giovedì 30 maggio 2013

MALDIVES - UN, Death penalty and corporal punishment.

The position of the United Nations Country Team Maldives on the death penalty and corporal punishment is guided by international human rights law, particularly the international legal commitments undertaken by the Maldives.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated, “The United Nations system has long advocated abolition of the death penalty.” A growing number of countries -- around 150 in all -- have either abolished the death penalty or do not practice it. This global trend is also seen among countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The Maldives made a commitment following its Universal Periodic Review by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2010 to maintain a moratorium on the death penalty, in line with its vote in favour of UN General Assembly Resolution 65/206.
In view of the country’s more than 50-year moratorium, the United Nations calls upon the Maldives to take the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to its international human rights obligations, and abolish the death penalty.
Moreover, flogging as a punishment is prohibited under the Maldives' international commitments to prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Maldives is a State party to all three international human rights treaties.
The United Nations Country Team notes with particular concern the possibility in the Maldives of sentences of death, as well as corporal punishment to persons who committed crimes while below 18 years of age. These concerns have also been expressed to the Maldives by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 2012, and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2007.
Article 6(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides, "Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age." Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides, "No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age."
The United Nations Country Team stands ready to support the Maldives to ensure its legislation and practices fulfil its international human rights obligations.

sabato 25 maggio 2013



MALDIVES - Amnesty International: “Serious failings in the justice system entrenched impunity”.

Failure to prosecute police officers accused of human rights abuses and “serious failings in the justice system entrenched impunity” in the Maldives during the past year, Amnesty International has said in its annual report.
“These [failings] included the absence of codified laws capable of providing justice equally to all and the appointment of judges who lacked formal training in law without serious scrutiny of their legal qualifications,” the international human rights organisation stated.
“Throughout the year, authorities were accused of political bias for fast-tracking the prosecution of opposition supporters accused of criminal behaviour during rallies while failing to prosecute police and others suspected of committing human rights abuses during the same protests.”
The 2013 Amnesty annual report on the state of the world’s human rights observed that former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation on February 7, 2012 was “followed by months of protest and political repression.”
Nasheed resigned in the wake of a violent mutiny by Special Operations (SO) police officers, who assaulted government supporters, ransacked the ruling party’s Haruge (meeting hall), staged a protest at the Republic Square, vandalised the police headquarters, clashed with the military and stormed the state broadcaster.
Since the transfer of presidential power, the security services have used excessive force “to suppress demonstrations that were largely peaceful,” the report noted.
In June 2012, the Maldives Police Service (MPS) however denied “in the harshest terms” allegations of police brutality by Amnesty International.
“Supporters of the former President’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) were targeted for attack in February. Detainees were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment,” the report continued.
“Targeted violence” against MDP members plunged the nation into “a human rights crisis” in February 2012, the Amnesty report contended.
“Throughout the year, security forces frequently attacked peaceful demonstrators, including MPs, journalists and bystanders, in the capital Malé or in Addu, both MDP strongholds. Officers clubbed them, kicked them and pepper-sprayed them directly in the eyes. Around the time of Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation, from 7 to 9 February, police targeted senior MDP members for attack and tracked down and assaulted injured protesters in hospitals,” read the report.
Amnesty also reported torture and ill-treatment in police custody, including “beatings, pepper-spraying the eyes and mouth, denial of drinking water and, in Addu, incarceration in dog cages.”
The report noted that a Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) established by President Dr Mohamed Waheed – which found that Nasheed resigned voluntarily – had taken note of “allegations of police brutality and acts of intimidation” and called for “investigations to proceed and to be brought to public knowledge with perpetrators held to account.”
Criminal proceedings have however yet to begin against a single police officer accused of human rights abuses in the aftermath of February 7.
In August 2012, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) concluded that the police crackdown on a MDP march across Male’ on February 8, 2012 that left dozens of demonstrators injured was “brutal” and “without prior warning.”
Based on its findings, the HRCM recommended that the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and Police Integrity Commission (PIC) should investigate the “disproportionate” use of force – in violation of police regulations authorising use of less-lethal weapons – and initiate legal action against the responsible officers.
On February 8, thousands of MDP supporters took to the streets after Nasheed declared that his resignation the previous day was “under duress” in a “coup d’etat” instigated by mutinying SO police officers working with the then-opposition and abetted by rogue elements of the military.
The HRCM noted that 32 people filed complaints with the commission concerning varying degrees of injuries sustained in the crackdown and 20 people submitted medical documents of their treatment for injuries.
Among the injuries caused by the police baton charge, the HRCM report noted that several people were bruised and battered, one person fractured a bone in his leg, one person was left with a broken arm and six people sustained head wounds.
Two fingers on the left hand of one demonstrator were crushed, the report noted, and the victim had to undergo treatment at the operating theatre.
The PIC meanwhile revealed in December 2012 that it “recorded 24 individual cases of police brutality related to 7th and 8th February” and completed investigation into 12 cases.
Six cases were sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) for criminal prosecution.
“In one more case, though police brutality was proven, there was insufficient evidence to identify the responsible policemen. Investigations of the remaining 12 cases is ongoing, but are expected to be completed soon,” the commission said in a status update.
In February 2013, PIC Chair Dr Abdulla Waheed told parliament’s Government Oversight Committee that it was investigating 29 police officers accused of using excessive force against MDP demonstrators.
The PIC chairperson could not confirm whether the commission’s recommendation to dismiss six officers of the 29 under investigation was acted upon.
He added that five cases were pending despite video evidence of police brutality as the officers could not be identified and 11 additional cases remained stalled over lack of sufficient evidence.
Former PIC Chair Shahinda Ismail had revealed that officers the commission had recommended for suspension had instead been given promotions. Shahinda resigned in October 2012 citing “major difference of opinion” with other members.
“What I’ve seen in the actions of institutions is that they have been giving a lot of space for the police to act with impunity,” she said at the time.
February 8 crackdown
While police baton charged the front of the protest march on February 8, Minivan News observed SO officers charging the crowd from a narrow alley leading to the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) building.
The SO officers used obscene language, pointed to and chased after individual MDP activists and severely beat unarmed civilians.
Parts of the attack from the rear were filmed by Al Jazeera, which reported on February 8 that “police and military charged, beating demonstrators as they ran – women, the elderly, dozens left nursing their wounds.”
Former President Nasheed was reported among the injured, and received head injuries during the clashes. He was briefly taken under police custody before being released back into the crowd.
Minivan News also observed several youth with head injuries queuing up for x-rays in the waiting area outside the reception area at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).
One young woman who had gone to IGMH with her sister was being treated for a head wound. A gauze wrapped around her head was spotted with blood, and she claimed the wound was still bleeding as she went in for an X-ray.
“The police were just standing there and suddenly we were being beaten with batons and pepper spray was thrown in our face. They threw us to the ground and kept beating us,” she said.
The BBC meanwhile reported “a baton charge by police on crowds gathered outside one of the main hospitals.”
“People scattered as officers sprinted towards them silhouetted against the lights of passing traffic,” the BBC’s Andrew North reported from Male’.
“Inside the hospital, dozens of Mr Nasheed’s supporters are still being treated for injuries, following earlier scuffles in the main square. Among them is Reeko Moosa Maniku, chairman of Mr Nasheed’s Maldives Democratic Party – who was with the former president when the clashes broke out. With a large head bandage and his shirt bloodied, he regained consciousness as we arrived. The police said they would kill me, he told us, as they beat me. Another MP was still unconscious in another ward.”

