December 2010

Printer-friendly version

December 2010

Contents

On the Occasion of International Human Rights Day
 
Democracy Alerts/Appeals
 
World Movement Networking Updates
 
Announcements & Events
 
Civil Society Strengthening
 
Conflict Resolution & Transitional Justice
 
Elections
 
Gender Issues & Sexual Minority Rights
 
Good Governance, Transparency, & Anti-Corruption
 
Human Rights, Equality, & Access to Justice
 
Media, Freedom of Expression, & Communication Technology
 
Political Parties & Political Leadership
 
Research
 
Role of International Institutions
 
Tolerance & Religious Freedom
 
Young People’s Political & Civic Participation
 

On the Occasion of International Human Rights Day
 
The World Movement Expresses Its Solidarity with Human Rights Defenders around the World
On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, December 10, the World Movement for Democracy expresses its solidarity with human rights defenders around the world. We congratulate Liu Xiaobo - prominent independent Chinese intellectual in China, long-time advocate of political reform and human rights in China, and “Charter ‘08” signatory – on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize this year. The Prize will be presented on International Human Rights Day, although Liu will not be permitted by the Chinese government to be on hand to receive it. On the contrary, he remains in prison for his human rights work. For your information, we are pleased to provide you with the following links to Liu’s writings and information on his case.
 
Writings by Liu Xiaobo:
Information on Liu Xiaobo:
Previous DemocracyAlerts:

Democracy Alerts/Appeals
 
“Donkey Bloggers” Released from Prison in Azerbaijan
According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), on November 18 and 19, the Court of Appeals in Baku, Azerbaijan, ruled that “donkey bloggers” Adnan Hadji-zadeh and Emin Milli be freed after serving half their two-year sentences on charges of “hooliganism.” Hadji-zadeh and Milli were charged with hooliganism after being physically attacked at a restaurant in Baku in July 2009. The attack occurred soon after the bloggers posted a satirical video portraying a fake government press conference in which Hadji-zadeh dressed as a donkey. The bloggers claim they were victims of an unprovoked attack and that their imprisonment was meant as a warning to other opposition activists. Their case drew criticism from human rights organizations around the world, as well as from international leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama.
 
In its “Defending Civil Society” report, the World Movement addresses freedom of expression, and articulates six principles for protecting civil society. The third principle states that “Civil society representatives, individually and through their organizations, enjoy the right to freedom of expression.” The World Movement also raised the case of the donkey bloggers in April at its Sixth Assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia, during a plenary session, “Muted Voices, Controlled Spaces, & Restricted Funds: How to Defend Civil Society?” After a presentation of the video of the satirical press conference, World Movement participant Leyla Yunus asserted that the arrest of the bloggers was an indication of how the Azerbaijani government seeks to mute emerging voices calling for reform.
 
To read the previous alert with links to pertinent RFE/RL articles, go to:
 
 
To learn more about the “Defending Civil Society” project, go to: www.wmd.org/projects/defending-civil-society
 
To read about the Sixth Assembly discussion on “Muted Voices, Controlled Spaces, & Restricted Funds: How to Defend Civil Society?,” go to: www.wmd.org/assemblies/sixth-assembly/workshops/freedom-association-assembly-expression/plenary-muted-voices-con

World Movement Networking Updates
 
Parallel OSCE Conference Held in Astana, Kazakhstan
On November 28-29, just days before the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Summit, over 200 delegates from Europe and Eurasia participated in the Parallel OSCE Conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, to develop strategies for strengthening the OSCE and its Human Dimension mechanisms, as well as to propose concrete ways in which civil society can take part in OSCE decision-making processes. To this end, participants drafted an Outcome Document listing several recommendations for how the OSCE can improve its efforts in monitoring and supporting fundamental human rights. The Outcome Document also lists promises made by the signatory NGOs, indicating that they would make stronger efforts to document issues and report on them to the OSCE. The Ambassador of Lithuania, which will hold the OSCE Presidency in 2011, spoke at the conference and confirmed the importance of ongoing civil society participation in the OSCE. The conference was organized by over 20 organizations, including CIVICUS, Freedom House, the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, and the World Movement for Democracy.
 
