June 2012

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June Newsletter

 

World Movement Network Updates
Vote Now: Snapshot of Democracy Youth Photo Contest

Announcements & Events
Commemorating the 23rd Anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Victims
Call for Applicants to Conference on Post-Transition Society
CIPE Launches 2012 Global Editorial Cartoon Competition
Call for Applications: Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship in Washington, D.C.

Gender Issues & Sexual Minority Rights
Joint Letter to Cambodian Prime Minister Calls to Vacate Convictions Against Women Human Rights Defenders

Human Rights, Equality, & Access to Justice
Kachin Organizations Appeal for Immediate End to Humanitarian Crisis in Kachin, Burma

Labor Unions & Worker Rights
ILO Releases a Guide to Designing Labor Laws
Worker Rights Group, CAT, Forced to Close Office in Mexico

Media, Freedom of Expression, & Communication Technology
Yemen Polling Center Releases Final Report of OSI-Funded Project on Media
Putin Signs New Restrictions against Peaceful Assembly in Russia
Two Human Rights Groups Merge to Support Online Activists Abroad

Good Governance, Transparency, and Anti-Corruption
WOZA launches ‘Occupy for Devolution’ series in Bulawayo
Abdulwahab Alkebsi Delivers Presentation for Democratic Transition and Development in the Arab World Conference

Research
USAID Releases 2012 NGO Sustainability Index for Sub-Saharan Africa
Bangladeshi Human Rights Organization, Odhikar, Releases Human Rights Monitoring Report for May, 2012
IRI Releases Survey of Cuban Public Opinion
DIPD Releases 2010-2011 Annual Report

Tolerance & Religious Freedom
Burma Declares State of Emergency Over Buddhist-Muslim Clashes
The WUC Condemns Attacks Against Religious Practice

 

World Movement Network Updates

Voting Open: Snapshot of Democracy Youth Photo Contest

The World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD) is pleased to announce the 15 semi-finalists of its 2012 Global Photo Contest “Youth in Action: A Snapshot of Democracy!” The semi-finalists were selected from entries from all around the world by a committee of independent judges from the WYMD network. Now, it’s your turn to pick your favorite photos.

Voting ends June 27.

Vote in all three categories: Emerging Human Rights Defenders; Democracy in My Life; Challenges to Democracy.

Announcements & Events

Commemorating the 23rd Anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Victims

June 2012 marks twenty-three years since the June 4, 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square, where workers, students, and citizens had gathered for a peaceful demonstration in favor of a pluralistic political system in China. That day, the Chinese military shot and killed an unknown number of unarmed civilians, some of whom were not involved in the protests against the government.

The Tiananmen Mothers, a non-governmental group of relatives of Tiananmen massacre victims, compiled a list of at least 203 citizens killed in the June 1989 crackdown. To this day, the Chinese government refuses to account for those deaths. According to Human Rights Watch, “[t]he government has also consistently stifled any public discussion of the June 1989 massacre and its aftermath. ”At the request of the Tiananmen Mothers, Human Rights in China (HRIC) issued an essay commemorating the victims of June Fourth on its 23rd anniversary. In the essay signed by 150 individuals, the Tiananmen Mothers state that their “demands are the same as always. So long as the Tiananmen Mothers exist, our struggle for justice will not cease. So long as we can protest, our three demands—for truth, compensation, and accountability—will remain. We will not give up, and we will not change.”

Read the full essay: http://www.hrichina.org/content/6088

Read the Human Rights Watch News Release: http://bit.ly/JSlom7

Call for Applicants to Conference on Post-Transition Society

The Regional Partnership for Culture and Development (RPCD) is working with UNDP, USAID and the Cypriot civil society network Peace it Together to hold a three-day conference entitled, The Power of One: First Annual Inter-Regional Learning Exchange Conference on Citizen-Led Innovation and Social Change Practices During Periods of Transition. This event will bring civil society organizations, media and intellectual leaders from the Middle East and North Africa region together with their counterparts in Eastern Europe to discuss sustainable development in post-transition society. The event will take place in Nicosia, Cyprus, from October 9-11, 2012. RPCD is seeking applications from interested Partnership Forum members. The deadline for applications is June 20th.

