Posts Tagged ‘military dictatorships’

Hunger Games 3-finger sign not welcome in Thailand

November 22, 2014

(Police stand inside the theatre in Bangkok where two student activists were arrested in connection with the showing of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Photo by Pattarachai Prechapanich)

If there was any evidence needed that symbols from films travel fast, the Bangkok Post reports that on Thursday 20 November three students outside two Bangkok theatres. They were released without charges, but in the meantime the discussion had already started. On Friday Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand said he felt unthreatened by The Hunger Games’ three-fingered protest against totalitarian rule, but nonetheless warned people against using it. “I don’t know whether it is illegal or not but it could jeopardise their futures,” Gen Prayut told reporters at Government House. “I appreciate their courage but they should use their courage in the right ways”.

His comments came as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Southeast Asia criticised the authorities for a recent spate of instances in which people were led away for questioning after making the salute that has become a symbol of defiance for anti-coup protesters. The United Nations on Friday criticised the country’s military leaders for arresting students flashing the signature protest gesture from The Hunger Games while the film’s makers said they are concerned for the young activists. Director of  The Hunger Games, Francis Lawrence, felt honoured that the film has become an inspiration but added: “My goal is not for kids to be out there doing things that are getting them arrested,” (in a Friday interview with Buzzfeed). “”In a sense, part of it is an honour that there (are) ideas in the movies that we’re making that (have) become so important to people that they are willing to risk something and use that symbol,” he continued. “But it’s so scary.”

I didn’t want to punish [the students] so they were merely reprimanded, released and told not to do it again because it’s of no benefit to anyone,” Gen Prayut told reporters. The general also denied any role in Apex’s decision to pull the film from its Scala and Lido theatres.

Three-finger fallout continues | Bangkok Post: news.

Louis Joinet (“Luis le Juste”) finally and rightly honored in France

March 26, 2014

It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that a great human rights defender from France, Louis Joinet, is honored with a colloque on the topic “Is sovereignty still the basis of international law?”. It coincides with the publication of his book: “Mes raisons d’Etat” [‘My reasons of state’ or better ‘How I saw the national interest].

Had he been fluent in English (he picked it up too late in life) he would have been probably one of the most famous human rights experts in the world. His nicknames range from “Louis le Juste” to “the Obstinate”. He played a major role within the French state apparatus as from the 1960s. One of the founders of the ‘Syndicat de la magistrature‘ in 1968 (sometimes called the ‘red judges’), he became the first director of the National Commission on Informatics and Freedoms [Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés]. He served five different Prime Ministers during the 1980s as advisor. It was during those days that I met him regularly to set up and run a number of Committees dealing with the military regimes in the Southern Cone of Latin America (e.g. SIJAU, SIJADEP). We travelled often to the region and on many occasions I saw returned refugees come up to Louis to embrace and thank him for the support he gave them in exile.

In the meantime during 33 years he was an expert in various UN bodies, travelling all over the world. Most pronounced was his leading role in the Sub-commission for Human Rights and the Protection of Minorities (now renamed and relegated to a research role for the new Council), where he spearheaded a great many and daring innovations, concerning many  issue including disappearances, torture, international crimes and amnesty. His popularity with (certain) States suffered, but most NGOs considered him to be a hero.

Together with his late and much-beloved wife Germaine he had a less-known but rewarding social life that includes assisting young street criminals and a passion for circus and street theater. His musical talent is illustrated in the picture below from my private collection, where he is seen playing the accordion with Argentinian Leandro Despouy watching (August 1988).

1988 Aug Subcommission party in Prevessin Louis Joinet Leandro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The colloque in Louis honor is taking place on 27  Mars  2014, 18h30, at  Université  Panthéon-‐Assas, Centre  Panthéon,  Salle  des  Conseils, in the series of lectures under Professor Olivier de Frouville.

The book “Mes raisons d’Etat. Mémoires d’un épris de justice” is published by La Découverte: http://www.editionsladecouverte.fr/catalogue/index-Mes_raisons_d_etat-9782707178459.html