For news and information on the conference (in English), go to: www.wmd.org/networking/central-and-eastern-europe-eurasia/spotlight/central-asia#kazconf
 
For news and information on the conference (in Russian), go to: www.wmd.org/networking/central-and-eastern-europe-eurasia...World Movement Posts New DemocracyVoices Interviews

Announcements & Events
 
 
Carlos PonceIn November, the World Movement posted three new DemocracyVoices interviews with Steering Committee member Carlos Ponce (left) of the Justice Consortium (Venezuela), Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow Yanhai Wan (China), and Tapera Kapuya of the World Youth Movement for Democracy (Zimbabwe). Mr. Ponce’s interview focuses on how he became involved in democracy work and his views on developments in Venezuela. Mr. Wan speaks about movements in China since the 1980s and comments on how the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo will affect democratization efforts in the country. In his video, Mr. Kapuya talks about the value of networks, especially the value they hold for youth in Zimbabwe. His video also features footage of a support video in Egypt and a demonstration in Venezuela.
 
 
Call for Applications: John Smith Fellowships
The John Smith Memorial Trust is currently seeking applications from potential candidates for its 2011 Fellowship Program, to take place over four weeks in June and July 2011. The aim of the fellowship is to enable exceptional individuals to visit the United Kingdom and learn about political, judicial, constitutional, and other institutions and procedures in the UK, as well as sharing experiences of their own institutions with each other and with British hosts and experts. The Trust aims to foster leadership qualities in an outstanding group of individuals who, on completion of their fellowships, will return home to apply what they have learned during their time in the UK. Applications are invited from individuals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. The deadline for applications is December 31.
 

Civil Society Strengthening
 
CIVICUS Issues Statement on Threats to Russian Civil Society and Expresses Solidarity with Swazi Civil Society
Defending Civil SocietyOn November 10, CIVICUS issued a statement asserting that increased attacks on journalists and activists are threatening civil society in Russia. Specifically, CIVICUS supports the appeal of Russian journalists to President Medvedev for increased protection and thorough, independent investigations into unsolved attacks, and calls for the full implementation of Article 144 of the Russian Penal Code, which criminalizes the obstruction of the lawful professional activity of journalists. CIVICUS also urges local authorities, as well as the Russian government, to uphold Russia's international and national obligations by acting immediately to prevent harassment and attacks against activists and to ensure a safe environment for concerned citizens to be heard.
 
On November 17, CIVICUS also issued a statement expressing solidarity with Swazi civil society as it increases its efforts to raise awareness about human rights and justice in Swaziland. In the statement, CIVICUS stresses that space for civil society to express, associate, and assemble freely remains constrained in Swaziland. For example, on October 19, Swazi Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini outlined his intentions to propose legislation to force columnists to request prior permission before publishing comments that criticize the government. CIVICUS urges the Swazi government to respect the rights of the people of Swaziland to express democratic dissent and demand the reform of authoritarian institutions.
 
In its “Defending Civil Society” report, the World Movement addresses freedom of expression, and articulates six principles for protecting civil society. The third principle states that “Civil society representatives, individually and through their organizations, enjoy the right to freedom of expression.”
 
To read CIVICUS’ statement on threats to Russian civil society, go to: www.civicus.org/civicus-home/1582
 
To read CIVICUS’s solidarity statement for Swazi civil society, go to: www.civicus.org/civicus-home/1589
 
To learn more about the “Defending Civil Society” project, go to: www.wmd.org/projects/defending-civil-society

Conflict Resolution & Transitional Justice
 
Society for Democratic Initiatives in Sierra Leone Condemns Recent Political Violence
On November 18, the Society for Democratic Initiatives in Sierra Leone (SDI) issued a statement strongly condemning the political violence that occurred in the city of Koidu, in Kono District, on November 12-13, 2010. On the evening of November 12, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) office was attacked with buckets of human excrement. The following day, there were a series of violent attacks against SLPP supporters throughout the city. Specifically, SLPP supporters had rocks thrown at them and were blocked from leaving the city. SDI is deeply concerned about this outburst of political violence, especially given the upcoming by-election in December in the region and considers the situation in Kono as particularly dangerous.
 
 
Bologna Symposium on Conflict Prevention, Resolution, and Reconciliation to Be Held in Summer 2011
On June 24-July 23, 2010, the 2011 Bologna Symposium on Conflict Prevention, Resolution, and Reconciliation will bring together individuals from around the world for intensive training in the practical skills necessary to foster peace and security in their communities and the world. The coursework includes modules on conflict prevention, conflict management and resolution, and post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction. Participants graduate from the program with the knowledge to confront violent conflict effectively through learned mediation, negotiation, facilitation, social entrepreneurship, leadership, and societal transformation techniques and a clearer understanding of the dynamics of contemporary conflicts.
 

