Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gambia: President's death threats spark protests around Africa

Gambia: President's death threats spark protests around Africa - : Africa news, Maghreb news - The african daily newspaper

Gambia's President has apparently made an extremely alarming public statement.
Furthermore, I quote the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights

"a campaign by a coalition of pressure groups wants the African Union to remove the headquarters of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights from the Gambian capital, Banjul. A statement from the petition reads: “Mr. Jammeh’s declaration leads us to fear for the safety, security, and lives of ourselves and our colleagues.
This statement last year led up to this years political fallout:

Gambia’s leader said he will “cut off the head” of any homosexual caught in his country claiming the Gambia was a country of believers while indicating that no sinful and immoral act as homosexual would be tolerated in the country. He warned all homosexuals in the country to leave, noting that a legislation “stricter than those in Iran ” concerning the vice would be introduced soon."

In addition here recently, Gambia's President made a bold statement on TV to invoke the previous statement above:

"If you are affiliated with any human rights group, be rest assured that your security is not guaranteed... we are ready to kill saboteurs. I will kill anyone who wants to destabilize this country. If you think that you can collaborate with so-called human rights defenders, and get away with it, you must be living in a dream world. I will kill you, and nothing will come out of it."

President Jammeh's comment has made the headline in He has held a strong hand since his coup take over in 1994. His country is poor and depends on the peanut industry for its survival. Lets just hope that the President does not continue to liken his country to Iran's government like he announces publicly in this article. Definitely worth a post and a read!


RE: Petition to release arrested activists in Manipur, India

Dear William,

Thank you for endorsing the petition that we are facilitating calling for the unconditional release of the arrested activists in Manipur,India.

We now have 220 signatories in the petition. The deadline for signing this petition is today, September 26. We would like to request for everyone’s support by signing the petition directly on this link http://www.ipetitio aipp-001/ index.html or by sending your name, email address, country and name of your organization to the following email addresses: robie@aippnet. org or aippmail@aippnet. org.

The content of the petition is provided below for your information. We will be sending the petition along with the collected signatures through fax and email to the concerned government officials of India and the State of Manipur on Monday.

As for the situation of those who were arrested, the 15 days police custody is yet to be over on September 30 and we hope that by then they will be released unconditionally. Protests are still continuing in Manipur though more difficult now because of the brutal repression of the State by arresting protest leaders and charging them under the National Security Act. Concerned groups in Delhi joined in the protest yesterday, September 24, calling for justice for the victims of fake encounters and repeal of the AFSPA. The groups in Manipur are hoping that the mobilization in Delhi will add to the increasing pressure to the concerned officials of Manipur to stop the human rights violations in the said State.

All for now. We will keep you posted on the updates of the situation in Manipur.


Ms. Robie Halip

Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) Foundation
108 Moo 5, Soi 6, Tambon Sanpranate
Amphur Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210, Thailand
Tel: +66 053 380 168 Fax: +66 53 380 752
Website: www.aippnet. org

Dear Friends,

The escalating political repression and reign of fear in Manipur, India needs urgent international support. Seven known activists of United Manipur Club Organisation (AMUCO) and an eco-activist Mr. Jiten Yumnam were arrested on 14th September by the combined team of Imphal west police commandos and the Singjamei police. Their crime is nothing else but exercising their fundamental rights and freedoms by drawing national and international attention to the murder with impunity of Mr. Chungkham Sanjit and Ms. Thockchom Rebina (who was pregnant) by state forces and the public outcry in the state following this gruesome incident that took place last month.

The government, instead of acting on the murder cases have decided to use its iron fist to quell legitimate public outrage resulting in further violations of the fundamental rights of its citizens by arresting local leaders and activists. As India claims to be the biggest democracy in the world, it is ironical that its citizens are now cowering in fear in the face of a brutal armed force that has no regard to democratic processes and human rights.

The public outcry over the killings itself is not because they are shocked by the incident but because they have been reeling under such circumstances for so long that they have no choice but to come out as though they no longer fear death. If it was not for Tehelka, a national news magazine, that was able to capture the entire sequence of the murder, it would have been just another ordinary incident (http://www.tehelka. com/story_ main42.asp? filename= Ne080809murder_ in.asp).

The combined forces of Singjamei Police and Imphal West Police Commandos arrested Mr. Jiten Yumnan from the Imphal Airport just before his departure to Delhi in September 14, 2009. After few hours later, the leaders of AMUCO were also arrested from their office. Mr. Olnam Bikramjit and Ms. Ms. Mutum Ongbi Ebemhal were arrested last September 1 by elements of the Imphal West Police Commandoes. Due to this crackdown, many of the community leaders and activists are now in hiding since they are being hunted down by the state agencies.

It has been reported that those arrested are facing charges of waging war against the government of India under Section 447/436/427/ 34; unlawful association and other related offences and Section O of the Official Secret Act- leaking information to others. There are fears being expressed that they may also be charged under the notorious National Security Act (NSA). These laws are inconsistent with and in direct violation to the international human rights obligations of the India government who has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and other human rights instruments.

Below is a sign on petition for the government of India to take necessary actions in line with its international obligations in upholding the fundamental rights of its citizens. The Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) is thereby requesting your support by signing this petition. Please send your name and/or name of your organization and country to Robeliza Halip: robie@aippnet. org, aipp@aippnet. org. BEFORE SEPTEMBER 26, 2009 or directly sign the petition by clicking on this link http://www.ipetitio aipp-001/ index.html. We also encourage you to submit directly your letter of concern to the government officials of India as indicated in the Petition letter. We shall be updating you on the situation in Manipur, India.


(To sign this petition please click on this link: http://www.ipetitio aipp-001/ index.html)


MR. Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister of India

South Block

Raisina Hill, New Delhi


Fax: +91-11-23019545/ 23016857

Mr. Okram Ibobi,

Chief Minister & Home Minister of Manipur,

Chief Minister's secretariat Babupara,

Imphal 795001 Manipur INDIA, Tel: +91 385 2221833, 2220137 (O);

2220136, 2222683 (R) Fax: + 91 385 2221817,

Email: cmmani@hub.nic. in

Pratibha Patil Devi,

President, Office of the President, Rashtrapati Bhawan,

New Delhi, 110004 INDIA Tel: +91 11 3016767 (Joint Secretary),

3014507 (Personal Secretary), Fax: +91 11 3017290,

3014570E-mail: presssecy@alpha. or Pressecy@Sansad.

Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India

Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg

New Delhi-110001 INDIA

Tel: +91 11 23074448, Fax: +91 11 2334

0016E-mail: mailto: chairnhrc@nic. in

Mr. Chidambaram, Hon’ble Ministry of Home Affairs,

Griha Mantralaya Room

No. 104, North Block Central Secretariat, New Delhi 110001

INDIA Fax: +91 11 2301 5750, 2309 3750, 2309 2763

Email: websitemhaweb@

Chairperson Manipur State Human Rights

Commission Room No. VIP-II, State Guest House

Sanjenthong, Imphal-795001 Manipur

INDIA Tel: +91 385 2410473 (O) / 2447438

(R), Telefax: +91 385

2410472E-mail: mhrc@man.nic. in

It has come to our knowledge that seven known activists of United Manipur Club Organisation (AMUCO) and an eco-activist Jiten Yumnam were arrested on 14th September by the combined team of Imphal West Police Commandos and the Singjamei Police. Adding to that is the earlier arrest and detention of 2 Apunba Lup Leaders, Mr. Oinam Bikramjit and Ms. Mutum Ongbi Ebemhal. We are deeply concerned by arrests and detention taking place in the state of Manipur following the anger and protest by mass-based organizations over the broad daylight killing with impunity of Mr. Chungkham Sanjit (27), S/o, Chungkham Khellen of Khurai Kongba Sajor Leikai and a pregnant woman Ms. Thockchom Rebina (23), W/o Thockchom Chinglensana of Lamsang, Imphal West.

This gruesome murder done with impunity, as you are aware, has been covered visually by the well-reputed national newsmagazine, TEHELKA that generated serious concerns from the larger society in India as well as from the international community including the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations.

The outcry and actions of the local people were in line with the exercise of the people’s fundamental rights and freedoms, guaranteed by international human rights instruments. Being a democratic country, we expect the authorities of India to deal with such cases in a fair and just manner, and to ensure that such actions done with impunity will not happen again. However, we are deeply saddened by consequent response by the Indian government to resort to political repression through arbitrary arrests and detention of activists.

We strongly believe that the arbitrary arrests and detention of activists named below and the charges hurled against them are in violation to the international human rights obligation of the government of India, particularly relating to the Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that the government of India has ratified.

1. Likmabam Tompok (50) s/o late Gouramani of Maklang Mayai Leikai,

2. Th Dinesh (39) s/o Gambhir of Sega Road Takhellambam Leikai,

3. Irom Brojen (40) s/o Gouramani of Haorang Khunou,

4. Samjetshabam Nando (48) s/o Gouragopal of Pangei Awang Leikai,

5. Chung- shel Koireng (39) s/o Chungshel Mongsho of Thang- meiband Koireng Khul,

6. Amom Soken (41) s/o Kanhai of Wangoo Tera,

7. Taorem Ramananda (50) s/o Dhananjoy of Patsoi Part II, and

8. Yumnam Jiten (32) s/o late Achou of Kwakeithel Mayai Koibi

9. Mr. Oinam Bikramjit from Oinam Mamang Leikai, Bishnupur District. Mr. Bikramjit is also the president of the United Peoples Front (UPF), Manipur

10. Ms. Mutum Ongbi Ebemhal, 70 of Uripok Sorbon Thingel, Imphal West District Manipur

This is a matter of serious concern as more leaders and activists are being targeted and being hunted down. This will further enrage the general public and intensify the conflict and the government is clearly responsible for the situation in this case.

We the undersigned civil society organizations and concerned individuals appeal to your good office to intervene and uphold the fundamental rights and freedoms of your citizens based on the state's human rights obligations under international laws, and safeguarding democratic principles and values. We highly value your position and capacity to address the situation in Manipur in facilitating justice, peace and security, consistent with human rights principles. With great sense of urgency, we urge your intervention and address our following demands:

· To drop the charges made to those arrested as these are in violation to the human rights obligations of the government of India to the international community and facilitate their immediate and unconditional release from detention.

· To facilitate their medical check-up to determine if they were subjected to torture. If this is the case, those involved shall be dealt with accordingly in the interest of justice for the victims.

· To ensure the safety of those arrested, their families, and also their colleagues; and that those detained be allowed to seek medical and legal services.

· To confine the barracks and immediately prosecute those involved in the extra judicial killings of Chungkham Khellen and Thockchom Rebina on the 23rd of July 2009 by the Manipur Police Commandos

· For the government of Manipur to put a stop to fake encounters to justify killings and to refrain from arresting leaders and activists.

· To guarantee in all circumstances the protection of the rights of activists and human rights defenders to carry out their legitimate activities without fear of reprisals and free from restriction including judicial harassment. Along these line, armed forces of the state should be made aware and respect the fundamental rights of the citizens, and to stop acts of intimidations, threats and the like especially to the protesters.

· To repeal repressive laws including the National Security Act and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 that are not consistent with international human rights instruments

Thank you for your attention.


This is a forwarded message from contacts of mine in Manipur, India. If you choose click on the link and sign your name. Its that simple.

I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed:


I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes less than a minute of your time.



Once again, thanks for signing the petition!
Sincerely, -iPetitions Campaigns Team

p.s. If you would like to start your own free petition, you can do so here:

Best Regards
Global Human Rights Are For Everyone Get It?

Marianne's Brother in Florida
Mr. William Manosh

Friday, September 25, 2009

Petition to release arrested activists in Manipur, India


This is a forwarded message from contacts of mine in Manipur, India. If you choose click on the link and sign your name. Its that simple.

I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed:


I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes less than a minute of your time.


Once again, thanks for signing the petition!
Sincerely,  -iPetitions Campaigns Team

p.s. If you would like to start your own free petition, you can do so here:

Best Regards
Global Human Rights Are For Everyone Get It?

