Nonviolent Action around the World – 24 April 2009 (Part 2)

April 24, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CENTRAL ASIA

Kazakhstan: Journalists appeal to Nazarbayev to liberalize media rules
By: Joanna Lilli, Eurasia Net, April 22, 2009
Kazakhstan’s annual Eurasian Media Forum, organized by President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, opens in Almaty on April 23. The conference this year is taking place amid controversy in Kazakhstan over planned changes to legislation governing the Internet and concerns over the reporting environment in general.
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Azerbaijan continues to eschew genuine democracy
By: Farid Guliyev, RFE, April 22, 2009
Lord Acton’s observation that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” still holds true, at least in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. One month ago, the population of Azerbaijan voted in a referendum to remove the constitutional ban on one person serving more than two consecutive presidential terms. Incumbent President Ilham Aliyev, 47, who succeeded his father Heydar in 2003 and was reelected for a second five-year term last fall, is thus free to run for a third term in 2013.
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EUROPE

Belarus: Charter 97 coordinator refusing to go to Prague
By: Charter 97, April 23, 2009
One of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition Andrei Sannikov thinks the invitation of the Belarusian dictator for the EU summit amid mass political repression in the country was “a grave mistake”.  Sannikov, international coordinator of Charter 97, coordinator of the civil campaign “European Belarus”, said, “Standing for Belarus’s integration into the EU, for full participation of the country in the Eastern Partnership program, nevertheless, I find it impossible to come to Prague during the summit. Political prisoners Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, Uladzimir Asipenka are in Lukashenka’s prisons today. Mikalai Autukhovich has been on hunger strike for more than a week demanding conducting an open trial. Political repressions go on in our country. That’s why I took a decision not to go to Prague.”
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Protesters pour into Georgia’s capital
By: LA Times, April 23, 2009
Thousands of opposition supporters from Georgia’s provinces poured into the capital late Wednesday to join the protests aimed at forcing President Mikheil Saakashvili to step down. A convoy of about 600 cars, minibuses and buses loaded with opposition backers from western Georgia drove into Tbilisi in the evening, adding to 30,000 people already in front of parliament and along the city’s main thoroughfare.
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Europe: The street is no place for constitutional democracy
By: Andres Herkel, EESTI, April 23, 2009
The week-long protests in Moldova and Georgia – the latter in particular – should compel us to ask hard questions about the substance and aims of street politics. Even a cursory glance tells us that there is a world of difference between these protests and Estonia’s Singing Revolution and their multihued brethren. Back then and in movements such as the Orange Revolution, people were protesting against illegitimate powers or stolen elections, but what is the target now?
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UK: Climate protest – Rock the state, save the planet
By: Paul Rogers, Open Democracy, April 23, 2009
The British government has in 2008-09 reacted with notable vigour to a series of non-violent public actions and peaceful demonstrations over climate change. The character of the policing of these events suggests a high degree of national coordination stemming from a deep concern that they could escalate to the point of having a major political impact.
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UK: Young people power
By: Southward News, April 23, 2009
Young people will begin to help make Southwark safer, in a scheme that will see them work with Community Wardens. Southwark Council launched its Junior Community Wardens scheme last week and 80 people, aged eight to twelve, have already signed up. The scheme was launched following a pilot in 2008 and will develop the Junior Street Leaders scheme.
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Russians bet on a market for dampening dissent
By: Andrew Kramer, NY Times, April 22, 2009
Alongside bargain retailers, cheap restaurants, debt collectors and bankruptcy lawyers, a midsize factory in Siberia is promoting a product that it hopes is just the thing for hard times. Employees here call it the “anti-democracy truck,” a modified fire truck fitted with a water cannon and designed to quell riots.
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UK: The architectural photographer as terrorist
By: Edward Denison, Open Democracy, April 21, 2009
There has been much questioning of police behaviour in Britain following the way the G20 protests in London on 1 April 2009 were handled. As an architectural historian and photographer who has stood in front of countless buildings in various countries armed with nothing more sinister than a camera and a wide-angle lens, the heavy-handedness of over-exuberant security officials is familiar. But few such experiences match the one I had in London recently – a few miles west of the G20 drama, in front of Hammersmith Police Station. The result was my detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2005), and a new sense of fear about my country.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Iran: A faith on trial
By: Bernd Kaussler, Open Democracy, April 23, 2009
The Bahá’í’s in Iran, the country’s largest religious minority, have faced intense persecution and discrimination ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.  The arrest of seven Bahá’í leaders in 2008 and their impending trial before a Revolutionary Court on charges of espionage is largely representative of the deterioration of human rights under Ahmadinejad’s presidency.
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Boyfriend of U.S. journalist jailed in Iran waits, hopes
By: Ramin Mostaghim and Jeffrey Fleishman, LA Times, April 22, 2009
His girlfriend is in jail for espionage and acclaimed Kurdish Iranian film director Bahman Ghobadi is thinking about packing up his scripts and editing equipment and heading to Europe. He is tired, he says, of censors and Islamic politics intruding upon his life and art. But Ghobadi, director of spare, poetic films such as “A Time for Drunken Horses,” doesn’t want to go anywhere until his girlfriend, Roxana Saberi, is freed on appeal. The 31-year-old Iranian American journalist was convicted of spying for the U.S. and sentenced to eight years in prison.
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Iranian Nobel laureate to defend U.S. journalist
By: CNN, April 22, 2009
