Rafeef Ziadah – Shades of Anger (English subtitled)


Rafeef Ziadah is a Palestinian activist, academic and spoken word artist. She is currently a Phd. candidate in Political Science at York University in Toronto. She released her spoken word CD Hadeel in Novermber 2009. She is a founding member of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) promoting the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestement and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in Canada, and an organizer of the international Israeli Apartheid Week. She is a member of the steering committee of the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott Initiative (PACBI).

NCPCR draws guideline to eliminate corporal punishments


Deutsch: Historische Federzeichnung einer schu...

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Aarti Dhar,TheHindu

Suggests Corporal Punishment Monitoring Cells in every school

With the number of incidents of schools practicing corporal punishments showing an increase, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the schools to constitute special monitoring cells to take prompt action in cases of physical punishment or harassment of children.

The NCPCR guidelines on elimination of corporal punishment, unveiled here on Monday to mark the foundation day of the child rights panel suggest that Corporal Punishment Monitoring Cells (CPMCs) should hear grievances related to corporal punishment, child sexual abuse, mental harassment and discrimination without any delay and should forward recommendations to district level authorities within 48 hours of the occurrence.

The panel has suggested that school boards should ask the schools affiliated to them to ensure “corporal punishment-free environment” that would be one of the conditions for granting affiliation or recognition while practice of physical punishment or mental harassment should be one of the grounds for withdrawal of affiliation, it said.

The guidelines suggest that school teachers should provide a written undertaking that they would not engage in any action that could be construed as amounting to physical punishment, mental harassment or discrimination.

It also says that schools should have annual social audits of physical punishment, harassment and discrimination. The guidelines suggest that results of the audit should be made public before start of every new academic year.

All schoolchildren should be informed through campaigns and publicity drives that they have a right to speak against physical punishments, mental harassment and discrimination.
Aarti Dhar, The Hindu
The NCPCR constituted comprehensive guidelines following a detailed study which was conducted in 2009-10 involving 6,632 children across seven States that showed that 6,623 children had reported experiencing some kind of punishment. As many as 81.2 per cent children had been subject to outward rejection by being told that they were not capable of learning or some other kind of verbal punishment.

Based on the findings of the report the NCPCR experts have come out with guidelines which stress on “positive engagement” with children.

The guidelines advise teachers to pay positive attention to children and appreciate good efforts while ignoring minor lapses. They also lay down that life skills education should be made a part of school curriculum and should address issues of self esteem, aggression, drug abuse, decision making, coping with stress and others.

The guidelines also suggest that school authorities should hold meetings with parent-teacher bodies on the guidelines and decide which procedures they should adopt to protect children and their rights in schools.

Speaking on the occasion, the NCPCR chairperson Shantha Sinha said that the “Commission has brought together some of the best minds and experts to draft its guidelines on corporal punishment.”

Camera Obscura and the manufacture of happiness- Vedanta


English: Photograph of Shyam Benegal in his of...

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Aman Sethi and Priscilla Jebaraj, march 6, The HIndu

Hostile online campaign takes some of the shine off Vedanta‘s promotionals.

An advertisement flooding airwaves across the country would have you believe that a company called Vedanta is a creating a product called happiness. A young child called “Binno” plays, studies, and thinks big dreams in one of India‘s lusher and more idyllic villages. Binno’s joy, the voice-over says, is relatively recent: Binno’s parents probably didn’t have as much fun or as many dreams as Binno does.

Binno’s parents don’t dispute the claims, but it is safe to assume that they certainly didn’t have ad-firm Ogilvy and Mather on hand to film their childhood as part of the first national campaign to signal the entry of controversial mining and metals giant Vedanta into the happiness market.

London-based Vedanta Resources is the holding company for a host of Indian and international companies like BALCO, Vedanta Aluminum, Sterlite, Sesa Goa, and Cairn India Ltd with annual revenues in excess of $11 billion. The company’s rapid expansion has attracted the ire of environmental activists and human rights groups like Amnesty International who have accused the company of exploiting indigenous communities — such as the Dongria Kondhs of Niyamgiri in Odisha — without due process.

The company is also involved in litigation over a proposed university in Odisha, and a separate case in Chhattisgarh in which 45 labourers were killed in a construction accident in their BALCO plant in Korba. Company spokespersons have denied such allegations and say that the company has improved the lives of thousands of individuals through employment and social initiatives implemented by the Vedanta Foundation.
Telling its side of the story

Vedanta’s “Creating Happiness” campaign, according to company spokesperson Senjam Raj Sekhar, is part of an “initiative to tell our side of the story”; yet the hostile reception on blogs and social-media networks like Facebook and Twitter highlights the risks of exposing a tightly controlled corporate message to the anarchy of the internet.

Case in point: The television commercial starring Binno is merely the launch pad of the campaign, which also includes a film competition, in which media and mass communication students from 21 institutions across the country were invited to make three-minute films on the company’s various Corporate Social Responsibilty projects. An online campaign appears to have influenced film director Shyam Benegal and film artiste Gul Panag‘s decision to withdraw from the competition jury.

Activists have even started a viral “Faking Happiness” campaign in an attempt to highlight Vedanta’s alleged malpractices.

Read more here

 

Fearless women: Sherry Rehman, Shehrbano Taseer feature on world women list


THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, Published: March 5, 2012

Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman and daughter of slain Punjab governor Shehrbano Taseer, have featured on The Daily Beast (Newsweek) list of 150 fearless women.

The list, which does not offer any ranking, lists the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatre, Saudi women rights activist Manal al-Sharif, Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman, and Oprah Winfrey.

About Rehman, The Daily Beast wrote that she had “spent her entire career pushing for human rights and free speech in of the world’s most conservative countries.” It added that while she worked with slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to author bills tackling honour killings and domestic violence. Her claim to the list – according to the Daily Beast, she braved death threats for trying to remove the death penalty in the controversial blasphemy law, even forced into a self-imposed house arrest.

On Shehrbano Taseer, the Beast wrote that she had picked up the battle standard for a progressive and secular Pakistan after the murder of her father and Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. She too, the Beast added, had been braving death threats, forging ahead unnerved with her mission to “eliminate the country’s strict blasphemy law, which are often invoked to execute religious minorities.”

The list featured 52 women form the United States including Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US Army’s Female Engagement Team.

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