Verdicts to be Issued for Bahraini Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab


Verdicts to be Issued Thursday for Bahraini Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab

 (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) -On Thursday August 16, a court in Manama, Bahrain is expected to issue a verdict/hear briefs in four cases pending against Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab, including Rajab’s appeal over the three-month sentence he is currently serving for being found guilty of libel due to posting six statements on Twitter that are critical of the BahrainiPrime Minister. The other cases that the court will hear include allegedly inciting gatherings and unauthorized marches.This is not the first time the court has set a date for a verdict, and in other prominent cases – notably that of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja – the court has met only to announce a delay. These postponements raise the question as to the legitimacy of Bahrain’s judicial process. Media reports have cited the delays as an indication of the government’s commitment to reform, yet the track record to justify such conclusions is lacking.

“I believe strongly in peaceful means of struggle. It could take longer time, but has better results,” Nabeel Rajab told Witness Bahrain in a videotaped interview just days before his arrest. “I will continue all my life struggling for democracy and human rights.”

Rajab is currently being held in Jaw Central Prison and, according to reports from his family, in an insect-ridden cell without air conditioning or proper ventilation, and without needed medical attention for his eczema, high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat.

“We, as the family of Nabeel Rajab, plead to you and plead to the UN and all international human rights organizations and institutions to demand from the Bahraini authorities that Nabeel Rajab should be released, that abuses against him and our family should stop and that he should be allowed to practice his human rights activities as guaranteed by all international conventions,” wrote Nabeel Rajab’s wife Sumaya in an open letter on behalf of herself and her two children.

In addition to this just-released video interview, in which Nabeel Rajab talks about his work oh behalf of the Bahraini people’s struggle for democracy and human rights, a member of Witness Bahrain conducted a video interview with Nabeel Rajab on July 9, 2012, the day he was arrested and taken to prison, including filming surreptitious footage of the arrest itself.

Press contact for Witness Bahrain:
Kate Raphael katrap40@gmail.com, +1-510-381-1287

Govt control on internet: How Indian netizens have won #goodnews


 

Firstpost

Aug 16, 2012

By Rajeev Chandrasekhar

The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has supported my stand on the need for consultation with multi-stakeholder groups in India before finalising the stand in UN. He assured that the Government will review its position in the UN and submit a new proposal post consultations with all stakeholders in India. I welcome the government’s plan to hold a consultation on the issue of global Internet governance.

I had taken up this issue in May 2012 and sought a public consultation on this issue through representations and meetings with the Prime Minister, External Affairs Minister and several other senior bureaucrats in the government opposing India’s existing proposal of a Committee for Internet-Related Policy (CIRP) without any prior consultation with multi-stakeholder groups in India.

Dangers of India’s Proposal

Reuters.

India had made statement made at the 66th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on October 26, 2011, proposing government control over the internet through the formation of Committee on Internet Related Policies – CIRP which expected to come up for a discussion on May 18, 2012 in Geneva during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) meeting on the issue of enhanced cooperation etc.

India’s position enunciated in the statement hurt its reputation of a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and democratic society with an open economy and an abiding culture of pluralism. Further, it hurts the advancement of the internet as a vehicle for openness, democracy, freedom of expression, human rights, diversity, inclusiveness, creativity, free and unhindered access to information and knowledge, global connectivity, innovation and socio-economic growth.

India’s proposal was fundamentally against the interest of 800 million mobile users and over 100 million internet users in India who need to play a continued role by strengthening the existing multi-stakeholder process, rather than moving internet governance to a government-run, inter-governmental, bureaucratically organized system – as proposed by India.

Another, fall out of India’s position was that India’s position is closely associated with countries such as Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Brazil, South Africa and Rwanda etc, none of which is a sparkling example of democracy, free speech, or human rights. Unless the global reporting on this issue is inaccurate, it is clear that we will suffer tremendously by way of our reputation in being seen as associated with such countries on the issue of internet governance and, by extension, freedom of expression and free speech.

The multi-stakeholder groups consultation will go beyond its current stage and involve all stakeholders, including provide specific platforms wherein multi-stakeholder groups can come to face-to-face in meetings or online forums to provide their inputs.