giovedì 9 maggio 2013

Maldives must commute death sentences for two juvenile offenders convicted of murder.

The Maldives authorities must commute the death sentences and stop the potential execution of two teenagers who yesterday received capital punishment for a murder allegedly committed when they were under 18, Amnesty International said.

The two juveniles were convicted by the Juvenile Court in the capital Male' over a fatal gang stabbing incident in February. Both the accused, who have now reached 18, reportedly deny the charge.

"The Maldives authorities are flouting international law - anyone convicted of a crime committed when they were under 18 is exempt from the death penalty," said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

Maldives is a State Party to two UN treaties, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which forbid capital punishment for crimes committed by persons below 18 years of age.

"The authorities must immediately reverse these death sentences, and the prosecution must not try to uphold the death sentences in any appeals," said Polly Truscott.

“The sentences of all other prisoners on death row should be commuted, and an official moratorium on executions established, towards abolishing the death penalty.

“The Maldives is entering new and dangerous territory – imposing death sentences for crimes allegedly committed by children is alarming.”

The victim's family had reportedly earlier asked the court for the death penalty. The two teenagers have 90 days to appeal the death sentence at the High Court.

Another teenager was apparently acquitted due to a lack of evidence while murder charges were filed against several others in connection with the attack.

“Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. There is no convincing evidence that the death penalty works as a special deterrent against crime,” said Truscott.

lunedì 6 maggio 2013

Sri Lanka, chi critica il governo è un traditore.

Sri Lanka: Prominent Muslim politician and government critic arrested.

A prominent Muslim politician and government critic arrested today in Sri Lanka must be immediately released or charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence, Amnesty International said.
Azad Sally, the leader of Sri Lanka’s newly formed Muslim Tamil National Alliance, was reportedly taken into custody on Thursday morning by the intelligence services for unknown reasons.

BANGLADESH - C'è un po' di made in Italy nel crollo.

