Sunday, January 16, 2011

16 January 2011


Tunisia = This week, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country amid massive protests and Prime Minister Mohammad Ghannouchi declared himself interim president on Friday. A curfew has been established, where “gatherings of more than 3 people will not be tolerated” and the security forces have permission to SHOOT ON SIGHT anyone breaking curfew. Already the government reports that 23 Tunisians have been killed. At this point, apparently 95% of Tunisian lawyers are on strike, with the support of their Bar Association. (AI, HRW, FPA)

  • Clearly this is illegal under the ICCPR; how are Tunisia’s leaders justifying this? Thoughts? Comments?

USA = The state legislature of Illinois this Tuesday passed a bill to abolish the death penalty in Illinois. It will become law only after Governor Pat Quinn signs the bill; (you can contact Governor Quinn here). The death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1977, despite the general international understanding that the death penalty is a human rights violation. Some US states are now making strides to once again abolish the death penalty and help bring their country within international judicial and human rights standards. (AI)

Brazil = The Open Society Justice Initiative this week published a piece remarking on the December Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling on Brazil’s amnesty “for ‘political offenses’ committed during its 1970s military dictatorship.” The decision, Gomes Lund v. Brazil, essentially articulated that the public’s right to truth and information outweighs a government’s right to political amnesty for past offenses. (OSF)

China = As always, you can check out the excellent China Human Rights Defenders Weekly Briefing here.
Nepal = The International Center for Transitional Justice has published a new report entitled Across the Lines: the Impact of Nepal’s Conflict on Women. This report documents women’s roles in the conflict as well as the sexual violence perpetrated against women during this “people’s war.” (ICTJ)

  • The report is available online here.

Hungary = On Friday evening, protestors demonstrated against Hungary’s new media law which came into effect on 1st January this year. The law allows the government to penalize content which is not “in the ‘public interest.’” Protestors argue against both the vagueness of the law and its over-breadth: it includes “all public or privately owned media content, whether broadcast, print or web-based.” (AI)

  • You can check out photos from Friday night’s protest here.

Iran = Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer and mother of two young children was this week sentenced to 11 years in prison for “activities against national security” and “propaganda against the regime.” She has also been prohibited from practicing law or for leaving Iran for 20 years. Meanwhile, Shirin Ebadi says that “Iran’s government routinely levels these charges against lawyers, journalists, NGO workers and others whose work it finds troublesome.” (NYT, WSJ)

6 Billion Ways 2011: This gathering is taking place on Saturday 5th March 2011 in London to address the effect of large-scale human rights abuses on each of us individually. Its purpose is to inform and mobilize “a wide range of people on local and global justice issues” and it is billed as “a day that explores resistance.” This event is FREE and you can register online here.

HURIDOCS, Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems International, is calling for applications from disability rights organizations to receive free access to their Global Disability Rights Library. Check it out here.

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