I encourage the youth – school and college students, civil society, academia, private sector and businesses and international organizations to use this opportunity to provide detailed views since their future is at stake – as Internet governance relates to issues of free speech, freedom of expression, privacy, access, and growth of the Internet to reduce barriers, increase employment opportunities, and enhance information amongst communities in India and around the world.

With the Government agreeing to hold public consultations on the matter, is the time for the multi-stakeholder groups to take lead keeping in mind which deserves to play its rightful role at a global level through media such as the Internet. Hope that the government would learn that discussions on the issue of Internet governance cannot be held behind closed doors or with limited groups, and that this will be the beginning of a new paradigm of engaging all citizens in a constant dialogue relating to the future and growth of the Internet.

Coming on the eve of Independence Day, the government’s decision to agree on consultation is small but significant victory for all millions of netizens and those who have fought the last few months to preserve the open, non bureaucratic, non-governmental nature of Internet regulation.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha

 

Survey Resists Mental Health System Hopelessness #mustread


  Early Results: Yes, There is Hope After a   Psychiatric Diagnosis!

MindFreedom “I Got Better” Survey on
Mental Health Gets Great Initial Response.

Haven’t Taken the Survey Yet? Please Do!

When someone — often a young person — gets their first psychiatric diagnosis, it can feel hopeless.

MindFreedom International’s “Hope in Mental Health Care Survey” is off to a great start.

Part of an “I Got Better” campaign, more than 1,000 have already taken this few-minute-long introductory survey, sharing their opinions and experiences of hope and hopelessness in mental health care.

Haven’t responded yet? Help make the survey response even bigger and better!

Click here to take the brief survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mfi-igb-intro

Feel free to share the survey link widely with your friends and social networks.

The “Hope in Mental Health Care” survey launched the I Got Better campaign, an ongoing project defying the all-too-common message that recovery from mental and emotional distress is impossible.

Some exciting preliminary results from the survey are in:

• 97.7% of survey respondents with a psychiatric history have experienced at least some recovery from a mental health or emotional problem.

• 65.2% ranked themselves as “8” or higher on a recovery scale, and 21.5% ranked themselves as “10” (“fully recovered”).

• 63.9% of all survey respondents strongly agreed that “With proper care nearly all people diagnosed with a mental health or emotional problem can recover.”

The I Got Better campaign will make stories of recovery and data about hope in mental health care (drawn largely from the survey) available through a variety of media, including its own new website:

http://igotbetter.org

You can help this campaign go viral. Through the I Got Better Campaign, these and other important data will be publicized widely, combating harmful messages of stigma and hopelessness.

That new I Got Better web site now has a call for you to submit your own video story of mental health recovery, which could some day save the life of someone getting a psychiatric label, such as a youth or young adult.

The more survey responses MindFreedom can collect, the stronger the data on hope in mental health care will be!

Click here to take the intro survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mfi-igb-intro

PLEASE FORWARD this update to your friends, colleagues, and web networks.

PUCL Report: Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project misleading


 

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The first reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is being readied by the Nuclear Power  Corporation of India (NPCIL) for loading its nuclear fuel. Conducting site and offsite emergency  preparedness exercises are the legally mandatory norms that should be followed in order to get the  license from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for loading this fuel. The district authorities are responsible for conducting the offsite emergency exercises with the guidance from the KKNPP  Environment Survey Lab.

 
The district authorities visited Nakkaneri, a tiny hamlet 7 km away from KKNPP on 9 June 2012 morning along with AERB, DAE and NPCIL officials. They issued a press statement in the evening that the offsite emergency training comprising three stages had been completed successfully. However, there were  news reports that countered this assertion.  Keeping the 11 March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in mind, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) 1contemplated to conduct a fact finding mission that would shed light on the way the offsite  emergency exercise was conducted at the village. The fact finding mission members travelled to
Nakkaneri village on two separate days (13th and 20th June).

 

People of the village were interviewed.  Signed written and video affidavits were obtained from them. From the interviews with the local people, it is learnt that the district authorities did not inform the people or their representatives about the exercise that follows an offsite nuclear accident. They spent a few hours in the village but did not do any of the legally mandatory work. Then they left the village.

 

They  issued a press statement saying that the offsite emergency training comprising three stages had been  completed successfully. PUCL investigation revealed that the main content of the press note released by  the Collector following the event was indeed false. Also, it was found that the Environment Survey Lab  of KKNPP authorities have made a very big mistake by identifying an upwind site as a downwind one.