An Iranian human-rights activist and Nobel laureate has joined the legal team of an Iranian-American journalist convicted of spying and jailed in Iran. Shirin Ebadi, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, took up the case of Roxana Saberi at the request of Saberi’s family, her father, Reza Saberi, told CNN Wednesday. Ebadi heads the Center for Defenders of Human Rights in Iran.
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Should we support internet activists in the Middle East?
By: Marc Lynch, FP, April 22, 2009
Episodes like the failure of the April 6 Facebook strike in Egypt shouldn’t really surprise anyone who takes even a cursory look at the structures of power and the limitations of political opposition in that country. But if that’s the case, then what should outsiders — whether the U.S. government, individuals or  NGOs — really be doing to support such internet activism? 
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Opposition media outlets in Tunisia take on government suppression
By: Sofiene Chourabi, Menassat, April 22, 2009
It is no secret in Tunisia that the media laws are known for suppressing the opposition and punishing critics. Yet, as the government uses the law to try and prevent opposition media from publishing, these outlets refuse to succumb. “The media law prevents the printing of any publication without a receipt of approval from the interior ministry. This means that only the publications, which answer to the ruling party, or some opposition papers with a restricted distribution area, appear on the market,” Abdel Kareem Hezawi, a media and news professor in Tunis told MENASSAT.
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Dissident city in Iraq in danger
By: Stefan Nicola, Spacewar, April 21, 2009
A group of German lawmakers has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq if Baghdad closes down a camp where some 3,500 Iranian dissidents have been living for the past two decades. “We are very concerned about the situation of the people in Ashraf,” Hermann-Josef Scharf, a lawmaker from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, said Monday in Berlin. “What currently happens there is a precursor to a humanitarian catastrophe” aimed at “destroying the Iranian opposition.”
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Nonviolence in Palestine: Timing and intentions
By: Ramzy Baroud, Online Journal, April 21, 2009
When one speaks of or advocates nonviolence, does he promote such an idea because he believes that historically it has been a more effective means of liberation, or is it purely because he thinks that it is a more self-respecting means of struggle?
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Why LinkedOut Syrians are LinkedIn again
By: DigiActive, April 21, 2009
Although professional networking site LinkedIn remains blocked for Sudanese users, Syrian users recently got their access to the site back.  Let’s take a look at how that happened.  In early April, Syrian users of LinkedIn found that their accounts had been blocked.  Initially,  it seems that LinkedIn simply blocked Syrian IP addresses, since Syrian users could still access their accounts through proxy servers like TOR.  However, a few days ago LinkedIn (I’m guessing here) figured out that Syrian users (no strangers to Internet censorship) had found a way around their basic block and started shutting down individual accounts.
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Iran: Detention of 90 members of workers’ Coordinating Committee
By: IHRV, April 21, 2009
During a meeting held between the members of the Coordinating Committee to Assist in the Establishment of Labor Organizations and the family members of an imprisoned worker, all members of the Coordinating Committee present in the meeting were detained.  The imprisoned worker is identified as Ghaleb Husseini, and he was detained for his participation in the May 1 ceremony last year.  The residence where the meeting was held  was surrounded and raided by police around 11:00 AM.
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Iran’s election and Iran’s system
By: Sanam Vakil and David Hayes, Open Democracy, April 21, 2009
The tenth presidential election in the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose first round is held on 12 June 2009, promises to be a decisive event in the country’s domestic and international politics. Indeed, the interplay between these two aspects is already evident as leading players and factions seek to position themselves in a way that will maximise public support – and perhaps equally important at this stage, define the agenda in ways that will benefit them. Of no one is this truer than Iran’s incumbent president and candidate in the election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
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Demonstrator killed in Bil’in by Israeli forces
By: International Solidarity Movement, April 17, 2009
A resident has been killed by Israeli forces during a demonstration. Basem Abu Rahme, 29 years of age, was shot in the chest with a high-velocity tear gas projectile. He was evacuated to Ramallah hospital in critical condition, where he died of his injury. According to eyewitnesses, Basem was on a hill with several journalists to the side of other demonstrators. Soldiers opened fire from 40 meters, aiming directly with the tear-gas projectiles.
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Bahrain: Royal pardon of 178 activists and defenders.
By: Bahrain Center for Human Rights, April 16, 2009
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organizations in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS) strongly welcome the royal pardon of 178 activists and human rights defenders charged with security offenses, issued by the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa, on April 12th, 2009.
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Syria: Banned rights group vows to continue
By: IWPR, April 16, 2009
There was sadness but little surprise in veteran human rights lawyer Haitham Maleh’s voice as he described a court decision in February that banned his advocacy organisation, the Human Rights Association of Syria, HRAS.  “It is clear that the regime does not want any kind of monitoring of human rights activities,” said Maleh, a former judge. He said the court’s decision was “entirely political”.
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Blogger becomes casualty of Iran cyber-wars
By: Brian Murphy, AP, April 11, 2009
The first line of his first blog from Tehran in September 2006 asks: “What is freedom?” Omidreza Mirsayafi answered his own question. “I don’t know,” he wrote, “but I know someday I will see its shadow falling on my land.” Two and half years later, from behind the gray walls of Tehran’s Evin Prison, he phoned his mother. They talked about his battle with depression behind bars. She asked if he was taking his heart medicine.
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OCEANIA

