Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Inquest of peace and end of terrorism:
Find an answer for peace.

Stop terrorism, religious fanaticism
China understands the dark side of religious fanatism, fundamentalism and subversive activities of terror networks that grips the whole world today. We have seen many lives have been lost by Islamic people. (I don’t like to accuse all people embraced in Islam, but most terror attacks are done by ‘Muslims’ in ‘Islam’ and from Middle East and South Asian countries, This terror activities are direct enemies of our liberty, democracy and progress of civilization. This terror activities also enemy of liberal and progressive Muslims. It’s only aim is to thwart the process of civilization, and pulling back to the era of 600 B.C. A time when barbaric activities were prevalent, when ignorance and illiteracy kept people chained in a helpless state. People were like beast. We have seen, the world has seen the Taliban regime, we have seen Islamic barbarity. People are being stoned to death, we have seen limbs were cut, amputated, we have seen unrest and blood shed by people belongs to Islam and in the name of Islam. You can have lot instances of dark sides of Islam. Do you want this? No common people look at these instances with good terms nor any liberal Muslim also want this barbarity.

In this world I think, to my best of knowledge, There are a lot religions, ( Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism etc. ) and every religion has its scriptures, these were written in olden days. These were written to rule people in those periods, basically they are used now to understand the history of mankind in those pre history times. All religious scriptures say and claim they were direct from God or inspired by god. And most religious scriptures instigate genocide or killing to unbelievers or people belong to different religion. I can quote the verses or instances at least from three major religions, from Hindu, Christian and Muslim scriptures.

In last a few decades, I have not heard any abominable genocide done in the name of religion or god by any religious group except Islam. And more over it is happening throughout the world. The Muslims are manipulating very cleverly in united nations to curve international laws in their favour and they are being indulged to. ( Sharia or Islamic law source: http://pacafour.blogspot.com/) they are doing it converting a country into Islam. United nation and Human rights activists can only give peace to mankind. ( we have faith on them). They can make law that no religion can have supremacy over any country or any international law. If any religion has the state power or supremacy it can abuse human rights, liberty and democracy. People belongs to other religion can not live with proper dignity in that country.

Combating Religious Intolerance With a U.N. Resolution
“It probably slipped most people’s notice. It wasn’t a “big” story. It was a little routine vote at the United Nations on a resolution called “Combating Defamation of Religion”. It passed — for the ninth year in a row. The resolution, on the surface, seems almost a no-brainer for the General Assembly. Of course, people should be respectful of other religions. But that’s not exactly what this resolution says.
Many member nations, including the United States, as well as several non-profit groups like the Becket Fund and the Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice, see the resolution as the proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

(Source : Combating Religious Intolerance With a U.N. Resolution?
December 8th, 2008 4:47 PM Eastern
Recalling that all States have pledged themselves, under the Charter of the United Nations, to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,Recalling also its resolutions 1999/82 of 30 April 1999, 2000/84 of 26 April 2000 and 2001/4 of 18 April 2001,Reaffirming that discrimination against human beings on grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,………………. Alarmed at the impact of the events of 11 September 2001 on Muslim minorities and communities in some non-Muslim countries and the negative projection of Islam, Muslim values and traditions by the media, as well as at the introduction and enforcement of laws that specifically discriminate against and target Muslims,
(Combating defamation of religion , Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/9 The Commission on Human Rights,

I don’t know how UN and commission of Human rights deny a truth that a media publishes! There are no other religions its only concern is Islam?
Lets read the all links posted here, it’s a grave situations and concern to liberal and common people. Its very wrong time for freedom of expression and human rights.
Read the following links for detail
U.N. Ruling: Islamic Sharia Taboo in Human Rights Council Debates
Published by UN Watch
In its recently concluded June session, the UN Human Rights Council ruled that any references to Islamic Shar’ia law are prohibited in the council chamber. Even outgoing UN rights chief Louise Arbour, who more than once sought to appease the UN’s anti-blasphemy squads, expressed her concern.
Islamic bid to amend UN religious intolerance resolution
Islamic states are challenging the draft text of the annual UN resolution on religious intolerance, demanding that deference to religion be allowed to trump freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) demanded that the resolution:
1) Express alarm at the increased negative projection of religions in the media;
2) Link freedom of expression and freedom of religion;
3) Reject the equation of religions with terrorism (the EU accepted this, but there are still discussions on the exact wording);
4) Protect religions from defamation, attack, or contempt.
5) “Welcome” the “work” of the Special Rapporteur — but not “recognize” it, as is customary.
Specifically, the OIC wants to include a new paragraph:

alarmed at increasing instances of deliberate and systematic negative projection of religions, their adherents and prophets in media and by influential political parties and groups.

Islamic Protesters “Pleased” With Louise Arbour’s Response
When the alliance of fifty-six Islamic states complained to Ms. Arbour in 2005 about the cartoons in a Danish newspaper that they deemed blasphemous—and which eventually served as grounds for bloody riots—she reportedly instructed the UN experts on racism and religion to follow up on their complaint.
UN rights council passes Islamic resolution on religious defamation
GENEVA: The top U.N. rights body on Thursday passed a resolution proposed by Islamic countries saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it.
The European Union said the text was one-sided because it primarily focused on Islam.
The U.N. Human Rights Council, which is dominated by Arab and other Muslim countries, adopted the resolution on a 21-10 vote over the opposition of Europe and Canada.

US Mounting Effort To Counter Limits on Speech Critical of Islam
The debate focuses on a United Nations resolution called “Combating Defamation of Religion,” sponsored by the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference. The resolution was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2005 and is up for renewal in the next couple of months. While the resolution stresses the need to fight defamation against all faiths, Islam is the only one explicitly mentioned

Criminalizing Christians Now Losing Steam at U.N. - But Religious Rights Advocates Warn Plan Still a Danger
"U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based organization that monitors the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, acknowledged what we have stated all along that the resolution is 'aimed at the Western world to intimidate anyone from criticizing radical Islam,'" said Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice.
…………… The group repeatedly has lobbied since 1999 for the plan, based on the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, "which states that all rights are subject to Shariah law, and makes Shariah law the only source of reference for human rights."
The ACLJ has launched a petition effort to raise awareness of the campaign, to be delivered to the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights.

According to the ACLJ's European division, the European Center for Law & Justice, "The 'defamation of religion' resolutions establish as the primary focus and concern the protection of ideas and religions generally, rather than protecting the rights of individuals to practice their religion, which is the chief purpose of international religious freedom law.

"The implementation of domestic laws to combat defamation of religion in many OIC countries reveals a selective and arbitrary enforcement toward religious minorities, who are often Christians. Those violations are frequently punishable by the death penalty."
The newest "anti-defamation" plan was submitted in March. It cites a declaration "adopted by the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers" at a meeting in Islamabad "which condemned the growing trend of Islamophobia and systematic discrimination against adherents of Islam."

This year the U.N. marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted on Dec. 10, 1948. In another submission to the HRC, three NGOs – the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the Association for World Education and the Association of World Citizens – said it was now critical to stress the need for, and discuss threats to, the agreed universal standards contained in the landmark declaration. They reiterated long-held concerns about a document adopted by OIC member states in 1990, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, which says all human rights and freedoms must be subject to Islamic law (shari’a).

