Abolitionists hold conference in Spain #Deathpenalty


death1

Published:
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Only for the most extreme cases. That’s part of Government’s continuing stance on the death penalty, which remains on T&T law books and which currently applies to 30 persons on Death Row—including one female. Speaking on the eve of this week’s international Anti-Death Penalty Congress in Spain, where the global abolitionist movement will caucus, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said, “This is an emotional political issue with powerful arguments on both sides. “There may be doubt whether it is a potent and effective deterrent, but it is difficult to argue with victims who rest their case on the principle of retribution. In the final analysis, it is a matter that should be decided by the people.”

 

 

Global focus will fall on the issue of the death penalty in the Caribbean when the fifth annual Anti-Death Penalty Congress takes place in Madrid, Spain, from tomorrow to Saturday. The event has been organised annually since 2001 by the Ensemble Contre la Peine du Mort (Together Against the Death Penalty) and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. It is being held this year on invitation of the Spanish government with support from the French, Norwegian and  Swiss governments. The summit, expected to be attended by 1,500 people from 90 countries, unites members of international civil society, politicians and legal experts to heighten the global lobby for the abolition of the death penalty.

 

Part of the gathering involves 200 participants from countries such as  T&T and others regionally,, which still retain the death penalty. Amnesty International estimates 13 of the 58 states that retain the death penalty are in the English-speaking Caribbean. Apart from special focus on the Arab and African regions in this year’s programme, the conference’s first day activities feature a session on the death penalty in the Caribbean region. Feature speakers include T&T’s Leela Ramdeen, who will present a paper representing the Greater Caribbean for Life group. This involves seven people from T&T, Belize, Guatemala, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and St Vincent & the Grenadines.

 

While deeply sympathising with the victims of  violent crime, the group doesn’t believe the death penalty makes societies safer. Members, however, believe abolition of the death penalty in T&T and the Caribbean will require a multi-faceted approach that addresses issues including improving the criminal justice and administration of justice systems, tackling crime and violence, addressing victims’ rights, enhancing education systems 1` and changing the minds of people. As for T&T’s positon on the death penalty issue, Ramlogan told the T&T Guardian: “There is no doubt the death penalty can be a deterrent, as it has an effect on the psyche of the criminal, but I’m aware that there’s a raging academic debate on this issue. “Victims and supporters argue it has nothing to do with the concept of deterrence, because it has to do with retribution and the enforcement of the law. Abolitionists argue that it is cruel and inhumane, is not an effective deterrent and ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves the whole world blind.”

 

Ramlogan added, “As the duly-elected government, we’re sworn to uphold and enforce the laws of this land and  therefore duty bound to facilitate and advance its implementation as long as it remains on the books.”  On the status of the Government’s moves to try and implement the law regarding hangings following its 2012 plan for legislation to categorise murders, Ramlogan said: “The Government did introduce a bill to categorise murders and introduce some measure of flexibility and discretion so that the death penalty would not be automatically imposed in every case. We were influenced in this regard by the American jurisprudence which distinguishes murders according to the particular facts and circumstances in which the murder occurred (hence, for example, murder in the first, second and third degree). “Unfortunately, this bill was not passed because the Opposition voted against it. The Government, however, has no difficulty with the proposition that the death penalty should be discretionary. We are, however, equally committed and duty-bound to implement the law as it presently stands.”

 

On whether the matter would be taken further, the AG said soon after the debate, he wrote Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley several letters “in the hope that we can have some meaningful dialogue on this issue.” “Unfortunately, there was no response. The Opposition has managed to maintain the contradictory position that it supports the death penalty but cannot support or propose any legislation to facilitate its implementation,” Ramlogan said. Since some quarters believe T&T, like other regional states, may soon have to take the death penalty off its books, where does T&T stand in this scenario? Ramlogan said, “I believe the overwhelming majority of the population favours the retention of the death penalty. The murder rate is high and there are many who believe in the principles of retention and deterrence. “The Government is in favour of categorising murders so that the death penalty can be reserved for the most extreme cases with the most brutal of heinous murders. The Opposition objected to this and we were forced to remove it from the proposed amendment to the Constitution. This, however, remains the Government’s position.”

