» An ongoing exodus? “On a daily basis hundreds of people are still crossing into neighbouring countries,” according to the UN’s refugee coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis, who says the estimates could actually be much higher than estimated. In related news, Human Rights Watch has called on Syria to stop laying landmines, calling them ”militarily ineffective” devices that will be dangerous for decades to come.
» The second round of prisoner releases: Last month, the Arab League made a deal to free 755 detainees as part of a peace plan. Now it seems to have gone further, as the Arab League said on Monday it had secured the release of 3,500 total prisoners. However … it’s possible they may just be getting detained outside of the view of Arab League observers. Last week, Human Rights Watch accused Syria of moving prisoners to military facilities, where observers are not allowed to go. Syria hasn’t proven the most trustworthy government during the conflict.
transient-dreamer asks: Amnesty International asks Canada to arrest George W. Bush. What do you think?
» SFB says: The odds of this actually happening are super-low. It’s an attempt at drawing attention to an issue that’s mostly faded out of view for a lot of people. As Canadian officials state in this article, they, along with Human Rights Watch, are “engaging in cheap stunts.” OK, Bush wasn’t exactly the most popular guy when he left office, and his administration likely got away with things that they shouldn’t have, but let’s face it, this is as unproductive and politically corrosive as anything the GOP’s been criticized for since they regained the House. — Ernie @ SFB
Over the last 90 days, the Digg...
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Parents, journalists, and community activists who dare to speak out about lead are detained, harassed, and ultimately silenced.Joe Amon, a director for Human Rights Watch • Voicing charges of large-scale deception by the Chinese government in informing its citizens about (and keeping them safe from) lead poisoning. The report comes on the heels of a major lead poisoning incident near a tinfoil factory that struck 103 children; it finds that the Chinese government would tell parents, among other things, that eating eggs and drinking milk was a sufficient treatment for lead poisoning. One parent describes being told his child wasn’t poisoned but not being allowed to actually examine his tests. This sounds like a case of putting an industrial economy above the health and safety of citizens — the level of safety regulation for factories in China is generally very poor. source (via • follow)
The group wants Alassane Ouattara to investigate. With incredibly high stakes at play, the situation in the Ivory Coast certainly had the potential to get very bad very quickly, and that’s exactly what Human Rights Watch claims has happened. “While the international community has been focused on the political stalemate in Abidjan over the presidency,” said Human Rights Watch Africa director Daniel Bekele, ”forces on both sides have committed numerous atrocities against civilians, their leaders showing little interest in reining them in.” On Alassane Ouattara’s side, the group claims supporters ”summarily executed and raped perceived Gbagbo supporters in their homes.” On Laurent Gbagbo’s side, supporters reportedly retaliated by killing more than 100 civilians. In case you haven’t been watching this story, now might be the time to use your non-blind eye. source
In Libya, it’s official. They mediate crazy with crazy. Way to go, Hugo Chavez. You now have an opportunity to bring the level of discourse you have with your people in Venezuela to Libya. There’s a Charlie Sheen joke in here somewhere, but we’ll leave it to you guys to make said joke.
Wow ShortForm Blog, way to use ableist language and illustrate how ignorant your commentary can be. Without knowing the specifics of the plan, Hugo Chavez has already done more to bring an end to this conflict then any stern words or glances by America or condemnations from the United Nations. As far as I am concerned, Hugo Chavez will do anything to keep Western forces from making a land invasion (listen to what his UN ambassador said.) Sec. of Defense Robert Gates believes (along with the joint chiefs of staff of the armed forces) that the no fly zone over Libya is prelude to military intervention and that is the last thing that many scholars and Libyans want to happen. Furthermore if you want to discuss the politics of Hugo Chavez then I am more than glad to help you but don’t compare him or anyone to Charlie Sheen. This entire entry is ridiculous and it engenders narratives of colonialist sentiments with obtuse pop culture analogies.
Hey guys, read this: http://www.hrw.org/en/world-report-2011/venezuela
On violent crime: Violent crime is rampant in Venezuela, where extrajudicial killings by security agents remain a recurring problem. The minister of the interior and justice has estimated that police commit one in every five crimes.
On dissent: “However, the government has discriminated against media that air views of political opponents, and has strengthened the state’s capacity to limit free speech and created powerful incentives for government critics to self-censor.” and “Several prominent critics of the Chávez government have been targeted for criminal prosecution. The courts’ lack of independence diminished the accused parties’ chances of receiving a fair trial.”
On worker rights: “The Chávez government has systematically violated workers’ rights, undercutting established labor unions while favoring new, parallel unions that support its agenda.”
On people who criticize their human rights record: “The Chávez government has aggressively sought to discredit local and international human rights organizations. Officials, including the president, have repeatedly made unsubstantiated allegations that human rights advocates are engaged in efforts to destabilize the country.”
See where we’re going with this? Yeah. Chavez is in the same boat as Gaddafi on this human rights thing. Which, even considering they’re allies, seems like a perfectly good reason to be skeptical here. Charlie Sheen jokes aside, he isn’t a saint. (Edit in response to The Noob Yorker: We’re not talking about styles of governance, nor any sort of specific difference in governing style or political record. What we’re saying is that Chavez has a spotty human rights record. It’s not as bad as Gaddafi’s, no, but it’s enough to be worthy of questioning whether or not this guy should be involved. However you personally feel about his politics, that’s all we need. One other point: SFB is not really in the business of long debates and we mostly try to avoid them. So let’s just leave it at this.)