Tag Archives: Human Rights

European Court Urges Release Of Yukos Executive

The European Court of Human ‘rights ruled that Russia had violated the rights of jailed former Yukos vice president, Vasily Aleksanyan, who currently is suffering from cancer, tuberculosis and AIDs while in prison. The executive was originally jailed when then President Putin made a power grab to take over the company because its head was challenging Putin by threatening to run for public office. The Court said the Russian judiciary system had failed to provide “relevant and sufficient reasons” to prove the guilt of Alekanyan other than him being in the wrong place at the wrong time when Putin struck to destroy the company and take it over. The Human Rights court urged other “reasonable and less stringent” measures to deal with the possible guilt of the executive and noted the pre-trial detention has “lost any meaningful purpose.”

In Putin Russia, when the supreme ruler decides you are guilty it is perfectly reasonable to keep you in pre-trial detention for one or two years because it takes time to prove the guilt of someone who is innocence. The Russian judicial system has become a farce and Putin’s claims that an individual is guilty is merely a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

Iran Cracks Down On Human Rights Leader

Individual rights are strangers who have never knocked on the door of the Iranian government since the religious clerics who run the nation regard anyone who disagrees with their world view to be either an unbeliever or heretic. Iranian police shut down the offices of Nobel Peace Laureate and lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, as part of a nation wide crackdown against human rights activists. Ebadi was told by police to leave the premises and not to return. A government agency argued Ms. Ebadi’s human rights group did not have a permit from the Interior Ministry to operate. It would be unusual for an Interior Ministry to issue permission to an organization which regards its behavior as illegal and in violation of international law regarding freedom of speech. The police ransacked the offices and insulted those who worked for human rights.

Shirin Ebadi and a small group of lawyers have been fighting for human rights against an entire government structure that regards such activities as illegal. She has criticized the Iranian criminal code as in violation of basic Islamic views on women and their rights.

Arab Human Rights Going Downhill

A leading Egyptian human rights groups has issued a somber report on human rights in the Arab world that, essentially, gives many countries a “F” grade for their failure to defend them. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies accused Arab governments of attempting to silence the voices of those fighting to protect individual rights. The report specifically accused Egypt of using its presence in the United Nations to sabotage efforts at human rights efforts in order to avoid having anyone examine its own sordid record on human rights. “The Arab League,” said the group, “has become more oppressive of authoritarian tendencies than any time in the past.”

There are indications extreme Muslim groups are targeting not only foreign groups or Israel, but human rights groups within their own nations in an effort to halt any voices expressing opposition to their actions. Perhaps, it is time for those who only focus on Israel violations of human rights towards Palestinians to spend some time focusing on Arab violations of human rights.

Iran Human Rights Defense Is Going On Attack

The cleric dominated government of Iran is among the world’s worst offenders of female rights and allowing fundamental opportunities for government opponents to freely express their views. Just about every month people are executed on the basis of limited evidence they are “spies.” After Canada dared to suggest the United Nations pass a resolution condemning the Iran government of violating human rights, the clerics rose to the challenge by employing an aggressive offense instead of dealing with the charges. Iran charged Canada was a hypocritical nation because of widespread abuse of its native Indian population. The proposed Canadian resolution dealt with repressing female rights, stoning to death women, executions of juveniles, discrimination against minorities such as members of the Bahai faith, and restrictions on freely practicing religious beliefs that differed with the Muslim faith.

Yes, there is discrimination against indigenous people in Canada, but the government is working to deal with those abuses. It is one thing to discuss issues of discrimination, it is another when women are stoned to death on grounds they committed adultery.

Yemen Youth Fight For Democracy

A new generation is being born in Yemen of young people who wish to put an end to historic inertia and government corruption in order to move their nation into the 21st century. About thirty students from three universities released a document urging young people to unite and fight to end corruption in their nation. The Human Rights Information and Training Center(HRITC) worked with young college students in order to help them develop programs to reform Yemen society. The goal of the training center is to create a new generation of youth. “When we create such youth, they themselves will spread awareness among people in their districts and the environments they live in.”

The document focuses on political, social, and police corruption in Yemen. Young people intend to spread out in their nation offering workshops to all segments of the population.

