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Index September 2008

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This is the Fourth World War

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The Der Spiegel Interview with Jean Baudrillard (an old text still valuable today).

Linked with Jean Baudrillard – France (1929 – 2007).

Published on International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Vol. 1 /no. 1, JanUARY 2004.
(Interview Translated by Dr. Samir Gandesha, Simon Fraser University, Introduction by Dr. Gary Genosko, Canada Research Chair in Technoculture Studies, Lakehead University).

Some exerpts – HE  SAYS:

  • (9/11) … Of course there are those who committed these acts, but the spirit of terrorism and panic reaches far beyond them. The Americans’ war is focused on a visible object, which they would like to destroy. Yet the event of September 11th, in all of its symbolism, cannot be obliterated in this manner. The bombing of Afghanistan is a completely inadequate, substitute action …
  • (the unavoidable reaction against a system which has itself become megalomaniacal) … With its totalizing claim, the system created the conditions for this horrible retaliation. The immanent mania of globalization generates madness, just as an unstable society produces delinquents and psychopaths. In truth, these are only symptoms of the sickness. Terrorism is everywhere, like a virus. It doesn’t require Afghanistan as its home base …
  • (purpose (of) the War Against Terrorism) … US President Bush aspires to return to trusted ground by rediscovering the balance between friend and foe. The Americans are prosecuting this war as if they were defending themselves against a wolf pack. But this doesn’t work against viruses that have already been in us for a long time. There is no longer a front, no demarcation line, the enemy sits in the heart of the culture that fights it. That is, if you like, the fourth world war: no longer between peoples, states, systems and ideologies, but, rather, of the human species against itself.
  • No one can say how it will all turn out. What hangs in the balance is the survival of humanity, it is not about the victory of one side. Terrorism has no political project, it has no finality; though it is seen as real, it is absurd.
  • Perhaps, but it is not religiosity that drives them to terrorism. All the Islam experts emphasize this. The assassins of September 11th  made no demands. Fundamentalism is a symptomatic form of rejection, refusal; its adherents didn’t want to accomplish anything concrete, they simply rise up wildly against that which they perceive as a threat to their own identity.
  • Why not also say its superiority? Cultures are like languages. Each is incommensurable, a self-contained work of art for itself. There is no hierarchy of languages. One cannot measure them against universal standards. It is theoretically possible for a language to assert itself globally, however, such reduction would constitute an absolute danger …
  • (difficult to tolerate the existence of evil) … Evil was interpreted as misfortune, for misfortune can be combated: poverty, injustice, oppression and so on. This is the humanitarian view of things, the pathetic and sentimental vision, the permanent empathy with the wretched. Evil is the world as it is and as it has been. Misfortune is the world as it never should have been. The transformation of evil into misfortune is the most lucrative industry of the twentieth century.
  • Misfortune is a mine whose ore is inexhaustible. Evil, in contrast, can’t be subdued by any form of rationality. This is the illusion of the West: because technological perfection seems within reach, one believes by extension in the possibility of realizing moral perfection, in an future free of contingencies in the best of all possible worlds. Everything should be redeemed-which is what comprises the contemporary ideal of our democracy. Everything will be genetically manipulated in order to attain the biological and democratic perfection of the human species …
  • … Oh yes, I love the world of the Cathars because  I am Manichaean …

… (full long interview text).

The Accra High-Level Forum: an important step?

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Linked with ELDIS.

Published on the blog of the ELDIS community, by jcollodi, September 10, 2008.

The much-awaited Third High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra, Ghana is at an end. There was much impetus behind the conference and its proposed statement, the ‘Accra Agenda for Action’ (AAA), in order  to progress ‘aid effectiveness’ towards the 2010 targets set out in the Paris Declaration PD. Although improvements have been made – the amount of official untied aid rose from 43% in 2002 to 53% by 2006 – there are issues which need urgent attention. One instance is the area of ‘harmonisation’. Vietnam played host to an average of three donor visits each working day last year, whilst Tanzania’s overstretched civil service produces 2,400 quarterly reports on projects per annum – clearly donors must work together better to reduce this burden.

Much early criticism of the PD was due to its lack of concrete time-bound commitments for donors or firm language compelling the international community to act. However, the AAA seems markedly different. As Simon Maxwell points out, “words like ‘aspire’ or ‘urge’ have been replaced by phrases like ‘starting now, we will’. There are specific targets for 2010, and strong commitments on issues like the need to avoid proliferating aid funds and programmes” …

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A plentiful book harvest

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Published on FayObserver, by Hillel Italie, September 14, 2008.