Marianne's Brother in Florida
Mr. William Manosh

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The 15th Annual Report of the Network of Concerned Historians

Oh my gosh. I discovered this newly released document which depicts global human rights abuses. I will just say it is a "site-map," from a historian point of view, regarding human rights abuse from almost every country that has been criticized for human rights abuse! I felt OBLIGATED to share the link on this blog. If there is any country that you may have an interest in, it is likely you will find factual information about historical references to there human rights abuses, in detail, including names of perpetrators, dates of offenses, and citations, to include sources for that information. It's an awesome bookmark reference, that should be shelved as such for information relating to any type of human rights research, by country, that you might be conducting from a historical perspective.

I know that after perusing it, quite thoroughly, there was way to much information to just randomly pick a particular country , so I decided to do a brief overview of the contents of this free, online reference. I hope you will enjoy it. As much work that went into it, I am sure that you will find it to be invaluable to your human rights bookshelves as an online PDF resource.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

U.S. Faces Doubts About Leadership on Human Rights

U.S. Faces Doubts About Leadership on Human Rights -

According to Column Lynch at the Washington

"But, as the U.N. General Assembly gets underway this week, human rights activists and political analysts say the new approach has undercut U.S. leadership on human rights issues."

Column Lynch of course is a highly regarded writer at the post so we will not question his analysis, but I am curious why the US is always considered to be the Lone Ranger on Human Rights issues? The examples listed in the article are related to the way in which the US government wishes to handle Darfur, (an on-going human rights nightmare), criticism of the new membership within the Human Rights Council , and last but not least, Sri Lanka. Column has some great points, don't get me wrong, but is it so bad that the US wishes to express an agenda that they deem to be appropriate not only for "international" relations, but also for "US" interests as well? This is the balancing act that every country must consider when they elect to become members of a supranational organizations which are far beyond the scope of nation-state interests alone. There is a certain sacrifice of your "own" state sovereignty that you must make and the United States is the most powerful nation in the world; and having recognized that, our decisions must not be made "lightly."

This is where I think the media sometimes misunderstands the intentions of the United States and questions the Uni-Power status we now hold since the end of the cold-war in 1989. Of course new challenges have arisen since the fall of the great Soviet Empire. Nevertheless, the realm of human rights is undoubtedly still paramount to the US, as evidenced by our recent renewed commitment to the Human Rights Council, and our cooperation with the United Nations overall.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Science and Human Rights

Science and human rights

"Science and human rights are inextricably linked in many ways. In 1913 former academy member Albert Einstein said in an address to the California Institute of Technology:

"It is not enough that you should understand about applied science
in order that your work may increase man's blessings. Concern
for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest
of all technical endeavors."

By Eliot Stellar, National Academy of Sciences (U.S.). Committee on Human Rights

This post is about a scientific journal published in 1988 to specifically address the nexus between science and human rights. This is uncharted waters for many "political scientists" approach to human rights, so I thought it to be "nice" when I discovered this journal. Therefore I posted the forward and will briefly discuss where this scholarly journal's analysis looks to be heading. Much to my surprise a very prominent man is mentioned right from the get go!

"The creation of a Committee on Human Rights by the National Academy of Sciences in 1976 was but the formalization of a longstanding concern of the academy about humanitarian issues.

For many years, academy officers have taken private action through fellow scientists, sister academies, and research councils throughout the world in behalf of threatened colleagues. In the 1950s, the academy helped find positions in the United States for Hungarian scientists who had fled their country. In 1966, it provided assistance to Argentine students whose education was interrupted by the closing of the University of Buenos Aires by finding institutions in the United States where they could study.

It is noteworthy that a large number of the academy's roughly 1,500 members are foreign born; many fled their countries of birth because of abuses inflicted upon them and their families by repressive governments. Many of those scientists have gone on to make outstanding contributions to the science and welfare of their nation of adoption, the United States of America."

The authors begin by quoting Albert Einstein which I think is great. But even better is the fact that they acknowledge the human rights assistance they had lent to there scientific colleagues in contribution to there work in science in the name of human rights in my opinion is quite remarkable. Furthermore, "the creation of a Committee on Human Rights by the National Academy of Sciences in 1976, was but the formalization of a longstanding concern of the academy about humanitarian issues." This is even more remarkable evidence of a direct link or nexus between science and the humanities. It is good to see scientists with all there wonderful theories and such, reach across disciplinary studies into the arts and humanities, and into the files of social sciences, in the name of human rights and, to dedicate an entire scholarly journal to science and human rights. The link provided will take you to this journal which provides open access online via Google books. I hope you enjoy.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Global Human Rights! Not New News!

This post is taken from a book entitled:

Worldwide education statistics: Enhancing Unesco's Role

By James W. Guthrie, Janet S. Hansen, Michael W. Kirst,National Res

I am particularly interested in the "global" aspects of this books inherent approach to the notion of human rights. The book was published in 1995. This is the quote I would like to review:

"Fifty years ago, international relations were dominated by a legacy of fear and distrust between many nations and groups of nations. Today there is a global investment and trade economy, an understanding (at least intellectually) of worldwide ecological interdependence, an emerging international consciousness about human rights and humanitarian issues, and an intense reliance on human capital formation to sustain a nation's global competitive status and internal civic structure.

Research in macroeconomics, international relations, and comparative sociology document these developments and inform our understanding of them. They are highlighted in studies of the global economy and the role of highly skilled personnel in fostering national competitiveness (Reich, 1991), in research on the global expansion and legitimation of education and its transnational influences (Schriever, forthcoming; Ramirez, 1993), and in the literature on the rise of human rights as a global standard (Forsythe, 1991) and its implications for the comparative study of efforts to upgrade the status of women (Stromquist, 1995). The new globalism has gone hand in hand with studies that direct attention to worldwide economic trends and cycles, to international emphasis on education and science for sustainable development, and to human rights issues, especially as they affect women, children, and minorities."