You can fill out the intake form here: http://bit.ly/MKU2wA

CIPE Launches 2012 Global Editorial Cartoon Competition

CIPE has launched its 2012 Global Editorial Cartoon Competition. Amateur and professional artists around the globe are invited to send entries in each of three categories: Entrepreneurship – The Engine of Growth; Democratic Governance – Beyond the Ballot Box; and Youth Empowerment – The Key to Political and Economic Reform. Cash prizes totaling $5,000 will be awarded to winning entries, as determined by an open online voting process on the CIPE website. Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Pat Oliphant will personally select the Grand Prize winner.

Guidelines for submission are located at www.cipe.org/cartoon.

Call for Applications: Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship in Washington, D.C.

The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program at the Washington, DC–based National Endowment for Democracy invites applications for fellowships in 2013–2014. This federally-funded program enables democracy activists, practitioners, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change. Dedicated to international exchange, this five-month residential program offers a collegial environment for fellows to reflect on their experiences; consider best practices and lessons learned; conduct independent research and writing; engage with counterparts; and develop professional relationships within a global network of democracy advocates. Deadline to submit an application is Monday, October 15, 2012.

For more information and application instructions, visit http://www.ned.org/fellowships/reagan-fascell-democracy-fellows-program

Applications will be accepted through our online application system beginning July 15, 2012 at: http://fellowships.ned.org

Flyers may also be viewed in the following languages by clicking on these links:
English, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Gender Issues & Sexual Minority Rights

Joint Letter to Cambodian Prime Minister Calls to Vacate Convictions Against Women Human Rights Defenders

On May 29, 2012, a joint letter signed by Front Line Defenders, Amnesty International, Civil Rights Defenders, FORUM-ASIA and five other human rights organizations was submitted to Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, condemning the arrests and mistreatment of 13 female human rights defenders.The letter expresses concerns over the arbitrary arrest and mistreatment of the 13 human rights defenders at the Boeung Kak Lake (BKL) development site in Phnom Penh on May 22.

The signatories “strongly urge the Cambodian government to vacate the convictions and drop these unfounded charges against these 15 Human Rights Defenders and unconditionally release them immediately. The Cambodian government should also take the necessary steps to protect the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Cambodia, as defined by articles 19 and 21 of the ICCPR.”

To read the full text of the statement, go to: http://frontlinedefenders.org/node/18556

For additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Cambodia, go to: http://frontlinedefenders.org/cambodia

Human Rights, Equality, & Access to Justice

Kachin Organizations Appeal for Immediate End to Humanitarian Crisis in Kachin, Burma

On June 5, 2012 Kachin organizations and communities from around the globe issued an appeal to Burma’s President Thein Sein, calling for an immediate end to the humanitarian crisis in the Kachin State. The letter was copied to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana. It has also been endorsed by 71 organizations. In addition, to draw attention to the situation, events were held in Burma, Thailand, Japan, Australia, India, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Canada, and the US, with more planned for the coming weeks.

Click here to read the full letter: http://bit.ly/Mnl10m

For more news and photos of these events, please go to:
http://www.burmapartnership.org/take-action-kachin/

Labor Unions & Worker Rights

ILO Releases a Guide to Designing Labor Laws

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has released a guide to designing labor laws, the Effective Protection for Domestic Workers, which is intended to be a practical resource for worker and employer representatives and government officials. The guide provides specific procedures and examples drawn from a range of existing national labor laws concerning domestic workers. It also discusses different approaches to regulating domestic work, the nature and characteristics of domestic work, forms of employment relationships that may exist and their implications for regulation, among other topics.

Click here for the full guide: http://bit.ly/LinqHa

Worker Rights Group, CAT, Forced to Close Office in Mexico

The Worker Support Center (CAT: Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador) in Mexico was forced to close its office after a threat assessment that showed that the safety and security of its employees was increasingly at risk. The decision was made because of ongoing threats received by staff following the kidnapping and torture of human rights defender Enrique Morales Montaño on May 15. Even after obtaining a grant in 2011 from the National Commission of Human Rights and the Puebla State Commission of Human Rights to receive protection, no headway was made in investigating the threats.