 

KKNPP is located in a windmill region. The capacity of the rotating blades of the windmills to disperse  the radioactive plume into the local micro environment has not been studied so far by the scientists of AERB.

 

Based on these findings, nine recommendations have been made. They include that the Governments of  India and Tamil Nadu should declare the Offsite Emergency Preparedness Exercise ‘reportedly’conducted on 9 June 2012 at Nakkaneri village as null and void. As no exercise was conducted it was a mockery on all the national and international regulatory codes. This warrants an appropriate action  against all concerned.

 

 

 

Full report can be downloaded here

 

 

 

File an RTI application in 5 simple steps


 

 
It has been 65 years since we gained independence. But it was only seven years ago that we gained the right to information. The passage of the RTI Act in 2005 has resulted in many social changes. We have read about activists using the RTI.

But did you know that even you could file an RTI application?

That’s what nine-year-old Aishwarya Parashar did. This little girl from Lucknow has filed three RTIs with the Prime Minister’s Office.
Her efforts have resulted in the removal of a garbage dump near her school. Don’t you want to be a change-maker too?

File an RTI application in 5 simple steps:

1. Identify the department/subject of your query. Is it a state or a central subject? Keep in mind that different rules apply even though
they fall under the same Act.

2. Do a little background research. Find out what information falls under the purview of the department concerned.

3. Phrase your questions wisely and precisely. Ask for a copy of the documents. Fill up the RTI application form (application form given).

4. Attach court fee stamp or Indian Postal Order of worth Rs 10 with the application and keep a copy of it with you for future reference.

5. Post your application or hand it over personally to the ‘TAPAL” also called as Inward/Outward section of the respective department.

Find out more about RTI at http://rti.gov.in/

 

Chhattisgarh Killings What If They Were/Were Not Maoists?


 EPW-Vol – XLVII No. 33, August 18, 2012

The discourse on deaths in “encounters” with Maoists as in Chhattisgarh in June is usually framed in terms of whether or not the victims were Maoists. This is a wrong way of positing the issue. If the confl ict is dealt with as a law and order concern, then police fi ring is permissible only in self-defence. If it is seen as an armed confl ict, then under international conventions different rules apply, but the Government of India has refused to recognise the actions against the Maoists as part of an (non-international) armed confl ict.

Srinivas Burra (srinivasb@sau.ac.in) teaches at the Faculty of Legal Studies, South Asian University, New Delhi.

Read full article here

PRESS RELEASE- Maharashtra- More than150 political prisoners went on hunger strike on Independenceday


Mumbai-based activist Arun Ferreira kept a prison diary during his incarceration in Nagpur Central Jail.  Above cartoon is from the diary .

Aug 16, 2012 –Mumbai: The government of Maharashtra has recently imposed a fascist, anti-strike law covering public, semi-government and private sectors with a motive to gag workers and employees fighting for their own rights. To protest and urge the government to quash this high-handed, fascist law,  more than 150 the political prisoners  including male and female,in various Maharashtra  Jails  observed a one day hunger strike , according to Adv Surendra Gadling, who has been fighting for various political priosners in the state including Arun Ferriera.

The power echelons of the state seem to be striking contradictory notes while hailing stalwarts of social equalityMahatma Phule, Shahu Maharaj and Dr. Ambedkar on one hand and openly guarding capitalist and foreign interests on the other by forcing anti-strike laws like the ESMA to render strikes and public protests futile. The audacity of power and selfish motives have clearly made them forget that Dr. Ambedkar himself had pitched a fight against the anti-strike laws imposed by the British raj.

The financial policies of the government have only resulted in social disparity, exploitation and injustice, pushing the majority of our population below the poverty line, while a handful of billionaires are only getting richer. Privatisation of government ventures and services has paved way for the contract culture, only to compound the workers’ helplessness by such tyrannical laws, a recent and a blazing example is the gagging of workers’ unrest in Maruti’s Manesar plant.

The brown sahibs are repackaging the archaic anti-labour laws in a new avatar and forcing the workers into slavery.  The political prisoners urge everyone to rise for our own liberties and interests against these middlemen of the western, capitalist MNCs and laws tailor-made to fit their interests.

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