January 2005

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January 2005

Contents

Special Announcement: Assisting Tsunami Victims

Democracy Alerts/ Appeals
Call for Action: Arbitrary Arrests and Torture of Adults and Children in Sudan
Call for Action: Bhutanese Refugee Rights to Travel Documents Violated

Announcements & Events
New Publication: Stilled Lives—Photographs from Cambodian Genocide
Indian Leaders Support Bhutan's Democratic Movement
Human Rights and Justice Group International Announces New Web Site
Connecting Volunteers with NGOs in Developing Countries

Conflict Resolution
Training Course: "Conflict Transformation and Multi-Cultural Youth Work"

Human Rights
Congolese Human Rights Organizations Protect the Environment
"Turn on the Candle" - Internet Action in Memory of Victims of Chechen War
Asian Center for Human Rights Studies Effects of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in India
Call for applications: Human Rights Advocates Program, Fall 2005

International Democracy Assistance & Solidarity
World Forum for Democracy in Asia Holds its First Strategy Meeting
Cross-Border Networking Between Russia and Poland
Role of Civil Society in the Forum for the Future
Briefing on UN Democracy Caucus

Internet, Media, & Freedom of Expression
SEACEM Offers Training and Services to Southeast Asian NGOs
Conference: "ICTs and Civil Society"

Political & Civic Participation of Youth
International Youth Leadership Event in South Australia

Transparency and Anti-Corruption
Nigerian Branch of Global Network Good Governance Seeks Partners

Women’s Issues
Women's League of Burma Holds Third Congress
Maghreb Regional Learning Institute for Women's Leadership and Training of Trainers

World Movement Participants Mentioned in this Issue


 

Special Announcement: Assisting Tsunami Victims
In the face of the tsunami tragedy, many democracy and human rights NGOs are providing aid and assistance to the victims. We have compiled a brief list of activities conducted by World Movement participating organizations. Any contributions to help these organizations in their effort to reach out to the tsunami victims are welcome. Contact information for further inquiries is provided below. If your organization is engaged in special activities as a result of the tsunami disaster, please write to world@ned.org and let us know. The information below and additional information we receive will be available on the World Movement Web site at www.wmd.org
• Free Trade Zone and General Services Employees Union (FTZ-GSEU) and the Women's Centre (a labor NGO working with women workers in FTZs and garment factories) based in Sri Lanka have launched a program to provide a helping hand to their workers who have suffered from the tsunami disaster. The program will focus on building houses for the victims. The FTZ-GSEU has already consulted with experts on building houses, started collecting information on their worker's circumstances, and visited the Eastern and Southern provinces of Sri Lanka, which were affected by the disaster. According to the estimates, each house will cost about $1,346. The FTZ-GSEU, which during the initial stages will build 50 houses, has opened a bank account to raise money for the victims. Every member of the Union will contribute one day's salary during the month of January toward this fund.

*Anyone interested in making a contribution, should contact the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and General Services Employees Union at ftzunion@diamond.lanka.net or at + 94 - 11 4 617 711 (tel); +94 11 4 610 001 (tel); +94 777 281 477 (tel)
• People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) in Sri Lanka, working with other organizations, is conducting immediate humanitarian aid programs. PAFFREL volunteers have been delivering food and other supplies into the most affected areas of the country.

*To enquire how you can help PAFFREL's activities, contact PAFFREL directly at paffrel@sltnet.lk or paffrel@eureka.lk, or +94-777-377059(tel), +94-11-2824425(tel), +94-11-818675(tel)
• Two Thailand-based organizations, the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) and the National Health and Education Committee (NHEC), are assisting Burmese migrant worker communities at Bab Bin beach near Ranong in southern Thailand and Tamala Village on Phuket Island, two of the most affected areas in Thailand. Many Burmese migrants in Thailand are ineligible for much of the official aid due to their tenuous legal standing. The United States Campaign for Burma (USCB), based in Washington, DC, is mobilizing assistance and collecting funds to support the efforts of the HREIB and the NHEC.