( Click the link below OIC has 25 articles , Do you think These article gives you human dignity, protection and freedom of expression…….)

Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam

The Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference,Reaffirming the civilizing and historical role of the Islamic Ummah which God made the best nation that has given mankind a universal and well-balanced civilization in which harmony is established between this life and the hereafter and knowledge is combined with faith; and the role that this Ummah should play to guide a humanity confused by competing trends and ideologies and to provide solutions to the chronic problems of this materialistic civilization.Wishing to contribute to the efforts of mankind to assert human rights, to protect man from exploitation and persecution, and to affirm his freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with the Islamic Shari'ah………..
OIC Wants 'Binding Legal Instrument' to Fight IslamophobiaThursday, March 13, 2008By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor (CNSNews.com) - An international humanist organization has warned that Islamic governments are trying to use the United Nations to shut down free speech. The warning comes as a bloc of Islamic states is holding a summit with "Islamophobia" high on the agenda.

Paula Schrier, director of advocacy at Freedom House, notes that the resolution that calls on countries to create legal mechanisms to prevent “acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions” is intended to prevent stereotyping, speech, and actions deemed degrading to all religions, although, as with past resolutions, it singles out only Islam and Muslims by name as targets of “an overall campaign of defamation of religions.”The resolution is the latest in a series of resolutions put forward by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) that attempt to equate the right of an individual to hold and express certain beliefs with the right of a belief itself to be free from criticism. “These attempts are both misguided and dangerous. If we are to achieve greater understanding and tolerance among all faiths, no topics can be deemed off limits for discussion,” she writes.

………………., the president of the Human Rights Council ruled that religion could not be discussed at the Council following repeated objections by Egypt to an intervention criticising the stoning to death of women accused of adultery and of girls being married at the age of nine in certain countries where Sharia law applies. The passage of anti-defamation laws are also used to justify limits on free expression within countries, where individuals are arrested or persecuted for criticising and even questioning views, particularly those commonly accepted by the population of the religious majority. In Egypt, bloggers are arrested for posting criticisms of Islam. In Pakistan, defiling Islam is punishable by death and insulting another’s religious feelings can result in a ten-year prison sentence. In Saudi Arabia, all Saudis are required by law to be Muslim, Freedom House points out.
source : OIC-backed UN resolution on religious hatred deplored
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Stop sanctioning, aiding all countries that is ruled by religion. Force religion based countries abandon its religious base of law and administration. I hope at least humankind would feel comfort in any country. They would never feel threat.

China and former Soviet Union nations (especially Russia). Prior to Communist takeovers of these regions and government attempts to eradicate religion, both places had very high levels of affiliation with organized religions (especially Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism), as well as high levels of participation in and belief in traditional local traditions such as shamanism, ancestor ceremonies, spiritism, etc. Since the fall of Communism in former Soviet nations and the relaxation of anti-religious policies in China, observed religious affiliation and activity has increased dramatically, especially in Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam.
It is seen those are actual atheists do not have religious mind are more human and in true terms. Estimates for atheism alone range from 200 to 240 million. ( to some other source it is more and double). The Encyclopedia Britannica reports approximately 41 million atheists in Europe. We need people now who understands human values, relations and progress of human kind.

Can you imagine a man’s life who belong to other religion in a Islamic country, Do United Nation watch? Do activists in human right watch? No .
Because they understand without pampering muslim the situation would turn more hostile. The majority in Islam is out numbering than Christians. The world has ancient religions, they are going to be extinct. The oldest religion people say Hindu the oldest of the four main religions is Hinduism. Hinduism has the oldest recorded roots in Dravidianism. Dravidianism was estimated to have been practised around 6000 to 3000BCE and as such predates Sumerian, Egyptian and Babylonian cultures. When the Aryan peoples migrated to Northern India and first put their religious tradition into writing, but Hinduism in India only. As for Buddhism, it was founded by an Indian Prince Siddhartha Gautama in approximately 566BCE (Before Common Era), about 2500 years ago. After jesus Christ people embraced Christianity preaching Love Christianity was founded by Jesus Christ approximately 1,971 (33CE). The west were belong to mostly Jews(about Judaism, the religion of the Jews? It was founded around 1312BCE when Moses left Egypt for the promised land) and Christian. After Mohammed, the founder of Islam ( 570 – 632 C E .According to religious historians, Islam was founded around 622CE (Common Era)
we see another religion, Islam. Islam is actually the youngest of the world's large (more than 300 million members) religions - Christainity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. The civilized people who know the history, spreading of Islam and how, from then on to today. It were bloodshed, time and again. Mohammed was a military commander, he used his guerrilla warfare, and he proved his capability, and he succeeded, the history tells.

He was not like Jesus, who on the crossed begged forgiveness for his hostile people and enemy.

At present an estimated more than 1.2 billion followers of Islam (about 20 percent of the world's population). is today's fastest growing religion. By 2025 or earlier, Islam will overtake Christianity as the world's largest religion. This is due to conversion (in mainly non-Muslim countries) and also the population growth in Muslim countries.
Many Muslims (and some non-Muslim) observers claim that there are more practicing Muslims than practicing Christians in the world. It is a cult.

Comparative chart - number of Muslims to Christians:

- -------Christian ---Muslim
1900 world population -26.9% ----12.4%
1980 world population -30% ------16.5%
2000 world population --29.9%---- 19.2%
2025 world population (PROJECTED) 25% ---30%
Christian and other religions are drooping in number.

At present Those embraced Christianity are most civilized than people of other religion, and the west prospered.
The places are under control of Islamic scriptures, look at the places-- the middle East, south asia and Africa, Every where there is unrest, bloodshed, and abuse of humanity. People are mostly ignorant, illiterate and process of civilization is thwarted. This is not a good sign for our planet. The world leaders should ponder over this malady. And work collectively to eliminate this threat.
In China today,With prayers banned in public areas, private hajj trips not allowed, teaching of the Noble Qur'an not allowed in private and students and government officials forced to eat during Ramadan, China in enforcing laws and regulations restricting the practice of Islam.
Chinese authorities have enforced laws restricting the ability of Muslims in the northwestern region of Xinjiang from practicing their faith
In Khotan, signs posted in front of the grand mosque say the weekly Friday prayer sermon must not extend beyond than a half-hour.
Prayers in public areas outside the mosque is forbidden and residents are banned from worshipping at mosques outside their town. Under the rules, imams are banned from teaching the Qur'an in private and only official versions of the Qur'an are allowed. a government regulation that bans Islamic education for anyone under the age of 18.
Studying Arabic is only allowed at special government schools. Government workers are banned from showing the slightest sign of religious devotion.
For example, a Muslim civil servant could be sacked for donning hijab.
They began posting regulations mandating women not to wear hijab and men to shave their beards. Atheist China recognizes five religions — Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism and Buddhism — and tightly regulates their administration and practice. Official Hajj Under the rules, two of Islam's five pillars – the Ramadan fasting and hajj – are strictly controlled. China has also revived a law prohibiting Muslims from arranging their own trips to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj.
Signs painted on mud-brick walls in the winding alleyways of old Kashgar warn against making "illegal" hajj. To get a passport to go on an official hajj or a business trip, applicants must leave a deposit of nearly $6,000.
(http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2109743/posts )
A religion is at the root of the terrorism that we witness across the world today. All Religions originate from a psychiatric paranoia, based on a misunderstanding of the unknown universe as a god. This paranoia becomes a threat to civilization when a religion insists that everyone should accept that, the way in which this religion misunderstands the unknown universe as a god, is the ONLY right way (to misunderstand the universe!).
( read more http://www.freerepublic.com/ FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 )
With the Quran setting the principles for forcible conversion of all non-Muslims to Islam and using coercion of treating non-Muslims like 2nd class beings, the base is prepared for the Madaressahs (Islamic theological-terrorism schools) to inculcate these Quranic principles into the minds of every growing generation of Muslims to have this attitude of paranoid coercion. Further at every prayer (Ibadat/Namaz), the Muslim priest (Maulavi) preaches the practice of terror to his audience. This is how a terrorist is born. So the Quran, and what is preached in the Madaressahs and the Mosques are the real roots of terror. And until the world over, we do not eradicate these, the problem of terrorism will not end.

