Nonviolent Action around the World – 31 July 2009 (Part 2)

July 31, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA


Burma: There’s military logic to Suu Kyi’s trial
By: Larry Jagan, Asia Times, July 31, 2009
The trial of Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has ended amid heightened security around the area near the court, with hundreds of trucks full of armed soldiers stationed around Insein prison where the proceedings took place. The prison court is expected to announce its highly anticipated verdict on Friday, according to one of the opposition leader’s lawyers, Nyan Win. The junta’s plan to hold democratic elections next year – the first since Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) overwhelmingly won May 1990 polls that were annulled by the military – has been put on hold pending the trial’s result.
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Borneo tribe mounts new blockades against rainforest destruction
By: Survival International, 30 July 2009
Dozens of Penan tribespeople armed with blowpipes and spears have erected blockades across the roads cut by logging companies deep into their forest in Borneo. The blockaders are calling for an end to logging on their land. Survival International is calling for recognition of the hunter-gatherer Penan tribe’s land rights and a halt to all development on their land without their consent.
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Desmond Tutu: “My tribute to Burma’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi”
By: Desmond Tutu, The Guardian, July 30, 2009
I think of my sister Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi every day. Her picture hangs on the wall of my office, reminding me that, thousands of miles away in Asia, a nation is oppressed. Every day I ask myself: have I done everything I can try to end the atrocities being committed in Burma? And I pray that world leaders will ask themselves the same question. For if they did, the answer would be “no”, and perhaps their conscience will finally force them to act.
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Burma’s Suu Kyi braces for worst ahead of ruling
By: AFP, July 30, 2009
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is bracing for Friday’s ruling in Myanmar on whether she violated the terms of her house arrest by harboring an American, a decision that could send the frail icon of democracy to prison for up to five years.The 64-year-old opposition leader was described by her lawyer Nyan Win as “physically and mentally fine, and very alert” Thursday. But he said she was also preparing for the worst, gathering medicine and several spy novels and biographies should she be given a lengthy prison term.
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Burma: Opposition lawyer hounded by authorities
By: Myint Maung, Mizzima, 30 July 2009
Nyi Nyi Htwe, a lawyer belonging to the opposition camp, recently released from jail and forced out of his profession, alleged he is finding it difficult to continue with his present calling of selling government lottery tickets because he is being hounded by authorities
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Burma warning on Suu Kyi protests
By: BBC, July 30, 2009
Burma’s military rulers have warned supporters of jailed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi not to protest when her trial verdict is announced. A verdict is expected on Friday in her trial for breaching the terms of her house arrest by allowing an uninvited US man stay in her home in Rangoon.
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China cracks down on rights lawyers
By: Al Jazeera, July 30, 2009
The authorities in China appear to have mounted a sweeping crackdown on human rights lawyers, revoking the licences of more than 50 lawyers in the past week.The lawyers handle a wide-range of cases, from families affected by last year’s tainted milk scandal, to Tibetan and Uighur rights and the representation of prominent dissidents.
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China rejects Uighur claim over 10,000 disappeared
By: AFP, July 30, 2009
China’s Xinjiang region dismissed a claim by an exiled Uighur leader that nearly 10,000 people disappeared after ethnic unrest this month, state media reported Thursday.Xinjiang government spokeswoman Hou Hanmin said the claim by Rebiya Kadeer was “not even worth a counterreaction”, according to the English-language Global Times, which said in a report that the claim was “groundless”.
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New dangers for Tibetans in Nepal
By: UNPO, July 30, 2009
Two new ICT reports document the dangers for Tibetans in Nepal due to the Chinese government’s focus on Tibetan issues in its relations with the Nepalese government, and shifting internal politics in Nepal. As a result, the Nepalese government has adopted a hard line against expressions of the Tibetan identity in Nepal, despite strong cultural and religious ties among the Himalayan peoples that have existed for centuries. Long-staying Tibetan refugees in Kathmandu and in settlements close to the Tibet-Nepal border are increasingly demoralized — and fearful — as the Nepalese government relinquishes its historic and sovereign interests in response to incentivized political pressure from Beijing and its sympathizers.
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The will to survive, One man’s harrowing escape from Tibet
By: Huffignton Post, July 30, 2009
As a child growing up in a remote village in the mountainous region of Kham, Tsewang Dhondup loved to listen to the heroic fables recounted by the local elders. But Tsewang’s own story is the stuff of legend, and might well end up woven into local lore and marveled at by Tibetan boys for generations to come.
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China: Authorities raid office of Chinese health activist
By: AP, July 29, 2009
Chinese authorities seized dozens of newsletters from a nonprofit group that fights discrimination against people with hepatitis B, a campaigner said Thursday, calling the move retribution for the group’s advocacy work. Two officials from the Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Agency, in charge of campaigns against printed and DVD pornography and piracy, on Wednesday confiscated about 90 copies of a legal guide to fighting discrimination for people with hepatitis B.
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China: Uighur leader raises new accusations
By: Andrew Jacobs and Martin Fackler, NY Times, July 29, 2009
In the weeks since ethnic bloodletting claimed nearly 200 lives in the northwest Chinese region of Xinjiang, the government has been waging a global propaganda war against Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled Uighur leader it accuses of instigating the violence.
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Cambodia’s crackdown stirs concerns about legal system
By: Tim Johnston, Washington Post, July 29, 2009
A heightened crackdown on journalists and opposition activists in recent weeks by Cambodia’s leaders has provoked new concern that the government is engaging in widespread abuse of the nation’s legal system to muzzle its detractors. Newspaper editor Hang Chakra is serving a one-year sentence in Phnom Penh’s notorious Prey Sar prison for articles that alleged corruption among government officials….
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TOP
 


