martedì 27 dicembre 2011

Bhutan: Round two marked by poor voter turnout.

Voter fatigue, low tshogpa status or bad timing: any one or all could be why
LG ELECTION It was a slow day for most election officials positioned in the polling stations across the country yesterday; they hardly had their fill in rendering their services to the voters.
The second round of local government elections held in the 316 demkhongs in the country yesterday saw a poor voter turnout.
While the election commission officials were working late last night compiling results, preliminary records indicate a less than 30 percent voter turnout.
There were a total of 96,716 voters listed as eligible for the election.
But the outcome was not surprising, observers following the local government elections closely, pointed out.
With two elections being held within six months, they said it was impossible to expect voters, mostly villagers, to turn up at the polling booth leaving their daily chores behind.
“The villagers, who are expected to appear and sit through countless village zomdus and activities, will naturally have developed fatigue towards this,” one said.
Some said it was a clear indication the tshogpa post, which had the maximum vacancy in the second round, was not being perceived as important as the gup and the mangmi posts, despite a cabinet announcement to increase the salary of the tshogpa from Nu 2,000 to Nu 5,000 a month from January.
Others attributed it to bad timing.
For most farmers, winter months meant engaging in activities outside the villages.  They had pilgrimage to make and relatives to visit, with their farms remaining uncultivated at this time of the year.  For nomads, it was time to move to the warmer valleys with their herds.
Election officials, however, said the percentage did not necessarily indicate low number of voter turnout.
“Although at the surface it portrays so, we shouldn’t forget that the rest, the 70 percent, cast their votes for the gups and mangmis in the earlier round of election,” election commissioner Chogyal Dago Rigdzin said.
He said they fell victims to circumstances and could not vote this time but, had there been candidates in the vacant chiwogs then, they would have voted.
The commissioner said the level of participation, despite the delimitations being complete in February this year, functional literacy test conducted right after, and then the elections, was encouraging.
About 1,104 candidates were elected in the first round held in June, which saw a 56 percent voter turnout.
For now, going by the results, it is likely the number of vacant demkhongs, which remained at 55 after the candidature for second round was finalised, will increase.
There are chiwogs in Sarpang, Punakha and Trashiyangtse, among others, that voted “no” to their lone candidates.
There are also results from chiwogs, like the one in Zhemgang, that indicate “equality in votes”. While such chiwogs will remain vacant for now, re-elections will be conducted within a month, as required by law.
In Nanong, Pemagatshel, postal ballots have come to the rescue, saving a candidate, who secured equal number of votes as his opponent, 39 each, on the electronic voting machine.  He had received two postal ballots that made the difference.
Meanwhile, election commission received application for about 144 postal ballots of which 100 ballots were issued.
The two vacant gup posts in Gongdu gewog in Mongar and Bjagchhog gewog in Chukha, and one Mangmi post have also been filled.
The official result of the elections will be declared today.
 By Kesang Dema

Maldive - Ancora 15 giorni di detenzione per il blogger Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed.

Blogger detained another 15 days as Bari requests proper punishment

Blogger detained another 15 days as Bari requests proper punishment thumbnail
The detention of controversial blogger Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed has been extended by another 15 days, following Sunday’s Criminal Court hearing.
Meanwhile, Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari has requested that appropriate punishments for those who call for religious freedom be added to the nation’s penal code.
Rasheed, a self-declared Sufi Muslim, was arrested on December 14 by a Court Order for his involvement in a silent peaceful protest calling for religious tolerance in honor of International Human Rights Day. The protest ended violently when a group attacked the approximately 30 protestors with stones, sending Rasheed to the hospital with head injuries.
His detention was extended by 10 days on December 17. He has been held without charges.
The Criminal Court has cited Rasheed’s blog, which was shut down on the Islamic Ministry’s order in November for its alleged anti-Islamic content, as grounds for his extended detention, Haveeru reports.
Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik called for an investigation into the gathering, along with religious conservative Adhaalath Party and NGO Jamiyyathu Salaf.
The parliament’s National Security Committee (NSC) currently reviewing the silent protest had summoned Rasheed for questioning today, however it was cancelled when officials decided “not to proceed with the hearing at this time,” said an NSC official.
The parliamentary committee did hear Islamic Minister Dr Bari, who observed that the law lacks any clear punishment for individuals promoting religious freedom.
“The protestors did not announce that they had abandoned their religion but they called for religious freedom. The law has no defined punishment. They are just defying the religious unanimity of the country. I don’t believe there is any legal action against the call as no legal action can be taken until one publicly declares apostasy,” he said.
Dr. Bari requested parliament to pass these “much-needed legislations”, and advised that the punishments be added to the Penal Code currently under review.
Guraidhoo MP Ibrahim Riza pointed out that in cases where no clear penalty is stated, punishments can be given under Penal Code Article 88(a), (b) and (c), reports Haveeru.
Dr Bari countered that the code only provides soft punishments.
In a statement protesting Rasheed’s detention, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) challenged the claim that the December 10 gathering violated the Maldives’ national religion.
“The Maldivian constitution bans the promotion of any religion other than Islam but guarantees freedom of assembly and expression as long as it does not contravene Islam. Rasheed professes to be an adherent of Sufism, which emphasises the inner, spiritual dimension of Islam,” reads the statement.
The Maldivian laws state that those seeking elected political office must be Sunni Muslims.
Police commissioner Ahmed Faseeh responded to Bari’s concerns at the NSC meeting by assuring a thorough investigation would be completed within 15 days. He called the case a serious matter.
“I will give the details [later] and I will point out everything even if it includes negligence on our side,” he said.
“We have done a lot and several have been summoned. We are determining the identity of those believed to have participated in the gathering via CCTV footage and video clips received from the public and we are summoning them,” he is quoted as saying in Haveeru.
Meanwhile, Rasheed’s detention has also attracted concern from Amnesty International.
Following RSF’s statement, Amnesty International declared Rasheed a prisoner of conscience and called for his “immediate and unconditional” release.
Calling the attack on Rasheed and his subsequent detention a “clear example of the erosion of freedom of expression in the Maldives,” Amnesty stated that,
“The continued detention of Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed is in breach of international treaties on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Maldives is a state party.
“Amnesty International is dismayed that instead of defending Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed, who has peacefully exercised his right to freedom of the expression, the government of Maldives has detained him. Moreover, the government has taken no action to bring to justice those who attacked the ‘silent’ demonstrators, even though there is credible photographic evidence of the attack.”
The debate over religious tolerance has been gathering steam for several months.
Under new regulations published by the government in September, interpreting the 1995 Religious Unity Act passed by parliament, media is “banned from producing or publicising programs, talking about or disseminating audio that humiliates Allah or his prophets or the holy Quran or the Sunnah of the Prophet (Mohamed) or the Islamic faith.”
Violation of the Act carries a prison sentence of between 2-5 years.
United Nation’s Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay spoke against flogging as a punishment for extra-marital sex in November, prompting protests and demands that she be “flayed”.
On December 23, the protests to defend Islam had members of various opposition parties and religious NGOs calling for full Shari’ah, while the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) stood for the national tradition of moderate Islam. The protests were executed peacefully, however the tense build-up prompted the United Kingdom to issue a travel advisory for the Maldives.
The Islamic Ministry today announced that it will hold a conference this Saturday and Sunday to discuss the religious controversies currently afoot in the Maldives. The ministry’s Assistant Director Admedullah Jameel has told Haveeru that 64 scholars will be in attendance.