Saudi Arabia Bans Human Rights Activist Travel

The government of Saudi Arabia is part of the American led coalition against terrorism. According to President Bush, the United States and its allies are committed to freedom and represent those who oppose tyranny. The president, apparently, is not that well informed about his close friends in Saudi Arabia who are committed to one goal–maintaining power and throttling anyone who opposes their dictatorial rule. The Saudi government announced it would not allow Abdul-Rahman Al-Lahem to travel to New York where he is to be honored with a Human Rights award for his fight to defend human rights in his nation. He has led the fight to defend Saudi citizens against arbitrary and unjust laws and actions.

Mr. Al-Lahem made it clear to Saudi authorities he will continue his struggle against their refusal to acknowledge that individuals were entitled to basic human rights. Last year, he challenged authorities over the notorious case of the “Girl From Qatif” who was sentenced to seven months in prison for being alone in a car who was not her husband or a male relative. She was attacked by two men who raped her.

Saudi Arabia has more in common with Muslim fundamentalists than in opposition.

Israeli- Arab People Break Bread

In an unusual eating event, Israel and Arab leaders broke bread together at a dinner arranged by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Ban hosted a two day conference which focused on promoting global dialogue about religion, cultures and common values. The UN leader refused to discuss seating arrangements and made clear he was not arranging discussions, but hopefully spending time together in conversation might eventually result in future discussions between opposing groups. Ban hoped “their participation in the meetings and through this social-diplomatic gathering they will be able to promote better understanding.”

The idea for the conference came from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, which is somewhat strange given his nation does not afford religious freedom to all people living in the realm. Human Rights Watch urged participants to push King Abdullah to deal with his own nation as well as helping other countries of the world attain religious tolerance.

Is Turkey Dream Of EU Entry Fading?

The Turkish government is extremely anxious to have its nation enter the European Union which would allow free flow of goods and people throughout the union. However, the EU enlargement committee has raised several questions concerning the extent of democracy within Turkey. A recent report pinpointed the continuing large role of the nation’s military in civilian issues, the slow progress on many human rights issues, and failure to protect intellectual property. There was an original strong feeling within the EU to accept Turkey, but conflicts about women rights in the nation, failure to deal with concerns of its Kurdish minority and the presence of a military which regards itself as protecting Turkey against extreme religious factions are continually cited by EU investigators into the application process.

The European Union wants more progress in the area of human rights, curbing of the Constitutional Court power which frequently over rides actions of parliament, and the need to finally resolve problems on divided Cyprus.

Hero Or Criminal?-China And EU Disagree!

The European Union human rights award to Chinese dissident, Hu Jia, has aroused fury in the Chinese government which denounced the award as “gross interference in China’s domestic affairs.” Chinese officials said they had warned the European Union that giving such recognition to Hu Jia was a deliberate insult since in their eyes he is simply a “criminal.” American State Department spokesperson, Gordon Duguid, said his government is “deeply concerned about the imprisonment of human rights activist, Hu Jia, and have pressed the Chinese authorities for his immediate release on many occasions and at the highest level.” There is hope that recognition by Europe of Hu Jia’s work for human rights would demonstrate to Chinese authorities the man they term a “criminal” is viewed as a hero in the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, in so many of these cases, Chinese officials fear being viewed as “giving into pressure” and will wait for several months if they decide to release Hu Jia. The issue of “face” still remains among the most important to many nations in the world.

Serbia Lags In Protection Of Human Rights

Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe told the Serbian newspaper, B-92, he was disappointed in the lack of progress within its country in dealing with issues of freedom of speech, discrimination against minorities, a corrupt and brutal police system and a judiciary system that does not meet standards of honesty and effectiveness. He was particularly upset at the prevalence of intolerance and hate speech that is heard too often in public places like the media.

He said Serbia has a cluster of human rights problems which certainly could be helped if the court system was more honest and the police less brutal. He stated bluntly,”it is necessary to review the functioning of the entire justice system.” He told the Serbian government of the displeasure on the part of the European Union to a prison system that is over-crowded and poorly run. Of course, until Serbia resolves its issues with Kosovo, there will be fertile ground for nationalist extremists to preach hate toward minorities.