We have long seen Islamic terrorism throughoutthe world except china,
China: Officials say Uyghur group involved in Olympic terror plot http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,RFERL,,CHN,,4804c317c,0.html
Officials in Beijing say they have broken up plots by two terrorist groups, including the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan, a banned Uyghur organization, to stage attacks during the Olympic Games in August.
Every country has the right to take precaution against its threat and security. In this respect China is only answer for the rest of the world.

I have seen it is one way traffick in India. The islamic terrorists are hiting us, all over the globe, and the whole world quietly observing its prowess. To india it’s a proxywar by Pakistan, because they failed to control and keep East Pakistan ( now BanglaDesh). They had started proxywar in punjab as khalistan, but failed because India is not a sick country . They are doing it in the name of kashmir, and occupied a part. Now they are doing gurilla war as terrorism. They are doing this proxi war in west because of the involvement of West in Middle East and South Asia.
Their aggressive nature, ignorance and illiteracy, religion and teaching and fast growing population if are not curbed, controled and thwarted, the future is bleak for rest of the world.
Let Indian Leaders look into the past, what was the number of Muslim in this country after Indipendence? And see at present the number. The shadow of fast birth rate has covered africa, West, Europe, Australia and Asia. Have we ever thought in this way . no . we have never thought a religion can stake a planet.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Seven human rights fighters receive top UN awards

Recipients at the 2008 human rights award ceremony
10 December 2008 – The United Nations General Assembly today awarded its top human rights prize to seven global advocates ranging from a Congolese doctor who treats female victims of sexual violence, a nun who fought for indigenous rights before her murder in Brazil, and the assassinated Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto.
The UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights, awarded every five years, was presented at a General Assembly ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The winners are former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour; United States ex-Attorney-General Ramsey Clark; Executive Director and co-founder of Jamaicans for Justice Carolyn Gomes; Denis Mukwege, co-founder of the General Referral Hospital of Panzi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Human Rights Watch, represented by its executive director Kenneth Roth; Ms. Bhutto; and Dorothy Stang of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who was murdered in Brazil three years ago.
They join a distinguished roster of previous laureates that includes apartheid fighter and former South African President Nelson Mandela, US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, former US first Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, former US President Jimmy Carter, and Amnesty International.
The prize was first awarded on 10 December 1968 on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the UDHR.
“As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we acknowledge the tireless work and invaluable contribution of these individuals and organizations that have fought to see the rights and freedoms embodied in this historic document become a reality for people in all corners of the world,” Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto said.
“These awardees constitute symbols of persistence, valour and tenacity in their resistance to public and private authorities that violate human rights. They constitute a moral force to put an end to systematic human rights violations.”
News Tracker: past stories on this issue
Benazir Bhutto named among seven winners of UN human rights prize

Universal Declaration of Human Rights : 60th anniversary of the landmark document.

Ban leads chorus of UN voices calling for action to protect human rights of vulnerable

10 December 2008 – The international community has not lived up to the vision held in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today told a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the landmark document.
Drafted amid the “utter destruction and destitution following the Holocaust and World War II,” the Declaration is at the core of the United Nations’ identity, as “it reflects humanity’s aspirations for prosperity, dignity and peaceful coexistence,” Mr. Ban said in a video message.
The Declaration, which was adopted by the General Assembly 60 years ago on this day in 1948, states that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security and that all – regardless of race, gender, colour, sex, language, religion or political opinion – are equal before the law.
“Since I took office as Secretary-General, I have been very humbled and saddened by having seen so many people whose human rights are being abused and not properly protected,” the Secretary-General told attendees at a ceremony marking the day in New York.
“We see human trafficking, the exploitation of children, and a host of other ills plaguing millions of people,” he said, adding that despite “all the lessons we profess to have learned, shocking acts of brutality against innocent people often go unanswered.”
Mr. Ban also paid tribute to the individuals who risk their lives defending the rights of others around the world, including human rights experts, lawyers and journalists, as well as “ordinary people who find extraordinary courage and stand up for what is rightfully theirs, yours, mine and ours.”
Challenges threatening human rights around the world include the global financial crisis, the food emergency and “humankind’s assault on the natural environment,” he said in a separate message celebrating Human Rights Day, adding, that “there is political repression in too many countries, and, as ever, the most vulnerable continue to be on the frontlines of hardship and abuse.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in her own statement commemorating the milestone, underscored the importance of the Declaration in shaping the principles laid down in the constitutions and laws of more than 90 countries.
She highlighted a range of specific provisions made in the Declaration, from the right not to be tortured, enslaved or arbitrarily detained, to the freedom of opinion, expression and religion, and the right to education, health and equal pay for equal work.
“For many people, the Universal Declaration remains an unfulfilled promise, as States’ political will to fulfil their obligations lags lamentably behind their pledges.”
The High Commissioner’s Representative in Nepal, Richard Bennett, echoed Ms. Pillay’s remarks at an event celebrating the Day in Kathmandu, adding that the Asian country’s progress towards peace faces its own formidable challenges, not least with problems related to discrimination.
Nepal faces many challenges, ranging from the extortion of money from businessmen by armed groups in the Terai to assuring employment for Dalit children, he said.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal and its partners staged a number of activities commemorating the anniversary, including a photo exhibition highlighting prison conditions, launching a “Know Your Rights” campaign and a human rights marathon.
UN independent human rights experts marked the Day with a call to all States to intensify their efforts to realize the Declaration’s promise of dignity, justice and equality for all and to act together to guarantee human rights in today’s challenging times.
They stressed that the interests of individual States are inter-connected, emphasising that “new challenges include ensuring global access to food, and those presented by climate change and financial crisis have potentially massive human rights and development implications. If we are to confront them effectively, we must do so collectively.”
Opening two panel discussions commemorating the Declaration’s anniversary, the President of the General Assembly, Miguel D’Escoto, stressed that education, health, employment, housing, culture, food and recreation for all human beings are the document’s “essence.”
Sounding the alarm about the crisis of the lack of political will, Human Rights Council President Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi voiced regret at the current dismal picture of human rights.
“The problem of poverty is rampant and stands at the core of the denial of many basic human rights. Children are exploited, the elderly are neglected and women are still denied their fundamental rights,” he said in his message to the General Assembly.
Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance all pose huge challenges to establishing the pledges of equality, justice and freedom made at the signing of the Declaration, according to Mr. Uhomoibhi
Appealing to all Somalis to put an immediate stop to human rights violations and abuses, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the Horn of Africa nation, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, portrayed the grim reality on the ground for millions of the country’s impoverished people.
He said that the media coverage of piracy off the Somali coast has overshadowed the dire situation in much of the country, where many live in extreme poverty while atrocities such as killings, torture, rape and indiscriminate attacks on civilians continue unabated.
While welcoming a recent agreement to set up a working group to address the problem of impunity, Mr. Ould-Abdallah stressed that “leaders of all parties and groups involved since 1991 must take responsibility and be held accountable. Punishing the perpetrators of human rights abuses and protecting the vulnerable in their communities are universal obligations.”
Events commemorating the Day are planned to take place at UN Headquarters today, among them a plenary session of the General Assembly to present this year’s recipients of the UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights with their awards, panel discussions on human rights and a screening of a selection of the Stories on Human Rights films.
World-renowned pianist and UN Messenger of Peace, Daniel Barenboim, will also be performing with members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in the General Assembly on 15 December. The concert is meant to commemorate the 60th anniversary and wrap up a year-long UN system-wide campaign, with the theme “Dignity and Justice for All of Us,” aimed at raising awareness of the Declaration.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) honoured Stéphane Hessel, who helped draft the Declaration, with its prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights, at a presentation in Bilbao, Spain.
Mr. Hessel – one of the few survivors from the day of the adoption – was chief of staff for Deputy Secretary-General Henri Laugier at the time, and feels that the Declaration has aged somewhat. “It is a monument to a certain era,” he told the UN News Centre, adding that “It didn't broach a number of problems like humankind's relationship with the environment and terrorism.”