*To contribute, contact aungdin@uscampaignforburma.org or +1-202-223-0300; +1-202-246-7924; and +1-301-602-0077

 

Announcements and Events

Call for Action: Arbitrary Arrests and Torture of Adults and Children in Sudan
The Organization Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT, World Organization Against Torture) requests urgent intervention on behalf of 24 men and three children recently arrested and subjected to torture in Sudan. These men and children were arrested on December 16-17 and taken into military custody, where they were severely beaten and tortured. They were later charged for "waging war against state" and "espionage against the country." On December 24th, they were transferred to the Nyala prison where they remain in detention. The medical examination of the detainees confirmed that the men and children were subjected to torture. The International Secretariat of the OMCT requests that Sudanese authorities immediately release the detainees in the absence of legal charges consistent with international law standards. It also urges civil society worldwide to write to the authorities in Sudan requesting the release of the detainees, measures to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity, and thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of their arrest and torture.

Go to: www.omct.org/base.cfm?page=article&num=5225&consol=close&kwrd=OMCT&grp=Appeal&cfid=1468692&cftoken=83304030

Call for Action: Bhutanese Refugee Rights to Travel Documents Violated
The Peoples Forum for Human Rights and Development (PFHRD) issued an urgent appeal requesting that the international community intervene to protect the freedom of movement of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. Over 100,000 refugees that were forcibly evicted from Bhutan in 1991 have been living in the refugee camps in Nepal awaiting their return home. The 15 rounds of bilateral talks between Nepal and Bhutan have failed to repatriate the refugees. Meanwhile, refugees face increasing difficulties in the camps. Also, to obtain travel documents, they are required to follow extremely complicated procedures that frequently delay or prohibit their travel. Recently, the Secretary General of the PFHRD, Mr. Pradhan, a defender of refugee rights in international forums, was prevented from traveling abroad to an Asian regional conference, where he could bring the attention of the international community to the problems of the Bhutanese refugees. The PFHRD urges their colleagues to write letters expressing their concern about the violation of refugee rights.

Go to: www.wmd.org/documents/jan05-BhutanRefugeesTravel.doc

New Publication: Stilled Lives- Photographs from Cambodian Genocide
This 150-page book is a photographic essay that tells the stories of 51 men and women who joined the Khmer Rouge revolution in the 1960s and early 1970s. During the four years of Khmer Rouge rule, 1975-1979, nearly two million people were executed, starved, or worked to death. However, the focus of this book is not on the victims. Through photographs and the recollections of perpetrators and their families, the book tells the story of those who brought this great tragedy on the Cambodian people. The book was published by the Documentation Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

To request copies of the book, contact dccam@online.com.kh or info@monument-books.com

Indian Leaders Support Bhutan's Democratic Movement
Two Bhutanese organizations, Peoples Forum for Human Rights and Development (PFHRD) and Druk National Congress (DNC), in collaboration with the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Society (IBFS), organized a three-day sit-in protest in New Delhi, India, on December 14-16, 2004. The protest was organized to draw the attention of the Indian government and society towards the struggle of the Bhutanese people for democracy, freedom, and return of the Bhutanese refugees. About 50 Bhutanese refugees from eastern Nepal camps participated in the sit-in program. A number of prominent Indian leaders addressed the program, extending their support and solidarity to the democratic struggle of the Bhutanese people and calling upon the Indian government to lend its support. In addition, a number of democracy activists and scholars from India and Bhutan who had gathered in New Delhi for a Convention on Democracy, Human Rights and the Bhutanese Refugee Problem, December 17, 2004, urged the King of Bhutan to respect the genuine demands of the Bhutanese people for democracy and requested that the Indian government extends its support to the peaceful struggle of the Bhutanese people and the dignified return of the Bhutanese refugees to their homes.

For more information, contact: skpfhrd@mos.com.np

Human Rights and Justice Group International Announces New Web Site
The Human Rights and Justice Group International (HRJGI) based in Nigeria launched the second edition of its Web site. The HRJGI is an independent, nongovernmental and not-for-profit voluntary initiative that promotes knowledge, respect and observance of human rights, and encourages exchange of information and experiences. The HRJGI carries out human rights, governance, and community education programs, including workshops focused on expanding the use of the Internet by Nigerians. The HRJGI seeks partnership with relevant foundations and civil society organizations to execute its Community IT Literacy Education Project that aims to build the capacity of individuals and communities by deepening their computer knowledge and skills in order to bridge the digital divide.

