#Sochi : ” UN Condemns Attacks on LGBT Community ahead of Olympics”

#AceWorldNews says UN chief condemns attacks on the LGBT community ahead of Olympics
The UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, has used a speech ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi to condemn attacks on the LGBT community, the Guardian reported.

Addressing the IOC, the UN secretary-general highlighted the fact that the theme of the UN’s human rights day last December was “sport comes out against homophobia.” Speaking to reporters after his address, Ban said he appreciated the assurances of President Vladimir Putin that “there will be no discrimination and that people with different sexual orientation are welcome to compete and enjoy this Olympic Games.”

#humanrights, #ban-ki-moon, #guardian, #ioc, #lgbt, #olympics, #president-vladimir-putin, #sochi, #un, #winter-olympic-games

#Syria : ” Repeated Obstruction to Deliver Aid to `Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp’ in Syria May Amount to a `War Crime’ UN Say’s”

#AceWorldNews says repeated obstruction of convoys trying to deliver aid to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Syria may amount to a war crime, UN High Commissioner for #HumanRights Navi Pillay said Friday. The UN said that some 18,000 people inside the camp cannot get access to food and medical supply as attempts by humanitarian organizations over the past four months to deliver aid to have been thwarted by government forces and the rebels fighting in the area.

#aid, #camp, #palestinian, #refugee, #syria, #un, #war-crime

#HumanRights:”Activists Accuse US State Authorities of Testing Poison’s on People”

#AceWorldNews says Convicted Ohio killer Dennis McGuire became on Thursday the first prisoner put to death using a new lethal drug combo. US officials used intravenous doses of two drugs, the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone, to put McGuire to death. Human rights activists accuse state authorities of testing poisons on people. Kara Gotsch, Director of National Programs at the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, discussed the controversial issue in an interview with the Voice of Russia today.

#humanrights, #activists, #convicted, #drug, #lethal, #national-coalition-to-abolish-death-penalty, #national-programs, #ohio, #us, #voice-of-russia

UN: “Mission in South Sudan Gains Access to Besieged Areas”

#AceWorldNews says The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) announced today that as it continues to gain access to besieged areas, the number of people killed in the current round of fighting in the world’s youngest country “must be much higher” than the 1,000 figure given earlier in the conflict, which erupted nearly a month ago and continues to grind on.
In a news release from Juba, UNMISS notes fresh media reports, including in the New York Times, estimating that up to 10,000 people may have been killed since the conflict started on 15 December 2013, after President Salva Kiir said soldiers loyal to former vice-president Reik Machar, dismissed from office in July, launched an attempted coup.

On 26 December, 10 days into the crisis, the Mission estimated that 1,000 people may have been killed in the fighting. “This was based on UNMISS’ initial monitoring and investigations in Juba and other relatively more stable locations where its Human Rights Officers and other staff were able to access, investigate and document the unfolding developments,” the Mission said today.
Yet, after two weeks of subsequent violence, characterized by sometimes intense fighting with heavy weapons, there are now clear indications that the casualty count must be much higher, says UNMISS, adding that while it has continues to closely monitor the human rights situation, interviewing witnesses, and following leads, it “is not at this stage in a position to establish and verify the exact numbers of casualties.”
The Mission recalls that on 9 January, Hervé Ladsous, the head of UN Peacekeeping Operations, speaking to reporters in New York following a three hour briefing to the Security Council on the situation in South Sudan, said: “We are not able to provide final figures. We know it will be very substantially in excess of the 1,000 figure”.
Meanwhile the Mission says that despite serious security constraints due to the fighting in Bor and Bentiu, which has restricted access by its Human Rights Officers, during the course of last week, UNMISS began interviewing victims and eyewitnesses among displaced people from Bor who have arrived in Juba and Awerial County in neighbouring Lakes State. UNMISS Human Rights Officers have also been able to return to Bor on 9 January.
“Preliminary indications from these interviews and investigations in Bentiu and Malakal contain horrific allegations of atrocities by anti-Government forces against civilians and surrendering soldiers, including summary executions, torture, sexual violence and ethnically targeted killing,” the Mission says in the news releases, deploring these horrendous acts of violence and utter disregard for human life and dignity.
UNMISS chief Hilde Johnson called on all parties to cease hostilities immediately, and respect and protect civilians. “She reiterates Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon’s] reminder that those who commit such heinous acts will be held accountable,” the news release adds.
UNMISS vowed to continue investigating and documenting atrocities committed by both sides, in all affected areas and called on the Government and the anti-Government forces to cooperate with “these important investigations and to facilitate unhindered access by the Mission’s Human Rights Officers to all affected areas.”
In addition, this past Friday, Mr. Ban that announced that he would dispatch UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, to South Sudan this weekend to look into cases of violations believed to have been committed during the conflict, which has displaced some 230,000 people, more than a quarter of whom are seeking refuge on UN bases.

#humanrightnews, #humanrights, #ban-ki-moon, #new-york-times, #south-sudan, #united-states, #unmiss

UN #HumanRights Office: “Concerned about Decision by Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs to Declare Illegal a Coalition of 54 Non-Islamic Civil Society Groups”

#AceWorldNews says the United Nations human rights office today expressed concern about a decision by the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs to declare illegal a coalition of 54 mainly non-Islamic civil society groups focused on human rights known by the acronym COMANGO.

“We call upon Government of Malaysia to amend the Societies Act 1966, maximize the space for human rights activists and organisations to operate freely, and ensure that they can conduct their legitimate activities without intimidation or harassment,” the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, told journalists in Geneva.

The COMANGO coalition submitted joint reports to both the UN Human Rights Council’s 2009 and 2013 Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) of the situation in Malaysia.

Since its submission to the second cycle of the UPR, which took place on 24 October 2013, the coalition has reportedly been subjected to a series of harassment and threats, allegedly by both State and non-State actors. The coalition has been accused of attacking Islam and of spreading beliefs that do not conform to Islamic teachings.

The Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs declared in a press statement on 8 January that COMANGO promotes rights which are not in line with Islam, and is therefore illegal.

The statement also noted that only 15 of the 54 organizations are registered under the Societies Act 1966.

“We are concerned by what appears to be an act of reprisal against COMANGO for its engagement with international human rights mechanism,” the spokesperson added.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner Navi Pillay and the Geneva-based Human Rights Council have persistently called for the protection of individuals and members of groups that cooperate with the UN, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights from acts of intimidation or reprisal.

#humanrightnews, #humanrights, #comango, #malaysian-ministry-of-home-affairs, #united-nations-human-rights-council, #upr

“Independent Human Rights Experts Today Urged Spanish Government to Reconsider to Extradite Alexsandr Pavlov”

#AceWorldNews says “United Nations” independent “Human Rights” experts today urged the “Spanish Government” to reconsider its decision to extradite Alexsandr Pavlov, who oversaw security for a Kazakh businessman and prominent opposition leader, on grounds that he may be tortured or receive an unfair trial if extradited.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner...

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“All countries must ensure that extradition does not put an individual at risk of persecution, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment,” the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, said. “Spain must adopt all necessary measures to safeguard Mr. Pavlov’s rights and physical integrity.”

In the same news release from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, stressed that the human rights of foreigners are no less important than the rights of citizens in any country, “The question we should ask ourselves is: would we as confidently send a citizen to the same fate?”

Mr. Pavlov, who formerly worked for opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov, was detained by Spanish authorities in 2012 on an Interpol warrant requested by Kazakhstan, which accuses him of financial and terrorism-related crimes.

On 18 November 2013, Spain’s high court, the Audiencia Nacional, approved Mr. Pavlov’s extradition, but the decision now rests with the Council of Ministers.

The two UN experts have called on the Council to consider Mr. Pavlov’s appeal based on the substantial fears that he might be tortured or unfairly tried.

Since July 2013, the two human rights experts, together with the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, have engaged with the Spanish Government concerning Mr. Pavlov’s case.

 

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#aceworldnews, #humanrights, #alexsandr-pavlov, #extradition, #human-right, #juan-e-mendez, #kazakh, #kazakhstan, #mukhtar-ablyazov, #ohchr, #pavlov, #spain, #spanish-government, #torture, #un-special-rapporteur, #united-nations, #united-nations-special-rapporteur

“International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Ends 10 December on “Human Rights Day” #Peace

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner...

#AceWorldNews says Afghan authorities registered an increased number of reported acts of violence against women and girls in the past year, but prosecutions and convictions under a landmark law  remained low with most cases settled by mediation, according to an annual United Nations report released today.