Security Council condemns ‘reprehensible’ terrorist attacks in Mumbai

Ban deplores coordinated terror attacks in Mumbai

26 November 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned tonight''s coordinated series of shootings and blasts by terrorists in Mumbai, which have killed or wounded scores of people in India''s commercial capital and largest city.
“Such violence is totally unacceptable,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson. “The Secretary-General reiterates his conviction that no cause or grievance can justify indiscriminate attacks against civilians.”
Mr. Ban offered his sympathies to the families of the victims and the wounded and voiced his solidarity with India''s Government and its people. He also called for the perpetrators of tonight''s attacks to be brought to justice.
India has been hit by many terrorist acts this year, including deadly explosions in the north-eastern state of Assam last month and earlier attacks in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jaipur and Delhi.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue
Ban condemns multiple terrorist attacks in north-east India
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Security Council condemns ‘reprehensible’ terrorist attacks in Mumbai

28 November 2008 – The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Mumbai that started on 26 November, which included the taking of hostages and caused numerous deaths and injuries in India’s financial capital.
“The members of the Security Council expressed their condolences to the families of the victims and to the people and Government of India,” the 15-member body said in a statement issued to the press last night.
The attacks, which have now stretched into their third day, targeted two major hotel complexes and several other locations in India’s largest city, leaving at least 140 people dead and more than 300 wounded. Rescue operations are still ongoing to try to free the remaining hostages.
Council members “underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice” and urged all States to cooperate with the Indian authorities in this regard.
“All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation,” the Council reiterated in its statement.
The Mumbai attacks are just the latest in a series of acts of terrorism to strike the South Asian nation over the course of the past year. The north-eastern state of Assam and the cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jaipur and Delhi have all fallen victim to the scourge.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue
Ban deplores coordinated terror attacks in Mumbai

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in February 2008
In wake of Mumbai attacks, Ban reaffirms role of UN in countering terrorism

2 December 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reaffirmed his determination for the United Nations to play a lead role in dealing with the menace of terrorism as he stressed the need to bring the perpetrators of last week’s coordinated deadly attacks in Mumbai to justice.
Mr. Ban spoke by telephone this morning with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, conveying his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and the wounded in the Mumbai attacks.
Media reports say at least 172 people died in the attacks in India’s commercial capital and largest city, which began on the evening of 26 November. The terrorists struck a series of sites across the city, including a major railway station, two luxury hotels, a café, a cinema and a Jewish centre.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that he and Mr. Singh agreed it was critical to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice and “that all should fully cooperate in this effort.”
Mr. Ban and the Security Council both issued statements last week in the immediate wake of the attacks condemning the events.
Today’s statement noted that “while commending the courage and resilience shown by the Government and people of India, the Secretary-General reaffirmed his condemnation of terrorism and his determination to provide a lead role for the United Nations in dealing with this global menace.”
News Tracker: past stories on this issue
Security Council condemns ‘reprehensible’ terrorist attacks in Mumbai

Read more : http://www.un.org/


for enlarge double click the photos
ArtVenture Freedom to Create Prize

Read more at http://www.freedomtocreateprize.com/
I had posted about the news earlier at http://freenewsfreespeech.blogspot.com/2008/08/finding-light-in-darkness-and-courage.html

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sudan: Juba Declaration of Concern by the Sudan National Roundatable

For immediate release – 9 December 2008
Sudan: Juba Declaration of Concern by the Sudan National Roundatable

The National Roundtable meeting on democratic media legislation in Sudan held under the auspices of the Sudan Consortium ‘promoting freedom of expression and civil society involvement in the development of democratic media legislation in Sudan’, which met in Juba, South Sudan on 1st to 2nd December, 2008, have expressed their alarm at the deteriorating state of freedom of expression and media freedom in Sudan in a declaration of concern.
The National Roundtable comprised of Sudanese media stakeholders, including Sudanese journalists and editors, Sudanese and international media development and human rights organisations, was opened by the Government of South Sudan’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Gabriel Changson Chang. The roundtable discussed the in-force and draft National media legislation, and highlighted the need for urgent reform of National and
Southern Sudan media legislation, ahead of the scheduled 2009 national elections.
The roundtable also discussed issues surrounding self-regulation of the media in Sudan, agreeing to develop a national code of ethics that was in line with international best practice and to be drafted and adopted by the Sudanese media. The meeting was deeply concerned by the crackdown on journalists, media professionals and media houses throughout the country, and most particularly in Khartoum. The increasing of censorship of newspapers, the harassment, detention and torture of media practitioners has reached alarming levels in Sudan.
The National Roundtable has issued a ‘Juba Declaration on the Deteriorating State of Freedom of Expression and Media Freedom in Sudan’ calling on the Government of National Unity, the Government of Southern Sudan and the International Community to ensure these abuses of fundamental human rights and media freedoms cease.
ARTICLE 19 is a member of a consortium ‘promoting freedom of expression and civil society involvement in developing democratic media legislation in Sudan’; in partnership with Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development, the Association for Media Development in South Sudan, the Olof Palme International Center, International Media Support and Norwegian People’s Aid.

· The Juba declaration is available online at: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/press/sudan-jubadeclaration.pdf
· For more information: please contact Africa Programme Officer Roxanne Abdulali, at:
roxanne@article19.org , +254 20 3862230/2.
· The consortium in supported by the European Commission and Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
· ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.

