Regular Readers, my apologies for this week's late edition! I blame travel and a sickly old laptop which had to be put to rest this week. The RoundUp will back on schedule this coming Sunday – see you then.
• Libya = Wow. It appears that Colonel al-Gaddafi has completely lost it --- control of his nation, that is. In an unprecedented move this weekend, Libya's own UN delegation declared that they now represented the people of Libya, not its government, and appealed to the UN Security Council to take action against al-Gaddafi. In another unexpected move, the Security Council unanimously referred Libya to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity under international law, following Friday's UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva where the Council strongly denounced the human rights abuses being perpetrated in Libya. (AI, HRW, FIDH)
Apparently al-Gaddafi ordered some of his military pilots to fire on civilian demonstrators from the air. A petition has been started to support grants of asylum to two pilots who refused to kill unarmed protesters and escaped to Malta; you can sign it here.
• Central African Republic = Diamond profits are still supporting armed and abusive rebel groups ... and the Kimberly Process (designed to ensure “conflict diamonds” are not put into the stream of commerce) isn't working. (AA)
• USA = We all know how serious America is about following through on its international legal obligations (ahem), so despite the ILO's 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the ICCPR's guarantees to trade union activity, etc. Wisconsin Governor and state legislators took away Wisconsin workers' collective bargaining rights in a 2am vote this week. The public response was immediate, with solidarity rallies in all 50 states this weekend. (HRW, CHNG)
• China = Chinese bloggers and “netizens” are calling for “Jasmine Revolution” protests … and the government is not surprisingly moving swiftly to stifle their voices. At least 5 people have been criminally detained for “subversion of state power,” a charge that could get these activists 10 years in prison. Additionally, more than one hundred people have had their residences raided, been beaten, interrogated or disappeared over the past week. (CHRD)
• England = Two teenage college-hopefuls are suing their government for human rights abuses because university tuition was tripled starting next September. Public Interest Lawyers is representing the students, who argue the increased tuition disproportionately affects students from lower-income homes and ethnic minorities. England, as a member of the European Union, is subject to the European Convention on Human Rights and this tuition raise allegedly breaches Article 14 of that Convention. (GRD)
• Bahrain = Yay!! The Bahrain 23 have been freed. Last summer, activists from government opposition groups organized a boycott of the approaching elections. The Ministry of Justice arrested and charged 23 activists with “forming an authorized group which incites to overthrow the government.” Since their arrest 6 months ago, the detainees have all been brutally tortured, spurring thousands of their colleagues to protest and blog about their treatment. This week the Bahrain 23 along with 250 other political prisoners were released from jail. (CHNG)
• Yemen = With an average of 3 deaths per day since demonstrations started on 16 February, Yemeni security forces are now allegedly opening fire on protesters, attacking protesters' homes, outright executing people and barring both injured patients and doctors from entering hospitals. A doctor in the al-Mu'alla region was told, “Let them die!” by security officers who would not allow him to enter the hospital to treat people who had been injured in the demonstrations. (AI)
ALSO OF INTEREST:
• Any environmentalists out there feel like taking the Fate of the World into your hands? This video game lets players turn climate change issues around and save the future of our planet. If you purchase the Fate of the World before Thursday, all proceeds will benefit the global environmental-group coalition, TckTckTck. (GOOD)