• Angola = The Jasmine Revolution is spreading … and so are government crack-downs. The Angolan government this week effectively stopped Monday's planned demonstration by threatening punishment for attendees and arresting journalists (from the private newspaper Novo Jornal), musician-poets and proposed demonstrators the night before the event. (HRW)
• Libya = Among the fighting and upheaval, thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are being conscripted to fight for the Libyan forces by Colonel al-Gaddafi. Be this misguided forced nationalism or the result of racism, this must be stopped immediately. Many of these people—like Libyan citizens—are trying to flee the State at this time; their migrant status must not effect their basic human right to security of the body, as well as repatriation. (FIDH, GV, IRIN)
A follow-up to last week's story: BP has now stopped doing business with Libya. (CHNG)
• Ecuador = Chevron, in addition to causing over $9.5Million in environmental damages to the Amazon Basin, has engaged in an 18-year-long campaign to undermine the Ecuadorian court. (BHR)
• USA = Boo! In a move reminiscent of the notorious Red Scare era, the US House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security held hearings this week on the alleged “radicalization of the Muslim American community.” (HRW, BCJ, IPS)
Is it acceptable practice for the US Congress to evaluate the patriotism of a religious community?
• USA = Yay! The Governor of the State of Illinois this week signed a law abolishing the death penalty in that state. America is slowly but surely, state by state, acceding to the internatioanlly accepted standard that the imposition of the death penalty is a violation of basic human rights. (AI)
• Azerbaijan = Much like Angola (see above), authorities have been arresting, detaining and threatening people who plan to demonstrate in Jasmine Revolution protests. Additionally, this past Thursday the Ministry of Justice suspended a human rights NGO, the Azerbaijan Human Rights House. (HRW)
• JAPAN = I'm sure all of us have been focused on the recent destruction in Japan, and are keeping our eyes on earthquake/tsunami/nuclear plant developments there. I haven't seen much human-rightsy news yet (regarding health services, water, sanitation, food, etc) but did pick up an article wherein the group Architecture for Humanity has committed to helping rebuild Sendai when the proverbial and literal dust has settled. I'm hoping we will see many more positive actions in the coming weeks and months. (GOOD)
• Britain = “Child soldiers” in the UK?? Apparently, yes. Britain's army may recruit soldiers at the age of 16, despite the fact that age of majority in Britain is 18 years to be able to buy alcohol, ride a motorbike, and rent violent movies (such as Apocalypse Now, which of course is about … war). Additionally, if a soldier enters the British military at age 16, they are still committed to 4 years of service after their 18th birthday, which is two years longer than anyone joining at age 18. (GRD)
• Bahrain = Threats against Jasmine Revolution protestors now include very personal death threats against 3 human rights activists; the government thus far has done nothing to ensure or promote their safety. (AI)
• Syria = Human rights attorney Haytham Al-Maleh was pardoned and released from prison this week after a year and a half of State detention. The International Commission of Jurists observed the trial of Mr. Al-Maleh, in which he was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for “weakening national sentiments” among other accusations and issued a report which outlined consistent human rights violations throughout. (FIDH)
A group of approximately 12 prisoners detained in Damascus have been on a hunger strike since Monday, 7 March protesting their politicized trials; let's keep an eye on their situation.
ALSO OF INTEREST:
• The Human Rights Law Resource Centre and the Castan Center for Human Rights Law are hosting a seminar on 5 April, 2011 in Melbourne entitled, “Will the Revolution Be Tweeted? The Role of Social Media in Promoting and Protecting Human Rights.” (BHR)
• UNICEF has a human rights podcast, “Beyond School Books,” highlighting the importance of education.
• MotherJones publishes this Eco-News Roundup weekly.