This is of course a 14 year old analysis of a very modern problem that has not gone away. Perhaps it has even worsened in many respects in some regions of the world.Yet it had been very much recognized by scholars as a global problem in 1995 and I am sure as I continue with the research for this blog, I will go back into book and scholarly archives and discover even more literature that demonstrates that there had been globally significant issues which definitely implicated women children and of course minorities even way earlier than 1995. My point is that global human rights are not a new notion. They have been "around" for a very very long time!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

U.S., Iran: So Much To Discuss!

U.S., Iran: So much to talk about --

Absolutely there is much to discuss with Iran! See my post dated 9/10/2009 from Cultural Relativism or Human Rights at

Here you will find President Ahmadinejad's of Iran's philosophy in which he claims that "We are not in the race for development." Well, among other political agenda items such as the horrendous human rights abuse allegations following the recent elections, I am sure that nuclear talks will be in the forefront of discussions in the upcoming October 1st meeting. The LA Times does a great job explaining what has already been all over the media and the internet regarding the human rights abuse that has occurred in Iran this year especially! Lets hope that the US, the newest member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, will lead the way in the Nuclear talks as well as the human rights talks on the first of the month!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rights Group Says Burma Has Intensified Political Arrests

VOA News - Rights Group Says Burma Has Intensified Political Arrests

Voice of America again is on top of human rights and politics in Burma. According to VOA:
"Human Rights Watch says Burma's military government has doubled the number of political prisoners over the past two years.

The New York-based advocacy group Wednesday said Burma is holding more than 2,200 political prisoners, with 100 people jailed in recent months.

Burma has dismissed criticism of its human rights record and says it is implementing a so-called "road-map to democracy." The plan includes holding national elections next year for the first time in 20 years.

Human Rights Watch says Burma should immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners in Burma if the elections are to have any credibility.

The United States is reviewing its policy toward Burma to determine how best to encourage the government to reform. The top U.S. diplomat for Southeast Asia, Scot Marciel, said Wednesday that review will be concluded soon.

He said even if the policy changes, the ultimate goal will be for Burma to release political prisoners and have a more inclusive political process.

Human Rights Watch of course is not the only reporting agency to have a watchful eye on Burmese Human Rights matters. According to official CIA Factbook
records Burma has had problems with trafficking in persons:

"current situation: Burma is a source country for women, children, and men trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; Burmese women and children are trafficked to East and Southeast Asia for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced labor; Burmese children are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Thailand as hawkers, beggars, and for work in shops, agriculture, fish processing, and small-scale industries; women are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to Malaysia and China; some trafficking victims transit Burma from Bangladesh to Malaysia and from China to Thailand; internal trafficking occurs primarily from villages to urban centers and economic hubs for labor in industrial zones, agricultural estates, and commercial sexual exploitation; military and civilian officials continue to use a significant amount of forced labor; ethnic insurgent groups also used compulsory labor of adults and unlawful recruitment of children; the military junta's gross economic mismanagement, human rights abuses, and its policy of using forced labor are the top causal factors for Burma's significant trafficking problem tier rating: Tier 3 - Burma does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; military and civilian officials remain directly involved in significant acts of forced labor and unlawful conscription of child soldiers (2008)."

There have been recent talks between high level US officials and Burma. But, otherwise there has not been significant relations and human rights is now going to be a top priority especially with the US re-joining the United Nation's on the Council in the most recent developments. This is a good opportunity for Burma to show they are willing to comply with international human rights standards.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Egypt:New Human Rights Report Enroute To Geneva, Will it Matter?

Egypt: Overcoming torture, human rights abuses « Bikya Masr

Bikya Masr runs an outstanding human rights blog among other involvement with politics in Egypt and I have followed his work closely. His latest report concerning new human rights development in Egypt is worth a share. According to his blog:
"The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) believes that the recent report sent to Geneva by the National Council for Human Rights is an opportunity for the country to establish new laws to help combat torture and human rights abuses in the country."
Of course for Egypt this is incredible news as this is a country with a poor human rights record which we can discuss with more detail. Furthermore Bikya continues:

"Despite the hope, ANHRI “is quite cautious regarding these efforts and declarations especially that the Egyptian government did not admit the existence of any problem to start with,” highlighting one of the growing tenuous issues facing rights in the country.

According to the watchdog, the Egyptian government “mentioned nothing to be the reason behind the deteriorating human rights condition in Egypt in the last four years.”

If you ask the government of Egypt there is no problem with human rights. Why then did the ANHRI have to send a report to Geneva Switzerland to begin with? Why then did a convicted convict for torture be returned to work in Egypt as a police officer?

Furthermore, CIA Factbook

indicates that Egypt's human rights record has not been one of great respect"

"current situation:

Egypt is a transit country for women trafficked
from Eastern European countries to Israel for
sexual exploitation, and is a source for children
trafficked within the country for commercial
sexual exploitation and domestic servitude,
although the extent to which children are
trafficked internally is unknown; children
were also recruited for domestic and agricultural
work; some of these children face conditions of
involuntary servitude, such as restrictions on
movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and
physical or sexual abuse
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Egypt is on
the Tier 2 Watch List for the third year in a row
because it did not provide evidence of increasing
efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers;
however, in July 2007, the government established
the "National Coordinating Committee to Combat
and Prevent Trafficking in Persons," which improved
inter-governmental coordination on anti-trafficking
initiatives; Egypt made no discernible efforts to
punish trafficking crimes in 2007 and the Egyptian
penal code does not prohibit all forms of trafficking;
Egypt did not increase its services to trafficking
victims during the reporting period (2008)

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
transit point for cannabis, heroin, and
opium moving to Europe, Israel, and
North Africa; transit stop for Nigerian
drug couriers; concern as money
laundering site due to lax enforcement
of financial regulations"

This does not go well for the
international communities outlook
of Egypt overall from a human rights
perspective whatsoever.

Global Human Rights Are For Everyone!


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

20 yr old Christian Man Tortured in Pakistan Jail?

Rights Group in Pakistan Seeks Answers on Christian’s Death -
Prominent Human Rights group sources allege that a 20 yr old young Christian man was found dead in his cell with evidence of torture found on his body. Christians are a minority in Pakistan being a Muslin dominated state. The man's death is under investigation. According to the report from NY
"Mr. Fanish was arrested on Saturday in the village of Jathikai and charged with blasphemy, a controversial statute often used against minorities in Pakistan, human rights groups say. A Muslim family accused him of "desecrating a Koran", but his local supporters said the family claimed he had been "admiring their daughter."

