Posts Tagged ‘human rights organizations’

Lebanese pilgrims as hostages

July 18th, 2012 Comments off
Notice that Western news organizations still ignore the story of the Lebanese pilgrims who were kidnapped by the armed gangs of the Free Syrian Army.  Notice that this humanitarian story is not of concern even to the Western human rights organizations.  Anything that damages the reputation of your pet, disregard.

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Rod Nordland: one day he displays his ignorance on Lebanon, the next day on Syria

June 27th, 2012 Comments off
No crime and no massacre by the UnFree Syrian Army get blamed on the UnFree Syrian Army.  They can get away with any war crime and massacre because they know that the Western media and Western human rights organizations will not blame them, or they will be criticized mildly in one line in 60-page report by the two major Zionist human rights organizations.  No matter what they do, and even if the claims of the Free Syrian Army are so clearly lies, the Western media will manage to peddle those lies.  Did any Western media organization comment on the kidnapping by the gangs of that army of innocent Lebanese pilgrims? Not one to my knowledge.  Look at this line in a report by Rod Nordland–emerging quickly as one of the worst foreign correspondent of the New York Times:  “ Syria said Wednesday that rebels stormed a pro-government television station in a Damascus suburb, killing employees and blowing up the station in an audacious predawn assault, but rebels said the attackers were defectors from the elite Republican Guard, considered to be the most loyal core defenders of President Bashar al-Assad.”  So the massacre of employees of that channel is portrayed as a “brazen” and “audacious”.  If the regime troops raided a station that is opposed to the regime in Turkey or in Lebanon and massacred its employees, I can see the protests by Western governments and media and by the Committee to Protect Journalists.  And of course, the New York Times never miss to report any blatant lie by the Free Syrian Army, including the lie that the regime bombs itself repeatedly.  

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Amnesty International Is Cheerleading For War

May 21st, 2012 Comments off

‘b’ said:

“So called human rights organizations are increasingly used as propaganda tools against the enemy du jour of western imperialism.
When Georgia attacked Russia peacekeepers in South-Ossetia resulting in a short and lost war Human Rights Watch misidentified cluster ammunition used during that war as Russian when it was, according to its own mine identification charts, indeed Georgian ammunition which had been purchased from Israel. Human Rights Watch continued to push the false claim even weeks after it had been proven wrong
When the French wanted to attack Libya Amnesty International’s French director falsly claimed that Gaddhafi was using black mercenaries. Such claims later resulted in violent atrocities by the Libyan rebels against all black people.
Human Rights Watch lamented about Syria putting mines on its borders against weapon smuggling. It claimed that such mines are internationally banned which they are not. But it did not say a word when Israel mined its border with Syria to prevent Syrian refugees from coming in.
The partisanship of these organizations has now reached a new level with Amnesty International openly calling for NATO to prolong the war on Afghanistan….”

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Bahrain Crisis between Hunger Strike and Grand Prix Boycott

April 12th, 2012 Comments off

The crisis in Bahrain continues to boil along, despite the harsh crackdown of the Sunni monarchy on the protest movement (made up largely of the Shiite majority, but also supported by some Sunni parties). The crackdown has left about 83 dead in the past year, and hundreds have been imprisoned. Abd al-Hadi al-Khwajah, a protester and hunger striker that the Bahrain authorities have sentenced to life imprisonment, is in very bad health. Aljazeera English reports:

Al-Khwajah’s plight and that of the other political prisoners are raising questions about the holding of the Grand Prix Formula One race in Bahrain this year (it was cancelled last year). Aljazeera English reports:

