Posts Tagged ‘protest’

Human Rights defender Fakhteh Zamani comments on Iranian developments

January 3, 2018

For the past ten years, Fakhteh Zamani has resided in Norway, given that her return to Iran at the moment is fraught with risks. Zamani is in daily touch with her friends living in Iran’s Kurdish provinces and human rights defenders in the Mashhad. Hetq interviewed Zamani via the internet and published the following on 3 January 2018 (under the title : Iranian Human Rights Activist – People in Iran Want Change, not Reforms):

It’s difficult to receive credible information regarding events now taking place in Iran. .. How do you receive information from Iran? ..

Yes, social networks are being filtered. My human rights defender acquaintances in Mashhad and elsewhere are able to break through the barriers and get information out. The Iranian government has tried to monitor the populace for the past forty years. The populace has long since found ways to transfer information. This is how we get our information, by using our contacts on the ground.

While the international media is reporting that the poor socio-economic situation and inflation have fueled the protests, President Hassan Rouhani has accused Saudi Arabia of inciting the situation….

You know that all dictators are accustomed to blaming outside governments for their failures. While it’s true that Iran and Saudi Arabia have always had tense relations, those who are protesting are demanding their fundamental rights. …There is no justification for blaming outside governments. People are hungry. Many go without being paid for weeks and months. Food prices are increasing, and wages are decreasing. People are disgruntled. Yesterday, I was talking to a wealthy businessman in Iran. He said that even though he makes money, he still can’t afford certain things. So, just imagine the plight of those working for others.

Given the sporadic information reaching the outside, is it correct to assume that the protests lack leadership? ….

Yes, there are no leaders. People are organizing themselves. Organizing demonstrations in Iran isn’t easy. The government spends millions to form groups designed to crush any opposition. Those taking to the streets, in revolt, have violated the law and face serious retribution. The protesters have spontaneously taken to the streets.

What are your predictions on the protests? What will follow?

Honestly, I can’t make specific predictions as to what will come next. But I already see the end of the Islamic Republic of Iran. While the government has introduced some reforms in the past twenty years, people have realized that these reforms haven’t benefitted them. In contrast to the 2009 protests, the current protesters are demanding that the regime steps down, to be replaced by democratic rule. People are also tired that their taxes are being spent on proxy wars in the Middle East. People in Iran want real change, not reforms. This is evident from the slogans they use.

You have left Iran due to your political views and activities. Would you return is serious changes take place?

I would return to expand my actions in the name of democracy and a better life. Furthermore, I would have to be certain that the rights of national minorities are placed on the back burner.

Marcos burial decision causes controversy in Philippines

November 17, 2016

ABS-CBN News reported on 13 November 2016 on an interesting protest in the Philippines. A group of black-clad lawyers and human rights defenders trooped to the Bar examinations Sunday to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing the burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery. Led by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), the group mounted their “Black to Block” protest with chants of “Marcos no hero, no honor” in front the bar exam venue. [Voting 9-5 with one abstention, the SC last week ruled that President Duterte’s move to allow the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani did not break any laws nor did it show a grave abuse of discretion.]

In an open letter, the NUPL reminded the bar examinees of their duty to use their knowledge and skills to defend justice …..The country needs good lawyers, especially now that “the law is being downtrodden and diminished by skewed reinterpretation”. “Our rage is as dark as the night; our memory just as long. We will continue to rage as we mourn. But we will help change things. Who knows, we might, with the power of the people scorned, even be able to put sense in the heads of the gods and show their way clear.” Concluding their letter, the NUPL told aspiring lawyers, “Do well in the bar examinations. But be mindful what this is all for. From your ranks may also come those who will exorcise the demons in our midst, dead or living. Your people — and Lady Justice — are waiting for you.

The protesters earlier urged bar examinees to show support for Sunday’s mass action by wearing black shirts, but most of the bar candidates were dressed in their school colors.

In the meantime, the group has filed another motion asking the court to hold in abeyance or refrain from executing any plans on the burial pending the finality of the SC ruling.