 

Considering the 37 per cent reduction in serious crime (from 2012 to 2013 figures), asked whether Government still sees the death penalty as absolutely necessary, Ramlogan said, “The death penalty does not apply to most serious crimes. It does, however, apply to murder and the murder rate is still high even though it is on the decline.” With some polls on T&T showing a large part of the population favouring hanging, the AG was asked whether this can be expected before the end of the term. “We cannot implement the death penalty without an amendment to the Constitution. This requires a special majority in Parliament for which Opposition support is necessary,” he said. “In Jamaica the opposition recently joined forces with the government to vote to amend the Jamaica constitution to facilitate the implementation of the death penalty. We can only live in hope.” With the situation in limbo, the AG added, “The death penalty, part of our law, is what we inherited from our colonial masters. The Privy Council has ruled this is a valid part of T&T’s binding laws. “Both the Opposition and People’s Partnership have publicly declared their commitment to the implementation of the death penalty in response to the overwhelming public support and demand for it.” The AG added, “There is no universal consensus on the morality or correctness of the death penalty. It forms part of the laws and is in fact implemented in many countries, including certain states in the USA, Singapore and China.”

 

 

Opposition PNM says….

Opposition PNM deputy leader Marlene McDonald said the party stands by its position in favour of the death penalty, but also maintains its position against Government’s recent legislation on it. PNM Senator Fitzgerald Hinds added, “The death penalty issue is to me  more of an intellectual exercise more than emotional.” He said matters were often overturned at Privy Council level since that jurisdiction had abolished the death penalty. “They engage arguments in a rigorous exercise so it becomes a matter of their legal wit against that of Caribbean attorneys,” he added.
“So we have to be very intellectual in our approach on this. When the Government came with the last piece of legislation we examined it thoroughly and found where the Privy Council would have walked right over the stipulations of the bill.” Hinds added, “We must now await what new measures Government will present, then see whether that can meet Privy Council resistance.”

 

 

THE MADRID MANDATE

CONGRESS TOPICS:  include abolition and alternative sentences in the world, juveniles and the death penalty in the world, drug trafficking and the death penalty, legal representation in capital cases globally, the Middle East,  Iran, African and Asian regions and the death penalty, terrorism and abolition, the state of abolition in the USA, Europe and future strategies, death penalty and torture, abolitionist strategies.

POLITICAL FIGURES EXPECTED: President of Benin, Foreign Affairs Ministers of Spain, France, Swiss Confederation, Norway, Mauritania, deputy prime ministers of Luxembourg and Belgium, UN high commissioner for human rights, the general secretary of the Council of Europe, president of the Commission of Human Rights of the Iraq Parliament, president of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty, and the former  French Justice minister, who authored the French law that abolished France’s death penalty.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATES: Northern Ireland peace activist Mairead Maguire, former Iranian judge and women’s/human rights activist, Shirin Ebadi, former East Timor president Jose Ramos Horta.

TESTIMONIES FROM: former death row prisoners of Iran, Spain, Morocco, Uganda, Taiwan, parents, spouses of death row prisoners and the former death row warden of the US state of Virginia.

 

#Mumbai-Duo used fake documents to get AADHAAR, for clients #UID #WTFnews


While raiding the shop from where the brothers would operate, cops also found birth certificates, driving licences, ration cards, and 1,200 passport size photos

January 19, 2013
MUMBAI
Shiva Devnath, Midday

For three long years, two brothers used their computer skills to churn out hundreds of fake documents for clients who needed PAN, Aadhar, ration, voter identity cards in a jiffy. MHB police finally cracked down on the racket on Thursday night, arresting the two brothers from their home in Ganpat Patil Nagar in Dahisar (West). The accused have been identified as Suresh Trinath Maharana (31), and Sanjay Trinath Maharana (28), who were produced before a local court yesterday.

Shiva
The police seized 100 fake Aadhar cards, 80 PAN cards, 13 birth certificates, 10 driving licences, 10-20 voter identity and ration cards from them, as well as 1,200 passport size photos. Suresh Trinath Maharana (31), and Sanjay Trinath Maharana (28) used to take passport size photographs from clients, fudge documents for them, and obtain the cards

Shiva

Running the con
According to the police, Suresh masterminded the racket, while Sanjay assisted his elder brother by bringing in new customers. Suresh is handicapped. The duo used to run a shop named Maa Saraswati Enterprises at Ganpat Patil Nagar, out of which they have been running the racket for the past three years, making bogus documents for these cards. The police seized 100 fake Aadhar cards, 80 PAN cards, 13 birth certificates, 10 driving licences, 10-20 voter identity and ration cards from them, as well as 1,200 passport size photos.

Modus operandi
The duo used to take passport size photographs from clients, fudge documents for them, and obtain the cards. Police officials said the accused also had letterheads with the names of local legislators that they used to dish out recommendation letters. Sanjay was proficient at the computer and together the duo churned out documents resembling originals. They charged Rs 200-500 for each job. They also helped people open bank accounts.
The police have found a list of 150 customers on the duo’s client list.

