2011-09-19 Human Rights Roundup

Current news of any violations, legal progress, setbacks or other news in human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

United States: Death Row inmate Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed September 21st, 2011 for the 1991 murder of an Atlanta police officer. Amnesty International has highlighted several inconsistencies in his case, Including a lack of physical evidence and contradictory witness testimony. Amnesty has lead a campaign asking for a stay of execution, stating that there is “Too Much Doubt” in his case to allow for a good-faith execution to take place. Among his supporters are former US President Jimmy Carter, former FBI Director William Sessions, and Pope Benedict XVI.

China: Dissident writer Yang Maodong has been freed after five years in prison. His release comes on the heels of a report by Wang Songlian, of China Human Rights Defenders in Hong Kong, detailing arrests and torture of Chinese activists. Among those profiled was Jiang Tianyong, a Beijing human rights lawyer who was held in a secret location and tortured for two months. The National Peoples' Congress in China is currently discussing amendments that would allow them to hold criminal suspects in secret locations for up to six months. Activists fear that such a change would increase the numbers of forced disappearances of public health and human rights activists.

Ethiopia: Amnesty International has released a statement saying that as many as 100 politicians and at least 5 journalists have been arrested for dissent in Ethiopia since March 2011. In August, 2 opposition leaders were arrested and charged with terrorist acts after meeting with an Amnesty International delegation in Addis Ababa. The Amnesty group was then expelled from the country.


Uganda: Human Right attorney Al-Amin Kimathi has been released from Kampala prison after nearly one year in detention. Kimathi was arrested in 2010 after requesting respect for due process in the case of fourteen terror suspects. Nine of the suspects were subject to illegal rendition, most report being subject to abusive interrogations, and two have made credible allegations of torture.

The Hague: Human Rights Watch has released a 50-page report titled “Unfinished Business: Closing Gaps in the Selection of ICC Cases.” In this report, HRW states that the appointment of a new prosecutor by year's end should allow the Iinternational Criminal Court to close gaps in its selection and prosecution of criminal cases.


Yemen: United Nations officials say that hundreds of Yemeni people have been killed in protest-related violence, and that thousands more have been injured. In a report, the UN mission accuses Yemeni officials of using excessive force while attempting to chill opposition protests. It goes on to detail the growing anti-government sentiment as a result of these actions and cautions that the situation may be devolving into a civil war.


Pakistan: Human rights activists in the city of Lahore have held demonstrations this week asking for human rights without regard to race, gender, or ethnic minority status. Past atrocities in Balochistan were given special attention, as was religious extremism. Center for Human Rights Education (CHRE) director Samson Salamat asked that Pakistan's laws be brought in line with international human rights standards, saying that we are all equal in dignity.


Palestine: In the lead-up to the UN's vote on recognition of a Palestinian state, some questions remain about democratic process and the explosive growth of Israeli settlements.


Sri Lanka: The UN Human Rights Council has received an in-depth report from UN leader Ban Ki-moon accusing the Sri Lankan military of killing tens of thousands of civilians from January to May 2009. Calls for an international inquiry are currently being considered by the Human Rights Council.


Troy Davis

As of this writing, execution is scheduled to go ahead for Wednesday, Sept. 21.
The town where the incident and initial trial took place, Savannah, GA, remains a racially divided, insignificant backwater stuck in a time warp. One might suggest the NAACP and other sponsor a boycott of its tourism industry.
The man in the seersucker suit remarked, Savannah is "impervious to the outside world."
ARTEMIS thanks you deeply for posting the link to the AJC.
Gratitude to AI/USA as well.

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