 

http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/11/13/16/lawyers-rights-advocates-mourn-marcos-burial-at-bar-exams

Gordon says PH should help poor, not focus on Marcos burial | ABS-CBN News

Mona Seif reports on crackdown in Egypt including her brother’s case

December 6, 2013

By Mona Seif, founder of ‘No to Military Trials for Civilians’ and Final Nominee 2013 of the MEA reports in some detail the following:

Egyptian Activists Arrested in Growing Crackdown – Activist Alaa Abd El Fattah one of at least 27 people currently charged under Egypt’s new anti-protest law

Mona Seif, Egypt - Final Nominee MEA 2013

Mona Seif, Egypt – Final Nominee MEA 2013

Egypt is facing a growing crackdown on political protest and dissent. This week has seen the arrest of 27 political activists under the cover of a new law designed to effectively ban protest in Egypt. On November 26th the well-known and internationally respected activist group, No to Military Trials for Civilians, called for a demonstration in front of the Shoura Council (the Upper House of the Egyptian parliament) to protest the failure of the current draft constitution to legislate against the military court martials of civilians. The entirely peaceful protest was met with serious force by the police, who attacked demonstrators with a water cannon and tear gas while arresting as many people as they could. At least 51 people were arrested that day. Read the rest of this entry »

Azerbaijan sees crackdown on HRDs and civil society as a whole

September 3, 2013

A recent 100-page report by Human Rights Watch, “Tightening the Screws: Azerbaijan’s Crackdown on Civil Society and Dissent,” documents the dramatic deterioration of the government’s record on freedom of expression, assembly, and association in the past 18 months. The authorities have arrested dozens of political activists on bogus charges, imprisoned critical journalists, broken up peaceful public demonstrations, and adopted legislation imposing new restrictions on fundamental freedoms.HRW_logo Read the rest of this entry »

Pakistani human rights defender raided by the Rangers

February 13, 2012

The following story illustrates very well how HRDs straddle the issue of civil rights in relation to social and economic rights. It comes from the reliable Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

A troop of twenty-five rangers illegally raided the house of Mr. Muhammad Ali Shah, a human rights activist and chairperson of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum.

On Thursday 9 February, 2012 around 7pm in the evening, Mr. Shah participated in a protest organised by the labourers of M/S MASCO (A German Garments Factory in Karachi) against the unjust and inhuman working conditions imposed by the management. The peaceful protesters were fired upon resulting in many casualties. Moreover, a number of protesters were abducted by the police. They were given no reason for their arrest. Mr. Shah condemned the acts of the factory management and unlawful support of the police. He talked to the officials and had the labourers released. This infuriated the factory owner and he contacted one of his friends in the Rangers named Lt. Col. Jawaid.

The Rangers already had a grudge against Mr. Shah and. Lt. Col. Jawaid therefore wasted no time in taking up his friend’s unofficial complaint. The same evening he phoned Mr. Muhammad Ali Shah, abused him verbally and threatened him with kidnapping and death. He warned Mr. Shah to keep himself away from social work or get ready to bear the harsh consequences. Mr. Shah replied that he was not undertaking any unlawful acts and that he was only showing support to the people who are victims of injustice.

Lt. Col. Jawaid became even angrier and sent 20-25 armed Rangers at around midnight to kidnap Mr. Shah and teach him a lesson. The soldiers cordoned off the area where Mr. Shah lives as if they were acting against some terrorist threat and raided his house without having any legal order or complaint in black and white. Fortunately, Mr, Shah was not at home at that time otherwise he might have been treated brutally before being abducted.

The urgent appeal by the Asian Human Rights Commission then goes on to give more detailed background information and to issue a call for action. See: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-022-2012

42 human rights defenders and political activists detained to prevent them from participating in a peaceful protest in Jaffna on Human Rights Day – FIDH – Worldwide Human Rights Movement

December 15, 2011

For those who thought that the situation in Sri Lanka is normalizing the attached report from the OMCT/FIDH Observatory for Human Rights Defenders makes disappointing reading: 42 human rights defenders and political activists detained to prevent them from participating in a peaceful protest in Jaffna on Human Rights Day – FIDH – Worldwide Human Rights Movement.