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Index August 2007

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How to Survive at the Pentagon on $2 Billion a Day

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The Warfare State is Part of Us

Published on, by Norman Solomon, 08/23/2007.

2 excerpts: The USA’s military spending is now close to $2 billion a day. This fall, the country will begin its seventh year of continuous war, with no end in sight. On the horizon is the very real threat of a massive air assault on Iran. And few in Congress seem willing or able to articulate a rejection of the warfare state.

While the Bush-Cheney administration is the most dangerous of our lifetimes – and ousting Republicans from the White House is imperative – such truths are apt to smooth the way for progressive evasions. We hear that “the people must take back the government,” but how can “the people” take back what they never really had? And when rhetoric calls for “returning to a foreign policy based on human rights and democracy,” we’re encouraged to be nostalgic for good old days that never existed.

… The warfare state doesn’t come and go. It can’t be defeated on Election Day. Like it or not, it’s at the core of the United States – and it has infiltrated our very being.

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Internships at ISSR and RIPS (Accra)

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Received by mail:
From: hr-education, the Global Human Rights Education listserv. See: mail-address for the list, and archives of the list.
Date: August 29, 2007.

The Institute for Social, Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER) is based at the University of Ghana in Legon and has a long track record of research on regional economic and social issues in West Africa. The Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), also at Legon specialises in the demography of West Africa. Together, these institutes provide a strong core of trained researchers with experience of work with a wide range of governmental and international institutions including the Word Bank, UNECA and UNDP.

ISSER and RIPS have worked under the following DRC themes:

* Social Protection: research project on ‘Social Protection of Workers in Global Agriculture: Pilot Study in Ghana’;
* Child Migration: research project on ‘The North-South Migration of Children in Ghana’;
* Forced Migration: research project on ‘Liberian Refugees and Rights in Accra, Ghana’;
* Skilled Migration: research project contributing to ‘International Comparisons of Mobility of the Highly Skilled’.

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OHCHR – Special Rapporteur …

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… on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

Linked with Manfred Novak – Austria.

2007 General Assembly resolution – A/RES/61/153;

2007 Human Rights Council main report – A/HRC/4/33; 2007 Human Rights Council main report – A/HRC/4/33;

2007 Human Rights Council – Communications – A/HRC/4/33/Add.1; 2007 Human Rights Council – Communications – A/HRC/4/33/Add.1;

2007 Human Rights Council – Follow-up to recommendations – A/HRC/4/33/Add.2;

2007 Human Rights Council – Mission to Jordan – A/HRC/4/33/Add.3;

2006 General Assembly report – A/61/259.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, in resolution 1985/33, decided to appoint an expert, a special rapporteur, to examine questions relevant to torture. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur covers all countries, irrespective of whether a State has ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

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Democracy and slow progress

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My comment on K.N. Pandita’s geopolitical analysis ‘Nuke deal and understatements‘:

Dear Professor Pandita, You write, India is a continent and goes slowly … but look, Switzerland is a very small place and we also go slowly.

What I see is, more you are democratic, more you are slow, but better the changement is accepted. For us in Switzerland it takes time to debate and convince … it takes years, often decades.

We were the last country in the world to accept on a cantonal level the women’s right to vote … incredibly late the last canton, Appenzell, accepted women’s vote for cantonal questions (they had it already for federal questions).

Their canton was put under pressure: if you do not vote yes to women’s vote on your cantonal level, the federal court will impose the vote, as meanwhile the legislature had changed for the whole Switzerland, and pressures were made by women to force this latest canton.

As they are a really small canton, and therefore still voted by hand rised on the public place (men only), it was not a question of one single vote, but rather of an estimation (how many hands are rised). So, the ‘counters’ head decided: yes, it is accepted. Every body knew this has to be the outcome, in any way, all men NOT wanting women’s vote stayed at home – for protest.

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Requests for Information, 6 – 19 August 2007

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Received by mail from hr-education, the Global Human Rights Education listserv. See: mail-address for the list, archives of the list.
Date: 23/08/2007

Dear members, Below is a compilation of requests for information sent to the Global Human Rights Education listserv during the past two weeks. At the bottom of each request you will find an e-mail address, so that you can respond to the request directly.


Dear Sir/Madam, We are intrested to collaborate with you and will welcome any support to sustain our advocacy. Foundation for Human Rights Initiative and Democracy (FOH-RID) Sierra Leone is a local community based organization which is an advocacy organization working in Sierra Leone since 2005. Foundation for Human Rights Initiative and Democracy (FOH-RID) Sierra Leone is registred with the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Governmant with registration no. CBO/SL/Kono (026). Awaiting hearing from you. Yours, Emmanuel Bryma Momoh, Coordinator, E-mail.