While registration of reported incidents such as forced marriage, domestic violence and rape increased by 28 per cent in 16 provinces since the previous year, the use of the law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) as a basis for indictment increased by only two per cent, according to <“http://unama.unmissions.org/Portals/UNAMA/Documents/UNAMA%20REPORT%20on%20EVAW%20LAW_8%20December%202013.pdf“>’A Way to Go’ co-authored by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“Police, prosecutors and courts, in our view, need increased resources and technical and political support and direction from the highest levels of Government to deal adequately with the increase in reporting and registration of cases of violence against women documented in this report,” Georgette Gagnon, director of the human rights unit at UNAMA and OHCHR representative, told journalists in the Afghan capital of Kabul at the report launch.

Women are “coming forward in demanding justice”, Ms. Gagnon said flanked by the heads of two key civil society group – Hasina Safi from the Afghan Women’s Network, and  the Afghan Women’s Skills Development Centre’s Mary Akrami. “The Government needs to step up and provide that justice.”

Presenting the report findings, Ms. Gagnon said that of an estimated total of 1,669 reported incidents registered throughout the country only 109 cases or seven per cent went through a judicial process using the EVAW law.

Parties to the Convention on the Elimination o...

Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, from the OHCHR. Parties in dark green, countries which have signed but not ratified in light green, non-members in grey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What we found is that, instead, the police and prosecutors were mediating more cases of violence against women,” said the UN official, speaking on behalf of Ján Kubiš, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Afghanistan.

Mediation whether through formal or informal dispute resolution bodies often fails to protect women from further violence by not applying criminal sanctions and legal protections for women, according to the report.

It compares and updates findings from UNAMA’s December 2012 report on EVAW law implementation and is based on consultations with 203 judicial, police and Government officials, and monitoring of almost 500 cases of violence against women throughout Afghanistan. The report analyses statistical data on the law’s application obtained from police, prosecutors and other judicial officials in 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces over the one-year period October 2012 to September 2013.

Enacted in 2009, the EVAW law criminalizes acts of violence against women and harmful practices including child marriage, forced marriage, forced self-immolation, ‘baad’ (giving away a woman or girl to settle a dispute) and 18 other acts of violence against women including rape and beating. It also specifies punishment for perpetrators.

English: Staffan de Mistura, UNAMA

English: Staffan de Mistura, UNAMA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The landmark law on the Elimination of Violence against Women was a huge achievement for all Afghans,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a <“http://unama.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=12316&ctl=Details&mid=15873&ItemID=37528&language=en-US“> news release from UNAMA. “But implementation has been slow and uneven, with police still reluctant to enforce the legal prohibition against violence and harmful practices, and prosecutors and courts slow to enforce the legal protections in the law.”

“Afghan authorities need to do much more to build on the gains made so far in protecting women and girls from violence,” Ms. Pillay urged.

Among its recommendations, the report calls on the Government to put in place a concrete plan, within six months, for the next two-year period for improving implementation of the EVAW law, including measures recommended to Afghanistan by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in August 2013.

Another recommendation is that major donors establish a joint monitoring framework with specific indicators to measure progress in EVAW law implementation.

The release of the report coincides with the global campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.

The campaign begins annually on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marked on 25 November, and ends on 10 December Human Rights Day.

#humanrightnews, #humanrights, #afghan-womens-network, #afghanistan, #international-day-for-the-elimination-of-violence-against-women, #kabul, #navi-pillay, #office-of-the-united-nations-high-commissioner-for-human-rights, #unama, #united-nations, #united-nations-assistance-mission-in-afghanistan, #women

Cameron’s Visit to China the People Or the Profit

Camerons Visit to China#AceWorldNews says the British Prime Minister David Cameron flew into China saying he wanted to lay the groundwork for a multi-billion-dollar free trade deal between Beijing and the European Union, despite growing unease about his own country’s membership in the bloc.On a three-day visit with a delegation of around 100 business people, the largest-ever British mission of its kind, Cameron said he wanted his country to play an important role in China’s expansion as the world’s second biggest economy is talking about opening up its markets.“China’s transformation is one of the defining facts of our lifetime,” Cameron wrote in Caixin, a Chinese weekly news magazine, on the eve of the visit.

“There is a genuine choice for every country over how to respond. They can choose to see China’s rise as a threat or an opportunity. Britain’s answer is clear. We want to see China succeed,” continued Cameron.

Cameron’s push for an E.U.-China trade deal will irritate the European Commission, which is understood to be strongly opposed to such a move on the grounds that it risks flooding the bloc with cheap Chinese imports and comes as the bloc is embroiled in a dispute with Beijing over solar panel exports.

It is also likely to be seized upon by political opponents, as he has put a question mark over Britain’s continued membership of the 28-nation E.U. by promising Britons an in/out referendum on leaving the bloc if re-elected in 2015.

“I now want to set a new long-term goal of an ambitious and comprehensive E.U.-China Free Trade Agreement,” Cameron wrote.

“And as I have on the E.U.-U.S. deal, so I will put my full political weight behind such a deal which could be worth tens of billions of dollars every year,” promised Cameron.

Cameron is expected to raise the subject in a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday. His office said he was the first European leader to champion such a deal in this way.

He had already discussed the idea of an E.U.-China trade deal with other E.U. member states, it added. Such a deal would address services liberalization and better intellectual property rights protection.

Cameron told reporters on the plane to Beijing he was aware the idea was not universally popular among E.U. member states, but said it could be a chance to tackle Beijing on intellectual property rights and trading standards.

“It’ll be the normal thing in the EU which will be a discussion where there will be some skeptics. There will be some enthusiasts and I think the enthusiasts have the wind in our sails,” said Cameron.

Human Rights

British finance minister George Osborne opened the door to further Chinese investment in Britain during a visit to Beijing last month, during which he announced less stringent rules for Chinese banks operating in London in a push to make the British capital the main offshore hub for trading in China’s currency and bonds.

He also paved the way for Chinese investors to take majority stakes in future British nuclear plants.

Camerons Visit to Dalai LamaCampaigners have often accused Cameron of putting trade before human rights. On this trip, activists want him to raise what they say are rights abuses in Tibet.

A senior source in his office said before the trip that Britain had turned the page on a rift with China over Tibet, adding that Cameron had no plans to once again meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader-in-exile, after their meeting last year angered Beijing.

Asked on the plane whether he would be raising Tibet, Cameron was non-committal, but said nothing was “off limits” in Britain’s relationship with China.

As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Cameron said the two countries would also discuss Iran and North Korea.

Cameron visited a training academy for Jaguar Land Rover sales staff in Beijing on Monday to mark its official opening as the carmaker unveiled a deal worth 4.5 billion pounds to provide 100,000 cars to the National Sales Company in China.

England’s Premier League is also expected to announce an agreement with the Chinese Super League to develop football in China and boost the Premier League’s profile.

Xavier Rolet, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, is travelling with Cameron.

The business delegation also includes Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline. The company was drawn into a bribery case in China earlier this year which resulted in police detaining four Chinese GSK executives.

Peter Humphrey, a British man running a risk advisory group, was also detained and is still being held.

VOA NEWS  

 

#humanrightnews, #humanrights, #beijing, #cameron, #china, #david-cameron, #european-union, #glaxosmithkline, #london, #premier-league

Security Council: Reports on LRA “Massacres in Villages and Mutilating of Boys to Prevent Them Becoming Child Soldiers and Forcing Girls into Sexual Slavery”

Rebels in the north of the Central African Rep...

Rebels in the north of the Central African Republic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHumanRightsNews says reiterating its strong condemnation of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its use of children in armed conflict, the Security Council today demanded that the group immediately cease all hostilities, release all abductees’, and disarm and demobilize.

Issuing presidential statement the Council urged the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the UN political and peacekeeping missions in the region, and the Organization’s other relevant presences, to enhance their support for the implementation of the UN Regional Strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the LRA. It called on the international community to support the implementation of the Strategy where possible.

The LRA, notorious for carrying out massacres in villages, mutilating its victims and abducting boys for use as child soldiers and forcing girls into sexual slavery, was formed in the 1980s in Uganda and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces, which in 2002 dislodged it. It then exported its activities to Uganda’s neighbours, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan.

English: Shaded relief map of the Central Afri...

English: Shaded relief map of the Central African Republic. Cropped caption: Base 802739 (B01340) 2-01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 15-member body reiterated its strong support for the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative against the LRA, commending the “significant” progress by the African Union Regional Task Force. It urged all regional Governments to fulfil their commitments under the Initiative and provide basic provisions for their security forces.