The Mexican mineworkers union, Los Mineros, together with national and international human rights groups including ProDESC, the UN Office for the High Commission on Human Rights, and Amnesty International, have called on the Mexican federal government to protect human rights defenders. Lorraine Clewer, Solidarity Center country program director in Mexico, says that the “systematic campaign against worker rights defenders must end—and the only way that will be done is if the Mexican government opens an investigation into the kidnapping, the break-in, and death threats and brings these violent and dangerous perpetrators to justice.”

Visit the organization’s website here: http://catpuebla.org/

For more information, read Solidarity Center’s statement here: http://bit.ly/LLA2IM

Media, Freedom of Expression, & Communication Technology

Yemen Polling Center Releases Final Report of OSI-Funded Project on Media

The Yemen Polling Center released the final report for the Open Society Institute (OSI) funded project "Strengthening Independent Media in Yemen," which is aimed at identifying the greatest challenges and needs of Yemen’s independent media outlets. The final report, Independent Newspapers in Yemen: Situation and Future Horizons, gathers qualitative and quantitative data to create an overall picture of the state of independent media in Yemen and further suggests ways to strengthen it.

Read the full report here: http://bit.ly/MQ6laP

Putin Signs New Restrictions against Peaceful Assembly in Russia

On June 8, 2012 President Vladimir Putin signed into law new restrictive amendments to the law on public rallies and the administrative code in Russia. The new amendments make public protest even more difficult for Russians by imposing various restrictions and significantly increasing the fines for violating rules for holding public events. The amendments stipulate that anyone violating the rules for public events at least twice may no longer be organizers of demonstrations. The rules also allow local authorities to organize lists of public-event-free locations based on considerations of public safety and public order.

According to Human Rights Watch, President Putin claims that the new law is meant to protect Russian nationals from radicalism. Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, asserts that this “disingenuous claim by President Putin and his swift signing of the amendments, despite domestic and international criticism, show his lack of respect for Russia’s international human rights obligations,” and adds that the “new law seriously undermines free assembly in Russia.”

Click here to read the Human Rights Watch News Release: http://bit.ly/NWruQ5

Two Human Rights Groups Merge to Support Online Activists Abroad

Jared Cohen, former State Department official, director of Google Ideas, and co-founder of Movements.org, and Robert Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch and creator of Advancing Human Rights (AHR), are joining forces to support online activists in authoritative countries. The joint effort, using the organization name Advancing Human Rights, will provide connections, technical support, and e-books to dissidents throughout the globe. “We will be trying to say to people in closed societies that we will do everything we can to give you a voice,” Bernstein said to the New York Times.

Read the New York Times article here: http://nyti.ms/LiWZkK

To learn more about AHR, visit the website here:
http://advancinghumanrights.org/

Good Governance, Transparency, and Anti-Corruption

WOZA launches ‘Occupy for Devolution’ series in Bulawayo

On June 2, over six hundred members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) conducted street occupation sit-in protests in Bulawayo as part of a campaign to encourage the inclusion of a devolved system of government in the drafting of the constitution. WOZA utilized this form of protest to indicate that public spaces are areas for public expression. WOZA demands the end of elite rule of government and argues for a political system that opens access to provincial government and councils. WOZA asserts that “Bulawayo, Matabeleland is dying because of centralized decisions which kill it. The elite have killed Bulawayo and now they are killing other parts of Zimbabwe.”

For more information on the protest, visit: http://wozazimbabwe.org/?p=1268

Abdulwahab Alkebsi Delivers Presentation for Democratic Transition and Development in the Arab World Conference

On April 26, 2012 CIPE Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East Abdulwahab Alkebsi delivered a presentation as part of the Democratic Transition and Development in the Arab World conference, hosted by the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Alkebsi emphasized the need to meet aspirations for dignity in the Arab world by building dynamic, robust, and independent private sectors in the Arab world capable of holding their governments accountable. Organized with the goal of identifying developmental approaches to better meet the expectations of citizens of a region in transition, the conference featured presentations by experts on the challenges and opportunities posed by the political transitions underway.

