Thursday, April 28, 2011

28 April 2011


Congo = Conflict minerals (used in our cell phones and other high-tech products) are just as atrocious as conflict diamonds. Actor Ryan Gosling joins advocacy superstar John Prendergast in completing a short film about the issue: "Raise Hope for Congo." (ENGH)

Sudan = A project allowing women to carry four times as much water also serves as a means to lessen incidents of sexual violence. (IRIN)

Uganda = President Museveni has arrested opposition leader Kizza Besigye for the 4th time this month. (BBC)


USA = YAY! Justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal? The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has “unanimously declared his death sentence unconstitutional.” (DN)


Bangladesh = Discrimination against indigenous peoples and in-fighting are still prevalent despite the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord. (IRIN)

The Courage Unfolds Campaign invites activists to join in their message of promoting GLBT rights in Asia. You can watch their video here. (DIA)


United Kingdom = Women have the right to be priests, says Professor Conor Gearty. (AWID)


Syria = Activists who have had to flee are still doing their part to advocate for Syrian rights, even from Lebanon, as over 400 people are dead in Syria. (PRI)


Check out this ICRC-hosted webcast on customary international humanitarian law.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

26 April 2011


Burundi = A bleak, explicit example of how poverty leads to prostitution. (IRIN)

  • This story was skewed in a “they risk AIDS” context, rather than “they are forced to degrade themselves, put their bodies and lives at risk because they are women” context. What do you think?

DR Congo = A “mobile gender justice court” has now tried over 115 cases, convicting 51 people. (PMBZ)

Mauritania = Slavery in modern Mauritania means hiring girls as young as 10 to be your maid. Suck. (PMBZ)


Uruguay = Voting on a bill “to annul the amnesty that prevents prosecution” for people who committed human rights abuses while acting under the former dictator is sparking heated public debate, and public opinion is against the bill offering amnesty. (GRD)

USA = Generosity of spirit? Salt Lake City, Utah has installed voluntary parking meters whose profits benefit local people who are homeless. (AOL)

USA = People in the state of Maryland gathered last night to support Chrissy Lee Polis who was attacked at a McDonald's for being a transgender person. (ADV)


India = Newly discovered mass graves of people who were Sikh will hopefully propel the government to investigate this 1984 internal genocide. (HRW)

Sri Lanka = According to a UN report published yesterday, the government's actions against the Tamil Tigers in 2009 which resulted in the deaths of 40,000 people are likely to be qualified as war crimes. (AJ, AI, OHCHR)

China = As China and the USA meet in Beijing tomorrow to discuss human rights, China has warned diplomats about giving feedback on its domestic policies. (WP)

Afghanistan = Like a Virgin? If you are not one, you could be persecuted, and doctors may “examine” you to check if you actually are “pure.” Forced or coerced examinations are now considered torture. (IRIN)


United Arab Emirates = Peaceful government protests leads to jail for 5 activists. (HRW)


Johnson & Johnson vs. Doctors Without Borders; DWB press release is online here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

25 April 2011


Central African Republic = Are Gender-Based Violence legal clinics having any effect? Perhaps … (IRIN)

Kenya = Forced male circumcision is the new hot topic for gender based violence experts. (IRIN)

Makes sense, yes? If forced female circumcision, or “female genital mutilation” is recognized as a human rights offense, shouldn't the male equivalent be so recognized, too? Are they comparable? What do you think?

Mauritania = Tear gas was fired at civilians during “day of rage” protests. (BBC)

Nigeria = Yay! The gay-friendly House of Rainbow church is trying to re-open … albeit via YouTube. After the Reverend Rowland Jide Macaulay had to flee the country due to death threats, it looked like the end of gay-friendly congregation. A brave volunteer who hosts the services in Nigeria, accesses the Reverend over YouTube and the congregation is now closed to all new worshipers and meets in secret locations to protect themselves. (GRD)


USA = Proof that the United States knowingly imprisoned innocent people at Guantanamo. (DN, AJ)

  • You can watch the Guardian's video report here.


Sri Lanka = Journalist Shantha Wijesuriya who works for Lankaenews has been arrested. (GV)


Hungary = People of Roma descent are continuing to be threatened by a para-military “neighborhood watch” in Northern Hungary's Gyongyospata. (GV)


Syria = Demonstrators in the southern city of Daraa and the Damascus suburb of Douma are facing violent security forces; at least 20 people have been killed and dozens arrested. (DN, WP, FR24, NYT)


New media and the spread of Human Rights; thoughtful essay by Matthew Smith. (HP)

Carroll Bogert's excellent essay “Whose News” on citizen journalism and human rights is online here.