Welcoming steps taken to deliver an enhanced, comprehensive and “more regional” approach to the humanitarian situation, the Council underlined the primary responsibility of States in the LRA-affected region to protect civilians.  In that context, it welcomed efforts by the DRC, South Sudan, Uganda and the CAR, in coordination with the African Union, to end the LRA threat, urging additional efforts from those countries, as well as others in the region.

Further, the Council expressed serious concern that the increased security vacuum in the CAR continued to negatively affect counter-LRA operations. As LRA attacks have reportedly taken place outside the Task Force’s principal area of operations, it emphasized the need for strong coordination among the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), the Task Force, and the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) in the context of protecting civilian activities and counter-LRA operations.

Regionally, the Council encouraged the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) to reinforce efforts to address the LRA through improved responsiveness to imminent civilian threats, training and capacity-building of the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and implementation of the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration, and resettlement programme to encourage further LRA defections.

In addition, the Council urged MONUSCO and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to enhance their cooperation with the Regional Task Force to coordinate operations, patrols and protection of civilians strategies, and to provide logistical support within their existing mandates and resources.  It took note of reports of a LRA base in the disputed enclave of Kafia Kinga, on the border of the Central African Republic, and between South Sudan and Sudan.

New York, Nov 25 2013  7:00PM

#aceworldnews, #humanrights, #central-african-republic, #democratic-republic-of-congo, #lord-resistance-army, #lra, #south-sudan, #uganda, #united-nations, #united-nations-security-council

RT: Reports Green for Go for Internet Privacy Resolution

privacy

privacy (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

#AceSecurityNews says UN human rights committee unanimously passed a ‘right to privacy‘ resolution sponsored by Germany and Brazil that protects the right to privacy against illegal surveillance, following revelations about NSA spying.

The resolution states that surveillance and data interception by governments and companies “may violate or abuse human rights.”

This is the first document that establishes protection of human rights in the digital sphere, Brazil’s Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota told the AP. It “establishes for the first time that human rights should prevail irrespective of the medium, and therefore need to be protected online and offline,” Patriota said.

The resolution is concerned with the “the negative impact” that surveillance, “in particular when carried out on a mass scale, may have on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights.”

German Ambassador Peter Wittig added, “Is the human right to privacy still protected in our digital world? And should everything that is technologically feasible, be allowed?”

France, Russia and North Korea were among the 55 countries that co-sponsored the resolution that only made indirect references to US global spying techniques.

The fact that the resolution was unanimously passed by the committee seems to guarantee that it will get the votes of all 193 members of the General Assembly in December. Although the resolution will not be legally binding, it will have some political weight.

The US did not go against the measure, though it did lobby the ‘Five-Eyes’ intelligence sharing alliance of UK, Britain, Australia and New Zealand to water down the language of the resolution. By the end of the day, language stating that foreign spying would be a rights violation was weakened, according to AFP.

Privacy

Privacy (Photo credit: g4ll4is)

#Human Rights Watch specialist Philippe Bolopion lamented that the language had been watered down. But, Bolopion still believes that it was “a vital first step toward stigmatizing indiscriminate global surveillance.”

Brazil and Germany introduced to the UN General Assembly their draft resolution in early November, calling for internationally recognized rights to privacy. The document further urged an end to global electronic espionage and the extension of internet freedom.

The resolution comes amid international scandal over #NSA spying over much of the world’s population and eavesdropping on a number of foreign leaders, including Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

NSA spying revealed by former intelligence contractor #Edward-Snowden revealed that Washington has spied on at least 35 world leaders besides the exposed the mass surveillance against private citizens and business.

According to Snowden’s leak intelligence agencies from all signatories of the ‘Five Eyes’ agreement – the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – collaborated with the #NSA

Since Snowden’s leaks surfaced in June, protests demanding more privacy protections have emerged in countries around the globe, with thousands of people worldwide having joined in recent Million Mask March rallies organized by the amorphous Anonymous movement.

RT:

 

#humanrights, #antonio-patriota, #brazil, #dilma-rousseff, #germany, #human-rights, #national-security-agency, #north-korea, #peter-wittig, #privacy, #united-nations-general-assembly, #united-states

“Freedom of Religion or Belief is a Right of All Human Beings, Not a Right of the State”

#AceWorldNews says the UN Rights Experts Urge Malaysia to Reverse Decision to Restrict Use of ” ALLAH’ TO MUSLIMS”

English: Martin Scheinin, United Nations Speci...

English: Martin Scheinin, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights while countering terrorism, in front of Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several independent United Nations human rights experts today urged the Malaysian Government to reverse its decision to ban a Catholic publication from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God, warning that the case may have far-reaching implications for religious minorities in the country.

Freedom of religion or belief is a right of human beings, not a right of the State,” the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, <“http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14023&LangID=E“>stressed in a news release. “It cannot be the business of the State to shape or reshape religious traditions, nor can the State claim any binding authority in the interpretation of religious sources or in the definition of the tenets of faith.”

The Bahasa Malaysia, or standard Malay, translation for one God is ‘Allah’, which entered the language from Arabic and has been used by Christians in the region for many centuries, according to the press release.

In January 2009, the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered the newspaper Herald-The Catholic Weekly to stop using the word ‘Allah’ or face losing its publication permit. The newspaper argued the ban was unconstitutional and won an appeal in the Malaysian High Court.

However, last month, the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that non-Muslims cannot use ‘Allah’ to refer to God. It stated that the usage of the name ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.

“Such usage, if allowed, would inevitably cause confusion within the community,” the appeal court judges ruled. The case is currently pending consideration at the Federal Court level.

An example of Allāh written in simple Arabic c...

An example of Allāh written in simple Arabic calligraphy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr. Bielefeldt cautioned that “the current case may affect the right of all non-Muslims in Malaysia to use the word ‘Allah’ while referring to God.”

Also speaking out is Rita Izsák, the Independent Expert on minority issues, who said discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in this instance is a breach of the rights of a religious minority to freely practice and express their faith.

“Such actions may present an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between faith communities,” she warned.

The Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, called on the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Malaysian Government to take steps to immediately secure the right to freedom of opinion and expression of the newspaper and withdraw unconditionally from further litigation on this issue.

Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

New York, Nov 25 2013  1:00PM

#humanrights, #allah, #freedom-of-religion, #heiner-bielefeldt, #malaysia, #ministry-of-home-affairs, #politics-of-malaysia, #united-nations, #united-nations-human-rights-council, #united-nations-special-rapporteur

Asylum Seekers Transferred From Australia to Pacific Islands – Are Living in Harsh Physical Conditions

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ...

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representation in Cyprus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceWorldNews says Asylum-seekers transferred from Australia to Pacific island processing centres, including survivors of torture and trauma and unaccompanied children, are living in arbitrary detention and harsh physical conditions that do not meet international standards, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.

Two reports by the UNHCR detailed continuing concerns voiced several times over the past 15 months with the centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where Australia has sent thousands of refugees who have braved the dangerous sea crossing from Indonesia after fleeing conflict, persecution or poverty in the Middle East and Central and South Asia.

“While UNHCR understands Australia’s determination to respond robustly to the challenges of people smuggling and to dissuade people from undertaking dangerous irregular travel by sea, those responses must not neglect the compelling protection needs, safety and dignity of the individuals affected,” the agency’s Director of International Protection, Volker Türk, <“http://www.unhcr.org/52947ac86.html“>said in Geneva.

“These reports must be seen in the context of what UNHCR has observed to be a sharp deterioration, during the course of the year, in the overall quality of protection and support available to asylum-seekers and refugees who come to Australia by boat.”

The reports (available at: http://unhcr.org.au/unhcr/) called for pre-transfer assessments in Australia to consider the specific needs of vulnerable individuals, including the elderly, survivors of torture or trauma and the disabled. A realistic assessment must also be made of the actual quality of support and capacities of service providers at the centres. No children or families should be sent to PNG and unaccompanied children already there should be returned to Australia.

“In both Nauru and PNG, UNHCR was deeply troubled to observe that the current policies, operational approaches and harsh physical conditions at the centres not only do not meet  international standards, but impact very profoundly on the men, women and children housed there,” UNHCR Regional Representative, Richard Towle, said on releasing the reports in Canberra, Australia’s capital.

Topographical map of Admiralty Island in Papua...

Topographical map of Admiralty Island in Papua New Guinea. Largest islands have been named. Created with GMT from publicly released SRTM data. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He stressed that they do not provide a fair and efficient system for assessing refugee claims, do not provide safe and humane conditions of treatment in detention, and do not provide for adequate and timely solutions for recognised refugees.

The centres, Australia’s so-called ‘Pacific solution’ to the influx of refugees, were first opened in 2001, but closed at the end of 2007. The policy was resumed again last year.