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Justice Initiative Fellows Program at Central European University

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Received by mail from hr-education, the Global Human Rights Education listserv. See: mail-address for the list, archives of the list.
Date: 24/08/2007

Call for Applications: Justice Initiative Fellows Program at Central European University (2008­-2010 session),

Open Society Justice Initiative – Central European University, Department of Legal Studies, CEU Budapest.

The Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational program of the Open Society Institute (OSI), joins with Central European University (CEU) to announce the Justice Initiative Fellows Program for 2008-2010. The aim of the program is to support and further develop a network of lawyers and activists working internationally on human rights-related issues. Since its inception in 1996, 155 fellows have graduated from the Justice Initiative’s Fellowship program.

The Justice Initiative Fellows Program is a two-year program of study and practical work experience. Up to ten applicants will be selected to participate in the 2008 program. Applicants from the following regions and countries are eligible: Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Central/South America.

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Sudan – New photographs show further breach of UN arms embargo on Darfur

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Received by mail from HREA, the Human Rights Education Associates, by their Newsletter.
Date: 24/08/2007

Read first: HREA Director’s “Blog from Darfur”, for first-hand impressions about the human rights crisis in Darfur, published on July 2, 2007: Last day in Sudan.

24 August 2007 – Amnesty International today released new photographs showing that the Sudanese government is continuing to deploy offensive military equipment in Darfur despite the UN arms embargo and peace agreements.

“The Sudanese government is still deploying weapons into Darfur in breathtaking defiance of the UN arms embargo and Darfur peace agreements. Once again Amnesty International calls on the UN Security Council to act decisively to ensure the embargo is effectively enforced, including by the placement of UN observers at all ports of entry in Sudan and Darfur,” said Brian Wood, Amnesty International’s Arms Control Research Manager.

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… Call to End Murders of Women in Mexico Now

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Received by mail:

From: “Tamaryn Nelson of WITNESS
Date: 24/08/2007
and published on ‘democracy in‘ on August 25, 2007.

Dear Heidi, Artists Peter Gabriel, Gael García Bernal, and Diego Luna are urging Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón to solve the brutal murders of hundreds of young women and girls along the U.S. – Mexico border, once and for all. Add your voice to this campaign by taking action now.

Since 1993, over 400 women and girls have been violently killed and thousands have disappeared in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico. Under fire for their inability to solve these crimes, the police have tortured people to confess to the murders. “Dual Injustice,” the video co-produced by WITNESS and the Comisión Mexicana (CMDPDH), tells the story of Neyra Cervantes, who disappeared in 2003, and her cousin, David Meza, who was tortured to confess to her murder. The video played a pivotal role in the campaign that led to David’s release from prison in June 2006.

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What We Chose To Ignore

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A brief summary of presidential directives, executive orders, and congressionally approved bills that where signed into law over the last 40 years or so.

Published on,
by staff, August 23, 2007.

Listen to this video of 5.19 minutes on YouTube.

Special Rapporteur on adequate housing …

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… calls for international solidarity for earthquake victims in Peru

Received by mail from HREA, the Human Rights Education Associates:

UNITED NATIONS Press release, 21 August 2007.

The Special Rapporteur on adequate housing of the Human Rights Council, Miloon Kothar, issued the following statement today:

Geneva, 21 August 2007: I wish to join the international community in expressing my condolences and solidarity to the people of Peru for the loss of human life caused by the earthquake that took place on 15 August 2007. I am deeply moved by the courage shown by the survivors, women, men and children, as they attempt to rebuild their lives and homes and try to survive homelessness and inadequate and insecure housing and living conditions.

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Globalization and Postmodern Values

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Linked with Ronald Inglehart -USA, and with World Values Survey.

Published on The Washington Quarterly, by Ronald Inglehart, January 23, 2000.

2 excerpts: A growing body of evidence indicates that deep-rooted changes in world views are taking place. These changes seem to be reshaping economic, political, and social life in societies around the world. The most important body of evidence comes from the World Values Surveys (WVS), which have measured the values and beliefs of the publics on all six inhabited continents in 1981, 1990, and 1995. The WVS will carry out its fourth wave of surveys in 1999-2000. It has already surveyed more than sixty societies representing almost 75 percent of the world’s population and covering the full range of variation, from societies with per capita incomes as low as three hundred dollars per year, to societies with per capita incomes one hundred times that high; and from long-established democracies with market economies, to authoritarian states and societies making the transition to market economies. This unique investigation has found strong linkages between the beliefs of individuals and the characteristics of their societies–such as those between peoples’ values and the birth rates of their societies, or between political culture and democratic institutions. Figure 1 shows the societies that have been explored in the two most recent waves of these survey …

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Linked with The slow march towards gender balance in politics.