Elections
 
International IDEA Publishes New Handbook on Electoral Justice
In November, International IDEA published “Electoral Justice: The International IDEA Handbook,” which examines the concept of electoral justice and how to prevent electoral disputes. The Handbook is meant to be applicable in every country. To this end, the Handbook uses examples from a wide variety of countries, including Afghanistan, Argentina, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, France, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
 
 
International Forum for Democratic Studies Issues Workshop Report on Bosnia’s Democratic Transition
In September, the International Forum for Democratic Studies, along with the Europe Program of the National Endowment for Democracy, brought academic experts on comparative constitutional design together with legal and country specialists to discuss how Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) can complete its democratic transition and achieve its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. During the half-day meeting, participants reviewed the state of governance and democracy in BiH and explored issues in the current debate on constitutional reform and the available options for proceedings. The workshop report summarizes the discussions and the resulting recommendations.
 

Gender Issues & Sexual Minority Rights
 
Women’s Learning Partnership Blogs about Women’s Political Participation
On November 11, the Women’s Learning Partnership featured an article, “Should We Rejoice When Women Participate in Politics?,” on its blog. The article addresses the significance of women being elected into political office and how increased women’s political participation helps or does not help achieve gender equality. Readers are encouraged to comment on the article.
 
 
UN Development Programme Develops New Gender Inequality Index
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has developed a new Gender Inequality Index (GII) to better expose differences in the distribution of achievements between women and men. The Index reveals that the disadvantages facing women are a major source of inequality. All too often, women are discriminated against in health, education, and the labor market, with negative repercussions for their freedoms. The GII attempts to quantify these inequalities in each country. UNDP then uses these statistics to rank each country as having very high, high, medium, or low human development. The top rated countries include Norway, Australia, and New Zealand; among the lowest rated countries are Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Niger.
 

Good Governance, Transparency, & Anti-Corruption
 
Participants in the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference Commit to Fight against Corruption
At the conclusion of the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) held on November 10-13, in Bangkok, Thailand, participants issued a declaration committing themselves to fight against corruption. In the declaration, some 1,200 participants from more than 135 countries stressed that the role of civil society in combating corruption is crucial, and specifically cited the great contributions of youth and journalists in informing the greater public on corruption issues. Participants also emphasized that the future of fighting corruption lies in empowering civil society.
 

Human Rights, Equality, & Access to Justice
 
Human Rights Award Established to Honor Floribert Chebeya Bahizire
Floribert Chebeya BahizireAccording to Democracy Digest, the National Network of NGOs for Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo (RENADHOC) has established a human rights award to commemorate the life and work of deceased World Movement participant Floribert Chebeya Bahizire (left). The award is meant to encourage human rights defenders operating in threatening or violent environments. The deadline for applications is April 25.
 
Mr. Chebeya Bahizire was found dead in his car outside of Kinshasa on June 2, 2010. The body of his driver, Mr. Bazan Edad, was found in a different location. Prior to his disappearance and murder, Mr. Chebeya Bahizire was summoned by General John Numbi, the General Inspectorate of Police in Ligwala, Kinshasa. The meeting never took place. Eight police officers have been tried for their kidnappings and murders.
 
For more information about the Floribert Chebeya Bahizire award, go to: www.demdigest.net/blog/regions/africa/new-floribert-chebeya-award-for-human-rights-defenders.html
 
To read the alert about Floribert Chebeya Bahizire’s case, go to: www.wmd.org/alerts/update-police-officers-charged-death-world-movement-participant-drc
 
World Movement Posts Web Page on Human Rights in Belarus
In November, the World Movement added a new page on human rights in Belarus to its Web site. The page provides a summary of human rights issues in Belarus, alerts from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and NGOs, recent reports, and a summary of how human rights have been negatively affected during the lead-up to the upcoming presidential election that will take place on December 19, 2010. The page is part of the Spotlight feature in the Central/Eastern Europe and Eurasia networking section of the World Movement Web site.
 
 
SOS EXCLUSION Addresses Massive Human Rights Violations in Cote d’Ivoire
On December 6, SOS EXCLUSION issued a statement listing the many massive human rights violations occurring in Cote d’Ivoire and addressing the various public safety issues that citizens face. Specifically, SOS EXCLUSION highlights the killings in Port Bouet, in Sinfra, and in Marcory, and the massive displacement of people to Liberia. SOS EXCLUSION is urging Ivorian authorities, religious leaders, traditional leaders, the international community (UN, African Union, ECOWAS), and all friends of Cote d'Ivoire to use appropriate means to end this serious situation, which jeopardizes the Ivorian nation.
 
 
Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa Announces a “Facebook” for Case Law
The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) with the support of HURIDOCS recently announced the “African Human Rights Case Law Analyser,” which IHRDA refers to as a “Facebook” for case law. Essentially, the Analyser is a new online, free, searchable database that contains all African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights decisions from 1994 through 2010 in English and French. The Analyser also features an automatic calculation of the jurisprudential value of each decision based on the frequency of the citation. Users can also share comments on any case.
 