Go to: www.justice.kabisa.org or contact: justice@justice.kabisa.org

Connecting Volunteers with NGOs in Developing Countries
Human Strategies for Human Rights (HSHR) connects non-governmental, non-profit organizations with individuals seeking opportunities for volunteer work with such groups in developing countries. The HSHR is asking NGOs wishing to host volunteers to submit small proposals consisting of a brief background of the organization and its objectives and a job description outlining the volunteer's responsibilities and desired qualifications. The NGOs must be in a developing country, work on poverty alleviation or women's rights, and not be in a conflict zone. Volunteers interested in an opportunity to work with NGOs should submit their inquiries as well. The HSHR facilitates skills training and capacity building for grassroots organizations throughout the developing world.

For More Information on HSHR, go to: www.hshr.org or contact info@hshr.org

Conflict Resolution

Training Course: "Conflict Transformation and Multi-Cultural Youth Work"
The aim of this course, organized by the Council of Europe's Youth Directorate, is to enable participants to deal more effectively with issues of conflict and conflict transformation in a multi-cultural youth work context. The training course will specifically focus on analyzing conflicts, and discuss how they relate to specific youth work contexts, particularly those of a multi-cultural nature. The course is schedule for March 31- April 11, 2005, and will take place in Strasbourg, France. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2005.

Go to: www.coe.int/T/E/Cultural_Co-operation/Youth/1._News/News/068_TCconflict.asp#TopOfPage

Human Rights

Congolese Human Rights Organizations Protect the Environment
La Concertation des Associations de Défense des Droits de l'Homme du Katanga (CADHOK - Dialogue of Associations of Human Rights Defense in Katanga) recently issued a press release to mobilize civil society action to pressure a local business to stop water pollution in the Katanga area in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On December 13, 2004, the DRC government made a decision to prohibit activities of a private business creating pollution in the area. CADHOK sees this decision as an encouraging sign that the government responded to the concerns of the population and human rights groups. However, CADHOK recently found out that despite the government's intervention, the polluting activities continued. Moreover, some human rights activists speaking out against this pollution received death threats by anonymous phone calls and electronic messages. CADHOK is a group of human rights organizations in the Katanga region, including World Movement participating organizations, ASADHO/KATANGA (Association Africaine de Défense des Droits de l'Homme/Katanga) and CDH (Centre des Droits de l'Homme et du Droit Humanitaire).

Go to: www.wmd.org/documents/jan05-cadhoc-EnvPollution

"Turn on the Candle" - Internet Action in Memory of Victims of Chechen War
On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the Chechen War and the International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2004, dozens of organizations simultaneously replaced the main page of their Web site with an image of a burning candle on a black background. The candles remained lit for at least fifteen minutes. "Turn on the candle" was an expression of the grief over the deaths of 20,000-30,000 armed forces and around 75,000 civilians killed on both sides. It was also a protest against policies that lead to human suffering and death on a daily basis. Organizers of the action included the Internet portal sites Human Rights in Russia, Center for Peaceful Human Rights Actions, Anti-war Club, Center "Demos," and World Movement participating organization, Center for Development of Democracy and Human Rights. This action was supported by over a hundred Internet sites in Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Belarus, and Canada.

Go to: www.hro.org/memory

Asian Center for Human Rights Studies Effects of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in India
On January 5, 2005, the Asian Center for Human Rights released its latest issue of the weekly ACHR REVIEW titled, "The AFSPA: Lawless law enforcement according to the law?" The report reviews a 175-page ACHR study on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that has been in effect in India since 1958. The study analyzes the illegality of the provisions of AFSPA and offers specific recommendations for change. As a result of building pressure from civil society groups, the Indian government set up a special committee to review the AFSPA in 2004. The ACHR' s analysis and recommendations on AFSPA were submitted to the committee on January 6, 2005. The ACHR weekly reviews provide detailed information and analysis on human rights, democracy, and governance issues. Each issue focuses on a specific theme or region that requires urgent attention or intervention.

Go to: www.achrweb.org/review.htm

Call for applications: Human Rights Advocates Program, Fall 2005
The Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, New York, is accepting applications for its annual Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP). The HRAP is designed to prepare human rights leaders from poor countries and communities in the US to participate in national and international policy debates on economic globalization by building their skills, knowledge, and contacts. This group includes teachers, lawyers, social workers, community organizers, and journalists, who work on human rights problems that result from or are part of the global economic system. The four-month New York-based intensive training program focuses on the following key areas: Labor Rights; Migration Health; Environmental Justice; and Corporate Social Responsibility, with an emphasis on cross-cutting and sectoral issues such as human rights in the extractive industries or agriculture. Activists working on the above areas from a gender perspective are encouraged to apply. The program will take place from late August to mid-December 2005. Applications are due by March 21, 2005.