Published on this page of the Council of Europe (2003).

Recommendation Rec(2003)3, of the Committee of Ministers to member states, on balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision making,

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 12 March 2003 at the 831st meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies),

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe …

… Mindful of the high priority the Council of Europe gives to the promotion of democracy and human rights,

Recommends that the governments of member states:

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Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women.

Linked with Zanaa Jurmed – Mongolia, and with what’s about the endless op-icescr?

(More links to more infos in the left column of any of these pages).

CEDAW: The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women CEDAW, adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women.

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Human Rights and the War on Terror

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Linked with Martin Scheinin – Finland.

Report from Panel Discussion at American University Law School by HI Intern Nesma Bensalem, May 07 2007, published on Handycap International, by Nesma Bensalem.

Panelists Elisa Massimino (Director of Human Rights First), Manfred Nowak (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture) and Martin Scheinin ( UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Terrorism) held a conference at the American University College of Law to discuss issues such as torture and terrorism related to human rights and war.

Terrorism has multiple definitions and until all countries can agree on one, there will always be excuses for the weapons and acts they use to fight terrorism. Nowadays there’s still not a real prohibition of torture and unfortunately we can see that it’s starting to get more and more accepted as a normal tool by soldiers. Countries including the United States use the excuse of using torture as a weapon to fight against terrorism. With such drastic measures that are actually punishable by the death sentence in the United States if torture results in death, is it really the right way to fight terrorism? Doesn’t it on the contrary allow violence to grow? (full text).


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Received by mail:

From: hr-education, Women & the Law
Subject: LL.M in International Legal Studies, Specialization in Gender and Law
Date: August 17, 2007.

The American University, Washington College of Law, Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Legal Studies, Specialize in Gender and the Law:

Defending women’s rights requires a commitment to justice, creative approaches to the law, and specialized knowledge of the legal challenges facing women. American University, Washington College of Law’s unique Gender and the Law Specialization is the only International Legal Studies LL.M. program focused on women’s rights and gender equality in an international context.

Prepare Yourself for a Career in Defending Women’s Rights.

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A statement on the Group WorldCitizen

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Found this statement in a forum:

From: John
To: YahooGroup WorldCitizen

I think this statement expresses the viewpoint of many of us. He wrote (answering Sabzali):

Hi Sabzali,

The military-industrial complex is behind it yes, yet it’s also those who are mislead into carrying out what they want which is war. War itself causes terror and war makes lots of money for some, who then spent money on warfare which makes more money! People are being used!

We can have ideals and can view ourselves as World Citizens but until we get rid of the corruption in ‘high’ places and until more people can see that they are being misled, the world will remain at war.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. – Jimi Hendrix.

Of course, one answer is for everyone to simply refuse to take part in the war machine but most people are brainwashed so they cannot see through it.

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HR activists in Guatemala and Honduras

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Overcoming the obstacles, Human rights activists in Guatemala and Honduras

Published on Amnesty International/Campaigns, 8 August 2007 – AMR 02/003/2007 – WA 17/07.

Reports of killings, death threats, harassment and intimidation of human rights activists continue to be commonplace in Guatemala and Honduras.

Many defenders of human rights are subjected to unfounded investigations and malicious prosecutions. Their offices and homes are placed under surveillance, while at the same time important human rights information and documents are stolen to obstruct their human rights work.

In some cases, grave violations result in activists having to stop, or radically curtail, their human rights activities. Direct attacks or threats to their lives sometimes mean that they are forced to flee their homes or even countries.

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Poverty and impunity undermine human rights in a divided world

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE, AI Index: ORG 50/040/2007 (Public), News Service No: 155, 11 August 2007.

(Mexico) Poverty and impunity were identified as the two most alarming trends affecting human rights in a divided world, concluded a panel of eminent persons at the Opening Ceremony of the 2007 International Council meeting of Amnesty International in Mexico today.

Under the theme ‘Human Rights in a Divided World’, distinguished figures recalled the great hope, which emerged after the fall of communism in the early 1990s, that there would be a real global consensus on how to tackle the world’s problems. But instead inequality, division and discord – between rich and poor, between the North and the South, and across religious and political divides – appear to be the defining features of our times.

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AI Index: IOR 41/019/2007, 9 August 2007.

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

There should be no further delays in the final adoption of the vitally important and long overdue United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Amnesty International is supporting Indigenous organisations worldwide in urging all states to support the adoption of the Declaration as a critical step toward ending the pervasive human rights violations faced by Indigenous peoples.