 
World Organization Against Torture Holds Workshop for Police Officers in Kenya
On November 22, the World Organization Against Torture held “Democratic Policing and Respect for International Human Rights Standards,” a capacity-building workshop for law enforcement officers with management responsibilities from all of Kenya’s eight regions. The workshop sought to familiarize participants with the basic principles of respect for human rights as an integral part of effective police work in a democratic society. Presenters specifically addressed Kenya’s legal obligations under international human rights law with particular attention given to selected recommendations of United Nations Treaty Bodies.
 
Go to:
 
New E-learning Course on Human Rights and Alternative Dispute Resolution
On February 23-April 5, 2011, Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) and the Human Rights Center of the University for Peace will offer a new e-learning course designed for working professionals in NGOs, government, international organizations, and businesses, or community leaders interested in addressing human rights violations through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) tools. The course will go beyond political rights, but will also analyze the effectiveness of ADR tools in addressing violations of indigenous rights, civil rights in regard to racial, gender, and religious discrimination, business-related human rights, sexual harassment, and child labor.
 
 
Emilio Mignone International Human Rights Prize Awarded to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
According to SW Africa Radio News, World Movement for Democracy participating organization, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), has been awarded Argentina’s Emilio Mignone International Human Rights Prize. The Prize is awarded to institutions or individuals who have made an outstanding contribution towards the promotion of human rights in their countries. ZLHR has been defending human rights activists and people harassed by the government for several years in Zimbabwe.
 
 
PROVEA Receives 2010 Rights & Democracy John Humphrey Award
Rights & Democracy, based in Montreal, Canada, recently announced PROVEA, a Venezuelan human rights NGO, as the recipient of its 2010 John Humphrey Award. Created in 1992, the Award is presented each year to an organization or individual from any region of the world for outstanding achievement in the promotion of human rights and democratic development. It is named in honor of the late John Peters Humphrey, a law professor from Montreal's McGill University who prepared the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. PROVEA was selected from more than 100 nominees by an international jury.
 
 
Rescue Foundation Receives 2010 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award
On November 9, the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) announced the Rescue Foundation of India is the recipient of its 2010 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award. TFD gave the award to the Rescue Foundation for its ongoing work in rescuing teenage girls from human trafficking, and assisting them to rebuild their lives. The Rescue Foundation, established in 2000 in Mumbai, India, saves approximately 300 teenage girls from abuse and trafficking each year. The Foundation’s rehab center in the suburbs of Mumbai helps abused teenagers to rebuilds their lives. The services provided by the rehab center include HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, professional training courses, farming training sessions, and fundamental education.
 
 
Dr. Soraya Rahim Sobhrang Receives 2010 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk
Dr. Soraya Rahim Sobhrang of Afghanistan, a commissioner of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), has been named the recipient of the 2010 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. The Front Line Award is granted annually to one human rights defender who has made an exceptional contribution to defending the rights of others in his or her country, often at great personal risk. As Commissioner for Women's Rights at the AIHRC, Dr. Sobhrang is responsible for the monitoring, protection, and promotion of women's rights throughout Afghanistan. Dr. Sobhrang has faced constant harassment, defamation, and death threats since taking up her post. In its “Defending Civil Society” report, the World Movement addresses harassment and intimidation of activists, and articulates six principles for protecting civil society. The sixth principle states that “The State has a duty to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the obligation to protect the rights of civil society.”
 
 
To learn more about the “Defending Civil Society” project, go to: www.wmd.org/projects/defending-civil-society

Media, Freedom of Expression, & Communication Technology
 
National Union of Somali Journalists Welcomes Release of Detained Journalist
On November 8, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) issued a statement welcoming the release of journalist Abdifitah Jama Mire, director of Horseed Media. Mr. Mire was arrested on August 14, 2010 after broadcasting a radio interview with Mohamed Said Atom, an Islamist militia leader. NUSOJ asserts that Mr. Mire’s arrest and detention was unfair and a violation of his human rights.
 
 
Global Forum for Media Development Issues “Media Matters - GFMD 2009-2011”
On November 29, the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) launched a new publication “Media Matters – GFMD 2009-2011,” which argues that media should be a central part of development policy and highlights how the GFMD has created real cooperation within the media development sector. Specifically, the report looks at how free independent media have a positive impact on economic development and good governance. It also raises issues of new technology and what that means for media development and it offers new approaches to evaluating the impact of media assistance work.
 
