July 2009

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July 2009

Contents

Democracy Alerts/Appeals
Bahraini Man Detained for Publishing Information about National Security Apparatus
Mauritanian Human Rights Activist Arrested
Human Rights Lawyer Arrested in Vietnam

World Movement Network Updates
World Youth Movement Announces 2009 Global Essay Contest
African Democracy Forum Redesigns Web Site
Latin America and Caribbean Network for Democracy Launches New Web Site

Announcements and Events
World Movement Posts "What's Being Done on the Role of ICTs in Democracy Promotion?"
Institute for Democracy and Mediation Reports on Balkans Conference

Defending Civil Society
CIVICUS Welcomes Postponement of Nicaraguan Draft Manual on International Cooperation

Decentralization and Local Governance
Uyghur American Association Condemns Demolition of Kashgar's Old City in China

Economic Reform and the Business Sector
Center for International Private Enterprise Announces Winners of Egyptian Business Competition
Center for International Private Enterprise Releases Informal Sector Toolkit

Elections
Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation Reviews Structure of Iranian Elections
Center for International Private Enterprise Publishes Report on Post-Election Violence in Kenya

Good Governance, Transparency and Anti-Corruption
Canadian Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Democracy Watch's Appeal Case
Transparency Initiative Publishes Guide on Resource Extraction
Indian Government Creates Online Grievance Forum

Human Rights, Equality and Access to Justice
Twentieth Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Protests Commemorated Worldwide
Online Petition to Appoint Independent Experts to ASEAN Human Rights Commission
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Founds the International Documentation Center
Amman Center for Human Rights Studies Conducts Human Rights Training Session
Asian Centre for Human Rights Releases Its 2009 India Human Rights Report
Protection International Publishes Security Manual for Human Rights Defenders
Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights Releases Report on Human Rights in Turkmenistan
Chinese Human Rights Defenders Releases 2008 Report on Human Rights Advocates

Labor Unions and Worker Rights
International Trade Union Confederation Issues 2009 Annual Survey

Media, Freedom of Expression and Communication Technology
Women's Learning Partnership Launches Human Rights TV Channel
Center for International Media Assistance Releases Reports on Effective Media Assistance
International Journalists' Network Launches Portal in Russian
Search for Common Ground Invites Submissions for Middle East Journalism Awards

Role of International Institutions
Civil Society Groups Address Member States of UN Human Rights Council

Young People's Political and Civic Participation
Youth Tech Festival Held in Jordan

World Movement Participating Networks, Organizations and Individuals Mentioned in this Issue

 

Democracy Alerts/Appeals

Bahraini Man Detained for Publishing Information about National Security Apparatus
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is calling for the release of Hasan Salman, who published information about the Bahraini National Security Apparatus that details sectarian discrimination, human rights violations, and reliance on the recruitment of mercenaries.  While in custody, he was offered a deal in which he would be released on the condition that he implicate the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the administrator of its Web site www.bahrainonline.org.  After refusing, Salman was transferred to an Emergency Centre for severe pain in his back.  His trial is set for July 21.

Go to: www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/2914

Mauritanian Human Rights Activist Arrested
The Arab Program for Human Rights Activists is requesting the immediate release of journalist and human rights activist Hanafy Walad Dhah, who was arrested in his home by the Mauritanian State Security on June 18.  Hanafy is the Media Officer for the organization Conscience and Resistance, as well as the director of the news Web site “Taqadoumy,” where he published articles on political corruption in Mauritania.

Go to: www.wmd.org/documents/0709dn02.pdf

Human Rights Lawyer Arrested in Vietnam
The Southeast Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA) has released a petition to the Vietnamese government concerning the arrest of human rights lawyer Le Cong Dinh on June 13, who has been charged with “conducting propaganda against the government,” which carries a sentence of up to 20 years.  Dinh has defended Vietnamese bloggers, human rights defenders, and democracy and labor rights activists.  Human Rights Watch also called for Dinh’s immediate release, calling the charges against him a blow to progressive lawyers throughout the country.  The Vietnam Human Rights Network has also called upon foreign governments, as well as lawyers worldwide, to support Dinh’s cause.