The report on Nauru acknowledges some positive developments since UNHCR’s last visit in March but also cites significant setbacks in processing and worsening reception conditions. Despite a processing system being in place under Nauru law, only one decision has been handed down in the 14 months since the centre reopened.

In PNG no decisions at all have been finalised, the report on Manus said. While some improvements were observed since the last inspection in June, physical conditions, slow processing and lack of clarity regarding safe and sustainable solutions are likely to have a serious negative effect on the refugees’ health and welfare.

UNHCR called on all three states not to transfer children, particularly those who are unaccompanied, unless and until there has been a marked improvement in conditions in both centres.

New York, Nov 26 2013  4:00PM

 

#humanrights, #australia, #canberra, #manus-island, #nauru, #papua-new-guinea, #portable-network-graphics, #refugee, #united-nations-high-commissioner-for-refugees

Activists Opposing Development Projects Increasingly Branded as Anti-Government

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

United Nations Human Rights Council logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to a  UN expert activists who oppose any new development scheme by large corporations are being branded anti-government. The fact these schemes involve massive amounts of money and will in so many cases create a scar on the landscape and in a number of cases, poison or damage people’s livelihoods. The fact that theses corporations can run rough shod over laws. environmental groups and even bribe government officials to get what they want, seems not to matter.

Now  Human rights defenders who oppose large-scale development projects are increasingly being branded as ‘anti-government’ or ‘enemies of the State,’ a United Nations independent expert <“http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13912&LangID=E“>warned today.

Activists who are trying to help communities affected by large-scale projects such as the construction of hydroelectric power stations, dams and roads are often “harassed, stigmatized and criminalized for doing their work,” the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, said in her latest report to the General Assembly.

They also face threats, including deaths threats, and physical attacks. “But rather than being against development, defenders play an important role in advancing it,” Ms. Sekaggya said.

“It is essential that communities and those defending their rights are able to participate actively, freely and meaningfully in assessment and analysis, project design and planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects.”

Abdulhadi Al khawaja with Margaret Sekaggya

Abdulhadi Al khawaja with Margaret Sekaggya (Photo credit: frontlinedefenders)

Ms. Sekaggya called for a rights-based approach that includes the principles of equality and non-discrimination, participation, protection, transparency and accountability, including access to appropriate remedy.

Inclusion and participation, as well as accessible information about large-scale development projects, can contribute significantly to defusing tensions, she added. In contrast, a lack of transparency could not only increase the vulnerability of defenders and the affected communities, but also seriously undermine the credibility and legitimacy of both State and private involvement in such projects.

States have an obligation to provide protection to those claiming their legitimate right to participate in decision-making processes and voicing their opposition to large-scale development projects,” she said. “It is essential that those who wish to report human rights concerns and violations can safely do so.”

Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

#aceworldnews, #humanrights, #enemy-of-the-state, #human-right, #human-rights-defender, #hydroelectricity, #sekaggya, #united-nations, #united-nations-human-rights-council, #united-nations-special-rapporteur

Putting Disability on the Global Agenda

Department for International Development Speech by Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for International Development, on disability and development in Entebbe, Uganda.

Introduction

Distinguished Guests, Honourable Minister, panel members, Government of Uganda officials, NGO and civil society and development partners, ladies and gentlemen – thank you all so much for being here today.

I’m absolutely delighted the UK and Uganda are co-hosting this important event – and it’s a real pleasure to be sharing this platform with the Honourable State Minister for Elderly and Disabled people.

For far too long the world has been guilty of turning a blind eye to the challenges, discrimination and prejudice that people with disabilities can face every single day of their lives. They have been the people who have been too often left behind when it comes to development. And as a consequence are disproportionately some of the poorest and most marginalised people in the world.

At last, the international community is starting to wake up to the way we have actually neglected disability rights, and is, belatedly, recognising that we can’t tackle poverty without addressing the needs of people with disabilities.

In the UK, I am the Minister responsible for disability within the Government’s Department for International Development, and quite frankly I have made it my mission to ensure that challenges faced by people with disabilities are addressed and are a key development priority.

And I’ve come to Uganda because it is at the forefront of the disability movement in Africa and I particularly wanted to come here to get a picture of what works, and what the real challenges and the real opportunities are for making a difference in people’s lives.

I wanted to get a better idea of what more the UK could be doing on disability – both in terms of our development policies and programmes and also in terms of influencing others on the global stage to do more.

And today I want to set out some of my conclusions; the key challenges that I think we are facing and how we can start to overcome them, both through local action and global campaigning.

Why disability?

But first I want to answer the people who, I know, will question this focus on disability and make an argument that the world has a big enough challenge as it is, to provide basic services and opportunities for people. For them disability appears to be a luxurious add-on, something that we could perhaps turn our minds to when we have achieved everything else.

I have to say to those people: We know that such thinking is completely short-sighted. Disability is a cause and a consequence of poverty.

And nor are we talking about a small minority of people – WHO estimates that one billion people globally live with some sort of disability – that’s one in seven people.

Everywhere they live people with disabilities are statistically more likely to be unemployed, illiterate, to have less formal education and less access to support networks. They are further isolated by discrimination, by ignorance and by prejudices.

Does it have to be like this? No. Given the right opportunities to support and access, most people with disabilities are able to look after themselves and get on their lives just like anybody else.

And I believe it is possible to tackle the stigma around disability by putting people with disabilities centre stage and giving them a voice. And we saw that in the UK last year when London hosted a hugely successful Paralympics Games. It was, I can tell you, one of the most amazing experiences of my life and most people in London’s.

Suddenly people with disabilities were in the spotlight like never before and it really opened eyes to the challenges they face, and also the huge heights they are capable of reaching. Most importantly they were no longer a group on the outside on the margins or hidden away.

Changing perceptions like this is vital. And I am particularly delighted that I have been joined on this visit by Ade Adepitan who many of you may know as a British Paralympian champion and broadcaster. He is incredibly famous, much more than myself. Ade is here to help to get more people talking and thinking about disability – both in Uganda and other parts of Africa as well as back at home in the UK.

Uganda and disability

Ade and I chose to come to Uganda because, as I said, you have played a key role and I pay tribute to the honourable Minister for the promotion of disability rights here and throughout Africa.

Uganda was one of the first countries anywhere to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. You have enshrined the rights of people with disabilities in your constitution, which also recognises sign language as a national language.

People with disabilities are well-represented from parliamentary to village levels. And I know there is a strong disability movement in Uganda which has been fundamental in driving some of this change, particularly the National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda.

Despite this progress, Uganda still faces a number of challenges when it comes to giving people with disabilities a chance to earn a living and build their own lives.

Over five million people in Uganda have a disability, which is 16% of the population. And poverty and disability in Uganda are impossible to disentangle. According to recent surveys, 72% of people with disabilities in the Northern region of Uganda are living in a state of chronic poverty.

You can often trace the issues back to school where the majority of people with disabilities, especially girls and women, simply find there are too many obstacles in their way to completing their education – indeed even starting their education.

Without the necessary skills they then struggle to get a job that would give them an income. And throughout their lives many of them will encounter prejudice, ignorance, hostility even sometimes from their communities, and families.

Local support for disability

And these problems aren’t exclusive to Uganda, or Africa – this is a global issue. For example there are still too many schools and hospitals in the UK which are not 100% accessible for people with disabilities and discrimination still exists in far too many workplaces.

So what action do we need to take to turn this around?

The first step is to acknowledge the day-to-day challenges faced by people with disabilities and recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work.

I’ve seen some brilliant examples here in Uganda of how services can be tailored to fit the particular needs of people with disabilities.

Take the work of Uganda Water Aid. This organisation, which is funded by UK Aid and works with local partners in Uganda, is exploring the barriers that people with disabilities face when it comes to water and sanitation, which quite frankly are the basic tenants of decent living.

For example they spoke to people who have physical disabilities and have been denied access to wells because they are considered to be unclean and so struggle to access clean water.

Water Aid is using these findings to help overcome local prejudices, adapt their water, sanitation and hygiene programmes and build more inclusive toilets and better designed water sources.

I visited Wera Primary School where Water Aid have built a separate latrine for pupils with disabilities. It makes a big difference to pupils like ten-year-old I met who cannot walk by herself and was carried everyday by her father for two and a half kilometers, and was subject to inconveniences and even bullying when she had to use the general latrine. She is now happier at school and socialising better.

And it is things like this can make a real difference to a child staying in school and not just giving up because it’s all too difficult. Of the 57 million children currently out of school in the world today, it’s telling that over a third have a disability. It’s not sufficient to just place these children in a school without considering their specific needs.