http://minivannews.com/politics/blogger-detained-another-15-days-as-bari-requests-proper-punishment-29988

sabato 24 dicembre 2011

La rebelión de las prostitutas parias (Le prostitute bengalesi si organizzano contro gli abusi) - Ho cercato di tradurre, un po' liberamente, l'articolo.

Un complesso di cubicoli che sembra uscito da un film horror, un luogo squallido e fatiscente.  Lima  ha  15 anni, deve accontentare  7-10 uomini al giorno da quando è stata violentata, più o meno due anni fa. Lei parla di un sesso veloce, con i vestiti, senza baci, a luce spenta. Rifiuta di fare cose strane che a volte le vengono chieste.

Lima è consapevole dei rischi. Tuttavia non sempre il cliente vuole usare il preservativo. La concorrenza non consente di essere troppo difficili. Il  70% delle 800 donne che affittano i loro corpi nella città rivierasca di Faridpur, 100km da Dhacca, sono affette da malattie sessualmente trasmissibili (MST).

Per evitare che questa situazione continui, la maggior parte delle prostitute di Faridpur ha deciso di organizzarsi e resistere. Hanno creato un'associazione che si batte per i diritti civili, contro gli abusi di  clienti e sfruttatori:Shapla  Mohila Sangstha (MSS).Hanno il sostegno della  della ONG spagnola Ayuda en Acciòn  e dell’avvocato Chanchal Mondal, che dice: “Né i politici né la polizia muovono un dito per queste donne perché la maggior parte di loro ne usufruisce in un modo o nell’altro. Per loro sono spazzatura ". Sono già scese in piazza in varie occasioni, hanno ottenuto un miglioramento delle loro condizioni, la stampa locale ne ha parlato.

Qualcosa è cambiato. Prima erano costrette a lasciare il bordello a piedi nudi. Ora possono avere le calzature. Ora possono avere diritto a un funerale, prima i  corpi delle prostitute defunte erano gettati nel fiume come i corpi degli animali morti. E’ vero però che avranno un cimitero a parte, che magari diventerà bersaglio di estremisti islamici.


 Lo scorso anno una massa  di gente arrabbiata dette  fuoco a un altro bordello della città, un groviglio di capanne di bambù e ferro situato ai margini di un fiume. "Siamo dovute  saltare nel fiume per non  bruciare vive", dice Hasina, una donna di 40 anni che ha venduto prestissimo  la sua verginità. Aggiunge Hasina “La situazione delle prostitute si deteriora a causa dell’inflazione. E’ sempre più costoso  mangiare e pagare l'alloggio, ma i clienti si rifiutano di pagare di più”.

L’associazione delle prostitute  lotta anche perché ci siano
 prezzi minimi per ogni servizio e un'età minima per esercitare  la prostituzione. "Forse il nostro lavoro è diverso, ma deve essere retto da regole come tutti gli altri, dobbiamo poter  vivere con dignità. La  dignità di un essere umano non può essere determinata dalla loro professione ", dice Ahya Begum, 37 anni, presidente dell'associazione. Begum chiede al governo che sia tolto dalla carta d’identità il riferimento al fatto che l'indirizzo dell’abitazione  è un 'bordello.  Per  Begum la guerra si concluderà solamente con la legalizzazione della loro attività.

Molte ragazze dei
bordelli di Faridpur hanno meno di  15 anni (alcune ragazze che lavorano con Begun ammettono di avere meno di 15 anni)  , e raro è l’uso del preservativo. Shirin Akhter,  che lavora per Ayuda en acciòn , spiega che le multinazionali , dopo la diffusione dei preservativi, hanno moltiplicato il loro prezzo. "Molte donne sono consapevoli di cosa dovrebbero  fare, ma non hanno i mezzi per ottenere i loro diritti " conclude  Akhter.
 Francesco Muratore 

MALDIVE - Amnesty declares imprisoned blogger a prisoner of conscience.

Amnesty declares imprisoned blogger a prisoner of conscience.
By JJ Robinson | December 22nd, 2011 | Category: Society | 37 comments
Amnesty declares imprisoned blogger a prisoner of conscience thumbnail
Amnesty International has declared imprisoned blogger Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed a prisoner of conscience, and called for his “immediate and unconditional” release.
The controversial blogger was arrested on December 14 following his participation in a ‘silent protest’ on Human Rights Day, calling for religious tolerance in the Maldives.
A group of men attacked the protesters with stones, and Rasheed was taken to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) with a fractured skull. He was subsequently arrested for questioning over his involvement in the silent gathering, and the Criminal Court granted police a 10 day extension of detention for the investigation.
“The continued detention of Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed is in breach of international treaties on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Maldives is a state party,” Amnesty said in a statement.
“Amnesty International is dismayed that instead of defending Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed, who has peacefully exercised his right to freedom of the expression, the government of Maldives has detained him. Moreover, the government has taken no action to bring to justice those who attacked the ‘silent’ demonstrators, even though there is credible photographic evidence of the attack.”
The attack on Rasheed and his subsequent detention was a “clear example of the erosion of freedom of expression in the Maldives,” Amnesty stated.
“This basic human right is not just under attack from some religious groups; it is also violated by the government of the Maldives. All people in the Maldives should be able to enjoy their right to freedom of expression without being attacked or detained by the police.”
President Mohamed Nasheed was himself declared an Amnesty prisoner of conscience in 1991, following his repeated and prolonged incarceration by the former government.