To sign SEAPA’s petition, go to: www.seapabkk.org/newdesign/newsdetail.php?No=1103

To read the Human Rights Watch statement, go to: www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/06/23/vietnam-free-prominent-rights-lawyer-le-cong-dinh

To read the Vietnam Human Rights Network statement, go to: www.vietnamhumanrights.net/website/VNHRN_061509.htm

 

World Movement Network Updates

World Youth Movement Announces 2009 Global Essay Contest
The World Youth Movement for Democracy (World Youth Movement) is seeking submissions for its 6th annual Global Essay Contest, which focuses on young people’s perspectives on and engagement with democracy as a way to connect them to larger democracy movements.  Through the contest, the World Youth Movement also hopes to demonstrate that there are fundamental characteristics of democracy that have the potential to cross cultures.  There will be 15 regional winners on the regional level who will be awarded all-expenses paid opportunities to participate in the 6th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy in Jakarta, Indonesia next year.  Submissions are due September 15, 2009, and regional winners will be announced on World Youth Day for Democracy, October 18, 2009.  The Global Essay Contest is generously sponsored by the Hurford Foundation based in New York City.

For more information, go to: www.wymd.org/contests.html

To see the World Youth Movement’s recently redesigned Web site, go to: www.wymd.org

African Democracy Forum Redesigns Web Site
The African Democracy Forum (ADF), a regional network of democracy, human rights, and governance organizations in Africa, has recently redesigned and updated its Web site.  Features on the site include forums, member profiles, and information concerning activities, training sessions, and meetings.

Go to: www.africandemocracyforum.org 

Latin America and Caribbean Network for Democracy Launches New Web Site
The Latin America and Caribbean Network for Democracy, which works with activists and civil society organizations in the region to strengthen democracy, human rights, and sustainable development, has a new Web site with a fresh new layout and easier navigation.  The content is mostly in Spanish, with a few items in English, and is regularly updated.  Visit the site to learn more about the Network’s mission and activities and to read the network’s latest statement on the situation in Honduras.

Go to: www.democracialatinoamerica.org

 

Announcements and Events

World Movement Posts "What's Being Done on the Role of ICTs in Democracy Promotion?"
The World Movement recently posted “What’s Being Done on the Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Democracy Promotion?”  It particularly highlights the growing use of SMS Technology, Online Petitions, and Video Sharing as tools to disseminate information and to mobilize activists.  This installment also discusses security issues related to using ICTs in democracy work, features interviews with the Women’s Learning Partnership and NGOConnect Africa, and provides a wide range of resource links.  If you have information you would like us to consider including in this installment, please send an email to world@ned.org.

Go to: www.wmd.org/wbdo/icts/wbdoicts.html

Institute for Democracy and Mediation Reports on Balkans Conference
The Institute for Democracy and Mediation has released a report on its March regional conference entitled “Towards Regional Advocacy for Cooperation in the Balkans via European Best Practices.”  The conference facilitated collaboration among Visegrad, Nordic, and Baltic countries, and provided a forum for sharing European best practices of non-institutionalized forms of regional cooperation.  The report calls for a shift from internationally-driven Balkan collaboration to government ownership of regional cooperation.

Go to: www.idmalbania.org/publications/en/RegionalCooperation.pdf

 

Defending Civil Society

CIVICUS Welcomes Postponement of Nicaraguan Draft Manual on International Cooperation
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation has hailed the postponement of the Nicaraguan draft Manual on International Cooperation, which, if implemented, could impede cooperation between international and national civil society organizations by setting funding limits and increasing government regulation of the NGO sector.  CIVICUS encourages extensive discussion involving all levels of civil society before the draft manual is reintroduced.

Go to: www.civicus.org/csw_files/CIVICUS-statement-Nicaragua.pdf

 

Decentralization and Local Governance

Uyghur American Association Condemns Demolition of Kashgar's Old City in China
According to the Uyghur American Association (UAA), Kashgar’s Old City, the home of 200,000 Uyghurs and an ancient cradle of traditional Uyghur culture in Xinjiang, is being demolished by the Chinese government in a resettlement project to make the area more tourist-friendly.  Locals report that they did not receive adequate compensation for their properties, and had no means to voice objections to the relocation.  The UAA is calling on the international community to appeal to the Chinese government to halt the demolitions, and for the local government to enforce citizens’ property rights.

Go to: www.uyghuramerican.org/articles/3056/1/Bulldozers-reducing-Kashgar-Old-City-to-rubble/index.html

 

Economic Reform and the Business Sector

Center for International Private Enterprise Announces Winners of Egyptian Business Competition
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)-Egypt has recognized the winners of the first Efham business plan competition at a large celebration in Cairo attended by more than 300 people, including student participants, representatives of senior government agencies, business people, academics, and journalists.  Randa Al-Zoghbi, CIPE Egypt program director and World Movement participant, addressed the attendees, calling on them to advocate for cooperation among politically and religiously diverse groups to achieve common goals.  The event was featured on “Good Morning Egypt” and “Every Night” on Nile Life TV, as well as in other print and broadcast media.