In case you’re wondering which books to read this fall, Michael Moore has a suggestion: Don’t read any. Not the new fiction by Toni Morrison or Philip Roth or Stephen King. Not that policy book by Sen. Barack Obama, whom Moore is supporting for president; or Bob Woodward’s latest on the Bush administration; or Thomas Friedman’s manifesto on the environment.

Not even a little paperback meant as a handbook to the political campaigns. It’s called “Mike’s Election Guide 2008,” and it’s written by a certain Academy Award-winning filmmaker and well known agitator named Michael Moore …

… Publishers did hold some books until after Election Day, such as Patrick Tyler’s “World of Trouble,” a history of presidents and the Middle East that Farrar, Straus & Giroux will publish in December. Around the same time, Collins will release “My Word is My Bond,” a memoir by actor Sir Roger Moore.

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Neither a borrower, nor a lender be

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Linked with Mark Vernon – England.

Published on his blog named Philosophy and LiFE blog, on Sept. 27, 2008. (First published on openDemocracy /Sept. 24).

Consumerism has boomed on debt. The huge profits of banks spring from massive borrowing too. In what are often referred to as “normal times”, this is only sensible and right, according to capitalist logic. However, these are now abnormal times. They throw the culture of debt into high relief, perhaps affording us the opportunity to think about how debt shapes and makes us. “Be not a beggar by banqueting on borrowing”, wrote the writer of Ecclesiasticus in the Hebrew bible. Has debt made us beggars, or at least undermined our power of self-possession? …

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OSCE hosts Europe’s largest human rights and democracy conference in Warsaw

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Received by mail:

From: HREA – Human Rights Education Associates and its Newsletter
Date: 25/09/2008

OSCE Press release

WARSAW, 25 September 2008 – More than 1,000 government representatives, experts and human rights defenders are set to meet in Warsaw beginning on Monday to review progress made by the OSCE’s 56 participating States in fulfilling their human rights and democracy commitments.

The OSCE’s 13th Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, held from 29 September to 10 October, is organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights ODIHR.

The conference will review the whole range of human rights and democracy commitments undertaken by the OSCE’s participating States.

This year’s special focus areas include freedom of religion or belief, assistance to victims of human trafficking and human rights education.

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Britons have been stripped of civil liberties

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Amid an “atmosphere of panic” over the threat from terrorism, according to the novelist John le Carré

Published on The Telegraph, by Nicole Martin and Christopher Hope, Sept 23, 2008.

In a rare public intervention, the spy author criticised ministers for voting to extend the time limit that terror suspects can be held without charge to 42 days.

His comments come only weeks ahead of a key vote in the House of Lords that could see peers throw out the Government’s controversial 42-day proposals.

The writer, who admitted he has a reputation as “an angry old man”, said he was furious that the Government had been allowed to get away with a sustained attack on civil liberties.

“Partly, I’m angry that there is so little anger around me at what is being done to our society, supposedly in order to protect it,” said the 76-year-old in an interview in Waterstone’s magazine.

“We have been taken to war under false pretences, and stripped of our civil rights in an atmosphere of panic. Our lawyers don’t take to the streets as they have done in Pakistan.

“Our MPs allow themselves to be deluded by their own spin doctors, and end up believing their own propaganda” …

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Religion and Peace

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Linked with Fumihiko Sueki – Japan, and with the International Association for the History of Religions IAHR (on 25. Sept, 08).

Published on a japanese website: kosei-shuppan.co.jp (first on Dharma World, July 2006), by Fumihiko Sueki, not dated.

Although religions actively preach peace, they are also often the source of war and violence. Why should this be? There are many ways to answer this question. One way is by saying that there are religions that seek peace and religions that approve of war and violence. Lately it is often said in Japan that monotheistic religions are intolerant and bring about wars, whereas polytheistic religions are tolerant and seek peace. This explanation is well suited to Japanese nationalistic concepts and is thus readily accepted and easily popularized; for this very reason, it is dangerous. It was the polytheistic Japanese, after all, who conducted an extremely brutal oppression of Christian believers during the latter part of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century. Before World War II, Japan was a militaristic nation where brave combat was glorified. We say that Buddhism is peaceful, yet during the war years of the Showa era (1926-89) Buddhists supported the war effort most fervently, seeing it as a manifestation of the spirit of Mahayana Buddhism.

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A JOURNEY TO THE WORLD WITHOUT HUSBAND

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Linked with Nani Zulminarni – Indonesia, and with PEKKA (on 24.09.2008).

Published on PEKKA, by: Nani Zulminarni, not dated, 7 pdf pages.