The accused have been booked under Sections 465 (punishment for forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) 420 (cheating) and
34 (common intention) of the IPC. Subhash Chandra, investigating officer of MHB police station said, “There is a chance that more people will be arrested, who assisted the accused. We are investigating to find out from where they got so many documents including letterheads with the names of local MLA and MPs.”

Rs 200-500
The amount that Suresh and Sanjay took for each job

 

Sex Education is Also a Right- is India listening ?


By Ivet GonzálezReprint |
Many countries in Latin America have made progress in introducing sex education in schools. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPSMany countries in Latin America have made progress in introducing sex education in schools. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

HAVANA, Nov 13 2012 (IPS) – Learning about respect in a relationship, sexual orientation, sexuality, gender equality and family planning forms part of the right to sex education that is still not enjoyed by all children and adolescents in Latin America.

“They talk to us in school about teen pregnancy and safe and responsible sex,” Leonardo Martínez, a 12-year-old student in Havana, told IPS. “I did homework about children’s rights, and thanks to that we learned more about how important sex education is.”

However, Javier García, who is the same age, commented, “We have to talk more about other things,” after participating in a community meeting about violence against women as part of a national event that was held this month in eight Cuban provinces. “We experience these differences, but we don’t know how to deal with them.”

“Sexuality needs to be thought of in terms of pedagogy and human rights. We need to move from a medical approach to a more educational approach,” said Argentine sexologist Mirta Marina, coordinator of her country’s National Programme for Comprehensive Sex Education.

Latin America is “going through a process of development” in this field, but “it still has many restrictions, mostly because of the conservatism that has been passed down for centuries, which makes it difficult to talk about these matters within the family and at school,” Marina told IPS in Havana, during a regional meeting on comprehensive sex education.

In classrooms and other educational spaces, teaching staff should provide guidance about sexuality with the goal of promoting health. “But we have to progressively add other aspects, such as gender equality, respect for gender diversity, and the elements of affection, expression of feelings and pleasure,” she added.

In her opinion, “it is a battle that will continue, to a lesser or greater extent, based on the progress made in each country. We have to work more on the rights of boys and girls to enjoy their bodies and gender equality.”

This agreement, which was signed in 2008 by 30 health ministries and 26 education ministries from Latin American and the Caribbean, outlined paths to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The countries committed themselves to achieving two major goals by 2015: cutting in half the number of adolescents and young people who do not have access to health services that fully meet their sexual health needs, and reducing by 75 percent the number of schools — under ministerial jurisdiction — that do not provide comprehensive sex education.

According to the study, which covers the 2008-2011 period, the Mesoamerican region — southern Mexico and Central America — advanced by 49 percent in implementing that strategy, and South America made 41 percent progress. However, it did not include Brazil or the Caribbean islands.

The countries that made the most progress were Colombia, Argentina, Guatemala and Costa Rica. And bringing up the rear were Panama, Belize, Paraguay, Bolivia and Venezuela, the study found.

According to the United Nations, in Latin America some 68,000 adolescents (10 to 19 years old) are living with HIV/AIDS: 34,680 of them female and 33,320 male. And more than half of new HIV cases worldwide due to sexual transmission are detected among young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

In recent years, teen pregnancy rates have shot up in the region, exceeded only by those of Africa.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean reports that adolescents in the region accounted for 14 percent of births between 2000 and 2005 – nearly double the proportion of previous five-year periods.

From January to July of 2012, 1,448 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth in Guatemala.

And in Bolivia, 18 percent of mothers were 12 to 18 years old in 2008. But by 2011, that number had increased to 25 percent, according to the U.N. Population Fund, which on Nov. 14 will publish its annual world report focusing on the links between family planning, human rights and development.

That is why governments must guarantee sexual and reproductive rights from an early age, Uruguayan Dr. Stella Cerruti told IPS.

However, it is a slow process, and a subject of debate between specialists, politicians and the population in general, she said.

While many countries in the region have national programmes or have signed regional and international agreements, the reality is more complex.

Some religious groups and many parents are opposed to sex education in schools, and governments do not always put a priority on the issue, Cerruti said.

Cuba’s National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX) organised a gathering of 57 Latin American experts and activists in Havana Nov. 5-7 to review strategies and strengthen alliances in “comprehensive sex education with an approach based on gender, human rights and diversity.”

Civil society organisations “have an important role to play in social auditing and pressing governments to enforce legal frameworks on sex education,” activist Roberto Luna told IPS. “They can also provide them with specialised technical assistance,” added the founder of Incide Joven, a Guatemalan network that promotes political participation on the issue.

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