A photo of Rasheed's alleged attacker taken by the protesters
Journalist detained
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has also called for Rasheed’s immediate release.
“All he did was start a debate about the issues of religious freedom and tolerance in Maldives,” RSF stated.
“The authorities must explain the reasons for his arbitrary detention and release him at once. It is disturbing to see the government yet again yielding to pressure from the most conservative fringes of Maldivian society.”
Rasheed was one of the country’s leading free speech advocates and one of the few Maldivians bloggers to write under his own name, RSF observed.
“The Maldivian constitution bans the promotion of any religion other than Islam but guarantees freedom of assembly and expression as long as it does not contravene Islam. Rasheed professes to be an adherent of Sufism, which emphasises the inner, spiritual dimension of Islam.”
Reaction
President Mohamed Nasheed’s Press Secretary, Mohamed Zuhair, told Minivan News that Hilath had been arrested under an existing regulation passed by parliament that had no bearing on the [executive] government.
“The government’s policy is to allow freedom of expression to the greatest extent possible under the Constitution,” he said.
Under new regulations published by the government in September, interpreting the 1995 Religious Unity Act passed by parliament, media is “banned from producing or publicising programs, talking about or disseminating audio that humiliates Allah or his prophets or the holy Quran or the Sunnah of the Prophet (Mohamed) or the Islamic faith.”
Violation of the Act carries a prison sentence of between 2-5 years, and the Communications Authority of Maldives (CAM) in November blocked access to Rasheed’s blog on orders from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, on the grounds that it contained anti-Islamic material.
Rasheed was arrested amid growing religious and political tensions in the Maldives in the lead up to a ‘Defend Islam’ protest to be held on Friday, December 23.
The protest follows several incidents of religious intolerance in the past few months, including as vandalism of the ‘idolatrous’ SAARC monuments in Addu Atoll and hostility towards calls by the UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay for a moratorium and debate on the flogging of women for extramarital sex.
The December 23 protest is being organised by a coalition of religious NGOs and opposition political parties, who have attacked the government for decisions such as its diplomatic relationship with Israel.
“The government is saying that the Maldives has had an unbroken Islamic tradition for 800 years, and 90 consecutive Chief Justices who have applied Sharia Law,” Zuhair said.
“The President is asking everyone to take a stand tomorrow on the 23rd for the continuation of the Maldives’ moderate Islamic tradition,” he said.
It was “not accurate” to suggest that the government was yielding to fundamentalist fringe elements, he insisted.
“This is political. [Former President] Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his cronies are testing their support base. The people who are funding this so-called Islamic gathering are the same people selling pork and alcohol.”


Amnesty declares Hilath prisoner of conscience, calls for 'immediate' release

Ali Nafiz, Haveeru News Service 
 
London-based rights group Amnesty International has declared arrested blogger Ismail Hilath Rasheed a prisoner of conscience and called for his "immediate and unconditional" release.

In a statement, the organisation yesterday called on authorities to provide Hilath with compensation "for his unlawful detention and ensure his safety and security".
Amnesty said Hilath and 30 other protestors took part in a "silent demonstration" held in capital Male on December 10.
"As the 'silent' demonstrators were holding their peaceful protest, about 10 men opposing their gathering attacked them. Ismail 'Khilath' Rasheed was hit with stones thrown by attackers and injured. He sustained a skull fracture and was taken to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital for treatment," the statement read.
Highlighting that the Maldives constitution does not allow any national to practice a religion other than Islam, Amnesty cited Hilath as saying that he is a Muslim of Sufi orientation.
"The continued detention of Ismail 'Khilath' Rasheed is in breach of international treaties on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Maldives is a state party," the statement said.
Amnesty also raised concerns over the government's failure to bring to justice those who attacked the "silent" demonstrators, even though "there is credible photographic evidence of the attack".
"This development is a clear example of the erosion of freedom of expression in the Maldives. This basic human right is not just under attack from some religious groups; it is also violated by the government of the Maldives," the organisation added.
Police arrested Hilath on December 14.
The Criminal Court extended Hilath's detention to an additional 10 days after the police raised the issue of his writings on his blog.
Religious conservative Adhaalath Party and NGO Jamiyyathu Salaf asked the police to investigate and take actions against all those who participated in the gathering.
 

Le prostitute bengalesi si organizzano contro gli abusi

http://sociedad.elpais.com/sociedad/2011/12/09/actualidad/1323430959_547959.html

La rebelión de las prostitutas parias

Las más marginadas de Bangladesh se organizan contra los abusos y el extremismo islámico