The USG Open Source Center translates these two reports from Bahrain opposition web sites. (Al-Wifaq is the major political party of the Shiite majority. It demands a constitutional monarchy and revisions to the constitution. Shiites in Bahrain feel that they are discriminated against in employment, education and basic rights by the Sunni monarchy. Al-Wifaq is led by cleric Ali Salman, a moderate.) in Arabic [website of Bahrain’s largest Shiite opposition group] … is observed to carry the “text” of the Friday sermon delivered by Shiite cleric Ayatollah Isa Qasim. In his sermon, Qasim says that “Abd-al-Hadi al-Khawajah was unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment” and according to the reports of Human Rights organizations, “his health condition has become too frail and his life is at risk.” Qasim adds: “This portends a very grave national and human rights crisis the negative results of which are certain.” He explains his opinion by saying: “If Al-Khawajah dies, it would be one of the ‘unforgivable’ crimes of the regime and this would lead to a serious deterioration of the security situation in the country.” The report cites Qasim as saying: “We do not call for any armed intervention by any party, but we need more serious pressure to be put on the Bahraini regime by its ‘strategic allies,’ instead of their supportive words and stances that encourage the regime to commit more acts of violence.”…

“[The] Bahrain Mirror in Arabic [Pro-opposition website] says that the Al-Wifaq National Islamic Society has urgently summoned its cadres to set up an around-the-clock operations room to follow up on the developments in the issue of Abd-al-Hadi al-Khawajah who has reportedly reached a critical stage due to the 56-day hunger strike. The report adds that Al-Wifaq’s Secretary General Ali Salman has changed his tone on this issue by saying that “the regime will be held responsible for the consequences of whatever harm is done to Abd-al-Hadi al-Khawajah.”

The United States has widely been accused of hypocrisy in declining to criticize or sanction the Bahrain authorities for their intolerance of dissent, while jumping up and down about dictatorship in countries the US government dislikes, such as Syria.

For an excellent analysis of political dynamics in Bahrain, see Laurence Louer at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace

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How much Copts trust the Brotherhood

April 8th, 2012 Comments off

Not at all:

A poll conducted by the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations, led by Coptic activist Naguib Gobrail, suggests that a majority of Copts support Amr Moussa for the presidency.


The sample consisted of 3000 Copts.

Moussa received 78 percent of votes in the poll, while Islamist candidate Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh got 22 percent, Gobrail said. The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Khairat al-Shater, and Salafi-oriented candidate Hazem Salah Abou Ismail both got zero votes.


Not bad for Aboul Fotouh though.

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Egyptian NGOs condemn foreign orgs crackdown

February 16th, 2012 Comments off

A large number of Egypt’s leading human rights and social development NGOs have issued a statement condemning the indictment of 44 NGO workers that has created a diplomatic crisis between the US and Egypt. This is the first concerted condemnation of the manufactured NGO crisis, and comes as the Egyptian media in recent days (despite SCAF head Tantawi’s conciliatory statements towards the US after meeting with Pentagon officials) unleashed a campaign against the US and NGOs more generally (as being foreign pawns, etc.). I consider this a very positive development, and a courageous move for these NGOs that have a lot more to lose from a crackdown on civil society.

Here’s the opening part of the statement:

February 15, 2012

Orchestrated campaign against human rights organizations: Facts absent; the public intentionally misled

The undersigned organizations strongly condemn the ongoing slandering and intimidation of civil society organizations, particularly human rights groups, and note that the referral of 43 Egyptian and foreign nationals to a criminal court is politically motivated. The affected institutions have been operating for several years without being asked to suspend their activities and without their offices being shut down. Moreover, in October the Egyptian government asked two of these organizations to monitor the parliamentary elections, although Article 2 of Decree 20/2011 regulating the role of civil society in monitoring elections – issued by the chair of the Supreme Elections Commission – specifically bars non-Egyptian NGOs from monitoring elections unless they present a permit from the Foreign Ministry authorizing them to do so in Egypt. Although this permit is limited to election monitoring, it nevertheless legitimizes the licensed organizations, insofar as a permit to engage in such a specific activity necessarily assumes the organization’s legal, legitimate presence in Egypt.

