Uganda’s anti-gay bill still exists, everyone: The legislation, authored by MP David Bahati, originally imposed the death penalty for people found guilty of “serial” homosexuality (it’s been reported that this penalty has now been removed from the bill), as well as prison sentences for first-time offenders, and heterosexuals who know of a gay person but don’t report it (presumably still in full swing). It’s self-evidently vile, evil, and has no place whatsoever in a civil society. There were reports last night that officials would vote on the bill today, but it’s not on the docket; the AP is reporting that the bill may come up for debate on Friday. source
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
Western capitals are failing to understand the magnitude of what is happening now. The Chinese authorities are actively seeking to try to redefine the boundaries of which opinions are tolerable, and which are not.Nicholas Bequelin, researcher for Human Rights Watch in China • Speaking on the grim state of Chinese affairs, in the wake of the arrest of famed artist and dissident Ai Weiwei. He argues that the Chinese’s tightening grip over the citizenry indicates a meaningful shift towards more abject totalitarianism. Bequelin added: “We know for certain that there are lawyers who haven’t been arrested, but have been clearly threatened. They’ve been told ‘the gloves are off, we can do anything we like now’. One was informed that ‘the party has special ways to deal with people like you’.” source (via • follow)
Not to belabor the point: In a story that we’ve mentioned in days past, Hugo Chavez has been making noise about wanting to function as a peace negotiator in Libya. Setting aside for a moment arguments about the merits or lack thereof of the way Chavez runs Venezuela, you know what doesn’t bode well for this endeavor? Having your big time negotiator, who was a recipient of the self-evidently ridiculous “al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights,” call reports of Gaddafi’s forces firing on citizens “a great lie.” Also, saying that “Gaddafi is not going anywhere, I’m sure. Gaddafi is among those men who die fighting.” So, that said, what exactly does Hugo hope to achieve for the people of Libya? 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.)
The people are already struggling to find food, how will you feed the Libyan people? Sanctions, an intervention, would force the Libyan people, who are already up against hunger and violence, into a more desperate situation. We call on the international community to act with conscience, justice, laws and universal humane values not out of oil concerns.Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan urging the Security Council not to sanction Libya, saying that the international community was showing concern for Libyan oil, not the Libyan people (via thepoliticalnotebook)
» China doesn’t screw around: The pro-democracy “Jasmine Revolution” protests, inspired by the situations in the Middle East, haven’t drawn very large crowds. But China’s elaborate and sophisticated response has basically been designed to discourage dissent against the state, making the road the anonymous protesters took much harder than, say, in Egypt.
Their range is very wide, from people who were at the protests or detained for breaking curfew to those who talked back at an army officer or were handed over to the army for looking suspicious or for looking like foreigners even if they were not. It’s unusual and to the best of our knowledge it’s also unprecedented for the army to be doing this.Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights director Hossam Bahgat • Describing the nature of some of the arrests and detainment taking place in Egypt at the moment. Bahgat’s words go against the narrative suggesting that the military is on the side of the people in the current spate of protests, and instead paint a picture that they are in fact taking part in incidents more commonly associated with the country’s notorious state security intelligence. One protester, only offering to go by his first name, Ashraf, put his experience as such: ”I was on a sidestreet and a soldier stopped me and asked me where I was going. I told him and he accused me of working for foreign enemies and other soldiers rushed over and they all started hitting me with their guns.” Harrowing. source (via • follow)
In her last days, my mother occasionally became confused....”
One of the perks of being an early employee...
Over the last 90 days, the Digg...
Hey Egypt, your strongest ally is yelling at you. Here’s why. See, Egypt has this emergency law in place that allows them to detain protesters and other folks they don’t like without charge. And the United States doesn’t like this. Especially in the wake of comments that vice president Omar Suleiman made about the country not being ready for democracy. It also doesn’t help that he suggested that the government might step in to quell the protests. What does the U.S. think? Well, a few things, which they released in a statement today. First – Stop screwing with protesters. Second – Rescind an emergency law that allows the government to detain anyone for any reason. Third – Broaden the dialogue to allow opposition voices. And finally – Invite the opposition to the bargaining table. This hard line was needed before Suleiman was around, guys. Why did this guy get the golden ring, anyway? He’s terrible. source
» Yeah, the worst outcome was avoided, but still. The fact that this even came close to happening is horrific and inexcusable. If the campaign to free this woman hadn’t succeeded, she would have been buried up to her neck in sand and pelted with stones big enough to eventually kill her, but small enough not to kill her in a mere one or two strikes (seriously, that’s what the law states). The evidence? None, aside from a forced confession and “the knowledge of the judge.” This, you know, shouldn’t happen. Anywhere.