“What You Don’t know Can Hurt You”

For immediate release – 10 December 2008
“What You Don’t know Can Hurt You” Mexico Launches a Nationwide Campaign For the protection of Journalists

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, ARTICLE 19 launches a campaign to protect those that are at the
forefront of reporting human rights abuses and informing the public about the
state of the world.
Sixty years ago, Latin American countries constituted the largest bloc of the
delegations responsible for drafting the first international text setting out freedoms, rights and entitlements for all humanity to claim. One such fundamental right is that to freedom of expression: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Two years earlier, in 1946, at its very first session, in the UN General Assembly
adopted Resolution 59(I) which states: “Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and ... the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated.”
Since then, this understanding has been echoed many times. For example, the UN Human Rights Committee has said: “The right to freedom of expression is of paramount importance in any democratic society.” The European Court of Human Rights has recognised the vital role of freedom of expression as an underpinning of democracy: “Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of [a democratic] society, one of the basic conditions for its progress and for the development of every man.”
The guarantee of freedom of expression applies with particular force to the media. The media is an important focus of attention for freedom of expression activists: it is the first medium that governments and other political and economic forces attempt to control, including through seeking their complete and forced silencing. As key vehicles of communication and expression, the ability of the media to function independently is vital to freedom of expression but also to the ability of a society to function and survive.
For many years now, ARTICLE 19 has been denouncing the dire situation of
journalists in a country which many in the world sees as a democracy and a model of economic growth. Yet, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to practice journalism, outside war zones. In the last eight years, at least 29 journalists have been killed for practicing journalism and a further eight have been forcibly disappeared. Countless numbers work under threat and practice self-censorship. No one has been held to account for these killings and disappearances.
This campaign – the first of its kind – is addressed to the general public: “What you don’t know can hurt you” seeks to raise awareness amongst Mexican men and women about the toll paid by journalists across the country, but also the toll they – the public – are paying for this violence. Their right to practice journalism is violated and with it, the right of the public to access information of central importance to their life, their future and that of their children.
“Every time information of public interest is withdrawn because of violence, threats or fears, it is a little piece of our humanity that is taken away. Whenever opinions, expression and information are torn, what makes us human is torn as well,” says Dr Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director.

ARTICLE 19 and its partner CENCOS, a Mexico-based human rights organization, launch a permanent campaign for the protection of journalists. Inaugurated through a highly publicized event in Mexico City, the campaign seeks to ensure that violence against journalists and impunity become a national outcry, and a national priority against which all actors will take action. During the event, the wife of one of the victim’s spoke up, demanding full investigations for all the journalists that have disappeared and honoring those that had gone down.
“Journalists are under fire because of the work they do, of what they report and what they uncover. Their presence has become uncomfortable for drug cartels, police and authorities up to the federal level. The campaign will seek to closely monitor the situation of freedom of expression all across Mexico and to support and accompany journalists, media owners and directors in demanding and achieving the level of safety needed to truly exercise press freedom.” says Callamard. The awareness raising campaign includes television and radio spots, posters throughout Mexico city, and a website. The site includes sections on adequate methodology for reporting aggressions, aggression alerts within Mexico, as well as materials about how to document cases and the situation of freedom of expression in Mexico.
The prevailing culture of impunity in Mexico and other countries in the region has had a chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression and access to information all across the continent. ARTICLE 19 has worked alongside CENCOS for the past year and a half, building local capacities and training on monitoring and reporting, safety measures, and campaigning. In 2009, ARTICLE 19 and its Central American partners will seek to replicate the experience in Mexico to other Latin American countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, where violence against the media workers and violation of the public right to know is endemic. The overall objective is to strengthen local capacities and build a continentwide
protection network.

· The website of What you don’t know can hurt you campaign is available at:

ARTICLE 19, 6-8 Amwell Street, London EC1R 1UQTel: (+44) 20 7278 9292 / Fax: (+44) 20 7278 7660Web: www.article19.org / Email: info@article19.org

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression
Throughout the world individuals face harassment and imprisonment as a result of exercising their right to freedom of expression. http://www.amnesty.org/en/freedom-of-expression
Everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas without fear or interference.This right is important for the personal development and dignity of every individual and is vital for the fulfilment of other human rights. Freedom of expression has always been a core part of Amnesty International’s work and is closely linked to the right to hold opinions and the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Amnesty International has campaigned on behalf of thousands of prisoners of conscience – people who are imprisoned because of their political, religious or other conscientiously held beliefs, ethnic origin, sex, colour, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth, sexual orientation or other status. Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience.
Stifling debate
Governments have historically used ‘national security’ as an excuse to stifle political opposition and criticism. In recent years, heightened fears about terrorism and security have been invoked to justify increased repression of individuals and groups exercising their right to free expression. The introduction of more restrictive counter-terrorism legislation in most countries in the world is having a serious impact on freedom of expression and other rights. Such measures are short-sighted. Open debate and respect for human rights is the only framework within which security and development can be sustained.
Protecting the right to defend human rights
Human rights defenders are individuals, groups of people or organizations who promote and protect human rights through peaceful and non-violent means. Their actions depend on, and fuel, freedom of expression.Because of their activities, human rights defenders can become a target of abuse. Governments, security forces, business interests, armed groups, religious leaders and sometimes even their own families and communities can try and silence their dissenting opinions or actions.
Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons
Everyone has the right to express their sexual orientation, with due regard for the well-being and rights of others, without fear of persecution, denial of liberty or social interference. However, in many countries throughout the world lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face discrimination, intimidation, harassment and also attacks to their personal safety. Homophobic statements by politicians, religious leaders and other prominent persons can perpetuate a climate of discrimination and intimidation against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
New technology, new challenges
The internet has opened up new possibilities for individuals and groups to seek and impart information and ideas. Yet, the internet is also a new frontier where freedom of expression is being challenged. For more on Amnesty International’s work on the Internet and Human Rights go to www.irrepressible.info
Key facts
Human rights defenders in many countries throughout the world have been subjected to death threats, arbitrary detention and torture and many have even been killed because of their human rights activism.
Between 2000 and 2005 Amnesty International issued more than 400 Urgent Actions on behalf of individuals believed to be at immediate risk.
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered outside her flat in Moscow on 7 October 2006.
Seven members of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights were arrested by the police after participating in peaceful demonstrations on 1 May 2007, during which slogans criticising the country’s monarchy were chanted.
Lee Si-woo, a photojournalist and peace campaigner, was arrested on 23 April 2007 on charges under the vaguely worded South Korean National Security Law. The charges relate to information he reported as a freelance journalist on the US military presence in South Korea. His news reportage was based on information obtained legally through the government and the military, through Freedom of Information laws.
What Amnesty International is doing
Amnesty International supports and protects those who speak up and express their opinions openly and freely around the world. We do a lot of work particularly with those who speak out to defend human rights for example:
Journalists exposing human rights violations.
Community workers teaching human rights education.
Trade unionists defending workers' rights.
Women working for the promotion of reproductive rights.
Environmentalists highlighting the impact of development projects on indigenous peoples land rights.
Example of success
Chinese campaigner Wang Wanxing was released in 2005 after intensive letter writing by Amnesty International members. He had been held at Beijing’s notorious Ankang psychiatric hospital since June 1992 for displaying a banner in Tiananmen Square commemorating the anniversary of the pro-democracy protests of June 1989. While at Ankang, Wang Wanxing was forced to take chlorpromazine, an antipsychotic drug, three times a day. In the last five years of his incarceration he was kept in a ward with between 50 to 70 inpatients with mental health problems.
Read more http://www.amnesty.org/en/freedom-of-expression