Furthermore according to the Times:

"The police said Mr. Fanish had hanged himself in his cell, using a strip of material ripped from his clothing. The Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights, an alliance of more than 30 human rights groups, said in a statement it had talked to witnesses who saw marks of torture on his body.

The group said evidence in the case “raises strong suspicion of the involvement of the jail officials” in Mr. Fanish’s death.

Ms. Jahangir said local politicians often collude with attackers, covering up their crimes, partly out of a deep-seated prejudice against minorities — Christians and Ahmadis, a minority sect in Islam — and out of a reflexive sympathy with other Muslims."

Apparently, we will quite possibly not get to the bottom of this, but maybe there is a chance. There is a strong coalition of Human Rights groups "The Joint Action Committee For Peoples Rights "on it" so we will see how they manage. Let us just hope that this young man's family receives some sort of justice for whatever happened to there son in that Pakistani jail cell for "blasphemy against a Koran". Please, is this really a trumped up way of getting rid of non-believers of anything other than the Muslim faith?


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

United Nations Radio: The US joins the UN Human Rights Council.

United Nations Radio: The US joins the UN Human Rights Council.
This link will of course take you to the sound clip of this monumental occasion; that being the US announcement that came as of yesterday! The US will no longer "observe" but were to become members "officially" of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Politically this is a SIGNIFICANT step for the US.
As an "observer" basically the US has stood by its sovereignty not to be "bound" by customary or international human rights legislation "per say" as the United Nations had previously interpreted it to be. Thus the term "observer" status. This official union by way of this announcement is not to be taken lightly by the rest of the world community-or the US itself; and has tremendous political and legal human rights implications .

Personally my gut feeling is that every Human Rights NGO on this planet, likely is standing on there feet applauding the American decision to get on-board with the United Nations, while also putting aside past differences with them, on other unrelated issues. This will definitely further champion the human rights effort!~

I could not be happier to hear this announcement! I do believe the new and most recent developments (see recent post)at Bagram AFB is a testimony to the United States commitment to human rights, and the new administrations renewed philosophy.

I really applaud President Obama for allowing this to go forward and I am sure that so do many many others worldwide!


Monday, September 14, 2009

New Rights; for "old" Afghan Detainees

VOA News - New Rights for Afghan Detainees

Straight from Washington D.C., Voice of America published this report which some may say what the heck? We do not want another "Gitmo" on our hands!! Perhaps its time we make sure that does not happen again. Apparently, the government has stood up and taken notice. Whats happened is that officially, each detainee at
Bagram Air Base is now going to be appointed a representative to represent them before a military commission when they are detained. According to Voice of America:

"The officials would not be lawyers, but would, for the first time, gather evidence and witnesses to help the detainees dispute their detention before a military-appointed review board.

Some of those being held at Bagram have been there for as long as six years.

Unlike detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba, those in Afghanistan have had no access to attorneys, no right to hear the allegations against them and only basic reviews of their status as "enemy combatants."

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman says each detainee will now have the right to be heard within 60 days of his arrival at the center.

"It is basically a review procedure that insures people go in front of a panel periodically, very early on in their detention, and then periodically to give them the opportunity to contest their detention [and] for an assessment to be made as to whether or not they warrant being held," Whitman said."

This is good from a human rights perspective. Its true there are some very very bad people being held at that detention center, but how can we hold the world responsible for human rights, when we do not hold the standards ourselves; this is only logical because the rest of the world watches the US very closely.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Morocco: Government Uses Torture to Silence Sahrawi Activists Morocco: Government Uses Torture to Silence Sahrawi Activists

This article, although a bit lengthy, will literally amaze you as you never hear about this on the news or anywhere for that matter! But, we are going to publish to this blog, some interesting facts about the ongoing human rights conflict between the Sahrawi's and the government of Morocco. These are horrendous violations of "under the radar" human rights miss-happenings to say the very least!

According to very reliable source published in "At 9:00 pm on Thursday 27 August, 19 year-old Nguia El Haouassi, a Sahrawi woman, a student and a human rights activist, was abducted while walking through Maatallah District in Laayoune. Laayoune is a large town in the northern Saguia al-Hamra region of the Moroccan occupied territory of Western Sahara." Furthermore:Nguia's testimony is that two police officers, Khalid Barakt and Aziz Anouch, blind-folded and subjected her to physical and psychological torture. These two police officers were then joined by additional Moroccan security agents who began interrogating her and removed her clothes. They asked what her political affiliations and views regarding the Morocco-Western Sahara conflict, and questioned her reasons for wanting to participate in a youth conflict resolution programme being run in Oxford, England earlier in August. Nguia's ordeal was videotaped with the threat that she would be exposed naked on the internet if she revealed her ordeal and did not cease her human rights activities. Nguia states that she was also threatened with rape if she did not answer questions, and one of the high-ranking officers, part of the Moroccan DIAG secret service, threatened to kill her next time they caught her. She was then abandoned at around 2:00 am in the dark and left naked on the outskirts of Laayoune. She was able to find refuge with another Sahrawi family who clothed her and helped her reach her family."

The article goes on to explain what appears to be the reason for her ordeal:
"Just three weeks earlier, she was one of the 'Oxford Six', a group of Sahrawi students who had received invitations and visas from the British Consulate to come to Oxford, England to participate in a two-week 'peace camp', a youth conflict resolution programme, run by Talk Together, with numerous international academic and peacekeeping experts volunteering their time to participate. On the point of departure on 5 August, the six students were arrested at the Agadir's Al Massira airport and refused permission to travel, their mobile phones confiscated to prevent them for communicating with the outside world. They were then reportedly assaulted at three different locations - outside the airport, at a border police station, and again at the home of one of them. Amnesty International issued a full investigation and public statement. Talk Together's website also provides detailed chronological information on the full story, the statement issued by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Amnesty International's statements."