To view videos and photos of the event, go to: www.efham.net/Home.aspx (in Arabic) or www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=117540660574&oid=60421979313&saved#/video/video.php?v=117540660574&oid=60421979313

Center for International Private Enterprise Releases Informal Sector Toolkit
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) has published the Informal Sector Toolkit, which explains the origins of the informal sector (entrepreneurs who produce legitimate goods and services without proper permits and legal status because they are locked out of the formal-legal economy by a maze of regulations, excessive procedures, high tax rates, and other barriers to market entry) and describes methods for improving participation in markets and policy making.  It includes policy responses, CIPE’s reform strategy, and case studies of programs that aim to reduce the informal sector in Peru, Guatemala, and Kenya.

Go to: www.cipe.org/publications/papers/pdf/informal%20sector%20toolkit.pdf

 

Elections

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation Reviews Structure of Iranian Elections
In a timely report, the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation released “Neither Free nor Fair, Elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” a detailed analysis of the historical development and organization of Iranian elections.  Putting the recent polls in a political context, the report gives insight into the hidden negotiations necessary for securing a presidential candidacy, and concludes that the elections were unfair and ultimately undemocratic.

Go to: www.iranrights.org/english/document-604.php

Center for International Private Enterprise Publishes Report on Post-Election Violence in Kenya
In May, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) Economic Reform Feature Service published “From Promises to Action in Kenya: How to Make Democracy Work.”  The report identifies political and economic issues in Kenyan society as the causes of violence after the 2007 election, and emphasizes the importance of the private sector in negotiating peace agreements.  It calls for reinforcement of the country’s market economy and bolstering representative democratic institutions.

Go to: www.cipe.org/publications/fs/pdf/053009.pdf

 

Good Governance, Transparency and Anti-Corruption

Canadian Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Democracy Watch's Appeal Case
According to Democracy Watch, the Canadian Supreme Court refused the organization’s application to appeal a decision that Canada’s Conflict of Interest Act was not violated when Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Cabinet decided not to investigate former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s financial connections to a German-Canadian businessman.

Go to: www.dwatch.ca/camp/RelsJun1209.html

Transparency Initiative Publishes Guide on in Resource Extraction
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which works to improve the transparency and accountability of resource extraction in 20 resource-rich countries, has issued a guide on policy and communication in extraction.  The Initiative tracks financial transactions between oil, gas, mineral, and metal companies and the governments of countries in which they work to ensure transparent economic management.  The publication includes case studies of Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Go to: www.comminit.com/en/node/287375/348

Indian Government Creates Online Grievance Forum
A grievance forum has been set up by the Indian government where citizens can report problems with government officials or departments, including railways, postal system, roads, schools, hospitals, and banks.  Users can track the status of their reports on the Web site, as well as find more information about the redress-of-grievances process.

Go to: www.pgportal.gov.in

 

Human Rights, Equality and Access to Justice

Twentieth Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Protests Commemorated Worldwide
June 4 marked the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, and many NGOs commemorated the event.  For example, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders released “The Legacy of Tiananmen: 20 Years of Oppression, Activism and Hope,” a report on human rights abuses of Tiananmen protestors and their families, including lists of the 195 individuals killed, 57 injured, 15 executed, and 905 incarcerated as part of the government crackdown.

In addition, several international NGOs drew attention to the anniversary: Amnesty International called for an inquiry into the Tiananmen Square crackdown, while Reporters Without Borders staged a protest outside the Chinese Embassy in Paris.  Freedom House issued a press release denouncing China’s new Internet restrictions (issued two days before June 4th), including the blocking of Web sites such as Twitter, Flickr, and Hotmail.  The International Campaign for Tibet also published a report analyzing whether the Chinese government has met the requirements of the United States’ 1990 “Tiananmen Sanctions.”