If the Azeri authorities have their way, this New Year's Eve (31 December) will be the last time major international news organisations the BBC, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and the Voice of America (VOA) will be broadcast on FM radio in Azerbaijan. Join the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and 24 other IFEX members in condemning the decision, and show your protest by adding a banner to your website. In October, Azerbaijan National TV and Radio Council Chairperson Nushiravan Maharramli announced the decision as part of an ongoing process to eliminate all foreign broadcasters on national TV and radio frequencies in Azerbaijan. Russian and Turkish television broadcasters, as well as Russian and French radio stations, have lost their frequencies in Azerbaijan over the past few years. "While Maharramli told the local press that this move will free up frequencies for local broadcast media initiatives, we know that there are plenty of empty frequencies in Azerbaijan. This is just an excuse to silence the foreign media," said IRFS. Azeri officials say that BBC, VOA and RFE/RL will be invited to continue their broadcasts via satellite, Internet and cable - but few Azeris have this access. No satellite radio service is currently available in Azerbaijan and wireless Internet is not widespread or financially attainable for the vast majority of citizens. IFEX members said that the three international news organisations add diversity and pluralism that is virtually non-existent elsewhere in the Azeri media. They "enrich the public debate in the country by providing citizens and residents with professional news and critical information from both Azerbaijan and the rest of the world," they said. Join the members in appealing to the authorities to rescind the decision. IRFS is asking that you post a web banner over the month of December. Different banner sizes are available on the IRFS website: http://www.irfs.az/ There's also a Facebook group to join: http://tinyurl.com/6cytjk See the IFEX member joint action here:http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/99023/

Ten years ago on 13 December 1998, Norbert Zongo, a journalist from Burkina Faso, was assassinated. The editor-in-chief of the weekly paper "The Independent" and a staunch press freedom advocate, Zongo had received several death threats after publishing articles critical of the government. There is little doubt that he was killed because of his work, but his murderers remain at large. Faced with this denial of justice, the Norbert Zongo Press Centre in Ouagadougou is carrying on the struggle to find the murderers and the masterminds.

Sign the petition for the reopening of his case at: http://norbertzongo10ans.net/ or directly at:http://www.lapetition.be/petition.php?petid=3229



The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is calling for nominations for its new annual Human Rights Prize, which will reward "outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe." Individuals and NGOs who actively defend human rights in Europe can be nominated for the 10,000 Euro (US$12,700) prize, which will be selected by a seven-member panel. Nominations must be signed by at least five sponsors and submitted by 31 December 2008. The first prize will be awarded at a ceremony in Strasbourg during the summer plenary session (22-26 June 2009) of the Assembly, which brings together 636 parliamentarians from 47 Council of Europe member states. "We depend on civil society to 'speak truth to power' when it comes to human rights," said PACE President Lluís Maria de Puig, launching the prize. "NGOs and human rights defenders carry out difficult and sometimes dangerous work, saving lives, exposing injustice and demanding change. When it is outstanding, this work deserves to be applauded. This prize is for them."

For more information and nomination forms, see: http://tinyurl.com/574rza



Organisations working in the field of journalism and free expression are invited to submit nominations for the 2009 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The deadline for submissions is 15 January 2009. Named in tribute to the Colombian journalist who was killed in 1986 for criticising the country's drug lords, the US$25,000 award honours a journalist or organisation that has made a notable contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially if this involved risk. Last year's award went to Lydia Cacho, a Mexican reporter who has been the target of death threats, sabotage, defamation suits and police harassment because of her work uncovering prostitution and child pornography networks. The award will be presented on 3 May 2009 in Qatar on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. Organisations can nominate a maximum of three candidates. Self-nominations are not accepted.

Download a nomination form here: http://tinyurl.com/6jq668 For more information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/68bw55



The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European body of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), welcomed last week's defeat in the upper house of Germany's Parliament of an anti-terrorism law that would have given the federal police unprecedented spying powers. Several federal states abstained from voting on the anti-terrorism law, which led to its defeat. The law would have granted the Federal Criminal Investigation Office (BKA), Germany's equivalent of the U.S.'s FBI, the powers to force journalists to reveal their research materials and sources by greatly reducing their right to professional secrecy. According to the International Press Institute (IPI) and news reports, it would have also given the BKA the capacity to tap conversations and spy on computers, such as carrying out remote, covert searches of private hard drives. Critics said the new powers would have turned the BKA into a "super-police"with sweeping authority. "This is a very important victory for press freedom in Germany and in Europe," said EFJ. "Our German affiliates, also in cooperation with all major media organisations, have continuously criticised the draft law on anti-terrorism, which had foreseen extended authority for BKA for the defence of serious crimes." The measure had passed easily in the lower house on 12 November, with the strong backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government, which pairs conservative Christian Democrats with the centre-left Social Democrats. Protests against the measure have been led by groups representing the interests of journalists, doctors and lawyers, who worried the measure would infringe upon the privacy rights of sources, patients and clients. A recent survey by Privacy International found that anti-terrorism laws in Europe have already seriously affected freedom of expression while providing little benefit to fighting terrorism - and that governments seem to be using these laws for their own political purposes.

The report, "Speaking of Terror: A survey of the effects of counter-terrorism legislation on freedom of the media in Europe", is available at: http://tinyurl.com/65zlba Also visit these links:- EFJ/IFJ: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98956/ - IPI: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/97415 - AP: http://tinyurl.com/6s3mpj - Deutsche Welle: http://tinyurl.com/5efhso - Spiegel Online: http://tinyurl.com/6bak4x



The skeleton believed to be that of missing Nepali journalist Jagat Prasad Joshi was found in a wooded area near his home in the west of the country, report the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The press freedom groups fear he may have been murdered. Joshi, also known as Pandit, was last seen on 8 October during the Dashain festival at his home in Nepal's far-western district of Kailali. Human remains found in a nearby forest were identified by Joshi's family. Joshi was the editor of the far-western editions of the Nepali language daily "Janadisha", one of the mouthpieces of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), says RSF. He was a member of FNJ and also president of the Kailali chapter of the Revolutionary Journalists' Organisation. According to FNJ, Joshi's family identified two brothers as suspects. In a recent story, Joshi had said they were allegedly involved in illegally trading tiger skins. One brother is now in custody, while the other is reported to have fled when the remains were discovered. RSF says that a relative of Joshi also suggested that a local Maoist leader, Hari "Utsav" Chaudhari, could have been involved. Joshi was physically attacked one night as he was returning home after writing an article criticising Chaudhari's calls for autonomy of part of the Terai region. FNJ believes the increasing number of attacks on journalists is a result of the authorities' failure to "book the culprits." FNJ and other media organisations in Nepal organised demonstrations of journalists, media associations and political leaders in Kathmandu and Janakpur last week to demand a thorough investigation into Joshi's murder. The Kailali media have called a general strike. Visit these links:- IFJ: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98964/- FNJ: http://www.fnjnepal.org/release_detail.php?id=91- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=29513- Video of Kathmandu demonstration on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/6c4lp3