FOTOGALERÍA
Una prostituta en una calle de Bangladesh. / ZIGOR ALDAMA
El lugar no invita a practicar sexo. El burdel de la ciudad rivereña de Faridpur, situada a menos de cien kilómetros de la capital de Bangladesh, Dacca, es una ratonera de hormigón. Aquí siempre es de noche. El sol que fuera brilla con intensidad sólo se cuela en este bloque de tres pisos a través de pequeños lucernarios con forma de cruz. Así, el gris de trazos verdosos se apodera de pasillos y escaleras, y su monotonía propia de una prisión sólo se ve rota por los escupitajos de color rojo betel que han ido creando un peculiar friso, especialmente atractivo para insectos y roedores. Pero, a pesar de que el escenario es más propio de una película de terror, no faltan los clientes en este complejo de cubículos.
En uno de ellos, Lima, una adolescente de 15 años con cara de no haber superado los 12, sirve cada día, desde que fue violada hace un par de años, a una media de entre siete y diez hombres diarios. Con ellos practica el sexo más básico, rebajado a un nivel casi animal. Rápido, nada de besos. Con la ropa puesta y la luz apagada. Ella tumbada boca arriba y él encima. “Sólo lo que hacen marido y mujer”, explica la joven. “A veces me piden cosas raras, pero siempre me niego”.
Lima asegura que es ella quien pone las reglas. Y es muy consciente de los riesgos que corre. Apunta a un condón que sonríe desde un raído cartel colgado en un rincón, pero pronto reconoce que si el cliente se niega a pagar los 10 takas (10 céntimos de euro) que cobra por cada preservativo, termina accediendo a mantener relaciones sexuales sin él. “No tenemos alternativa, hay mucha competencia y siempre habrá alguna chica dispuesta”, asegura. Así, el 70% de las 800 mujeres que alquilan su cuerpo en el pueblo están infectadas con alguna enfermedad de transmisión sexual (ETS).
Para evitar que esta situación continúe, la mayoría de las prostitutas de Faridpur ha decidido organizarse y plantar cara a la sociedad. Han creado una asociación que lucha por sus derechos civiles y que pretende hacer fuerza frente a los abusos de clientes y proxenetas. Es Shapla Mohila Sangstha (SMS), una iniciativa que cuenta con el apoyo de la ONG española Ayuda en Acción y que surge del hartazgo de Chanchala Mondal, una abogada con un fuerte temperamento que salta a la vista a pesar de sus amables maneras. “Ni los políticos ni la Policía moverán un dedo por estas mujeres porque la mayoría se aprovecha de ellas de una forma u otra. Para ellos no son más que basura”. Pero ya han salido a la calle en varias ocasiones para exigir mejoras que se han visto reflejadas en la prensa y han obligado a los dirigentes a actuar.
Antes se las obligaba a ir descalzas siempre que salían del burdel. Era la forma que tiene la sociedad de identificarlas rápidamente
Los resultados de esta rebelión saltan a la vista. “Antes incluso se les obligaba a ir descalzas siempre que salían del burdel. Es una forma que tiene la sociedad de identificarlas rápidamente para ‘protegerse’ de su mala influencia”, dispara Mondal. Ahora ya pueden caminar calzadas, e incluso han conseguido que se permita su entierro. “Ya no hay que tirar sus cuerpos al río, como si fueran animales”. Eso sí, todavía tendrán que descansar en un cementerio exclusivo para ellas que Mondal teme que sea pasto de los extremistas islámicos.
Tiene razones para ello. El año pasado una masa enfurecida prendió fuego al otro burdel de la ciudad, el C&B Ghat, una maraña de chabolas de bambú y uralita situada a la orilla de un río muy transitado. “Tuvimos que saltar al río para que no nos quemaran vivas”, recuerda Hasina, una mujer de 40 años que vendió su virginidad cuando todavía no había menstruado. “La situación se está deteriorando con la inflación. Cada vez es más caro comer y pagar el alojamiento, pero los clientes se niegan a pagar más por los servicios”.
Por eso, otro de los cometidos de esta asociación es el establecimiento de unos precios mínimos para cada servicio (nunca menos de cien takas -un euro-) y de una edad mínima para ejercer la prostitución. “Quizá nuestro trabajo sea diferente, pero tiene que estar regido por unas reglas como cualquier otro, de forma que podamos vivir dignamente. Porque la dignidad de un ser humano no puede estar determinada por su profesión”, comenta Ahya Begum, de 37 años y presidenta de la asociación. Su última exigencia al Gobierno es que se derogue la necesidad de estipular en el carné de identidad que el domicilio de las prostitutas es un ‘burdel’. Y, asegura Begum, la guerra sólo acabará cuando se legalice su actividad.
Una masa enfurecida prendió fuego al otro burdel de la ciudad. “Tuvimos que saltar al río para que no nos quemaran vivas”
Aunque los logros de SMS saltan a la vista, también lo hacen sus sombras. Una detenida visita a los burdeles de Faridpur deja en evidencia que muchas de las chicas son menores de 15 años, y que el preservativo continúa siendo un bien escaso. “Algunas multinacionales los dieron en su momento a bajo precio. Cuando se popularizó, multiplicaron su precio y crearon lo que se conoce como ‘la crisis del condón’”, explica Shirin Akhter, trabajadora de Ayuda en Acción en Bangladesh.
Por si fuera poco, la propia Begum -madame en uno de los negocios- emplea a varias chicas que, cuando ella no está presente, reconocen no haber cumplido los 15. “Muchas mujeres son conscientes de lo que tienen que hacer, pero son incapaces de luchar contra el régimen establecido”, analiza Akhter. “Las penurias económicas se encargan de que la rueda no deje de girar”.

Ancora tensioni tra Pakistan e US

Pakistan blockage of Nato convoys 'may last weeks'

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on his country's relationship with the US
Pakistan may continue its blocking of Nato convoys into Afghanistan for several weeks, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has told the BBC.
Pakistan stopped the convoys in protest at US air strikes which killed 24 of its troops at two checkpoints on the Afghan border last month.
Mr Gilani refused to rule out closing Pakistan's airspace to the US.
He also denied rumours President Asif Ali Zardari had suffered a stroke and the army was trying to oust him.
Mr Gilani said Mr Zardari was making a rapid improvement in hospital in Dubai, but would need two weeks' rest before returning home.
Credibility gap
The air strikes on 26 November marked a low point in relations between Washington and Islamabad, which have long been strained by the US-led military campaign against militants in Afghanistan.
In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC, Mr Gilani said Pakistan and the US needed to trust each other better.

Pakistan, governo smentisce colloqui con i Talebani

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/12/pakistani-government-denies-talks-with-taliban.html

Government denies talks with Taliban


Taliban fighters. — File photo
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s interior minister and prime minister have both denied the government is holding peace talks with its homegrown Taliban, according to media, saying it would do so only if the militants first disarmed and surrendered.
The deputy commander of the Pakistan Taliban, who have been waging a four-year war against the government in Islamabad, said on Saturday that the two sides were holding talks, a move that could further fray the US-Pakistan relationship.
But both Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik denied the reports.
“Categorically, I’m telling on behalf of the government, no dialogue,” Malik told reporters in Islamabad.
Gilani left the door open to negotiations. “Whosoever surrenders and denounces violence, they are acceptable to us,” Gilani said in an interview with the BBC.
At the end of September, Pakistan’s government pledged to “give peace a chance” and talk with its home-grown militants.
Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, the deputy commander of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, told Reuters on Saturday that talks for an end to the insurgency were under way.

mercoledì 21 dicembre 2011

Maldive - condanna a detenzione e frustate per "sexual misconduct".

