Sunday, January 9, 2011

9 January 2011


Tunisia = A protestor last month set himself on fire to campaign against unemployment measures. Since then, protests have continued across the country eliciting a violent reaction from police officers who have used live ammunition against the protestors, killing at least 20 people. (EGV)

Sudan = Today is voting day; Sudanese are deciding whether to pass the Independence Referendum which will decide whether the South will gain independence from Sudan. (EGV)

Congo = The Republic of Congo is on the brink of adopting a new law which would make it the first nation in Africa to ensure judicial protection for its indigenous peoples, as soon as President Denis Sassou Nguesso signs it. (IRIN)

Iran = Executions have reached a total of almost 70 people in one month, most recently including a public hanging in Tehran on January 5th. Advocates are concerned that many of these deaths are the result of Iran’s political and free-speech repression. Karim Lahidji of the Iranian League for the Defense of Human Rights has called on the international community to adopt targeted sanctions per the UN General Assembly Resolution of 21st December 2010 [Addendum 3, Draft resolution III]. (FIDH)

• The Human Rights World Affairs Blog Network has published a Human Rights Year in Review for 2010, which you can check out here. It also lists some issues to pay attention to in 2011; what do you think of these “predictions”? Do you agree? Did the author miss anything from 2010 you think should have been included?

Kakenya is a short film about a young Kenyan girl who is trying to become a teacher; you can find an interview with the filmmaker here. Have you seen it? Feel free to post a review here.

• US law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll is continuing their human rights advocacy work on behalf of foreign subcontractors working on US bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most recently Agnieszka Fryszman, a partner at the firm, initiated a case under the World War II era Defense Base Act, scoring a 7 figure settlement for the family of a Nepalese subcontractor who was killed while working in Iraq. According to Fryszman, the men they represent were hired by a subcontractor working for KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary. (NLJ) Do you know of any other law firms or big businesses doing good work? Let me know and I’ll highlight them on the HRRU.

Dutch lawmakers are questioning Royal Dutch Shell PLC this month about its oil sector activities in Nigeria. Amnesty International claims oil pollution is degrading locals’ water and food supplies, as well as their livelihoods. (WSJ)

Columbia University’s Law School has put together an online Islamic Law Research Guide, a good resource for some basics on Islamic Law.

UN Women, a United Nations agency focused on “gender equality and the empowerment of women,” officially began operating on 1st January, 2011. (UNWomen)

As always, your comments, story suggestions and feedback are always welcome.

Here’s to a happy and human-rightsy 2011 for all!

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