West Papuan political prisoner is physically abused by public prosecutors and police in Jayapura courthouse
By: Ipahr’s West Papua blog, April 23, 2009
Indonesian Public Prosecutors have triggered an attack against a Political Prisoner,  Buchtar Tabuni,  at the Jayapura District Court, 22 April 2009, in Jayapura, West Papua On Thursday 22 April 2009, Buchtar Tabuni, was taken by members of the public prosecution team and police from prison to attend a hearing of his trial at the Jayapura District Court. The hearing was scheduled to hear the testimony of an expert witness.
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Amnesty International warns of further human rights abuse in Fiji
By: Hayley Campbell, Impunity Watch Oceania, April 22, 2009
Amnesty International says Fiji’s military regime has threatened the lives of two lawyers, and will continue to commit other human rights abuses unless the government’s power is checked.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

UN: What credibility is there in Geneva’s all-white boycott?
By: Seumas Milne, Guardian, April 23, 2009
What do the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Italy and Israel have in common? They are all either European or European-settler states. And they all decided to boycott this week’s UN ¬conference against racism in Geneva – even before Monday’s incendiary speech by the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad which triggered a further white-flight walkout by representatives of another 23 European states.
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E pluribus Facebook
By: Jonathan Zittrain, Open Democracy, April 21, 2009
Facebook boasts more than 200 million active users, with an astounding 100 million logging in at least once per day. Its prominence is not just in numbers of users. It’s what they do: many share intimate and sensitive details about themselves. That not only means that the service is susceptible to privacy panics (both real and imagined) on a regular basis.
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New feminist network for ‘glocal’ activism
By: Jiyoung LeeAn, IPS, April 20, 2009
Feminist activists have adopted ‘glocal’, a relatively new geolexical construct, to bridge activism from across Asia, Latin America and Africa. About 30 participants from three continents came together for a two-day intensive workshop in Seoul that was followed by a public forum on Apr. 18 to announce the establishment of the Network of GloCal Activism (NGA) and School of Feminism (SF). The network will start with 5 glocal points (GPs) in China, South Korea, Mexico and South Africa.
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InterTactica: Five reasons human rights organizations should promote nonviolent struggle
By: New Tactics in Human Rights
Is it enough to educate people on the right to human rights, just as they suffer from their violation? What is the use of going around telling people dying of hunger that they have a right to food?  When institutional channels don’t offer much of an effective recourse, then what? There are those who believe, as most of us do, that our job is to actually help secure all indivisible fundamental rights; and uncompromisingly so. These are five key reasons we should take to our organizations, on why we must start promoting the means of strategic nonviolent struggle.
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En français…
 
‘Human rights cities: Civic engagement for societal development’
By: PDHRE
PDHRE encourage the learning of human rights as a way of life at the community level. This allows people to play a pivotal role in citizen’s owning sustainable and meaningful urban development.
For more information…

 

BOOK REVIEW

‘Inclusive Security: A Curriculum for Women Waging Peace’
By: Peace and Collaborative Development Network, April 21, 2009
Published in 2009, Inclusive Security: A Curriculum for Women Waging Peace is a resource for policymakers and practitioners who want to better include women in peace processes. This unique tool draws on more than a decade of original research and training by The Institute for Inclusive Security and accomplished women peace builders from areas including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, Israel & Palestine, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, and Sudan.
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New Berghof Research Center Publication, “Building Peace in the Absence of States: Challenging the Discourse on State Failure”
By: Peace and Collaborative Development Network, April 21, 2009
Currently practiced state-building strategies are increasingly appearing to be part of the problem rather than part of a solution. The exchange between the lead authors and discussants in this dialogue vividly illustrates the need to shift away from a state-centric view, without entirely rejecting the notion of state. At the same time it shows the difficulties of integrating concepts of political order that do not correspond to the western-style Weberian/Westphalian state.
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IN PAST NEWS
Video: Haiti’s lost girls
By: Xanthe Hinchey, Lindsay Poulton, Michael Tait and Maggie O’Kane, Guardiana, March 8, 2009
Inside Haiti’s foetid slums, where criminal gangs use rape as a weapon to control the millions struggling to survive extreme poverty.
To watch video…

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The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict is pleased to circulate this daily selective digest of world news related to past, present and potential nonviolent conflicts, including active civilian-based struggles against oppressive regimes, nonviolent resistance, political and social dissidence, and the use of nonviolent tactics in a variety of causes.  We also include stories that help readers glimpse the larger context of a conflict and that reflect on past historical struggles.

If you have specific items that you would like us to include in the daily digest, please send them to us.  If there is a news or information source that you believe we may not be accessing, for purposes of selecting items, please bring that to our attention. Thank you.