That’s why last month I announced at the UN General Assembly that the Department for International Development will ensure that all of the school construction we directly support is designed to allow disability access.

During my time here I have also visited the St Francis School for the Blind in Soroti, where their motto ‘disability is not inability’. That it palpably true. This is an incredible school and I’m pleased that St Francis was a direct beneficiary of International Inspiration, a legacy programme for the London 2012 Games that aims to widen access to PE and sports for all children.

One of St Francis’ students won the most determined young leader at the recent UK School Games run by Sainsbury’s.

They have been given computers by the Government of Uganda but they can’t use them because they don’t have talking technology. I have talked to the honourable Minister about what we can do.

Lastly I have seen for myself the benefits of the new grant for vulnerable families in the Kaberamaido district, which is being piloted under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and supported by UK Aid.

This programme has allowed people like Margaret Alota, who was disabled by polio at the age of two, to help run a fuel vending business, harvest her crops and support four children through school. A tiny bit of money makes a the difference. I met a young man who used that support to buy a leg.

Putting disability on the global agenda

The people I met are all being given a chance to build a better life despite their disability – but how many others don’t get this opportunity and have their potential wasted as a result?

DFID is determined to keep supporting disability rights through our programmes, and by supporting civil society organisations working on disability, many of whom are represented here today such as Sightsavers and ADD. We recently committed more funding to the Disability Rights fund – the only grant-making organisation to solely and directly support disabled people’s organisations in developing countries.

But these are only the first steps and I know we need to do more. This is a global challenge and it needs a global effort to tackle it. This really has been the great neglect.

Many of you will have heard of the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals for tackling global poverty. Some of these goals have been realised over the last 13 years, but others haven’t and I believe success has been hindered because of the gap where improving the lives of people with disabilities should have been. disability was completely omitted when the MDGs were set up. You cannot address poverty if people with disability are excluded.

The 2015 deadline for the MDGs is fast approaching and the international community is starting to shape a post-2015 development framework.

This is a once-in-a-generation chance to finally put disability on the global agenda and on an equal footing with other challenges.

Our UK Prime Minister was co-chair of the UN’s High Level Panel, which earlier this year presented the UN Secretary-General with a vision of what the development framework should look like after the MDGs expire.

The Panel’s overarching message was that we could eradicate poverty for good but only by ‘leaving no one behind’, regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, race, or disability. If agreed this is a really powerful commitment, which could have a transformational effect on disability rights across the world which have struggled so hard among other issues.

To achieve this goal, the report calls for a data revolution, in other words a global effort to collect more quality data about where poverty exists and why. And this will be vital for helping us truly understand the links between disability and poverty and how we can overcome the biggest barriers.

Over the next 18 months the world’s leaders will consider and negotiate the final post-2015 framework and the UK will be doing everything possible to push the UN to take up the core commitment to leave no one behind – I hope you will do the same.

I know a lot of you here have already been involved in this process and it is important you remain engaged and really push to ensure that disability is properly included in the next set of global development goals.

Conclusion

I believe we have reached a watershed moment on disability – we have an opportunity to do something ground-breaking, but we cannot afford to let this chance go.

This is my second visit to Uganda as a UK Minister. The last time I was here was as the Home Office Minister, I saw some of the work that Uganda is doing to address sexual and gender based violence.

And, as I stand here, I really feel a great sense of deja-vu because we are having some of the same discussions now about including disability that we began having twenty or thirty years ago about gender.

Quite frankly we’re not there on gender yet.

Clearly we’ve still got a long way to go on that front, but I am proud of how far we’ve come, and I want to see disability moving along the same lines.

So let’s keep the momentum building and keep working to fight discrimination. We all have a role to play – families, communities and leaders – in ensuring that no one is left behind and everyone has a chance to reach their potential.

#humanrights, #ade-adepitan, #africa, #department-for-international-development, #disability-rights, #handicapped, #international-development, #london, #lynne-featherstone, #paralympic-games, #uganda, #wateraid

William Hague spoke at the War Child 20th Anniversary Policy Forum in London

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version made by user Kashmiri. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a great pleasure to be here to congratulate War Child on its 20th Anniversary and take part in your discussion.

For two decades you have helped to protect and educate over 800,000 vulnerable children in some of the world’s most brutal conflicts; and you have ensured that their suffering is not forgotten by the world.

The plight of children in war is particularly heart-rending: because they are entirely innocent, extremely vulnerable and disproportionately affected by conflict, and because no-one can restore to them the childhoods stolen by war.

In Syria today a million child refugees have lost their homes, have been traumatised, have had their education violently disrupted and are facing yet another cold and hungry winter. Their situation is one reason why the United Kingdom is the second largest humanitarian donor to the Syrian conflict and why we are pressing so hard to get unfettered access for aid to the besieged areas of the country where some people are literally starving.

It is shocking that almost half of the world’s forcibly displaced people are children, who will probably spend their entire childhood in that condition. They must always be at the forefront of our efforts to end conflict, and the UK has a strong record. But we can always do more and do better, and organisations like War Child often point the way to doing so.

Conflict prevention is one of the top priorities of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office I lead, from the Horn of Africa to the Philippines. We have hosted two global peace-building conferences on Somalia in the last two years for example, and today Somalia has the best chance in twenty years of turning a corner and giving its children a better future.

The sad lesson of history is that there will be other conflicts over the next twenty years, despite our best efforts.

But although we may not be able to prevent them all, we can influence the environment in which conflicts take place, so that their worst consequences are mitigated and the gravest crimes are prevented.

And one of my personal priorities is to try to ensure that rape and sexual violence can no longer be a feature of conflict in the 21st century.

Millions of women, children and men have been raped in conflicts of our lifetimes, in a climate of almost complete impunity, with only a handful of successful prosecutions ever taking place.

This is sexual violence used to advance military and political objectives – to terrorise innocent people, to cause displacement, to change the ethnic composition of communities, or as a means of torture – and it is one of the greatest and most neglected injustices in history.

It is usually directed at the most vulnerable people in society, and sadly that often means children.

In the DRC in April I met a mother whose five-year-old daughter had been raped outside a police station – just one of countless cases where children have been targeted in the most sickening and depraved manner possible, precisely in order to inflict the maximum psychological torture on families and whole communities.

It is only one aspect of the suffering caused by conflict, but its long-term impact on children is impossible to understate. It can cause severe physical injury to growing bodies; infection from life-threatening diseases; psychological trauma that lasts a lifetime; it result in girls often being unable to bear children; causes others to fall pregnant and drop out of school; and leads to many being ostracised or forced to marry their attacker.

Because of taboo and social stigma, we have not talked about it enough as governments and nor have we shouldered our responsibilities as we should.

I am trying to change this, by putting sexual violence in conflict at the top table of international diplomacy in a way that it never has been before.

For just as we have come together as an international community to abolish the use of landmines, to curb the trade in conflict diamonds, to prohibit the use of cluster munitions and to adopt an International Arms Trade Treaty, so I believe we can and must end the use of rape as a weapon of war in our generation.

In May last year I launched my Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, with the Special Representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie.

At the G8 in London in April this year we secured a historic declaration from the G8 group of leading economies, promising practical action.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1356

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1356 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In June, we secured a landmark UN Security Council Resolution, which received unprecedented support from UN member states.

And last month, to my immense pride, 134 countries from Afghanistan to Vietnam endorsed a historic Declaration at the UN General Assembly promising to end rape as a weapon of war.

In this Declaration, we recognised rape and serious sexual violence in conflict as grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and of their first Protocol, so that suspects can be apprehended wherever they are in the world.

We pledged not to allow amnesties for sexual violence in peace agreements, so that these crimes can no longer be swept under the carpet.

We promised to adopt a new International Protocol in 2014, to help ensure that evidence is collected that can stand up in court.

And we pledged to help victims to gain access justice and long-term support, and to protect civil society organisations, including women’s groups and human rights defenders.

Children are at the centre of our efforts, with both the G8 and UNGA Declarations recognising that appropriate health, psycho-social, legal and economic support must be provided to children.

Our campaign is also backed with practical action. We have created a UK team of Experts which has been deployed five times this year alone to the Syrian border, the DRC and Mali, where they have trained health professionals, strengthened the capacity of the armed forces, and helped raise local investigation standards; in each case focussing on the specific needs of that country and complementing the work of the UN and other agencies on the ground. Further deployments to the Syrian borders, to Kosovo and to Bosnia-Herzegovina will take place in the coming months.

In little over a year we have laid the basis at least for eroding impunity worldwide, for eradicating safe havens, providing greater protection for civilians, improving the help given to victims and working to increase the number of prosecutions including through setting an example ourselves of what can be done.