Apparently, the government of Morocco did not appreciate her work as an activist and her trip to England. This type of human rights abuse in Morocco is nothing new. I did some further research and according to the US State Department:
"Reports of torture, arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, and other abuses by police and security forces continued during the year, along with impunity, substandard prison conditions, and lack of a fully independent judiciary. The government restricted freedoms of speech, religion, and the press; and corruption, trafficking in persons, and child labor remained problematic." This was reported in May of 2009. So, what is being done about all of this??? This is the real good question that must be asked.

Well this same report by the US State Department says that: "The U.S. Government engages the government and civil society at all levels to encourage continued progress in the areas of human rights and democratic reform. Through the annual Human Rights Dialogue, launched in 2007, U.S. officials engage their counterparts in constructive and open discussions on human rights issues, especially on issues of arbitrary detention, physical abuse, impunity, and limits on freedom of expression. U.S. officials meet with government officials and leaders of religious communities to promote religious freedom and tolerance. Through its programmatic efforts, the United States seeks to strengthen local governance by fostering the expansion of citizens' rights, including freedom of expression."

This is a good start correct? In 2007?? We really have not been "on this" for to long but a start is better than not at all! Where is the mention of the conflict with the Sahrawi people? Interesting that they never come up. I am unsure about why however. You will see why I say that after you read the article from Lets hope that the international human rights community need not overlook this marginalized group, and remember that Global Human Rights Are For Everyone!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Human Rights are Improving in Columbia? Good News Right?

U.S. Certifies Human Rights Gains in Colombia, Releasing Aid -

This article was published yesterday in the New York Times and many may have missed it. We are talking about Columbia and to most American readers of course what is the first thing that comes to mind? Drugs right? Of course. Well, the big reason that I can determine that the United States have apparently let up a little bit on the pressure on Columbia's human rights record, is because there is a tremendous need to aid the "war on drugs" being waged minute by minute in this country.

When we look at official CIA Factbook report for 2008, the biggest problem the United States has with Columbia is a no-brainer:

"illicit producer of coca, opium poppy, and cannabis; world's leading coca cultivator with 167,000 hectares in coca cultivation in 2007, a 6% increase over 2006, producing a potential of 535 mt of pure cocaine; the world's largest producer of coca derivatives; supplies cocaine to nearly all of the US market and the great majority of other international drug markets; in 2005, aerial eradication dispensed herbicide to treat over 130,000 hectares but aggressive replanting on the part of coca growers means Colombia remains a key producer; a significant portion of narcotics proceeds are either laundered or invested in Colombia through the black market peso exchange; important supplier of heroin to the US market; opium poppy cultivation is estimated to have fallen 25% between 2006 and 2007; most Colombian heroin is destined for the US market (2008)".

The human rights problems we have in the US and that they have in Columbia as well, are almost all accounted for by the these facts meted out by the CIA alone and are "insurmountable". This mass quantity of illegal drugs, lead to ALL kinds of human rights abuse as well as domestic abuses, and the list is endless... Lets just hope that we do not have to second guess the decision to aid a country with this type of track record.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Unrest in East Turkestan; Regional Capital of Urumchi.

I received a thoroughly lengthy email from a subscription that I had forgotten that I had signed up for, it had been so long ago it seemed! But anyways it is so worthy of a Fridays post for you! Refer to this link at Wikipedia:

There is no love lost between the Uyghurs and the Chinese. This dilemma is centuries old. Furthermore in a report from an official email I received from the Uyghur American Association(UAA) September 10, 2009, there are much more serious concerns on the ground with human rights in China and the Uyghurs:

"A lack of clarity has surrounded the most recent outbreak of Han
Chinese demonstrations in Urumchi. Chinese authorities admitted
that five people had died in the recent unrest; however, reports from
Urumchi, unconfirmed in the official Chinese media, indicate that an
ethnic conflict is escalating in the regional capital, with eyewitness
accounts describing attacks on Uyghurs and Uyghur businesses in the
most recent wave of unrest[iv]. Two prominent blogger s in China, Ilham
Tohti and Woeser, reported the beating to death of Uyghur singer
Mirzat Alim on September 2, 2009, and a severe beating suffered by
Uyghur calligrapher and journalist Kaynam Jappar on September 3,
2009[v]. Both attacks were carried out by Han Chinese mobs, according
to the blogger s. UAA believes that the Chinese government has been
instrumental in increasing tensions in East Turkestan by blaming
Uyghur's for the alleged syringe attacks, in which official reports
claim 476 victims have been affected. UAA calls on the official
Chinese media to balance its reporting and to accurately reflect the
situation on the ground in Urumchi."

The situation is nearly insurmountable between these two groups. Ask around, not too many people have even heard of the Uyghur's before this post quite likely. Furthermore, What about the Han Chinese sect? Nevertheless these are human rights we are talking about! This has got to be brought in to the public blogo- sphere don't you think so? The link to this post will give you much more detail about the Uyghurs if you want to learn more about here history and culture and how they don't fit in with the Chinese government at the moment. It really is an interesting political dilemma that gets very little attention in the media. Nevertheless, Global Human Rights are For Everyone!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

EU Sanctions And Zimbabwe; New Talks to Begin

ZimOnline - Zimbabwe's Independent News Agency

According to this article published in Zimonline, new talks are scheduled to occur between the head of the EU delegation and president Mugabe of Zimbabwe."The EU and other Western governments still maintain a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and his ZANU PF inner circle in protest at controversial elections and alleged human rights abuses by his government."

It is Human Rights Watch African director Georgette Gagnon who has aspirations that the summit to be held between the EU, Mugabe, and the ZANU PF Inner circle breathe new life into normalizing relationships and possibly lifting the sanctions which are hurting an already desperate country like Zimbabwe. Unfortunately for Zimbabwe, they have had a horrendous human rights record since the EU first placed sanctions in 2002. Official US State Department Report
"The March 2002 presidential election was preceded by months of intensive violence and intimidation against MDC supporters, and more than 50 people, mostly opposition supporters, were killed. President Mugabe was declared the winner over challenger Morgan Tsvangirai by a 56% to 42% margin. Most international observers condemned the election as seriously flawed--the pre-election environment was neither free nor fair, and the election itself was marred by significant fraud and rigging--but regional opinions were mixed. Soon after the election, the MDC filed a petition challenging Mugabe's victory, citing flaws in electoral laws, electoral irregularities and pre-election violence. As of the end of 2004, the case had not yet been decided.