To read “The Legacy of Tiananmen: 20 Years of Oppression, Activism and Hope,” go to: www.crd-net.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200906/20090602091613_15678.html

To read Amnesty International’s statement, go to: www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/twenty-years-later-china-must-hold-inquiry-tiananmen-square-crackdown-20090602

To read Reporters sans Frontiers’ statement, go to: www.rsf.org/All-references-to-Tiananmen-Square.html

To read Freedom House’s press release, go to: www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=70&release=991

To read the International Campaign for Tibet’s report, “Tiananmen and Tibet Progress Required by Tiananmen Sanctions Law Not Met,” go to: www.savetibet.org/files/documents/Tiananmen_and_Tibet_ICT_analysis.pdf

Online Petition to Appoint Independent Experts to ASEAN Human Rights Commission
The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development and the SAPA Task Force on ASEAN and Human Rights have launched a petition to include the appointment of independent experts as part of the Terms of Reference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Human Rights Commission.  The groups call for codification of the independence of the ASEAN Human Rights Commission to ensure that meets international standards.

To sign the petition, go to: www.petitiononline.com/ahrb/petition-sign.html

To read the statement from the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, go to: www.forum-asia.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2215&Itemid=32

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Founds the International Documentation Center
With the cooperation of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the first International Documentation Center on Human Rights in the Arab World, opened in Paris on June 10.  The Center provides documents related to human rights in the Arab world to researchers, including reports, statements, publications, and audio-visual media in Arabic, English, and French.  The signing ceremony included a presentation drawing material from the CIHRS annual report, “From Exporting Terrorism to Exporting Repression.”

Go to: www.cihrs.org/Images/ArticleFiles/Original/382.pdf

Amman Center for Human Rights Studies Conducts Human Rights Training Session
Sixteen participants from the Jordanian Ministry of Political Development completed a two-day human rights training session run by the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS).  Lectures by journalists, academics, and lawyers focused on the historic development of policies related to human rights, the importance of an independent judicial system, and the function of civil society in maintaining democratic practices.  ACHRS has conducted over 300 such sessions, training over 7,000 Arab participants.

On July 29 and 30, ACHRS will also organize a training session in Amman on the documentation of torture in commemoration of the 12th anniversary of the UN's International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.  The session will give Arab journalists guidelines for reporting instances of torture.

Go to: www.achrs.org/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=149&Itemid=59

Asian Centre for Human Rights Releases Its 2009 India Human Rights Report
On May 29, the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) published its 2009 India Human Rights Report, analyzing human rights issues in 27 states.  It criticizes the Indian government for committing human rights violations and counterproductively marginalizing ethnic minorities under the pretense of preventing Maoist violence.

Go to: www.achrweb.org/reports/india/AR09/AR2009.pdf

Protection International Publishes Security Manual for Human Rights Defenders
Concerned for the security of human rights workers in the field, a “Security Manual for Human Rights Defenders” published by Protection International recommends rules and procedures for human rights operations to ensure the safety of defenders in dangerous circumstances.  Drawing on 25 years of experience of former Peace Brigades International participants, the report assesses of security threats, identifies threats facing women, and tackles best practices for responding to information theft, break-ins, and kidnappings.

Go to: www.protectionline.org/spip.php?article186

Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights Releases Report on Human Rights in Turkmenistan
On June 3, the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) published “Turkmenistan is Still a Dictatorship,” which expresses concern for the European Union’s acceptance of allegedly superficial changes in Turkmen law as proof of the country’s improving human rights record.  The report argues that the EU is overlooking ongoing suppression of media, collective punishment, and systemic racism in order to secure trade agreements with Turkmenistan.

Go to: www.chrono-tm.org/?0258044897000000000000011000000

Chinese Human Rights Defenders Releases 2008 Report on Human Rights Advocates
The Chinese Human Rights Defenders have released a report on the situation of human rights defenders in China in 2008, which includes case studies on the crackdown of Olympic protestors, and the legal battles of the victims of the Sichuan earthquake and Sanlu milk powder scandal.  The report emphasizes freedom of expression as the most consistently curtailed right, and lauds the efforts of the 8,000 signatories of “Charter 08,” a petition that calls for greater democratic freedoms in China.

To read the report, go to: www.crd-net.org/Article/Class9/Class11/200906/20090626172654_16022.html

To read “Charter 08,” go to: www.hrichina.org/public/contents/press?revision%5fid=89851&item%5fid=85717

 

Labor Unions and Worker Rights

International Trade Union Confederation Issues 2009 Annual Survey
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which seeks social justice for workers and their families, recently published the “2009 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights,” recounting labor rights abuses in 143 countries.  Seventy-six trade unionists were killed in 2008 worldwide, with most deaths occurring in Colombia, Guatemala, the Philippines, and Venezuela.  At lease nine countries imprisoned citizens for trade union activities, and there were an estimated 7,500 cases of dismissal of workers for their involvement in unions.