Go to: www.columbia.edu/cu/humanrights/training/adv/hradv_pgm.htm

International Democracy Assistance & Solidarity

World Forum for Democratization in Asia Holds its First Strategy Meeting
The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy hosted the first strategy workshop of the World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA). The workshop focused on "Assisting Democratization in Asia's Closed Societies," and took place on December 16-17, 2004, in Taipei, Taiwan. Democracy activists from Bhutan, Burma, China, Laos, North Korea, Tibet, and Vietnam took part in the workshop. Participants discussed the needs and possible strategies for democratization in their countries and the region. They also called for the release of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the release of prisoners of conscience in Asia. They urged concerned authorities to grant political prisoners access to health care and the opportunity to see their family members. Participants expressed concern over the harassment and detention of activists from Bhutan and North Korea who are refugees in Nepal and China, respectively. Two additional WFDA strategy development workshops will be held within the next 6 months and will result in a draft Program of Action, to be adopted at the inaugural WFDA Biennial Conference in 2005. The WFDA serves as a platform for the World Movement for Democracy's regional networking efforts.

For more information on the WFDA, go to: www.wmd.org/documents/jan05-wfda.dco

For workshop agenda and press release, go to: www.wmd.org/documents/jan05-wfdaStrategy1-pressRelease

Cross-Border Networking Between Russia and Poland
The Polish-Czech-Slovak Solidarity Foundation invites Russian NGO activists and practitioners to take part in a project on "Increasing Cross-Border Networking between Russia and Poland." The purpose of the project is to share the experiences and skills of the Polish NGOs with their Russian counterparts. Thirty Russian NGO representatives will participate in four two-week long study tours. They will be provided with an opportunity to learn about the daily operations of the Polish NGOs, including the legal framework of their activities, the supporting role of umbrella organizations, fundraising activities, cooperation with state and local authorities, the role of volunteers, and the role of media in informing the public about NGO activities. The program will be adjusted to the needs of its participants and Russian interpretation at the meetings and lectures will be provided. An independent Program Council will select the project participants.

For further information (in English and Russian) and an application form, go to: www.wmd.org/documents/jan05-CrossBorder.doc 

To learn more about the Polish-Czech-Slovak Solidarity Foundation, go to: www.spczs.engo.pl/index_en.php

Role of Civil Society in the Forum for the Future
On December 8-9, 2004, a number of Arab civil society groups and international organizations gathered in Rabat, Morocco for a conference that was held in parallel with the "Forum for the Future" meeting in Rabat. The "Form for the Future" was the first meeting within the framework of the Broader Middle East and North Africa initiative launched at the G8 summit meeting in June, 2004. The parallel NGO meeting was organized by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Morocco Organization for Human Rights, the International Federation for Human Rights, and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. The meeting aimed to generate dialogue with Arab governments and to produce recommendations for reform in the Arab world.

Go to: www.wmd.org/documents/Jan05-ForumForTheFuture-CivSocietyRole.doc

Briefing on UN Democracy Caucus
The Council for a Community of Democracies, the United Nations Association-USA, the Democracy Coalition Project, Freedom House, and the Transnational Radical Party co-sponsored a briefing on the United Nations Democracy Caucus at the UN headquarters in New York City on December 16, 2005. The briefing provided an opportunity for dialogue on the caucus and explored how the UN Democracy Caucus can coordinate common positions at the UN to advance the principles of democracy and human rights.

To view the summary of the discussion, go to: www.wmd.org/documents/jan05-DemCaucus-discSummary

To read the appeal to the UN Democracy Caucus, go to: http://democracycaucus.net/html/home.html

 

Internet, Media, & Freedom of Expression

 

SEACEM Offers Training and Services to Southeast Asian NGOs
The Southeast Asian Center for e-Media (SEACEM) assists Southeast Asian independent media and civil society organizations to utilize electronic media technologies in their work by providing training, consultation, and media solutions, as well as acting as a platform for regional cooperation. SEACEM offers a variety of services, including Web page and E-mail hosting (up to 100MB of server space is free) and a content management system, which allows for easy maintenance and updates of the Web sites. SEACEM also offers trainings on the Internet, Web-site maintenance and information management, fund raising, online campaigns, and more.