As a result of the 2002 election, the United States, the EU, and other European countries imposed travel restrictions against senior Zimbabwean officials and embargoed the sale of arms to Zimbabwe. The U.S. and the EU also froze the financial assets of selected ruling party officials. The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe from council meetings for one year after its election observer team found the election neither free nor fair. At the mid-term suspension review in March 2003, the three-country committee charged with deciding Zimbabwe's fate decided to continue the suspension until the next Commonwealth meeting in December 2003. At this meeting, despite vigorous campaigning by South Africa, Zimbabwe was not invited to attend the meeting and the Commonwealth decided to continue with the suspension. Immediately after this, Mugabe withdrew Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth."

It has not been good for Zimbabwe or the regime of Mugabe. Furthermore, regarding human rights, according to the US State Department: "Since 2000, the United States has taken a leading role in condemning the Zimbabwean Government's increasing assault on human rights and the rule of law, and has joined much of the world community in calling for the Government of Zimbabwe to embrace a peaceful democratic evolution. In 2002 and 2003, the United States imposed targeted measures on the Government of Zimbabwe, including financial and visa sanctions against selected individuals, a ban on transfers of defense items and services, and a suspension of non-humanitarian government-to-government assistance.

The US does not want to punish the "people" of Zimbabwe because of a questinable government."Despite strained political relations, the United States continues as a leading provider of humanitarian assistance to the people of Zimbabwe, providing more than $900 million in humanitarian assistance from 2002-2008, most of which was food aid."

Lets hope that Human Rights Watch encouragement of the European Union delegation, can encourage the European Union to "renegotiate" there terms with Mugabe to "straighten"up his human rights record for the sake of his people, to stop the suffering of further unnecessary human rights abuses. We will see what happens in the future.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sudan: UN Speaks Out Over Sentencing of Former Female Staffer for Wearing Pants Sudan: UN Speaks Out Over Sentencing of Former Female Staffer for Wearing Pants
This story still amazes me because Ms. Hussein was actually a member of the United Nations when she was cited for "indecency" under Sudanese law and could have received 40 lashes under there harsh clothing decency laws. To my amazement, and unfortunately, she had to resign to gain legal representation from the UN. When all was said and done, she had to pay a $200 fine and was found guilty of the offense under the statute. The others that were arrested for the same offense, (13 total) were not so lucky, as many of there sentences were carried out immediately for the same crime of indecency.(lashing) The Sudanese government was criticized by UN officials:

"At the time of her arrest, Ms. Hussein was not informed of her charges, violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Sudan is a State party, as well as its own Interim National Constitution.

"The rights to freedom from arbitrary arrest, to due process of law, and to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are expressly protected in the Bill of Rights contained in Sudan's Interim National Constitution," the OHCHR spokesperson said."

Of course this is a serious statement coming from the United Nations. The Sudanese counter-argument will be its our law and our sovereignty that gives us the right to interpret the law the way in which we want to. This goes back to my other blog on cultural relativism. However, we will stay on topic here. The long and short is our beloved UN former employee, is safe and did not receive the harsh punishment that was once speculated that she would be subjected to. This did receive plenty of media attention as well. Rightly so I might also add, as she was certainly not dressed indecently in a pair of blue jeans as far as anyone else is concerned in the rest of the world anyways, but not in Sudan apparently right?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Africa: Children Being Locked Over Asylum Appeals

Africa: Children Being Locked Over Asylum Appeals
This story really frustrates me because as a child at these vulnerable ages, you never forget ! These type of memories remain with your conscious for the rest of your life, and quite likely will have a negative effect on your life permanently. Having said that, I will let you read the article as it gives great details about stats and such regarding children in the UK awaiting a decision whether they will be returned or allowed asylum to stay in the UK. One alarming statistic from the article was that:

"What is known is that around 30,000 people apply for political asylum in the UK each year but that most of these are adults.

Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the children commissioner for England pointed out that of the 225 children released from detention in the second quarter of this year, only 100 were removed from the UK.

He questioned the necessity for detaining young children pointing out that if the "majority" were allowed to stay at the end of their release "why did they have to go through the detention process in the first place."

Well that means that nearly 50 percent were sent back or were remaining in the UK as a term commonly referred to as "ghosts" which I am going to get to in a second. So Sir Aynseley-Green should try to figure out why these asylum seekers had to go back to wherever they left, in this case Nairobi, in the first place, rather than wonder why they were held in Yarl's Wood forever and a day, to begin with wouldn't you say? This is really down right problematic for me. Its real tough to seek asylum in the UK and in a second I am going to post a friend of mines blog post link he sent to me as further evidence to the human rights problem with asylum seekers with our friends across the Atlantic. Like I said no offense to our allies, but what gives with these policies? Please follow this link Haunted by a living ghost.

Here you will learn first hand from a British citizen who has friends who were denied asylum in the UK. He has given a brilliant narration of the horror first hand that one must face, and it truly is a pathetic and unbelievably inhumane situation. Your likely to possibly even become a bit emotional after you read this blog post as I know that I did. Furthermore you will ask yourself why the government is so harsh as well.

Anyways, its not easy for children or adults to escape harsh conditions, but when they arrive in a democracy and all they face is red tape and doors that open and then close in your face it becomes hopelessly futile quite literally. Follow these links and you will see if I am telling you straight up or selling you a "lemon". I hope you learn more about asylum seekers in a democracy from this post. WE NEED REFORMS AND WE NEED THEM BAD .WE NEED TO STOP PRETENDING AND TALKING ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS AND START LIVING UP TO THEM!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Reporting the Facts; Free Speech Isn't Free

Nothing has ever been easy for anyone including reporters in Sri Lanka when it comes to human rights or freedom of speech. According to the link to this post:
"SRI LANKA was always a hard place for hacks; but by any standards, 20 years’ jail is a harsh penalty for a newsman doing his job. That term was meted out this week to J.S. Tissainayagam on terrorism charges, after he criticized the army’s treatment of Tamil civilians. The government says he stoked ethnic discord with false reports; human-rights groups say the state is cracking down harder in an already dire environment. Some 14 journalists have been killed in Sri Lanka since 2006."