The task now is to turn this political commitments and diplomatic progress into lasting practical action – and we need your help to do it.

Next June I will host a conference in London that will bring together the 134 states that have endorsed the Declaration, along with representatives from civil society, judiciaries and militaries from around the world. It will be the biggest summit ever held on this issue and it will be used to launch our new International Protocol and to seek agreement to practical steps that we hope will end the impunity for war zone rape once and for all. Our goal must be to change the entire global attitude to these crimes – and I believe we can.

I hope you and your members can help us expand further the group of countries that have pledged their support for this campaign – we have 2/3 of the United Nations so far, but we want them all to come on board.

And I hope you will work with us to look at how we can improve further the support and care that is given to survivors, particularly children.

English: Albert Einstein, official 1921 Nobel ...

English: Albert Einstein, official 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics photograph. Français : Albert Einstein, photographie officielle du Prix Nobel de Physique 1921. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Albert Einstein once said that “the world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

Whatever the conflicts to come – and our goal must always be to prevent them all – we have in it on power to prevent millions of lives being destroyed by sexual violence. That is a goal worth fighting for, and I hope we can join forces to achieve it.

 

#aceworldnews, #humanrights, #albert-einstein, #angelina-jolie, #geneva-convention, #pet-shop-boys, #syria, #united-nations, #united-nations-high-commissioner-for-refugees, #war-child