“You are a divorced?? So, how can you possibly be the coordinator of this national program if you can’t even look after your own husband? Look at you, your husband divorced you”.

This sentence was expressed very blatantly and insultingly by Pak Kecik (the Village Head) at a meeting with members of the women headed households (Pekka) in a village in Kecamatan Idi Rayeuk, Nangroe Aceh Darussalam, when they found out that I was a divorced widow with three children.

It hurts, of course. In the past, I didn’t believe that people in general would look down, despise and tend to blame women who became single parent due to a divorce. But my status as a divorced and my job as coordinator of an empowerment program for women headed households, a majority of the members being widows, have proven that these things do happen. Being a widow is a disgrace, because the status of a widow means that she had weaknesses as a woman and a wife in her marriage. People never want to look at the various factors that were the reasons, as well as the condition of the women who became widows. People tend to judge them and cruelly put a bad label on these widows. It is no surprise that a lot of women work so hard to make their marriage work, in spite of the violent and unfair treatments they had to endure …

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How The Democrats Can Blow It – In Six Easy Steps

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How The Democrats Can Blow It – In Six Easy Steps – A blueprint for losing the most winnable presidential election in American history

Published on GSN, by MICHAEL MOORE, August 21, 2008.

For years now, nearly every poll has shown that the American people are right in sync with the platform of the Democratic Party. They are pro-environment, pro-women’s rights and pro-choice. They don’t like war. They want the minimum wage raised, and they want a single-payer universal health-care system. The American public agrees with the Republican Party on only one major issue: They support the death penalty.

So you would think the Democrats would be cleaning up, election after election. Obviously not. The Democrats appear to be professional losers. They are so pathetic in their ability to win elections, they even lose when they win! So when you hear Democrats and liberals and supporters of Barack Obama say they are worried that John McCain has a good chance of winning, they ain’t a-kidding. Who would know better than the very people who have handed the Republicans one election after another on a silver platter? Yes, be afraid, be very afraid.

In an effort to help the party doofuses and pundits ­ and the candidate himself ­ spare all of us another suicide-inducing election night, as the results giving the election to the Republican pour in, here is the blueprint from the Democrats’ past losing campaigns. Just follow each of these steps and you, the Democratic Party establishment, can help elect John Sidney McCain III to a four-year extension of the Bush Era.

1. Keep saying nice things about McCain …

… 6. Denounce me!

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Beyond the frame

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Published on THE HINDU /Magazine, by AUNOHITA MOJUMDAR, September 14, 2008.

In Afghanistan, where art is frowned upon, a group of young women use abstract and contemporary lines to explore themes of violence and regeneration. Their paintings are exhibited in Kolkata from September 19 to 27

… The Taliban ban on most forms of art along with other forms of cultural expression is by now quite well known. Paintings were dragged out of homes, offices and museums and burnt, books with art work were burnt, museum collections were systematically destroyed and film archives were purged to cleanse them of the “unIslamic” depiction of the living, especially human form.

Tradition of suppression:

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Rebel vs. Warlords

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An interview with Afghan parliamentarian Malalai Joya

Linked with Malalai Joya – Afghanistan.

Published on Farooq Sulehria’s ZSpace Page, by Farooq Sulehria, August 25, 2008.

4 excerpts: Afghanistan lives in the fear of US-sponsored war lords. These hated warlords are not scared by Taliban-monster raising its head in south. Ironically, they live in the fear of an unarmed girl in her late twenties: Malalai Joya. To silence Joya’s defiant voice, war lords dominating national parliament, suspended Joy’s membership for three years in 2007. Earlier, at almost every parliamentary session she attended, she had her hair pulled or physically attacked and called names (‘whore’). ‘They even threatened me in the parliament with rape’, she says. But she neither toned down her criticism of war lords (‘they must be tried’) nor US occupation (‘war on terror’ is a mockery). Understandably, media declare her ‘bravest woman in Afghanistan’ and even compare with Aung Sun Suu Kyi …

… Here in Afghanistan, we have a mafia running the system. It is the same war lords in the parliament who head the courts. These Northern Alliance warlords dispense justice. I was suspended because I termed Afghan parliament as a stable full of animals. Though I think animals are useful. The warlords want me to apologise for this comment. I refuse to apologise for telling the truth aloud. I don’t see a chance in a court dominated by warlords to do me justice. However, another reason was, for the fear of personal security, no advocate was ready to plead my case. Now a lawyer has agreed to plead my case and I would move the court. (She went to court in April). However, I would tell the court that not me but war lords be brought in the dock …

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Valuable, voluntary and educational national youth service

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Published on Online Journal, by William John Cox, Sept 19, 2008.