A reporter who wrote extensively on crime and corruption was gunned down last week in northern India, the third journalist to be killed in eight days, report Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). Vikas Ranjan, a part-time correspondent for the daily paper "Hindustan", was shot dead by armed men on motorbikes as he left his office on 25 November in the Samastipur district of the state of Bihar. The murder of Ranjan may have been connected to his work, says CPJ. He had been receiving threats for some time. Three of his recent reports on counterfeit merchandise and stolen goods trafficking had sparked official inquiries. RSF reports that he had been investigating local drug trafficking during the past few weeks. According to RSF, police said that three suspects had been identified and would probably be arrested in the next few days. Ranjan's relatives and fellow journalists gathered outside the hospital where he was taken and staged a spontaneous protest against the failure of the local police to take action. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has meanwhile asked the authorities of Assam and Manipur, the two other northeastern states where journalists have been murdered in the past two weeks, to carry out effective investigations and to protect journalists. The spate of murders comes at a time when India is reeling from the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Sabina Sehgal Saikia, a cultural commentator for "The Times of India", India's largest English-language newspaper, was one of the casualties, reports IFJ. "We mourn all the lives that have been lost and note in particular that the killing of Sabina Sehgal Saikia within hours of the terrorists commandeering the historic Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai has left Indian journalism the poorer," IFJ said. "The Times of India" and other members of India's media community have played a major role in relaying the horrors of the Mumbai attacks to millions of households in the country. Visit these links:- RSF: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98859/- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/67be6r- IFJ: http://tinyurl.com/6atdb2- IFJ on terrorist attacks: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98986/



A Filipino radio broadcaster who had been receiving death threats was shot dead on 2 December by unknown assailants in the province of Northern Samar, about 500 kilometres south of Manila, report the Center for Media Freedom (CMFR) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). He is the second Radyo Natin (Our Radio) presenter killed in less than a month. Leonilo Mila of Radyo Natin in San Roque was attacked as he was leaving work. Staff at the station heard gun shots a few minutes after Mila left. His body was later discovered in an empty lot a few metres from the station. His colleagues believe that the murder of Mila is work-related. According to CMFR sources, Mila, who hosted the music programme "Himig Waraynon" (Waraynon Sound) and the morning public service programme "Pungkaras sa Kaagonoon" (Wake Up at Dawn), had been receiving death threats from an unidentified teacher and a local official because of his commentaries on local corruption. His colleagues said that Mila had reported the threats to the local police. Mila is the sixth journalist/media practitioner to be killed in the line of duty this year, according to CMFR, and the second Radyo Natin presenter to be gunned down in less than a month. Aresio Padrigao, a Radyo Natin host in Gingoog City in Mindanao, southern Philippines, was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle on 17 November. Visit these links:- CMFR: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/99010/- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=29528- IFEX Philippines page: http://tinyurl.com/5ojhac



The Thai Journalists Association (TJA), the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) are calling on two warring factions in Thailand to end their targeted attacks on reporters and media outlets and allow all journalists to freely report on the current political crisis. Anti-government protesters led by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) occupied Bangkok's two main airports for more than a week, leaving over 300,000 people stranded. Although they declared victory and ended their airport occupation after a 2 December court decision forced the prime minister from office, their leader warned he's ready to call demonstrators back to the streets. During the protests, numerous journalists and media outlets reported harassment, shootings and physical attacks by both PAD and the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). In one incident, unidentified men fired grenades at the satellite television station ASTV office in Bangkok on 24 November, reports SEAPA. There were no injuries or serious damages, but four days later, another grenade attack on ASTV injured a newscaster. ASTV, owned by media mogul and PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul, has been broadcasting live, around the clock reports of PAD's rallies. PAD protesters fired shots and threw a home-made bomb at the Bangkok studios of the pro-government station Taxi Radio 92.75 FM on 26 November, injuring two people, say CPJ and RSF. Bangkok's taxi drivers are a strong constituency for exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, whom the PAD strongly opposes. According to RSF, PAD security agents had beaten taxi drivers at the same spot on the previous day. Meanwhile, on 25 November, UDD protesters surrounded the Chiang Mai-based offices of local Vihok radio station operator Therdsak Jiemkitwattana, an ASTV supporter, reports CPJ. The group dragged his father from his car when he approached the besieged station. He was beaten and shot dead. According to SEAPA, reporters based at the airports complained that PAD protesters videotaped them doing their job, conducted physical searches and confiscated cameras and film, and pressed them to only report positive stories on their party. In one incident at Don Mueang, Bangkok's domestic airport, a photographer from the leading Thai-language newspaper "Thai Rath" was attacked on 28 November by PAD security guards after taking pictures of a PAD guard assaulting a man. Alarmed by the series of attacks on journalists, TJA, along with The Press Council of Thailand, the Confederation of Thai Journalists, the Thai Broadcast Journalists' Association and the Association of Thai Cable Operators, issued a statement on 1 December calling on both the government and PAD to stop violent acts against journalists and allow them to perform their duties unhampered. "These acts are unacceptable since they obstruct the work of the media and threaten the people's right to access to information. We appeal to protesters of all sides to stop these acts once and for all," said the groups. The statement emphasised the need for media to be objective for their own safety as well as for the public's right to know. "No matter what the outcome of the current violence is, the media has a duty to report facts fairly so that the public is equipped with enough information to make its own decisions," the groups said. "We, therefore, appeal to demonstrators to realise and understand the work of the media. Any group that attacks the media will not win public support," they added. TJA has offered to distribute arm bands marked "Press" so that reporters are easily identified while doing their job. Sondhi warned that PAD will return to the streets if political change doesn't happen. At least six people have been killed and dozens injured in clashes in recent months. PAD had been trying to topple Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat for months, accusing him of being the puppet of his brother-in-law Thaksin. Thaksin was convicted of corruption and other charges after being ousted by a September 2006 military coup. PAD claims Thailand's rural majority - who gave landslide election victories to the Thaksin camp mainly because of its generous social welfare policies - is too poorly educated to responsibly choose their representatives and says they are susceptible to vote buying. It wants the country to eliminate the system of one-person, one-vote, and instead have a mixed system in which most representatives are chosen by profession andsocial group. With the court ruling that dissolved Thailand's top three ruling parties for electoral fraud and led to Somchai's resignation, the question of who will hold power in a democratic Thailand remains unanswered. Visit these links:- TJA: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98991/- SEAPA: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/99001/- CPJ: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98995/- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=29481- IFEX Thailand page: http://tinyurl.com/5hocu9- AP: http://tinyurl.com/6bcxdt--------------------------------------------------------

No excuse, no delay: protect civilians in DRC

News Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Over one million civilians, most of them women and children, have been displaced by fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North Kivu region is as high as 1.6 million according to some estimates.
Most are in a desperate situation, without sufficient food, water, medical supplies or shelter.
Fighting has continued in North Kivu despite a unilateral ceasefire declared by the armed group, the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), on 29 October.
Amnesty International continues to receive reports of serious human rights abuses, including unlawful killings of civilians, rape and forced recruitment, and of extensive looting in the conflict zones
Humanitarian agencies are doing their utmost to bring aid to displaced people, but are close to being overwhelmed by the scale of the suffering. Many IDPs remain inaccessible and some humanitarian operations are suspended because of the fragile security situation.
Amnesty International welcomes the UN SC resolution authorizing the reinforcement of MONUC, the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC, but reminds international community that the human rights and humanitarian urgency in eastern DRC remains the same - every day of delay is costing lives. Urgent implementation of the resolution is needed.
Amnesty International calls upon states to make urgent contributions of troops and equipment to MONUC, with a view to having this equipment and personnel on the ground in the shortest possible time. EU states in particular should prioritize bilateral contributions to MONUC of equipment such as helicopters and transport aircraft, and specialist military units such as engineers and intelligence personnel, as well as infantry.
To help save lives in the DRC, the UNSC must make the protection of civilians a clear and robust priority for MONUC, and to devote the maximum possible of MONUC resources and efforts to this end.
NGOs call for UN session on the Democratic Republic of Congo (News story, 18 November 2008)
Photo: Displaced people in Kibati camp, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), November 2008. © UNHCR/P.

