediately release this brave and noble woman as well as the Sahrawi human rights defenders: Brahim Dahane; Ali Salem Tamek, Ahmad Anasiri, Ms. Dagja Lachgar, Yahdih Ettarrouzi, Saleh Lebayhi, and Rachid Sghayar. Please call upon your government to end their violence against the Sahrawi people and allow your disagreements with them to be resolved  peacefully and justly in conformance with international law.

Suzanne Scholte                                     Carlos Wilson
Chairman                                               Executive Director
U.S.-WS Foundation                                U.S.-WS Foundation