Irrespective of who’s anointed at the presidential coronation in January, many more Americans will soon be performing national service, including compulsory military tours of duty in the never-ending War Against Terror and the soon-to-be-announced Wars Against Sedition, Starvation, Unemployment, and Internal Insurrection, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

John McCain has said, “After 9/11, I think we made a mistake by telling Americans they ought to go on a trip, or shop. I think we should’ve told Americans to join the military, the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, volunteer organizations – all the organizations that allow people to serve this nation.” Most recently, he asked “for a concrete plan of action on the need for all of us to serve.”

Not to be outdone, Barack Obama has a Plan for Universal Voluntary Citizen Service, which will help “All Americans serve their country.” He wants to double the Peace Corps, triple the AmeriCorps, and expand VISTA, the USA Freedom Corps, the Senior Corps, and the YouthBuild Program. In addition, he wants to deploy a new Classroom Corps, Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, Veterans Corps, Green Job Corps, and a Homeland Security Corps.

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‘Einstein’ replaces ‘Big Brother’ in Internet surveillance

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Published on Online Journal, by Wayne Madsen, Sep 19, 2008.

WMR (WAYNE MADSEN REPORT)
has learned from government sources that the Bush administration has authorized massive surveillance of the Internet using as cover a cyber-security multi-billion dollar project called the “Einstein” program.

Billed as a cyber-security intrusion detection system for federal computer systems and networks, WMR has been told that the actual intent of Einstein is to initially monitor the email and web surfing activities of federal employees and contractors and not in protecting government computer systems from intrusion by outsiders.

In February 2008, President Bush signed a directive that designated the National Security Agency (NSA) as the central administrator for the federal government’s computer and network security.

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War criminals conference

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Published on The Real News network, on September 17 and 18, 2008:

Watch these 13 videos: Planning for the prosecution of high level American war criminals.

Social Justice Quiz 2008 – 20 Questions

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by Bill Quigley, 11 September, 2008.

1. How many deaths are there world-wide each year due to acts of terrorism?

2. How many deaths are there world-wide each day due to poverty and malnutrition?

3. 1n 1965, CEOs in major companies made 24 times more than the average worker. In 1980, CEOs made 40 times more than the average worker. In 2007, CEOs earned how many times more than the average worker?

4. In how many of the over 3000 cities and counties in the US can a full-time worker who earns minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment?

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Global Starvation Ignored by American Policy Elites

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Linked with Global Famine, is it a Conspiracy, with World Bank Updates Poverty Estimates for the Developing World; with Latin America uniting against neocons of Washington, with … and specially this publication, with The Fed, and with Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Published on dissidentVoice, by Peter Phillips, September 15, 2008.

A new report (2 Sept 08) from The World Bank admits that in 2005 three billion one hundred and forty million people live on less that $2.50 a day and about 44% of these people survive on less than $1.25. Complete and total wretchedness can be the only description for the circumstances faced by so many, especially those in urban areas. Simple items like phone calls, nutritious food, vacations, television, dental care, and inoculations are beyond the possible for billions of people.

Starvation.net logs the increasing impacts of world hunger and starvation. Over 30,000 people a day (85% children under 5) die of malnutrition, curable diseases, and starvation. The numbers of unnecessary deaths has exceeded three hundred million people over the past forty years.

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Declining numbers in child mortality

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Received by mail:

From: HREA – Human Rights Education Associates and its Newsletter
Date: 12/09/2008

UNICEF Press release

NEW YORK/GENEVA, 12 September 2008 – UNICEF today released new figures that show the rate of deaths of children under five continued to decline in 2007.

The new estimates show a 27 per cent decline in the under-five mortality rate, from 93 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990, to 68 deaths per 1000 live births in 2007. In industrialized countries there are, on average, just six deaths for every 1,000 live births.

According to this data, 12.7 million children under five died around the world in 1990, and in 2007 child deaths declined to about 9.2 million.

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Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament

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Picked up on Weitzenegger’s Website for International  Development Cooperation, and its Newsletter.

Published by the COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES, Brussels, 23.06.2008.

Download the FULL Report, 170 pdf-pages, from the SEC(2008)2062, commission staff working document, annex to the Annual Report 2008 on the European Community’s Development and External Assistance Policies and their Implementation in 2007 (COM(2008)379).

Download the summary, 12 pdf-pages.

Measuring impact of Human Rights Education on youth

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Linked with Felisa Tibbitts – USA.

See: Youth for Human Rights: A long-term training programme for young human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa;
The Arab Institute for Human Rights AIHR (in arab);
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies CIHRS (in arab).