The Robben Island Declaration Timeline of History

In support of Occupied Palestine l thought l would provide a post with a link below ,out-lining their plight and request for freedom of 
Palestinian people have struggled for decades for justice and the realisation of their inalienable rights. These rights have been repeatedly reaffirmed by countless United Nations resolutions. Universal values, international legality and human rights cannot stop at borders, nor admit double standards, and must be applied in Palestine. This is the way forward to a just and lasting peace in the region, for the benefit of all its people’s. 
Occupied PalestinePlease read more and add your support by re-blogging their great article at: http://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/the-robben-island-declaration-for-the-freedom-of-marwan-barghouthi-and-all-palestinian-prisoners-by-mrn1sa/
Timeline of Events:  
1421
Chinese fleet rounds the Cape of Good Hope and most likely sets food on the Island. In 1421, Chinese Emperor Zhu Di dispatched a huge armada of ships to sail around the world. The armada split into four fleets under the overall command of Admiral Zheng He. In August of 1421, the fleet rounded the Cape of Good Hope and relatively accurately mapped the continent for the first time. While we have no evidence of the crews setting foot on either Robben Island or the mainland, it is presumed that they would have done so.
1488
Portuguese discover the Island. Some 67 years later the Portuguese were the first Europeans to round the Cape. The skipper of the 2nd Ship of the Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias was probably the first European to set foot on Robben Island to remove meat and eggs.
1496
Portuguese set up a base in cave which they name ‘Portugal Cave’. In 1496, the Portuguese landed again on Robben Island and set up base in a cave which they called Portugal Cave. The present day harbour was built next to the cave which was to become the whaler Murray’s abode at Murray’s Bay. The cave no longer exists.
1501
Antonio de Saldanha and his men kill animals on the Island. Antonio de Saldanha retreated to Robben Island after a skirmish with the Khoe on the mainland, where he was wounded. On Robben Island, de Saldanha and his men set about killing as many penguins, seals and tortoises as they could. It is because of the many seals that were on the Island that the Dutch were later to name the island Robben, the Dutch word for seal.
1591
Sheep are introduced to the Island. Sir James Lancaster & Admiral Raymond were the first to introduce sheep to Robben Island, so that they would multiply and provide for future visitors. This was an important recognition of the strategic importance of the island to maritime traffic and a form of international cooperation. This practice of leaving livestock was continued in 1608 by the Dutch Admiral Cornelius Maaklof.
1611
Island is used as a mail station. Through records it is clear that by the time John Saris was retrieving mail from a rock on Robben Island, the practice of using the island as a mail-station was a common maritime practice. Robben Island was a post office of sorts, and played an important role in international communications.
1614
Chief Xhore chases British convicts to Robben Island. After being lured aboard the British ship the Hector in 1613, Chief Xhore and a companion were kidnapped and taken to England. Xhore’s companion later died en route. Sir Thomas Smythe of the British East India Company had designs for colonising the Cape of Good Hope, by sending out 100 convicts annually. Xhore was to be trained as an interpreter and facilitator of this plan, but Xhore hated his time in England and constantly demanded to be returned home. A year later, he was returned to Table Bay.
Xhore had learnt much about the British, and this knowledge ultimately lead to his effective resistance against Sir Thomas Smythe, who had tried to settle the Cape with convicts. Xhore chased the settlers off to Robben Island, but later in 1625, Xhore was killed by the Dutch. Xhore’s sons participated in the first Khoe-Dutch war in 1658, and among other marks made on history, Xhore will be remembered as the first black South African to go to England.
Convicted prisoners, sent to the Cape by Sir Thomas Smythe, escape to Robben Island.
Under the patronage of King James I of England, Walter Peyton was sent to the Cape with nineteen convicted prisoners from Newgate Prison by Sir Thomas Smythe of the British East India Company. The aim of this was to establish a Penal Colony and supply station.
An ex-officer and convicted highwayman by the name of Crosse was left behind as a leader of 10 convicts set ashore with guns, ammunition and supplies. The convicts soon got into conflict with the Khoe, lead by Chief Xhore. Having received more supplies and a longboat from the passing ship of Edward Dodsworth, Crosse fled from the mainland to Robben Island with 8 men and one boy.
1616
Nine months after having been left at the Cape, the British ship ‘New Years Gift’ collected 3 survivors off Robben Island. Ironically it was Chief Xhore who told the British visitors about the men then stranded on Robben Island. Crosse saw the ships at anchor and was washed out to sea and drowned during trying to reach the ships with a raft made from the wrecked long-boat.
1617
Three more convicts are placed on Robben Island. Under orders, English Captain Benjamin Joseph once more deposited 3 convicts on Robben Island in 1617, but a few days later a fifth ship in the fleet, picked them up again for unknown reasons.
1620
Robben Island, along with Table Bay, is claimed by the British. Table Bay and Robben Island were formally claimed by the British as crown possessions of King James I of England. Thereafter, the English practiced a very casual approach to the possession, and the Cape remained a hospitable sojourn for all international maritime traffic.
1632
Chief Autshumato is trained and taken to Robben Island with other Peninsula Khoe.
In a similar move to the 1613 events surrounding Chief Xhore, the English took Chief Autshumato to Bantam in Java for a year (probably 1631) where he was taught the essentials of the English language. In 1632, in an act of assisted migration, Autshumato and 20 other Peninsula Khoe were then taken to Robben Island by the English to act their as postal and maritime monitoring agents.
In the same year, Autshumato convinced the Dutch to bring over 30 more Peninsula Khoe to Robben Island. Thus it came to be that Autshumato acted as an agent for both the Dutch and the English. Autshumato was able to communicate in English, Dutch, French and Portuguese, and became an astute diplomat, yet official history portrays him as an ignorant beachcomber.
Autshumato is also recorded as saying to visiting French ship in 1632 that he was “Au service de messejieurs Holandois et de messejieurs les Anglois.” [In the service of the Dutch men and English men]
1636
Ringleader of a mutiny attempt banished to Robben Island
The former Governor of Batavia, Hendrik Bouwer, arrived in Table Bay in 1636 and ruled on a mutiny attempt which happened on one of the ships in the Dutch fleet. The ringleader was keelhauled, banished and abandoned on Robben Island.
1638
Khoe leave Robben Island. By 1638, due to the depletion of food (penguins, seals, cormorants and eggs) on the island, the Khoe moved back to the mainland.
1639
Khoe re-introduced to Island
The Europeans had grown use to the safe haven and services offered on Robben Island, so in 1639 Johan Albrecht von Mandelslo deposited fifteen Goringhaicona Khoe on Robben Island, 4 men, 8 women and 3 children, to continue to offer a service.
1652
Jan van Riebeeck and Captain Sijmon Turver land on Robben Island
With a permanent Dutch settlement established on the mainland, van Riebeeck attempted to land on Robben Island in July 1652 and almost got killed in the rough seas and south-easterly squall. On 14 September, he successfully landed on the island with Captain Sijmon Turver, exactly where today’s harbour stands. Soon after this, regular parties were sent out to collect penguins, eggs and seals.
1654
Robben Island used as a food station. At this time, The Cape mainland settlement was still insecure and inhospitable, and Robben Island was used as an emergency ‘pantry’ for the Cape Town VOC garrison. The garrison at this stage was largely comprised of Javanese Mardijkers. A vegetable garden was established and flocks of sheep introduced.
An overseer of the island was appointed by van Riebeeck, Corporal Robbeljaert who was put in charge of a few shepherds who were also sent to the Island. Rabbits and dassies were also introduced, and in June 1655 van Riebeeck also organised pig breeding on Robben Island. Several more men were then sent to the island to engage in caring for the animals and gardens.
1657
Lighthouse erected and the first prisoners introduced
A small Platform was erected on the highest point on Robben Island, upon which a fire was kept burning at night, when ships of the DEIC could be seen off the port. This was also the first year that an official group of prisoners was sent to the island, even although Robben Island had not yet been established as a convict workstation.
1660
The first recorded ship wreck is that of the Schapejacht in August 1660.
1662
Robben Island becomes a formal prison
Jan van Riebeeck concluded his time as Commander at the Cape in 1662. He was succeeded by Zacharias Wagenaar, who was attributed as the man who promoted Robben Island as a formal organised prison where prisoners could be put to hard labour quarrying for blue stone and lime.
1673
Convicts escape the prison on Robben Island
Five Khoe convicts achieved what was thought to be impossible. They managed to steal a rudderless boat and successfully made it back to the mainland.
1675
Two slaves sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island
Two slaves were sentenced for stealing food (vegetables) and had their ears cut off. They were also sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island where they were kept in chains.
1682
Exiles and other captives kept in slavery
An Englishman scholar, David Tappen, captured by the Dutch and forced to serve on the Dutch ships, spent time on Robben Island and wrote the following:
“On Robben Island are set the rebellious rulers brought from the East Indies, where they must end their lives in very bad conditions, since many of them who are now at the Cape must now work like slaves for their living, and often get more kicks than ha’pence for their hard tasks such as carrying wood and stones, burning lime etc. To this Robben Island come not only the rebellious East India rulers and other black folk, but also rebellious Dutch who are kept in slavery there for some years.”
1686
Slaves prisoners on Robben Island. Prisoner lists of 1686 show numerous slave names as prisoners on Robben Island, names such as Jacob van Macassar and Arrie van Bengal. Many Chinese slave/convicts were also sent to Robben Island.
1690
Successful escape from Robben Island by swimming to the mainland. In 1690, a convict by the name of Jan Rykman successfully escaped Robben Island by swimming to the mainland.
1693
Falsely accused sent to Robben Island. Dorha, a successful Chainouqua trader, (loyal to the Dutch) and his brother-in-law (of the Hessequa) are banished to Robben Island by Simon van der Stel and the Council of Policy, on trumped-up charges (latter repealed by the DEIC) to rob Dorha of his amassed cattle and curtail his successful trading system.
Dorha, as a successful trader in the inland areas, was a threat to the corrupt company officials who were dominating the trading processes. Dorha was a victim of a volte-face plot, which saw the company officials ally themselves to his enemy Koopman, leader of the Soeswa. In 1695, Dorha was exonerated and released from banishment on Robben Island but never regained his former prestige and was murdered by Koopman in 1701.
1694
Shipwreck on Robben Island
The yacht Dageraad from Goude Bay ran ashore on the Western side of the island. Sixteen of the crew were drowned.
1716
Sheikh Noorul Mubeen was exiled from the Indonesian Archipelago and banished to Robben Island, but escaped by unknown means. Legend has it that he swam to the mainland where he was found by slave fishermen and hidden on the mountainside. A Karamat shrine in Oudekraal marks his burial-place.
1743
The Prince of Madura was banished to Robben Island with 7 of his followers, after being captured by the Dutch in the Straits of Madura. He died on Robben Island in 1754 and his body was returned to Batavia after a petition by his son.
1744
Tuan Matarah Sayed Abduraghman Motura (Matirim) was exiled from the Indonesian Archipelago (probably Sumatra) and banished to Robben Island where he died. A Karamat shrine on Robben Island marks his burial place and is visited by pilgrims.
1780
A Prince of Tadore in the Tiranate Islands, Tuan Guru, who traced his ancestry to the Sultanate of Morocco, together with Callie Abdul Rauf, Noro Imam and Barodien were said to have conspired with the English against the Dutch.
They were captured by the Dutch and brought to the Cape as state prisoners and incarcerated on Robben Island. Tuan Guru was later released to the mainland in 1792, and Barodien and Rauf died on Robben Island. Taun Guru died in 1807 and a Karamat Shrine marks the place of his burial on Signal Hill.
1786
Tuan Nuruman arrived in Cape Town as a slave and was housed in the Slave Lodge. In 1786, he was found guilty of assisting a group of fellow slaves in an escape bid and sent to Robben Island. Years later, when released from the Island he settled as a freed slave and officiated as an Imam. He died in 1810 and a Karamat Shrine marks his grave on Signal Hill.
1806
Murray installed himself as a Whaler on the island, next to the present-day harbour, and settled in Portugal Cave with his wife and children. Since then the Bay was called Murray’s Bay.
1846
The first lepers were moved (from Hemel en Aarde, near Hermanus) to Robben Island and housed in existing buildings.
1858
Cemetery below Minto’s Hill is established, and acts as a burial ground for staff of the island during the Leprosy Settlement and Convict Station until 1923.
1864
Robben Island Lighthouse was built on Minto Hill. In 1938, a self-contained generating plant was installed to produce electric lighting of 464 000 candle-power. A fog-horn was installed in 1925.
1873
Langalibalele, Chief of the AmaHlubi, and his people worked in Kimberley and in the process acquired arms. Fearing an uprising, the Hlubi were ordered to surrender their arms by the British. They refused and fled towards Basutholand for refuge but were waylaid by troops at the top of the Drakensberg Pass. Langalibalele was brought back in chains and tried for treason and rebellion. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. The Cape Town township Langa is named after him.
1880
A small restaurant and refreshment station is opened. The Island population was then 1070 of whom 800 were male.
1882
A gardening campaign was started by Dr. Impey and Lady Loch, and was promoted by the famous brewer Mr. Ohlsson who paid for a plantation to be laid out on the western shore at his expense. Much of this was destroyed in the Second World War for security reasons.
Over 70 000 trees were planted at this time including thorn trees, tamarisks, firs, pines, wattles, manatoka, cypresses, acasia, salinga and belhambra. The gardening campaign was at its strongest from 1882-1912.
During this time, Franz Jacobs lead a protest and wrote to petition the Queen to improve the terrible Leper conditions on Robben Island.
1886
Chaplain and Dr. Ross oppose female lepers being brought to the Island because of intercourse between male and female lepers.
The postmaster brings out the first Robben Island Newspaper, the Robben Island Times. It cost two pounds a year to produce.
1887
Female leper is block built to the north of Murray Harbour.
1890
New buildings are built for male lepers, in the area that stretches from village to the leper cemetery south of Murray Bay.
1892
Tramway line is built. A 18inch gauge tramway line was laid from the boathouse to the general stores and ran to all of the key off-loading points of the island. Trolleys were drawn by mules.
1893
A Library is opened with 1548 volumes. A magistrate’s court was also started and the librarian doubled as resident magistrate, Mr L Powys-Jones. The Island school ceased to be a mission school and became a government school.
1894
Guest house is built for the resident chaplain of the Dutch Reformed Church
The post of chaplain became necessary with the increase in leprosy patients. 
1895
Residence built for the Commissioner of the Island. The Commissioner was brought in as an administrator when the surgeon-superintendent of the hospital had difficulties subduing violence and dissatisfaction among leprosy patients about their forced residence on the Island. The building would later become a mess hall for officers in WW2.
The Church of the Good Shepherd is consecrated in 1895. This was a Leper Church for men designed by Sir Herbert Baker. A carved figure of the Good Shepherd was brought from Oberammergau (famous for religious plays). A Leper church for women was called the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. A Catholic Chapel and a Dutch Reformed church was also established.
1896
Faure Jetty completed. This jetty acted as a replacement jetty as the one below an old Convict station was destroyed by storms.153 trips were made in 1896 by the steam ferries Tiger, Magnet and Pieter Faure.
1910
Leper Children and Anglican Nuns move to the Island. The Anglican sisterhood took over the children’s leper home, catering for 26 children, into their care. They were recalled to England in 1926 and the children returned to the compounds.
1913
After years of argument, the government agreed to remove the mental patients from the island so that they may be integrated into more humane institutions of care on the mainland.
1930
Lepers removed from Robben Island
1931
All leper buildings, with the exception of the Church of the Good Shepherd, are burned and demolished.
1939
Island acts as Military base. The Department of Defence established fortress Robben Island to guard Table Bay. Murray Harbour, an airstrip and gun batteries were built. A maze of tunnels and bunkers were carved into the island. It was a military fortress in every aspect and home to thousands of servicemen and women.
The vast majority had no idea of Robben Island’s painful past and little consciousness of the pain that would be coming, yet these men and women had been mobilised to fight fascism and Nazism in Europe.
1950’s
Robben Island is used as a naval base. Robben Island was taken over by the SA Navy as SAS Robben Island with a population of 1200 – 1500.
1959
Declaration of Robben Island as an Apartheid era Prison. The National Party Minister of Justice declared that the island would once more serve as a prison. As far as possible, all military installations were to be dismantled and relocated to the mainland. Access to the island was to be restricted and suitable prison structures constructed.
1961 – 1991
Maximum security prison for political prisoners.
1961 – 1996
Medium security prison for criminal prisoners. The first political prisoners began to arrive in 1961. These early prisoners had to participate in the completion of Robben Island’s maximum security prison structures. Along with ANC and PAC prisoners, there were members of many other organisations including the SA Congress of Trades Unions, the SA Communist Party, South West African Peoples Organisation, National Liberation Front, the Non-European Unity movement, the Liberal Party, AZAPO, the APDU, BCM, UDF and others.
After the Rivonia trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and other senior ANC leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. Over the next three decades, thousands of political cadres of all persuasions and all ranks were brought by ferry to be imprisoned on the island. PAC leader, Robert Sobukwe, was initially sentenced to three years imprisonment; because the government were not prepared to release him, they passed a special law in parliament which allowed them to keep Sobukwe in prison without charges, indefinitely. It was called the Sobukwe clause.
After the unbanning of political organisations and the release of Nelson Mandela by FW de Klerk in 1990, a slow process of releasing all political prisoners unfolded.
1962
January, Nelson Mandela leaves South Africa for military training.
March, Mandela receives training from the Algerian National Liberation Front at bases of the latter across the border in Morocco.
1991
All political prisoners had been released from Robben Island.
1996
The last of the Common Law Prisoners leave the island
1997
1 January, The Robben Island Museum was officially opened.
1999
Robben Island became a World Heritage site. The museum and heritage site is visited by thousands of tourists each year.