CENTRAL ASIA


Azerbaijan’s steady descent into authoritarianism
By: Elmar Chakhtakhtinski, RFERL, July 30, 2009
Imagine you are sitting with your friends at an outdoor cafe on a pleasant summer afternoon. Suddenly, two men in jogging suits approach and start beating you and one of your pals. Before the others drag you away from the assailants, you and your friend are badly injured — his nose is broken, and the attackers, due to their superior muscle and fighting skills, have not sustained much damage…
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Kyrgyzstan: Crackdown on protests of election result
By: Ellen Barry, NY Times, July 30, 2009
The police in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, detained 64 opposition demonstrators on Wednesday after marches protesting the results of last week’s presidential election. President Kurmanbek Bakiyev won with 76 percent of the vote in an election that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said “fell short of key standards Kyrgyzstan has committed to.”
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Kazakhstan: Activists assail internet law as step back for democratization
By: Joanna Lillis, Eurasia, July 24, 2009
Journalists and civil rights activists in Kazakhstan have reacted with dismay to the passing of a new Internet law they say will severely restrict freedom of expression in a country set to take the helm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010.President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed the Internet bill on July 10, disregarding vociferous lobbying against it from the OSCE, opposition parties, journalists and domestic and foreign human rights activists.
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Uzbekistan: Human rights society calls for justice
By: Ferghana, July 22, 2009
The Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU) has disseminated the message, one more time paying attention to the fact of human rights activists’ persecution by the government of the country. The release indicates that since the date of establishment (February 2, 1992) HRSU has been the subject of systematic persecution by the government of Uzbekistan.
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Kyrgyzstan: The winner is known, but the opponents still struggle
By: Ferghana, July 20, 2009
Since the last two weeks the political struggle for the presidential chair in Kyrgyzstan has intensified significantly. All the candidates “moved” from the capital to the regions. The candidates intensified the propaganda, facing threats, insult, spoiling even evil eye. Ferghana.Ru continues the monitoring of election campaign in the republic.
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EUROPE