This is a human rights disaster! As of right now, US relations with Sri Lanka are strongly linked to IDP's, otherwise known as Internally Displaced Persons.
At the previous link you will find an article entitled :US pledges support to resettle IDP's [September 03, 2009]. ""We strongly support the desire of the government of Sri Lanka to return internally displaced persons to their homes safely and quickly so they can begin to rebuild their communities,” the editorial of the Voice of America reported quoting James R. Moore, US Charge d'affaires."
The problems are beyond rationality in this country, and have been growing like weeds in a garden. For human rights watch groups it has become a "nightmare while awake". Furthermore for the United States, the State Department Country Report is at best grim:2008 Human Rights Report: Sri Lanka.
"The government's respect for human rights declined as armed conflict escalated. The overwhelming majority of victims of human rights violations, such as killings and disappearances, were young male Tamils, while Tamils were only 16 percent of the overall population. Credible reports cited unlawful killings by paramilitaries and others believed to be working with the awareness of the government, assassinations by unknown perpetrators, politically motivated killings, the continuing use of child soldiers by a paramilitary force associated with the government, disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, poor prison conditions, denial of fair public trial, government corruption and lack of transparency, infringement of freedom of movement, and discrimination against minorities. Pro- government paramilitary groups were credibly alleged to have participated in armed attacks against civilians and practiced torture, kidnapping, hostage-taking, and extortion with impunity. During the year, no military, police or paramilitary members were convicted of any domestic human rights abuse."

Have you asked yourself , how can this be happening? Not exactly a promising country to reside I would say. Yet they still have journalists that literally put themselves in the way of possible prison; or even death; to report on how bad it really is for the non- respect for human life. Somehow, some way ,the rest of the world needs to step up the advocacy for the people in this forsaken land.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pakistan, Opinions and Disbelief; Is Blackwater Here Now?

Blackwater: global mercenary network By Ghulam Asghar Khan Published: September 6, 2009

As I was perusing the internet looking to enhance my Sunday understanding of human rights on a global level I came across a most interesting article in a newspaper published in Pakistan.The Nation :"The Nation has a special position in Pakistan's media, as the most respected publication in English, with firm and constructive views, and excellent news coverage. With five editions published daily from three stations, it is the market leader in the Punjab and Islamabad areas, and has established a strong presence in Karachi since its inception there in 2000. It is the newspaper of choice for not only those who make decisions, formulate policy or are opinion leaders but also for those youngsters who will call the shots in the future.

The Nation is part of the Nawa-e-Waqt Group, and thus belongs to the oldest newspaper tradition in the country, which started when Hamid Nizami founded Nawa-e-Waqt the day the Pakistan Resolution was passed in 1940."

OK. so we know a little bit about the paper. The article was located in the opinion section and much to my amazement this long after the start of the Iraqi war it is very much fresh in the minds of the Pakistani people; especially the hired mercenaries.You likely heard of them, they were called "Black water". They are civilian "mercenaries" hired to do many things. Not "nice" things . Pretty much a license to kill. According to this opinion piece and I am not sure how well informed their sources are but they describe Black-water as: "Blackwater was founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Clark in the American state of North Carolina in 1997. It, perhaps, is the world's largest network that trains 40,000 mercenaries a year, mostly from the US or foreign military and police personnel. It was assigned military assignments by the Bush Administration in Iraq, when the name Black water became synonymous with torture and murder of Iraqi citizens. Its training consists of military offensive and defensive operations under the tag of a private security agency. It has nine business units spread over the world. Its Aviation Worldwide Services (AWS) provide services to the CIA, and its aircraft's have also been used in CIA's "extraordinary rendition" escapades.
Blackwater first came to notice in 2003, when it received a dollar nine million 'no bid' contract from the US administration for guarding L Paul Bremer, nicknamed Jerry Bremer, as Washington's head of the 'Coalition Provisional Authority' in Baghdad. Within few months, Blackwater drew much notoriety over the trigger-happy killer instinct of its guards who indulged in wanton killing of unarmed civilians without any respect for human rights/international law. The public anger was exhibited on March 31, 2004, when four Blackwater mercenaries were ambushed and killed and their charred bodies were hanged over the Euphrates Bridge."
Not very nice to be a mercenary is it? You do not have to respect human rights in other words is that correct? Like I said this is an Opinion piece and I can not verify the legitamacy or the accuracy of its contents I am only posting and commenting on a published article from another country right?

Anyways, to get to the point to make the title of my post make some sense, the article concludes like this "Since mercenaries can work in civvies, they are useful to the Pentagon when it seeks to build military presence in a country without attracting undue attention. Instead of sending battalions of active military force, the Pentagon deploys civilian contractors from Blackwater (Xe) and other firms to set up an operation that would serve dual purpose: protecting the West's new profitable oil and gas exploitation in a region historically dominated by Russia, China and Iran, and possibly laying the groundwork for an important forward operating base for an attack on Iran. And to accomplish that mission the new base is readily available in Afghanistan and Pakistan where Blackwater with its new name Xe Services is extending its sphere of influence. Though the American and Pakistani authorities have denied the presence of Xe (former Blackwater) in Pakistan, there has been a growing concern in Peshawar and other parts of the country against the reported presence and activities of Pentagon's hired killers.
The writer is a former inspector general of police."

Apparently, the writer, is convinced,or paranoid, one or the other, that we have mercenaries deployed ready to invade Iran? By way of Pakistan? Now this is interesting. I hope that I am not to off topic with human rights, but being a mercenary does mean a lack of respect for human rights because your job is to protect whomever hired you regardless no matter what. So if that means you have to disregard human life than that's what likely could be the result. Its a shame that's how this world happens to work nowadays and in the not so far past isn't it? Lets defineitley keep our eyes and ears open to new developments to see if this man is anywhere near correct with his opinion piece in this article. Lets hope he is really wrong!


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