Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Peace comes dropping slow says The Economist in relation to Malala being passed over for Nobel Prize

October 14, 2013

The Economist of this week (11 October) carries an interesting piece on peace under the title “Peace comes dropping slow”. It argues that MALALA YOUSAFZAI would have been an appropriate recipient of the Nobel peace prize, but that her admirers should be not be too disappointed that the award went instead to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. For the Western world, and indeed for many of her fellow Muslims, Malala is an extraordinary example of disinterested courage in the face of theocrats who practise tyranny by claiming a monopoly on religion and religious law. She was already famous at the age of 11 as the writer of a blog for the BBC Urdu service, giving an impression of life under the rule of the Taliban in her native Swat Valley.
She has been showered with accolades, as this blog has also shown including last week the European Union’s Sakharov prize. However, the Economist piece says that “people who really wish Malala and her cause well should be more relieved than let down. The Nobel Prize has not always brought blessings to its recipients. Mistakes made by Barack Obama as America’s commander-in-chief will be judged even more harshly because he was granted the award in 2009 as a kind of down-payment before his presidency had really got going. Mikhail Gorbachev will probably go down in history as a peace-maker, but the award (in 1990) did nothing to enhance his domestic standing which was in freefall at the time. And whatever history has to say about Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho, garlanded in 1973, it will hardly describe them as doves of peace“[De Klerk and Arafat are not mentioned!]
In Northern Ireland, the article states the peace prize had in some respects a “kiss of death” [mentioning David Trimble, John Hume, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire] ….”Does 16-year-old Malala really need that? She too comes from a part of the world where international accolades can cause jealousy and cynicism as well as admiration. So she may be better off without the big prize. In any case, Malala will continue to pile up various honours and distinctions; and as with Ms Maguire, there is probably a good chance that she will use her fame to say things that disturb and provoke people, even those who are lining up to admire her.

The Nobel peace prize: Peace comes dropping slow | The Economist.

NGOs jointly call on world to focus on Bahrain on 14 August

August 13, 2013

13 NGOs have signed an open letter concerning the situation in Bahrain in the light of the upcoming mass demonstration on 14 August. As it is short and to the point here is the full text copied from the FIDH website:  Read the rest of this entry »

Centre for Constitutional Rights calls for action on death of US HRD, Furkan Doğan, in Mavi Marmara incident

May 22, 2013

Official photographic portrait of US President...

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The New York based Center for Constitutional Rights called on US President Barack Obama last week to break his three-year silence over Israel’s 2009 killing of 18-year-old US citizen Furkan Doğan during its siege on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship in international waters.

The CCR states in its 16 May 2013 letter (emphasis theirs): Read the rest of this entry »

Burma frees 450 prisoners before Obama’s visit but what about the real HRDs?

November 15, 2012

Official photographic portrait of US President...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human rights campaigners say no dissidents are among prisoners to be released in ‘goodwill gesture’ reports Jason Burke in Delhi (guardian.co.uk, Thursday 15 November 2012)

The Guardian and many other newspapers have announced that the Burmese authorities have freed more than 450 detainees in a goodwill gesture before a historic visit by the US president Obama but local and international human rights campaigners said the list of released prisoners did not include any political dissidents.

Announcing the amnesty – the latest in a series that have coincided with high-profile visits of foreign dignitaries or trips by senior Burmese leaders overseas – state media said late on Wednesday that its aim was “to help promote goodwill and the bilateral relationship”. A home ministry official told Reuters that a certain number of the remaining 300 political prisoners would be released. However Bo Kyi, of the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), said no prisoners of conscience had been freed so far. “All are common criminals or foreign nationals …… We know of no political prisoners among the 452 freed today,” he said.

However the Wall Street Journal (15 Nov)  just reported that U Myint Aye, a 61-year-old human rights activists and one of the most high-profile dissidents currently detained, held at Loikaw, was included.

No word on Aung Naing either (see my post of 24 September this year).

Let’s wait and see whether President Obama is willing to press for a more substantive release.

Human Rights First gives Obama its agenda for human rights

November 8, 2012

Official photographic portrait of US President...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Human Rights First (HRF), a New York based international NGO and member on the Jury of the Martin Ennals Award, reacted with speed to Obama’s reelection and issued a statement of what it thinks is ready for bi-partisan action on human rights:

 

1. Champion Women’s Rights. A record number of women will serve in the U.S. Senate in January. And Republicans and Democrats—men and women—agree on the importance of protecting women’s rights around the world. The Obama administration and Congress should work together to make sure that women’s rights are enshrined in the Egyptian constitution and that women in the region who stood side by side with men in demanding their freedom are fully represented in public life, including in elected legislatures, and not forced out of the public square.

 

2. Support Freedom. Last night, President Obama said, “We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter.” The United States should stand with those people. That means pressing our allies—like Bahrain—to stop cracking down on dissent. It means working effectively with the international community to bring an end to the human rights crisis in Syria. And it means supporting activists in repressive societies like Russia, China, and Cuba.

 

3. Protect Freedom of Religion. As the recent furor over the anti-Islam film showed, the second Obama administration will have to navigate difficult issues at the intersection of religion and foreign policy. In his second term, the President should push back against efforts to impose an international standard outlawing “defamation of religions,” which would be used, like national blasphemy laws in countries like Pakistan, to persecute religious minorities and restrict freedom of speech, and which would fuel sectarian violence and empower extremists.

 

4. Protect Gay and Lesbian People from Violence. Voters in Maryland, Maine, and Washington voted to legalize same-sex marriage-the first time gay marriage won at the ballot box. Wisconsin elected the first openly gay U.S. Senator. But while the tide of public opinion on gay rights has rapidly turned here, around the world, gay and lesbian people face discrimination and violence. In his second term, President Obama should build on the work of his first to provide protection for gay and lesbian people, including those forced to flee for their safety.

 

5. Provide Safe Haven for Refugees. Washington may finally be poised to tackle comprehensive immigration reform. While this issue has been politically challenging, there is broad bipartisan support for keeping America’s promise to be a refuge for those fleeing oppression. For starters, that means reforming the policies that land those seeking freedom in jail.

 

6. Close Guantanamo. Before it became a political football, national security experts and elected officials from both parties agreed that Guantanamo needed to close. President George W. Bush said he wanted to close it. Senator John McCain campaigned on it. And on his second full day in office, President Obama, flanked by retired Admirals and Generals, promised to do it. He doubled down on the Daily Show right before the election. Now it’s time to get it done. This is a legacy issue.

 

http://actions.humanrightsfirst.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=6824