Judge and wife convicted for sexual misconduct near Hulhumale rubbish dump

Judge and wife convicted for sexual misconduct near Hulhumale rubbish dump thumbnail
The Criminal Court has convicted former Civil Court Judge Mohamed Hilmy and his wife Aminath Ali for sexual misconduct, two years after the pair were discovered by police near the Hulhumale’ garbage dump in a state of undress.
Police arrested Hilmy and Aimanth, at the time his girl friend, around midnight on November 12 on suspicion of sexual misconduct. The pair refuted the charges, claiming it was a police set up.
However, the criminal court noted that three police constables who witnessed the act had testified stating that “Aiminath’s underwear and pants were down to her knees” and that Hilmy had his “pants down to his knees”.
Photos taken by the constables at the scene were also presented to the court.
Based on pictures and testimonies, the court ruled that Hilmy and Aiminath were guilty of sexual misconduct, and sentenced the pair to six months’ banishment and 15 lashes each.
However, the sentence was deferred for three years under section 292 of court trial regulations.
Hilmy, who has heard high-profile cases including former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s request for an injunction against the Presidential commission and the Herathera Resort dispute, was suspended from the bench soon after his arrest.
The press statement issued by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) at the time stated that Hilmy was asked to stay home until notified by the JSC or until the police investigation was completed.
“Further, the commission has asked the Police Integrity Commission to investigate a complaint from Mohamed Hilmy that police mistreated him, exhibited profane behaviour and gave defamatory information to media,” the JSC said.
Shahinda Ismail, President of the Police Integrity Commission, confirmed to Minivan News at the time that a complaint was filed by the Judges Association (JA) and the JSC, requesting the commission look into the matter.
“In their letter, the JSC said the JA are saying that he has complained to them, that he was walking in Hulhumale’ with his fiancé and police came and handcuffed both of them and basically undressed them by force,” she said.
The police denied the accusations in a public statement.
“The two had to be taken into custody on suspicion of sexual behaviour in a public place as they were at the garbage dump in the south of Hulhumale’ with their pants down,” police said.
Police further denied the allegation that the judge was abused by police and photographed after his pants were forcibly pulled down.
Hilmy told Haveeru following his arrest that he lived in Hulhumale’ and was walking with his fiancé when they were set upon by police.
The judge alleged that police handcuffed him, used obscene language and beat him before photographing him.
Hilmy further alleged that a senior police threatened him at a meeting at civil court and told him they would show him how powerful the police force was.
According to local news reports, Aminath and Hilmy were married soon after the incident and now have child together. The pair are now practicing lawyers at private firms.

martedì 20 dicembre 2011

Nepal - Il governo accoglie le raccomandazioni di AI sui lavoratori migranti.

Minister of Labour and Transport Management of Nepal Sarita Giri thanked Amnesty International for the latest research report titled 'False Promises: Exploitation and Forced Labour of Nepali Migrant workers'. Meeting with Amnesty International delegation on 15 December 2011 led by Norma Kang Muico, Researcher of Amnesty International, Asia-Pacific Migrants' Rights, she assured to implement the recommendations made by the report. She further said, "There are a number of problem in the foreign migration and we are committed for a change."
On the occasion minister Giri said that the report by AI is very useful to the government and the government will take it very seriously particularly the recommendations made by it. She added that government has many challenges but she will be using her all capacity in favour of migrant workers in humanitarian ground.
Leader of AI delegation Norma Kang Muico handed over the report to minister and briefed her about the highlights of the report.
On the occasion, consultant of AI Mike Kaye and Director of AI Nepal Rameshwar Nepal were also present.
Earlier, the delegation had a meeting with Constitution Assembly (CA) Members who are looking after the migration issue. In the meeting AI's delegate members briefed the highlights of the report. CA members Shanti Adhikari, Binda Pandey, Gagan Thapa, Rabindra Adhikari and Tilak Ranabhat were present in the meeting.
AI had launched it's report on 13th December 2011 in Kathmandu.

http://www.amnestynepal.org/campaigns/ai-nepal-activities/minister-said----we-are-committed-for-the-change-.html

Londra 2012, la Dow ritira il suo logo dopo le accuse su Bhopal.