Go to: www.survey09.ituc-csi.org

 

Media, Freedom of Expression and Communication Technology

Women's Learning Partnership Launches Human Rights TV Channel
The Women's Learning Partnership (WLP) has launched WLP TV, a channel where women and girls from around the world share stories of their trials and triumphs in advocating for women’s human rights.  Their first live broadcast on May 30 featured a keynote from Jordanian Princess Basma bint Talal, who spoke from Amman, Jordan, about women’s role in peace-building efforts.  WLP is a network of independent organizations that aims to empower women to transform their families, communities, and societies.

To watch WLP TV, go to: www.livestream.com/wlptv

To learn more about WLP’s use of ICTs in promoting democracy, read the World Movement’s interview with WLP Director of Innovation and Technology, Usha Venkatachallam: www.wmd.org/wbdo/icts/womenslearning.html

Center for International Media Assistance Releases Reports on Effective Media Assistance
The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) has released “One Size Does Not Fit All: Objectives and Priority Areas for Media Assistance in Different Societies” by Dr. Krishna Kumar, a senior social scientist at the U.S. State Department.  The paper provides guidelines on how to tailor media assistance to a variety of different countries, including authoritarian, democratizing, war-torn, and post-conflict.  CIMA has also published “Good, But How Good? Monitoring and Evaluation of Media Assistance Projects,” a report examining the methodology for measuring the effectiveness of media development programs.

To read “One Size Does Not Fit All,” go to: http://cima.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/kumar-one-size-does-not-fit-all.pdf

To read “Good, But How Good? Monitoring and Evaluation of Media Assistance Projects,” go to: http://cima.ned.org/reports/monitoring-and-evaluation-report.html

International Journalists' Network Launches Portal in Russian
The International Journalists' Network (IJNet) has added Russian as its sixth language for news, commentary, and forums.  The Russian edition supplements the Web site as journalists are facing increased censorship and personal risk in Russia.  Also available in Arabic, English, Persian, Portuguese, and Spanish, IJNet provides training and networking for journalists worldwide, and keeps subscribers informed with a weekly bulletin.

Go to: www.icfj.org/OurWork/ProgramSpotlight/IJNetRussianAnnouncement/tabid/1232/Default.aspx

Search for Common Ground Invites Submissions for Middle East Journalism Awards
The conflict resolution organization Search for Common Ground (SFCG) invites submissions for its annual Eliav-Sartawi Awards for Middle East Journalism, which recognize articles that contribute to better understanding among people and encourage political dialogue in the Middle East.  Articles submitted in Arabic, English, or Hebrew will be reviewed by a panel of international judges.  Winners of the competition will be invited to attend an award ceremony in Jerusalem in November 2009 and will receive a monetary prize of $1,000.

Go to: www.sfcg.org

 

Role of International Institutions

Civil Society Groups Address Member States of UN Human Rights Council
Thirty-five civil society organizations have sent an open letter to the member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council calling for the development and implementation of a Code of Conduct for Member States.  The Code would discourage governments from disciplining expert analysts who testify that human rights are being abused within their countries’ borders.  These member states often utilize Special Procedures to charge the experts with “operating outside of their mandate.”  The proposed Code would give specific guidance on the limits of Special Procedures to prevent their abuse for political motives.

Go to: www.alhaq.org/etemplate.php?id=455

 

Young People's Political and Civic Participation

Youth Tech Festival Held in Jordan
In June, over 90 participants from the Middle East took part in the Youth Tech Festival in Amman, Jordan, to learn how to use social media tools to fight sexual harassment, stop underage marriages, and other human rights abuses.  Producing YouTube videos on domestic violence and using Facebook to combat child abuse are examples of how emerging technologies are being used to advocate for social change.  The festival was convened by the Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) and Sisterhood Is Global Institute/Jordan (SIGI/J) in celebration of their 10th anniversaries.

Go to: www.learningpartnership.org/en/news/enews/2009/iss24/youth-tech-fest

 

World Movement Participating Networks, Organizations and Individuals Mentioned in this Issue

Please Note: Readers of DemocracyNews will often be referred to Web sites for further information. If you are interested in a particular item, but are unable to access the World Wide Web, please contact the World Movement for Democracy or fax at +1-202- 378-9889, and we will try to provide the information to you by other means.