C'è una data che incastra un pezzo di Italia nel crollo del palazzo di Dhaka dove dieci giorni fa più di 550 persone sono morte e dove alacri fabbriche tessili lavoravano al servizio della moda di regioni lontane. C'è una data, il 23 marzo del 2013 - un mese esatto prima del crollo del Rana Plaza - che inchioda il Gruppo Benetton alle sue responsabilità. Una data su una nuova bolla commerciale che, accanto ad altri nuovi documenti, si aggiunge a quella che fu trovata giorni fa tra le macerie del palazzo imploso ma che Benetton aveva liquidato come «one shot», acquisto spot dalla New Wave, fabbrica bangladeshi di indumenti. Anzi, Benetton dichiarava che quella ditta, su cui si erano già addensate nubi e dubbi, non era più tra quelle di cui si serviva. Una presa di distanze sbugiardata due volte. Col primo documento dopo che Benetton aveva negato di aver mai lavorato con le fabbriche coinvolte nel crollo. Una seconda volta - dopo la prima ammissione - ora che sono emersi nuovi documenti, chissà se gli ultimi di una brutta vicenda cui ora l'azienda trevigiana è chiamata a rispondere: ai lavoratori del Bangladesh, che la pubblicistica più moderata definisce «schiavi», e ai clienti degli oltre 5 mila negozi di un colosso noto per le pubblicità con bimbi multietnici stretti felicemente negli United Colors of Benetton, marchio diventato provocatoriamente famoso con gli scatti di Oliviero Toscani (che ha interrotto la collaborazione nel 2000). Quei documenti li hanno trovati gli uomini della Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation e del Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity, due sigle sindacali (la prima del Bangladesh, la seconda che fa capo all'American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations) che ancora stanno scandagliando le macerie. Una delle foto mostra chiaramente un foglio nel quale vengono contestati alcuni capi: bottoni, strappi, sporco. In alto a sinistra il nome dell'azienda fabbricante, la New Wave, e il nome del cliente, Benetton. A destra la data, il 23 marzo del 2013, 7 del pomeriggio. Negli altri documenti, ci sono bolle col nome Benetton o intestate alla società indiana Shahi Exports Pvt che citano Benetton, una «scheda controllo misure produzione» (in italiano) con alcune indicazioni per la manifattura di magliette riconducibile a Benetton e altro ancora. Nell'insieme dei documenti (l'ordine di cui il manifesto ha scritto il 30 aprile e quelli odierni), il coinvolgimento di Benetton è evidente. E la data di uno dei documenti che riproduciamo rivela quanto negato dalla società: se il 23 marzo, a un mese dal crollo, si contestava la fattura di certi abiti, come può dire l'azienda trevigiana che New Wave era ormai fuori dalla lista dei fornitori? Quelle fotografie sono state passate all'International Labour Rights Forum, un'organizzazione con base a Washington che difende i diritti dei lavoratori nel mondo e con meno peli sulla lingua dell'Ilo, l'agenzia dell'Onu per il lavoro. È stato il Ilrf a passarli a sua volta a un giornalista dell' International Business Times e a farli così arrivare anche sul tavolo della campagna Abiti Puliti, che in Italia ha per prima sollevato il caso Benetton e reso noto il primo documento che la coinvolgeva. Ora le immagini di quei documenti sono a disposizione dei lettori de il manifesto e indicano chiaramente date, ordini, tipo di confezione. Carta, come si dice, che canta e che canta una brutta musica. Una musica cui Benetton dovrebbe rispondere con un controcanto meno equivoco rispetto a quanto fatto sinora, prima negando, poi parlando di uno, massimo due ordini forse addirittura da addebitare a una sussidiaria. Un modo per stare lontani da una responsabilità che chiede due risposte: se Benetton non debba concorrere al fondo di solidarietà che alcune aziende hanno già sottoscritto che ripaghi almeno in parte le famiglie delle vittime. Se non debba spiegare chiaramente se intende firmare e quando il Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement promosso dall'International Labor Rights Forum e da Abiti puliti in Italia. Un accordo che impegna le aziende straniere al controllo sulla salute e la sicurezza degli stabili con verifiche pagate di tasca propria. In Bangladesh la magistratura va avanti con le indagini mentre le piazze si riempiono di una nuova fiumana di persone (ieri a Dhaka è stata la volta della coalizione di 18 partiti guidata dall'opposizione del Bangladesh Nationalist Party, oggi tocca agli islamisti del Hefajat-e-Islam Bangladesh) tra le quali, a parte le polemiche politiche tra partiti (il Paese è guidato dalla laica Lega Awami), il dramma del Rana Plaza è uno dei grandi temi che le organizzazioni di massa stanno affrontando. Intanto ieri a Treviso, al termine di un incontro col giurista Ugo Mattei in piazza Aldo Moro, gli attivisti del collettivo Ztl Wake Up hanno dato vita a un blitz contro la Benetton di piazza Indipendenza con lanci di vernice e uno striscione con scritto: «Dacca, Bangladesh, United Colors of Benetton». Inequivocabile.

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala nominated for Nobel Peace Prize.


Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education, has been nominated for one of the world's top awards. The 15-year-old is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, which each year is awarded to a person or organisation that's seen to promote friendliness and peace.