La Dow Chemical Company ha annunciato che non esporrà il suo logo nel telone decorativo che avvolgerà lo stadio Olimpico di Londra in seguito alle proteste per la sua sponsorizzazione ai prossimi Giochi. Il Comitato olimpico indiano  la scorsa settimana aveva chiesto agli organizzatori di rifiutare l’accordo da otto milioni di euro con l’azienda a causa del suo coinvolgimento nell’esplosione che nel 1984 provocò la fuga di gas a Bhopal, in India, che portò alla morte di 25mila persone.
La Dow è proprietaria dal 2001 della Union Carbide Corporation, detentrice della maggioranza delle azioni dell’azienda indiana che gestiva una fabbrica di pesticidi responsabile del disastro di Bhopal del 1984.
L’annuncio è una vittoria per le associazioni dei diritti umani, tra cui Amnesty International, che avevano chiesto al Comitato Olimpico di rivedere l’assegnazione del contratto al colosso chimico: “Riteniamo – aveva spiegato Amnesty – che questa scelta sia irrispettosa delle sofferenze dei sopravvissuti di Bhopal e della loro lunga lotta per la giustizia”. Le associazioni delle vittime del disastro in questi mesi avevano raccolto 11,000 firme in calce a una petizione per protestare contro l’accordo.  “Se la Dow comparirà tra gli sponsor delle Olimpiadi, sarà come danzare sulle fosse comuni delle vittime di Bhopal”, aveva detto Satinath Sarangi del Bhopal Group for Information and Action. Soddisfatto anche Barry Gardiner, il deputato laburista che aveva condotto, insieme a intellettuali, sportivi e politici, la campagna contro lo sponsor: “La decisione indica che almeno la Dow mostra una qualche forma di vergogna e non può che essere considerata positiva”.  Della questione aveva parlato anche questo blog in un post.
Certo è solo un contentino. Alla fine il Comitato Olimpico e il colosso chimico hanno raggiunto un compromesso che salva la faccia ma non la sostanza. Perchè il contratto milionario non è stato cancellato, la Dow ha solo accettato di rimuovere il suo logo dai cinque pannelli di prova che sarebbero dovuti apparire sul telone prima delle Olimpiadi: “La Dow – ha detto il portavoce della compagnia Scot Wheeler – ha rinunciato al suo diritto per permettere l’esecuzione del design del telone decorativo come era stato deciso”. Secondo il britannico Sunday Express, però, un nuovo scandalo è già alle porte dato che il colosso chimico sarebbe in procinto di firmare un contratto di partnership con la Olympic Park Legacy Company per la gestione del parco olimpico dopo i giochi.
A Bhopal, nel 1984, a seguito della fuga di gas velenosi, morirono tra le 7.000 e le 10.000 persone nell’immediato e 15.000 negli anni successivi. Più di 100.000 continuano ad avere problemi di salute. Quella notte, migliaia e migliaia di persone erano in agonia, doloranti e con gli occhi gonfi si aggrappavano l’una all’altra, come ha raccontato lo stesso Satinath Sarangi  nel video realizzato durante una tappa del Bhopal Bus Tour, che due anni fa ha toccato anche l’Italia.
Ventisette anni dopo la tragedia, il sito non è ancora stato risanato né è stata condotta un’indagine esauriente su come si verificò la fuga di sostanze e su qual è stato il suo impatto. I sopravvissuti non hanno ottenuto risarcimenti soddisfacenti ed equi né l’accesso alle cure mediche di cui necessitano.
I tribunali indiani hanno comminato condanne risibili. I dirigenti dell’ Union Carbide Corporation al tempo del disastro continuano a rifiutarsi di comparire di fronte alla giustizia. Le richieste di estradizione inoltrate agli Usa rimangono in attesa di essere esaminate.
Mentre i sopravvissuti e le organizzazioni per i diritti umani portano avanti la campagna per chiedere alla Dow di affrontare le perduranti conseguenze sanitarie e ambientali del disastro, la Dow respinge qualsiasi assunzione di obblighi per le responsabilità della Union Carbide Corporation, a Bhopal.

http://lepersoneeladignita.corriere.it/2011/12/20/olimpiadi-2012-la-dow-chemical-non-esporra-il-suo-logo/

domenica 18 dicembre 2011

Maldive - Criminal court extends detention of controversial blogger.

Criminal court extends detention of controversial blogger thumbnail

The Criminal Court has extended the detention of controversial blogger Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed by 10 days.
Rasheed was arrested on the evening of December 14 for his involvement in a ‘silent protest’ on Human Rights Day, December 10, calling for religious tolerance.
The protest ended violently after a group of men attacked the protesters with stones, and Rasheed was taken to hospital with head injuries.
Rasheed is one of only a few Maldivians who have openly called for religious tolerance on a blog under his own name. The blog was recently blocked on the order of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs on the grounds that it contained unislamic material.
“I am a Sufi Muslim and there is nothing on my website that contradicts Sufi Islam. I suspect my website was reported by intolerant Sunni Muslims and Wahhabis,” Rasheed said, following the blocking of his blog.
“Under the Maldivian constitution every Maldivian is a Sunni Muslim. The constitution also provides for freedom of expression, with Article 27 reading ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and the freedom to communicate opinions and expression in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam,’” Rasheed claimed.
While the Maldivian Constitution guarantees freedom of assembly, it outlaws the promotion of religions other than Islam, and all Maldivians are required to be Sunni Muslim.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that Rasheed was being investigated for campaigning for something against the Constitution.
“Calling for anything against the constitution is illegal,” Shiyam said, agreeing that the circumstances were the same as if the group had been campaigning for something similarly illegal, such as the legalisation of marijuana.
“Once we have finished the investigation the Prosecutor General will decide whether to take action against him.”
Police are also investigating slogans published briefly on 23December.com, a website promoting an upcoming Islamic protest, calling for the slaughter of “those against Islam”.
Protest organisers attributed the slogans to a “technical mistake” and they were quickly taken down. Website developer Ali Ahsan, who also edits online publication DhiIslam, was also taken into custody after police claimed he was the only individual who could have posted the threatening slogans.
According to news outlet Sun Online, police argued that Ahsan’s release “could endanger Maldivian religious unity and even threaten life” and requested the court grant 15 days extension of detention.
Ahsan’s lawyers however argued that the slogans had been uploaded by hackers and the website developer was released.
Meanwhile, Maldives Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, Ali Hussain Didi, told the Freedom Online Conference at The Hague this week that “it is up to us as representatives of the international community to step up our efforts to remind all governments of their responsibilities, under international law, to protect human rights on-line.”
“It is also beholden on us to better assist those who live under repressive regimes and who are trying to use the internet to spread the word about their plight, to mobilise support and to engender change,” Didi said.
In his radio address this weekend, President Mohamed Nasheed called on political parties to outline their positions on controversial religious issues, claiming that religious protesters were really calling for the enforcement of Sharia penalties such as stoning, hand cutting and execution.
The Maldives had a tradition of issuing pardons for strict Sharia penalties, Nasheed noted, with the exception of flogging for adultery, and called for Islamic scholars to reach a consensus on the subject so that the penal code could be reconsidered and established by parliament.

giovedì 15 dicembre 2011

Nepal: Protect Nepalese migrants from ‘false promises’ of work abroad.