For more information, go to: www.seacem.com

Conference: "ICTs and Civil Society"
The Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT) will host its first annual "ICTs and Civil Society" conference on March 1-3, 2005 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It will focus specifically on ICT challenges facing the civil society sector, highlighting and promoting practical benefits, opportunities and lessons learned to date. This event will provide an opportunity for both civil society Organizations (CSOs) that are ICT-enabled and organizations considering introducing ICT solutions to their work, to discuss critical issues of common concern and learn from one another's experiences. Aimed at senior staff, technical employees in the CSO sector, and individuals who work with these organizations, the conference will bring together a large number of South African CSOs to discuss ICT issues in plenary and break-away sessions. There will also be technology demonstrations, practical training sessions, and an ICT exhibition that will run concurrently with the conference.

Go to: http://sangonet.org.za/conference2005

 

Political & Civic Participation of Youth

International Youth Leadership Event in South Australia
The South Australian Government, in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is organizing an International Youth Leadership event, "Young People Taking a Lead in Social Change," to be held in Adelaide, South Australia, on March 1-4, 2005. "Young People Taking a Lead in Social Change" aims to challenge and inspire delegates to consider and debate issues relevant to their lives, including employment, environment, peace and conflict, diversity, and more. The event will encourage delegates to develop practical ideas and solutions for social change by bringing together a broad range of young people aged 18- 25 years from diverse backgrounds and perspectives who have been identified through a range of organizations.

Go to: www.socialinclusion.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=35

 

Transparency & Anti- Corruption

 

Nigerian Branch of Global Network for Good Governance Calls for Collaboration
Searches for Partners the Global Network for Good Governance (GNGG) is an independent research, information, and training organization that works to combat corruption and to foster participation and transparency in the public and private sectors. The recently established Nigerian branch of the network seeks partners to promote better governance in Nigeria.

GNGG Nigeria proposes to organize a nation-wide Government Information Dissemination Program that will distribute information on government development activities among rural communities, create a demand and awareness for good governance, facilitate people's access to government services, and promote public participation in development processes. GNGG Nigeria also proposes to hold a dialogue to enhance partnership among government, private, and social sectors; to contribute to development of a National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy; and to conduct an intervention research on the resource mobilization, utilization, and accountability in the HIV/AIDS Program in Nigeria.

For collaboration and further information, contact nggnigeria@yahoo.com

For more information on GNGG, go to: www.geocities.com/gngg2000

 

Women’s Issues

Women's League of Burma holds Third Congress
The Women's' League of Burma (WLB) held its Third Congress on December 7-10, 2004 near the Thai-Bruma border. During the meeting, participants reviewed the WLB programs and agreed upon the organization's policies and future work plans, amended its constitution, and shared ideas and suggestions on how to improve the implementation of programs. The Congress participants unanimously adopted the principle of establishing a democratic federal system in future Burma that would guarantee the protection of women's human rights and gender equality. WLB's Constitution Study Team was established to ensure the integration of gender perspectives in the drafting of a federal constitution. The Congress decided to prioritize the Advocacy Program, Peace Building Program, Capacity Building Program, and Women Against Violence Program for 2004-2006. WLB member organizations named their Presidium Board members who will make policies and decisions, and elected three secretariat members to oversee the programs for the 2004-2006 term.

Go to: www.womenofburma.org/index.html

Maghreb Regional Learning Institute for Women's Leadership and Training of Trainers
Women's Learning Partnership (WLP), in cooperation with its Moroccan partner, Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM), convened the Maghreb Regional Learning Institute for Women's Leadership and Training of Trainers on December 11-14, 2004 in Marrakech, Morocco. WLP Institutes are learning centers for empowering women to participate as leaders in the decision-making processes in all areas of social, political, and economic life. The goal of the Institute was to train women's rights activists in the Maghreb region to become better trainers and advocates for women's equal participation in civil society. Institute participants, which included 26 women's rights activists and leaders from Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia, took part in facilitation, communications, and advocacy skills training. Among the topics discussed were how to communicate effectively to influence decision-makers and mobilize the public, and how to translate organizational visions into compelling messages that resonate with various groups and constituencies. The participants plan to apply WLP's leadership curriculum and the facilitation techniques learned during the Institute within their organizations and communities. They will also work together to build regional cooperation as well as strengthen national advocacy networks to advance women's rights. The WLP is serving as the secretariat of the World Movement's new International Women's Democracy Network.

Go to: www.learningpartnership.org

For Information about the International Women's Democracy Network, go to: www.wmd.org/networking/women

 

World Movement Participants Mentioned in this Issue