The Declaration was adopted by the newly-formed UN Human Rights Council on 29 June 2006. It is expected to come before the UN General Assembly for final adoption within a matter of weeks.

The Declaration calls on states to work closely with Indigenous peoples in ensuring protection of rights pertaining to self-determination, education, cultural identity, and the use of lands, territories and resources essential to Indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and ways of living.

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Trade & CSR

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Linked with ABC of the main instruments of CSR, and with Social Responsibility SR.

Trade and the need to apply international Corporate Social Responsibility CSR standards,
SOMO Discussion paper 2, by Joris Oldenziel & Myriam Vander Stichele, SOMO, November 2005.

Published on Corporate (scroll down to Nov.05).

Globalisation and trade liberalisation has led to a growth in the power and influence of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs). As a result of trade agreements in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and regional or bilateral trade and investment treaties, the rights of MNEs to trade and invest worldwide are increasingly being secured at an international level. On the other hand the development of an international framework for the responsibilities of MNEs regarding human rights, workers’ rights and the environment is still weak. In particular, an international enforcement mechanism to ensure standards for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for MNEs in worldwide trade is lacking … (full text 8 pdf-pages).

Investment agreements & CSR

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Linked with ABC of the main instruments of CSR, and with Social Responsibility SR.

Investment agreements and Corporate Social Responsibility CSR, contradictions, incentives and policy options,
SOMO Discussion paper 1, by Myriam Vander Stichele (SOMO) and Sander van Bennekom (NOVIB/Oxfam the Netherlands), November 2005.

Published on SOMO.

Over the last 20 years bilateral investment agreements (BITs) between industrialised and developing countries have included less and less references or instruments for promoting the benefits that societies in developing countries can gain from foreign investments. Most foreign investments are done by multinational enterprises MNEs … (full text 8 pdf-pages).

Muslims demand an Apology from MIM*

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* The Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen MIM

Linked with Mike Ghouse – USA, with,

Published on ‘Mike Ghouse for Amerika‘, by Mike Ghouse, 10 August, 2007.

“We were all set to kill her”, said Majidullah Khan about Taslima Nasrin. It is an atrocious condemnable statement. it is time to reflect and figure out how to prevent this from happening now and in future …

… Killing or threatening to kill is a crime in India, punishable by a life sentence to life itself. The above named men in their misplaced fervor claim to represent Islam while Islam forbids killing an individual. Qur’aan 5:32, “Because of this did We ordain unto the children of Israel that if anyone slays a human being-unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth-it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.”

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châtiments corporels des enfants

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Le Conseil de l’Europe veut mettre fin aux châtiments corporels des enfants:

Article re-publié sur LDH Toulon le 11 août 2007,

paru à l’origine en Libération, par Charlotte Rotman, le 4 août 2007 …

Le châtiment corporel est l’une des formes les plus visibles de la violence à l’égard des enfants. Ces violences se produisent dans des lieux où les enfants devraient être protégés, tels que l’école, le milieu familial ou les institutions de placement. Le Conseil de l’Europe, par le biais d’une vaste campagne européenne, appelle chaque pays d’Europe à interdire les châtiments corporels.

L’organisation va lancer une campagne pour « changer les mentalités » sur les châtiments corporels aux enfants, par Charlotte Rotman, Libération, le 4 août 2007.

… Le terme de « châtiment corporel », qui sent la trique et le martinet, englobe également la fessée. Celle, par exemple, que les parents français ont tout à fait le droit de délivrer à leur enfant. Actuellement, seuls seize pays interdisent ces gestes à l’école, mais aussi à la maison. La Suède fut la pionnière en 1979. Si nul n’a envie de justifier de sévères raclées, l’initiative du Conseil, pétrie de l’idéologie de la protection de l’enfance et de celle des droits de l’homme, risque de culpabiliser (au moins en France) des générations de parents. (full text).

Asia by DU, Africa by AIDS/HIV

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(Glossar: see DU depleted uranium munitions on wikipedia, and more with Google-search; and AIDS HIV by Google search).

Linked with Gus Cairns – England, and with aidsmap, information on hiv & aids.

Published on Tehran Times, by Hamid Golpira, August 9, 2007.

2 excerpts: … In three articles published in the International Journal of STD and AIDS in 2002 and 2003, an international team of scientists led by Dr. David Gisselquist said that more than half the cases of AIDS in Africa before 1988 were due to unsterilized syringes and other medical exposures to contaminated blood and only about 30 percent of cases, not the 90 percent claimed, were sexually transmitted. …

… The use of depleted uranium weapons is a genocidal act that is part of a global depopulation program.

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