Moldova opposition seeks coalition
By: Al Jazeera, July 30, 2009
Moldova’s opposition liberal parties have said that they will try to form a coalition government after the ruling Communist party failed to win a majority in parliamentary elections. With 98 per cent of ballots counted on Thursday, the Communists had won 45.1 per cent of the vote, against a total of 50.7 per cent for the four main opposition parties.   
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German Third Reich-style training center planned by pro-Hitler party
By: Allan Hall, The Independent, July 30, 2009
Germany’s far-right National Democratic party (NPD) has triggered outrage with plans for a Third Reich-style “training centre” in a small village. The mastermind of the scheme is Jürgen Rieger, a lawyer and deputy leader of the anti-immigrant, anti-EU party that is steeped in pride for Adolf Hitler and the “achievements” of the Nazi regime. The idea is for the old Hotel Gerhus at Fassberg, near Hanover, to become a place of pilgrimage for NPD devotees, where they can learn about the “menace” of immigration, the “criminality” of Roma gypsies and the “innate decency of law-abiding German nationalists”.
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Georgian opposition regroups after daily rallies in capital end
By: Helena Bedwell, Georgian Daily, July 29, 2009
Georgia’s opposition parties will work out a new strategy to challenge President Mikheil Saakashvili after ending daily street protests that began on April 9 in the capital Tbilisi. “We’ll continue our fight after we devise a new strategy and work out details of financing and organization,” opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze, who ran second to Saakashvili in a January 2008 presidential election, said by telephone today.
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Azerbaijan: Eurpean lawmakers weigh in on detention of youth activists  
By: Eurasian News, July 29, 2009
A key European human rights body has joined the international push to free two Azerbaijani youth activists who were arrested in early July in what is widely seen as a reprisal for spreading non-conformist ideas.In remarks published on July 28, Christoph Strasser, the German rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), stated that he will focus on the arrest of Azerbaijani youth activists/bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade in an upcoming report to the Assembly. Strasser intends to “draw [the] international community’s attention to the cases of journalists and NGO activists convicted on the basis of dubious allegations of vandalism and slander” in Azerbaijan.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA


Syria arrests top human rights lawyer, group says
By: Reuters, July 30, 2009
Syrian authorities have arrested a leading human rights lawyer after he was called for interrogation at a security branch, human rights activists said Thursday. Mohannad al-Hussani, who has been handling high profile political cases, was summoned Tuesday to State Security, one of a multitude of intelligence agencies in the Arab country, which has been ruled by the Baath Party since it took power in a 1963 coup.
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West Bank: Divided, demoralized Palestinian movement hopes to hit ‘restart’
By: McClatchy, July 30, 2009
For half a century, the fortunes of the Palestinian people have been inextricably linked to the fate of Fatah, the once-dominant political movement founded by Yasser Arafat. Five years after Arafat’s death, the movement is divided, and hopes of establishing even a weak Palestinian state alongside Israel appear as elusive as ever.  
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Gaza & West Bank: Human rights in Palestine – Review of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Report
By: Stephen Lendman, Global Research, July 29, 2009
Part One assesses the overall human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinians Territories (OPT) throughout 2008. Because they affect regional peace overall, this article focuses solely on Israeli crimes, not those committed by Palestinian elements in Gaza and the West Bank that pale by comparison. Part Two covers PCHR’s local and international efforts over the same period.
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West Bank: Coexistence that the western media is not willing to cover
By: Ibn Ezra, July 27, 2009
Saturday was a burning hot day in the West Bank. Combatants for Peace, a group made up of Israeli ex-combat soldiers and Palestinian ex-fighters, planned a protest at an illegal outpost adjacent to Shufa, a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank that is very close to the Green Line. The illegal outpost was built by settlers from the settlement of Avney Hefetz over the last three weeks.
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Israel uses Hitler picture to sell its settlement expansion
By: Donald Macintyre, The Independent , 25 July 2009
Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, has triggered fresh controversy by urging diplomats abroad to use a 1941 photograph of a Palestinian religious leader meeting Hitler to counter protests against a planned Jewish settlement in Arab East Jerusalem.
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Egypt: Will Islamic opposition movements seize the day?
By: Amr Hamzawy and Jeffrey Christiansen, The Daily News, July 19, 2009
When it comes to democratic development in the Arab world, the ball is now squarely in the court of Islamic opposition movements. US President Barack Obama has spoken. Defying expectations that he would downplay domestic affairs and democracy promotion in favor of a more realist outlook, Obama used his platform at Cairo University to enunciate fresh policy. The United States, he stated, will respect “all law-abiding voices… even if we disagree with them” and will “welcome all elected, peaceful governments”.
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OCEANIA