The Youth for Human Rights long-term training programme for young human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa is generously funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Institute’s Middle East & North Africa Initiative.

Received by mail:

From: Felisa Tibbitts
Date: 11/09/2008

Dear Colleagues, I am gratified by the rich and provocative comments that have been made on the listserv over the last few months in relation to the question of how to measure the impact of human rights education on youth. Certainly, we have identified several areas worthy of further exploration. In this message, following the synthesis of the discussion by the moderators earlier today, I would like to highlight some conclusions that I have personally drawn from our extended conversation.

The first conclusion that I have drawn is our responsibility as human rights educators to incorporate human rights values into our research and evaluation processes. Let us strive to actively involve our subjects in our work in ways that are genuinely participatory and even empowering. Practically speaking, this means consulting with them whenever possible on the design of our studies, including the instruments and indicators that we use. The involvement of our subjects, or rights-holders, should extend to all phases of our work.

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Requests for Information: 1 – 7 September 2008

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Received by mail:

From Global HRE List Moderator
Date: 11/09/2008

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

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9/11 and the “American Inquisition

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Linked with Michel Chossudovsky – Canada.

Published by Global Research.ca, by Michel Chossudovsky, Sept. 11, 2008.

Today’s “Global War on Terrorism” is a modern form of inquisition. It has all the essential ingredients of the French and Spanish inquisitions. Going after ” Islamic terrorists”, carrying out a Worldwide preemptive war to ” protect the Homeland” are used to justify a military agenda. “The Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is presented as a “Clash of Civilizations”, a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives. The GWOT is the ideological backbone of the American Empire. It defines US military doctrine, including the preemptive use of nuclear weapons against the “state sponsors” of terrorism. The preemptive “defensive war” doctrine and the “war on terrorism” against Al Qaeda constitute essential building blocks of America’s National Security Strategy as formulated in early 2002. The objective is to present “preemptive military action”  – meaning war as an act of “self-defense” against two categories of enemies, “rogue States” and “Islamic terrorists”, both of which are said to possess weapons of mass destruction. The logic of the  “outside enemy” and the evildoer, responsible for civilian deaths, prevails over common sense. In the inner consciousness of Americans, the attacks of September 11, 2001 justify acts of war and conquest:

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LAWA and WLPPFP for women

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Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA)/Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program (WLPPFP)

Received by mail:

From: HREA – Human Rights Education Associates and its Newsletter
Date: 09/09/2008

Dear Friends, I hope you are doing well!  I am sending to you our invitation for applications to the Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program (WLPPFP) and to the Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) Fellowship Program at the Georgetown University Law Center.  We would sincerely appreciate it if you could help distribute this invitation as widely as possible. More informationa and application forms can be found at Georgetown University Law Center.

The application deadline for WLPPFP, which is for lawyers from the United States, is Friday, October 31.  The deadline for the LAWA Program, which is for lawyers from countries throughout Africa, is Friday, September 26.  Thank you very much for helping us reach out to outstanding lawyers from the United States and Africa who are committed to advancing women’s human rights and social justice.

With warmest regards, Julia L. Ernst, Executive Director
Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program
Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa Program
Georgetown University Law Center
600 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Suite 336
Washington, DC 20001
202-662-9644

Collective Punishment: Bad Idea Then and Now

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Published on worldpress.org, by Julia A. Shearson, September 8, 2008.

German and Italian Americans are working with Congress to pass the Wartime Treatment Study Act, which would establish commissions to review injustices suffered by European Americans, European Latin Americans, and Jewish refugees during World War II.

During the war, our government branded as “enemy aliens” 600,000 German Americans and 300,000 Italian Americans. Thousands were interned, and hundreds of thousands were forced to carry special identification cards and had their travel restricted and property seized. Japanese Americans have received recognition for their suffering and wrongful internment, but the plight of German and Italian Americans is less well known.

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Anti-Terror Laws Prone to Abuse, Amnesty Says

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Published on RINF (first on IPS), by Haider Rizvi, September 5th, 2008.

Numerous governments around the world are using anti-terror laws to suppress political dissent and civil liberties, according to a new report released by one of the world’s most respected human rights organisations.

Amid calls for increased U.N. scrutiny, in its report, the London-based group Amnesty International raises serious questions and concerns about the impact of the so-called war on terror on human rights and freedom of speech in many countries.

”There is a huge gap between governmental rhetoric and the reality of human rights observance on the ground,” said Amnesty in its report, entitled ”Security and Human Rights: Terrorism and the United Nations.”

The rights group released its report Thursday just a few hours before the U.N. General Assembly plenary was due to start biennial review of the ”Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” a documented adopted by the member states some two years ago …

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