References

 

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‘Please Release Him’ Plea for Detained Journalist

Editors Comment:  This story below is the extract that has been translated from Chinese {Simplified Han} that has been copied and pasted as Chen wrote! No  changes have been made and the link and my thanks for his provision of such is detailed at the bottom of this extract! I make no apologies for the grammar – as it was just translated as he wrote!  

It is a plea by a Chinese reporter to release this journalist from detention: world.time.com  commented as follows:

English: New building of the city administrati...

English: New building of the city administration of Changsha, Hunan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Express has a message for China’s censors: We may be small, but we have backbone.  On Wednesday the Guangzhou-based newspaper published a front-page call for the release of its reporter Chen Yongzhou. Chen was detained by police in Hunan province while investigating a state-linked firm. The three-character headline, ‘Please Release Him’ was printed in a large, bold font above the fold.

Extract: Completely without any changes as follows:    

Our readers, our reporter Chen Yongzhou Zoomlion reported financial problems, and then he was captured provinces Changsha police on charges of alleged damage to business reputation.In this regard, we want to cry –   Please release   my newspaper, though small, poor bones, there are so two of the   newspaper commentator ■   If you are a reporter, wrote some criticism of a company report. One day, the police caught your uncle.   Please do not excited.People are justified – “alleged damage to business reputation crimes” – none of your days, dozens of days, look always be right?   Now, the New Express reporter Chen Yongzhou we, unfortunately, has become the hapless guy.   We would like to draw your own two ears.   Because we always thought that as long as done responsibly reported that there would be no problem; event of a problem, we advertised corrections, apologize; really serious, court, lost the case, how lose lose on how the close to close, that is deserved.   But the fact is, we are too naive.   Chen Yongzhou get through the three days and three nights, finally saw the lawyer, said that he could boil a thirty days, and more, can not say it.   Tears.   It should be said, our understanding of this sudden blow to keep a great deal of restraint – on Friday morning, the man was taken away, we did not say anything; On Saturday, we did not say anything; Sunday, we did not say anything; Monday we did not say anything; yesterday, we did not say anything.   Because we always want to, human security is the first one, if forbear under the table and effort can change back to a lively splash colleagues, is worth – the reader dwellers, especially peers forgive, we do without regard to justice, there is no sacrifice and devotion to the revolutionary courage, really weak, really selfish, really shameful. However, we do not regret it. Because the police although not a gun, very powerful, Zoomlion has given Changsha pay a lot of taxes, is very powerful, but after all, are still class brethren, there are contradictions also contradictions among the people thing.  If God can give us a chance, we would say: The policeman, in conjunction Brother, I beg you, put Chen Yongzhou it!   If God only gives us a chance to speak, we would say: We carefully checked Guo Chen Yongzhou right Zoomlion of all 15 critical reports, only the fallacy of “advertising and entertainment expenses 513 000 000” written in the wrong the “advertising costs 513 million.” If policeman discovered my newspaper, although power to do and not to explore the evidence, please publicity, we must take my hat off.Because we still believe – at least there are so few days – you, like us, with full respect for the law.  We want to thank the four Changsha police uncle, is that you shut one eye, last night, Chen Yongzhou shivering little wife to safety from their own home away from home.   We also thank you, there is no atmosphere on the use of high-grade secret weapon, you identified the suspect, the economic center director in one fell swoop. Incidentally, he was really not at home, afraid to go home a few days earlier on. Really.   Oh, and Gao Hui, beloved Zoomlion Assistant Chairman, we have a few months ago has sued you infringement, I hope you face to the point, what should a complaint, we will not suddenly take you down to – – Each year, we pay very little tax, the turnover is far from tens of billions.   Your fellow Hunan Zeng wrote a couplet, “meaning the spring to feed a regiment, propped two poor bones.” My newspaper, though small, poor bones, there are two of you.

Courtesy and with thanks to http://epaper.xkb.com.cn/view.php?id=891639

#freedom

#aceworldnews, #humanrights, #changsha, #chen-yongzhou, #china, #god, #guangzhou, #hunan, #yongzhou, #zoomlion

UN Rights Expert Joins Call for Concerted Global Action to Fight Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking petition hand in

Human Trafficking petition hand in (Photo credit: 38 Degrees)

A United Nations independent expert, along with two other key human rights mechanisms today stressed the importance of partnerships as the “backbone” of global efforts to tackle the scourge of human trafficking.

“Partnership is the backbone for effective coordinated efforts to implement a human-rights based approach while addressing this multi-faceted phenomenon,” <“http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13869&LangID=E“>said  the human rights experts from the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Co-operation and Security in Europe (OSCE), on the occasion of the European Anti-Trafficking Day.

“Cooperation between origin, transit and destination countries, but also with regional and international mechanisms, as well as private stakeholders such as multi-national corporations and civil society organizations, is essential for comprehensive responses to trafficking in persons.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ezeilo, underlined that trafficking is a grave violation of human rights which leads to further abuses.

“The rights of victims should be the beating heart driving all efforts towards eradicating this phenomenon which leads thousands of women, girls, men and boys in situation of profound exploitation and violence,” Ms. Ezeilo said. “The victims, whose rights are stolen, have to be protected, assisted, provided remedies, and re-integrated.”

Trafficking of women, children and men

Trafficking of women, children and men (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry which has trapped some 21 million men, women and children in forced labour. According to 2005 estimates released by the International Labour Organization (ILO), profits generated in the sex industry alone are as high as $32 billion a year. Furthermore, nearly one-third of all victims of human trafficking officially detected around the world between 2007 and 2010 were children, according to a report released in December 2012 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) citing data from 132 countries.

The President of the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), Nicolas Le Coz, emphasized that countries have a responsibility under international and European law to provide protection to victims to ensure their moral and physical integrity and prevent re-victimization, including by prosecuting and punishing the traffickers.

“Given the worrying proportions human trafficking has taken, there is a need to move from a national security model to a human rights-based approach in order to better identify and assist victims of trafficking who are often undocumented migrants,” Mr. Le Coz said.

For the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, “the realization of a victim’s right to effective remedies is at the core of the human rights-based approach as redress and compensation are the key stepping stones on the path to full recovery and social inclusion without fear or stigma.”

The three international expert mechanisms stressed that “a universal human rights-based approach is paramount to end human trafficking in the world today.”

#AceWorldNews  #HumanRights  #Trafficking

 

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