Click here for an online manual designed for human rights defenders.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

24 April 2011


Ghana = Is access to the internet a Human Right? Some Ghanian activists are moving to guarantee access to the internet. Internet access does often provide greater awareness, knowledge and empowerment for its users. (JHR)

  • Apparently the UN “has proposed that internet access should be a universal right. And Finland, France, Greece and Estonia have already caught on, ruling that the web should be accessible to all.” What do you think?


USA = Nicholas Kristof writes about the trafficking of American girls. (NYT)

  • I wish this article had been a bit longer, really addressing the issue of penalties and perpetrators (a comparison to Sweden's laws and the sharp decline in trafficking would have been good). Your thoughts?

USA = Yay Pittsburgh! The city is the first in the USA to pass a proclamation calling for “electronic companies and other industries to take the necessary steps to remove conflict minerals from their supply chain” in support of the people of Eastern Congo. It's a baby step, for sure, but at least it's a step, yes? (ENGH)


Pakistan = Apparently, sadistic violence against women is OK. When her brother was found guilty of adultery, the village council sentenced Ms. Mukhtar Mai to be gang-raped by 11 men. Mukhtar—in the face of death threats—took the men who raped her to court. That was nine years ago. This week, the Pakistani Supreme Court found only one man guilty and Ms. Mai returns to her village without justice, and facing renewed death threats from her attackers. (HRW, VV)

  • Update: the Pakistani government is allegedly providing Mukhtar Mai with security. (VV)

Tibet = Despite the locals attempts to protect the monks in the Kirti monastery (see last week's post) the Chinese police succeeded in evacuating the monks, killing at least two men in the process. (GRD)


United Arab Emirates = Boo. The government this week dissolved the elected Board of Directors of the Jurist Association, one of the most prominent human rights groups in the country. (HRW)

Yemen = The 22nd was dubbed Last Chance Friday as hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets. Photos and tweets available on GlobalVoices.


You can find a video here that exposes discrimination against people who are transsexual.

Michelle Bachelet = Super Hero!?! I can get on board with that. It really is all about the ladies.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

16 April 2011


DR Congo = Representatives from civil society organizations from all 11 provinces of the DRC have agreed to terms for the creation of a special independent court within the national judicial system for the prosecution of international crimes against humanity committed in the DRC since 1990. (HRW)

Libya = The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights has instituted proceedings against the state of Libya in the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights in response to the massive number of NGO communications imploring it to do so. Libya now “has 60 days to respond to … (the allegations of) serious and widespread violations of the African Charter, including the repression of peaceful demonstrations and the use of heavy weapons and machine guns against its population.” (FIDH)


USA = Attention New Yorkers: the Human Rights Campaign wants you! If you support marriage equality and would like to say so in a video, show up between 11am and 4pm tomorrow (Sunday)at Gansevoort Plaza in the Meatpacking District and speak out for equal rights. (ADV)

USA = OMG! WTF? The Red Cross just published a new survey … in which 60% of American teenagers support torture for POWs … and over half of American teenagers support murder of POWs who had killed an American citizen. (GOOD)

  • How did this happen? What messages are these kiddos getting? These are the people who will making our policy decisions in the not-so-distant future. This does NOT make me wanna LMFAO.

Venezuela = The Inter-American Commission's Friday report found that Venezuelan human rights activists are working in a “growing climate of hostility” including unjust arrests, assaults, and harassment. President Chavez denies these allegations, saying the claims are politically motivated. (CHRON, WP)


Tibet = YAY for citizen action! Residents near the Kirti Monastery have gathered to block Chinese military access to the monastery, protecting the 2500 monks within from a forced re-education program led by Chinese security forces, despite the use of excessive force and attack dogs. (HRW)


Croatia = About time! Yesterday the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicted Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac for their crimes against ethnic Serbs in 1995. (AI)


Iran = A proposed law before the Iranian parliament, the Bill on the Establishment and Supervision of Non-Governmental Organisations, will seriously restrain independent activities of Iranian NGOs if passed. Rights at risk include the freedom of association and the freedom of assembly, which would be monitored by the newly created Supreme Committee Supervising NGO Activities, an “unaccountable body” requiring registration of every active NGO in Iran. (AWID)


FREE conference in the Hague next month! On May 5-6, a short conference on Post-Conflict Justice and “Local Ownership” will be offered for free at the University of Leiden Campus. Register BEFORE 29 April by emailing pcj @