Click here for more information on the conference: http://bit.ly/Ll6mQb

Research

USAID Releases 2012 NGO Sustainability Index for Sub-Saharan Africa

The United States Agency for International Development has released the second edition of the NGO Sustainability Index for Sub-Saharan Africa covering the events of 2010. The report assesses the strength of civil society in 19 countries across sub-Saharan Africa by comparing several dimensions of the sustainability of the NGO sector and scoring each dimension on a scale from 1 to 7. The 2010 report shows the overall progress or regression for each country and compares changes from 2009 to 2010 that affects sector-wide sustainability of NGOs.

The 2010 report along with the individual country reports, executive summary, and scoring data can be accessed at the following website: http://bit.ly/Ll5ESY

Bangladeshi Human Rights Organization, Odhikar, Releases Human Rights Monitoring Report for May, 2012

The Bangladeshi Human Rights NGO, Odhikar (meaning ‘right’ in Bangla), has released its Human Rights Report for May, 2012. Established in 1994, Odhikar’s mission as an organization is to take a stand “against all forms of human rights violations and accordingly participates and remains directly involved in the human rights movement in Bangladesh.” The May report released on June 1 covers topics such as attacks on journalists, political violence, and violence against women in Bangladesh.

The full May report can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/MQ687o

IRI Releases Survey of Cuban Public Opinion

On June 5, 2012, the International Republican Institute (IRI) released its survey and analysis of Cuban public opinion. Survey questions answered by 787 Cuban adults covered topics regarding internet access, cell phone usage, the Castro government’s performance, economic reforms and expectations for change. The survey was conducted in 14 Cuban provinces and was the seventh of its kind conducted by IRI on the island since 2007.

View the survey: http://bit.ly/La8qMC

View the analysis: http://bit.ly/LLr7FE

For the Spanish version, click here: http://bit.ly/KuuEgn

DIPD Releases 2010-2011 Annual Report

The Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD) released its 2010-2011 Annual Report, which highlights some of the DIPD partnerships established in 2011 to aid the democratic transition in Egypt. It discusses the increased inclusion of women in party politics in Bhutan, multiparty dialogue in Nepal, and party-to-party partnerships between Danish political parties and partners in Kenya, Honduras, and Bolivia. DIPD’s first Annual ‘Christiansborg Seminar’ focusing on women in party politics is planned for September 2012.

Read the Full Report at: www.dipd.dk/2012/05/annual-report-2010-2011/

Tolerance & Religious Freedom

Burma Declares State of Emergency Over Buddhist-Muslim Clashes

On June 10, 2012, the president of Burma, Thein Sein, declared a state of emergency in response to escalating violence between Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslim ethnic group in the Rakhine State, located on the western coast of Burma. Ethnic tensions in the region have intensified over the past several months, but the recent violence, which resulted in the deaths of 17 people and the destruction of hundreds of homes, led to the government’s recent response. Thomas Fuller of the New York Times explains that this recent violence “poses another obstacle to the government of President Thein Sein as he tries to open up the country after years of isolation under a military junta and steer it toward democracy.” Thein Sein’s efforts to find a solution for the ethnic tension in the country will be yet another test for Burma’s transition to democracy.

To read the New York Times article, go to: http://nyti.ms/LWwG8Y

To read the Christian Science Monitor article, go to: http://bit.ly/KJpg9h

Find the Human Rights Watch report here: http://bit.ly/MLV9u2

The WUC Condemns Attacks Against Religious Practice

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) strongly condemns the death of 12-year-old Mirzahid who died while in police custody in Korla, East Turkestan. According to the WUC, the case “was riddled with many violations of fundamental international human rights law, as well as reminiscent of the persecution that Uyghurs face on a day-to-day basis and other deaths in detention of minors, such as that of Noor-ul-Islam Shebaz in November 2011.”

According to media sources, the young Uyghur boy was arrested on May 20 while taking lessons in Islamic prayer and reading the Koran, and was subsequently detained and tortured to death. Authorities claim that he had committed suicide while in detention.

For more information on the incident, see here: http://bbc.in/NLIfgJ