Rogue Nepalese recruitment agencies are trafficking Nepalese for exploitation and forced labour in the Gulf States and Malaysia, Amnesty International said on 13th December,2011 in a new report, as it called on the Nepalese government to improve protection of its migrant workers. A research report titled "False Promises : Exploitation and Forced Labor of Nepali Migrant workers' released by Amnesty International  in Katmandu points out that majority of migrant workers are not given salary as per their contract, forced to work without a rest day, are locked up and physically abused.
'Many foreign employment recruitment agencies in the country have been found to be deceiving Nepali migrant workers even before they reach the countries of their destination', the report said.
Of the 150 returnees and prospective migrant workers interviewed for the report, more than 90 per cent of them said that they were deceived by recruitment agencies and brokers on the fundamental aspects of their contract.
Speaking on the event organized to launch the report, Amnesty International's Researcher on Asia-Pacific Migrants' Rights, Norma Kang Muico said if the Government of Nepal gives priority to safe migration then that would benefit thousands of workers and their families every year, and would also benefit the economy if it takes initiative to protect its citizens abroad.
According to the report findings recruitment agencies have been charging on an average Rs. 100,000 as service fees from the migrant workers, which is three times more than the average annual income of Nepal in 2010. A total of 294,094 Nepali workers left home for foreign employment in 2010, and the number was 55,025 in 2000.
Likewise, majority of the Nepali migrant workers end up in construction, production and domestic work in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.
Speaking at the program, Director General of the Department of Foreign Employment, Purna Chandra Bhattarai made it clear that the Government was working despite its limited resources to fully enforce the Foreign Employment Act and its regulations in order to make foreign employment safe and dignified.
On the occasion president of Foreign Employment Association Nepal Prem Bahadur Katuwal rejected that they have not been regulated and monitored by the law.
Amnesty International documented cases where migrants were also beaten, threatened and had their freedom of movement restricted by employers in destination countries. Migrants facing exploitation or forced labor who sought assistance from Nepalese recruitment agencies or the government authorities received little support.
The report said that recruitment agencies even endorsed employers’ common practice of confiscating passports, which facilitates abuse. “Migrant women face restrictions to working abroad which increase their vulnerability,” Muico said, adding that intermittent bans on domestic work and a requirement to seek family permission prior to migrating, force women to migrate through irregular channels or become ‘undocumented’.
But Amnesty International’s research found evidence of violations of the law by recruitment agencies, including failure to provide contracts, changing terms and conditions and overcharging for services. But the government is failing to enforce the legislation, and no recruitment agency has been punished.
Migrant workers also have rights under the Act to compensation when their terms and conditions have not been met, yet few are aware of existing mechanisms for complaint and redress.
“If the government prioritises safe migration, it will benefit hundreds of thousands and their families each year,” Muico said, adding that it is imperative that the government acts to protect its citizens abroad which can also benefit Nepal’s economy.
The government must end impunity for rogue recruitment agencies and fully enforce the Foreign Employment Act, the report said. Amnesty International also called on the government to do more to ensure that compensation mechanisms are accessible and effective. “Many migrant workers are in the dark about their rights and don’t know who they can turn to for help. "The authorities must ensure those working abroad and their families are properly informed about the migration process," she said.
Between September 2010 and May 2011, Amnesty International interviewed 149 returned or prospective migrant workers and met seven recruitment agencies and numerous government officials. On the report release program Director of AI Nepal Rameshwar Nepal, Victim of foreign employment Dinesh Adhikari and Puspa Bahadur Ghale also have spoken regarding the issue.

Violenza religiosa alle isole Maldive.

LA CONDANNA DEL PRESIDENTE NASHEED.

“Kill me before you kill a fellow Maldivian,” President Mohamed Nasheed has said, after several slogans calling for the “slaughter of anyone against Islam” were published yesterday on a website calling for a religious protest on December 23.
The organisers of the protest yesterday removed the slogans calling for murder, attributing them to “a mistake on the technical teams’ side.”
The website, 23December.com, this morning appeared to have been targeted by hackers, replaced with green skulls and the statement “We’ll come out against you with machetes if you protest.”
The original site promoting the protest is now back up at the domain.
Speaking at a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally last night, President Nasheed promised that should the protests target Maldivians, “The government and MDP will come out in defence of the people. We’ll not come out on the streets with the defence forces but with bare hands. No one can confront us on these streets,” Nasheed was reported as saying.
His statements followed an attack on Saturday against a group of ‘silent protesters’ on the Artificial Beach calling for religious tolerance. Several people were injured in the skirmish, including controversial blogger Ismail ‘Khilath’ Rasheed who’s website was last month blocked on the order of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
That evening, Nasheed gave an address at a function marking International Human Rights Day, in which he said that “Islam stands for the dignity, honour, and nobility of mankind, on which Islamic Sharia is based”, and contended that those who claimed Sharia conflicts with fundamental human rights “are clearly unable to comprehend or accept Sharia verdicts.”
The explosive reaction against UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, following her recent call for a moratorium and debate on the practice of flogging for extramarital sex, and an amendment to the “discriminatory” constitutional provision that all Maldivians be Muslim, was a lost opportunity to showcase Sharia’s compatability with human rights, he said.
“Our scholars lost the chance by reacting in a provocative and ‘Jihadi’ manner, even calling to harm the High Commissioner,” Nasheed said.
Religious figures were yesterday quick to publicly condemn the calls for violence.
Speaking to Minivan News, Former State Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said that the slogan calling for murder was “not good”, adding that “Islam is a religion of peace, not of violence”.

ARRESTATO UN BLOGGER.

Controversial blogger Ismail ‘Hilath’ Rasheed was arrested this evening for his involvement in last Saturday’s ‘silent protest’ for religious tolerance, which turned ended in violent after several individuals attacked the group with stones. Hilath was taken to the hospital with head injuries.
According to the Sub Inspector Ahmed Shiyam, Hilath was arrested under a Criminal Court order issued today.
Rasheed’s arrest follows the blocking of his blog by the Communications Authority of the Maldives (CAM) on the order of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. The Ministry made the request on the grounds that the site contained anti-Islamic material.
Police are currently interrogating some of the approximately 30 individuals who gathered at Artificial Beach on Saturday. Calls for an investigation of the protest were made by religious conservative Adhaalath party, NGO Jamiyyathu Salaf, and ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik.
While pursuing its investigation of the protest for religious tolerance, police have also summoned the developer of the website 23December.com, which this week published slogans calling for the murder of anti-Islamic activists in what organisers later described as a “technical mistake”.
Developer Ali Ahsan told Haveeru that police wanted to understand who was responsible for the website’s conception, development and published material.
“The police also questioned whether those inappropriate phrases or those slogans [calling for the killing of people] were present when the information was published on the website,” he said.
Ahsan, who also edits online publication DhiIslam, said police had confiscated the hard drive used for the development of 23December.com, Haveeru reports.
The investigation into the aggressive error began yesterday, when police questioned Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla and Civil Coalition official Abdulla Mohamed over the death threats.
Sheikh Imran and Mohamed did not speak directly to the press, however their lawyer, former State Minister of Islamic Ministry Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, confirmed that police asked them about the slogans published on the website.
Shaheem said that slogans calling for murder were not on the website when it was launched, adding that the “content were manipulated by some people spying on the website”.
Abdullah, who is the lead organiser of the the protest, also told Minivan News on Tuesday that the team had not seen the slogans calling for murder until the day after the launch. ”We corrected the mistake as soon as it was brought to our notice,” Abdullah said.
He said the slogans were earlier attributed as a “mistake on technical team’s side” after they identified some loop holes in the website security, adding that their “suspicions were confirmed” when the website was hacked on Tuesday morning.
President’s Office Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair today issued a statement blaming organisers of the 23 December demonstration for disrupting public order to achieve “hidden agendas”.
He said he not believe that removing the violent slogans from the promotional website was sufficient proof of non-violent intentions.


