Sunday, February 13, 2011

13 February 2011


Botswana = The Court of Appeal decided what was the 1st test case of the UN Right to Water Resolution this week. The Kalahari Bushmen will retain legal access to the waters on their ancestral lands. The ruling quoted a UN Report categorizing water as a “fundamental human right.” (PMBZ, COC)

Egypt = On Thursday, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor on behalf of missing detainees and victims of the alleged massacre at Al Qata prison. This filing follows the protestors’ successful movement to force President Mubarak out of office this week in an 18-day-short revolution. (EIPR, FIDH, CHNG)

  • You can view an 18-day photo recap of the Egyptian uprising here.

Tunisia = Yay! Tunisia is abolishing the death penalty and ratifying the 2nd Additional Protocol to the ICCPR. (HRD)


USA = Civil Unions are now legal in the state of Hawaii after the state’s House of Representatives voted 31-19 in favor of legalization. (ADV)

USA = Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas may have had conflicts of interest in the Citizens United case (increasing corporations’ allowable election spending), which they failed to disclose. Allegedly, both justices engaged in strategy sessions with key corporate interests in the case and justice Thomas’ wife benefitted financially from the decision. (CHNG)

  • You can sign this petition asking the Department of Justice to investigate these claims.

Venezuela = A group of students is on a hunger strike protesting in front of the Caracas office of the Organization of American States. The students want justice for people who are currently detained, “deprived of their freedom” including Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni and three members of Parliament. (OAS)


Afghanistan = The Council of Ministers, which meets every Monday, is debating passing a draft regulation on Women’s Protection Centers. This would give the government control over domestic violence shelters for women and girls in Afghanistan. As the Afghan government is “increasingly dominated by hard-line conservatives who are hostile to the very idea of shelters,” local women and activists fear that passage of this regulation will result in the closure of many shelters and resources for women seeking freedom from their abusive family members. (HRW)

  • To take action and contact the council of ministers, click here.

Thailand = 91 Rohingya people were found on a boat in the Indian-administered Nicobar Islands this week, claiming that the Thai Navy had set them adrift in the boat, without an engine or adequate food and water. People who are Rohingya are a Muslim minority in Burma and have been fleeing to Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia for decades to escape persecution. Three boatloads of refugees have entered Thailand this month; the first boat arrived on January 22nd and the people aboard are missing and were allegedly “returned to Myanmar by Thai authorities.” (IRIN)


Holland = This week, prosecutors and defense attorneys made their closing arguments in the case against Charles Taylor of Liberia in the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The trial has been under way for 3 years and revolves around allegations of murder, rape, and dismemberment committed by Taylor’s rebel groups in Sierra Leone. (OSF, HRD)


Yemen = On Friday morning, protestors gathered in Sana’a, calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. These protests follow those in Egypt (see above) and also raise concerns about demonstrators’ safety. Yemeni security forces have allegedly been working together with “armed thugs” using tasers against activists, along with clubs, axes, traditional daggers, and sticks, contravening the freedom of assembly. (HRW)

• The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) is launching 2 short public service announcements, “Slavery Lives”, in Times Square. These PSAs come prior to the US governmental debate on whether or not to renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). You can watch the PSAs online here.

• A December 2010 interview with the Islamic Human Rights Commission is now online here at the Institute for Policy Studies’ website.

• The movie, Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter about a Malian immigrant in the US who is seeking asylum so that her daughter will not be subjected to Female Genital Mutilation will be airing on PBS this month.

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