 
Center for International Media Assistance Issues Two New Reports
In November, the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) issued “Registering Reporters: How Licensing of Journalists Threatens Independent Media,” which examines regulatory practices in more than 100 developed and developing countries. The report’s author, Steven Strasser, an associate professor at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, asserts that at least one out of every four governments has a role in licensing journalists, which means the government approves who can work as a journalist and who cannot. In December, CIMA also issued “U.S. Government Funding for Media Development,” which analyzes spending on media development by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In the report, CIMA’s project coordinator, Laura Mottaz, outlines trends in spending on media development, broken down between State Department and USAID programs and by region.
 
For “Registering Reporters: How Licensing of Journalists Threatens Independent Media,” go to: http://cima.ned.org/publications/research-reports/registering-reporters-how-licensing-journalists-threatens-independent
 
For “U.S. Government Funding for Media Development,” go to: http://cima.ned.org/publications/research-reports/us-government-funding-media-development

Political Parties & Political Leadership
 
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Europe Supports Rights of Political Parties
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), in conjunction with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, recently finalized its “Guidelines on Political Party Legislation.” The product of two years of collaboration, the Guidelines aim to provide guidance for legislators, policymakers, and analysts on the drafting and implementation of legislation on political parties. The Guidelines are to be used as a means to protect the rights and freedoms of political parties while enacting only the minimum regulation necessary to ensure their proper functioning. They are based on universal and regional treaties relating to the protection of human rights, evolving state practice, and the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations.
 

Research
 
Network of Democracy Research Institutes Announces Digital Library on Democracy
In November, the Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI) announced the launch of its Digital Library on Democracy. The Digital Library on Democracy features full-text publications produced by NDRI member institutions and provides scholars, activists, and others interested in democracy promotion and related issues with access to an online repository of materials. The Digital Library currently houses over 1,500 publications from over 30 NDRI member institutes, many of which are in developing and transitional countries. If you would like to include your institute’s publications in the Library, please contact Melissa Aten-Becnel at MelissaA@ned.org.
 

Role of International Institutions
 
American Society of International Law Releases Papers on U.S. Policy toward International Criminal Court
On November 30, the American Society of International Law (ACIL) issued a series of eight papers examining U.S. policy toward the International Criminal Court. During the review conference of the International Criminal Court last June, the United States announced a new policy of “principled engagement” with the Court. In its series of papers, ACIL focuses on four topics: fostering state cooperation with the Court, developing complementarity between national and ICC jurisdictions, strengthening the impact of the Court on victims and witnesses, and shaping the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.
 

Tolerance & Religious Freedom
 
European Grassroots Antiracist Movement Founded
On November 2, in Paris, France, the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM) was founded. Organizations from some 30 European countries created the EGAM to work towards an antiracist European civil society. EGAM participants believe that racist ideologies have reemerged in the European political arena due to the economic crisis and increasing tension over national identity on the continent. In their founding statement, EGAM participants specifically point out increased discrimination against Muslims, Jews, Roma, and people of African heritage.
 
For more information in English, go to: www.wmd.org/sites/default/files/1210dn31.pdf
 
 
Transitions Online Moves Roma Blog to New Site
Transitions Online has moved its Roma Blog to a new Web site dedicated to Roma issues. The blog features contributions from the participants of the Romani Journalist Advancement project, which is supported by the Open Society Institute's Media Program. Additionally, Transitions Online has expanded its new multimedia project: “Colorful but Colorblind - Roma Beyond Stereotypes,” a collection of 25 short films about Romani communities in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.
 
To read the blog, go to: www.romatransitions.org/blog
 
To learn more about “Colorful but Colorblind,” go to: http://roma.glocalstories.org

Young People’s Political & Civic Participation
 
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Interviews Co-founder of April 6 Youth Movement
On November 8, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace posted a video interview with Ahmed Maher, Co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt. In the interview, Mr. Maher discusses the Movement’s role in Egyptian politics and the upcoming parliamentary elections. Specifically, he stresses that the main goal of the Movement is to inspire and motivate the public to take an interest in politics and the political process. The interview is also available in Arabic.
 
 
Student Peace Prize Committee Awards Duško Kostić with 2011 Prize
The Student Peace Prize Committee, which is affiliated with the International Student Festival in Trondheim, Norway, awarded Croatian student Duško Kostić the 2011 Prize for his work concerning Roma people’s rights. Through his educational work he seeks to build bridges and understanding among the different ethnic groups in a country that was formerly devastated by war. He has also been viewed as a representative for the Roma in his village, Beli Manastir, because he actively works to raise the percentage of Roma children who complete their primary education and enter higher studies in the community.
 
 

World Movement Participants Included in This Issue