US says restoration of Fiji democracy will restore closer relations
By: Radio New Zealand, July 30, 2009
A top United States official says the restoration of democracy in Fiji will restore closer relations between the two countries. The comment, from the US State Department’s director for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Affairs, comes just after the announcement of the retirement of Fiji’s President and as police continue to detain Methodist clergy.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST


Could the great recession lead to a great revolution?
By: Immanuel Ness, July 30, 2009
A look at mass protests during the past 500 years reveals surprising clues. For the first time in generations, people are challenging the view that a free-market order – the system that dominates the globe today – is the destiny of all nations. The free market’s uncanny ability to enrich the elite, coupled with its inability to soften the sharp experiences of staggering poverty, has pushed inequality to the breaking point.
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The push to boycott Shark Week
By: John Liebhardt, Global Voice, July 22,  2009
A group of scientists, scuba divers and self-described shark lovers are using the blogosphere to publicize their criticism of the Discovery Channel’s “horror-show” portrayal of sharks during its annual Shark Week.
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Democracy video challenge winner showcase
By: Juliana Rincón Parra, Global Voices, July 22,  2009
What is Democracy? That is the question more than 900 participants set out to answer through their videos, in response to the Democracy Video Challenge set up by the US Department of State and many other partners, open for participants from all over the world. Through their YouTube channel, people sent in their videos which completed the phrase Democracy is… through animated images, live action shorts or documentaries no more than 3 minutes long. After a selection process, 18 finalists were chosen and the general public voted on the winning 6, one of each geographical region: Western Hemisphere, Europe, Middle East/North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South & Central Asia, East Asia/Pacific.
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Annie Lennox: A-List activist
By: This Way Up, July 22, 2009
In 2003, Nelson Mandela invited Annie Lennox to perform at an AIDS Charity concert in South Africa. The day after the concert, Mandela gave a press conference: AIDS in Africa is genocide, he said, with 17 million dead and women and children becoming the frontline victims.    
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES


Les Nations unies ouvrent le débat
By: Courrier International, July 30, 2009
Le 28 juillet 2009, l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies a conclu un débat d’une semaine sur la “responsabilité de protéger”. L’objectif est la prévention des génocides, purifications ethniques, crimes contre d’humanité et crimes de guerre. L’ONU reconnaît que le concept est loin de faire l’unanimité parmi ses membres. Le webzine moscovite Gazeta.ru rend compte du débat.
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BOOK REVIEW


What does a Wasp have to do with civil resistance? Everything.
By: iRevolution, July 28, 2009
Google’s Vint Cerf recommended Eric Russell’s science fiction novel, Wasp, to a colleague of mine in the field of civil resistance. I’m very glad he did, I just read it and the novel is brilliant. It was published in 1957 and weaves civil resistance theory with creative tactics that remain fully applicable half-a-century later. Plus, it’s an action-packed page-turner. I highly recommend it.
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NOTICES


USIP 2009-10 National Peace Essay Contest : The effectiveness of Nonviolent Civic Action
Each year over 1,000 students submit entries to the National Peace Essay Contest while thousands more participate in related writing and other classroom exercises in high schools around the country. First-place state winners receive scholarships and are invited to Washington for a five-day awards program.
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