Posts Tagged ‘human rights abuses’
We are writing to extend our heartfelt solidarity and support to you, Egyptian workers, who in recent months have been courageously demanding that your government address your desperate economic conditions. The American press has been shamefully muted about the grim economic and political realities of life for people in Egypt, a key strategic U.S. ally in the Middle East. But in an eye-opening article in The New York Times of April 28, 2010, “Labor Protests Test Egypt’s Government,” by Michael Slackman, the curtain was lifted, for a moment at least. The article says,
CAIRO — Day after day, hundreds of workers from all over Egypt have staged demonstrations and sit-ins outside Parliament, turning sidewalks in the heart of the capital into makeshift camps and confounding government efforts to bring an end to the protests.
Nearly every day since February, protesters have chanted demands outside Parliament during daylight and laid out bedrolls along the pavement at night. The government and its allies have been unable to silence the workers, who are angry about a range of issues, including low salaries.
Using an emergency law that allows arrest without charge and restricts the ability to organize, the Egyptian government and the ruling National Democratic Party have for decades blocked development of an effective opposition while monopolizing the levers of power. The open question — one that analysts say the government fears — is whether the workers will connect their economic woes with virtual one-party rule and organize into a political force.
This week, with blankets stacked neatly behind them, at least four different groups were banging pots, pans and empty bottles and chanting slogans. There were factory workers, government workers, employees of a telephone company and handicapped men and women. The group of handicapped people said they had been there for 47 days, demanding jobs and housing….
The government has tried to define workers’ complaints as pocketbook issues, analysts said, hoping that if specific demands are met, workers will disband without blaming those in charge and without adding political change to their list of priorities.
Try as the Egyptian government might to define your complaints as simply narrow “pocketbook issues,” divorced from democratic rights to protest, assemble, and assert labor’s interests in the political arena, the distinction won’t hold. They are inextricably linked, and this is true today in Egypt, Iran, China, the Philippines and everywhere else. Egyptian workers must have the right to freely assemble, protest and strike, and to form independent trade unions and political parties.
As Americans, we repudiate the hypocritical policy of the United States, our own government, which turns a blind eye to human rights abuses on the part of its allies, such as Egypt, while decrying such transgressions by governments that defy U.S. power. The Campaign for Peace and Democracy firmly believes that a just and peaceful world must be based on respect for human rights.
We salute you in your brave struggle. We understand that the Mubarak government, which heads a de facto one-party state, is contemplating a crackdown on labor protesters. We will do all in our power to mobilize here in the United States and in countries around the world to prevent this from happening.
Rights Violations Mounting as Government Celebrates Revolution’s Anniversary
“The Iranian government’s effort to use anniversary celebrations to deflect attention from its human rights violations isn’t going to work. Instead, it should use the occasion to finally hold the abusers accountable.”Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director
(Washington, DC) – The scope of the Iranian government’s crackdown on dissent since the disputed June 2009 elections is even broader and the abuses more flagrant than previously reported, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today that documents numerous instances of abuse. The government should immediately release all those still being held for peacefully expressing dissent and make certain that those responsible for human rights abuses are held accountable, Human Rights Watch said.
Instead of putting in place effective drug dependency treatment, the new Chinese law subjects suspected drug users to arbitrary detention and inhumane treatment. The Chinese government has explained the law as a progressive step towards recognizing drug users as ‘patients,’ but they’re not even being provided the rights of ordinary prisoners.Joe Amon, Health and Human Rights Division director at Human Rights Watch
(New York) – Chinese authorities are incarcerating drug users in compulsory drug detention centers that deny them access to treatment for drug dependency and put them at risk of physical abuse and unpaid forced labor, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Half a million people are confined within compulsory drug detention centers in China at any given time, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
The Nation, November 22, 2009
IT reflects poorly on New Delhi’s political sense that it has failed to realise that the more it tries to suppress the Kashmiris’ urge to get out of its cruel hold, the more entrenched in the people’s psyche becomes the freedom struggle and the more conscious the world gets of the urgency with which the dispute needs to be resolved. Amnesty International recently called upon President Obama to raise the issue of India’s brutal oppression in Occupied Kashmir when he meets Prime Minister Singh in Washington. Its words, “The Indian side of Kashmir is an area where the security forces commit mass human rights abuses with impunity…facilitated by the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and other similar laws.” Similarly, President Hu and President Obama, in a joint statement, have observed that the two sides, “agreed to cooperate…(in) bringing about more stable, peaceful relations in all of South Asia”. Secretary of State Clinton maintained, in an interview on Friday, that the US wanted the resumption of talks between India and Pakistan to sort out their differences, including Kashmir.
However, India has been greatly upset at these declarations and continues to defy the calls for an understanding look at the situation that the lingering dispute creates both within Occupied Kashmir and outside. It is a measure of Pakistan’s disappointment that Foreign Minister Qureshi had to say that though we were urging for the resumption of talks, we were not looking for a photo session; we wanted ‘constructive engagement and meaningful dialogue’. He stressed that any talks without the participation of Pakistan would be futile. He had in mind India’s efforts to engage the Kashmiri leaders from the occupied state to find a solution. Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit did some plain speaking, when he remarked that India did not want peace in the region. His conclusion is absolutely justified since New Delhi refuses to come to the negotiating table just because it would have to discuss Kashmir. It is well known that even when the composite dialogue was going on it avoided coming to grips with the issue. As the history of post-partition reveals, the fate of Indo-Pakistan relations is closely linked to the settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiris.
Graphic footage which appears to show Sri Lankan forces summarily executing Tamil prisoners during or after the recent bloody conflict has been handed to the British media.
The footage, captured on a mobile phone, was supplied to the media on Wednesday by Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka.
It shows uniformed troops dragging naked and bound prisoners into a clearing and shooting them in the back of the head.
A report by Natalya Estemirova, the Russian activist murdered in Chechnya as she investigated human rights abuses
The Independent/UK, July 17, 2009
The abductions in Chechnya started nearly a decade ago. In 2000, Russian forces took control of practically the entire territory of the republic, and started extensive mop-up operations in villages.
Thousands of murders and abductions took place; these operations were declared to be an efficient method in the fight against rebels. In reality, however, the troops and police were looting the houses of unprotected civilians, at times taking away everything from them, from cars and furniture to shampoos and female underwear.
Most horrifically of all, women were raped in front of their male relatives, and all the men were detained, from teenagers to old men: they were either cruelly beaten, or released for ransom, or else they disappeared forever.
Times Online, July 15, 2009
Stephen Zunes | Foreign Policy In Focus, June 8, 2009
President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo to the Muslim world marked a welcome departure from the Bush administration’s confrontational approach. Yet many Arabs and Muslims have expressed frustration that he failed to use this opportunity to call on the autocratic Saudi and Egyptian leaders with whom he had visited on his Middle Eastern trip to end their repression and open up their corrupt and tightly controlled political systems.
Imagine the positive reaction Obama would have received throughout the Arab and Islamic world if, instead of simply expressing eloquent but vague words in support of freedom and democracy, he had said something like this:
“Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.”
Could he have said such a thing?
Yes. In fact, those were his exact words when, as an Illinois state senator, he gave a speech at a major anti-war rally in Chicago on October 2, 2002.