No excuse, no delay: protect civilians in DRC

Send an email to members of the United Nations Security Council, urging them to press for the urgent reinforcement of MONUC, the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC.
Condolezza Rice, US Secretary of State Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, South African Minister of Foreign AffairsDavid Miliband, UK Foreign SecretaryBernard Kouchner, French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Karel De Gucht, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Write a Letter to UNSC Members

Dear Minister,I welcome the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution authorizing the reinforcement of the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), MONUC.It is now time to turn words into action.I am appealing to your country to urgently contribute to the reinforcement of MONUC with your own equipment, specialist personnel and troops and/or to use your voice as a member of the UNSC to encourage other states to contribute with theirs.In particular, I urge your government and other Security Council members to act and agree to:
Urgently contribute to the reinforcement of MONUC peacekeeping contingents in eastern DRC
Urge all parties to the conflict to ensure that humanitarian aid agencies are not hindered in their work to provide aid to displaced people
Call on all parties to stop committing violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law
Press the governments of the DRC and Rwanda to refrain from providing support to armed groups operating in eastern DRC
Assert that justice and an end to impunity must now have a central place in the search for durable peace in the Great Lakes Region. Finally, I implore the international community to develop lasting solutions to the conflict that has ravaged eastern DRC for more than 10 years.


Source Amnesty international (http://www.amnesty.org/)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the loss of innocent life in the terrorist attacks

IFJ Extends Solidarity to India's Media Community
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses its deep sense of anguish over the loss of innocent life in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and the 60-hour long siege of three landmark buildings in India's commercial metropolis.
"We mourn all the lives that have been lost and note in particular that the killing of Sabina Sehgal Saikia within hours of the terrorists commandeering the historic Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai has left Indian journalism the poorer," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
Saikia was a cultural commentator with The Times of India, India's largest English-language newspaper, widely-read in recent times for a column on culinary matters.
The IFJ extends its condolences to Saikia's family in this hour of deep loss.
The IFJ is informed by its affiliate organisations that India's media community has played a major role in bringing the horrors of Mumbai home to millions of households in the country.
"The IFJ applauds the significant contribution that journalists in India have made in keeping the public informed about this traumatic event," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
There have been, reportedly, some issues raised about the ethics of media coverage in such contingencies, as with a Hindi news channel's decision to air telephone conversations with two of the gunmen.
The news channel, the IFJ has learned, quickly discontinued the transmission. It has since been sent a notice by India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting asking for an explanation of its conduct.
According to current information, the news channel is standing by its decision and has prepared its response to the Ministry.
"The IFJ is confident that India's journalists will resolve these ethical issues in a manner that is consistent with the country's rich traditions of media diversity, pluralism and openness," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries
For further information, contact IFJ Asia-Pacific, tel: +612 9333 0919, e-mail: ifj@ifj-asia.org, or the IFJ, International Press Centre, Residence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue de la Loi, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium, tel: +322 235 2200 / 2207, fax: +322 235 2219, e-mail: ernest.sagaga@ifj.org, Internet: http://www.ifj.org/

Nicaragua: Freedom of Expression is an Essential Component of Democracy

Nicaragua: Freedom of Expression is an Essential Component to the Upholding and Strengthening of Democracy

A number of recent incidents in Nicaragua show a worrying trend for freedom of expression in the country. On 18 November, during a march against the Electoral Council (CSE) in the City of Leon in Western Nicaragua various reporters were injured. Rocks were thrown at them, and some of their property was damaged. Several local radio stations were also attacked and vandalised by a group of alleged government supporters.

There have been reports of attacks against journalists covering the aftermath of the contested local elections in Leon, Nicaragua on November 9th. On November 18th representatives of newspapers La Prensa and El Nuevo Diario, and TV station Canal 2, were stoned and prevented from reaching the scene of a demonstration against election irregularities. Reports state that the journalists were attacked by people carrying clubs and machetes with signs that read “love and reconciliation”. They were said to have asked the reporters where they were going and then to have threatened them, calling them “lying liberal media”. Two photographers Miguel Alvarez from Agence France Presse and Germán Miranda from La Prensa were injured by rocks thrown at them, as was Ary Neil Pantoja of El Nuevo Diario. Some property was also destroyed including a Canal 2 truck. There are also reports of attacks on the premises of several local radio stations Radio Darío, Radio Metro Stereo, and Radio Caricias in the city and damage done to their property. Two days after the attack, representatives of the Nicaraguan Journalists Union arranged an emergency meeting to address the recent upsurge in violence against the media. Elsa Gómez, President of the Union stated that members had come together due to their increasing worries regarding the situation. These incidents depict a deteriorating situation for freedom of expression and indeed human rights in general throughout the country. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that paves the way for a range of other human rights, and for the enabling of democracy. This right is protected by a number of international instruments which Nicaragua has ratified, including ARTICLE 19 of the International Covenant on civil and political rights which protects everyone’s right to freedom of expression, including the right to seek receive and impart information. As such it includes the right of citizens to express their ideas as well as the right of society to be informed. The recent attacks against the press in Nicaragua constitute therefore a double violation of the right to freedom of expression: not only has the individual’s right to expression been restricted, but also the collective right of society to be informed. These actions greatly undermine media diversity and the expression of plurality of ideas, both essential elements for democracy. The Nicaraguan government is under an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the right to freedom of expression. This includes the obligation to protect the journalists against attacks by others and to ensure that there is an environment in which all citizens have access to information. So far, though, the Nicaraguan government has failed to take appropriate and required actions to ensure that the journalists are able to report and work in all safety. The Vienna Declaration and Programme Action (1993) recognises that democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. In this context the full exercise of freedom of expression is essential to the progressive realization of a democracy that respects all human rights.ARTICLE 19 expresses it solidarity with the journalists that were victims of recent aggressions and reinforces the need to recognise the importance of their role in informing society and strengthening democracy.ARTICLE 19 calls on the Nicaraguan State to clearly demonstrate that acts of violence and intimidation of the press are clearly unacceptable and are not, in any way, condoned by the state. The Nicaraguan authorities should take all the measures in their power to investigate the attacks and threats, bring those responsible to justice, and ensure that such incidents are not repeated. Until this is achieved it will be impossible to ensure that Nicaraguans have access to a diverse media culture in which all points of view can be expressed and respected an essential condition to the holding of free and fair democratic elections.
• For more information: please contact Ricardo González, ricardo@article19.org