In a sudden disregard of these facts, the raiding the offices of these and other Egyptian organizations with armed forces and their referral to trial raise numerous questions. Indeed, it makes one question whether this development is in fact based on considerations for “the rule of law” and “judicial independence,” as senior government officials claim. 

Here’s the full statement in PDF.

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Egypt Raids 17 Human Rights NGOs: Did They Just Shoot Santa Claus?

December 29th, 2011 Comments off

The Egyptian military receives $1.3 billion annually from the US taxpayer. Today the Egyptian government raided 17 human rights organizations and NGOs, reportedly to investigate “foreign funding.” Employees are being detained in their offices, computers confiscated, etc. Among the 17 are the US-based National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute (both of which receive State Department funding), Freedom House, and others.

I am, however, doubtful that all these NGOs put together receive as much “foreign funding” as the Egyptian Armed Forces.

This is a sad day for human rights and civil society in Egypt. It also may be the day that SCAF shot Santa Claus.

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Letter on Bahrain to Secretay Clinton

November 30th, 2011 Comments off

The Project on Middle Esst Democracy has written a letter to Secretary of State Clinton on the Bahrain crisis, which I co-signed. It asks the US take seriously the findings of severe human rights violations on the part of the regime, and to pressure it to take concrete steps to end them. The letter anticipated the Bassiouni report commissioned by the king, which confirmed the seriousness of the violations.

Nov. 21, 2011

Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

We are writing to you out of concern with ongoing developments in Bahrain.

“meaningful reform and equal treatment for all Bahrainis are in Bahrain’s interest, in the region’s interest, and in ours.”

As we await the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) on November 23, we are also pleased to hear that the administration will “review the Commission’s findings carefully and assess the Government of Bahrain’s efforts to implement the recommendations and make needed reforms.”

We are hopeful the BICI report will thoroughly document human rights violations committed in Bahrain that have been independently verified by international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, and many others since protests began in February. Furthermore, we hope the implementation of reform and accountability mechanisms for human rights violations will lead to a process of substantive political reform that is responsive to the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Bahraini people.

As you noted recently, “mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens and will not make legitimate calls for reform go away.” In order to restore public confidence and deliver on its promises to uphold human rights and accountability, the U.S. Government should urge the Government of Bahrain to:

Unconditionally release political prisoners and end torture, arbitrary detention, and incommunicado detention;

Protect Shi’a places of worship and religious buildings, rebuild destroyed mosques, and end systematic discrimination in political representation, government recruitment, employment, and naturalization policies;

Take measures to ensure the reinstatement of all workers and employees who were dismissed from their workplace for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, political opinion, and assembly;

Allow and fully cooperate with independent human rights organizations and observers, including U.N. bodies such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to investigate claims of human rights abuses; Investigate and hold accountable all individuals who authorized, condoned, or committed human rights abuses, including the use of violence or torture against peaceful protesters and detainees

Release medical professionals and political prisoners who have been detained without charge or convicted and sentenced for political offenses; and

Allow access by local and international journalists to activists, protest sites, hospitals and other public institutions.

While we hope the BICI report will comprehensively address the range of past and ongoing human rights abuses, the Government of Bahrain’s commitment to reform should be demonstrated by concrete efforts to quickly implement serious reforms. The democratic demands of the Bahraini people are based on a universal desire for dignity and self-determination. Such demands include, but are not limited to:

The empowerment of elected rather than appointed government institutions.

Universal and equal suffrage, including in the designation of electoral districts;

A judicial system that operates independently, both financially and administratively, and is impartial and transparent in its proceedings;

The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation based on political opinions that are different than others; and

A security apparatus respectful of human rights and subject to independent review.

These concerns have been articulated in documents such as the National Action Charter of 2001, the Manama Document of October 2011, and points laid out by the Crown Prince of Bahrain in a speech on March 13, 2011.

After considering the recommendations of the BICI report and previous reports by international rights organizations, we hope that, as you have stated, the U.S. Government will “hold the Bahraini Government to these commitments and to encourage the opposition to respond constructively to secure lasting reform.”