A police spokesperson said Ali Ahsan was arrested under a warrant in an ongoing investigation.
The police, however, declined to provide details of the investigation.
Police had launched an investigation into the death threats published on the promotional website.
Ahsan, who also serves as the editor of the online publication DhiIslam, was summoned to the police headquarters last evening to clarify who instructed him to develop the website and who published the information on it.
The police also confiscated the hard drive used by Ahsan for the website's development.
The slogans on the website included "the ruling of those who break the laws and challenge Islam is killing them by the public", "today's law is to kill anti-Islam activists… and those who support them" and "ready to kill anyone who challenge the religion of Islam without regarding his party".
The police yesterday summoned Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla and Civil Coalition official Abdulla Mohamed over the death threats.
Hackers infiltrated the website yesterday and threatened the organisers of the protest by putting a message on its homepage saying, "we'll come out against you with machetes if you protest."





mercoledì 14 dicembre 2011

comunicato stampa sul Pakistan

Press release

13 December 2011

Pakistan crime bills must be springboard for better women's rights

AI Index: PRE01/620/2011
Pakistan authorities must take concrete steps to end violence against women, Amnesty International said today after the country's Senate unanimously passed two landmark women's rights bills.
The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010 and The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill 2008 aim to empower and protect women and increase penalties for perpetrators of gender-based violence.
Dozens of Pakistani women every year suffer serious injury and physical deformity as a result of having acid or other corrosive substances thrown on them, often as a result of family disputes.
“It is encouraging that Pakistan’s parliament has passed more bills seeking to protect women and bring perpetrators to justice, but it is not clear that the situation for women has improved in Pakistan,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director.
"Pakistani authorities must establish immediate benchmarks for assessing the implementation of these new laws.
“These reforms will be of little practical benefit until federal and provincial authorities create mechanisms for compensating and rehabilitating victims of gender-based violence, addressing the low conviction rate of perpetrators and regulating the sale of acid.”
Amnesty International’s research in Pakistan suggests that government-run women's shelters are in dire need of an overhaul.
Most are poorly funded and their staff lack training to deal with the trauma and other issues faced by victims.
Police investigations are often compromised by political or family influence, corruption and a lack of basic training for dealing with gender-based violence.
“The need for protecting victims of gender crimes is urgent. Acid attacks leave their victims hideously scarred and severely traumatised. Many lose their lives from inadequate medical attention while others cannot work or adequately care for their children, and face social prejudice,” said Sam Zarifi.
"The bills passed yesterday do not address these systemic failings of Pakistan’s criminal justice system. Authorities have failed to provide any clear strategy for addressing these problems or implementing the new laws."
Activists from across Pakistan's political spectrum campaigned to secure support from lawmakers for the two bills.
“Now it is up to the authorities to ensure that these hard-earned protections are acted upon. Without clear steps for implementing these laws, violence against women will remain a chronic problem in Pakistan.”
Region Asia And The Pacific
Country Pakistan

martedì 13 dicembre 2011

URGENT ACTION

FEARS FOR MISSING SRI LANKAN ACTIVISTS
Sri Lankan political activists Lalith Kumara Weeraraju and Kugan Muruganandan have been missing since 9 December. They were arranging a press conference for the following day to publicize a protest. Lalith Kumara Weeraraju’s family received a phone call saying that he had been killed.
Lalith Kumara Weeraraju and Kugan Muruganandan were last seen leaving Kugan Muruganandan’s residence in Avarangal, Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, on 9 December. There were preparing a press conference to be held on 10 December, World Human Rights Day, which aimed to publicize a protest planned for the same day. The protest included parents and relatives of people missing since the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka in 2009, and was to focus on denouncing human rights violations against Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan military and calling for the release of detainees held without charge since the end of the war.
According to family members, the two men left the house on a motorbike bearing the license number NP GT 7852 at around 5:00pm on 9 December. Family members say they later received an anonymous phone call saying that Lalith Kumara Weeraraju had been killed. A missing persons complaint was lodged with the Jaffna Police, who denied they are holding the two men in custody.
Lalith Kumara Weeraraju has previously received threats warning him against involvement in politics in Jaffna, particularly during recent elections. He was also attacked and injured during a demonstration in Jaffna town on 14 November 2010, and was arrested and interrogated by the army in early 2011.
Human rights defenders say the Sri Lankan army and police attempted to block some 50 people from southern Sri Lanka attempting to join the demonstration, including members of the Civil Monitoring Committee, a voluntary human rights organization. The protest at the Jaffna bus stand went ahead on 10 December despite the obstacles.


Please write immediately in English or your own language:

  1. Expressing concern for the safety and wellbeing of Lalith Kumara Weeraraju and Kugan Muruganandan; 
  2. Calling on the Sri Lankan authorities to order an immediate and impartial investigation to establish the whereabouts of Lalith Kumara Weeraraju and Kugan Muruganandan;
  3. Calling on the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure that human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate human rights work without fear of harassment or intimidation


PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 24 JANUARY 2012 TO:

His Excellency the President 
Mahinda Rajapaksa
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo 1, Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 11 244 6657
Email: lalith@icta.lk
Salutation: Your Excellency



Inspector General of Police
N K Illangakoon
New Secretariat Colombo 1
Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 11 244 0440
Email: igp@police.lk
Salutation: Dear Inspector General



Defence Secretary
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
Ministry Of Defence and urban development
15/5, Baladaksha Mawatha,
Colombo 03, Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 11 254 1529
Email: secdef@sltnet.lk
Salutation: Dear Defence Secretary