Sunday, February 20, 2011

20 February 2011


Djibouti = Mr. Jean-Paul Noel Abdi, president of the Djiboutian League of Human Rights, has been arrested after opposing the arbitrary arrests of human rights activists on 5th February. Abdi publicly denounced the arrests and was then arrested himself and has been charged with “participation in an insurrectory movement” despite a complete lack of evidence to support these charges. Activists are deeply concerned for Abdi’s health, a 60-something diabetic. (HRW)

Libya = Protestors have been killed in Misratah, Benghazi and other Libyan cities this week. Colonel al-Gaddafi, Libya’s leader, has allegedly ordered his security forces as well as hired foreign mercenaries to shoot to kill demonstrators in order to suppress protests. At least 34 people were shot on Friday and at least 173 people have been killed. At least 10,000 demonstrators are protesting today in Benghazi; hopefully without incident. (AI, HRW, FIDH)

Morocco = Today thousands of demonstrators are protesting in the streets of Tangiers, Fes and Marrakech. Apparently a police station was vandalized and certain shops have been looted – it is now unclear how much of this is the result of protestors and how much is the result of street thugs joining in the “fun.” No reports yet on numbers of people who are injured. (GV)

USA = Following up on our story previously published in the 6 February 2011 Human Rights RoundUp, “border vigilante” Shawna Forde was found guilty this Tuesday on two counts of 1st degree murder for killing Brisenia Flores and Raul Flores in their Arizona home. (IPS)

USA = Boo! The state senate of Wyoming this week passed a bill that would “preserve” a valid marriage as between one man and one woman and would additionally allow the state to not recognize as legal any civil unions or same-sex marriages legally entered into outside of Wyoming. (ADV)

Thailand = Thai activist Daranee Chamchoengsilpakul made three speeches against government repression in 2008 and was sentenced to 18 years in prison for “insulting the monarchy.” This week, her sentence was overturned in what appears to be a positive step toward freedom of speech in Thailand. (CHNG)

  • Unfortunately, this week in Thailand was not all positive: Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the director of a Thai political website, was charged with violating Thailand’s freedom of expression laws regarding cyberspace. She could be sentenced to 20 years in prison if found guilty of “failing to promptly remove offending comments from the website.” (HRB)

Italy = Over 5,000 people who are trying to migrate to Italy from Tunisia are being detained on the Italian island of Lampedusa. This “migrant wave” is causing political unrest at home in Italy, allegedly prompting Italian border police to open fire on a boat carrying Egyptian asylum seekers. According to Amnesty International, “Italy routinely detains irregular migrants, and in the past has conducted mass expulsions, in violation of international law.” (AI)

  • Let’s keep our eye on this situation.

Ireland = The Irish Centre for Human Rights now has its own YouTube channel. (HRD)

Jordan = Yay! A new public health initiative in Jordan is connecting Bedouin women with doctors through mobile phones. Patients can use their phones to ask questions and receive recorded audible responses, confidentially. (FC)

Yemen = As in Libya and Morocco (see above), protestors are motivating in Yemen and the authorities are doing what they can to suppress the demonstrations. Security forces allegedly attacked demonstrators in Ta’izz with a hand grenade, leaving at least 10 people injured. (AI)

• The Brookings Institution in Washington, DC is hosting a UNESCO event on March 2nd entitled The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education which focuses on the effect of violent conflicts on school children and the local educational systems and institutions; information about the conference is available online here.

The Qosbi Show?? Apparently it was originally Katie Couric’s idea: having a television show about Arab-Americans on the US airwaves could “promote more cross-cultural understanding,” like the Cosby show did for black and white Americans in the US in the 1980s. (IPS)

• The Nelson Mandela Foundation is hosting an event this coming week marking the 10th anniversary of legalized freedom of information in South Africa.

• The March 2011 edition of the Human Rights Law Review has published a piece on the human rights of older people … a topic we should all be considering as health care systems improve and populations in the West, especially, are growing older.

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