We were pleased to see the delay of the recently proposed sale of arms to Bahrain, and we hope that no sale of items that could be used to repress the Bahraini people will move forward until reforms are agreed to, implementation has begun, and the Bahraini government has clearly ceased using torture and violence against its own people. As we also recognize the “need for dialogue, reconciliation, and concrete reforms,” we look forward to a comprehensive reconciliation process that restores respect for human rights and holds violators accountable. We hope that process will be a first step that can lead to a meaningful, substantive national dialogue, which includes all parts of the peaceful opposition, to produce concrete political reforms that meet the democratic aspirations of the Bahraini people.

Stephen McInerney
Project on Middle East Democracy

Elisa Massimino
Human Rights First

Hans Hogrefe
Physicians for Human Rights

Michele Dunne
Atlantic Council

Elliott Abrams
Council on Foreign Relations

Steven Heydemann
Georgetown University

Matthew Duss
Center for American Progress

Jean-Francois Julliard
Reporters Without Borders

Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Diane Randall

Tom Malinowski
Human Rights Watch

David J. Kramer
Freedom House

Shawna Bader-Blau
Solidarity Center

Jennifer L. Windsor
Georgetown University

Andrew Exum
Center for a New American Security

Cathy Feingold

Ted Piccone
Brookings Institution

Juan Cole
University of Michigan

Jamie M. Fly
Foreign Policy Initiative

Suad Joseph
University of California, Davis

Jon Rainwater
Peace Action West

Charles Butterworth
University of Maryland

Husain Abdulla
Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain

Ehtisham Abidi
Universal Muslim Association of America

Zachary Lockman
New York University

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Toby Jones
Rutgers University

Laurie A. Brand
University of Southern California

Lisa Schirch
3P Human Security

James E. Winkler
General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church

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Authoritarian unto the nations

November 15th, 2011 Comments off
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved two bills that would limit foreign funding for Israeli human rights organizations.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had already announced support for one of the bills, sponsored by two members of his Likud party – MKs Tzipi Hotovely and Ofir Akunis – which would cap foreign governments’ contributions to “political” non-governmental organizations at NIS 20,000.”

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Egyptian NGOs say no to SCAF

November 10th, 2011 Comments off

NGOs Refuse to Meet with Governing Authorities – six leading Egyptian NGOs say no more legitimization of SCAF and its agents:

The undersigned human rights organizations refuse to participate in the meeting called today by Dr. Ali Salmi, Deputy Prime Minister for Political Development and Democratic Transition, in order to discuss criteria for selecting a Constituent Assembly to draft the constitution. We refuse to attend any other meetings of this kind until the government of Dr. Essam Sharaf and the military council prove their respect for the dignity and rights of the Egyptian people. Under this government and military council, thousands have been subjected to unjust military trials, and torture has increased whilst perpetrators go unpunished. Smear campaigns have targeted the very civil society organizations which helped uncover and address the crimes of the former dictator Hosni Mubarak — apparently in revenge for their concern for the dignity and rights of the Egyptian people.

. . .

The undersigned human rights organizations say: ‘We established our credibility with the Egyptian people through years of hard work resisting the dictatorship and addressing practices which violated human rights. Regardless of the military council and government’s position towards us, we will not participate in discussions which, ten months after the fall of Mubarak, begin to look less and less serious. It is out of question to discuss a constituent assembly to draft the constitution with the government and military council. Their prisons are packed with hundreds, if not thousands, of citizens. Their people have paid the price for a society which respects the rights and dignity of humans with the blood of their children. And members of this government and council continue to evade punishment for their crimes, falsehoods, and incitement against the Egyptian people.’

It’s worth noting that even the very official National Council for Human Rights (not a signatory) issued a report on the Maspero affair that clearly put some of the blame on the military. It seems Egyptian civil society is, perhaps belatedly, taking a stance against SCAF and questioning its legitimacy.

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