Sunday, September 18, 2011

18 September 2011


  • Ethiopia = The government this week arrested three of its most vocal critics – actor Debebe Eshetu, journalist Eskinder Nega, and opposition party leader Andualem Aragie – and is now detaining them in the Federal Police Crime Investigation Department (Maekelawi prison) where torture is allegedly common. It is unclear with which crimes (if any) they have been charged. (HRW, CPJ)

  • Somalia = In Marere, as in other parts of Somalia, security issues are hampering doctors' attempts to address the current outbreaks of cholera and measles which are effecting approximately 5,000 people. Mass vaccinations are now the only means to prevent an increasing number of deaths, but it is unclear whether the ruling authorities will allow a vaccination program in Marere. (DWB)


  • Bolivia = Yay for girl power! Ana, Brigida and Noemí, are young girls in La Paz, Bolivia who refuse to be marginalized child laborers ... they are union leaders. They have joined with thousands of other child laborers to form their own labor union, preserving their legal rights at their jobs and demanding their bosses pay attention to their demands. (WBEZ)

  • United States = The Guantanamo Public Memory Project, which is coordinated by Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights, is now available online here. (PMB)

  • United States = According to last year's Census numbers, one in 6 Americans is living in poverty and one in 5 American children struggles with hunger. (WP, DN)


  • China = Yay! It's so rare to report on any positive human-rightsy news out of China, I just had to include this tidbit: over the past decade, China has drastically reduced the death rate of newborns, in part by promoting and incentivising hospital births in rural areas. (GRD)

  • Malaysia = Yay! The government is promising to repeal the 50-year old Internal Security Act, a “preventive detention law,” which has been used to justify state detention of people (read: dissenters, activists, advocates, etc) without the legal mandate to press charges or hold a trial. Presumably this is good news not just for future activists, but for those currently detained under this Act, who now must be A) charged with a criminal offense and brought to trial or B) released from detention. (AI, GRD)


  • The Netherlands = Boo! Required human sterilization?!?! Article 28 of the Dutch Civil Code requires people who are transgender to complete a sex change operation and be “permanently and irreversibly sterilized” before the Netherlands will recognize their gender on any official state documents. (HRW)


  • Afghanistan = Lady leaders! 70-year old Abedo leads a militia in Helmand Province, protecting her people against the local Taliban militias. (FPB)

  • Iran = This has been a bad week for advocates. Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer, was sentenced to 6 years in prison for “propaganda against the State, collusion and gathering with the aim of acting against national security, and membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC)”. Another human rights lawyer, Mohammad Seifzadeh, who has been in prison since April, was this week told that a new charge of “propaganda against the system” was being added to his list of crimes. Farshid Yadollahi, another lawyer, was arrested by government security agents while at a dinner party with friends. Likewise, attorneys and human rights advocates Amir Eslami, Afshin Karampour, Omid Behroozi, Mostafa Daneshju, Somayyeh Tohidloo, and Faranak Farid, have been arrested and in some cases, have been sentenced to 50 lashes for their “crimes.” (FIDH)


  • Australia = Wow. In stark contrast with the Netherlands (see above), the government is offering a 3rd gender option on all official and state documents—including passports—for Australian citizens who are transgender or intersex. (OHCHR)


  • Human Rights Watch is reporting on the 48 writers from 24 countries who received the 2011 Hellman/Hammett grants “for their commitment to free expression and their courage in the face of persecution.”

No comments: